It’s Saturday. So let’s talk about things that are not related.
When I woke up this morning, I struggled to find a topic for today’s room. Not for lack of ideas, but because I have too many ideas.
I grabbed two books at random from my shelf. The goal? Combine two unrelated things into a single coherent discussion.
I found Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible.
and NTC’s Dictionary of Everyday American English Expressions.
Today’s room was an amalgamation of learning golf and learning English.
The key point for today’s discussion came from page 15 of Dave Pelz’s book:
However, I found that the pros don’t perform during practice rounds: They don’t complete their rounds, they don’t hit all their shots, they don’t putt out, and they don’t care about performance. They just hit balls, sometimes trying bizarre shots to determine distances or the effects of the wind. Often they pick up and walk, worrying more about distances than firing at the flag.Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible
The key is to focus on specific short-term goals. They already know how to play golf, so the goal is not to play another round. The goal is to better understand that particular course. Learn how the greens react; determine how to use what they already know and apply it to this course.
It is the same when learning English for most native Japanese. You already have the basics of English. Rather than attend “英会話” (Ei-Kaiwa = English Conversation School) to “practice” English, your time is better spent focusing on a single skill. And that skill is not likely to be “grammar” unless you have already mastered using the language.
The skills I recommend you focus on are:
Read as much as possible. You will gain a better vocabulary by reading. Read the same book over an over if you like. As a matter of fact, I recommend re-reading something you have read before. Absolutely pick a book or magazine about something that you already know about!
If you enjoy cooking, get a book on cooking. Enjoy running? Get a magazine on running. It should be something you enjoy reading.
Watch movies, youtube, or live conversations. Your listening vocabulary is always greater than your speaking vocabulary. Even in your native language. Don’t worry about perfection, try to understand the gist of the conversation. Turn off the 字幕 (jimaku = subtitles) and really listen and watch the people who are speaking.
Finally speak. Shadow. Imitate. Don’t invent a new conversation. Repeat the one you heard…word for word.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
You learned your native language by imitating those around you when you were growing up.
Do the same in English. Imitate. Don’t Create!
Focus on one thing at a time. Just like your golf game!