Hi. It’s konkaz (@konkazuk) here.
With this blog post, I would like you to express your current “situation” and “feelings” in simple English by applying the method of “self-talk”.
Let’s just start with some easy phrases such as “I’m hungry”, “I’m sleepy” and so on which are frequently used in our everyday life.
“Self-talk” in English is slightly different from “Online English courses” or “real English conversation” by its nature.
It is more like self-training for integrating “English” into our everyday life.
Carrying out “self-talk” in English is, so to speak, going through a dry run for actual conversations.
No matter how much knowledge we shove in our head, if we don’t release them from our brain and let them go through our mouth using our very voice, we will never be able to move forward from the phase of “translating Japanese into English in our head”.
Having a conversation in English means you understand what you hear in English, think in English and respond in English. And to be able to do this, it is essential to carry out the training of uttering what comes into your mind.
So, why don’t we try “self-talking” method whose environment is free from the pressure of confronting other people so that you are relaxed enough to speak out some of your simple English phrases you might know.
Even if you have got a good knowledge of English grammar and vocabularies, if you do not have a habit of speaking out whatever enters your mind, then I recommend you to try the method of “self-talk”.
Well, let’s move on.
Overcoming “self-talk” reluctance
Before we start practicing, I would like to ask you something…
“Have you got a habit of talking to yourself in your everyday life?”
(Of course, in Japanese in this case…)
Those who have reached a certain age might utter something short like…
(a typical Japanese [onomatopoeic?] expression which is often used by mature aged people when they try to move their tired body)
“Ahh, mata yattemouta!“
(Oops, I’ve done it again!)
but I don’t think most of us really talk to ourselves, generally.
We would rather want to stay away from those who mutter something to themselves, wouldn’t we?
Normal people?? don’t usually utter their thoughts unless they intend to do so.
It can be just complaints or something you don’t want other people to hear or something embarrassing to reveal, therefore we don’t usually step out of the phase of thinking process.
Learning from chatterboxes!
Now, when it comes to talking to someone, I believe people can be classified into these three categories…
1. Chatter boxes
2. Moderately chatty people
3. Taciturn ones
3. Taciturn ones are often called “thinkers”, and many of them are said to be clumsy with communication.
As for myself, although I’m not a taciturn person, I don’t really look for an opportunity to talk unless it is necessary… so, I guess I’m somewhere between 2. and 3.
I hate to admit the fact, but with regard to the ability to put thoughts into words, the chatter boxes are superior to the other two.
Being good at uttering thoughts is like ”having great reflexes”.
This is a “skill” of being able to convert whatever comes into your mind into your own words instantly.
We sometimes see chatty people winning an argument by bombarding with lots of words even though they seem to be the wrong ones. 💦
They have got “speed” when it comes to talking!
And this will surely affect the development of our speaking skills.
The fact that you are constantly chatting with someone means that you are automatically training your speaking skills at the same time.
The number of times you put your thought into words is crucial!!!
Even though you study abroad, if you are hanging out with other Japanese all the time, the opportunity to speak in English will be lessened, and your English-speaking skills will not get better at all.
On the contrary, those who find non-Japanese boyfriend or girlfriend to go out with will soon develop their speaking skills.
The way to learn to speak English is the same as how you have learnt to speak Japanese!
The same thing can be said for speaking Japanese.
We can find those well-known comedians, who now can talk and react to the others with formidable speed, used to talk with typical “manzai” style (one takes the role of idiotic character, and the other person slag him or her off) which requires the practice of swift reaction repeatedly so that they will be able to proceed their things with fast-flying tempo, in their early stage.
Quantity over quality!
Because they have gone through such an experience, they are able to talk like that!
The number of times you utter words directly affects your speaking skills.
Now, I bring the subject back to the “self-talk”.
If you talk to yourself without realising it, you will be “treated as a fruit cake”, however, if you are to use “self-talk” as a means to develop your speaking skills, nothing could work better than this.
As I have mentioned so many times…
No matter how much knowledge you keep in your head, if you don’t learn the “skills” of turning them into words, your ability to speak will never develop.
So, let’s make use of the method of “self-talk” and start uttering some short phrases for the time being…
Expressing your current situation in English with self-talk
Let’s just start with describing our current situation with a simple structure.
It will be with the form of…
I am + adjective
And for the negative ones…
I am not + adjective
We just add some adverbs such as “still”, “very”, etc. to the sentence depending on the situation.
Example sentences are about some common situations we experience in our everyday life, so please imagine how it’s like when you read them aloud.
🔹 The alarm has gone off in the morning. You have raised your body, but you are not quite awake, yet…
I’m still sleepy.
I’m not awake.
I’m not really awake.
I’m not really awake yet.
I’m not awake at all!
Make sure you utter one of them if you feel sleepy when you wake up in the morning from tomorrow onwards.
The shortened version “I’m” is generally used instead of “I am“, so we will stick to this form here.
By the way, don’t worry if you think your speaking has got a Katakana accent at this stage.
Some people say we should not speak English with Katakana accent, but I totally disagree. Not starting to speak till we have acquired perfect English pronunciation means we are delaying the development of our communication skills. We can improve our pronunciation little by little as we experience and overcome some difficult situations.
