5 Steps to start speaking a foreign language

How many times have you ever wished you could just magically start speaking a foreign language?

Extra-sharpened pencils, rubber at hand, colorful highlighters, brand new paper-scented note-books and our foreign language student’s and grammar books are on their way.. and here we go! We hesitantly write our first words, which later become complete phrases and then whole sentences. Lesson by lesson, the book pages seem to flow smoothly and before we know it we have already reached the middle of our books, even more excited than when we began. Until the moment that someone talks to us in that language! and the worst thing of all? He expects us to answer!

Before we faint, we can actually make an attempt to speak. This could happen a little more simply if:

  1. We believe that we know enough things to speak in that language.

So far, we are used to answering to short questions, in concise answers with the only person in the world that we feel comfortable with, at this phase, our teacher. We feel safe because no matter what we say, how many mistakes we make, he will find a way to understand and complete our thoughts. So, we just go ahead and speak.

If only the same thing happened while standing in front of someone who is a native speaker of that language! We begin sweating, gulping and feel unable just to utter the word “hi”! At this point, we need to roll up our sleeves, take a deep breath and just start speaking! By saying whatever comes to our mind at the moment. Let’s just trust the young linguistic instinct that we have just acquired and go with it! Some students are better at grammar, some in vocabulary and some quickly pick up whole phrases just by listening to the other person. Each and every one of us is good at, at least, one part of the new language.

So, we should always remember this and believe that it is enough to have a small conversation. That’s all it takes to start! We are good at something, no matter how small, and this will allow us to communicate. Let’s forget perfectionism for now. If we expect to learn a language perfectly before we start speaking it, this will simply never happen!

  1. We keep in mind that the other person wants to understand us!

No matter how shy we feel, when pronouncing our first words in a language, all it takes is for us to look at the other person in the eyes. We will instantly feel a kind of warmth and sympathy, just because we are making an attempt to speak in his language. The greatest number of people feel truly grateful that we go through this effort to communicate with them in their native language.

We shouldn’t forget that they are there because they want to understand us! They want to make a conversation with us, understand our feelings and ideas. Compared to this great gift of communication, any kind of mistake will be skipped over. After all, body language will be there to fill all the other gaps!


  1. We speak, before we start thinking about it!


It is almost certain that we have spent all our lives listening to the exact opposite thing! That means to think carefully before we do something.. Not anymore! At least, not in this case! Let’s just risk speaking fearlessly! Let’s not even think about it, let’s just say the first thing that comes to mind!

Most of us start constructing, even the shortest phrase, step by step, before we speak. We constantly think where to place the Subject, in which tense to form the Verb, how is the next word we are going to use in the foreign language and so on… A couple of minutes have already passed and we now have two more reasons to stress us out:

  1. a) That we have delayed-like a century- to answer to the other person.
  2. b) Have we finally figured out the correct syntax of the sentence that we want to say or are we going to make one more mistake?

We have come to feel so anxious that we get stuck. So, we shouldn’t think of anything and just continue with the first phrase that comes to our mind. The dialogue will naturally continue. What if we make mistakes? I think we are over that already!


  1. Copy away!

Definitely one of the best ways to learn! During a conversation, as it is natural, the other person will use some words or phrases which we either don’t know or we weren’t sure if they were suitable for this specific conversation. So, the moment that we listen to something like that, we can immediately repeat this word or phrase and accompany it with others.

This way, we show the other person that our thinking goes along with his and it is almost sure that we have just added new useful phrases to our vocabulary!


  1. A dictionary, please!

We all use smart phones full of applications that we have chosen according to our interests and hobbies. Since the new language that we are learning is becoming a part of our everyday life, an e-dictionary will turn out to be useful in many cases.


Especially in cases when we have a conversation in the foreign language and we desperately need to find an exact word in this language, we just click for it and have it in front of us. As a result, we know that we are understood, we have learned a new word and our communication is more complete!


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