“Silent and listen are spelled with the same letters.”
In the previous episode, I told you the reasons why I make these videos and now I’m telling you how they work. First, let me tell you a brutally honest fact about me: I’ve been learning English for roughly 20 years now (on and off) and I still have no clue about the English phonetic alphabet.
I know it’s a shame but I’ve never learnt pronunciation from books.
WHY? Because I think, it is not possible. And as you can hear, my pronunciation is not that horrible (especially when you take into consideration all my handicaps as well… I mean just look at me, I’m the biggest motivation EVER because you are probably saying now: “Ooh My God, if this guy can speak English then I can definitely do this too…) 😀
So never give up!
What you should do instead is, In a word: LISTEN.
Or in two words: Listen carefully.
Listen and learn until you reach a certain confidence level when you ‘dare to speak’.
ooh, wait! This is the name of my website – What a coincidence! Anyway… After this, it will come naturally. You will be able to distinguish your native box from your English box.
Think about it: When you speak in your native language then you are in your native box. So, If you want to speak in English you should definitely be in your English box!
It takes time and effort. Every single day. Yes, that means even on Sundays…
Bear with me and I’ll guide your way to become an excellent listener and later, a confident speaker.
What do I mean under the term LISTENING and HOW should you listen?
When I say listen to what you hear, I mean the art of listening, the conscious listening. I am talking about deep understanding and awareness, which is extremely difficult and we’ve all forgotten this in the age of information. It’s pretty ironic, isn’t it?
You have to be IN THE PRESENT, here and NOW.
It cannot be given to you by somebody, I cannot give it to you.
You have to discover it, and you have to learn it. I know it sounds like some spiritual nonsense but it’s not and it works.
I can see this among my students during exam preparation. When we do the listening task, often they are simply ’not there’, and that is why they make mistakes.
Active listening is difficult and exhausting, so you need to practise.
And this is the reason why I don’t speak slowly… Your main job here is to pay attention.
What should you listen?
Listen to my flow; listen to the phrases and sentences I use. Look for patterns in grammatical structures.
Try distinguishing lonely words from phrasal verbs, idioms and collocations.
(Just out of curiosity: How many did you recognise in the first two episodes? Because there were dozens! )
Listen and read at the same time to boost your pronunciation.
When you listen, try to BE in your English box. Try not to translate every word but UNDERSTAND what I say. IN ENGLISH.
When you practise skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking), stop trying to be a dictionary.
I hope this makes sense.
So, to sum up:
1.) Listen carefully
2.) Learn (a lot…)
3.) Recognise the patterns
4.) Use the patterns
As soon as you reach this higher level of understanding, you will need a speaking partner who can correct your mistakes and can help you to eliminate bad habits from your speech.
And this is where I come into view…
Next time I’ll start off my Dare to speak series with the Pilot episode!
In the meantime, stay tuned, stay hungry and Dare to speak!