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By Lann NiziblianPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
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How much do you enjoy sitting in a class or on your laptop staring at English verbs in the simple past tense, simple present tense, simple future tense, present continuous tense, past continuous tense, future continuous tense, present perfect tense, past perfect tense, future perfect tense, present perfect continuous tense, past perfect continuous tense and future perfect continuous tense?

Hello? Anybody?

Babies don’t all of a sudden clear a space between their toys and the nappies for the Essential Guide to English Grammar and blast through a chapter a day every week for 12 weeks. And yet, they still acquire complex language skills even before they can tie shoelaces.

Early language acquisition works something like this: the infant hears words and phrases and repeats. They are rewarded and continue — no grammar between bottle feeds, no semantics & syntax drills before bedtime. Over time, our child acquires thousands of new sounds and puts them together. At this point, we may observe ‘mistakes’ in the child’s speech &, to a non-linguist, it may appear that the child’s speech regresses! For example, the child may have been saying “ I hop on one foot” but is now heard to utter, “The dog has four feets”.

Why is this happening? What’s wrong… they were doing so well!

The young child is learning the rules of plurals but not the associated exceptions to these rules; it is not ‘foots’, it’s ‘feet’. Learning a language without fear of ‘failure’ or embarrassment is very liberating! And this is the crux of the entire process: testing & failing — testing & failing: without fear. As adults, we may feel the fear but with help, we can make it work.

Jesper Aggergaar @unsplash

Fast-forward twenty, thirty, forty years and we are trying to learn a second language. Sure, nobody said it would be easy, but this — this is hard! Grammar, the tenses, the vocabulary, the rules, rules, rules. We strive for perfection (and that word: fluency) & zero mistakes. We beat ourselves up when we get it wrong.

As a language coach, I hear: ‘ I’m no good at languages…’ — ‘I study hard but can’t converse with native speakers…’ — ‘ I’m embarrassed by my accent…

The main blocks to your English becoming fluent this year:

1. A negative attitude towards acquiring a second language

2. Wanting to speak like a native without errors

3. A misconception that an accent makes your spoken English second-rate

Oh, and one more:

3 + 1. How you were taught to learn languages is outdated.

I’m not saying all English language teaching methods are wrong. I am saying that it’s not the best.

Do you find it easy to make time every single day to study grammar and vocabulary from a book or video? Does it spark joy inside you every time you start a lesson? Do you feel exhilarated, challenged, ready for more every week?

If the answer to most of those questions is yes — I’m delighted for you, and I wish you all the best.

If your answers were mostly no — then you & I should have a chat. The way I coach is very different from traditional methods you may have already encountered. When you work with me, we will use Sprint Language Coaching. Similar to High-Intensity Interval Training in sport and fitness we will go hard for a short period and then rest (yes — the intervals are just as important!). Then, more hard work and rest… you get the picture!

It will not be easy. It will be frustrating and confusing at times. But I will be with you all the way and as your coach, I will make sure you get where you want to go, fast.

If you’re ready to do some work and step up your language skills to benefit your whole life — I’m here for you.

Until next time!


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About the Creator

Lann Niziblian

Mid-century modern nightmare


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