Here, will look into the seven-day plan of increasing fluency in English. Learning English is neither a walk in the park nor a walk of the plank. English is not a fortress to be conquered, an elixir to be drunk, or a cake to be consumed – it is an ever-evolving, dynamic and sprawling entity that needs to be lived in and lived with, in order to become one with.
Here’s a split-up of 7 days that will try to qualitatively enhance your English fluency, no matter what level you currently stand on:
Brush up your grammar. Do not shy away from revisiting those dusty, old middle-grade grammar books. Solve the worksheets and practice sets. Get familiar with Subject-verb agreement and its various attributes. Become thorough with the elementary of the parts of speech – primarily verb forms, basic pronouns, cases, sentence types, articles, conjunctions. Prepositions, punctuation. Make yourself sound with the absolute basics and familiar with the intermediate extensions and elaborations. Acquaint, Familiarise and Acclimatise – get into the feel and fabric of the language. Discern the differences with your mother-tongue – comparison helps remember and defeat awkward and abashing conflation.
Enhance your vocabulary. Play word-games, either using software or paper-based ones. Get a word root-based vocabulary book and enjoy it. Let the word origins fascinate you and spark off a natural curiosity – let it initiate a chain reaction of casual, curious reading and examination of various words. Flipping casually through the dictionary might seem the most monotonous of pursuits, but once you are past the first few words, it gets interesting. Don’t go in a linear, alphabetical fashion, let one word redirect you to another through its definition – it’s like hyperlink-surfing on Wikipedia. Read some language blogs on websites of Oxford, Merriam-Webster and others. Polish your contextual terminology – for example, business jargon, or precise proper nouns specific to a particular kind of parlance.
Enjoy literature. Relish in choice curations of classical literature – prose and poetry. Go for short stories over novels. Short Story collections of O Henry, Guy de Maupassant, Saki and Anton Chekhov are most suitable for this. Your reading listicle is your own prerogative – it can be a curation of famous opening lines of novels, quotes from famous works, speeches of the likes of Winston Churchill, MLK Jr., and Abraham Lincoln, even insightful pop-sci and culture articles from reputed sources such as The Smithsonian and the National Geographic. Don’t hesitate to gobble up your favourite blogs, as long as they maintain a high standard of writing. Poetry will help you understand how pliable and flexible rules are in lyrical circumstances while comparing speeches and news articles will help you discern the difference between conversational speech and factual writing.
You have read speeches the other day. Listen to the speeches you read now and discern the distinction between how you played them out and recited them in your mind versus how eloquently and expressively were they articulated by the master orators that authored them. Learn intonation, optimal emotional charging, mood and suspense-building, rhythm and consistency, masterful narration and storytelling.
Listen to model conversations for various Assessments of Speaking and Listening, be it from standard international tests like the IELTS, TOEFL or even high-school grade tests. Listen to conversations from various circumstances, contexts and situations – the office, a shop, a kiosk, an inquiry call at a resort’s reception, a conversation between a manager and a client and so on.
Practice speaking before the mirror. Imagine and simulate conversations from various everyday circumstances that your frequently encounter or are likely to encounter. Rehearse them, over and over again. It is fine if you fumble, stutter, stammer and falter – work on overcoming these speech defects – half-actively and half-passively. Overcome the inertia and shyness, introspect and amend yourself in retrospect. You’ll find yourself tangibly evolving with each iteration and instance. Gesticulate with your hands and run a full-fledged enactment. Mind your nervousness, take note of its signs (trembling jelly-legs and knees, and perspiration for example) but do not be too conscious. Feel yourself in your material and assert yourself articulately. Focus on conveying yourself with poise as well as intensity – invest an optimal amount of impulsion in it.
Join a local speaking club or attend a confidence-building, positive, public-speaking workshop or meetup. Alternatively, put your learning into practice by uploading a podcast or a youtube video on a topic of your choice, liking and passion – the choice of the topic is important because if you are sound with it, your ideas will flow and won’t deter your speech – hence serving as the truest test of your pure speaking proficiency.
Follow this 7-day Plan and note your progress. This is a general guideline, not a hard and fast routine or training regimen but obeying the logical coherence and sequential flow of ideas is definitely beneficial. Record a 5-minute speech on Day 0 and another on Day 8. Perform an initial SWOT analysis. Check on what all you have improved and what all room for improvement is spared. Work on all aspects within your scope, and remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, but each day counted in it’s building as brick and block!