If you are learning Italian, Greek or another language, you will know that practicing your new language skills is essential. But finding opportunities to practice often seems to be a problem.
The four skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) need to be in balance in order to feel confident in any language and this is very rarely the case. Often the “speaking” part of the language is missing, the essential prerequisite of an active, fluent speaker.
Do you also feel as if you need more practice but have no-one to talk to? The good news is, you don’t always need someone to talk to to practice your speaking. Yes, there are things you can do on your own!
Many learners think they need someone else with whom to practice their language skills. Of course, if you have someone to have regular conversation with, that’s excellent, but if you don’t, there is still a lot you can do on your own. And often language learners don’t realise that. They concentrate on the more passive part of the language (listening and reading) but omit the productive, active part of using the language; writing and speaking.
Speaking a foreign language is indeed very much about SPEAKING and PRODUCING new content, rather then just COMPREHENSION of foreign words and meanings.You don’t need to have a pen friend and a native speaker to go for a drink with. You can practice and develop your active language abilities all by yourself. And it can be fun!
Just a few ideas; start writing a diary; observe the world around you, describe it, talk about your surroundings, about your work, about what your day was like, put your thoughts down, your wishes, your opinions about current affairs, etc. And do the same verbally. You might not feel comfortable talking to yourself out loud at the bus stop on the way to work, but you can do this perfectly well when you are alone, and you know nobody is watching (listening). Talk to yourself. Speak the language. Listen to yourself. You need to hear your voice, get familiar and comfortable with the sounds and speed of the language, and confident with what you are able to produce.
You can start by reading an article or a couple of pages in a book aloud, or even better, find a nice, short and comprehensible video on youtube ( a cooking program perhaps ) and after you have watched it once or twice, try to pause and repeat, (whether you understand or not) and later on just talk along, focusing on the intonation and speed of the speech.
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