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How to Speak English Fluently: Don’t Translate, Think in English

Being an expert in English grammar does not always mean being a fluent English speaker. Fluency takes more than memorizing the grammar or vocabulary. Mastering English structure and vocabulary would be useless if you can’t deliver them by speaking; After all, learning a language is not only about grammar or vocabulary, you also need to be able to speak the language.

However, are you one of many English learners who are struggling with ‘translating’ your native language to English every time you want to speak? If so, you’re going to have a hard time learning to be fluent in English speaking. Why? Because translating your language word-per-word is a tiring way to speak in English. One way to stop this bad habit is to THINK in English.

So, what does ‘thinking in English’ mean? Well, it only means as it sounds: think EVERYTHING in English. If you’re not familiar with this method or having a hard time as to ‘how to do it’, here are 5 steps that you can do to train your brain to think in English:

  1. Dedicate half of your active hours of the day only for English. Let’s call it: ‘English hours’.

A person is active for around 16 hours (if one generally sleeps for 8 hours). So, your English hours in a day would be 8 hours (you can choose any time of the day).

  1. In your English hours, start by doing a very simple thing: say any objects around you in English.

Saying simple everyday objects in English will help your brain to think in English and make it stay that way. Look at the things around you and start naming them in English. If you’re too shy to say the words out loud, you can lower your voice or even do it in your head.

  1. If you’re done with the second step, the next one would be doing a ‘monologue’.

In this step, you will develop your one-word vocabulary into simple sentences. For an easy example, you can start by saying ‘I need to get up’ when you’re getting up from bed or ‘I want to take a shower’ if you are going to the shower. Again, you can say the sentences out loud or silently in your head. To make things more interesting, you can even makeup conversations in your head or repeat a memorable dialogue form your favorite movie.

  1. Don’t stop at monologues. Challenge yourself and do the actual conversation with other people.

Having dialogues with other people is extremely helpful for practicing your thinking in English since you cannot expect what to reply to next. So, it is great training for your brain.

  1. Lastly, being fluent in speaking English takes a lot of practice and hard work. So, never expect to be fluent in just one day. Keep repeating the steps and never give up your English hours. Happy practicing!

Published at : Updated
Written By
Asih Zunaidah
Language Center Officer | BINUS Malang
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