Following on from the blog about the ‘autopilot’, this week I want to dive a bit deeper into ‘mistakes’. We all make mistakes, even sometimes in our native language. A mistake can come in 2 different forms: 1) things that are incorrect but don’t impede communication 2) mistakes that impede communication. Whether the mistake has to do with grammar, lexis, pronunciation or any other area it needs to be worked on if it is a category 2 mistake.
It is handy to know your own mistakes. How can you become more aware of them? Well..you will probably need someone who gives you honest feedback. Most of the time we don’t hear/see our own mistakes as they have been programmed in our personal ‘autopilot’. Making a list of mistakes could be a great 2nd step. Try to be as descriptive as possible about the mistake. Try to answer questions such as: Is it a grammar/vocabulary or pronunciation mistake? How does this mistake show up in my writing/speaking? What does that same sentence look like without the mistake? When do I make the mistake? It is a lot to find out but the more you understand what your mistakes are, the more you have specified them, the ‘easier’ it is to change.
Trying this with spoken language is trickier. However, you could record yourself while using English and later listen to your own use of the language, your personal checklist at hand. While writing you can decide to first write your whole text and then go through the points on the checklist step-by-step.
This will help you improve your English/Dutch and you will become aware of the areas that need changing in the first place.