Stop Translating Word For Word and Start Speaking Fluently
Crack a code on the road to fluency
As much fun as punishing yourself, continually beating yourself up, and guilt-tripping yourself into believing that there is no easy way to fluency; We have news for you. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation of why your brain processes language learning the way it does.
You have probably heard the fantastic, jiggery-pokery tales about polyglots by now.
No, they are not a royally bred caste of Queen Elizabeth's corgis. Polyglots are strange creatures admired and envied by many, who speak several languages masterfully. And while there has been plenty of opinion about needing “natural talent”, the truth of the matter is – polyglots have simply cracked the code by accessing the switch.
The switch in our brains that turns on the correct way of information processes for the language learning to become an easy-breezy, lemon- language-y -squeeze-y.
The Personality Switch Phenomenon
Scientifically proven, personality has a tendency to transform according to the language you speak. A linguist Aneta Pavlenko in her many research efforts has interviewed over a thousand bilinguals, and the results fell into both empowering and shocking pits of mixed psychological waters. Almost all of the surveyed people confessed they felt like a different person when speaking another language than their native one. The cultural implications, the grammar, the syntax, the colloquialisms – all the categories are wired to work a certain way depending on which language we use. So how do we reprogram our brain to learn a new language efficiently?
1. Aligning With a New Persona (No Schizo, Though)
Learning a brand new language is the same as embodying a whole new character. The same way actors prepare for a role to capture the essence of the character they are playing, language enthusiasts ought to dive into their role and become an avatar of some sort. This avatar speaks their desired language. Know thy enemy, if you will. There is no other way to fluency other than understanding the full potential of a language.
How? Try and emerge yourself in a culture of the desired language, imitate an accent of a native speaker, read about the history of the countries where the language is spoken, do a mini-research on the linguistic background and heritage of the target language. In other words, get your head in the right space for a smooth transition to fluency.
2. An Actual Re-Wire
No, we're not asking you to undergo a lobotomy. An actual re-wire refers to a set of strategically designed steps to get yourself where you want to go. It takes discipline, but toil and sweat do not automatically equal discipline. It means tricking your physical body and brain into believing you are a native speaker until they start to think you're a native speaker before you do.
Listen to podcasts in your target language even if you don't understand a word they're saying (yet) and simulate a situation in which you respond by merely replying to yourself a "yes." Yes, it evokes a positive reaction in your brain and sets positive expectations once you get around to learning the gritty stuff, such as grammar.
3. Find comfort in finding similarities rather than focusing on the differences.
We're all not that different, correct? We all hate waiting in line, the latest SNL monologues …
It's a two-way road for learning. Do you think you can't find a similarity between your origin language and your target language? Think again! They do not have to belong in the same language family necessarily. Look up some Youtube videos from the people who can outline the similarities and give you hope. Those who seek shall find.
©Simona Tirdova 2020