How to become more independent from the influence of your 1st language

This is something students often ask me about.

  • “You know, I wanna be as fluent as I am in my first language now.”
  • “… and what happens is that, you know, I can’t, because when I wanna say something in English, I first think in my first language, then I translate it.”
  • “It sounds like, you know, like copying the grammar structure of my first language.”

Well, yes. This is a reality. Our first language is very powerful, of course.

Our native language is the language we grew up with. We primarily experience and “see” the world through that language.

It’s the same world, but things are expressed in different ways and grammar structures in different languages.

And that’s where the difficulty is rooted.

And then, what often happens is that you may be using the logic of your first language, but the words of the foreign language.

For instance, if your 1st language is Spanish, there can be moments when you are saying English words, using a Spanish grammar structure, right?

In other words, you’re using vocabulary from the new language (English), dominated by the logic of the first language (Spanish).

And then you put the two together, and in English it just sounds odd, sounds weird, even if you’re using English words.

And it works the other way around as well, of course.

Now, what to do about it?

1-Minute Tip ⏳

If I want to become a fluent speaker in English, I need to get my thinking fluent first.

Thinking first, speaking second.

For better fluency, I need to slow down when practising.

I need to discipline my mind, because my mind works in a very fast way in my first language.

But in a foreign language, if I am learning the new language, I will need to slow down to train my mind to focus on the idea, find the right words, and get the grammar right before I speak.

If I want to speak fluently the way I can in my first language, building my thinking fluency in the new language is just as important.

Ideas come and go very quickly, and we jump from one idea to another.

If you notice that in a new language your 1st language (its grammar structures, expressions) interferes too often, that means you are trying to go faster than you can.

Get your thinking organized first, practise that way, and speed will come later.

Do you need more advice or help with it? Write me a DM, let me know, and I’ll give you more concrete guidelines on what to practise.

This content is authentic and it is not AI generated. I write it for you based on my 20+ years of teaching experience.


👋 Hi, I’m Gábor

I am an expert English pronunciation and speech fluency trainer. I facilitate English business communication between Spanish speakers and the world.

Talk to you next time 🙂

Gábor 🙂

Connect | Gábor Légrádi | MA, RSA/CTEFLA

Scroll to Top