No English at all, How I learned to speak English in the U.S.
Have you ever had the experience that you can learn English, but when it comes to conversational English, you suddenly don’t do so well?
Sometimes I have seen videos on YouTube of people interviewing foreigners in English, and I feel that many people are now able to converse in English much better than in the past. However, there are many Japanese who go abroad who know how to speak and understand English, but are not very good at conversing with local people.
Especially when you are in your thirties like myself, it is not only a matter of learning the language, but also of being embarrassed if you make a mistake, or thinking about your position, etc. There was a time when it was difficult for me to have a conversation. After many years, I finally managed to understand the language.
So, in this article, I would like to explain how to get rid of the feeling of being bad at English conversation and what is necessary to learn English, based on my many mistakes I have made since I came to the U.S. and my experience of immigrating to a foreign country.
This article is for:
- Those who are nervous when speaking English. If you are not good at conversing with local people in particular.
- Those who have a habit of knowing how to speak well, and who tend to be silent without saying what they want to say.
- Those who want to know tips on how to learn English while living abroad.
This article is for those who want to know how to learn English while living abroad.
There are many people who, when they first learn a certain amount of English, find themselves unable to speak it. It seems that the better you are at English, the more you don’t want to make mistakes. I have known people who could speak English very well, but they were always very quiet and didn’t want to make mistakes.
I was 27 years old, so I was surrounded by young people. So I didn’t speak English at all at first because I was embarrassed to make mistakes. Moreover, I was afraid of being looked down upon, so I didn’t dare to speak English on my own. The main reason I started to speak English, even if I made mistakes, was because I wanted to speak English.
I wanted to speak.
Many people do not have the desire to speak. If you think that it is okay to speak your native language or that you can live without learning English, you will never grow. Perhaps those who want to acquire conversational English will want to speak English and this point will be fine.
When I started to learn some, I was happy to be able to communicate with others and started to speak. I also started playing with many people from overseas, and after about a year in the U.S., I had an American girlfriend, which gave me even more confidence.
Another thing you need to have in English conversation is that you need to have a big heart and not care what other people think of you. This is true even in your native language.
In fact, I used to get frustrated in Japanese as well. The reason why I cannot say what I want to say in a conversation even though I know the language is because I am too concerned about what the other person will think. It is very difficult for Japanese people to sort out their feelings, but it is quite important when communicating with people overseas. But the truth is that the first thing to do is to convey what you want to say to the other person, even if it is a combination of words that you understand because it is polite to do so.
Without these two things, it will take a long time for a person who cannot speak English at all to be able to speak it overseas.
I was also delayed because I did not have these two things.
If the other person thinks, “He can’t speak English,” I don’t care! If you have the feeling of “I don’t care if they think I can’t speak English,” then you can finally take the next step toward learning English conversation. To be honest, no one around me was that concerned about my English ability. However, depending on the situation, there may be some Japanese who say, “That person is good, that person is bad.
If this is a concern for you, you can create an environment where you only speak with English speakers when you speak English, so you don’t have to worry about what other people think of your English.
This “I want to speak English! I don’t care what they think of my English! Once you have this feeling of “I want to speak English,” you will get used to it by speaking with many people.
The secret to learning English is to just put words together that you know. It doesn’t matter if you make grammatical mistakes.
- Make friends and have conversations with native speakers.
- Try to speak English out loud as often as possible. (Conversation alone, watching TV dramas or movies and reciting phrases)
Even if you only use words, you can still get the message across. You need to get the feeling that “my English will be understood” by the other person.
As I said at the beginning of this article, I could not speak English at all in the beginning. So for about six months, I was always with a group of Japanese people and could hardly participate in conversation. I was too embarrassed to speak English even though I knew the vocabulary, because I was afraid of making grammatical mistakes. Anyway, you have to put grammar aside and have the experience of being able to communicate with others by using all the words you know in conversation.
Some Americans use grammar quite incorrectly. There is correct grammar, but there is no correct way to speak in a conversation. If the other person doesn’t seem to understand it, try to communicate using a dictionary or translator on your smart phone. If they are not a jerk, they will accept it with open arms. Sometimes they are jerks, but that’s just the way it is. Don’t worry about small things. Keep a big heart.
And if you make friends, you can improve your English conversation at once. This is true no matter what language you speak. Once you get used to the speed at which native speakers speak, you will be able to hear more and more in other dramas and movies.
Then comes the slump period when you get used to it. This is a common phenomenon in learning English, isn’t it? You can speak English for a while, but then you can’t speak it anymore. So, if you know some English but are quiet when it comes to conversation. I recommend that you try speaking English on your own (or saying out loud what you are thinking in English when you are driving) or practicing even just a little bit every day, like 15 minutes.
For example, you can imitate famous phrases from the TV show “Friends” and recite them aloud, or read an English book aloud. This is the secret to improving your English conversation skills even if you don’t have a girlfriend or friends. This is what we call talking to yourself. This is because repetition makes your brain think, “I can speak English.
Repetition always helps.
Nowadays, I also recommend an app called Duolingo (as of 2022). (as of 2022) You can also use this to study English. It has questions that require you to answer aloud according to the grammar, so you can learn pronunciation for conversation, and you can also learn a lot of necessary vocabulary.
I am currently studying Spanish.
Duolingo official website:https://www.duolingo.com/
After all, you simply cannot improve your English conversation if you don’t have many opportunities to speak it. This is true for everything, isn’t it? It is the same with musical instruments and sports.
If you don’t talk for a long time, you won’t be able to speak well with others. But you don’t need to do this well. You don’t have to try to speak well. After I broke up with my girlfriend, I had fewer opportunities to speak English at all, and I felt that I was not very good at it. So I tried to speak well, and as a result, I felt I was not very good at it.
I felt that I was not very good at speaking English, and I had a lot of self-doubt. I am sure this is true because I had an experience that I hated speaking English as a result of trying to speak well. The reason why native languages such as Japanese do not have this slump is that they have already had a great deal of repetitive practice, so they can cope with the unfamiliarity without any more problems than English.
So here again, don’t try to speak well, just do it in numbers. You will get your confidence back and you will be able to speak again.
You will not suddenly be able to start speaking tomorrow, and the most important thing is experience and effort.
There are many advertisements in various places that say, “You will learn to speak English in 3 months! but if you are doing it the normal way, it will definitely be difficult. People are given the same amount of time. Continuing every day, even a little bit at a time, will enable you to master anything.
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If you can spend as much time as you can every day in English and become familiar with English conversation, you will definitely enjoy your life abroad. My life has changed since I became able to speak to people on my own.
Learning a language is a skill. If you keep at it without giving up, you will get good results.
I would like to continue reading aloud to improve my English even more. I hope this article will be of some help to you in learning English.
Thank you for reading.