Here’s a few tips to help you get comfortable speaking whichever foreign language you’re learning:
- Nail down the pronunciation and grammar. After all, they form the basis of language learning.
- Next, learn from the real world:
- Download 20 minutes of a news in your target language (e.g. French National Radio)
- Write down and look up any words you don’t know
- Practice repeating what you hear
- Spend 3 days practicing until you can speak as fast as the actual hosts
- Repeat this with 10 different clips
- Record yourself speaking and compare it to the originals
This may seem like an uncomplicated exercise, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Not only does it require a foundational understanding of the language, but it also requires a great deal of constant and painstaking effort. It’ll be challenging at first, since there might be pieces of sentences that you may not understand immediately. You’ll need to constantly scour the dictionary, work on understanding the inner meaning of the words and the grammar, and work on reciting the original text itself out loud. But the hard work will pay off. After so many rounds of practice, your listening and speaking will advance by leaps and bounds. Practice Makes Perfect!
Real talk: you have to figure out how YOU learn best.
Truthfully, everyone who learns a foreign language does so using the techniques that suit them but, in the end, their efforts are inseparable from hard work and perseverance. Every word you add to your vocabulary, every time you master another grammar concept, every time you train your ears, open your mouth to speak, translate exercises, read with purpose – each of those forms a block that builds up your language fluency and confidence. If anyone tries to tell you that you it’s easy to master a foreign language, don’t believe them.
Are you focused and disciplined enough to practice speaking on your own?
When you’re just one person though, it’s hard to find that self-discipline. That’s why practicing speaking with others can really help you keep on track. Apps like Tandem and Cambly give you a perfect platform to find native speakers to learn with — no matter where you are.
- With Tandem, you can simply log on, find someone who looks interesting, and give them a call. Easy as that. Tandem’s app helps you find native speakers of almost any language who want to learn your language in exchange.
- Cambly is a slightly different platform and is targeted more towards those learning English. 24/7, just log on and start chatting! Cambly’s tutors have a variety of backgrounds and come from Europe, Australia, the United States, etc.
If you want to apply what you’ve been learning, you can put yourself to the test by getting out there and speaking! Getting real-world experience is priceless. If you can’t travel abroad, these kinds of speaking platforms are the next best thing! So go find a tutor who shares your interests and start a real dialogue. It’s an incredible way to solidify everything you’ve learned and help you build confidence in your skills.