Do you want to learn the Spanish language fast? In this piece, I’ll demonstrate how to use any foreign-language task as speaking practice.
Speaking practice: learn to communicate
Even if you don’t have a conversation partner, chatting to oneself counts as practice. The majority of language learners aim to be able to converse in a foreign tongue in casual settings.
However, they usually spend most of their study time on grammar and translation with little to no speaking experience.
Speaking is typically the ability that is most neglected in their study plan. It can be due to a lack of time or resources, a concern that it is “too early to speak with people before I study up to a particular degree,” or both.
Use this study planner to plan your Italian studies in the most efficient way possible given your time constraints and financial constraints.
Too early to practice speaking?
Speaking should be practiced right away, according to Polyglots. This is what separates successful pupils from unsuccessful ones. You have to start talking right now. Because that day will never come, you cannot wait to be “ready.”
Traditionally, we picture learning a language for years until being “ready” after having learned so many words and conventions. That won’t ever occur. Instead, speaking is a skill that is learned via practice. It also aids in the development of other crucial abilities like reading, writing, and listening.
I strongly suggest you take the modest step required to make it happen if you have studied a language for more than a year and haven’t had the chance to speak with a native speaker yet (due to fear, insecurity, shyness, or something else). Like eating lots of veggies as part of a healthy diet, you should center your study regimen around speaking.
Speaking practice? Can’t I just read and listen silently?
I informed you that I translated. Since I translate documents, I don’t often remember new words I encounter. I don’t memorize them; instead, I save them in the term base of the translation tool I use. That is because I am not reading them aloud and they are dull texts.
Reading aloud engages your brain in ways that silent reading does not, and it also demands more effort. Similar to this, practicing speaking fluency is considerably more effective than passive activities like listening or watching.
When reading to learn a language, I always read aloud even if it is not necessary for the task or circumstance. It is best to speak to another person.
To gain some speaking practice, go pester someone with your new words! You should always study in regions where you are allowed to communicate as a result.
That’s why I’d never study a language in a library or a school’s communal study area. For the same reason, I seldom ever watch movies or listen to music to learn a language unless I can repeat what I hear.
Okay, but whom should I practice speaking with?
If there aren’t any local speakers of your target language available, you can still use Skype to communicate with a native speaker from the comfort of your own home. Spanish, or any other language, can be learned extremely successfully totally through Skype.
That’s how I generally operate. Italki gave me access to the largest pool of teachers, and the vast bulk of my lessons was with instructors I found there. There are many teachers and exchange partners available for all the major languages, whereas some smaller languages only have a few teachers.
Paid lessons or language tandem?
Enroll in professional, paid Skype classes if you have the money. As an alternative, you can pair up with a fluent speaker of the language you’re learning and someone who is learning your mother tongue to tutor each other over Skype. It’s useful preparation for public speaking in either case.
The best location to discover tutors and native speakers are Italki. Italki is a service for online language learning that links teachers and students through video chat.
Teachers can find work as freelance tutors on the website while students can utilize it to find online tutors for one-on-one tutoring. For 1-on-1 courses in any language, at any time, and from any location, Italki links more than 2 million language students and teachers worldwide.
With more than 1000 professors and 2000 community tutors teaching more than 75 languages, including Italian, Italki makes learning any language simple, enjoyable, and individualized.
Once you’ve located those folks to practice and learn from via Skype, you’ll have no excuse not to make progress as rapidly as possible, with your speed defined by how many spoken sessions you get and how intensively you learn. There are also various online language schools, such as Bric.
I prefer individuals who focus on a single language. To take part in a live online lesson, you will require the following materials:
- A quality webcam
- A noise-canceling headset
To keep your focus and motivation you need:
- A mug
- A t-shirt
How can I practice speaking if I’m alone?
I advise you to use nearly all of your study time for speaking practice, even if you don’t have a tutor or a discussion partner. You could, for instance, read aloud whatever you hear, read, or write, turn speaking from reading.
Reading. Whether it’s an internet article, a book, a textbook, or your schoolwork, read everything out loud. Some language-learning programs, like Babbel or Duolingo, show sample sentences without asking you to read them out.
As a result, people silently complete the drills before whining that they forgot everything. The misuse of the learning resource rather than the resource itself is the issue. Turn your writing into a speaking engagement.
