Think in English and become more fluent by connecting the language you learn directly to your world.
Often, your native language gets in the way of learning a new language.
To some extent, you always have to go through your native language to get to a new language. But sooner or later, your native language starts getting in the way. Trying to learn through it becomes like "scratching an itch through your boot", as the Chinese saying goes (隔靴搔癢).
So we need to get our native language out of the way. When we do, we can start to live in a new world—we can think in our new language and become more fluent. Easier said than done, surely! How do you do this? By connecting the language you learn directly to your world.
Let's imagine, for example, two Japanese learners of English: "Mr Think-in-Japanese", and "Mr Think-in-English". Mr Think-in-Japanese learns English vocabulary like this:
So when Mr Think-in-Japanese is trying to speak English, and wants to say, "dog", he has to think 犬 first, before he can remember the word; when he is angry, he has to think 腹がたっている before he can say how he feels. This adds an additional, confusing, time-consuming step to all his thinking. No wonder he speaks English rather slowly (and probably in a way that sounds more like Japanese).
On the other hand, Mr Think-in-English learns the same words like this:
Mr Think-in-English is very quickly going to get much better at English than Mr Think-in-Japanese. He is teaching himself to think in English; his cues and prompts are the real things he wants to talk about – real dogs; his real angry feelings – and he goes directly from those things to the English words when he needs to talk about them.
You should learn English like Mr Think-in-English. You can do this with nouns (dog), verbs (get angry, be angry) or adjectives (tired) - you can do it with any kind of language at all. You might need to use more energy; to mime; to talk to yourself; and to do a lot of imagining. Connect new language directly with as many parts of your real world as possible. The extra effort is worth it – it will make your English better!