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2.511 Improving your proficiency and fluidity pragmatically – 650 words

 Blog 2.511 describes a specific pragmatic technique which, when applied as a matter of habit, develops your written and spoken language competences easily, steadily and virtually effortlessly whatever your level.  


To this end, you simply need to carry out the straightforward activity described below when writing.


Before I explain this easy and undemanding task, let me briefly describe how linguists get generically stuck at a given fluidity level and appear to struggle beyond that point .


The obstacle 


 Once we reach a level where we feel confident that we can communicate, when we achieve an advanced degree of competence, for some reason we seem blocked and unable to expand towards higher standards reached by elite native speakers;  progress appears to grind to a halt.


In short, our existing vocabulary seems to be sufficient for our purpose in that environment.  Somehow, we seldom access or use more accurate, pinpointed and context relevant words. We find ourselves operating efficiently but in a limited manner in what could be represented as a linguistic prison. This metaphoric jail has no door but no visible exit to the next linguistic level either. Here is the solution.  


What is happening and why


Why do we have no choice? When we write, the words that flow most easily into our minds are those which we have used before. As soon as a thought is formed, the first items of speech that come to the active speaking or writing mind are the ones which have already made the most appearances. Hence our auto-pilot, somehow, chains us to our linguistic past.  


This aspect of our automated behavior can single-handedly condition a limited, narrow and stilted growth.


So what can we do?     


The solution


Obviously, the first step is to realize that this lock-in mechanism takes place. To this end, we just need to read articles from our preferred journalists and/or listen to our favorite newscasters. We can observe that they regularly use terms which indeed we fully understand but DO NOT USE ACTIVELY ourselves.


A good exercise to carry out is to highlight these words in an article or to list relevant terms used by a newscaster. These must fit the description of your rarely activated words and phrases.


With this simple exercise, soon enough, we realize the size of the gap between what we understand and what we commonly make use of.


Unfortunately, our brain does not allow us to deploy easily words which we recognize but do not handle or pronounce regularly.  So, we need help to bridge this gap and turn inactive words into fully owned and operational ones.


Here is the exercise:


When you write a document, simply open a dictionary of synonyms online. You can easily find one for your desired language on the Free Resource Page.


Then, select and target in your written documents or emails, a few of your own commonly used terms for replacement purposes.


Finally, ensure that you choose in the lists provided online – and this is very important – words which you comprehend without any effort but would usually not pick.


Then type them in your text. A key error most language learners commit is to access and select words which they do not fully master. Hence choose judiciously! Opt for simplicity at all times!


Practice every day! Over time, this very simple exercise will work its magic. Your vocabulary is set to grow as long as you make the effort to step outside your routine selection and embed new nuggets into your active language; Enjoy!  


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