Speak Speak SPEAK, all the way to fluency! (The Language Learning Paradox)

good app to practice writing, I use that.

“Over 1,000,000 words of reading. 500 hours of listening, somewhere around 30,000 words of writing”

Not sure if that’s a typo, but, to be honest, that’s really not a lot of listening.

My view - if you are not in the environment of your target language, being too focused on speaking is often counter-productive.

Take opportunities as they come, focus on listening to natural dialogues. Practice reading them out loud for 5 mins a day or so. Record yourself. This is a practical approach. Above all, do a bunch of listening. Together, it’s all you really need, you’ll get to a high speaking level.

Skype is often a waste of time, no matter how you do it.

Sanne’s advice was good, I thought.

Wow! An app! I’ll download it when I have a chance. Thanks, friend!

“Record yourself.”

Not going to lie, this is a hard thing for me. I’m subconscious about speaking and making mistakes, but I have to get over it! Striving for perfection every time can make my progress slow and unproductive. Right?

The more input you have, the better you’ll get, the better you get the less self conscious you will be.

Forcing yourself to output when you are not ready for it, or don’t enjoy it, is not really productive, but can be ok to do to get yourself out of a comfort zone.

Most native speakers will spend 20-30,000 hours listening before making any serious attempts at conversation with a lot of people, and, even then, most will be shy about it and won’t be very good. Nothing to be worried about, perfectly natural, it’s how pretty much everyone learns language.

It would be for me very BORING - only to speak!..
Like in my native language, I would speak, and read, and listen, and write in any language which I’m learning.

Wow, I never stopped to add up the hours a child hears her/his native language before the gradual shift to being conversational. Seeing the amount 20-30,000 hours written down is an eye opener.

thank you for your input . It is good to hear other views on language learning. In my opinion, 500 hours of listening is nothing to overlook. A lot of times we can find number online of how much listening Is required and we get some huge number. But I believe the amount of listening required is relative to the learner. with 500 hours of listening under my belt, I can watch any television program, without subtitles and understand anywhere from 90%-100% of everything. I can function in any real life Spanish environment and communicate proficiently , understanding what is being said. Of course I continue to listen each day, I really feel 1000 hours of listening for me would take me right where I want to be.

My argument is speaking is its own category which needs to worked on. Listening can only help your speaking to a point. Trust me, there are Spanish speaking kids who grow up in Spanish speaking houses hearing Spanish all the time but they spent most of their life speaking English because they live in America, and they can’t speak Spanish very well, only understand it. That has to be the most frustrating thing, to understand but can’t speak.

The approach that you suggest will bring your speaking ability along very very slowly. When your not living in the country, you have to speak if you want to better your speaking, if not then you just have to wait until you go to the country and can better it then.

Skype I believe is very valuable. When I started conversations on Skype in the beginning I couldn’t hardly say anything, after hours of speaking on Skype I can now express myself very well. When you have partners you can speak with many times and get into different topics, these are authentic conversations that you would encounter in real life as well. I have also met people who have never left their country and only spoken through Skype and has reached a high level of speaking. Skype is a good source to aid and help boast the lack of your daily life encounters of speaking a language.

If you really want to gain a native accent then recording yourself can help. I like to get a good level of input in as well before I speak too much. Forget about perfection, and enjoy the fruits of communicating in another language.

Don’t be discouraged by numbers like that. As adults our minds are much more developed and doesn’t necessarily need that amount of listening input to communicate in a language efficiently. At least for me, 500 hours of listening, has me understanding 90% or more. Imagine what 1000 hours could do. But speaking can be done a long time before that, and it should be in my opinion, unless you want to spend 10 years just listening to a language.

Well, of course. All parts of language learning needs to be worked on. But Speaking can not be pushed aside, it must be given sufficient time of practice just like listening and reading.

“The approach that you suggest will bring your speaking ability along very very slowly.”

For roi on time invested, that wasn’t my experience. Opposite, in fact.

This last week they started a free 7 week course on edX La España de El Quijote.