Live: How to become fluent in English | Techniques, Strategies and Hacks
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Live: How to become fluent in English | Techniques, Strategies and Hacks


Today we are going to talk about how
to become fluent in American English. You asked for this topic and I think
it’s related to everything that I teach. Of course, I usually teach
American pronunciation, but
I definitely think that, you know, being fluent
increases your confidence, your performance, and your
ability to communicate. And I think it’s definitely related to
what we discussed when we talked about American pronunciation
because it, you know, both of them are essential for, um, obtaining your goals, or reaching your goals when it comes
to speaking English clearly and confidently. Hi everyone. So I’m getting all these
highs from New York and Chile and um, and I have a lot of people here.
Hi. Hi. Hi. Good to see you. So I’m so happy that we finally started
cause I had all these tech issues right before we started. So I’m very
excited about today’s lesson. So as you can see, I prepared and I wrote down everything
that I think and know about English fluency, how to become fluent in
American English in any language. But today we’re going to specifically
talk about American English. Now here’s a thing. This video is aimed for those of you who
are not immersed in an English speaking society. So, let’s say, you don’t
live in the US or UK or Australia, or you do live in those
places, but you just, you live in a community that
is speaking your native tongue, and that therefore you don’t have a lot
of opportunities to actually practice English. Or it’s aimed for those of you who do
live in an English speaking country, but they are lacking the confidence to
speak and to practice on a daily basis. So maybe you guys are,
would rather not speak, not talk to anyone. And of
course, you know when you do that, there is no progress, and it’s
really, really hard to advance. Okay, so again, this is not
a pronunciation class. This is how to become
fluent in American English. And next week we are going to
talk about American intonation. So, why is it so difficult to become
fluent in American English? So, first of all, it’s because maybe, maybe because you don’t
have opportunities to speak, maybe people around you don’t speak
English. And here’s the thing, you have to understand that there is a
huge difference between passive English and active English. The
way we perceive English, the way we learn English or, you know,
a lot of students tell me, “Look, I read English all the
time, I watch movies, I watch movies with no
subtitles.” You know what, all of these things are not going to
help you become fluent because it’s still passive English. What it does, it helps you
understand English better. But I bet that all of you understand
English a lot better than you speak. I bet that when you have to write
an email or communicate via text, it’s a lot easier for you than to speak
out your thoughts and to do it clearly and fluently. Right, without
pausing or getting stuck. And then when you get stuck it’s like
a snowball, because you start speaking, you get stuck and then you start
thinking, “Oh my God, I got stuck. What am I going to do?” And then, obviously,
from there on, you know, you go downhill because the
words are not available anymore. It’s really hard to concentrate cause
you’re thinking about, you know, observing yourself and
criticizing yourself. And when you’re busy criticizing yourself, there is nothing creative
happening up here. So you can’t even create a new sentence. Okay? So it’s all connected. And this is why pronunciation is
connected because when you mispronounce something or you don’t, you’re not clear. And then obviously that affects
your confidence as well. And that affects your
fluency and flow. So, understand that in order to improve, you have to change the way you approach
English from consuming it passively to starting being a lot more active about it. And I’m going to give you the exact
tactics and practices today. Okay? So understanding that, uh, what we’re going to do is we’re
going to talk about the tactics, the actual exercises that you
need to do daily. I have, I think, five different exercises that you can do. And then we’re going to
talk about the strategy, how you approach your English training, or how you approach your, uh, achieving your goals and
the, you know, what the, the strategies that I’m going to give you, I’ve taken from equivalent
high performance methods, techniques and um, and
productivity methods. Okay. Cause I think it’s pretty much the same
cause you want to achieve something so you have to follow something that actually
works and make you better at what you do. Okay. So, let’s begin with tactics, the actual exercises and practices that
you can do on a daily basis to turn your passive English into
active, or your practice, your passive practice
into active practice, and also help you improve i enhance your
vocabulary and definitely your fluency. Okay. So, uh, first of all, you have to remember that
listening is not enough. You have to be speaking it all the time. So if you don’t have
opportunities to speak, of course, speaking with native speakers
is the best practice there is. But if you don’t have this ability
to practice with native speakers, to practice with
non-native speakers, right? Just to practice speaking English.
