Welcome to the Speak English Now Podcast, your resource for practicing your English speaking and listening. You will also learn about lifestyle and culture, language, vocabulary, and how to learn English more effectively.
Today I will talk about fluency and how it is related to the possible mistakes that occur when we speak. Yes. Sometimes we can make mistakes!
Next, we will practice grammar with a funny point of view story. You just have to listen and observe how the different grammar points change.
Very good! I have decided to talk about a topic that I think is very significant for the language student.
First of all, let’s see what fluency means.
When a person can speak fluently, they can speak more or less without hesitation, without pausing and thinking about how to say something. Occasionally we can take a short pause to think, but this is not usual.
We experience near-perfect fluency when we speak our mother tongue. If you pay attention to when you speak, you will see that you do not think about which words to use. You just have an idea of what you are going to say, and you say it.
When you are learning a language, fluency develops gradually. A good symptom is when you find yourself without almost translating mentally. At first, it is normal to do so, but little by little, part of your speech becomes automatic, and the words are simply there. That’s when you start enjoying more and more conversations with Native speakers. It is amazing to see yourself in a conversation with a Native speaker in the language you are learning.
Somehow, it all becomes real.
Traditional or more academic methods insist on mastering more formal aspects such as grammar rules, word position, or conjugations. According to their theories, learning all this will help you express yourself better and avoid making so many mistakes when speaking.
Ask yourself this question: How often do you think about grammar rules when you speak in your native language?
I believe that the most important thing for a language student is to develop fluency first. This has to be your main goal. When we are in the middle of a conversation, things go very fast. You can’t pause for 30 seconds to think about how to structure a sentence. You need to speak at that moment. You need to be fluent.
And how does this relate to mistakes? It’s common sense. If you can express yourself more or less effortlessly, mentally, you don’t have to look up or translate words. They just come to your mind. This way, you can spend more time focusing on other aspects, such as making fewer mistakes or improving your pronunciation.
As I always say, the way to improve your fluency is mostly by listening. The more you listen, the more you acquire the patterns of the language. When I talk about patterns, I mean word patterns that are very commonly used. So, you no longer think word by word but by groups of words. A very positive effect from listening to content made by a native speaker is that you hear the language without mistakes, so little by little, you will end up using the same structures that are error-free.
In short, developing fluency as the main objective helps us to speak without pausing and without translating mentally. Also, by automating speech, we can spend more time focusing on small mistakes we can make. To improve fluency, you must listen a lot and repeatedly. Contrary to what you thought, the material you listen to has to be easy to understand. You have to comprehend 90% of what you hear. Listening to something you like and can understand easily but for hours and hours will improve your fluency.
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