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Mert Safa vs English #1: Analysis and Strategy

I took English lessons from 10 years old to 18 years old and I had best notes in my classes… We used to learn from “simple present tense” to “past perfect continuous tense” every year. Then I started the university. Somehow, I passed the proficiency exam. I prepared in English my homework, projects, presentations. Finally I graduated and start working. As you know almost all resources are English. I able to understand the something in English with using translators or play around with samples more detailed. Today, five years after graduation from university, I have a problem: I feel that I don’t know English. 🙁 This is not a certification problem like TOEFL. Let me explain my problems.

  • When I read something on internet, I’m using translators for what is the meaning of words that I don’t know. So I think I can understand the whole text. But if I encounter the same problem again some time later, oh no! I do that same thing again: using the translator. Can not remember… Another problem, sometimes I realize that I miss the context. The words that I think know its mean have different usages. I discovered it a short time later.
  • There are three possibilities for me when I listen to someone. First possibility, I can understand what was speaker told, especially speaker is talking clearly or if any presentation exists. Second possibility and mostly, I don’t get what speaker said. I mean that I can not not hear what is speaker saying. Thirdly, I can hear what does speaker says but I don’t know what is the meaning of some words and when I try translate in my mind I’m missing the rest of the conversation. 😀
  • No problem about speaking. Because I’m not speaking! 😀 But joking aside, this is a most serious problem in my English world. I can not find the right sentence that I want to say because I think like a Turkish constantly. Can not keep it simple… Another thing, sometimes, I’m starting think about what I able to say instead of what I want to talk about. Seriously. And the last one, I don’t know how to pronounce some words. So I describe it and wait for someone to pronounce it or I spell it.
  • Problems in writing are similar to above. When someone translate the my sentence in a simple format, I react: “whoa! how could not I think that!” I have trouble thinking, rather than writing. I’m dreaming of write very complex sentences because of I know great Turkish vocabulary. 😐 And another common problem is that I do not know the some of cultural concepts, common usages, abbreviations…

When you consider all this, you can say “you don’t know English already”. Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Today, I know English enough for me. But I want to achieve the level of fluent. So I got advice from many people and I created a road map. Let me specify some advices also my thoughts about each of them.

  • Go abroad and stay there for a long term! It is not so easy for me. For what? What about job, economy etc. Shortly I have not enough money for this option. 😀 Also, I have a lot of good time in Turkish by myself but I’m not sure about the same situation on abroad.
  • Attend a course? Oh no! I don’t want more course after my graduating.
  • Try online calls for speaking? Maybe this can be a good advice. But if I fail in the first few attempts then I don’t try this option again. So, this is in my mind for later times.
  • Watch movies/videos without subtitle or English subtitle. This is a good advice also. If I can be sure I understand what i’m watching! 🙂 I’ll revising this idea.

I realized there are three things I had to do: motivation, continuity, practice. Actually, this is already in every area of life. My starting point is that I shouldn’t get bored.

I was develop a mobile app for the words I couldn’t remember. The main idea of application is remind me words that I added. When? Many random times. Then send me a test to matching the correct words. Again random times. The important point is with “my words” and “my descriptions”. Not TOEFL words, not general life words. This is not a traditional dictionary app or not a only reminder. I can use this app for Turkish words also? I think yes. I didn’t fully complete the app yet. Maybe I make open source.

For speaking section, I found a solution without people. I think, it is so cute and clearly. 😀 I’m using google translate with microphone. I’m speaking, it’s listening and writing what I’m say. If they are match, next passage please. If not, speak more clearly Mert Safa! Sometimes I’m reading a passage to good pronunciation, sometimes speak about my life to keep it simple. I hope, google is not recording my voice. 😀 I’ll continue for a while, and then I have another plan. I’ll explain it in the next articles.

I have not much solution for listening. I just watch TED talks without subtitles, with English subtitles, and with Turkish subtitles at different times. Then I compare the notes I took. At least it provides personal development. If any advices, feel free write to me from the comment area. 🙂

Finally, I’m using this blog to improve my writing. I will write a progress report every month. Sometimes I’ll write in English my diary… Now this is enough for the first part. I called “ne demek ingilizce bilmiyorum” this series. See you next part!


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