I was surprised and could not speak. She said “since last few days I am watching you reading that stupid book. Do you think you are going to learn to speak by ‘reading’ a book? You will have to ‘speak’ in order to learn to speak, won’t you? Stop gesturing like a dumb person and tell me what you want. Come on! Just say it!” This was the first time someone had talked to me so authoritatively. However, in that authority, there was care, concern, and love. It was as if a mother was trying to imbibe good habits in her child. In a meek voice, I said “sandwich.” She said, “sANDwich, not ‘sAINTwich’. Say it again.” I tried to say it again and got it right the third time. She patted my hand and ordered a sandwich for me. From that day, she started encouraging me to ‘talk’ to her and other people rather than spend time reading. The mystery behind her keeping an eye on me was finally revealed. She knew that I was not using the right method to learn to speak. She was trying to find the right opportunity to tell me that.
From the next day, I went to the coffee shop with double enthusiasm and energy. I learn to converse in English without using gestures. The fear of being ridiculed vanished from my mind as everyone was encouraging. Most importantly, I stopped taking the book to the coffee shop. This is how I learned to speak English. I learned an important lesson in language from Jennifer and that is, one can learn to speak in a foreign language by ‘speaking’ that language and not by listening to it or reading it. How I Started to Speak in English.
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