5 tips to get you speaking

1. Sing!

It does not matter if you have ever sung before, do it professionally or absolutely loathe it when you are handed a microsophone at a friends’ or family gathering, singing is one of the fastest ways to ensure you start speaking. Singing works because of the catchy melody or the emotions being conveyed through music you are much more likely to remember the words than if you were just working on a vocabulary lesson. Also, if the song is associated with a music video you may be able to start connecting certain words with images giving them definitions and learning that way even without translation. Finally and most importantly, singing is a great way to hear the pronunciation of words and to repeat it ensuring there are a little to no mistakes. Just be wary! Although rarely, but sometimes singers change the stress or pronounciation of a word to better match the rhythm of the song, which, when repeated, may result in some funny real-life conversations.

2. Video chat with friends (or strangers)

As silly as it sounds, there are no better ways to start speaking than to simply start speaking. While not everyone may be able to emerge themselves into the culture of the language they are learning, chatting with other people who speak the language is available for nearly everyone. If you do not want to make mistakes in front of a native speaker, try speaking with your friends who know the language. On the other hand, if you feel uncomfortable with testing your knowledge in front of people you know, you can always use online chatting platforms to interact with strangers. Knowing that you will never see these people again or that you have the option to leave the conversation whenever you start feeling uncomfortable, might just be the confidence boost that you needed all along.

3. Listen to Radio

Similarly to singing, listening to the radio may help you pick up some great pronunciation. While it is not accompanied by pictures so it may take longer to start understanding the exact words being used in the radio shows, radio is great in its adaptability. You can listen to the radio in your car on the way to work, home or the store. You can have a radio playing in the background while relaxing for indirect learning or you can even listen to it during sleeping (although not scientifically proven to work on everyone and every time, why not give it a shot if you are not audio-sensitive?). Listening to radio also has the advantage of helping you acquire relevant  vocabulary on a much wider variety of topics, rather than songs that can get a little bit repetitive and rely heavily on rhyming and figurative language.

4. Mirroring

The best way to understand the structure of a phrase or larger body of words is to repeat it just like a native speaker would say it. In many languages, just like English, sentence structure can make it or break it. While you might be able to get basic meanings across through your communications, some of the things will sound unnatural or even will not make sense. In order to avoid these issues without having to learn a deeper gramatical background or reasoning for certain structures, simply try mirroring what native speakers or advanced language learners are using to apply it to your own learning process.

5. Record yourself

Many people do not particularly like to hear their voice when it is recorded but this method allows for a great learning opportunity that you might not want to miss. Record yourself saying newly learnt phrases and words, they might sound differently in your head but once you listen to it on recording you might notice small pronunciation mistakes that you might have missed otherwise. Use this to try and improve your pronunciation to avoid any awkward interactions in the future. Once you are done listening to the recording, simply delete it and nobody has to know!

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