Let’s talk about some moments that can make or break your impression especially the first one.
You have been waiting for this moment!
You are supposed to introduce a new idea/product to your audience. Excitement!!!
You are called by your manager to discuss the appraisals forms.
This is the interview, you’ve been preparing for!
You finally managed to schedule a meeting with that special someone!
You are with a premium potential client you’ve been eyeing on.
It is time to talk about what you have been planning for a long time. You know what you are going to say, you are confident of the facts and figures that you are going to talk about. BUT… your brain freeze of words.
The words simply refused to come out of your throat!!!
You feel like words are choking inside!!!
Have YOU EXPERIENCED this? It feels nerve wrenching!
Yes, you have. Don’t worry… I know how it feels as I have experienced this couple of times.
I am writing this for you to help you overcome the ‘MUTE ENGLISH’ also known as ‘DUMB ENGLISH’. It hasn’t helped you so far, trust me it isn’t going to help in future as well, at all.
Mute English is a term coined to describe a phenomenon where a person can read and understand the English language as a second, third or foreign language but cannot speak it well.
Now you understand what I am talking about. Don’t you?
Next I want to bring your attention to the reason behind this. Why do we get stuck for words or why do we go mute while speaking?
It happens for reasons such as :
• You can’t think of an appropriate word for what you want to say next.
• You experience momentary brain freeze of words and phrases.
• You haven’t been working on your active vocabulary.
• You experience nervousness or anxiety.
• You have a fear of being wrong/fear of being judged/fear of saying something right in a wrong way.
None of these deserve to become a hurdle in your way to success.
Mute English occurs because you have been told to put an emphasis on literacy, grammar, and correctness in language education. What you need to remember is that you are using a language which is not your first language.
So the easiest approach to break the pattern of mute English is to build and practice your active vocabulary.
All of us have two types of vocabulary: passive as well as active.
Active vocabulary: words from the target language that we use actively in the speech producing skills i.e., speaking and writing.
Passive vocabulary: we understand many words as and when we come across them while reading, listening, but we don’t use them while speaking or writing. This results in the loss of retaining that word in our active vocabulary.
You need to bring more and more words in your active vocabulary; frequent use of these words will make you comfortable with the usage and retention of the same in your active list.
Remember: Rome was not built in a day.
Developing active vocabulary will require time and dedication.
* Start adding 6 new words a week (trust me it is practical and possible).
* Learn the words in association (do not just learn the meaning but also the usage)
* Learn new words in relation to the context.
* Start with learning synonyms of most commonly used words.
For example: the word ‘important’ is the one that I use frequently, so I started developing my active vocabulary by learning 6 synonyms of the word “important”.
Important * essential *vital *significant *crucial *influential *necessary
Next, I looked at the usage and purpose of all these words.
• Building the list of active words and practising the same is important to build vocabulary.
• Building the list of active words and practising the same is essential to build vocabulary.
• Building the list of active words and practising the same is influential to build vocabulary.
• Building the list of active words and practising the same is necessary to build vocabulary.
• Building the list of active words and practising the same is crucial to build vocabulary.
• Building the list of active words and practising the same is vital to build vocabulary.
- * Building the list of active words and practising the same is significant to build vocabulary.
(www.thesaurus.com has played an important role in helping me overcome the phenomenon of mute English).
Stages of learning a second, third or foreign language
Stephen Krashen divides the process of second-language acquisition into five stages:
- 1. Pre-production
- 2. Early production
- 3. Speech emergence
- 4. Intermediate fluency
- 5. Advanced fluency
The first stage, pre-production, is also known as the silent period. Here, the learners start with a receptive vocabulary of up to 500 words all basic ones, but they do not yet speak their second language. Surprisingly, not all learners go through a silent period.
Some learners start speaking straight away, with the distorted meanings most of the time, but they are able to recall those few words.
In the second stage, the learners are able to speak in short phrases of one or two words. They can also remember chunks of language, although they may make mistakes when using them. Vocabulary is around 1000 words.
The third stage learners have their vocabulary increased to around 3000 words, and they can communicate using simple questions and phrases with grammatical errors.
Stage four learners have a vocabulary of approximately 6000 words, and can use complicated sentence structures. They are also able to share their thoughts and opinions in the second language, English here.
At the fifth or the final stage, the learners can function at a level close to native speakers.
The overall process of learning and mastering a second or a foreign language is more of a thought process and the development of self-awareness, rather than academic qualifications or certifications.
Be observant of your level of learning and the process to move further is going to help you reach your target.
Remember: Practice Patience Perseverance.
Feel free to get in touch with me for any assistance or guidance to reach your goal of learning and mastering English language.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your query in the comment section. Click here to boost your influence with Leadership Communication. Order your copy of my book ‘Business English and Leadership Communication’ – kindle or paperback