Remember that if you have partners, spouses, kids, parents, friends that
want to practice their English as well, speak to them in English.
It’s not about their uh, feedback or it’s not about
someone correcting you. It’s about the act of speaking out
loud, of searching for the words. So, let’s say, you’re having conversation
with a friend and you get stuck, and you search for the
word, you’re looking for it. Maybe you can’t find it in a given
moment, but then later on you remember it. The next time you’ll have to use it, whether it’s a job interview or a
conversation with someone more important, or even a conversation with yourself,
the word is going to be available. So, don’t underestimate the importance of
practicing even with non-native speakers. So of course, speaking as
much as possible. All right? Even with non-native speakers. When
you don’t have this ability, and again, we are talking here about
consistent daily practice, then what you could do is
first of all, read out loud. Okay? So take a paragraph. It
doesn’t have to be a long paragraph. You don’t need to read now
the entire book or article. But take a paragraph from a book
that you read, a news article, um, a bio of someone that you
really like, you know. Uh, you know, you read something about something
that interests you on Wikipedia. Okay. And just read for five minutes
out loud. Why out loud? Because in order to, to
get ownership over English, you have to see it, hear it, okay, and feel it. Feel it in your mouth. Okay. So just reading it is not enough.
So read out loud. That’s one thing. Another thing. How do you
improve your day-to-day, um, ability to think in English? So you have to practice
consciously thinking in English. What does that mean? It means that if you’re in your car
or at home waiting for a bus or train, and you have time to spend, then just force yourself to, to trans… not translate, but just think about what
you’re seeing around you, about what you need to do in English. “Now I need to wait for the bus.” This is, this is me speaking out your thoughts,
right? So, first of all, just think it, if that’s too complicated, just, you know, look at whatever’s around
you and then, you know, think about it in English. It’s going
to, it’s not going to be as elaborate as, as expansive in terms of like, you
know, it’s not going to be very uh, um, complex. All right? It’s not going
to be a complex thought and that’s okay. But think in English. Force yourself to reduce your thought
and just speak in the words that you’re familiar with. If your English is
better and you can, you know, uh, comprise long sentences than do it. If
you’re alone, and that’s the second step, speak your thoughts out loud. So
speak, speak as much as you can, even if it’s just speaking
to yourself. So, for example, speak out your, um,
stream of consciousness. “Now I have to go buy some milk.
Then I’m going to go to my, um, my friend’s house and pick up the
dog because I need to walk him, I promised I would walk him.” Okay,
so just speak out your thoughts, even if it’s not perfect. You’re
alone, you can make a mistake. The interesting parts are the
places where you get stuck. Okay? Cause then you know what’s missing. And
then because you’re not in conversation, you don’t owe anyone anything,
especially not their time. So you can just allow yourself to take
the time, think about it and just, you know, repeat it. Again, repetition is extremely important when
practicing something because you train your muscles, you train your brain, and you start to get more
comfortable with it. Okay? When you try out a new word,
it may feel uncomfortable, but if you say it 50 times and you
use it in 50 different sentences, then you make it your own. And
that’s what we’re here for, right? To make it your own. So, you know, you get stuck – be happy about it
because this is an opportunity to learn something new. Now, that’s
another tactic, okay. So read out loud, think
in English, and speak in, speak out your thoughts. Okay?
So, thinking in English is okay. Like I think it’s not as effective
as speaking out your thoughts. If you have an important
conversation to make, then you can also simulate
the conversation. Okay? So you can just pretend as if you’re
speaking to that person and say everything that you have to say in English, even though maybe the conversation
is going to be in your native tongue, it doesn’t matter. It’s a
good opportunity to practice, practice a dialogue or conversation. So
by the way, I see all of you commenting. I promise to look at all your comments
in just a little bit ,once I’m done with all the tactics, okay? So I don’t
lose track of what I want to say. Okay? So after all of that, you can also practice echoing.
