English as a Second Language/a serious problem

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Question
Hi Amy....I am Dev from India.My problem is that my native language or mother's tongue is Hindi and I dont know why it is happening with me that I cant speak in English language after speaking Hindi language for 1-2 days.During off days when I am at home I speak Hindi language and when on working days I have to speak in English language in office I dont know why I struggle.I try again.Might be I am not able to explain fully my problem.Problem is that I feel that my knowledge of spoken English decreases when I am not speaking.

2nd part
Also tell me why it is that If I prepare myself first, means if I do homework then I do well, after preparing myself a bit before saying something helps me but I want to speak spontaneous.When the need to answer offhand or quickly then I fumble a lot.

Answer
Hello Dev,

I understand your concern. You asked a similar question a while ago and ...like I said before I wish I could help more but it's really beyond the purpose of my volunteering here.

There are no easy or simple answers. Some people just happen to have an easier time mastering a second language, for others it may take a lot more practice and determination. Why do you have a hard time switching between Hindi and English? I can only think of one thing - you are not yet comfortable speaking English on a daily basis and as soon as you "lose contact" with the English speaking environment you immerse 100% in your native language. I am not familiar with Hindi, but it is possible that the syntax, the grammar rules, the pronunciation etc in Hindi are very different than those in English, so it may be difficult for you to spontaneously transition from one to the other.

I have/had many students who are bilingual and I've rarely heard them complain about something similar, so I'm just speculating here.

As far as your second question: I'd say it's a normal phenomenon. Think about having to take a test. Would you think you'd get a better grade if you were to prepare yourself before the test: study, practice, do homework, etc, or if you'd just attempt to take the test completely unprepared?

The lack of "spontaneity" (in my opinion) has to do with the fact that you still need a lot of practice, a lot of exposure to English (written as well as spoken) in order for you to become more and more confident in your own ability to use the language.

There's no secret that practice is what's needed in order to master any skill, and speaking, writing...using a foreign language is no different.

My advice: keep practicing, keep learning, perhaps hire a tutor, use your English as much as you can, read out loud, write a journal/blog, listen to radio broadcasts in English, watch TV shows or movies in English, talk with native English speakers (if possible), ask questions here, invest in a good quality grammar book, browse the internet (there are tons of free resources that can help you better your English skills), don't be scared of making mistakes, challenge yourself by taking tests (again tons of them available online). In time, you will get more and more confident in your ability to speak, write, read, understand English. Most importantly - set realistic goals. Don't expect full English fluency overnight.

Best regards,  

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker

Expertise

I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

Experience

I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

Education/Credentials
BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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