On how I did earn the English language...

1. Connect with yourself, find a mobile.

I had to learn English because I moved to study degree in a different country, which din't speak Spanish at all. I arrived to Malaysia knowing in English only how to introduce myself, and when I saw the path ahead, I panicked and I thought "I will never learn"

I started the English course from level 4 after passing the introductory exam... I did not know how did I actually ended up in a 4th level, but well, there I was, frequently lost in class. I never thought on learning English because I never saw the need on speaking other language, but when you can't speak, you can't be yourself, and I was craving to. In the class I always wanted to participate, but I was too shy, and whenever there was a group of classmates talking I wanted to be there, make jokes, what a normal David will do.

I couldn't easily find myself within this -by then- weird language, but in Spanish I was always outspoken, I loved talking and making jokes, expression was my north. In that urgency for being myself, I found a mobile to learn; I needed to speak English in order to interact with people the same way I used to in my original language. 

2. Force English into your life, connect with someone.

My Spanish speaker friend played an important role back in the days... she used to hang out with middle eastern people and I used to spend most of my time with them. There I was forced to speak English. Of course, the stress was always around, most of the time I was lost in the conversation, but that was also, at times, funny... I liked them, the energy there was, and that made me try speaking. Important; when there is no common language with others vibes is all that matters, so find the right vibes. I know how awful it feels to be missing a lot of stuff in a conversation, but I tell you, those are experiences one will never live again when dominating the language.

3. Change your mindset of expression and do not translate.

Later I started realising it's not only the understanding the language roughly, but learning the ways of expression in English. I will never forget how literal English used to be, maybe because Spanish it's always literal, we don't have that much of shortcuts. I will never forget, once someone asked me "So... how do you find Malaysia?", and, if you translate that to Spanish, it's as literal as it gets. Thinking on how "did I knew about it" I told him; "From a friend of mine"... so he emphasized "how do you find it?"... and I started thinking in Google Maps. In Spanish we will directly use "Do you like Malaysia?", because the 'finding' will rather be used as "How do you find yourself? (How are you feeling?)".

From there I became aware of the fact that I also had to modify the way of thinking, the way of using the language... and it was when I started realising as well that translating was not an option. I used to go to classes, but on a first level, 4 weeks weren't much of help for speaking. I was paying attention to grammar, but it was always confuse... I couldn't get the simplest things like "have/has", the "been", or how to use "than" or "as". I do remember what I got first, the adding 'er' or 'st', and I remember I loved it because it was pure shortcut. I used to have an exam every end of the month, and I remember I used to write a lot in the last sections which were the free essays. Despite the poor usage of the language, I had inside the need for expressing an idea, or a sentiment... so little by little, on those exams, I was less stressed by the fact of not knowing how to write but by the fact of how do I express my ideas clearly. So I transferred the stress from "how do I say...?" to "I wanna say...".

4. Listen carefully to people.

Within the process, I started listening the people more carefully, I used to 'hunt' how they utilized the grammar, comparing that with whatever I was seeing in class. My brain started doing connections, becoming a matter of language epiphanies; listening and thinking "Oh... that's what we were talking about in class two weeks ago" ...a particular sentence in the other used to turn on some lights in my brain... so I was learning after all. I think 70% of the rest happens unconsciously... the brain begins to make so many associations that you lost track, and eventually your discourse earns it automatically. 

5. Discuss topics that requires not language but analysis.

I achieved my primary goal of expressing myself after year and a half or so. I remember the first time I felt comfortable enough to write something in English. It was precisely my impetus for complaining. Actually, for beginners, that's what I would recommend, to look for 'confrontations', to share point of views about topics or issues that requires not language but analysis, the being critical about something, because those states of mind give us imminent need of expression. You'll stop thinking in the language and you will concentrate on making your point. My first stage was interacting with people, my second was defending my ideas... and when you realise your ideas can be displayed universally when using English, you'll feel like having a linguistic passport with free -oratory- visa to anywhere. 

6. Also, be creative.

I actually started polishing my English when flirting, the more advance the English of the girls I liked were, the more I had to come with a better word arrangement. Later on I started writing poetry -a poor one, don't believe I already manage the language-, but I always wrote beautiful stuff in Spanish and I wanted my English to flourish that way. I now believe that my English poems are more creativity than language, so I've realised, you also have to be creative, because the time will come in which you want to express yourself more clearly and profoundly; that happened when you feel you don't need to learn anything else because you're already writing and talking well. So you have to create, to build... I have my sources of synonymous and antonyms, my trusted dictionary, and I always write trying to use new words and expressions which eventually get stick in the mind to use them later. And at times, even finding a meaning for a word I did not know, I copy the word on Google and I read the articles or webs which are using the word to make sure how it is used commonly. You can use words or expressions you don't even know how to use just now, but eventually they'll be beneficial; you can seduce someone, you can get the job you want, you can make your point in class!.

7. Read later, much later.

To read it's crucial, but in my experience I won't suggest it from the very beginning... I used to find so many words and expressions my brain couldn't process that I used to give up every two paragraphs. Later, much later, I came back to the books, when I already had the basement built. And then yes, that tremendously helps to polish and growth the English. Something I must mention, I don't know how to explain the grammatical aspect, neither in English nor Spanish. But I know how things works, and that's all you need to dominate a language -unless of course you want to be a translator or you need to pass the exams-. Some people might memorise, some others, which is my case, memorise without the conscious intention of memorising. It's almost like a wordless concept on the inside of the brain... you can't see its code, but it's there. I never learnt anything by the book... it frustrated me.

8. Be frustrated and lose your patience from time to time!

So, if you still can't speak English, and you're one of those who feels like you'll never learn, I envy you, because you have a wonderful path ahead, a path that will never be back :) ...you'll see how gracious it feels when you can fully use it, also you'll realise it's deeper that one thinks... your personality plays a massive role, and you'll eventually be different when having two languages. I tell you, be frustrated and lose your patience from time to time! That's how it works.

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