Have you heard of Benny Lewis? He’s an Irish polyglot who writes articles on his blog about his travels and language learning techniques to become fluent. Benny has shown that it’s possible to learn a language in only 3 months when you have the motivation and desire. His technique piqued our interest: he simply goes to another country, and he starts speaking. Talking with native speakers starts from day one of his learning.
He uses several out-of-the-box methods that are worth checking out (you can have a look at his guides to learn Italian, French, German, Spanish, Chinese and English)
Tricks to Become Fluent in One Hour of Practice Per Day
People like Benny show us that we don’t need to have advanced language skills to communicate. When someone says, “I am fluent in English,” or any other language, we assume the person is an expert. But what we don’t think about is how the person got to that point. Not everyone completes years of studies before being able to communicate well. Some people learn quickly because they get the most out of their language learning. When you find it fun and are more engaged, you’re learning is more meaningful. That’s how you can become fluent in one hour a day when you practice using meaningful, engaged methods.
In reality, to become fluent in a language doesn’t mean that you don’t make mistakes. That’s why we spend years in school learning how to write our first languages. To be able to communicate simply requires having memorized a sufficient amount of vocabulary and an understanding of grammatical structures. The important thing is to dive in, so to speak, and take risks without fearing mistakes. After all, every “fluent” person has made mistakes in the past and learned over time. One way to get help conquering your fears is to use language exchange forums that have Skype.
Some of the sites aimed at helping you contact someone to start a conversation include Tandem, HelloTalk, and Conversation Exchange.
However, if you want to see faster results, here are some ideas:
Imagine that you’re in an interview and are asked the following question in Spanish:
¿Cuál es su deporte favorito? (What is your favorite sport?)
And you respond:
“Yo amo el football.” (I love football)
Do you think that response will impress your interviewer?
Now imagine you’re learning a few phrases that can help you seem more fluent:
“Gracias por preguntar, a decir verdad, debo decir que amo el football.”
(Thanks for asking. To tell the truth, I must say that I love football.)
It changes everything to insert a filler like, “don’t you think?” even though the meaning is really not changing much.
It works the same for connecting words, like in the example below:
“¿De dónde eres?” (Where are you from?”)
And you respond:
“Soy de Argentina, el país del vino y el tango, gracias por preguntar.” (I am from Argentina, the country of wine and tango, thanks for asking.)
Learning some of these connectors can make your speech flow better. Plus, when they function like fillers, you have a few more seconds to think about your answer.
Confidence in your ability to speak
Confidence is important in order to start to speak a language. The technique that you should use to build self-confidence depends on you. Some people say that drinking a few glasses of wine can help. It lowers your inhibitions, which helps some to feel more relaxed when speaking. However, we don’t condone the use of alcohol to learn a language!
Others’ perception of your language level
It’s also important to remember that your perceived language level is different from what it actually may be. Some people may say that you speak a language super well. Others may correct you or say they’re having trouble understanding.
In other cases, you may know vocabulary very well but may not be sure how to use. Or, your accent may seem to make comprehension difficult. Other people may notice you have a strong accent but a large vocabulary. It’s all relative.
If you allow yourself to make mistakes when speaking, you’ll notice that little by little, your confidence and level will grow.
Other ideas that can help you
Today, Sam shared with us his own list of useful phrases. These will all be part of the next update on MosaLingua.
To start a conversation
Have you ever…?
Did you know that…?
What do you think about…?
To continue a conversation
Honestly, I must say that…
I suppose that…
I feel that…
I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard that…
I read recently that…
Someone told me that…
- Explain a mistake and apologize
That’s not what I wanted to say.
It’s by making mistakes that we learn…
Let me re-word that…
How can I tell you…
Agreement and disagreement
Yes, it’s exactly that…
I also think that…
Maybe that’s true, but…
I find it hard to believe that…
To close a conversation
In closing, I must say that…
I’d love to keep chatting, but…
Now it’s your turn to share with us your favorite methods for speaking to become fluent. We look forward to reading your comments!
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I just don’t understand how this could work in 3 months. I try really hard to speak with the housekeepers in my building and I can barely exchange a few words with them. They’re super friendly and talk to me at length but I can only catch on to a few words after I’ve learned them from vocabulary drills. And there have been several miscommunications when I thought I was speaking Spanish correctly. I studied Spanish in middle school and took it up again about one month ago. I really try to communicate because that’s what everyone says is best but it’s VERY slow for me.
Thanks for you comment.
Making mistakes is actually a great way to learn. I’m sure you now know not to make the mistakes you mention.
It seems that your problem isn’t the speaking as much as the vocabulary.
I’d recommend you to use our Spanish app for boosting your vocabulary.
Hope this helps 🙂