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#4 How to prevent this single habit from slowing down your language learning progress

 

 

Sometimes, perfectionism comes at a price.

We don't want the next best things. But sometimes, they can be your stepping stone and get you where you want to go, one baby step at a time.

Seriously, to reach your language fluency goal, you gotta start somewhere. 

But you can only do that when you stop censoring yourself and get out and speak, however imperfectly it may be. You can’t let your perfectionism get in the way.

And that's what I'm about to discuss in this episode.

In this episode, you'll going to learn:

  • how being flexible and not insisting on hitting the bull's eye can help you speak more fluently
  • how translating in your head will only slow your speaking process down
  • why your overly logical mind is your number one enemy when it comes to speaking


The secret to fluency is always to speak, even though you know nine times out of ten, you may not be doing a good job. When you open your mind and stop insisting on being 100% accurate, this is usually when your speaking ability will start to demonstrate itself.


If you like this episode, please share it and rate it five star. Not only will it make me happy, it also helps more people get to listen to this episode and transform their language learning.

 

TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:00] So does the following apply to you? When you speak a language, you insist on hitting the bullseye and express what you exactly mean to say. You refuse to say anything until the right words pop up in your head. One of the reason that stops you from speaking is that you always want to say precisely what's on your mind or you want to speak exactly like a native speaker. But in fact, it is a form of perfectionism getting in the way. I'm really sad to say that, but if you don't learn to allow some imperfections in your speech, you may never reach fluency. 

 

[00:00:38] Hi, I'm That Language Guy. I'm a language nerd with over two decades of language learning experience under my belt. I've also been working in a language service industry for nearly 20 years. After my decade long career as a translator and language instructor, I want to create a community of language aficionados like you. That's why I created this podcast, The Language DriveThru, where I provide you with weekly dose of language learning advice in bite-sized chunks. So if you're passionate about language learning, you're in the right place. Now sit tight and get ready for a weekly language learning delight right here in the Language DriveThru. 

 

[00:01:22] Hey there, language nerd. Welcome to the Language DriveThru, I'm That Language Guy. If you haven't already, subscribe to my podcast channel so you can get a fresh dose of language learning advice every Tuesday. 

 

[00:01:37] Now, being able to speak the language fluently and correctly is definitely every language learners's goal. Today, I want to share with you three tips that can help you with that. 

 

[00:01:48] Tip number one is you don't always want to hit the bullseye. If you're not sure the most precise way to say something that is OK, because you have to remember the point right here is to make yourself understood. To do that, you want to try a different way to say the same thing. For example, if you want to say I had a flat tire in French, but you don't know how to say that, you can say my car broke down instead. Or if you want to say she's over the moon, but somehow you can't find exact phrase in your target language because that's not something you have learned. You can simply say she's extremely happy. 

 

[00:02:32] So the point here is when you speak your target language, don't strive for 100 percent accuracy. Strive for, say, 60 percent of accuracy if that's what you got right now. And also, you don't want to censor yourself, just speak up. You don't want to get too carried away with accuracy or precision, because what matters right now is to communicate. If you can get your ideas across, that's mission accomplished. So don't be afraid to sound elementary or silly. Be flexible and creative when you speak your target language. 

 

[00:03:11] All right, so let's move on to tip number two: stop translating in your head. Instead, you want to express how you feel, what you see and what you think. Well, translation is a trade in its own right. It's something professional. So sometimes it's really beyond me why language learners at a very early stage will want to do such a difficult job. So instead of having words and structures of your source language in your head, and then translate them into your target language. Why don't you try to pay attention to those feelings or thoughts inside you and express them in your target language? By doing so, it can also stop your pretty little head from wanting to be 100 percent accurate. What's more, not only is translation tedious, it often fails because you often find that the more precise you want to be when you speak a foreign language, the more likely you confuse people with long and convoluted sentences. So next time, when you feel like speaking something in your target language, just look around and see what you see, smell what you smell and hear what you hear. And after that, you can ask yourself what words or phrases or language structures in my target language that I know that can be used to describe the current situation I'm in. 

 

[00:04:40] And tip number three is let go of your logical mind. So if you are struggling with this, you may love deep thinking and enjoy analyzing things and searching for the words that makes more sense. You tend to make sure that everything is well thought out before you actually say something. Now, it is actually a good personality trait, but when you overdo it, that's another story because that will be the number one barrier to your oral fluency. So I suggest even if you use words that may not make perfect sense or even if the meanings are a little bit off, forgive yourself and say them out loud anyway, you will become more precise as you have more exposure to your target language. And sometimes when you allow yourself to say something that may not be so perfectly versed, it will lead to something more well-structured later on as you move along. 

 

[00:05:38] And there's also one thing that I would like to share with you, if you think you are more on the logical side. And that is: connect more with your emotional self. That way, you can tilt a little bit towards the emotional side and communicate with feelings instead of pure logic, and I think that is going to help you express yourself more fluently without worrying too much about accuracy and precision. 

 

[00:06:08] OK, finally, I want to wrap things up with an analogy. Imagine you're a chef and you want to cook a great meal. But the problem is there are some ingredients missing. So now you got two choices. Choice A, you can go out and get what you need, but that'll take some time. What's more, what if you only got half an hour to do that? So it's not something very practical, right? So in that case, you can try Choice B, where you can check off the ingredients that you have in your refrigerator and then you find recipes you can make out of these ingredients. Of course, I know that's far from your ideal meal, but at least there's something presentable and it is a lot better than having nothing at all. So remember, you don't have to always hit the bullseye when speaking a foreign language. Be flexible. Don't get fixated on saying the exact thing you want to say. I think that can pretty much set you free. 

 

[00:07:10] Now, over to you. When you speak a foreign language, do you refuse to say anything until you get it 100 percent right? Does that tendency stop you from making progress? Share with us in a common down below. So did you like this episode? If you do, rate it and share it so more people can get to listen to it. And don't forget to come on over to my website, thatlanguageguy.com, and subscribe to my email list, where you would get a weekly dose of language learning ideas and occasional heart to heart in your inbox. That's thatlanguageguy.com. And that's it for this episode of the Language DriveThru. I'll catch you next time. 

 

In this episode, you'll going to learn:

  • how being flexible and not insisting on hitting the bull's eye can help you speak more fluently
  • how translating in your head will only slow your speaking process down
  • why your overly logical mind is your number one enemy when it comes to speaking


The secret to fluency is always to speak, even though you know nine times out of ten, you may not be doing a good job. When you open your mind and stop insisting on being 100% accurate, this is usually when your speaking ability will start to demonstrate itself.


If you like this episode, please share it and rate it five star. Not only will it make me happy, it also helps more people get to listen to this episode and transform their language learning.

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