Writing. Writing short essays and sentences in your target language is a fantastic method to use the vocabulary and grammar you’ve acquired to reflect on the language as a whole. To get the most out of it, read everything out loud as you write it and after you’re done. Read out loud the revised version of your schoolwork if you have the chance to have it fixed.
Convert your listening into speaking
Listening. Every time you hear music or the news in Spanish, see a documentary or a movie, repeat after the speaker, and possibly take notes to help new words stick in your memory. Take your time pausing the music, video, and audio if required. Don’t allow such words to only reach one ear.
While doing housekeeping, my Korean acquaintance would tune in to an English-language radio station. She’s made no progress, and I’ve never heard her speak a single line in English. I have personally tested that. Invest all of your study time in speaking exercises.
And you ought to be able to understand most of what you read or hear. I used to drive throughout Italy listening to a CD of Chinese children’s songs that I had bought in Taiwan. That did absolutely nothing for my Chinese because I couldn’t make out most of it. The melody comes to mind, but not the lyrics.
I had to read the lyrics, comprehend them, and sing along to ultimately learn and remember them. This is because practicing your speaking skills—even by yourself—activates several brain regions more effectively than passive reading or viewing.
Enjoy your audio or visual entertainment, but if you want the songs or scripts to linger with you, try to comprehend the majority of what is spoken and sing or speak along with the music.
The addition of speech to all study activities (reading, writing, and listening) improves the other skills involved, such as aiding with the memorization of new terminology. This is because speaking offers your brain a deeper impulse.
Can I seriously improve my speaking skills with no guidance?
You can get assistance with speaking practice even if you’re alone! In reality, you may enhance your public speaking abilities by taking one of the many audio courses that are available.
Spaced repetition, which encourages you to hear and repeat specific words and patterns at regular intervals, is the foundation of all of these courses. They all seem quite natural and almost too simple to be true; they teach you how to express things. This is referred to as “comprehensible input” by linguists.
All you need is comprehensible input
Monkey Island, a computer game from the 1990s, provides a funny illustration of learning through understandable information. The main character, a young pirate, fights in a single bout with several seasoned pirates at one point in the game. Instead of using fencing to defeat your opponent, use clever insults and even clever retorts to those insults.
At first, you just lack the vocabulary to express yourself, and you lose the initial fights with ease. However, if you overhear a witty comment, you can use it against your following adversary. Even if he gets it right, you still lose, but at least you’ll know how to get it right the next time.
This enables you to quickly diversify your toolkit until you can outsmart every challenger. You can create a game to learn Italian or any other language by swapping out insults for everyday terms and pirates for native speakers.
Be crazy, talk to yourself
Finally, we find that there are many possibilities to practice speaking when we widen the meaning of “speaking practice” from “discussion with someone” to “simply saying something in the target language.”
So, while you’re chatting to yourself in your room, on the street, or the train, don’t worry about what other people might think. The only time you’re mad is when it comes to languages, though. By the way, I can suggest the top nootropics for language acquisition if you wish to increase your mental capacity.
What is language immersion?
A kind of bilingual language instruction known as language immersion in the classroom uses two languages to teach several disciplines, including math, science, and social sciences.
Language immersion programs regard the second language as a tool that may be used to fully immerse the student in the subject, in contrast to standard language teaching methods that approach the language as merely a subject to be taught.
You do all of your daily activities in your native tongue in the actual world; you carry on with your typical activities in a different language (not necessarily in another location, though it is preferable). Take the train, go to the gym, meet friends for coffee, and rent a dive in the city.
You can even buy food and toilet paper from the store below, the only distinction is that you complete everything in a foreign language (Spanish, for example). It’s crucial to remember that language immersion does not only mean being passively exposed to it. Something can be all around you without ever having contact with it.
Even if you listened to an audio language course while you slept, you wouldn’t learn anything. You might sit for hours and watch television or listen to radio programs you don’t understand without ever learning anything.
Long-term living and travel both take time to pay off.
I am aware of numerous ex-pats who have spent years living abroad without picking up their native tongue. Being present merely does not qualify as immersion.
Benefits of language immersion for speaking practice
Here are some of the educational advantages of language immersion:
- Because it enables children to reach high levels of speaking and literacy, immersion programs are a fantastic approach for pupils to learn a new language.
- Students are immersed in both language and culture in the classroom, which helps them develop a deeper understanding of various customs and viewpoints.
- Students who have had an immersion education outperform their non-immersion peers on standardized examinations.
