A permanent fight with English language

Hello everybody in the forum.

Why I have a fight with English language? I’ll try to explain it in five minutes (don’t worry, it’s a short essay but I’m writing slowly because I have a lot of thoughts but in English is difficult to communicate.
I’m a Spanish people who start learning French at school. It was an interesting language and when I was 14 I know I spoke it well (Now is other question). When I started at University I understood I have to start learning English because if I didn’t I couldn’t read a lot of technical books, and my future work will be very limited. I’ve started at 18 but the way until now has been difficult. I can read, write, speak, understand communicate but my big problem is that I have to do a big effort for that. When I am with foreign people I need to be very concentrated all time to understand and trying to say my opinion. I know there isn’t any short cut but I’ll be very grateful if some one could advise me about some method to improve my English every day. Thanks.
:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Dear Riccambra,

Many thanks for sharing your learning experiences with us. You want to know how you can practise your English and improve your communication skills. You have certainly noticed that learning something is easy when you like the subject. For example, if you have a hobby, chances are you have collected a lot of information about it. Why is that? Simply because you enjoyed reading articles related to the subject, talking about it with other people and watching TV programmes on it. Now, when it comes to improving your English, there was one important thing - a method if you will: Find a subject you are interested in. You said you read a lot of technical documentation in English. So, you are interested in a specific subject. Try to find as many English language resources that are related to your favourite topic. Read a short article every day. Take notes. Write down new words and phrases you come across. Or even better: Start your own blog (an electronic diary). Blogging has a many advantages over traditional media. For example you can incorporate your own glossary into your blog. You can keep track of your activities and monitor your learning progress. You can share your thoughts with other people and receive input from them. At any rate you will stop fighting with or against the English language. On the contrary. You will start using the English language as a tool to achieve your goals.
What do you think?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: An operating room[YSaerTTEW443543]

Dear Torsten,

Thank you very much for your answer. Your advice sound well. I’ll try it.
And about Blog, How can I get it? It’s a very interesting idea but now I don’t know how implement it.


[color=blue]A little tip which has worked wonders for me.

Buy a digital diary(casio), these are very cheap and can be of great help. Start by inserting words that are difficult for you to remember, read as much as you can, especially things that you are interested in, so, when you come across a word you do not know, look it up in a dictionary and immediately put it into the diary. Pencil in every sentence you do not understand and discuss it here in this forum and again storage it in your computer. Finally check all the input as often as you can, you will see the results in no time.

[size=150][color=blue]Keep us posted how it goes…[/size]

Hi rich7,
Thanks for your advice. I have to buy the digital diary. That is important because sometimes I’ve tried to write down words and expressions in a notebook but it doesn’t work because I couldn’t go all day with it.
I’ll keep you informed.

[color=blue]I forgot to point out that with this kind of diary you can even use it as translator, how? well first off, when you input a word in the “MEMO” section you can write the translation in the subtext section of the memo database, so this way it will allow you to find this word even if you do not remember its spelling just by using the subtext search with the translation, which should be easier to remember.

I think it is a big mistake to keep translating things back into your mother tongue. Read as much as you can in English, watch as much TV as you can in English, even if it is ‘trash’ as you will be able to understand it without translating everything back into Spanish. (Which is the reason why it makes you so tired). Sure, use a note book if you want to for new words but write explanations of those new words in English, not Spanish. Develop an English brain that can function without having to scurry back and forth to your Spanish brain all the time.
Good luck

Jeremy has made an excellent point here. Translating words back and forth usually slows down the learning process rather than accelerating it. After all when you learn a new language you don’t need to translate anything into your mother tongue because you already know the concept and meaning of all the words you are learning. For example, you understand the concept of friendship. Now, if you learn a new language you don’t have to learn the concept of friendship again. All you have to do is get used to the fact that from now on the idea of friendship can have several names (words). A word is a label for an idea. When you change the label the idea still stays the same. So why complicate your learning by translating?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Pushing a car[YSaerTTEW443543]

[color=blue]I know for a fact that translating it is not the correct way to learn a foreign language, but in the case of storing words you do not know yet in a diary as mentioned before, it is almost mandatory to find a way to search for a word you do not remember, and it is the easiest way since it is your mother tongue the word is stored so you should be able to recall it.

Richard, it’s probably good to try out different learning techniques and writing down the translation of a new word is one of them. In addition to the translation you can also write a short definition of the word in English along with some sample sentences that illustrate how the word is used properly. At some point you might find that you don’t need to translate any words into your mother tongue any longer because your vocabulary is sufficient enough to learn a new word by reading the definition of it. For example, if you read a text and there is a new word - let’s say that word is sophisticated. Now, you could look that word up in a bilingual dictionary. That means, you would read a Spanish definition of the English word sophisticated. You could as well read an English definition of the English word sophisticated. That way you could kill two birds with one stone: You could learn a new word and practise your English. When you create your diary as you mentioned you can also write word definitions in English. Then, when you look for a word which you don’t remember you can use English words you do remember. You you don’t have to change your system of storing words. Simply change the language you use.
Let me know what you think.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Fueling your vehicle[YSaerTTEW443543]

[color=blue]That’s what I do most of the time, although, there comes a time when a complicated, strange word pops up in a certain situation, that the definition is hard to grasp or has no synonyms to store into the diary, so I came up with the idea of inserting a spanish word in the subtext to make the searching easier.

The main point here is just to make the process of the search less painful and faster.