Some people call it shadowing. I like calling it echoing. It’s like when you listen to someone and
you just echo whatever you hear. Okay? So for example, you can listen to a podcast or
a TED talk or an NPR news item, play it and just repeat. So maybe you won’t understand everything
because you’re also concentrated, concentrating on speaking
whatever you’re hearing. So you’re probably losing a lot
of information while doing it. But it’s a great opportunity
to improve your flow, okay. To trust that you can, you know, say full sentence without stopping. Also, it improves your intonation patterns and
improves your pronunciation patterns. Okay, so this is all
in your general field. So this is another great, great exercise. Imitation exercises are even
better – where you play, you know, a line of a video of someone
that you like. For example, you can even do it here as
I’m speaking. Pause the video. Well not if you’re watching it live,
you guys watching it right now, but if you’re watching it afterwards,
you can listen to a sentence, pause and repeat whatever
I’m saying. You can do that. The best way to do it is like with
scripted videos like TED talks. This is why it’s so, so effective
because you have the transcript. So you can listen to one line
pause, repeat while reading it. Okay? Again, you get used to the sounds,
you understand where you get stuck. And when those moments
of understanding of, of understanding and detecting what your
issues are are the places where you can improve and prevent
yourself from getting stuck. The next time you speak. Okay? So it’s all about the small pieces that
will enable you to see to be in the bigger picture. Okay? So, uh, that’s about speaking
and practicing. Speaking. What about vocabulary? Right? We all struggle with our poor, mediocre or not insufficient
vocabulary, right? We all want to expend our vocabularies
need to, I feel that I have, you know, I have a nice vocabulary. But it’s always nice to expand it, to be able to use fancier words when
I’m trying to express something, especially since there are so
many different words to express. Almost the same thing with subtle nuances
and it’s great to have that strong grasp. Again, ownership, I
want to own what I’m saying. I want it to be as precise and as um, articulated as possible. So, to improve vocabulary, the best way to go about it is to
make a list, all right, on your phone. That would be the easiest and the most,
it has to be simple, right? Don’t carry, you can carry a notebook, but
only if you really use notebooks. If you don’t use notebooks
usually, and use your phone, then use an app or use
notes on your phone, and then just write down the words. But
it’s not about writing the words. Okay? So, it’s not about just understanding
what words you want to learn. Whenever youl have a new
word that you want to add, let’s say you just read a
transcript, read an article. And you came across this word and you’re, not every word that you don’t understand
you have to add to the list. No, there are so many of them, and then it’s going to be overwhelming
and you won’t do it eventually. Okay? So, the idea here is to really take words
that you know that you’ll be using, that you need to use,
that you’re missing. Okay? So be particular about the words
that you choose to put on your list. Only words that are easy for you to
pronounce at first stage that are, um, that are important
for you to use. Right? And that you know that
they’re not these weird, rare words that no one uses
anyway. Cause that happens, especially when you read some
newspapers. Like the New York times, for example. Some of the words
there are not used on, like, it’s amazing to read and it’s
amazing to know these words, but if you listen to people speak, no
one uses these words on a daily basis. So that’s just a side note. Okay, so, take the word and write it down, but write it down the way it’s spelled, but also write it down
phonetically. For that, you can just listen to it on Google
translate or go to dictionary.com. And then there’s also
always the transcription. The way it’s written phonetically,
the way I write it in my videos. So it’s really, really effective. So write it down the way
it’s supposed to sound. Okay. So it’s not just about
learning to read the word, it’s about learning how to say it. It’s more important to know how to say
it than to know how to write it to become fluent, to be fluent.
Okay. Remember that. So, once you write it and then you
use it, you write it phonetically. You want to say it a few hundred
times. No, I’m kidding. But um, just say it like 10-15 times to develop
muscle memory so your mouth remembers it. But then you always,
in order to remember it, you have to use it in context. Okay? You have to say it in a few
sentences that you create, not sentences that you
read in the dictionary. You take the word and you invent a
sentence using the specific word. Not one sentence, at least three. Okay. And that’s very important. That’s
how it sticks. That’s how it stays. So you read it a few times just to get
the muscles working here and to remind your mouth how to say it. So you make
sure you don’t get stuck pronouncing it. Once you know how to pronounce it,
you need to brand it in your brain. And the only way to do it
is to use it in context, in new content that
you are creating. Okay? So that’s my way of learning
new vocabulary. Also, don’t try to memorize a hundred words a
week. I mean, you’ll be able to do it, but, you know, I don’t know what’s
going to happen three months later. Are you really going to remember those
300 words or 100 words? I’m not sure. But, if you decide to study a word a day, then you have seven new words
a week, about 30 words a month. And that’s quite a lot. But I’m not,
it’s not a lot if you think about it. But if it’s actually 30 words that you, you’re using and you’re feeling confident
to say, then it’s a lot. It’s a lot. Take small steps. A year
from today, you know, you’ll thank yourself for taking those
small steps cause then it’s sustainable. Also, and that’s the last,
uh, practice technique. Uh, you can always record yourself.
