‘Think in English’ is one common phrase we’ve all come across a million times. Since we are habitually bound to relating everything to our roots, let it be our mother tongue or home town etc., for that matter, we utterly fail to think in a foreign language like English. Instead, we naturally tend to learn it by translating loosely from our mother tongue. If you’re translating in your head, then you know that’s a frustrating way to speak English. But the good news is there are concrete things you can do and practice to stop translating in your head and start thinking in English.
Before getting any further, let’s analyze a common translation error we make frequently.
”I’ll go and come”
In Tamil, you say “naan poyittu varen” which basically means goodbye but literally translates to “I’ll go and come”.
Hindi speakers tend to say “I’ll come just now” which is again a direct translation of “main abhi aata/aati hoon”.
These translations are not just normalized but are widely accepted as “Tanglish” (Tamil and English), “Hinglish” (Hindi and English), “Manglish” (Malayalam and English) so on and so forth. Many other Indian native speakers tend to use this direct translation method. This might be common and acceptable in India but technically it only lowers the quality of one’s language.
So how to plausibly stop this tendency?
It’s all in the mind, think in English.
I have collectively put forth some initiatives you can take to start thinking in English.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day.
You cannot expect to start thinking in English overnight. It is a process that takes time. You might face all sorts of highs and lows but ultimately if you keep trying, English becomes a part of you. Don’t push yourself into learning within a certain time period.
- Start naming the objects around you in English and replace it with that of your mother tongue.
For example; use water instead of paani (hindi), neeru (kannada), thanni (tamil) so on and so forth.
- Stick to sticky notes.
Surround yourself with English words. Write it on sticky notes and stick it all over the place. Let it be in your bathroom mirror, fridge, study table, kitchen etc.,
- Reward yourself.
Treat yourself with something when you attempt to think in English. This method increases your tendency to think in English involuntarily.
- Give yourself a chance to think in English, while speaking in English by using filler words.
So what are filler words?
Filler words are words (and phrases) that are used to fill silence when you’re speaking. They’re words that don’t add any real value to the sentence. They simply keep you going while you come up with the rest of your sentence.
“English is like, totally fun to learn, you know?”
If you take out the words “like,” “totally” and “you know” from that sentence, you’re left with a perfectly understandable sentence: English is fun to learn.
So what’s the point of all those extra words, then?
Words like “totally” and phrases like “you know” are called filler words, and they’re used, like, literally all the time.
- Get familiar with the pop culture to stay update about the new vocabulary and stay connected to English media.
Movies use natural language. Thus, they are a great way to improve your English vocabulary by learning English idioms and common English slang. There’s no better way to learn the everyday language that you can’t learn in a traditional classroom.
- Last but not the least- get yourself an English speaking companion!
This is exactly what we do here in English Partner. We provide you with a personal English speaking trainer who acts as your partner in the learning process and caters you throughout. Here in English Partner, you’ll not just fluently speak in English, but you’ll fall in love with it!