Just sharing some experience and insights. When I talk to people about languages, they usually complain about how hard it is to start or develop speaking in a language they are learning. Well, it is not hard. I think, it is really a question of HOW MUCH TIME you do it. There is no technical secret to it.
Yesterday, we with my student Sofia went to this Speak Easy Praha event. She needs more speaking practice, that’s why we have chosen one of those language exchange communities you can find in many cities these days. It is a series of socialising meetings for people who want to practise speaking different foreign languages.
How and Why it works
There are separate tables for different languages people are ready to speak. Sofia Nikishina joined a conversation in English, I chose French (when I found out about the Polish one, but it was too late). Anyway, you have the choice. You can act as an expert native speaker for your own language, or practise any you are learning. And then you just start or join a conversation)) about anything. Just simple as that. And you know what? It works!
I love the spirit of these communities. They are not formalised by a ‘teacher’ concept, and you can meet so many interesting people there!
– You get the access to native speakers;
– You are not judged or looked down on;
– Everybody in the room has been through the same stress, and everybody is extremely tolerant;
– You are among the like-minded people) – everybody has the same goal as you, and everybody is very determined!
I could go on and go on about the advantages. But are there any disadvantages?
Well, yes. there is one.
It’s scary as hell when you come into the room for the first time. And see all these people speaking and having a good time. And you are out. Yet. It’s ok to be afraid, and all these people have been there. But then you just overcome the fear, smile and say ‘Hello’ to any random person. And you get involved.
I have done it for my language learning. I saw people progressing through these meetings only without classes or teachers. I have made amazing friends in the polyglot community (they are my favourite people, it’s clear). So, IT DOES WORK.
For the cities I am active in:
– After a quick Google search, I found one in Moscow which looks quite promising to me: https://www.facebook.com/MoscowLEM/
– And of course, the one in Prague we absolutely loved yesterday: https://www.facebook.com/speakeasypraha/.
This is the photo from the organiser. Looks fun, doesn’t it?)
Learning to speak is only possible through speaking. So, be social!