Have you ever thought about the moment when you would be satisfied with your German? What is the German level you want to reach? When will you accomplish your goal?
Most language learner would probably answer the same:“Until I am able to speak the language fluently.”
This is also my goal when I am learning a foreign language. In English, Italian and Spanish I already made it until this point. In French I will reach my goal in the next one or two years, for sure!
But what does it mean actually to speak a language fluently?
Before setting this goal you should know the answer to this question. Otherwise you will risk to never reach your goal because your imagination of fluency is just wrong.
What means “fluently”?
The word itself actually says everything If we master a language, we are able to speak it without any interruption and longer break. The language flows like a river. And the speech rate is quite close to a native speaker.
So far, so good!
However there is the misbelief under many language learners that fluently means faultless. That is wrong!
The goal of speaking a foreign language is not to avoid every mistake.Apart from that it is barely possible to speak the language without making mistakes if you learn it just for a couple of years. Moreover many native speaker are making also “mistakes” when they are speaking in their mother language. Does that mean that they aren’t able to speak fluently? Of course not!
It is not about knowing technical terms or using every phrase correctly. Even when you are using the wrong tense it is barely a problem. Of course that what you say should make sense. But as far as you are able to find the right words to express yourself without problems and without thinking too much, you are also able to speak fluently.
Mistakes are relative!
What is wrong and what is right can only be measured by the grammar rules of the respective language. And the rules were made by us. So mistakes are relative, anyway.
Nervertheless, what prevents most language learners from speaking a language fluently is the fear to break the grammar rules.That means to use the wrong tense or the wrong article. Or not to know the translation of certain words. The second problem can be solved easily: If you doesn’t know a word, describe it! Look for different words to say what you want! You are also doing this in your mother tongue, don’t you?
Away with grammar!
Concerning the first problem I only can say one thing: Remove the grammar from your brains! It may sound strange but it will help you to speak fluently. As soon as you don’t think anymore about the grammatically right expression all the time, the words will flow. Make yourself clear one thing: As long as you are not working as an interpreter in the United Nationsnobody will care about a few grammatical mistakes.
I know this process is not easy. But it is worth the effort. Because finally it will lead you to fluency!
And if you go on applying the Natural Approach (as I described it many times), your grammar will improve automatically. Have confidence!