What’s a walking dictionary anyway? Let’s Walk The Talk!
When I ‘walk the talk’ with the sharp entrepreneurs who are incorporating their language learning into her fitness regime, I’ll often hear “Oh this is cool, it’s like having my personal walking dictionary”.
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You see as a confident speaker of German I am familiar with most words or phrases in both English and German because I use both languages interchangeably all day, every day.
So during our conversation, there is often ‘that moment’ – the one we all know and dread, that totally blank moment when you realise mid-sentence that either;
a) you have completely forgotten the word you need
b) you have never learned it or come across it.
Corinne to the rescue! Or not?
Many of my clients will say something as we walk in German and hope that I leap to the rescue. Some look up immediately to see if I will fill the gap and others know me well enough to know that I’ll probably give them some time, (minimal eye contact, no expectations) I’m not being cruel (Ok ok maybe a little bit) but really it is a chance, to see if you can find it yourself in this incredible brains of yours. I’ll keep us walking, letting you rack your brains.
Now as you will notice I deliberately said “learned or come across” because if you are exposed to enough English, you will have a lot of vocabulary and terminology in your head. Unfortunately, it is not all instantly accessible. Incredibly annoying don’t you agree?
This happens in your own language too doesn’t it though, so not as dramatic as it might seem.
Why can’t I access everything immediately?
Simply because you don’t use it enough.
Also just because you are familiar with a word in English does not mean that you know how to use it effectively.
Let me share an example from my own learning experiences with German.
I use the word in conversation and understand the word the meaning of and how to use the term “apropos” (meaning by the way, or incidentally) in German regularly. But having read an article in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, I realised to my horror, that it is not spelt ‘apropo’ which on reflection looks rather naughty doesn’t it with ‘po’ or bottom/bum at the end? I cringed as I realised how many times I had spelt this word wrongly in many SMS messages – I felt very silly. So, the moral of the story is to keep reading! Reading helps with spelling as well as vocabulary and grammar.
Reading helps with spelling as well as vocabulary and grammar.
So back to being a walking dictionary, I do of course help these business owners to find the words that they really don’t know. It helps to keep the flow of the conversation going, which is a great motivation booster in itself. As a native speaking trainer, one of my many roles is to help these incredible ladies to fill the vocabulary gaps in their conversation as we walk the talk.
As well as being a walking dictionary, I am also a walking secretary because I log the important ‘language feedback’ so that I can incorporate it into the online or mobile learning between sessions.
Often though, instead of filling the gap and robbing them of the learning experience, I’ll give them hints or remind them about when we used it last. The temptation is to stop in your tracks to try and find the word or phrase, but I keep you moving, it’s better for your brain.
How the brain works
You see as we ‘walk the talk’ our brains subconsciously take in all kind of things in the environment.
Our brains help us to remember by drawing our attention to what else was going on as we came across that word or phrase. Perhaps it was a beautiful Magnolia tree on our way, my rather wicked laughter, my rather grammatical explanations using trees or walking poles. Perhaps it was one of the language drills on the benches or steps. I maximise on all of this for the sake of your learning effectiveness and if you need a hint this makes it easy.
This is great for visual learners, making it super easy for the learners to recall the situation. It is almost like playing the replay button. It is easier to remember conversation situations outdoors because all of our senses are stimulated. Our brains are also being pumped with oxygen to keep them operating at maximum capacity. This is one of the reasons that I vary the routes that we go on, the change of scenery gives our brains more glue if you like.
So I’m a walking dictionary, walking the talk with you to help you discover the right vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation to get your message across effectively and authentically and even if it is raining, it is always a really enjoyable experience. (Don’t worry, if it is really pouring down with rain or ‘raining cats and dogs’, we find a cafe until the weather clears up).
A Time-Effective Boost for your Body and your Brain
We love the fact that it is a time efficient way to get our body and brain moving at the same time, it seems like a luxurious way to learn English and I’m proud to be a walking dictionary. I originally developed #languagenergy programmes in Bavaria back in 2007, in response to two very different clients that needed to learn much more effectively, I have been walking the talk ever since and don’t miss meeting rooms at all. Language Energy will soon be a registered trade mark too, exciting stuff.
Audio Version …