Do You Talk Too Much?
Have you ever noticed someone “talking” to themselves? What did you think? The words “crazy” or “nuts” probably popped into your mind.
Wait a minute though. Maybe they’re on to something.
I mean, talking to yourself, i.e., speaking practice, can be effective in many different forms when learning English or another foreign language. Mimicking or imitating the speech of others is proven to be highly effective in developing native speaker level fluency in a language. You’ve already proven that to yourself.
How? That’s how you learned your first language (L1) whether it’s English, Spanish, French or some other language. You “mimicked” your Mother, Father, family, friends, teachers and whoever else was around making “talking” noises at you as you formed communicative language skills.
So don’t knock the “crazy” who’s talking to themselves. At least don’t knock it until you’ve tried it for yourself, in English or your new foreign language. Hey, do you remember comedian Groucho Marx? He did it all the time. If it worked for him, it can also work for you.
Conversations with the Id
As you go through your day, in English or your new foreign language, tell yourself what you’re doing at the moment and what you’re going to be doing during the day.
“I’ll have to buy some new safety razors next time I’m in the supermarket. This one’s starting to get dull”, you say aloud to yourself while shaving.
“Which of these shirts, ties, ties, etc. should I wear today? Not this one, I wore it just last week. Maybe this one, but I don’t like this color with these pants. Let’s try another one”, you might say as you are getting dressed.
If you live alone no problem, you can talk aloud all you want without any external consequences except for the dog or cat giving you “that look”. If you don’t live alone however, then first explain to your family or roommates what you’ll be doing, that is talking aloud, to avoid a quiet phone tip to the community mental health emergency via a 911 call while you’re in the shower.
Other Sources for Mimicking
For some other useful sources for mimicking practice, pick out a newscaster or announcer on the radio or TV. Record a segment of their broadcast for a few minutes. Then you have “seed” material you can use during any down time you might have. Movie clips and scenes, TV and radio commercials, soap operas, even local exclamations, expressions and advertising slogans can all help to springboard your fluency at breakneck speeds.
So mimic anyone and everyone you can, and talk aloud to yourself daily for even more speaking practice. Does this sound “crazy”, maybe, but like the Nike commercial says, “just do it”, and you’ll develop English, Spanish, French or other foreign language speaking fluency so fast it’ll surprise even you.
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org