This guide is for:
- people with anxiety; introverts
- people who don’t want to focus on their speaking skills first
- learners that don’t feel prepared to talk to natives
- people who are haunted by their mistakes even after 1215124 years
- others that i can’t think of now
Before i start, i want to mention that i’m the kind of person who prefers reading so i focus on my speaking skills last. From my experience, you can improve your other skills first because speaking will usually improve too. It won’t be as advanced as the rest of your skills but it won’t be as bad as you think it will be. The skills are interconnected after all.
Practice with another learner
The chances are, they are just as anxious as you and they won’t judge you. This choice is for people who still want another human being as their partner.
Talk with your pet or a toy
Talking to your dog or cat (if it gives you permission), maybe a fish or whatever pet you have can be a good way to practice. If not, you could talk to a teddy bear or a plant. You won’t get a reply but at least someone will listen to you. (or it will ignore you if you take into consideration the cat)
Talk to yourself
If you don’t want people to think you’re crazy, you can talk with yourself in your mind. Before going to bed when you have nothing better to do, you can talk about your day or about what bothers you.
Talk with a robot
Some time ago i was talking with a robot that was learning while talking to people. Its answers were a bit weird but it might be worth trying if you want to experience “a real conversation” on a chat with someone (something). Beside, i’m pretty sure Google has a list of such sites.
Read a lot and when you’re done, read a little bit more and then take a break for reading.
I mentioned earlier that all the skills are interconnected. Well, i think reading is the easiest skill to master and if you enjoy reading novels or fanfiction (read fanfiction~ i recommend it) you basically follow a conversation that could happen in real life. Of course there aren’t many chances to see Hagrid at your door and say “you’re a wizard” but books like Harry Potter have a lot of dialogue in them and it’s like you follow a real life conversation.
Just learn the pronunciation rules first so you know how to read properly with the right pronunciation. You can read in your head but be careful to sing some songs once in a while so you have the right pronunciation in real life.
I’ve tried this method with my second language (that’s English) and i can say that it’s pretty effective. It’s like your mind remembers every single sentence that you’ve read and makes a new one based on what you need. It remembers all the contexts that were used for a certain word but the only way to achieve this is to read a lot and for a few months.
Movies today, shows tomorrow, music the day after tomorrow~
Just like reading, if you listen to a lot of stuff, you’ll remember the right pronunciation and the context. The only catch is that it might be easier for you to remember faster if your audio has subtitles.
Talk to Voldemort
Listening and reading are passive skills so they need a bit more time but writing is probably one of the fastest ways to improve your speaking. Basically, you write down what you want to say. It’s like the silent version of speaking but when you write, you have more time to think of grammar and the right spelling. It’s the slow and silent version of speaking.
You can ask someone to look over your text or not. If you combine reading and writing, you will be able to figure out your own mistake after a while.
Writing is probably the skill that allows you to develop your thinking in your target language and when you start speaking, this ability will be helpful since you won’t waste Nth hours figuring out what you want to say.
Also, nowadays there are many sites that can check your texts. Some sites check the spelling but some check the grammar too.
If you want to improve your speaking, the best option is to combine all the other skills. Reading is the fastest one to master (in my opinion, at least), after you can watch videos on youtube and then you can switch to writing.
Note: For these to work, you need to be consistent with your studies. You should study (read, listen or write) daily. I tried them only 1 by 1 so i’m not sure what happens if you study all of them at the same time.