There are countless benefits to learning a new language and even more so when we’re talking about English. Over 1.3 billion people across the globe speak it, making it the most widespread language worldwide.
Being fluent in a language is a broad term that entirely depends on how you define fluency. There are English fluency levels, but for the most part, being fluent means you are able to speak and write with no issue in a given language. People are usually considered fluent if they can speak freely and have a normal conversation on any topic without struggling to remember words or phrases.
Although becoming proficient in any language takes time and practise, there are some vital tips and tricks that can help you speed up the process. Remember, that the key is setting achievable goals for you to follow consistently.
One of the main hurdles on the road to becoming fluent is the fear of making mistakes. Many beginners reach a certain level and stop improving because they’re scared to get out of their comfort zone and test themselves. However, in reality, making mistakes and learning from them is the only way to improve.
Instead of constantly worrying about getting something wrong, just let loose, be confident and accept that everyone occasionally gets it wrong. The important thing is to be able to identify your mistakes and to work on them.
The great thing about English is that it’s everywhere around us, which makes practising much easier compared to other languages! Regardless of what you do for a living or what you enjoy doing in your free time, there’s almost always a way to incorporate it into your everyday life.
You can find an interesting podcast to listen to while you’re going to work or school, you can watch a TV show before bed or you can listen to English songs while you’re cooking. Try out different things, find out what works best and stick to it every day!
If you want to practice your speaking skills then you can always ask a friend to go out and exclusively communicate in English. You can practice with your English tutor or with an English-speaking friend. If you don’t have anyone to do that with, there are plenty of communities you can join online that will help you meet people from across the world and become fluent in no time!
Listen and copy how natives speak
Considering you already have a solid foundation to lean on, surrounding yourself with native speakers can help tremendously. When you’re planning your next holiday trip, consider going somewhere where English is the main language. Simply observing the locals talk will help you figure out the correct pronunciations of many words and also give you an idea of which phrases are most common.
If you can’t afford to go on a trip, then simply put on your favourite British Netflix show or your preferred Youtuber, pay attention to how they speak and try to imitate them.
A great method to keep yourself in check is to regularly test yourself. Studying something is one thing, but repeating it and regularly doing exercises will ensure you can actually put it into practice and become fluent. Luckily, finding resources and official practice exams online is incredibly easy - regardless of your level of proficiency, you can quickly find example tests for any level. If you are a beginner perhaps it will be easier to start attending classes at the nearest English tuition centre. You will be given lots of tests and evaluated objectively.
Another option, especially useful for those with busier schedules is to use mobile apps to help you learn. As well as providing lessons and useful tips, most apps come with exercises you can complete on the go or at home that will help you improve your grammar and vocabulary. Last but not least, most apps let you visibly see the progress you’ve made. If you don't want to study on your own, you can also start taking some English lessons nearby where you’ll be doing writing and speaking exercises every time.
When you spend enough time learning a language, surrounded by people who constantly use it, sooner or later you’ll notice it becoming part of your “inner speech”. More simply put, you’ll start thinking in that language as well. This is typically a sign of becoming fluent and reaching a more advanced level as your brain stops trying to constantly translate words from your native tongue. An English literature tutor would be of great benefit as they will help you learn how to analyze literary works and you will develop your thinking in English.
Although this is much easier when you’re in the right environment, you can also achieve it on your own. The key, as with everything else, is to start small. Start by naming objects and items you see around you in English. As you keep doing this, sooner or later it will turn into a habit. Later on you can start trying to have short monologues in your head. Think about what you’re going to do today or what you’d like to do during the week. Start small and as long as you stay consistent you’ll be fluent in no time.