- Arianna Pappone
STILL GETTING STUCK IN YOUR SECOND LANGUAGE? READ THIS!
So, you cannot stop thinking about that conversation you had last week with your coworker: You really wanted to express a concept clearly, but what came out of your mouth was just a series of mumbled nonsense, that was followed by a long pause in which you were trying to recall a word that you could not find. Do not worry, what just happened to you is something extremely common that every language learner has experienced at least once in their lifetime: getting stuck when speaking your second language can be very frustrating, trust me, I know. However, it is really a matter of practice and patience: in a few months, you can easily overcome this obstacle if you know what to do. Luckily, here I am to give you some great tips to speak fluently and confidently.
Read A LOT
One of the most important things to do, in order to be able to elaborate many concepts in your second language, is to internalize its grammatical structure. A great way to achieve this is to read a ton of content: it does not matter whether you read a book, or a magazine, or online content, just make sure you integrate reading into your daily routine. You can start by following many interesting pages on social media in your target language so that anytime you are scrolling down on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter you are reading what pops up in that language. In addition, reading aloud also helps you internalize and practice what you read, so try to do it with anything you like a few times per week.
2. Start a Journal
Writing allows you to elaborate on what you have internalized and put it into practice. That is why, to stop getting stuck when you speak and finally become fluent, it is fundamental for you to do so. Starting a personal journal is a fantastic tool, and it could really be about anything: your personal life, your progress, your plans for the future, and so on. The most important thing is to start formulating the sentences and writing them down so that you will not forget them. The great thing about this exercise is that you have time to elaborate what you have learned without any judgment (making mistakes is part of the process, and even if you don’t recall some words no one is going to read that journal but yourself), and you can also take some time to reflect on your learning journey.
3. Surround yourself with the language
When you constantly hear, read and practice a language, you will start acquiring it. To become fluent, it is therefore crucial not to view a language as something “to study” in class or on books, but rather as a part of your life. Everything you do in your routine, try to do it in that language: switch the settings of your phone, watch videos/movies, and do any other action in your target language, when possible. It is thanks to these things you do by yourself that you can then finally find the words you need when speaking.
Finally, there is only one thing left I want to tell you: do not be self-conscious about all the times you got stuck and you could not find the words in a conversation. Even though it might seem like you are the only one making mistakes, this has happened to pretty much everyone who has learned or has been learning another language, and you should not be ashamed of such a normal and human thing. Keep your head high and follow these tips. You are just a few steps away from nailing every conversation with clarity and confidence.