Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com. You don't want to waste your time, right? Let's talk about it. Today I have a special treat for you. I'm going to help you learn seven things that you should avoid if you want to be a fluent English speaker. Don't do these seven things if you want to be fluent. If you focus on these seven things, you're going to be wasting your time. It's not going to be efficient. Instead, you're just going to be wasting your time. So, to talk about these seven things, I thought, "Who can help me the most to talk about learning language?" Well, I have a special guest for you. Today, I'm going to be talking with two brothers, Fran and Carlos, who run the YouTube channel YouTalkTV, and they have completely learned English starting at the age of 25. It's pretty incredible to completely learn a language as an adult. Most of us think if you're going to be fluent, you should start as a kid, but that's not the reality for a lot of us. For a lot of us, maybe for you too, you are starting now as an adult. You're kind of turning a fresh page. "I don't want to learn like I did as a kid. Now, I have to start over." Is it possible, can you really become fluent as an adult? Well, In today's lesson you're going to learn seven things that didn't work for me in my second language, which is French, and seven things that didn't work for Fran and Carlos, so hopefully you can avoid those things. Instead, you can focus your time wisely. You can hear their story. Be inspired to realize, "I can do this as an adult. I can successfully learn to speak English." I hope you'll enjoy our conversation. Feel free to click CC to view the full subtitles for today's lesson. That will help you to catch every word. They use a lot of great expressions. They talk about a lot of pronunciation and linking and some specific tips. So, I hope that the subtitles will help you as an English learner as well to catch everything that they say. All right. Thanks so much for joining me Fran and Carlos. Let's meet them. Hi Fran and Carlos, thank you so much for joining me today to talk about this interesting, important topic of what to avoid, don't do these things if you want to be fluent. Vanessa: To get started, would you like to briefly introduce yourselves? I've mentioned you just a moment ago, but would you like to share with my audience something about yourself? YouTalkTV: Yes, Fran and Carlos Monaj, we're brothers. So we're from Spain, from Spain and the thing is that we're running a YouTube channel called YouTalkTV. Mm-hmm (affirmative). The funny thing is we both learned at age 25 or later on in life and we were self-taught. Now what we kind of selling is if we did it, then you can do it too. Just try to follow us. If you like the way we talk, we can take you to our level or above, its pure logic, and that is the only thing we do, yes. Vanessa: So you bring a completely different perspective to the table for people who are learning, they can feel inspired by you, a role model and now you're teaching and when you teach something, you need to really know it. So- YouTalkTV: Oh yeah, absolutely. You need to reflect on how you learned that, what difficulties you have... Yeah, big time. We've taught over 10,000 hours each. Oh, by the way Vanessa, we have a surprise for your audience, for your subscribers, which is- Yeah, well the thing is that they're going to have free access to our course on YouTalkTV plus course where they can improve your English. Yeah. We're giving away a full year for free. And now it costs close to $300 a year. I'm saying close because I don't know the conversion. But anyways, we're going to give it away for free and the condition is going to be that you guys need to be subscribed to Vanessa's channel, Speak English With Vanessa, and go ahead and subscribe to our channel- YouTalkTV. Exactly. And so it's going to be a raffle and among those subscribers that are in both channels, then you going to have a full year free. Yeah, we'll take it okay. Vanessa: Thanks so much for offering that to my subscribers. Great. YouTalkTV: You're welcome. Thank you. Vanessa: You've done a lot of things successfully with English and I imagine there were things that you've tried that probably didn't work over time or maybe for your students, you see, oh no, they're focusing on this thing that isn't going to help them. So I thought we could talk about that together. Some things that you tried, but that just didn't work for you because nobody wants to waste their time. You don't want to waste your time. Our students don't want to waste their time and we don't want to waste our time telling them- YouTalkTV: Absolutely. Vanessa: You should do this. I thought today we could talk about seven things that our students should avoid doing, so that they can really focus on what will work. So would you like to get started with the first point and then we can kind of share our opinions from our- YouTalkTV: Absolutely. Yeah. Go ahead. Vanessa: Both of our experiences? YouTalkTV: Yes. Vanessa: Cool. Well, my first tip for something that I did wrong when I was a beginner learning French, which is the language that I successfully learned as a second language and maybe you guys did this as well with English is, don't dive into material that's too difficult right away. If you just start watching, I don't know, Avatar or Titanic, something that's so long and so complex, there's so much vocabulary that you don't know. You can just easily feel overwhelmed and frustrated and kind of want to give up. I'm never going to do this. It's just too much. So starting small is going to be more helpful. You can feel that small win I did it, I watched this five minute video and I understood it. I got some new vocabulary instead of a whole 45 minute TV episode or two hour