How to begin output

I’m totally on board with Steve’s paradigm about input being the vast majority of language learning over output and grammar.

I also understand that it’s probably like a pyramid, with the base of most of it input and the top output, grammar and memorization.

I’m three months into learning Spanish and I know that I’m nowhere near ready to attempt to force myself to speak or write it,
But I’m curious how I can begin some output in small ways.
Such as maybe writing a sentence or two a day out of memory?
Does anyone have advice on how to slowly and gently begin at least some speaking/writing when new to a language, without forcing it and making it frustrating?

Thank you for any help out there.

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Hello every body,
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read outloud

I think a few nice ways to just output a few words and sentences every once in a while. I think songs in target language are great. Sometimes while reading, you can read aloud (this is always harder than you would think). Copy some native speakers from a video or audio file that you enjoy. It’s fun to imitate the voices (maybe I’m a little weird with this? :p).

If you opt for a conversation or talking with another person, just remember that it’s best to keep your speaking simple at first. Just get your general message across. The more frustrating part will be figuring out what the other person is saying to you. This might change at more advanced levels when you start having conversations about more specific topics and there is one word you just blank on. I’d also say, make sure you try to look at the person you’re speaking with. I think a lot of people have a tendency to look up or away because they’re thinking too much about what words they want to say or trying to translate something in their head. I think this makes you lose out on some good feedback you can get from your conversation partner’s reactions, habits, and gestures.

Personally, I think writing requires by far the most deliberate practice of any of the language skills. There isn’t a way to work on it otherwise. I would leave it until later, but there is no reason you can’t start it early in the process. I just feel like I write much more efficiently once I know the language better. That’s a personal thing, and I don’t know if it would actually be much more beneficial to write more often in the beginning. Could be?

I’d say the most important part is to figure out what about speaking frustrates you. I find it’s usually that adults feel embarrassed that they can’t express themselves as well as they want to. Just let that go and remember that you’re essentially a baby in the language. Why would you be able to speak well without doing it a lot? You can’t!! Just don’t force yourself to say unnecessarily complex sentences. If you’re a beginner, use your beginner sentences. As you get more comfortable, the more complex sentences will just start to come more naturally.


Thank you, this was so helpful.

You can try to describe things about your day, or what you did yesterday. Doesn’t have to be with anyone, just speak to yourself. Try to figure out how you would describe what you will do with your limited vocabulary. If you don’t know the correct word, is there a way you can still describe something, but in a way that uses your vocabulary that you know? i.e. You might not know the word for bird…but you might know the word for “thing”, and maybe you know the word “to fly”, so you might describe a “flying thing”. OK, that might describe a few different things, but you can also use gestures. Then you can look up the word later, but I think it might be helpful to try and find ways of describing things indirectly…if you were to communicate with people in the target language you might need to think a little abstractly in that way.

I’ve also thought it might be a good idea to write a daily journal.

Or read a passage in the target language and try to “present” it to someone (maybe just yourself). Can you describe it or something similar to someone (yourself).

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If you want to practice, do not invent language. Just use “collocations” and “full simple sentences” that you have read and heard many times.
That’s how I am “outputting” in German language and am still focusing on how my German counterparts speak and phrase their sentences. I still pay a lot of attention to listening. For example, yesterday my German counterpart said " Berlin ist sehr teuer." In reply, I said, “Soest ist nicht teuer.” I did not invent the language just replaced one word(sehr with nicht) in order to express my overall meaning.