Viewing your work, okay, think of athletes on the field, right? A football player or soccer
player playing. How they, the way they learn is by observing their
performance and then knowing what they need to improve, and
then trying it next time. Correcting the mistakes that they did, or improving whatever they
were doing great, okay. So know your strength and your weakness, your strengths and your weaknesses. Okay. And the only way to do it is by
recording yourself. Cause sometimes, not sometimes, we never sound to ourselves in our brain
the way we actually sound in real life. And the closest thing, uh, for that would be to just listen
to yourself after speaking. So for example, after, you know, you think in English and then you speak
to yourself, you can record yourself. And then when you record yourself, you can listen to it and then
notice where you get stuck. And then ask yourself,
“Why did I get stuck here? Was I looking for a word
here?” And if you were, google and search for that word
and put it on your list, okay. If you got stuck because you
couldn’t pronounce something, learn how to pronounce that
word or that specific sound, that is giving you a hard
time. Okay. And as I said, sometimes the only way to do
it is by listening to yourself. And recording yourself is a great way
to do that. Or making a video. Okay. So these were my tactics. And before we move on to
strategies, let me see. Ooh, we have a lot of comments here.
Let me see what questions we have. Now, guys, since, um,
I don’t have all, like, I can’t, okay. “This is the first time
I watch you live.” Okay, good. Um, “how to incorporate quality words
in speech.” Okay. Maybe, um, uh, higher words, words that are a little more
that are not common words. So I think I just gave you that, um,
the way to do it is, for example, if you have a word that
you’re using all the time, go to the dictionary or a
thesaurus and look for synonyms. Look for were equivalent words. Okay. And then if you find a word
that you like and see that it’s, it actually means the same
thing or similar thing, then you can put it on your
list and use it in the, uh, the way I explained when you’re
practicing your vocabulary. “How can I join your fluency
course?” I don’t have one. I have a pronunciation… I have
an American accent training course, and it opens in April, but
you’ll hear about it when, okay. Um, “there is no one
to practice with”. Okay. So I was talking about that you have
to create situations to practice. Either speak… Again, like, so if you don’t have anyone and not
even your friends or your non-native friends, then just, you know, pretend like you have people
around you and practice English. Read out loud and um, and
speak out your thoughts. “I went to school and then”… Okay, so I have some
more complex questions. I’ll try to answer them
in the comments later on. Okay. Cause I really want
to get into, sorry, count. “Is this possible to speak English in a
native tone with no accent for 20 year old Chinese student?” Yes,
Charles. Charles is asking, “is it possible to speak without
an accent?” Uh, it takes work. So I was 20 when I moved to
New York and I had an accent. Um, and my English was definitely not
fluent. So, “yes” to your question, it is possible, but it takes work
and you need to know what to do. Um, and um, so I have, you
know, I can say more about that, but the, the answer is “yes”. I do have something to say about this need to sound American. Okay. So I think a lot of things
are changing nowadays, and also American’s perception and
acceptance of foreign speech of a foreign accent. Now I’m going to make a video about it
because I’ve been thinking a lot about it, how people perceive it and what are
the goals of American accent training. So I worked on my accent because I
wanted to reduce my American accent. I wanted to eliminate it actually. But I find that nowadays it’s not
about speaking American English with no accent. It’s really about mastering the, the, the, the essential features of American
speech, the performance of English, right? And, and it’s not about
speaking without a foreign accent, but understanding a few elements that
will help you be clear and confident, and to communicate in a way that won’t
pose any barriers when you speak. I know it’s a little
vague, what I’m saying. So I’m trying to clarify
my thoughts around that, and I’m going to make a
video and talk about it soon. But even when you’re thinking of, um, even when you’re thinking of working on
your accent and improving your accent, remind yourself that it’s okay to have
a foreign accent when you’re working. It’s not about having a
perfect American accent. It’s about being super clear and