movie. That can be so overwhelming if it's too much for you. So don't do too much too soon. Take it slowly. YouTalkTV: Yeah. Plus it can be really frustrating and maybe it's going to make you give up or something and that connects pretty well with one of our other mottos, which says which says keep it simple and that's an American saying and we love it. Just keep it simple and this year in the Spanish approach of teaching English, they are always picking their more, the most difficult approach, the most grammar complicated explanation. And we want to keep it simple. There is a lot of difficult approaches to teaching grammar. And of course what you're saying, don't go for movies, songs, because they constantly putting those sentences together like, "Hey, do you mind if I sit down?" It is impossible for you to pick up. Don't do you mind if I sit down and they're not going to say that. So prior to that, you may want to make sure your students know some more simple structures or just go through easier material. Vanessa: Yeah. When you finally, as English learners, when you finally watched a TV show or a movie without subtitles, you'd probably been you starting smaller first and then working up to that or maybe watching the TV show with some titles in English first. You're slowly working up to that and not just diving in and then thinking, oh my goodness, that feeling of dread and fear though yeah if you start small then it's going to be a lot easier to approach and to get beyond that. YouTalkTV: Absolutely. And especially talking about songs, songs I think they are more difficult than a real conversation. I think so. People are very frustrated. They get very frustrated with songs because they say, "Okay, what are they singing here? I don't understand. Oh my God, am I learning English but I don't understand that." Songs are very difficult. Vanessa: Yeah, songs are poetry. Poetry is tough. What about you guys? What is something that you think doesn't work for your English students, but you see them doing anyway and you don't want them to waste their time? YouTalkTV: Well, one of the recurrent mistakes that people tend to make here in Spain, at least it's to just to focus a lot on degrees and certificates and all that. It's kind of the, it's on the rates now. Like everybody wants to have it, but that's not going to make you speak a better English. No. Most likely you're going to get some idea but having a B1 B2 that's we call them here or even a C1 level is not going to make you speak good English. It takes a lot more than that but people are really focusing on those degrees and I think that's totally wrong because they and don't get me wrong. It'd be great to have those degrees, but just as a result of you having a really good level of English. Vanessa: Why do you think some people are so focused on getting those certificates? Is that a hangover from our school years where we need that grade to feel good or why are so many people focused on that. YouTalkTV: It's also like Carlos said before, it's a kind of a requirement. It's required. It's an institutional requirement. Most of the jobs, like if you want to be a civil servant. Vanessa: Okay. YouTalkTV: In Spain, I don't know if you know what it is. If you want to work like in public- Vanessa: Like a government employee? YouTalkTV: Exactly. And here's explains a lot of related to it, like if you want to be a teacher, you need to do kind of those, that kind of stuff and there's a lot of money involved. There's a lot of money involved because you pay taxes and you do pay training for those courses. It's a whole marketing behind that, marketing strategy- Vanessa: Sure. YouTalkTV: I don't think that it's useful. It's not good for our learners. Absolutely. So we're kind of fighting against that. Vanessa: I feel like that leads into one of the other things that I recommend avoiding when you're wanting to be a fluent speaker and that's just don't wait to start speaking. If you feel like, for example, if you feel like you have to pass an exam for your future interview, for a future job well, don't wait to do other real fluency activities before that. So if you wait to start speaking, it's just going to be more stressful. It's going to be such a new thing that it's a little bit weird. I don't know if you had this sensation when you were first learning another language, but when I first heard my voice speaking in French or I lived in South Korea for a couple of years, when I first heard my voice saying some Korean words, it felt so weird but after a while it was completely normal. YouTalkTV: Used to it, right? Yeah. Vanessa: Getting used to it and hearing okay, this is my voice. I'm saying these words that have some meaning now, but it's completely different. As you get used to that, it feels more comfortable so don't wait to just jump into it and try to talk about what's around you and drinking some water. There's a picture of an elephant on this glass- YouTalkTV: Yeah plus- Vanessa: It looks like it needs to be washed- YouTalkTV: Plus- Vanessa: You talking about it. YouTalkTV: The sooner you start talking, this means you going to start making mistakes? And the more mistakes you make the quicker you're going to learn. Making mistakes here in our culture is kind of overrated. Yeah. It is our case. Oh my God, I'm making a mistakes. So you going to be penalized while in the Anglo-Saxon culture. It's like, I remember playing volleyball and I was really bad. And at the end of the game everybody say hey, good man. Good, good game. Good game? Vanessa: Sound positive? YouTalkTV: No. Yeah. Okay, thank you but it's kind of a cultural thing of making mistake is over penalized and I think that's something that's going to hamper your learning process. Especially talking about English, about to learning English and