Practicing Listening To English Is Just Like Touch Typing
Although touch typing is a valuable skill, this English language lesson uses this type of mental ability as an example to explain how your brain recalls vocabulary, grammar automatically when speaking a language.
It is this memory recall skill that gives you language fluency. The Adept English listen & learn system uses this type of memory and trains your brain to get better at it with repeated listening to audio.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is the shorter Thursday podcast and hopefully you’ll find it useful to help practice your English language listening and understanding.
If you take our course, The Seven Rules of Adept English – so that’s our free course - you’ll learn all about our method of language learning. It’s a ‘Listen and Learn’ method, which uses your brain’s natural way of learning language.
Your brain is of course the grey matter, the machine if you like, inside your head. And your brain is clever and it learns without you knowing it – as well as those things it learns because you tell it to! So let me give you an example for this, so that you understand what I mean here.
A typing technique such as 'touch typing,' is interesting because it uses the same automatic memory recall used as part of the Adept English 'Listen & learn' system
As I’m writing down my thoughts for this podcast, I’m doing what you call ‘touch typing’. The verb ‘to type’ in English means when you use a computer keyboard. It sounds like this…… So I’m pressing keys, to type the letters, to make up the sentences on my computer. And when I use the phrase ‘to touch type’, it means that I’m able to use the keyboard without looking at the letters.
It means I can type fast, without thinking about it. I learned to do this many years ago, when I finished college and it’s a good thing to learn. Although we have technology now for voice recognition – so you can speak to your computer or your mobile phone, to input the words, I think that keyboards will be around for a while yet.
You may well touch type yourself. And even if you haven’t learned this skill consciously, you probably will be able to type quickly, because your brain remembers automatically where the keys for particular letters are. I’m reminded of how much this process is automatic when I go to France and I try to use my sister’s computer, where it’s a French keyboard which is just slightly different to the English keyboard. I’m always surprised how much this slows things down for me!
Training your brain to automatically recall vocabulary and grammar structure is how you attain fluency
If you research online about ‘touch typing’, you’ll find the term ‘muscle memory’. This a phrase we use, but ‘muscle memory’ is a misleading phrase. It gives a false picture. When you learn to touch type, it’s true the muscles in your fingers may become stronger, more adapted to typing. But it isn’t the muscles in your finger which learn to remember where the letter ‘p’ is, for example. No, it’s changes in your brain that look after that! So think about typing and just how much typing is automatic.
Your brain is still working hard. It’s making sure that you press the right key, select the correct letter, but it does it so automatically you’re not even aware of it. And it does it fast! When you’re typing, if anything it’s probably your fingers which slow things down, not your brain!
And it’s like this when you speak your own language. The process of selecting the words, choosing the vocabulary and making the sentences is so automatic, you’re not even aware how hard your brain is working. And thinking about it in this way shows why ‘listen and learn’ works as a process for language learning.
It means the words and the phrases become so familiar to you, so well known to you – you don’t have to think about their meaning. And you certainly don’t have to translate. Maybe your brain sees it that you are just learning a whole lot of new, extra words in your own language! But the important thing is that your understanding becomes automatic, rather like touch typing.
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Driving a car, martial arts, touch typing, sports all use the memory recall technique we use to help you to speak English fluently
If you can touch-type, you’ll know that it takes quite a bit of time to learn this skill. You learn it by repeating it lots of times, until you can do it without thinking about it. Our brains are very good at this type of learning. Brains are made to learn like this.
We often learn things automatically, by repeating, without even being aware of it. So the only way to make your understanding of a language automatic – is to repeat, hearing and listening and understanding over and over again. And this is also what helps you speak the language too.
So use this way of learning. It’s much more natural than sitting in a classroom, learning grammar and translating with a dictionary. And it’s much more likely to result in you becoming fluent in English. What you need is lots of suitable listening material – and Adept English is here to supply you with that.
Anyway, enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Although some people call it 'muscle memory' the reality is it is your brain which has been trained to recall specific responses (so quickly that you are not conscious of the effort to use your brain).
You can see this if you drive a car or goto Karate self-defense. Specific patterns of behavior are recalled almost instantly without thinking. This is how you become fluent in speaking English.
We have lots of other tips on learning to speak English here.
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