If you have been following us for a while, you know that we rarely make posts personal. However, I’ve decided to make an exception for this post and share my own personal experience with something that has helped me a great deal when learning languages: talking to myself. This is not something you often hear when looking for language-learning tips, but I must say that this was perhaps one of the most effective things I’ve done.
Speaking is an important skill to practice when learning a new language. But if you don’t live in a city where the language you are learning is spoken regularly, it can be difficult to find native speakers and time to practice on a daily basis. Yes, there are lots of websites where you can find language partners and teachers and it’s a really great way to practice. But of course, you have to set up a specific ti me to meet with them and it can be a bit impractical to do this every day in our daily busy lives.
When learning a new language, my favorite online teachers were the ones who asked me a lot of questions to get me talking as much as possible. A great teacher knows that I need to practice my speaking skills. I love it when teachers keep asking me questions to get me talking. Sure, I come out of those lessons exhausted, but they are incredibly helpful. On the other hand, some very talkative teachers often take over the conversation and talk about themselves for the greater part of the lesson. Don’t get me wrong, some of these teachers are captivating and are a real treat to listen to, but those sessions mainly become a listening exercise. Listening is also important, but it can be done in so many other ways, like listening to audio books or watching TV.
After realizing that being asked a lot of questions was the best way to get me talking and to practice my speaking skills, I also realized that I could actually do this on my own. Why not ask myself a lot of questions? This may sound funny, but hear me out. There are countless lists, websites and apps of interesting questions to get conversations going between friends. Simply type “questions” in Google or in your apps and you will find more questions than you can answer in your lifetime. You can get random questions about any topic. It can be really fun. You can simply take a list of questions and answer them out loud in your new language. By doing this, you get almost all the benefits that you would get from a real conversation. You get to think for yourself in your new language and force yourself to create your own sentences. You will often struggle, but you can look up the words you don’t know and practice your pronunciation without any embarrassment, because you are totally alone.
Of course, this doesn’t replace real conversations entirely, real people are important. People will motivate you, make you fall in love with the language and provide immediate corrections when you make mistakes. They will also react and ask you to elaborate on what you are saying which makes things more interactive. After all, what’s the point of learning a new language if you’ll only speak to yourself, right? However, speaking to yourself can be a great filler when you don’t have the opportunity of speaking to someone and it can be done even if you have only 10 minutes or so. Just pull out your list of questions, and start talking. The convenience of this exercise is astonishing. Hope you find this tip useful!
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