Forget about perfection

For learners

Use any chance you’ve got

When talking in a foreign language a lot of people worry about making mistakes. The so called ‘language barrier’ prevents them from even trying, so they intend as hard as possible to avoid such situations.

  • The waiter seems to know your mother tongue, oh, so why even bother speaking theirs.
  • Your children speak better than you, so you just easily let them deal with ordering the food or asking for directions.

What you are actually doing is missing out on those great opportunities to put in practice what you have been studying so hard for,  just because you are scared of putting your foot in it and making a fool of yourself.

Dare to communicate

Be bold and try to get your point across, interact, communicate.

Even at a B2 level learners are allowed to make mistakes as long as those don’t impede understanding. So why are you worried to start a conversation? Go for it!

Invent words

Especially for those learners who know a language with a Latin base. Try it! The word might be similar and on top of that you would sound more formal. It is a win win situation.

Track those mistakes

Obviously don’t overlook mistakes. Take notice of them and try to remember your recurring ones. Keep a record and watch how they disappear over time.

Be practical

Choose what to learn first. It might be interesting to know what is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious but let’s focus first on the difference between chicken and kitchen.

Be open to new meanings

Sorry but English is like that. Book as a noun is quite clear and suddenly you learn there is a verb and it means reserve. Why couldn’t they just use reserve?! Same with make-up,  you are a girly girl and you know what make-up is and suddenly you hear ‘kiss and make up’ and you start to doubt.

Listen carefully

Another thing that might make you uneasy is not so much your own words but what the other person is saying. Listening is a common trouble maker for learners. Due to different accents, speed of pronunciation, linking of words, omission of sounds, etc. Once again don’t be such a perfectionist! You don’t have to understand every single word to get the gist of what your interlocutor is saying. Just pay attention to the so called key words. Those are usually nouns and verbs. Ignore the little words like articles and pronouns. If those were of any importance the other speaker would stress on them.

English is a melodic language. Intonation and stress on certain words is what will help you comprehend other speakers better.

USEFUL VOCABULARY

Put your foot in it – to say something by accident that embarrasses or upsets someone

Make a fool of yourself – to trick someone or make someone appear stupid in some way

Go for it – try it

A win-win situation – guaranteeing a favourable outcome for everyone involved

Take notice of sth – to give something your attention

Keep record –  to preserve certain information so you can refer to it in the future

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