obtaining all of these elements that are essential for clarity and
clear and direct communication. Okay? Just keep that in mind. Um, okay. Let’s talk about strategies. Uh, so when you are practicing your English, remember that it has
to be consistent. Okay? It has to be consistent, and
it has to be sustainable. Consistent meaning every day, 10
minutes a day, 15 minutes a day, and sustainable. If it’s 10 minutes
a day, it will be sustainable. If you’re saying, “Okay, now I’m going
to take whatever Hadar is saying, or whatever all my other
teachers are saying, and I’m going to practice an hour
and a half every day”. It’s amazing. But I, I’m asking you, are you going to be able
to keep it for, you know, a period of three months, six months? If that’s the case – amazing. But I work with people who are
very busy. Everyone’s busy. Okay. We have a lot of things on
our plate: life, family, work, other ambitious ambitions
and uh, and hobbies. So sometimes English is not
at our top priority. Um, and in order to really make a change, you have to make it sustainable. Okay? So I would recommend 15 minutes a day, and making it daily. Okay? You can do it six times a week and
take one day off. That’s okay. Now, when you’re doing that, I want
you to think before practicing, I want you to set yourself goals
for that practice. All right? For that daily practice. Meaning, like, just like in productivity
methods, think of the big three, the three main points or the three
main goals that you want to reach from today’s practice. So for example, learn new word or use a
new word in sentences. Um, be able to express, tell a story freely and confidently. And maybe the last thing
would be, I don’t know, uh, to pronounce well words with R. Okay? So that’s your goal from today’s
practice. So for example, let’s say that you read out loud for
seven minutes and then you come across a word. Okay? So you take the word and put it on your
list and then you do everything that we talked about. You write it phonetically and you
say it out loud in certain phrases. So that would help you
check off goal number one. Goal number two, introduce your… or be able to speak something, speak about something without getting
stuck. Okay? So then I would probably say, “okay, let me try and introduce
myself for a minute and a half”. And I would do it over
and over and over again, like three or four times until I’ll be
able to do it fluently without getting stuck. Because, you know, I get stuck
a few times, but then I overcame it. So I just checked off a number two. And then “pronounce the R properly”. Then I would go to a YouTube video, or read a text again and make sure
that I’m pronouncing every single R, or just learn how to pronounce it. The next day look at your
goals from the day before. Were you able to accomplish all those
goals? If not, then add it as… add those who those that you didn’t
accomplish in your new list and add new ones. Okay? So you can the same goal
every single day until you check it off. But make sure that you are very focused
and you know what you’re trying to achieve, okay? That way you’ll see
results, you’ll see immediate results. And immediate results help
you to gain confidence, okay? And when you gain confidence, everything’s
a lot more available and free, and you become more fluent. Because fluency is a result of confidence, practice and knowledge. Knowledge is
easy, okay? You can just learn it. You, you know, you go to a
book and you learn it, you go to a YouTube
video and you learn it. Practice a little more complicated
because it takes more of self-discipline, and time, and motivation,
and self-talk, right? So that’s something, but
you can accomplish it. Confidence is a result of the first two, And also understanding that
it’s okay to be self-conscious. It’s OK to be afraid. It’s okay to, um, to be concerned about how you come
across. But when you practice, and when you repeat
things, and when you do it, you don’t just open a book and learn it.
But you just, you know, you are very, you’re goal -oriented, and uh,
you have the right tactics. That’s how you develop your
confidence. And of course, that affects your fluency. Okay? So it’s not, there’s
nothing wrong about you. There’s nothing wrong about how
you’re learning and, well, wait. There’s nothing wrong about you and your
ability to understand English or just speak English. It’s just, I think the problem is in
your learning techniques, in motivation. You have to find the
right motivation. Why you’re doing this, right? You have to get motivated.
You have to motivate yourself, and remind yourself that this will help
you reach your goals. And every time, cause it’s boring. It can
be boring to read, you know, a paragraph out loud, right?
