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Anna Me
Professional Teacher
Learning Article : Speak Foreign Languages Fast: A Self-study Guide For Beginners

Discuss the Article : Speak Foreign Languages Fast: A Self-study Guide For Beginners

Speak Foreign Languages Fast: A Self-study Guide For Beginners

Here are 5 steps aimed at boosting your speaking confidence. No matter whether you're a beginner or a long time learner, these tips are bound to help you!

Sep 15, 2016 12:00 AM
Comments · 8

Overall, It seems your approach is this:

1. Vocabulary dumping (via Memrise)

2. Only then, decide what areas of language you want to focus on

3. Writing --> memorising your text (?!)

4. Controlled vocabulary/grammar practice

5. Speaking practice.

But my biggest problem is that nowhere in this unconventional sequence is reading and listening to be found anywhere.

I hope I haven't misrepresented your views here. Apologies if I have. Also I hope you don't take this (admittedly critical) review too harshly. I believe in frank discussion and debate, and never mean to insult. The heading did say "discuss" after all, didn't it? ;-)
September 20, 2016

Honestly, I can't say I really understand your approach...

Step One (it's "bon appétit", by the way) is good advice in general - I can't imagine language learning without apps and the internet! I just wish it mentioned a better programme than Memrise. To me Memrise is barely different to reading the dictionary: you get a huge, contrived list of decontextualised vocabulary shovelled into your brain without rhyme or reason. Don't you think Anki would've been a better plug here? Personally, I love spaced repitition softward (SRS) but believe it's only useful if the user creates their own personalised decks.

I don't understand Step Two either. You say it's important to have goals, but then in your examples you list communicative functions like "finding a flat". How is this a "goal"? Personally, one of my daily goals is to read five pages in my target language every day. Other people have long-term goals like "pass IELTS with a band score 7". How exactly do you define "goal"? Also why does defining your goals only come after learning vocabulary?

Re: Step Three, I get the writing practice part, but what use is there in rote-memorising a text you wrote? It doesn't improve fluency. It's a pretty ineffective way to improve pronunciation too. I just don't get it. I'd like to hear your thinking behind this.

Step Four - why does controlled practice only come after the free practice in your approach? You admit that controlled conventionally it comes before free practice, but don't explain why you've turned the order on its head like this.

September 20, 2016
Thanks a lot!!!... that was very interesting, thank you
September 20, 2016

I enjoyed the article. Very informative..I am sure that I will  search this new website "Memrise"!

September 15, 2016
Thank for sharing interesting online resources!
July 17, 2017
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Anna Me
Language Skills
Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Russian
Learning Language