We are moving on to the next one…
🔹 You go into the kitchen and the fridge comes into sight. You feel like eating something… so, you go…
I’m so hungry!
On the contrary, if you are not hungry yet…
I’m not hungry.
I’m not very hungry.
I’m not hungry at all.
We can add “yet”, which is like “still” but is used for negative sentences.
I’m not hungry yet.
Mind you, don’t just say them in your mind just because you already know how to construct the sentences!!!
🔹 The item you had placed an order on Amazon has just been delivered…
So, you open the box and check what is inside… and then, it turns out that the item is exactly what you were expecting.
Here, you can say…
If you would like to emphasize your “happy” feeling, you can just add the word “so” before “happy”.
I’m so happy!(“so” with louder voice)
or you could say…
I’m absolutely happy with this!
You can also say…
I’m so glad!
I’m chuffed. [tʃʌft] (British slang expression)
*A piece of advice*
When we write down the word such as “happy” or “glad” as in Katakana (Japanese alphabet used for loanwords), it’s common to include a small “ッ” (tsu) within these words.
Now what this “ッ” (tsu) does in Japanese is… it plays a kind of role of “staccato”, I believe. However, this small “ッ” (tsu) is not really included in English pronunciation.
Therefore, I recommend you to exclude a small “ッ” whenever you are to pronounce the words that include “ッ” in Katakana..
For more information
If the item you have received is not quite what you had expected, then you could say…
I’m not happy with this…
or you can alternatively say like…
I’m not satisfied with this…
🔹 You’ve come home from work and sink your tired body into a sofa… and you can say…
I’m so tired!
I’m really tired!
I’m absolutely exhausted! [ɪɡˈzɔːstɪd]
I’m knackered! [nækə(r)d] (British slang expression)
Say these when you come home tired…
🔹 You ate too much and are now feeling heavy…
I’m so full!
If you want to emphasize the feeling of fullness, you can stretch the word “so” just like…
I’m soooooooo… full!
or you could say like…
I’m absolutely stuffed!
🔹 You are starting early tomorrow, however, you feel no sign of sleepiness at all.
This is completely a contrary situation to the one with alarm going off in the morning that I featured earlier…
I’m not sleepy at all!
I’m not sleepy yet!
I’m totally awake.
You can also place the word “wide” before “awake” just like…
I’m still wide awake!
Well, if you practice saying the phrase aloud 100 times, I guess, you will have fallen asleep before the number reaches 100…
… and you wake up in the morning following day and say “I’m still sleepy”. w
Expressing your present feeling by using a verb “feel”
What we are going to do here is more or less the same as what we have just gone through.
You are going to use one of the ordinary verbs “feel” to express your present feeling instead of using a Be-verb “am“.
While the sentence will sound assertive if you use Be-verb, it might sound less assertive if you use the ordinary verb “feel”, as it will add some emotional element to it.
When you use the verb “feel” in a sentence, I personally consider that an extra sentence “Do you know what I mean?” is hidden within it.
If we say, “That’s just the difference between “telling the fact” and “conveying your feelings“, that’s certainly so, but that’s what it is.
Anyway, let’s have a look at some examples…
🔹 You have become full after having your dinner and now drowsiness has started striking you… You will say…
I feel sleepy.
You can also add “a bit” or “a little bit” before “sleepy” to make it more specific…
I feel a bit sleepy.
🔹If you are not feeling well, then you can say…
I feel a bit sick.
🔹 If you’ve got a sensation of dizziness…
I feel dizzy.
I feel a bit dizzy.
It’s the “dizzy” from Dizzy Miss Lizzy, isn’t it?! ✨
(written by Larry Williams and The Beatles recorded the song in their “Help” album.)
🔹 And if you are feeling good, it will be literally…
I feel good.
(You can practice this with James Brown!)
Now, how about “I feel bad.” ?
Does it simply have an opposite meaning?
Well, this does not mean that you are in a bad mood.
The phrase is often used when you are put in an awkward or uncomfortable situation.
You once promised to do something that others were counting on you, but you had to cancel it because you have fallen ill, unexpectedly.
You were going to treat your guest, but at the end of the day you ended up getting treated by him/her.
Then, you would probably say…
I feel bad.
We keep going on…
🔹 When you have got a sensation of tiredness, you can express it using the word “feel”…
I feel tired.
rather than saying…
There is a subtle difference between “I’m tired.” and “I feel tired.” in nuance.
🔹 When you feel annoyed or are feeling impatient about something, you can say…
I feel a bit irritated for some reason.
(“for some reason” means like… “somehow”)
And if you say…
it will sound a bit more confrontational. w
Umm! Have you been uttering a voice!?
🔹 If you somehow remembered that one of your friends or somebody you know is in a difficult situation, you can say…
I feel sorry for him/her.
Well, I think this is it for this time’s blog post.
From now on, whenever some sort of feelings come to your mind when you are alone, try saying it aloud in English.
*You can read this blog post in Japanese from the link below.
👉 勇気を出して、英語で自分の今の状態や気持ちを声にしてみよう!《英語汁 第11号》