Methods on speaking Practice?

So, I’m learning German and love using Lingq as an avenue of my acquisition. I really want to build up my word knowledge before I really start making speech a habit but, I’m wondering…how did you guys begin to practice speaking?
Shadowing the speakers? Memorizing Dialogs? Memorizing Phrase books?

I think that reading aloud the texts you already listened to many times is the best way to practice producing sounds. Which subject ? Anything you want to read aloud. Maybe a corrected writing is better than any other ones because it is the most interesting subject you want to talk about.
If you are ready, you will start to talk with tutors on Skype to practice speaking.

General comments below, I know others disagree, but, in my experience – this is effective for getting very good spoken results if you live outside of target language environment:

-as an adult learner you don’t get the same amount of (candid and direct) pronunciation feedback that native children get (from their parents and family, early school peers and childhood teachers),

-listening closely, in the initial stages, helps your speaking a lot, but it isn’t a be-all solution,

-native children have the advantage of closely watching their parent’s mouths when they speak, this is something you don’t get from listening and reading alone – invest some time in understanding correct mouth and tongue positions for sounds that are different to your native language (typically this only takes 1-2 weeks, if you do it right),

-record yourself when you read text and compare it to the native speech, this link has interesting tips on a methodical approach,

-invest in software that automatically records and corrects your pronunciation in the target language (Tell me more, etc)

-talking along with the audio file at the same time is sometimes useful, but the “standing up and walking at the same time” shadowing approach is not for me

-having a conversation partner, of the same sex as you, with a good native pronunciation is very useful, but is best if you have a A2+ level of vocab acquisition first

THere are different opinions about the point of beginning of speaking.
I started to speak English when I knew only 10 words(!), the rest of words I substitute with gesture - and it helped me to have very interesting and long(!) conversations with native speakers.
German I started to speak in my childhood when I could understand maybe 1000 words of the ‘childish world’ ans some words of the Grimm’s faire-tales that my granny read me…
IN French I can’t have a normal conversation till now though I know maybe 5000 words(!) because I don’t know grammar almost at all and that’s why I make several mistakes in each sentence and it irritates me a lot.
That’s why I strongly believe that you can start talking at any moment when you have a wish to do it.
Several fisrt times it would be difficult it doesn’t matter you know 100 or 10000 words - it’s like the first steps of the child, but a bit later it would be for you better and better.
If the tutor is skilled, he never would use in the conversation with you some very difficult words by your first skyping.

From evgueny40 : “That’s why I strongly believe that you can start talking at any moment when you have a wish to do it.”

I thoroughly agree !
To give you an example : I know only 2 words in Khmer ; this is enough to start vivid conversations !!! (I’m too polite to tell you what these words are…)

More seriously…

My vocabulary in Thai is rather limited, maybe around 3500 words.
Of course I have to use circumlocutions to express my thoughts, and my comprehension is far from perfect, but this doesn’t prevent me from having interesting conversations !

I’m currently learning Portuguese, and I’ve had my first conversation a few days ago. To be honest, I’m quite impressed by the level of the discussion !
Here is what I did :

  1. I chose a topic (it was “o fado”, a musical style from Portugal) ;
  2. I read the article from Wikipedia related to the fado and made a relatively long summary of this article, using words and expressions found in Wikipedia ;
  3. I studied this summary (I’ve a method to “memorize” long texts).
  4. Final step : I talked !

My active vocabulary in Portuguese is very limited, but the method described above helped me to apprehend my first (15-minute long) conversation with confidence.

killbill531, this is a good question, but I don´t have an answer for you, sorry, as I don´t speak in the language I´m studying much. I don´t even have skype loaded.

But I do have a question for JujuLeCaribou. What is your memorization method for long texts? In re “3. . . . (I’ve a method to ‘memorize’ long texts.)” If you at all feel like doing so, please explain it for us. In French would work fine, if that would induce you to write more than you would in English.

BTW, evgueny40 explains a very good study method in one of his lessons (Как работать с текстом - LingQ Language Library , Как работать с текстом–How to Work with a Text), but it is in Russian only at this point. (Evgueny, awhile back I translated most of this into English; I could hunt it up, finish it and give it to you, if it would be useful.)

Thanks for that link, Ernie, I hadn’t come upon that text yet, although I’m slowly going through all of our dear Evgueny’s collections.

I personally don’t care much about speaking, as I study mostly to gain access to foreign language literature, but I’m of the opinion that it’s better to have a silent period where you keep listening to correct/native pronunciation and acquiring words and internalizing grammatical structures, and then to start speaking. Of course you can start speaking whenever you want, but having a larger vocabulary to draw from is, IMO, much better.

Danke alles! I appreciate all of your responses and will certainly try them out. And I mean every single one of them because I am currently obsessed with the language, and I want to speak it yesterday. Thanks Again!!!

@ Ernie :

Here is a link where both the theory behind the method and the method itself are explained : How to Memorize Verbatim Text

I found many positives things while using this method, but the most important one is the fact that I do not “waste” time, waiting for my passive vocabulary to become active.
With this method, I can use new vocabulary and new expressions RIGHT AWAY ! There is no “gestation”.
The gap between passive and active vocabulary is CONSIDERABLY reduced.

You can, for example, use this method to learn from Assimil’s dialogues or from contents that you can find here on LingQ.

@iaing good points I will have to start doing that.

Thanks, JujuLeCaribou ! We’ll see how I do.

Elric, You’re welcome. Like you, I care more about reading, especially these last few years, but I do like to read aloud.

I recommend self-talk:

We all have our preferred ways of learning, and our needs and tastes are different. If you have a need to speak early, as in a classroom, or because you are in the country where the language is spoken, you will need to practice pronunciation. Speaking aloud to yourself, or recording yourself and comparing to the native can be useful exercises.

However, if you are not in need of speaking, then these activities can wait. There is only so much time that we have available for our language study. If we are full time learners, again we can spend time practicing speaking and writing from the beginning, just to keep things varied and interesting, but if we have limited time, at least for me, I prefer to focus on input, something I can anytime and any place.

However, for a part time learner like me, with an hour or so a day available, I don’t worry about speaking until I can understand fairly well, and have a decent vocabulary. The length of time required can vary. The more words I have, and the more I have listened to the language, and the more familiar I am with the language, the easier I find it to transition to speaking.

Whenever you start you will stumble, but the stronger your base, the sooner you will acquire some confidence. The more you understand, and the more words you have, the more interesting and authentic conversations you can have. The more you have heard the language, the easier time you will have imitating the sounds of the language when you start to speak.

As to how to move to more output, well that is simple, you just start doing it. I would recommended starting with our tutors at LingQ. That is what I did in Czech. After about 6 months of massive input I started with 30 minutes a week. I stepped it up after 10 months and eventually was doing an hour a day before my trip to Prague. I was able to converse in Prague and the final evening had dinner with a couple where we discussed a great variety of subjects very comfortably.