6 Fun Ways to Practice Speaking
I bet you’ve heard about Couchsurfing. Just in case you haven’t, it’s an amazing community of travelers who allow other travelers stay at their place for a couple of nights for free. As a tourist you’ve got a wonderful opportunity to experience a local culture firsthand, get to know local people, their habits and way of life, as well as travel cheaply. As a host, you can meet various people visiting your country from all over the world.
I’ve been part of the community for 8 years now, and I’ve had only positive experience. I’ve surfed and I’ve hosted lots of people visiting my city. Every person has a story to tell, the more people you encounter the more you learn about different cultures, ways of thinking and lifestyle. It goes without saying that it’s the most natural way to practice speaking your target language.
Conversing with a native speaker of your target language in exchange for teaching him/her yours can be a real game-changer for your fluency if organized right, or a disappointment and a waste of time if not planned ahead.
Key rules to follow
1. Look for someone with the same language level as yours.
2. Be clear about your wants and needs from the start. Arrange a schedule and set time for the conversation duration.
3. Split the time equally between both languages.
4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The more you make, the more you learn.
5. Keep a list of conversation starters handy. Here’s a list.
Although you might think that only geeks speak to themselves, it’s a really beneficial activity. Come up with a subject to talk about, think it through, look up some necessary vocabulary and record yourself talking. First, it’s a great speaking exercise; secondly, listening to yourself may give you many ideas for improvement. On top of it, your recordings serve as a benchmark for future reference to track your progress.
If you’re lucky to have a life partner learning/speaking the same language as you, don’t miss your chance to use what you’ve learnt.
My husband’s studying German, so I’m trying to speak German to him whenever I can – while cooking, when going for a walk. It’s fun to talk even about simple things in a new language:)
If you live in a big city, you will definitely find language exchange meetings. It’s a great opportunity to meet lots of new people, make friends, practice your target language and surely, have lot of fun.
Here’s a link to such a meeting in Moscow
In my experience, there’s nothing better than a teacher who’s able to engage you in a challenging and engaging conversation.
In my language learning experience I’ve tried it all. All the options listed above do yield results. However the most consistent, structured and fruitful way for me has always been conversations with a professional tutor (coach).
It isn’t always easy and quick to find the right person, but if you do, it will pay off.
Which is your favourite way to practice speaking?