shoutOne of the key points I’ve found through hard experience is that when learning a language you really have to actually speak it – by which I mean you must say the words out loud instead of just in your head.

If you are using an audio based language course such as Pimsleur you may be tempted to listen to the audio but instead of responding and talking when instructed, you just think it.. perhaps because there are people around and you don’t want to look like a nutter talking to yourself about the location of the post office or buying a cup of coffee while on the bus! DON’T DO THIS!!  It simply doesn’t work.. well to be fair it is probably not completely useless, it should be better than nothing.. but what you will find (at least I do, maybe it is just me?) is that when I later try to say the words out loud for real, I can’t get my mouth around the unfamiliar words and phrases and find myself tripping up over them all the time and so conversational fluency basically falls into a deep dark pit. Even when I can think of what I want to say, I just can’t get the words out in any coherent form.

You must really make the effort to say the words out loud so your brain is able to exercise firm control over the muscles in your mouth and instruct them to actually do what is required to make the appropriate sounds at a suitable time and rate and to do so in a smooth and seemingly effortless manner so you don’t end up sounding like a you have a serious speech impediment (unless you really do have one in which case forget what I just said!).

Sometimes it may not be easy to find a suitable place for working through your Pimsleur or other language programs, but you must try to find such a place every day.. even if it means going up to the roof of your office block or sitting in your car during lunch breaks or whatever it takes. Just find a place and make sure you say it out loud every time – it is really the only way to get your laughing gear into gear so you can eventually talk fluently!