Here are some cognitive benefits of language immersion:
- Students who participate in immersion programs develop more adaptable thought processes and superior problem-solving skills. They can think of multiple solutions when an issue arises. These abilities students acquire through immersion education make them more marketable to potential employers when they enter the workforce.
- As a result of the mental challenge they experience in an immersion classroom, students’ executive function (cognitive control) improves, enabling them to concentrate better, manage numerous tasks, and adjust to changing circumstances.
- Bilingual people are better at assessing their language abilities. They learn that there are at least two ways to say the same thing (how many ways can you say “please” in Italian?) and the relationship between words and their semantic meaning. They are better able to focus on meaning and only take into consideration relevant information when there is distracting information present.
- Fluent bilingual students are more able to communicate. They are more able to identify and meet the needs of others. Exposure to cultural variations may facilitate communication with a variety of people and teach them to value the differences and cultures of others.
- Bilinguals outperform monolinguals in mental manipulation tests because they have greater mental flexibility. They are more vocally expressive, exhibit nonverbal intelligence, and respond more freely to open-ended questions than monolinguals.
Language immersion: online and offline, at home and abroad
Without leaving the country, anyone can study Spanish or any other language. There are numerous ways to be exposed to it because of the internet. Lack of funds or travel time is insufficient defense.
However, it makes sense to “live” in that language while traveling abroad.
Social interaction is made simpler, safer, and more practical through virtual immersion. You could wear pajamas and talk in a foreign language in bed if you wanted. You can also get in touch with other speakers from across the world.
The country from which you want to meet individuals is your choice. Online immersion is also more private. Both a chat session and a Skype contact can always be erased. Do you want to learn a language just to use it for Internet communication?
In the real world, being surrounded by native speakers gives you significantly less control. You’ll meet different people in various locations, and if something goes wrong, you can’t just end a conversation session.
Additionally, putting yourself out there in the real world is considerably harder than it is online. When communicating online, you may be sure that the other party is also learning the language and will be kind and patient with you if you make mistakes.
In actuality, that is not a guarantee. Before you start a conversation, there is no way to predict if the other person will be patient or open.
The benefits of virtual immersion are less significant because it is safer and more controllable. Yes, you practice speaking one-on-one with a real person, but you don’t gain the cultural understanding or bond that comes from face-to-face contact.
Your desire to make friends and engage in real-world interactions with individuals from around the world is probably your main driving force for learning a language. Do you want to study Italian or any other language, just so you can communicate with people online?
Language immersion: the earlier, the merrier?
In general, it is best to start learning a language (like Spanish) in its local setting as soon as possible. Consider infants. total immersion from the beginning. All that speaking practice is impressive!
However, the native environment can be difficult if you’re still at an elementary level.
Locals can be reluctant to speak with you, particularly if you are in an English-speaking country or if they don’t seem particularly interested in you, your home, or your culture. When I lived in the Far East, I had celebrity-like experiences.
At foreign parties, I was the center of attention, and I always left the party speaking more fluently than when I had arrived.
But even after just two months of studying German in Berlin, I was unable to carry on a meaningful discussion because being Spanish in Germany is neither exotic nor unheard of. I became discouraged by that and eventually gave up on German.
Don’t use your native language
Utilizing your target language (in this case, Spanish) as much as you can is referred to as language immersion. On the other hand, you should try to limit the use of your native tongue. I strive to avoid using my mother tongue. Examples of this include taking notes and reading the news.
I carefully check the ingredient list on every product, cosmetic, and medication I use because I am a label reader. If the label is available in more than one language, I always read it in a foreign language.
I only read the drug’s label in Spanish if I don’t understand and don’t want to die. I set up each language-learning program (computer, phone, etc.). I tend to click at random when I don’t comprehend something. Whatever happens, it won’t blow up!
Learn every day, and not alone
The same perseverance is needed to learn Spanish or any other language for that matter. Make time (30-60 minutes is plenty) to learn that language every day rather than resting for six days, waking up on Sunday with a desire to acquire new words, and studying all day.
Never miss a day of using that vocabulary. I make an effort to spend more than half of my study time talking to other people, either for information exchange or taking lessons.
Language immersion works under the right conditions
It all boils down to what you need to learn a language. Are you aiming for fluency or are you content with being functional? Do you work a 9 to 5 job or do you travel the world? Everyone has various requirements and objectives when learning a language. So, integrate the offline world and the online in a way that makes sense for you.