Being uptight about language is a fatal mistake.
Grammar? Rules? Yes, they are important, but nothing beats a big mouth!
Okay, by that I mean raw communication, and nothing helps you communicate than having a big mouth. I’m talking metaphorically, of course. I don’t know how much having a cavern for a mouth is going to help you in learning a new language.
Chuck grammar out of the window in the beginning. Many language pros agree that, when learning a new language, it would benefit you most if you dive into the sea of words and memorize as many as you can.
Grammar won’t make sense anyway if you don’t have the vocabulary to master it, so don’t even think about it!
If you have a chance—and by chance I mean money—to move into a country or city where they speak the language you are trying to learn, do it! Your vocabulary will grow within a week, and will keep growing the more you expose yourself to native speakers. They don’t demand you to know perfect grammar to communicate.
They might chuckle, but don’t worry! Just talk.
Get out there and talk the talk!
This is where the big mouth comes into play. Be talkative, as much as you can. Ask questions, even if you don’t care about the answer. Just keep talking and communicating.
I went on a vacation with a friend who barely spoke any English. She was always stumbling, worrying if her sentences were structured well. She was uptight about English until the moment we stumbled onto a shop with a shirt she wanted to buy. She started speaking without a single pause between sentences.
Don’t get me wrong, her English was horrible, but she got the message across and got her shirt, at a reasonable price too. Personally, I was shocked to see her speak with such confidence and both of us were surprised that she could actually communicate quite well.
This goes to show you that you certainly know more than you think, but it’s just your fear of looking stupid that is stopping you.
A big mouth leads to a big mind
As you talk more, and undoubtedly alienate a lot of people by asking hundreds of questions, you’ll start to think in that specific language. This is another great benefit because you are speaking it both with your mouth and your mind.
If you have any friends who are either learning the language with you, or just people you know are fluent in this language, call them up. Hang out and just relax. You don’t have to talk about the language, and certainly not about the grammar. Just talk.
But grammar is important, you might think. This is true, but as I said, it’s pointless to learn it because you can’t apply it. Learn as many words as possible, and then polish your vocabulary and grammar. To aid this, make it clear that you don’t want every single correction from that friend who is giving you a hard time when you say something wrong.
Just say, “I’m still learning the words. Grammar comes later.” And if they disagree, even better! You can talk to them more in that language and practice. Sure, they might get pissed, but hey, they’ll be helping you educate yourself.