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Natural Language Learning
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Speaking strategies: Respond to everything!

21 Aug 2012

In the introduction to my FREE ebook, I mention that developing speaking strategies is a very important step in reaching "fluency" (although, I'm not fond of that word!) in a foreign language.

But unfortunately, this wasn't the topic of the ebook so I didn't discuss it then - which is why I'm trying to focus on it on my blog now (see previous articles).

Some situations are more difficult to speak in than others!

Two of the most difficult are:

  • Over the telephone, and
  • In group of native speakers.

Even though I've been learning Polish for over 5 years, I still personally have trouble in both of these situations. But the strategy I'm going to give you today helps tremendously!

Read more to find out what it is!

3 super simple "speaking strategies"

21 May 2012

In the introduction to my FREE ebook, I talked about the three steps to speaking a language "fluently" (although, I'm not fond of this word!): (1) get the language in your brain, (2) overcome your fear of speaking and (3) practice speaking. (Like I mentioned in the ebook, these steps can be done simultaneously)

The game: Battleship
There is strategy in speaking too! Photo by Joe King.

Because the ebook discusses only the first of those steps, I've decided that I'm going to spend some time on my blog covering the next two. Today, I'm going to talk about #3: practicing speaking.

In this step, the goal is to develop and practice "speaking strategies" like circumlocution (for when you don't know a word), various conversational phrases to keep things flowing and even non-verbal tricks to make people more comfortable when speaking with you.

Silence is the one of the most uncomfortable things that can happen in a conversation, both for you and your speaking partner.

As a learner you might sometimes need a little extra time to process what you've heard or to form your response. But if the train conductor says, "Could you show me your ticket?" and you stare at them for 15 seconds without saying anything, it could get pretty awkward. :-)

In this article, I'm going to describe 3 super simple speaking strategies to avoid silence!

Read more learn what they are!

What to do when you don't know a word

8 Feb 2011
Read this text with BiblioBird!
Panic button
Is it time to panic? Photo by Mikel Manitius.

As I've written previously, learning vocabulary is the biggest challenge in language learning: there are almost an infinite number of words to learn!

Inevitably, you will be in a situation where you need to use a word that you don't know.

What should you do? Panic? ;-)

The short answer: circumlocution. The long answer: read the rest of this post!