Hello girls! I hope you are having an amazing day so far. Today I am super excited to share with you some cool activities you can do as a beginner to practice your target language(s). This is a collaboration post with my friend Karina from Español a la Chilena. We thought about creating this post to help you take action and start working on your speaking skills even if you are just starting to learn the language.
If you are still not fluent, you don’t know people to practice with or if you are shy to talk to others as a way of practising, keep reading. These activities are not going to make you feel scared or overwhelmed, and you will enjoy them for sure.
So, let’s begin!
>> Read a dialogue out loud
This activity only requires you to grab a dialogue on a website or on a grammar book. You can pick up one according to your level, so if you are a beginner just search for easy ones to read. This is important if you are learning a foreign language with a different alphabet. In order to read the words in this alphabet in a more fluent way, you need to practice.
Once you have your dialogue ready, you have two options:
1) Read the whole dialogue on your own, changing your voice tone to differentiate the different characters talking. You can begin by reading the dialogue in a slow way, so keep out the pressure. Try to pronounce the words the best you can but don’t rush trying to sound fluent. Then you can repeat the process and read the dialogue again, this time a little bit faster. You can say the dialogue out loud as many times as you want, and maybe stop when you feel like you sound as fluent as you want to sound.
2) You can read the dialogue with a friend who is also learning the language. If you have no language partner in this particular language, you can ask someone who you think can help you as your siblings, mom, classmate or romantic partner. This will work well if the alphabet is the same as in your native language.
In both cases, you can record yourself while saying the dialogue. You can even record your first time saying it, and then record yourself again when you get more fluent. Then, compare the two recordings and see how much you have improved!
If you want to practice a specific accent, do it! Feel free to speak as you wish, remember that no one will judge you as you are doing it on your own (in case you decide to do this exercise alone).
>> Record yourself speaking random things
To do this you don’t need to be fluent nor have a wide vocabulary knowledge. Just think about a couple of topics to talk about (pick up the easiest ones or the topics you feel more motivated to talk about). Then, press the record button and start talking! Use the vocabulary you already know, even if it’s not a lot.
Don’t worry if your voice trembles, if you forget words, if you don’t know what else to say. If you find yourself in the situation where you can’t continue talking about a specific topic, jump to the next one! You can always include some keywords and phrases that will make you sound fluent, and also give you some extra time to think about what else to say. Some of them are: let me think about it. I don’t know what else to say about this. I mean. Give me a second, please.
Read my post How to Set Language Learning Goals for 2020
>> Write down an introduction paragraph
One of the first things we learn in a foreign language are the sentences to build our own introduction paragraph. Most grammar books, workbooks, online classes or courses for beginners start with phrases like ‘Hello, how are you? My name is _____. I am __ years old, I live in ____. I study at ____. My hobbies include ______. I am learning this language because I want to ______.’
The main purpose of creating this introductory paragraph is to help you introduce yourself to new people. But for me, doing this also helps you to practice your production skills. When you know exactly how to introduce yourself, and you have practised the words so many times, you FEEL more fluent. And once you start feeling fluent, you become more fluent. You gain the confidence to speak, even if you are a beginner. Your pronunciation and intonation improve, and this opens the doors to more improvement.
Apart from it, if you stop practising for a long time, and one day you want to start doing it again, saying your introduction paragraph out loud will be the perfect start button to coming back to your target language. Somehow you will remember the words, the sound, the pronunciation and the grammar patterns.
Just as in the dialogue activity, you can record yourself the first time you say it out loud, and then record yourself again when you achieve more fluency.
>> Singing your favourite songs
This activity will also help you to feel way more confident than before. You only need to have some songs you like in your target language. If you create a playlist on Youtube or Spotify, that’s even better! Then, search for the lyrics and print them or open them on your laptop or mobile phone.
You can begin by just reading the lyrics out loud, with no music in the background. Just get used to the alphabet, and words and sentences. Read them slowly if the alphabet it’s still too difficult for you.
Then, as your reading becomes more natural, try adding music in the background. Sing with the singer and imitate its pronunciation. You can do this at the beginning as well; listen to the song and pay attention to the pronunciation that the singer does. After that, you can imitate it by saying the sentences out loud.
When you already know the song by heart, you can try saying the lyrics with no melody as if you were talking to someone. This will give you more confidence to speak in your target language.
Read my post about how to Organize Your Notebooks to Learn Languages
>> Read articles of topics you love out loud
This is similar to the dialogue, but the difference is that in this case, you are practising while reading about a topic you love. As you may already know about the topic, it is easier to understand what the article or post says.
When I want to practice my pronunciation and reading out loud skills, I search for one specific topic. For example, when I wanted to practice German, I searched on Google the Netflix show ‘Dark’. I opened the Wikipedia article of it and changed the language to ‘German’. Then I started reading everything out loud. As I already knew the show, I could infer some words that I did not know before, so while I was saying them I knew what I was talking about.
Doing this helped me to remember those words easily because I was saying them out loud and as I pronounced the sound I knew the meaning.
If you don’t understand the meaning of words, it does not matter! I am sure you will find many of them that you will understand. If you continue doing this exercise, you will be able to identify more and more words and phrases.
Another thing you can read is a magazine in your target language. The other day I found an Italian women’s magazine, so I read some of the articles on their website. I could understand a lot of things and also learnt new vocabulary. And apart from it, as I read it out loud, I felt my pronunciation and fluency improving, so I felt more confident to speak!
Read my post How to Learn Languages Through Music
>> Read Karina’s post
If you want to read the other five activities to practice your speaking skills as a beginner in your target language, I recommend you to check out the post made by Karina from ‘Español a la Chilena’. She wrote down amazing ideas of exercises you can do to practice and improve if you are at a basic level. Click Here to read it!
Do you want to feel more confident to speak in your target language? If you don’t feel confident enough, fluent enough or you are too shy to speak, download now my free guide with tips to help you gain confidence in your speaking abilities. Just click the button below!
I hope you have enjoyed today’s topic and post. If you have any question just ask me on the comment section below. If you want me to write a specific post in the future, let me know too! I’ll be glad to help you more.
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I hope you have an amazing day, and see you on the next one!