How I learnt
Since I moved to England I have started to speak English 24 hours a day, the only exception being when I contact my parents, sisters and on Instagram with you all. There are also times (0.01% of the time) when I am tired and angry and I find myself reverting to French but thats another story lol ;-). Even then, English often takes over. Something that I have come to realise recently is that during my conversations I often mix English and French in discussions I'm having with my family or at the bank etc. A muddle in my brain both embarrassing and funny. A lot of you have asked me if I have family in England or how did I learn to speak fluent English. I will therefore take advantage of this article in order to share the answers with you. You will see that learning English is contrary to what most people believe. It is relatively simple and accessible because of four major points which I will discuss. A story, my story, that I am about to share with you has advice attached to it that you can apply to all the languages that you want to learn and I hope it will benefit you إن شاء الله
When I was younger it was often difficult to learn English with only having access to the language in school and private lessons (which were not very accessible due to location, time, finance etc).
Nowadays this is totally different. The additional private lessons with a teacher have become much more accessible and the emergence of the internet has opened up the doors of an infinite knowledge which is also free to access most of the times.
For my part I had my first experience with English, like everyone else, in school.
So I do not have English origins or a British family. The language courses provided by the school often amount to a few hours a week. Hours that are not enough to speak fluently.
I have always been attracted by the English language, by British and American culture.
Part of their identities is music. At the time I was listening to a lot of English music (pop, rock, old school rap, hip-hop) during my college-early high school years. I appreciated beyond the rhythm their ways of pronouncing the words, their speeches and their eloquence. It was at a time of my life where I had a superficial practice which was not pushed. I was not really questioning myself about my religious responsibilities or what I was doing. I was merely praying, doing good and doing Ramadan that's it.
Having reflected upon this now I know that there were other ways more inline with our perfect religion that could've helped me like reading books, as the only purpose was to be exposed to vocabulary and the spoken language.
I enjoyed listening to the different vocabulary at use to try and understand every song by myself by checking the lyrics on the internet.
If I did not understand a word, I would look for it in the dictionary (not on the internet) and then I would note it in a small notebook that I had devoted to new vocabulary in English. This allowed me to keep the new words in mind so that they could be reused later on during a conversation, for example.
I had this CURIOSITY that nourished my thirst for knowledge,
allowed me to acquire many new words, develop my own abilities and my level in English.
I was doing the same thing with TV shows. I noted down and listened to the words I didn't know to make it common to my ear and memory. I link a word to its translation and I noted it.It was one of my favorite pastimes because I have never been a fan of going out in the evening.I started watching VF (French dubbing) and then I was watching VOSF (orignal dubbing with french subtitles) and little by little I realized that I no longer read the subtitles. So I went on to VO (original dubbing in English). When I did not understand the spoken accent (I had a lot of trouble with the Scottish accent for example) I allowed myself to put the subtitles in English.
In the meantime I switched to books in English, something you can do from the start (even when you start from nothing) and that will be much more beneficial (even Islamicly) and effective than music. Use the same technique, for each unknown word, search for the translation in the dictionary and write it down.You should read a book that you like (even a book that you have already read in French), will allow you to appreciate the moment a little more in a different language. You can also start with simple books made for children for example where the vocabulary is not yet very elaborate and therefore accessible to all.After that I really became aware of two things.
The first is the importance of PRACTICE.
This is one of the great points that I have raised during my young experience with English which is one of the keys to all learning, a constant practice.It's simple: a word you use, will be part of your vocabulary and a word that you write on a piece of paper but that you forsake, will eventually be forgotten and will not even be beneficial anymore.
The second is that you need to know how your memory works. There are several types of memory. Some people have a visual, auditory or motor memory. It is important to identify yours to use it in the best way.
Moreover, the practice of PERSEVERANCE on a regular basis
will allow you to unlock a mechanism of which I myself became aware of the use of the vocabulary you acquired in English.
Our brain is used to speaking in French, so it has a French mechanism. If you do not get used to it, despite all the vocabulary you have, you will not speak fluently because you will not have the habit of construction and expression in English. It will therefore be difficult to find the moments at the given moment because it will not be an automatism. In the sense that the formation of a sentence in French and English is not the same.
It is therefore necessary to be PATIENT with oneself.
The more you practice the more you unblock this mechanism exclusively French in binary mechanism: French AND English.
Subsequently and through a friend I had the chance to be put in touch with three correspondents one in New York City, another in Los Angeles and the last one here in England who became with the Years (now more than 8 years) of very dear friends. Everyday we were chatting on Facebook, Skype and now Facetime. This allowed me to practice, not lose my level and on the contrary correct my mistakes and thus improve myself.
By discussing with them, I never used translation software or the dictionary, even to make mistakes
Do not be afraid to make mistakes, this is one of the steps to accept to better progress and improvement.
It was a way for me to target my mistakes to correct them but also train my brain to find the word I needed, alone. When I did not know a word, I was looking for another way to express it with words that I knew.
Gradually, with practice and putting your brain in a position, you will see that it will have a lot more to help you find what you need.This will eventually become "natural" and once this stage is reached, you will speak fluently.
You will say that this is laborious and long but learning has no secret and is not accessible in a snap!
One must be curious, be patient, practice and persevere.
It is, moreover, one of the precepts of our fair and balance religion; life only smiles upon those who work, persevere and stay patience. The religion also asks us to ask Allah to help us but work to reach our goal.
Allah gives the baraka to those who struggle to succeed in the best way, not to those who ask and do nothing.
It is up to you to choose the right attitude to have as your present actions will have consequences for your future.