May 26, 2022

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When we talk about learning a language, we mainly focus on four aspects: reading, writing, listening and speaking. But between these four lines, another aspect resides, and it is much more important than you imagine. It’s impossible to gain complete fluency in a language if it isn’t filling up your mind when you are using it.

When you are having a conversation with someone in English, you can’t translate every word they say in your mind and then translate what you are going to reply to before actually replying. And hence, thinking in English directly to speak, read, write, and listen will help you go a long way. Here is how you can do that-

Start off with individual words

Learning to think in a different language than you always have is not something you can do overnight. It’s a process that you must take one step at a time. The first step can be simply naming the objects around you in a single word. Suppose you are working in a kitchen. Try naming every object that you hold in your hand at any point. You don’t have to get them all right; just try your best to fill your head with the words. If you find an object, you don’t know the English word for yet, note it down and learn it later. 

Gaze over words and make sentences

By now, you surely must have a diary or something like that where you collect all the new words you learned. If you’re smart, you must have also divided them into multiple categories and in alphabetical order. Whenever you’re free, go over the words of any category of your choice. Suppose you are looking through adjectives starting with letter D. Now, try making short and simple sentences with those words in your mind. If there are too many words, do five at a time. 

Talk to yourself in English

Everyone talks to themselves when they are alone, and you can make use of that when learning English. You will surely feel hesitant talking to others in English in the beginning, but there is no hesitation when it comes to you with you. Think your thoughts aloud in English. Have a conversation with yourself about something mundane, for example, what you want to make for dinner, or what you want to wear to a particular occasion. 

You can ask yourself questions and then answer them. For example, “what colour is this mug I’m holding?” The answer is red! This will not only train your brain to think in English but also help you practice your pronunciation. It might feel a bit awkward or embarrassing at first, but once you get used to it will all come naturally.

Describe your emotions, your day

To keep the practice up and going, try to describe things in your mind. How is your day going so far? Instead of simply saying “good” or “bad”, try explaining why it’s going good or bad to yourself. If you are feeling a certain way about something, explain it to yourself in English. For example, the way this person is talking is making me angry. Turn this into a habit. All of this is to get your mind used to the language and proactively use it, even subconsciously.

Describe something you don’t know the word for

Your vocabulary is very limited, so when you practice the above points, you are bound to get stuck in places. There is an easy and effective solution for that. If you don’t know the word for it, just explain it to yourself. For example, you don’t know the word “pillow”. 

Then pretend as if you’re playing a game and explain the object to yourself with indirect sentences. “It stays in my bed”, “I put my head on it”, “It is very soft”. Of course, you should later find out what the word for it is using a reverse dictionary. But in the meantime, you can practice like this. 

Keep the grammar in mind

Most of these mentioned ways are all mind training, so you can’t get your grammar checked easily. You might end up practicing the wrong grammar all the way, and it will then become difficult for you to learn the right thing. That’s why you should begin this training only after developing a moderately complete idea of English grammar. After all, knowing how the language works is one of the basics of learning that language. Whenever you’re unsure about something, check it immediately to confirm.

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