How do you re-start English conversation (Eikaiwa) from scratch?

G’day mate. How’s it going? Today, I’m going to be discussing the ways in which you re-commence Eikaiwa from scratch. Not many people can enjoy it with confidence. I also feel like my conversation skill sucks, to be honest. This may come from your grammar knowledge, the precision of your pronunciation, basic background knowledge, or probably your personality. How do you solve these problems, by the way? Let’s dig into it, shall we?

First up, “pronunciation”. Pretty much everyone unanimously says “yes of course pronunciation is critical and wanna improve; however, in reality, the importance of refining pronunciation has often been underestimated. I do understand that as long as your listener can understand you, the precision of your pronunciation doesn’t really matter. But nevertheless, I would have to say, some native speakers might have to strain to listen to your conversation, and they might end up misunderstanding things you said against your will. To avoid any escalation of miscomprehension, I highly suggest learning correct pronunciation from scratch.

Next up, “basic grammar”, which has an immense effect on how good your conversation skill is gonna be. Even if your pronunciation is crystal clear, not many people can easily understand you. Grammar is the way in which you construct English sentences. Without the insertion of grammar elements into your English sentences, it’s gonna be quite difficult to get the hang of what you want to say. You don’t have to be perfect in grammar; however, it’s extremely important to master all basic grammar rules so that you could deal with your eikaiwa without having significant struggles. What I highly suggest is to get a grammar text, review chapters you’re not confident, read the basic info and example sentences, and then you try to make a piece of simple English sentences using the rules.

Another angle of what I think it’s important to take into account is “pull out of obsessive rote memorisation from phrase texts”. If you want to be adept at speaking, then you should make every effort to get rid of this habit. Undeniably, rote learning method is the soul of post-WWII Japanese educational regime, and we presumably cannot change unless some kinds of revolutionary things occur, unfortunately. But, please be positive. Memorising things can of course help a lot in some respects. I highly recommend having a gink at phrase books, and trying to write or say a piece of English sentences using your own words. Just copying exactly the same sentences isn’t effective, and this learning style results in learning nothing in terms of practicality.

Then, “shifting from the use of vocabulary books to a dictionary”, which significantly helps boost a range of vocabulary. I do understand you want to use vocabulary books comprising the limited number of words in relation to particular topics for an English exam, for instance. The more extra words, the harder you memorise for an English qualification exam. Nonetheless, daily conversation is so much harder than the exam, simply because it encompasses a wide range of vocabulary, topics as well as information. If you just need to pass the exam, then that’s fine; however, if you wish to be good at daily conversation, then I highly suggest learning a wide range of vocabulary using an English dictionary, not vocabulary books. Learning vocabulary is definitely a life-time thing for everyone, so you don’t need to rush, take time, and enjoy the process of learning.

Last but not least, “talking to yourself” is one of the best methods to boost your confidence in speaking.

I do understand that you really want to jump into a real conversation with a native speaker to improve speaking; however, this might impede the progress of your speaking skill as your confidence level is distracted from, for instance, excessive nervousness, pressure, timing, accent, speed, and so on and so forth. To eliminate all sorts of distractions, I highly suggest implementing internal monologues instead of paying for online eikaiwa with a native speaker. Yes, of course, there are some advantages for doing online eikaiwa, but I think it’s better to do more self-talk until you become confident in speaking without having significant problems with respect to pronunciation, grammar, smoothness, etc. You can enjoy conversation with a native speaker further in the immediate future as you continue to do self-talk as a part of your routine work.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!!

Please take care until my next English blog.

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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