Normally, if you are asked whether you speak a language or not, you either answer with a ‘’Yes’’ or a ‘’No’’ depending on your subjective assessment of your language abilities. If you only know five phrases in French for example, you can conclude that you speak it.
Another problem that language learners usually encounter is some of their core skills are better than others. A common example is that a lot of language learners are better speakers than listeners.
There are four core language skills:
The first two are receptive skills and the last two are expressive skills. To be “proficient” in a language, one must be skilled in these four areas. I personally think the first group of skills is more challenging to develop but will be very important to you as you progress. This is because when you are speaking/writing, you already understand what you will say/write and you restrict yourself to your range of vocabulary. Listening and reading on the other hand require you to be familiar with the words the speaker/writer employs to understand his/her message.
You can dictate the tempo while reading by pausing to look up words you are not familiar with, but, listening is another kettle of fish. I advise you to engage in active listening as much as possible to improve. The fact that you listen to your native language with ease might detract you from the fact that listening is active. Active listening entails trying to understand the message that the speaker is passing across. It is very uncomfortable at first when your vocabulary is very limited, but, trust me you WILL improve. You will learn new words while listening and it will also motivate you to widen your vocabulary.
Passive listening, on the other hand, is what you when you tune in to a French radio station while doing the dishes for example. The problem with it is that we, as human beings, need to dedicate more attention to skills when we are beginners. When you were still new to driving, I’m sure you found it difficult to answer a phone call/listen to the radio at the same time. After you became perfect, you became able to multi-task with ease.
The same applies to languages. The uncomfortable feelings you have at the beginning indicate that you are learning and that you are out of your comfort zone. You need to move out of your comfort zone to progress faster.
Move out of your comfort zone by learning a foreign language with Laclic Services today. Our experienced tutors will help you achieve your dream of becoming fluent in a foreign language.
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