1. Don’t Translate
The most common thing among ESL learners while forming a sentence is to first translate the words to your native language. This is the easy route to forming sentences, but most of the time ends up being inaccurate. So what can you do to stop translating, and start thinking in English?
Culture. It’s very important to try and unnderstand the culture of where this language comes from. Whether you are learning British English or American English, put some effort in learning about the culture of these places, their sense of humor, the logic behind the idioms and phrases. But also remember, don’t overload your mind with too many thoughts and questions! Because no one really knows why the plural of tree is trees, but the plural of mouse is mice… English is a strange language indeed!
Observe. Keep yourself surrounded by Native English speaking settings. Take advantage of talking with your native teachers at Educall and listen to their sentence structures and vocabulary. Soak up all the information you can and use the language later in a conversation. Also, if you have the time, watch movies or mini series with English subtitles, this way you are exposed to the written and verbal language.
** TIP: When you see an image or object, such as a cat, think of this image of a cat, as a cat instead of a ‘kedi’. Practice this anywhere you are home, work, streets, etc.
2. You’re not a Student, You’re an English Speaker!
Break free of the barriers you set to yourself. Start out by changing your attitude, in a positive way. Seeing yourself as an English learner rather than a speaker subconsciously limits your input on English as you may see this as just learning words or grammar, but we all know it’s much more than that. Keep yourself open to all sorts of input of the language and feel confident, feel as if you’re a natural English speaker and leave your mind open to the flow of learning.
3. Forget Grammar
What I noticed in Turkey’s educational system is that English is based on grammar. Surprisingly enough, in English speaking countries, grammar is the least important aspect in the Language Arts class.
Many ESL students actually know more grammar than native speakers. But unless you’re preparing for an exam, it’s not that necessary.
With all the rules and tenses, studying grammar may only confuse you and slow you down.
Keep in mind that when you acquire a language you also acquire the grammar, without even realizing it!
Know that you’re goal is to be able to communicate with others, you don’t need to know what a relative clause is in order to speak fluently.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Listening and surrounding yourself with English is very beneficial only if you actually use the language! Don’t forget to actually speak in the midst of learning. Most of all, never be afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes means that you’re learning! Use the new vocabulary you learned in a sentence and it will stay in your memory, trust me, you’ll have a hard time forgetting it!