Hi all! How do you practise speaking when you are learning a foreign language? Do you listen to audio files and repeat what you hear, talk to native speakers or prefer another method? Do you feel comfortable talking to native speakers right from the beginning or you rather practise alone first and start talking to native speakers later?
I talk to native speakers only when I'm confident, but from the very beginning I take classes with tutors or professional teachers here. For instance, I've been learning Russian here with tutors for several months now but I never tried having a teacher to only try to talk. I do small talk with my tutors which is different, they know me and we chat in order to find mistakes and things to improve, but with a random talk, where I'd be testing my conversational skills with a random native speaker, I think I'm not ready yet!
I like all ways you've mentioned. I enjoy talking to native speakers with text chat whatever level I am at. I always feel thrilled even though I just make very simple sentences. I also like voice-chatting, but I really don't like making them say the same thing again and again because of my listening skills, or wait for me to speak the next words all the time. So, I like to pratise speaking on my own. This idea was a pain at first, but I enjoy it after I've got used to it. For example, I mumble several simple English sentences while I'm making coffee in the mornings. The method called shadowing is my favourite practice. It is a very exausting, but most fruitful way.
Listening to audio and repeating is known as "the shadow method". It works really well if you are able to copy the sounds. Its important not to try and anylize the words purely to listen to the sounds and try and make the same mouth movements.
I tried speaking soon after I started studying Portuguese. I learned some basic vocabulary and conjugations before I started but then soon after I tried speaking with tutors and native speakers. I think it has helped me progress much faster as I basically get speaking and listening practice at the same time.
I like it better than the "shadow" method as it makes me think about how to express my ideas in the target language instead of just repeating what I heard. I also get immediate feedback as I will know if the other person understood what I was trying to express.
I was nervous at first because I was worried about what others would think and whether or not they would become frustrated with me. I have found out though that most people are helpful and think its interesting that you are learning their language.
Thanks for your comments, Joseph and Haruka! I also find speaking to myself useful, I suggest others to do the same. This way words come to your mind easier when you talk to someone else on that language.