It is common to hear that to really learn a foreign language you have to speak. Actually, don’t we say “to speak a language” or “I want to speak this language”?
But when you are (like myself) not a talkative person or shy or a Beginner in the language you’re learning… when you are not confident to speak whatever the reason (lack of vocabulary, “bad” pronunciation…)… How do you learn a foreign language? How do you go further in your learning? Are you stuck forever at step one? Surely not!
How to learn a foreign language when you don’t feel like talking?
I am the best example of everything I described above: I am not talkative, not really social, I don’t feel like speaking as long as my ideas are not clear in my head (else I mumble and it is awkward)… It seems like I am the worst language learner ever. How do I even pretend to the wish of learning a language??
The truth is: most of my language learning is passive (learning grammar and vocabulary with textbooks, reading, hearing, watching…).
What for? It came to a point in the past (a recent past actually) when I felt stuck, I didn’t know what to do with all the things I was learning. Words were in my head but I couldn’t order them to build understandable sentences.
Make your language learning active
Then I found the key: I had to practice with my words and all the stuff I learnt.
I didn’t want to speak… so I would write ! (and I began this blog 😉 )
The production phase is really important in the learning. It helps you sorting all the things you learnt, seeing what you still miss to use the language properly, to use the language as you and not like the textbook tells you to. That is when it makes sense.
Obviously, writing is an alternative but it won’t make you speak. It is a (whole) different process.
Writing in a foreign language
Writing is producing, so it is an active way to learn. But as I said, it is different from speaking.
Apart from shy people or introverts who don’t feel like speaking, writing can be a good language learning soluton for Beginners too.
When you write, you have time to think of what you want to say, search the words you don’t remember (or even don’t know yet), (re)read grammar rules, fix the syntax, fix the misspelling etc.
For perfectionists or people who like to build their sentences right before to say them, writing is an excellent exercise. It won’t help you much by speaking though as in order to speak, you have no time to think, it is spontaeity first. So, it is another exercise, that needs to be trained separately (you can’t pass, sorry!).
I’ll write other posts about what to write according to your level and the tools you can use as help by writing.
Do you also use WRITING as a part of your language learning?