You can study your notes and talk to yourself all you want, but if you don’t put your target language into practice, you’re not going to get anywhere. If you’re just a student, this can be difficult, as you probably don’t have the time or the resources to get proper practice with a professional. In this post, I’m going to talk about what you can do to get practice in speaking a foreign language.
1) Your friends and family. If any of your friends or family is learning or fluently speaks the language you’re learning, they can be a useful asset to you. Talk to them in your target language as much as you can, and only use English (or your native language) to ask questions that help complete unfinished thoughts. Doing it with your friends can make the process more fun, but be careful, because it could be really annoying to others who don’t take or speak the same language. This is undeniably excluding others from the conversation at some level.
2) Language exchange websites. These can be also really helpful, because they have entire communities full of people learning a language just like you. More than likely, these people are willing to help you out, and probably want your help with a language they’re learning as well. Keep in mind that some of these sites cost money to use, although they’re usually relatively cheap. The only 100% free one I’ve come across is WeSpeke. Other sites like italki and Verbling are pretty helpful, as they have larger communities that are pretty easy to join and use for practice, and you can ask more questions about grammar, idiomatic expressions, culture, or anything else you need to know. Thanks and courtesies to lingholic for having info about the last two sites.
3) Studying or going abroad. Yes, I know, it’s an expensive method, but you fully immerse yourself in an environment where you are forced to use the target language. Furthermore, if you’re studying abroad as a part of some program, you’ll probably be put with a host family that lives in a community that lives with culture and uses the language you’re aiming to learn. This makes it a lot more helpful, because you’d be using it in a real-world setting, outside the classroom.
So, that’s all I have to say for today. Please comment!