Friday, November 6, 2009

Don't speak or write too early

Don't speak or write too earlyIf you follow the above rules and still make a lot of mistakes when speaking (more than 1 mistake every 3 sentences), you should probably switch to writing for a while.
Consider the following guidelines: First write, then speak. Writing is easier than speaking because:
1) you don't need to have good pronunciation (but you need good spelling),
2) you can write very slowly and nobody will mind,
3) you can use dictionaries, the Web, etc.
So, it's a good idea to practice writing first until you can build correct sentences quickly enough for speaking.

Don't speak until you've learned to pronounce English sounds. You need to be able to pronounce all the English vowels and consonants in a clear way before you speak. If you don't, you will get used to bad pronunciation. Don't say a word if you don't know how to pronounce it. In other words, you need to know the pronunciation of all the words that you use. If you don't, you will be making pronunciation mistakes and teaching yourself bad habits. If you make more than 1 mistake every 3 sentences when writing in the slow and careful way described above, you should probably stop writing for some time and concentrate on reading and listening.

Remember that you should first get lots of English sentences into your head, then build your own sentences. Your main activity should be reading and listening to English — and the reason is that you need good examples to follow before you can build your own sentences. The more sentences your brain absorbs, the more you can express in English. If you don't see/hear enough correct, natural English sentences, you will not know how to say things in English. So you will be inventing your own language. And you will be making mistakes.
"Will I ever be fluent if I speak so slowly and carefully?"Don't worry about fluency. Fluency is easy to achieve by simply talking. If you practice speaking, you will be able to speak faster and faster. In high school, Tom achieved pretty good fluency in a month by talking to his English teacher (a native speaker) about two hours a week. That's only 8 hours of talking.In our opinion, it is much better to be slow and correct than be fluent and make a lot of mistakes. Why? Because if you are slow and correct, you can easily improve your speed and become fluent and correct. But if you are fluent and make a lot of mistakes, it is not so easy to remove your mistakes and become fluent and correct.

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