that if you practice and you talk, so then you're going to see that it's useful. So I think that- The purpose- because the way you study English is bad. You study the theory, you study the grammar rules, you study the vocabulary but you don't feel that you're going to use it. You don't feel that's something useful. Vanessa: So in your opinion, do you think that there is a magic solution to learning all of these complex or maybe simple things in English? YouTalkTV: Wooh. Magic solutions? Yeah. That's a great topic. The thing is that as something we wanted to talk about is that about the magical solutions about the miracles. A lot of companies are selling about English, right? So yeah, people realizing that well, they can't learn English, they can't learn English with just a 1000 words, just without effort, having a good time, while they're sleeping, and that's impossible. Of course there are ways to make it simple, make it more simple and to make it easier. But yeah, it's not easy. If people were receiving so easy, everybody would speak English. It's not easy. You need to make a big effort and you need time. You need to spend time and you should make a big effort. It's like for example, when you're training for a marathon, it's something very hard and have people say, "Hey, how can you do that? Are you going to run 30 kilometers alone with this cold in an hour? How can you do that?" Well, but you have a goal, your motivator. Vanessa: Yeah. So having that motivation? YouTalkTV: It's difficult and you need a big effort. If it were easy, nobody would be watching this video here. Absolutely. We wouldn't be here And it's a long process and it's an ongoing process and there's a, there's some method, there's a couple of three companies here in Spain they're competing and one of them is saying, 'Oh, learn English. Learn very good English in only 15 minutes a day." Yeah. That's crazy. There's another one says Learn English only in 10 minutes a day, but there's another one that says learn English in only five minutes. Five minutes. They're huge companies with millions of dollars behind and trying to sell something that it's- They don't tell you if you're going to a couple of thousands of years so. It does. I think the underlying things that he's going to take you 80 years, a hundred years, the approach of the, they're focusing on, on showing or presenting English as something that is not fun or you just get rid of. Vanessa: That's kind of like a click bait title almost. YouTalkTV: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Vanessa: Just 10 minutes a day, but it's not the reality. Like you said you are not telling you the fine print. YouTalkTV: For example, in my case, well I learned English in a year well, I had a base, but I learned in a year spending 10 hours a day or 12 hours day, I think to me just a year- Vanessa: You were focused. YouTalkTV: I devoted all my time. But the funny thing I was going to say, the funny thing is that you've never been abroad. No never. Just you're on your own and never been abroad. So you, it's possible. Just, everything's possible. No. Vanessa: Something I noticed when I first watched your videos was how great, this is such a specific thing, but how great you're both for both of you, you're /R/ sound is. YouTalkTV: Oh yeah. Vanessa: It's tricky for everyone from every language background, but I can tell that, that's something that you probably really focused on. YouTalkTV: Oh yeah. Vanessa: And it really sets you apart from other people who are learning language because you focused on that and that 10 hours a day that you spent- YouTalkTV: Yeah. Because what been. Vanessa: Was worth it. YouTalkTV: Yeah. It was worth it. I remember very well even I remember even I used to record myself. Used to when I started, I used to- Vanessa: Great Idea. YouTalkTV: Record myself and compare, okay they are native speakers, said that is way or so car. And I listened to myself with this is a car, no. I cannot repeat. So I used to record myself so- And because our specialty now is to teach Hispanic speakers how to learn English and we have even classified out the letters and key and semi-key letters on, for example, we have the R being the number one key letter to make you sound a native speaker. Vanessa: It helps a lot. YouTalkTV: Oh yeah. A lot Absolutely. It is very common. The R is pretty much in every other word, but it's so character characteristic. And then in Spanish we, we make it sound kind of similar. It's like “rrrrr” you just put it, put it back. “Rrrrr” So it's really simple. Just change it. And there's the R and we have the L, which is a really defining sound in English like a pencil and table family, a little. And then the short, I just not to make it, not to say I like it, but I like it. To make it sound more like an A. and then when we have the S H like “shhh” Like she. And then we have the J like jacket, like the G sounds, those are five key letters. It took us a long time to learn and we've been focused that in past we used to focus on them for weeks and weeks and so, but we found out that just by changing those five key letters it pulls sounds going to make you sound good but understand way better. Vanessa: Yeah. YouTalkTV: Thank you for picking up on that. Vanessa: Well I like to share another tip, which is if you want to be a fluent English speaker, do not make excuses. I feel like from everyone, everyone has experienced making excuses or procrastinating, all of these types of things and I think the best thing we can do is to reword it in your mind. If you say, I don't have time, I'm too busy, which is a common excuse or it's too hard. If you reword that and say this is not my priority. Learning English is not my priority. Every time you make an excuse, you're saying that activity is not my priority.