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Thinking outside the box
I think that the hardest thing when you are approaching to a new language is thinking outside the box. I mean, l'm Italian and we have a complex grammatical structure with a huge range of words. Many times l'm not able to express myself at 100% .When l come to Dublin last year, it was so hard speaking in English without thinking in Italian, l wanted translating every single word. After two weeks l became more confident, l made a lot of progress this is it true, but it's always weird. What do you think about it?
Apr 30, 2020 8:03 AM
Comments · 7
Hi Laura, it’s not the first time I see or hear someone say they can’t fully express themselves in English. I think what helped me to develop the habit of thinking in a language without translating in my mind to/from my native language, is immersion and exposure to the languages. What I mean by immersion is that I’ve had various opportunities to use those foreign languages in real life situations, like volunteer workcamps, traveling with someone who doesn’t speak my native language, couchsurfing, living and working abroad — when I had to live, work, go to bed and get up speaking English, it had a huge positive impact on the way I perceived English, it just stopped being foreign for me and speaking the language all day long made it easy to think in English straight away. You’ve been immersed in the language too, that’s great, but it takes time to actually stop perceiving a language as strange and become comfortable living your life in it. Another thing, you don’t necessarily have to live in an English-speaking country to become more confident in the language. There are millions of non-native English speakers out there who speak the language very well and who you can learn from. The first time I went to Germany to volunteer in an international workcamp so English was the language we all communicated in, and I remember my attitude to it and my speaking skills improved a great deal though there was no native English speaker in our workcamp.

When I mentioned exposure, I meant surround yourself with English listening, reading, watching, commenting on the content of your interest. It’s so easy to do if you follow someone on social media who talks/writes in English about whatever you’re interested in, be it solo traveling, vegan recipes, bio cosmetics, you name it. The effect will multiply if you not only read, watch or listen to the content but also engage in it by leaving your comment, asking a question, or commenting on on somebody else’s reply.

Hope that helps.
April 30, 2020
Well everything becomes easy after practice
April 30, 2020
One example of the challenges of a new language is the vast amount of accepted forms of expression, colloquialisms, idioms, etc. that you come across when you reach a more advanced level. Two such from this post :

Laura : 'thinking outside the box' applies to developing unconventional and unexpected approaches to a problem. It doesn't really apply in the context of thinking in the language you are trying to learn rather than in your native language.

Alberto : 'I can't stop to think' about something means that you don't have time to think about it. What you mean to say is 'I can't stop [myself] thinking' in my first language.
April 30, 2020
I agree and this is the hardest part of the process. You have to forget about the structure of your mother tongue.
April 30, 2020
That's true because I'm learning English I'm Mexican
And I can't stop to think in my first language (Spanish) when I speak English.
I don't know if I wrote right but well

April 30, 2020
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Language Skills
English, Italian, Spanish
Learning Language
English, Spanish