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Fluentzy.com > English > Fluency Facts > Alternatives are not really practical
  Back to index of questions   Fluency Facts >> 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15    
  Answer to Q13.
Alternatives are not really practical

  Q13. The course I’ll be able to do with the help of the Fluentzy books — that course is a self-study course. So some people may think that it is best-suited only to people for whom alternative ways are not available to become fluent. Would they be right if they thought so?
  Living and working in an environment where people normally speak English
  Classroom coaching
  Other methods
       Learning by heart: Impossible
       Translation: Impossible
       Cassettes: Not helpful
  Fluentzy system: The only practical option for educated adult learners

No, they wouldn't be. In fact, everybody who wants to achieve fluency must buy the Fluentzy books and do a self-study course with the help of those books — and not only people who can't find alternatives. The reason is this: Practically speaking, are there any effective alternatives to such a self-study course at all — if your aim is to learn the fluency skill (and not to just learn English)?

Just think. What are the alternatives that are actually available? Actually, there are only two alternatives that are worth considering at all:

1. Living and working in an environment where people normally speak English
Is this a practical option for an educated adult learner? As we've already seen, this option would take a few years or more for you to become fluent in everyday English alone. (See the answer to Q8). And the value of this option depends on several other variables. All these factors make this option not a practical one for most adult learners.

2. Classroom coaching
As we've already seen, this alternative is not an effective one - if your aim is to learn the fluency skill. The value of this option depends on several other variables. And above all, this option has certain built-in limitations, and these limitations can make this option have a bad effect on your fluency efforts. (See the answers to Q6, and Q7).

3. Other methods
Of course, there are one or two other options that might look like alternatives, but they're not really alternatives at all. For example, doing translation, listening to cassettes (containing readymade sentences), and learning readymade sentences by heart from books are not even options worth considering - if your aim is to speak English fluently. These options will only help people who are trying to learn English. Of course, many people don't realize this truth - until after they've tried these methods and failed. 

Let's now briefly look at these other methods:

(i) Learning by heart: Impossible
Mind you, you can't learn all the 'speech units' (or 'sentences') in a language by heart, and then reproduce them as and when required. You see, there are millions and millions of them. People don't, and can't, speak that way. And you can't anticipate all the contexts and situations you'll have to speak in. You can't tell beforehand what kinds of questions others might ask, or what replies you might like to give, or how a conversation might progress.

This is one reason why ready-made sentences and cassettes won't make you fluent. So, if you want to become fluent, you must gain the skill of producing speech spontaneously - on the spot.

(ii) Translation: Impossible
Mind you, you won't be able to speak English fluently by translating.

You see, the effort to translate would stand between your thought and your speech as a block. So translator-speakers first think in their mother-tongue and then try to translate their thoughts into English. Their thoughts do not come out directly as English speech. And as long as their thoughts don't come out directly as English speech, they can't become fluent.

Here are three of the chief reasons:

The 'structures' of most English speech units are not similar to the 'structures' of the speech units in other languages. For example, the order in which you arrange the elements in an English speech-unit is different from the way you do that in other languages.

Most of the core-words, collocations and conversational expressions in English don't have equivalents in other languages.

Several words, collocations and expressions in other languages don't have equivalents in English, either.

Mind you, the effort to translate takes away your attention from the 'matter' of your speech, and forces you to concentrate on the 'manner'. And then you stop thinking about 'what' you want to say, and start paying attention to 'how' you say it. And then, you automatically falter, and your speech-flow automatically stops.

And you see, translated English sentences sound awkward and stilted. They don't sound natural - like the real English spoken by native speakers of English.

(iii) Cassettes: Not helpful
Audio/Video cassettes containing ready-made sentences won't make you fluent. No, they won't. Of course, if you listen to them for hours and hours, you may be able to learn a few isolated sentences by heart.

Remember this: Cassettes like these contain ready-made sentences that have been edited and polished (and not naturally-occurring ones). And ready-made sentences are precisely the things that won't help you - if your aim is to achieve fluency in spontaneous speech. What you need is not the skill of reproducing ready-made sentences in stereotyped situations, but the skill of composing your speech and speaking at the same time - no matter what the situation is. The skill you must get is the skill of making up newer and newer speech units off-hand, as you speak along. The skill of filling time with talk. In any situation - depending on the needs of the situation.

Spontaneous speech is always produced under pressure of time. You speak in the 'here-and-now'. You have to connect what you're saying now to what you've finished saying. At the same time, you have to be thinking about, and preparing, what you're going to say next. You'll be able to do all this, only if you know the techniques of 'on-the-spot speech composition'.

Cassettes containing ready-made sentences won't teach you these techniques. In fact, these cassettes give you a false impression: They make you think that spoken English is made up of ideal strings of complete and perfectly-formed sentences. They make you think that you'd be able to speak English if you learn a few one-line sentences. They don't bring you face to face with such features of spontaneous speech as starting trouble, false starts, repetition of syllables and words, hesitations, pauses, pause fillers, gambits for creating planning-time, incomplete structures, unfinished word groups, reformulations, refinements, backtracking, silent editing, etc. They don't give you the skill of speaking 'exploratorily' and 'manipulatively'.

Fluentzy system: The only practical option for educated adult learners
When all these alternatives are out, and not acceptable, what alone is a practical option - an option that can work successfully?

The Fluentzy system, of course.

You see, the most important thing the Fluentzy system does for you is this: It gets you to learn a large number of things on which the fluency skill is based. In this way, it gets your fluency skill to develop from a firm foundation, rather than in a disorganized or haphazard way — without any plan or order. There are a lot of isolated pieces of fluency-related language knowledge lying scattered here and there in your mind. The Fluentzy books bring them all together and organize them into a systematic body of knowledge for you inside your mind. And they add a lot of other fluency-related aspects to that knowledge. And they help you learn a series of fluency techniques and help you train in them and put them to practical use in real-life situations.

Now, about the things that the Fluentzy books teach you, understand one thing. This is very important. The things that the Fluentzy books teach you, no other books teach you. So remember this: Other books and other people may be able to teach you several things, but not the things the Fluentzy books teach.

The Fluentzy books are copyright. The author & copyright holder is Prof. KevNair, and he has given the licence and right to publish them only to us. Mind you, it's illegal for anybody else publish them.


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