International venues are the perfect place for you to practise your English & for me to discover mistakes which I can teach my students to avoid.
Today I'm at the European Inline Speedskating Championships in Portugal & the speaker is doing an excellent job of introducing the skaters and cheering them on, giving us the results in a variety of languages, the main one obviously being English.
He speaks it very fluently and comprehensibly but makes mistakes because he sometimes thinks in his own language and uses the wrong collocations. As we were leaving the track, for example, he kindly wished us, "Make a good lunch!" Now MAKE LUNCH means to prepare it whilst he almost certainly meant, "Have a good lunch", because HAVE LUNCH means to enjoy lunch. So it's very important to learn chunks of language to sound as natural as possible.
Chunks can also be longer groups of words which are always used together. When you read, listen to native speakers and watch films, observe the sentences which are used repeatedly together and learn to use them so you sound natural. Chunks are like Lego pieces of different colours, sizes & lengths. You can build them together in various combinations but you will always sound more natural than if you translate.
Take my word for it, use chunks to sound more natural!
I hope these tips were useful for you!
Write some chunks in the comments box below for others to learn.
Your English fluency guide,
Now I'm not asking you to give up your life, as my daughter did, to improve your English...
You have a series of goals in mind in your life: they may seem far-fetched and impossible to reach. Don't let anyone tell you you can't reach your dreams!
I know there are many motivators out there who will tell you you can do anything you want if you just set your mind to it. I know you are sceptical but I have real proof of it in my own family!
I am a teacher and meet many students who progress in their school career and start giving up their passions because school has gradually become too demanding. It is true that school becomes demanding depending on the one you have chosen but it is such a pity to give up your passions - those are the ones that give you joy in life!!
My 18-year-old daughter is no genius, but a hard-working student and athlete who has very high standards for herself. Her life at high school consisted in 6 days of lessons from 8-1pm, a short break for lunch with a regenerating 20 minute power nap before getting to her books for homework & studying from 2.30 - 6pm. Intense sports training from 6.30-8.30 pm and after dinner more studying or up at 5am to finish off studying for a test.
Result: last Friday she took her final oral high school leaving diploma exam, hopped on a plane to Portugal to race with her national team in the European Inline Speedskating Championships and ended up with a GOLD MEDAL becoming European Champion in that particular race.
She is only one example of success when you really believe in something: another top student of mine has always fitted her acting & journalism passions into her intense study timetable, another is a European Karate Champion - I've said it before: where there's a will there's a way.
What does all this have to do with language learning?
CONSTANT REGULAR PRACTICE is THE KEY TO REACHING YOUR GOALS and you should never listen to others who will tell you it's impossible: you aim for it, keep your goal well in front of your eyes and 'go for it'!
I know non-native speakers of English who aimed at honing their accent to a point where I can no longer hear they are not native - they aimed at the near impossible and reached their goal.
So now I'm not asking you to give up your life, as my daughter did, to improve your English, but I am asking you to make a small, constant, regular effort to do a little everyday, always: read a book in English for 15 mins, sing a song, write your shopping list in English, speak to yourself in the car, keep a diary with a few lines on how you spent the day, listen to a podcast you're interested in. Do it everyday and you too will reach your goal and improve your English!
Remember - a little every day!
Write in the comments box below what you did to improve your English today.
Your English fluency guide,
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My name is Susan Brodar, born in London into a multilingual family and brought up bilingual English / Italian.