For the last two months I have been travelling to Thailand, Spain and Israel. I tried to speak with local people in English and realised that the conversation didn't go beyond twenty words of a very basic vocabulary. People told me that they learned English for five to seven years in schools, but according to their level of speech it felt they learned it for two days maximum. How come? It turned out they learned spelling and grammar for those seven years, but rarely spoke .
Also, I met many people who have been living in the UK for thirty years and they still speak in pidgin English. Some of them were PhDs and they complained to me that people treated them like morons because of their primitive English. Well, the reason for their poor English was that they made a choice to stick to their native community (Iranian, Russian, Spanish etc.) and to not pursue English. Interestingly enough, their passive vocabulary was often very good as they could write well, read books and papers, but they didn't dare to use this vocabulary in their speech, because they were not sure how to pronounce it and it made them shy to use it.
One of my friends is a Chinese lady who has been living in London for seven years and has an English boyfriend. She is still hesitant to speak English , she constantly repeats: "I learn English, but it's very difficult... I am not good, it's very hard". No wonder, she learns English for an hour twice a week, but then she speaks in Chinese for the rest of the time.
I decided to do a little experiment with my Chinese friend. Firstly, I told her to say to herself and others that English is easy and that she speaks good English, because when she was constantly repeating that her English was bad, to me it sounded like a self-programming for having bad English. Secondly, I gave her three new short phrases a day and asked her to repeat them five times several times a day. Thirdly, I asked her to reduce the time she speaks in Chinese and gradually increased the time she speaks in English and use the new phrases. After just a week her confidence to speak was so much higher and she felt powerful as a person.
For all who learn English I want to recommend three things:
1. Stop learning English, and start speaking it by repeating three new useful phrases several times a day. Your speech organ muscles will get used to English, you will enlarge your vocabulary and gain confidence to speak. Repeating, repeating and repeating, like parrots!
2. Reduce the time of speaking in your native language and increase the time you speak in English.
3. Listen to English TV and Radio channels, make a note of phrases you hear and repeat them five times several times a day. In the past I met Greeks, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and their English was advanced. Guess what these countries have in common: English TV channels that are not translated into their native language.
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I wish you to be empowered by your outstanding English!