To speak English like a native speaker, let “Being naked in your mind”.
This is one of the biggest lessons I learned after being multilingual.
One more language you can speak, ten more opportunities you can have in life.
This is what my dad taught me when I was a kid and encouraged me to be trilingual who can speak Vietnamese, English, and Chinese.
And in my country, most people believe that the ability to speak more than a language can be known as a talent.
Because it is around 40% of the population can speak only their mother language, while 43% can speak 2 languages; just only 13% can speak up to 3 languages.
Totally, it up to 96% of the world population who know less than 3 languages.
But globalization leads to a reality that the more languages a person can know, it will easier for this person to work in the global environment and have more chances to be successful.
But do you really need to have the talent to learn a new language and create more opportunities to be successful for yourself?
The answer is “NO”
You don’t need to have the talent to learn a new language.
What you really need is the right way to approach the language you want to learn.
And the following parts will include the strategies that I did to master my language skills in Chinese and English to become trilingual in less than 2 years.
1. To speak English like a native speaker, let “Being naked in your mind”.
“If you think you know everything; you know nothing. If you think you know nothing; you know something.” — Laozi
The mindset of knowing everything will kill your curiosity, the most important factor for learning a new language.
And this is what scientists call The Dunning Kruger Effect (DKE).
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills.
So being naked in your mind means that you get your mind like a white new paper, even you already can learn this language for years in school as a compulsory subject, whenever you learn about it.
Because when you keep your mind “being naked”, it makes you feel more curious about everything related to this language, and give the motivation for you to learn and discover all the aspects of this language.
But when you think that you already master of the language itself, what you want is just about teaching others instead of learning and improving your language skill.
This is a big trap that many people fall into when approaching something new (and they know a little bit before but think that they know all), and language is not an exception.
2. To speak English like a native speaker, let “Making the learning process to be your hobby”
If you can make the new language you want to learn to be your hobby, you already win 50% of your learning game.
You shouldn’t feel the language as a subject, it should be your favorite activity instead.
This is a mistake that takes me years to recognize when I first learning English.
In the study of Srini Pillay M.D., he pointed out that
Hobbies bring people pleasure. And when they do, they not only make you feel better, but they improve your physiology too.
I still remember the first time I know about English is when I am in grade 3, and this is a compulsory subject in my school.
And be honest, I don’t like it for years. Because this is what I see as a “subject”. A thing that I need to learn to pass the exam and then will forget everything I learned in this English subject when I move to the next grade.
This is what happens in my mind for years when learning this language in school.
For me, it used to just a “score chart” that I need to have for going to the upper class.
But when I start to think about going abroad to study, I change the way how I think about English.
At that time, it becomes what I want to learn to connect with my international friends and used to discover the diversity of cultures of Melbourne (where I chose to study abroad).
I spent hours daily learning English and search online about the city, cultures, and activities in Melbourne and Australia. All of the activities I did to improve my English comes to me as a hobby to discover, not about the grade anymore.
With this changed mindset, I improved my English rapidly.
And in just 5 months, I make the IELTS test from 4.0 to 7.0, a massive achievement for me when I learned English for 10 years to get that 4.0 in IELTS and just in the next 5 months for the 7.0 in IELTS (no band under 6.5).
And now, when I’m learning Chinese to prepare for the highest test HSK 6 of this language, the same method of swift mindset be applied.
Making your learning process to be your hobby, not your stress of grades.
3. To speak English like a native speaker, let “Make friends with the native speakers”
If you want to be a real native speaker, you need to be in a native environment.
And this is what I applied when I first approach to Chinese.
To do it, I choose to meet and make a lot of conversations with Chinese people in Melbourne, where I live.
This is a great opportunity for me when I live in a city that having a lot of Chinese speakers and studied with many Chinese friends.
The environment where I have emerged in Chinese makes me have a lot of motivation for opportunities to speak with native speakers to improve my tones, pronunciation, and vocabulary.
And if you really want to be good at any language, let start to make more friends with the native speakers who speak this language in your area and you will see how fast your learning process being.
But if you are living in an environment where don’t have the native speakers of the language you want to learn, you still can do it effectively by using the Internet to make friends online or learning from Youtubers who are native speakers.
Or you can,
Or joining the language events in your local area to meet with the people who have the same passion to learn new languages. It will be a great way for you to make real new friends and learn a language with native speakers easily.
Or using the Meetup or Eventbrite, these are 2 great apps that I use in Melbourne to join in hundreds of events in this city. Apart from experiences new things when I meet new people from these social activities, it also a great way that I did to master my English speaking skill to be more native.
Let check it out these apps (or websites) to see how many interesting events that are going on in your city right now that you can participate in to learn something new and improve your language as well.
4. To speak English like a native speaker, let “Writing Blogs and Essays”
Let practice writing in the language you want to learn and make your writing in this language even better than your mother language.
In the beginning, writing a blog or essay in another language is a terrible experience. When you don’t know what you should and shouldn’t do.
And even you are a famous artist who has a lot of great ideas and can easily make long writing stories in your mother language just on the fast track.
When it comes to writing for a new language, it normally impossible and hard to write that much, or even you can’t come up with the idea to write about.
This is what I experience so many times when I try to create a piece of long-form content in Chinese and English before.
But everything takes time to be excellent, and writing in another language is not an exception.
The more time you spend to practice on Writing, the better quality your blogs and essays will be.
The most important thing you need to concern about is just never giving up and make Writing be a new habit for you.
This is how I did, and you can too to make not only your Writing be better but also master your new language.
5. To speak English like a native speaker, let “Making video contents on the language you want to master”.
If you don’t feel enjoy practice your language in the Writing process, you can choose to replace by another way as making vlogs — Where you can easily show your character and speaking skill in the language you want to improve.
You can choose to be a writer or a speaker in your videos, these both will help to increase rapidly your language level.
For me, besides being a writer on Medium, I also choose to improve my English by making my own English Youtube channel that runs parallel with my Vietnamese channel.
Although it is really tough at the beginning to run both at the same time.
However, I really enjoy making these kinds of videos, it becomes my entertainment rather than the work I need to do to improve my language.
And there are so many platforms that you can choose to make your own videos such as Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, Youtube,…
Your videos not only can help you to be more confident and fluent in the language but also can help you to earn a good income if you get fame from it.
I believe that the ability to speak multiple languages can be considered as a talent somehow.
But to speak like a native speaker will need more than having talent, what you really need is to have the right ways to approach the new language. And these are 5 things I did to be multilingual.
1. Being naked in your mind
2. Making the learning process to be your hobby
3. Make friends with the native speakers
4. Writing Blogs and Essays
5. Making video contents on the language you want to master
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