Today at afternoon I was in a coffee-house. While I had been waiting on my coffee with milk I decided to write a note for Italki, which actually had appeared several hours ago. I know that actually the self-writing diary is much better than written on a computer. Why? Because your hands remember all the moves you did to write every single sentence, so you will make less mistakes with time. But I have realized something else, what is much more important.
There is always a problem for learners when they start to speak – they try to express themselves exactly and that’s why they can’t express themselves at all. When I asked my learners to tell about something using simpler sentences and word structures, they couldn’t. Every one of them said: “I want to tell this, but I don’t know how to say it, because I haven’t learnt words which can describe it”. Yes, but if you are speaking with somebody, I guess, you won’t stop talking and keep a silence only because you have forgotten a few words.
I reckon the first thing that every learner
should understand – if you don’t know a word that you want to say, just
substitute the word by another one or a few ones, which can keep the thought
you want to share.
Why this is so important? Because when we have a conversation with a native-speaker or anybody else, we don’t have any translator or vocabulary next to us. So the skill of changing complicated expressions by another ones is very useful and necessary. But how can we train it? The answer has been actually found in the coffee-house.
I just made a task for myself – to write a post from the beginning to the end. There wasn’t any translator, dictionary, computer or internet. In other words, there was nothing that could help me in the translation. I had only the notebook, a pen and my own memory. So I created the conditions for myself, which made me write anyway to get the result. And I have gotten through. When I wanted to write something but I had no idea how, I just changed the expressions keeping the point of a sentence. And the job has been done.
I think it’s a good practical exercise helping
your brain to become prepared to active using of a foreign language in
speaking. Try to write notes, stories, articles, try to chat and type without
using a translator to make your mind work automatically. As an exception there can
be the cases when you can’t describe a situation by another expression, then it
will be a good reason to learn new words.
After such writing practice you will be able to apply this method in speaking. And when you forget something you want to say, you will never stop the conversation because of this tiny negligible problem.
I'm glad to hear it. I'm a teacher, but I'm still learning too. So if there is a lifehack for learning I have found out, there is no reason to keep it only for myself. And if it can help me, I would also be happy if it helps somebody else :)
Joy of discovery!
Excuse me for spoiler: