How to improve your speaking skills?
When learning a new language, practicing speaking can be challenging especially if you are not surrounded by the speakers of your target language. And even if you are, you might be shy, not confident in your language skills, maybe even feel embarrassed thinking you won’t sound good or you will fail in your attempt to communicate. It’s ok! Nobody says learning a new language and getting to a high level of fluency is easy. It’s natural to make errors, and you might make a lot of them, but you will get better with time and you will get more confident in your speaking. And if you are tempted to go back to the comfort zone of your first language, fight it! If you are attending a language course, use the language even after you leave the classroom!
There are many ways you can improve your foreign language speaking skills, here are some of them:
Practice with native / fluent speakers:
If you are communicating with the people whose level of your target language is higher than yours or they are native speakers, don’t be intimidated. Use this opportunity to ask people to correct you, repeat what and how they say things, imitate them. Find a language exchange partner, join a language meetup. Vancouver is such a cosmopolitan city and there are different language practicing meetup groups everywhere! And if you cannot attend those types of meetings, you can always find a Skype learning partner and practice your new language that way.
Language apps like Duolingo are also a great tool to improve your skills.
It might feel weird at the beginning, but recording yourself while speaking and detecting and correcting your errors can be of great help in gaining confidence and improving your speaking skills.
Watch movies with subtitles / Listen to music with lyrics:
Another great way of improving your language skills is through different media. Are you watching a foreign movie in your target language with English subtitles? Try to switch to the subtitles of your target language. Compare what you hear with what you read, repeat it out loud, rewind, repeat again.
When listening to music in your target language, you want to know what they are singing about. Look for the lyrics, translate them and sing along. Then try to use the new words and phrases you’ve learned in your next conversation in a foreign language.
Read out loud:
Whether it’s a novel or newspapers, read sentences out loud, repeat several times until you reach a good flow, look for the new words, expand your vocabulary and then try to use it in your next conversation.
Give a presentation:
One of the best ways of practicing your speaking is explaining something to someone. Are you interested in a specific topic? Research it, get familiar with the vocabulary related to the topic and then try to explain it to another person. Seems challenging? It is! But it’s a great way to practice.
OVERCOMING YOUR MENTAL BARRIERS:
Fear of being judged is natural and overcoming anxiety is hard. But don’t let it stop you. You will make mistakes and that’s ok. Keep going and you will get better. Be proud of yourself and the effort you are putting into your language learning. People will welcome your effort and even if you encounter criticism or a bad comment, don’t let it bring you down. It’s way easier to judge than putting an effort into learning a new thing. 😉
We wish you all the best in your future language adventures!