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The four cornerstones of language learning, part 4: Speaking

February 23, 2018

In the three previous parts of our “The four cornerstones of language learning” blog series, we have given tips on how to improve your foreign language listening, reading and writing skills.

This is the final part of the blog series, and it covers what may be the most difficult part of language learning: speaking.

Speaking a foreign language may feel scary, but there’s no need to be too nervous about it. When you are travelling and talking to locals, they are already impressed by the fact that you are trying to communicate using their language and that you have made an effort to learn it.

When you speak to somebody, it doesn’t really matter if you make small mistakes. You both want to understand each other, and one wrong word goes by quickly – so it doesn’t matter if you don’t use the right preposition or the best word for that exact context. The main thing is that you use the language and get your message across.

Blunders can even be a good thing when it comes to learning because you probably won’t make the same mistake twice. So, if you don’t remember a word when talking to somebody, look it up in a dictionary afterwards. Most likely, next time you need the word, you’ll remember it clearly.

You can train at home by writing a short personal introduction and practising it. You can also write down some useful lines that you can use when eating out in a restaurant. Practising the lines gives you more self-confidence in the actual situation.

For example, write down how to say things like these:

  • Do you have a table for two?
  • What is on today’s menu?
  • Do you have a high chair for the baby?
  • May I have the check, please?

Imagine various possible situations and what phrases you might need in them. What would you say if you were lost or couldn’t find your suitcase?

When you have prepared for different situations in your mind, you will be able to respond more quickly in the actual situation. The more you practise and the more self-confidence you get, the easier it will be to start a conversation in a foreign language.

You should also bear in mind the tips we have given in the previous parts of this blog series. They are all helpful for developing speaking skills, too. Read the previous parts of the blog series:

Part 1: How to improve your listening skills

Part 2: Reading

Part 3: Writing

Director, Learning Material & Customer Relations

Language loving coffee addict and communications professional haunted by eternal wanderlust.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Kenneth Fowler March 5, 2018 at 19:07

    I am mainly interested in learning SWEDISH in order to be able to read the hundreds of letters my wife (who died in September last) received from her family and friends. I am not altogether unfamiliar with the language (and my pronunciation isn’t too bad) but I need to expand my vocabulary. I had an extensive correspondence (in English)with my wife (who spoke 10 foreign languages fluently!) in the five years before we were married. I am writing a book about her her with extensive extracts from her letters).

    • Reply Iida Uuppo March 6, 2018 at 10:52

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thank you for your touching comment!

      That sounds like a wonderful idea! I think our Comprehensive Swedish -package would probably suit your needs. There you can choose the level of your studies, so you don’t have to start from the very beginning.

      You can find the package here: https://www.worddive.com/en/learn-swedish

      WordDive is a great way to enhance your vocabulary.

      Enjoy your studies!

      Best Regards,
      Iida
      WordDive-team

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