Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

To Improve English Fluency: Be a Language Detective

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 @ 08:49 AM

Improve English Fluency To improve English fluency, you need to be a detective. Good detectives are curious. To be a language detective, you need to be curious about two things- the way that you learn (your learning style and habits) and the language that you are learning (English). In this post, we will talk about how you can become a language detective. Keep reading for some ideas and get started with your first assignment!


The Language Detective's Assignment


1. Investigate the Learner (you):


Self awareness is vital to your success in English.  To learn more about yourself you need to think about how, where and with whom you are able to learn.


  • What are your goals? Do you want to speak fluently with professional colleagues and customers at work? Pass the TOEFL or IELTS exam? Negotiate your salary in English?



  • What kind of environment do you need for studying? are you better at studying English in a quiet room or do you prefer to get out and use English at parties, restaurants or events? Do you like to learn by listening to native speakers? Or do you like to try speaking first, then learn from your mistakes?


  • What are your character traits? Are you a perfectionist? Are you easygoing? Do you procrastinate? Are you shy or outgoing?


  • What is your cultural communication style? Is your style direct or indirect? Do you use a lot of nonverbal communication? How does this affect your learning style and preferences?




2. Investigate the Language (English):


  • Look for patterns: While you study and practice English, try to identify any patterns in grammar usage, pronunciation, intonation or vocabulary. This will help you become more fluent and a more independent learner.


  • Don't be afraid to guess: When you learn a new language, the worst thing that you can do is not use a word because you are afraid that it's incorrect. If you are in a conversation and you think that you might have the word but you are not sure, just use it- your English tutor or a native speaker will correct you.


  • Investigate the connection between language and culture: If you are taking private English classes in New York or Boston, you are not just learning the English language. You are also learning American culture. Why is the phrase "time is money" so common in the US? It might be the sense of time urgency that is prevalent in our culture.


  • Learn to live and think in English: To improve your English fluency, you need to speak English with everyone and anyone that you encounter. Make friends with native speakers, attend events and parties where English will be the main language spoken. If you start living your life in English, you will naturally start thinking in English. At that point, you will be on your way to English fluency!


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photo credit Buzzregog

source- "Characteristics of a Good Language Learner"

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