Hi. It’s konkaz (@konkazuk) here.
What you will find in this article are…
How many people are going a long way round to achieve their goals by choosing the learning method that doesn’t involve using your own voice while you want to be able to speak,
and also the idea like…
You cannot develop conversation skill without having the other person to speak to…
will be proved to be wrong!
Hence, if you think the development of your speaking skill is stagnating, or you are looking for more enjoyable way to learn, please keep reading.
Get your voice out!
First of all, having a conversation in English is not like communicating each other by using the power of telepathy with the knowledge you have accumulated in your head…
It looks like there are lots of people blindly spending their time to store up English grammars and vocabularies and they are hoping that such an ability will bloom one day to communicate…?
“No, no, no, I just want to be able to write some sentences in English.”
“I just want to equip myself with perfect grammar!”
“My goal is just to score a great mark to get the certificate for my job hunting…”
If these are the cases, it’s fine…
But if your ultimate goal is to be able to communicate with other people in English, you better realise the fact that inputting (accumulating the knowledge) and outputting (using the knowledge you have acquired) must be carried out at the same time!
This is a crucial matter but the importance of having a good balance of these two are often neglected, because we know how it works with inputting very well and how much you have made a progress with inputting is much more visible than that of outputting. Therefore we tend to put more effort into inputting without realising it.
It is fairly understandable, but…
…if you work less on outputting side of the practice, the progress you make with your speaking skill will be delayed at the end of the day…
Some of you might say… “to be able to output something, you need a good amount of inputting beforehand”, however, you don’t have to wait to output until you have acquired advanced grammar or until you have accumulated a large number of vocabularies!
This is an important point, but is often neglected…
Let’s take electric appliances for example.
Fridge, hoover, microwave… whichever one you purchase, I don’t think you will wait to use them until you have read all the pages of manual and have studied in details with memorising the name of every machinery parts.
Instead, we start using them as soon as we have learnt the minimum necessary information to make them function. We later learn optional small things as opportunities arise…
(Otherwise, we will possibly have to wait for months before we start using them.) w
The same thing can be said of learning to speak in English.
Or anything that involves using some parts of our body, such as driving vehicles, sports,playing instruments, and so forth cannot be achieved by just acquiring its knowledge (inputting).
Even if you feel totally uncomfortable and are not good at doing it in the beginning, without going through the process of outputting you will end up becoming just like an operations manual.
Nobody can speak with appropriate pronunciation or can construct the sentence smoothly from the beginning unless you were a native-born person.
And even they speak with lots of grammatical mistakes when they are little.
Therefore, don’t be too worried and output whichever vocabulary you know for your everyday life little by little, even if you think your pronunciation has got a big influence of Katakana sound…
Seriously, you can start with something very easy and essential such as “I’m hungry!” or “I’m happy!”
If you don’t let the ones you already know out of your mouth, and keep inputting, you will be choked eventually!
What sort of outcome will be expected for knowledge collectors?
OK then, what will happen if you just keep stuffing the knowledge in your brain?
This could be very dangerous and is said to be one of the reasons why we Japanese cannot develop our speaking skill despite we spend hours and hours for studying.
I guess the people who have gone abroad to study might have experienced to see those who courageously plunge into native speaker’s conversation and totally fit themselves in despite their apparently poor English vocabularies.
And meanwhile, we Japanese who have equipped with the basic knowledge of English grammar and some good vocabularies from compulsory education, are unable to join in and instead we are just listening and smiling…(and possibly correcting courageous person’s grammatical mistakes in our head.)
But the fact is that…
“We are already far behind them at this very point!”
(This is actually a massage for my old self, in a way!) w
As I mentioned before,
“acquiring English knowledge”
“using the English knowledge you have acquired”
“two different skills“.
And the reason why I had said earlier that it could be very “dangerous” to just keep storing the knowledge in your brain is because…
if you keep inputting without outputting what you have learnt, your ideal shape which has been created by the repetition of an act of inputting will be well-established in your head, while no progress has been made in reality, and the gap between the “ideal” and the “reality” will become bigger and bigger…
And as a result, the selection of your vocabularies in your head (none of them you have ever used) might prevent you from making timely reaction to the other people’s remarks or simply you’ll become more hesitant to throw yourself into the conversation because you are too worried about making a small mistake which nobody will care at all…
An absolute vicious circle…
And moreover, those untouched stored knowledge will eventually become hard and get stuck in your brain, so you won’t be able to get them out through your mouth.
Therefore, it is reasonable to apply your knowledge (outputting), while it’s still fresh.
Creating an environment for outputting ➡︎ “soliloquy“
“OK, but wait for a minute.
I understood that ”inputting” and “outputting” should be carried out with a good balance but how can I implement “outputting” while there is nobody I can speak to?
I am not studying abroad, and have no English-speaking friends over here!”
Well, you are absolutely right. But let us think a little bit…
When it comes to “conversation” we’ve got this picture of more than one person exchanging their opinions or impression of the topic, I believe…
But haven’t you ever heard a phrase such as “contributing to the conversation” or “ to establish a conversation”?
Conversation is basically an “interactive” affair… that means before it reaches interactive stage, it must start from non-interactive stage where one person is simply giving opinion or saying some kind of greeting words.
So, that means, we can say that…
conversation is only formed at the point where somebody reacts to the other person’s remark,
In a nutshell, “outputting” is always carried out before conversation is getting established.
And moreover, we sometimes catch the scenes where the conversation is seemingly being established but the fact is that there is no interaction going on, and people are just saying whatever they feel like to…
We might find similar situations in an interview of politicians or excited mature ladies’ lunch time conversation.
My wife is certainly making her way to get to this level! w
In conclusion, “outputting” is fundamentally no different from “soliloquy” regardless of people’s reaction to whatever you say.
It is also said that “writing things down” is another form of “outputting”.
This is something I am pointing out in the kindle book I have published, which is the fact that…
“writing” is non-interactive action until somebody actually reads it.
The skill of writing can be developed in proportion to the amount you write… just like people who are involved in online business practice writing repeatedly to master their copywriting skill.
So, why don’t people apply “soliloquy” for their speaking practice which method is practically the same as “writing down your idea” while both are the same “outputting” action?
Well, the reason for this could be pretty obvious…
The action of “speaking” involves the noise / voice, therefore unlike the action of writing, people can hear what you are saying.
There is a fear that people might label you as a “crackpot” at some point…
But anyway, now we know that speaking can be applied for the act of “outputting” without having anybody to speak to!
All you have to do is to create an environment where you can talk to yourself so that people will not suspect that you are a mad person.
Regarding the matter of creating an environment for yourself, I have to say that you already have a great advantage if you are single and live alone.
As I have already said several times, considering the fact of the arrival of individuals’ age along with the globalized society by an innovation of internet and the current position of Japan as a country in the world, we better regard ourselves as “earth-men/women” before regarding as “Japanese”, and spend some proportion of time a day for speaking English as “earth language”to develop our communication skill, because it will be crucially important in the very near future.
Let us have a sense of “earth-men/women speak earth language” in ourselves, and adapt the “custom of soliloquy”to blend in our everyday life…
Thanks for reading and see you next time.