Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What Learning to Speak American English and Muscle Memory Have in Common?

There are a number of ways to your desired American English language proficiency level.  First of all you should know and set up your highest priorities.  Depending on your goals you should take different routes to achieve them.

Do you know the phrase: practice makes perfect?

Well, most likely you do.  It works in learning American English, too.  This is especially important in mastering speech.  Why is that?

When you write you have time to think what you want to do, formulate that and then act on it.  You can make corrections, if needed and as needed before you present your thoughts.  You have the time to do that.  How does it work when you talk?

In speech you simply do not have the luxury of preparing the answer or reply or response.  You need to act rapidly, on an impulse.  Your reaction has to be instant.  In order to be effective, spoken comebacks must be instantaneous and correct the first time around.  How do you do that?

There is only one way.  Practice, practice, practice, practice and practice.  Say it, speak, talk, tell, mumble, murmur, whisper, chat, converse, just voice it out how-ever, where-ever and when-ever.  How you learn vocabulary and grammar for your speech is secondary.  How much you have already learnt is tertiary.  Mastering your speech using what you already know or your available resources to the point of almost involuntary response is primary.

With time your ripostes become so automatic that you don’t need to think what to say.  Your brain does it at the subconscious level using the action – reaction principle.  That’s also how your muscle memory works.  When you want to walk - you just walk, when you decide to run – you just run.  You don’t have to think about the technical side of these activities.  It is automatic.  Your brain already knows what to do and does it immediately and straightaway in response to the trigger.

American English speech, and it works the same way for other languages, too, of course, is based on the same rule.  The law of learned responses embedded not only in your mind but also in your muscles, to make the feedback even faster and without wasting your brain’s precious resources for what can be thought through and expected well in advance.  Say, what?

What did you say?  Say that again. … And I mean it. … Literally!

See ya …

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