Writing & reading VS Speaking and listening

Pretty much everyone I talk to, including myself, thinks that speaking and listening is way harder than writing and reading. I find it really frustrating that I can write and have a basic convo with people in Russian but then go blank when speaking. My listening skills are OK right now but I sound kinda retarded when I try to speak Russian and make a lot of grammar mistakes I wouldn’t make if I were writing.

Anyway, why is it like that? Is it just that we tend to spend more time reading and writing than we do speaking? Or are there like two different mental pathways for language, the reading/writing side and then the speaking side?

I would rather speak than write. It’s not that I speak better than I write, but it is less tedious. When speaking, I just say something, correctly or incorrectly, and keep on going. In writing, I feel that I have to get it right since I have more time so I spend huge amounts of times looking up words and checking spelling and grammar points.

Sorry, I posted my post in the wrong thread! (EDIT)


I´m not a scientist, but I´m pretty sure that speaking, writing, listening and speaking are connected. Here´s a little experiment:

Try to read this sentence without pronouncing it mentally.
Now try to write a sentence without saying it in your head.

I´ve never heard of anybody who is able to do that, so there seems to be some connection.
In my experience, it´s all about practice.

When it comes to listening, I prefer to watch people play video games on youtube (let´s plays).
Let´s plays have a lot of context (including visual context) and speech with AND without subtitles.

And when it comes to speaking, I made the experience that singing along to music in my target language is quite helpful. I hear the same lyrics over and over again, I improve my pronounciation and, most importantly, I get used to producing foreign sounds.


Thank you so much for your response!

“Sub-vocalizing” is definately a great word.
I totally forgot about speed-reading when I wrote my post.
So…yeah…I stand corrected :slight_smile:

I´m not sure though if speed-reading is relevant to language learning, because I doubt that a lot of people are speed-reading in a language they can´t speak fluently^^

I think I always sub vocalize when I read in a foreign language. I am not sure helps me a lot in my speaking. I seem to be able to pronounce better when I saw vocalized then when I am actually in a conversation. I think we just have to accept the fact that when we start speaking we are going to stumble. We just have to keep at it. The more we listen and read and write, the better our grasp of the language becomes, and the more our brain gets used to the language. This prepares us for speaking but ultimately to speak well we have to speak often.

I suggest you don’t worry about the mistakes you make and just enjoy the fact that you are able to communicate. You will gradually improve.

Of course writing and speaking are intertwined to some degree. But they aren’t the same thing. If you want to speak better, you need to spend more time speaking.

I believe that Mike Campbell (the founder of the Glossika website and the Youtube channel with having this name ) has an interesting technique which might help us improve our language learning through reading out loud and recording what we read ( for more information :- YouTube ).