Do you know what you are doing wrong learning English?
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Now, let me tell you the 6 ways different that you can FAIL learning English.
So, the first one is that you translate.
The second one is that you are afraid of making mistakes.
The third one is that you do not look for opportunities to actually use your English.
The fourth one is that if you actually do look for these opportunities,
it's only with natives.
The fifth one, of course, is that you do not ask for help.
And the sixth one is that when you get a bunch of advice, you don't actually follow it.
Alright, so we're all guilty of doing at least a couple of these, and I'm going to be going
into more depth about each one of them, exactly why you are failing at learning English if
you do this.
And, even if you are making some of these mistakes that I hope it will motivate you
to correct them, alright?
So, let's take a little closer look at how you might be failing if you're doing each of these things.
Google Translate is your best friend.
It’s fast. It’s easy.
You hear something you don’t understand in English, you pop the word or sentence in,
and get the equivalent in your native language.
When you see a new word, you never (or rarely) look it up in an English dictionary, on Google Images,
Why go through all that searching and reading, right?
Now that’s not to say you can never use a translator, for example when you only have
a word in your native language and not in English - that can be an appropriate time to
But if you rely on translate everytime you don’t understand, fluency will be nearly
impossible for you.
You know it would help you to watch TV series with subtitles in English, or without subtitles.
But you are so scared of not understanding, or simply just lazy, that you watch TV shows
or movies with subtitles in your native language… or worse, the dubbed version.
You postpone improving your skills for the short term pleasure of entertainment.
You listen to hours of songs in English, but make no effort to understand the lyrics.
You filter English through your native language, causing you to say things in a foreign-sounding,
rather than natural, way, you don’t make efforts to train your brain to think in English.
You learn individual words instead of collocations - the ways it is actually said.
You make the excuse that you don’t live in an English-speaking country, and never
proactively record yourself or force yourself to think in English.
So that first thing once again is that when you see a new word in English, you translate
it to your native language instead of trying to learn how to actually think in English.
We're all guilty of this, right?
You're feeling a bit lazy, so you see a new word in English, and instead of looking it
up in a dictionary, for example, and seeing the definition in English, you just want to
quickly see, "would I say this in my own language?".
But, this doesn't always work, because a lot of times a word will have a subtly different
meaning in English than it does when you just translate it to the equivalent in your language.
Plus, when you do this, you're really just telling your mind that
'this word' = 'this word' in my language, and so, for example,
when you get into a conversation, you're going
to be trying to think of that word, and you first have to go back and think, "ok, how
would I say it in my language?".
And then, you know, it kind of interrupts the fluidity of your conversation with another person.
So, if you want to be fluent in English, this is definitely a way that you're going to fail
at getting there.
You are a perfectionist.
You can’t speak because you will make mistakes.
You think if you make a mistake, people will laugh at you.
So you have to study English more and more, and then, someday, you will be able to speak.
Maybe once you go live in an English-speaking country, then you will be able to speak, because
natives will correct all your mistakes.
Making mistakes is your biggest fear, so you apologize preemptively,
“Sorry for my poor English.”
You don’t realize that natives really don’t care if you make mistakes, as long as they
can understand you.
Number 3 is that you don't look for opportunities to actually use your English.
And, maybe if you have not committed the first two, then you actually have really, pretty
You know the grammar rules, you can actually put together your sentences pretty well, you
can write really well, you can read and understand everything, but you are not actually being
proactive about finding the opportunities to take everything that you have in your head,
and actually start speaking.
You want to speak perfect, like a native.
So you focus on every tiny grammatical rule instead of on communication.
Natives don’t do this - we break the rules.
We make mistakes all the time.
You say you want to be fluent in English.
But you let not knowing the grammar well enough be your excuse not to open your mouth.
You probably realize that if fluency is your goal you need to speak English every day.
But all the time that you know that you should be going to a language exchange or connecting
with someone on Skype, you instead use to study the conjugations once again, scrutinizing
the details to make sure you understand the rules perfectly, because it’s more convenient,
and within your comfort zone.
Number 4 is that you only want to speak with natives, and you're missing out on really
a huge opportunity to take the third mistake that you are not actually looking for the
opportunities, and start looking for those opportunities in a way that's going to be
a lot more comfortable and help you to gain a lot of confidence in your abilities to communicate
You look for natives who will speak with you and correct your mistakes for free, without
considering what is in it for them.
Trust me that even if you can make native friends, it is unlikely that they will correct
you all the time.
You believe the language belongs to natives, and they are the only ones that speak the
“real” language, and you ignore the truth, that of the 1.5 billion English speakers in
the world, there are 2 to 4 times more non-native learners than native English speakers.
But you are not proactive about finding ways to practice with learners like yourself.
You think speaking to other learners will make your English worse, so you just don’t
speak at all.
You ignore that language consists of both input and output.
You overvalue the output, but disregard the intrinsic value of speaking (with anyone)
as long as you are getting a lot of good native input.
As well as the added value available to you to discover other cultures.
As Galileo once said,
Number 5 - You think that you can do it all on your own.
You don't need to ask anyone for help.
You think paying for a teacher is a waste of money.
There are so many free lessons on YouTube and other websites.
Or you say it is too expensive, but somehow you still have money for things you don’t
need like nights out at the bar, video games, sweets, or the newest tech gadget.
You say you want to be fluent in English, but you don’t make it a priority.
You’re not willing to invest in your fluency.
Or maybe you believe that a teacher is only worthwhile if he or she is a native.
You ignore the benefit that someone can offer you who has already been through the struggle
of learning English from your same native tongue.
Or maybe you have fooled yourself into thinking that your English is better than it actually is.
And you don’t need help from someone who has more experience than you.
You have not recultivated your child-like curiosity, and are ignorant to how little
you actually know.
Number 6 -
Now, I know that if you're watching you're at least a little guilty of this one
You watch hours of videos on YouTube, but you don't actually put it to use, developing
the habits that are ultimately going to make you successful.
Now, don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled that you are here watching this video, and it can
be super useful to be watching different videos on YouTube.
But, if you are not actually following the advice, being really proactive about taking
everything that you are learning, and injecting it into the use of the language, then really,
you're just wasting your time.
And, a lot of times, it can be a lot easier to do this than to actually take the action
to do the steps that we know that are going to ultimately lead us to big results.
But, of course, that's the actual hard part.
You look for the easy way to learn.
You click on the videos that tell you it has a secret to “learn fast” or “learn easy”,
not recognizing all the hard work required to be successful
You ignore the reality that there are no shortcuts.
Learning a language takes time and investment no matter what.
If you avoid the hard work required, you will never be successful.
Now you’ve watched this video almost all the way to the end.
But when is the last time you actually followed the advice from a video you watched?
Can you remember exactly what it was?
Do you continue doing it?
Did you build a habit out of it?
Will you take the mistakes I’ve pointed out today, that you know you are making, and correct them?
Well, the great thing is that if you have been committing these errors, then
you can become aware of them, you can correct them.
And, I know I've been talking mostly about the mistakes that learners make in this video,
but, really, within there, you also have the solutions that you need to ultimately be able
to become a successful English learner.
Already, by stopping doing the bad things is a really great first start.
And, I would love to make more videos like this, so let me know what you thought down
in the comments below - it would be really great to make a video actually talking more
about what are the things that you can do to become really successful.
And, I hope you won't just listen to the advice, but you'll actually put it to use.
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