Do you believe the phrase, "If you can write it you can say it"?

I recently read an article that made me think. I have been having some issues with speaking in my target language (reasonable ones for my level). I am having issues with constructing sentences in “verbal” communication. A bit ago I came across a blog that said,

"What many people don’t realize, though, is that one of the best ways to successfully speak a new language is to learn how to write it. Why? Basically, when it comes to a foreign language, if you can write it, you can say it. Writing practice is also the best way to learn how to speak your mind in a new language. Most language courses handle daily conversation and academic writing and do a great job of preparing students for speaking to people of a completely different background. Unfortunately, they cannot prepare anyone for the reality of actually figuring out how to say what you want to say at a moment’s notice, in a completely new language. Finally, what writing ultimately does for new language speakers is give them time to think and practice the language at the same time. Because there is no opportunity to sit and think about how to actually use a language when you have to speak it in conversation, writing helps you develop the ability to truly communicate. "

Definitively not !

You have SO much time to think hundred time about vocabulary and grammar before writing that’s it’s not comparable to speak where the speed is the key as you must answer instantly with the vocabulary you already know…

To assert that is so false that it become stupid !
Unless the blogger consider that it’s ok to speak hesitantly or with stuttering…

All extreme opinions are wrong, and your ‘definitively not’ is also incorrect.
It depends on your task and your time. If you aren’t going to write anything in the target language in the future, you can not pay attention to writing.
However, your writing skills can help you understand the structure of the language better. That’s why it helps also for your reading, listening and your speaking.
And of course, it can help you avoid a lot of mistakes that you make constantly if you only speak and don’t like reading and writing.
To sum up, writing is very useful but it needs a lot of time.

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I am working to understand what is the best way to practice making an argument or conveying a point of view? I believe its with speaking and writing. However, would writing serve as a more active way of doing such a thing?

Both methods (speaking and writing) are good for this. By speaking you practice the words that you’ve already learnt, but by writing you can add new words and be more accurate in the Grammar because you have more time for thinking.
But writing needs much more time and more efforts and not all are ready for it…

Thank you. I appreciate your input.

Well this doesn’t work for a language like Chinese for sure :slight_smile:

I hear that… Recently with my target I have been feeling more and more that writing helps me to develop what I want to say or even create arguments (simple or complex) in a stress free environment. If you are speaking Chinese to a native speaker you are on the clock to build your argument of what you are trying to communicate. In writing writing in Chinese you can literally take all the time in the world to develop your argument and consider how you would say things (visualizing it). Then you could practice it. I do realize that some people don’t learn Chinese characters because they don’t plan on reading anything…in that case it all depends on ones goals. Nevertheless, when going through the process of writing I feel that one practices building an argument so when speaking comes their already in the habit of building arguments with their vocabulary… they already practice… They are already in the habit of working that muscle of building arguments using the tool of writing. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a smooth-“er” process… I understand though that Chinese is very much so intonation based… and one could write perfectly or be able to write a good structured sentence but cant say it…for speaking/saying things… There is no way to get around the necessity of listening…and shadowing…as part of vocal and auditory conditioning…Writing does not do much for that…I never considered the idea of that vein utilizing the aspect of writing.

I found this article interesting. The Benefits of Reading Out Loud for Voice Actors | Voices


Especially with colloquials, that does not work that way. For formal writing you can’t use those, but in speaking if you don’t use them, you are blamed that you are speaking “out of the book”.

Fortunately, we don’t have such a big difference between ‘written’ and ‘oral’ language in Russian, besides, the language of our teenagers. Maybe because we had a great literature which influences deeply our colloquial language as well.
However, I think that you exaggerate the difference between formal and informal styles in every language. At least, you can’t be “blamed” if you are speaking “out of the book”. On the contrary, it shows your high level of the proficiencty in the language in case you know more than only a ‘street language’.

I am realizing and/or I forgot… That all languages are not made equal. I don’t foresee any issues with speaking the way one writes in English or Spanish as problematic. In English, in my experience being a native, it is even encouraged to speak in the same manner one writes. In fact, it is the proclaimed ideal. I happy for Evgueny40 comment, with Russian being my next language, I happy to be able to expect some similarities.

i don’t know, that was my friends’ comments, maybe in a friendly environment, it may sound uptight, may be snobbish in a place where there are many foreign engineering phd students

"… if you can write it, you can say it. "
I agree with the above statement.
Unless you can read it, you cannot write it.
Some people can say it, but cannot write it.
On the other hand, if you can write it, you can say it, albeit with your own accent.

I agree with this logic… It really boggled me down at first but after asking friends and family…bringing them into my world of language learning…and then furthermore reading research studies on the Impact of Writing on the brain… comparing with my own experiences… It resonates me that writing is a nice tool that provides a low stress atmosphere to practice the skill of thinking in another language which includes building logic, developing arguments and communication reasoning. The skill is or would be transferable and usable when it became time to speak (practice other skills). Interlaced language learning really works, Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing (not in order of priority. Priority is determined by a learners level).