But every time you lose track, every time you or you know,
you don’t feel like it, remind yourself what your goals are:
get a better job; move, you know, relocate to a different
country; um, I don’t know, communicate in English better,
Communicate with your spouses better, communicate with your kids better.
Okay. Remind yourself your goals. It will give you the ‘why’.
And when you have the ‘why’, it’s a lot easier to do
everything else. Okay. Especially if it’s very specific. So, If you remember that there
is nothing wrong about you, then you will know that
you can do anything. And then just approach it
in a way in, in, in, in, in a way that is organized, and
it’s precise, and it’s specific, and it’s focused, and
you will see results. And I mean results within, I don’t know, two weeks. All right? If you
do it daily, I guarantee. So, here’s what I want you to do. Um, I’m, I’m going to have to end it soon
cause it started a little late. Okay. I have to read all those comments. You guys are writing such
beautiful things here. Um, okay. Okay. So I’ll read it
afterwards and I’ll comment, uh, later on on your comments.
I’ll comment on your comments, but I have to wrap it up because I do
have a lesson coming up in just a few minutes. So, a real lesson
here, back here in my studio. I have some students coming in. Um, by the way, if you want to
watch more of what I do and, um, see my students and my, uh, videos in, um, in real life, you can follow me
on Instagram @hadar.accentsway. I would love to see you there. And you can also ask me there
all the questions that you have. If you haven’t received a question here, then you can definitely jump over to
Instagram and ask me anything you want. I’m super available.
So, uh, to wrap it up, uh, I just wanted to say that, um, you remember that when
you don’t have the… that passive English is not
efficient, not effective, you have to turn everything
to active English. You have to understand that fluency
is a result of confidence, practice, and knowledge. Okay. And these are three things that you
can accomplish easily knowing the right tactics, and, actually, blocking
out times to do it. Okay? That strategies – reading
out loud, speaking out loud, recording yourself, uh, echoing
and imitation exercises, and the strategies of practicing
every day for 15 minutes, 10-15 minutes a day. Make it
sustainable, make it consistent, and it will be effective. And always think of your three goals
that you want to achieve for every single practice. And remember that
observing your work co and, and, and learning from it, and
changing something small… It’s about the small things,
the small changes really matter. Okay? So you don’t say to yourself,
“Oh, I only learned one word today”, but you learned one word, okay? And
tomorrow you’ll learn something else. That means that three months from today
you’ll have 90 new things that you’re actually using, right.
You’re actually using. And that’s pretty amazing because
it’s not about the, tomorrow, it’s not about what happens tomorrow.
Not when it comes to speaking fluently, and not when it comes to
improving your accent. It’s about what happens a year
from today. Remember that? And always remember your ‘why’.
Okay. So in the comments below, please tell me what your techniques,
what your practice techniques are. Uh, how you will, how
you improve your English. If you have any other ideas that can
help our community to improve their, uh, people’s English. And if you feel that you have
questions, that something’s not clear, or if you are using these tactics and
strategies and you’re feeling the change, please share it with us here below. Okay. Below this video and online
workshop, you’ll see above there. So it’s the theaccentsway.com, and
then you’ll see online workshops. And then you can just, um, you’ll find a form there where
you can write in your email. And you’ll be the first to
be notified when I launch my, the new round of the Accent Makeover
course. Um, so you can do that. And then, uh, and if you’re
subscribed to my list, whether if you’ve gotten my
Mispronunciation, uh, uh, page. So I have like the 50 most
mispronounced words in English, so you can get an audio and the list.
And I have an Accent Crash course. I recommend you to go, um, take
it. Okay, so go to my website. It’s right there. You’ll see it. You can subscribe and you’ll get like
a series of emails where I discussed different topics of the
American accent. Um, and if you’re subscribed to my list, you’ll know when I’m launching
my new course. Um, okay. So I think that’s it. Thank
you so much for watching. Thank you so much for participating,
and I will see you next week. Well, tomorrow I’m, um, I’m going to upload a video
about how to say ‘bourgeois’. So, um, make sure that your bell is on, so you get the notifications
when I publish the video. And next week in the live lesson, we’re
going to talk about American intonation. That’s it. Someone stop me.
I can’t stop this video. Bye.

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