When we learned our native language we first listened to the words and sentences use by our parents and other people around us. These four skills together help you to develop your fluency in learning English as a second language.
After we began to understand what was being said, we emulated the words that we heard, and verbalised them by speaking. This led to us being able to experiment with the word, and put them into sentences.
Once we became proficient at speaking and listening, we began to learn how to read words. This led to us being able to understand and analyse ideas written on paper. To analyse ideas means that we are developing an ability to articulate with our thoughts.
When we could analyse ideas it gave us an ability to practise writing our own thoughts onto paper. So we practised writing.
These four skills are the tools we use to develop our language learning when we decide to learn English or any other language.
- When we practise listening we allow ourselves to firstly understand what is being said, then consider what is being said. That way, through proper understanding after listening, we can formulate an answer much more easily.
- You should take every opportunity to practise listening in English. Today, the internet offers so much variation in the opportunity to listen to the English language in its many forms. You can find videos and podcasts where people may be speaking English with a Northern accent, a south of England accent, and people who are speaking with local regional accents. All of the accents from England and the U.K. areas create a fun challenge for you to practise your listening skills everyday – even five minutes listening is five minutes that fills your mind with some form of English voice. Every bit helps to improve your skills and your basic abilities to speak English.
When we read books in English, or reports, articles, and written media, we can spend more time thinking about what is written. This allows us to formulate our thoughts, articulate, and develop a response that is more accurate than simply responding without thinking.
When we speak in a second language, such as English, we find that we try and translate many of the words. This is normal, it’s similar to riding a bicycle for the first time; we spend all of our time concentrated on keeping our balance.
The goal is to develop our vocabulary, and understanding of the vocabulary that we learn, to a point where it becomes an automatic, unconscious response to use a certain piece of vocabulary. This happens when instead of translating words, we practise thinking the words, and considering their meaning more deeply. This helps to plant the thought of the meaning behind the word deeply into the unconscious part of the mind, and allows us to use the word emotionally in response to conversations that we have.
Practise thinking about the meaning of the most important words that you use, and see how it accelerates your ability to use those words without much thinking in daily conversations.
Writing new words down helps us to remember them more quickly. Writing vocabulary, and then formulating short sentences for fun will also develop your ability to think in the English language.
We remember things which we articulate accurately. Writing helps us to stop and think, to articulate, and to express our ideas thoughtfully. This type of learning activity is a powerful way to learn.
If you can think in English, you will begin to dream in English, occasionally. This is a fun experience and seems to give language learners more confidence that something is happening unconsciously.