Chatting with a native English speaker is the best way to practice the language. But what if you don’t have a conversation partner? Should you just throw in the towel? Absolutely not.
Look for the next best thing. In fact, look for several variations of the next best thing. There are a lot of alternatives to practicing with a conversation partner who’s fluent in English, and you can start with these five suggestions.
Talk to Yourself in English
The simplest solution to having no language partner is making yourself your language partner. Just talk to yourself. Play the role of two people by posing questions to yourself and then coming up with the responses to those questions. This is a useful way of identifying your weak points. Some language learners are great at answering questions but struggle with asking them or vice versa. And if you’re worried that talking to yourself is unhealthy, don’t be! Talking to yourself actually has motivational and instructional benefits.
Quit Obsessing Over The Details
Let’s say you’re talking to yourself in English while you’re getting dressed or cooking a meal. While you’re doing this, don’t obsess over small mistakes. If you forget the word “comb”, don’t stop your external monologue in order to look it up. See if you can work around it, the same way you’d have to if you were talking to someone at a restaurant or at the bank. Your priority should be making yourself understood, not perfecting everything you say. Once you’ve reached a conversational level, then you can move on to being precise.
Read Famous Speeches Out Loud
The most iconic speeches are famous for both their words and their delivery. The cadence and pacing of the orator and the style and rhythm of the speechwriter are what give a speech its power. Listen to famous speeches online, print out the transcripts, and practice reciting them out loud. You should do this whether you have a language partner or not since it helps in several ways: You learn new words, practice your pronunciation, and improve your public speaking skills all in one go. Now that’s a beautiful trifecta.
Learn a Couple of New Expressions Each Day
If you want to sound like a native English speaker, dedicate some time to learning new phrases and expressions every day. Perhaps the most frustrating part of a conversation in a second language is failing to understand the intended meaning of a full sentence, even though you know every word in the sentence. For example, someone may know the words “barking”, “wrong”, and “tree”, but have no clue what “barking up the wrong tree” means. There’s no shortcut for learning idioms. You’ve just got to dive right in.
Write Scripts For Yourself
Come up with possible scenarios and write a script. Pretend you want to pitch an idea to your manager. Script it out and practice. This way, you can present your ideas clearly and confidently. Most conversations take a predictable path with a few variations. Include those variations and appropriate responses in your script. You can add to your different scripts every time you encounter new expressions or scenarios in your day-to-day life.
A conversation partner makes for nice company, but you don’t need one in order to perfect your English.
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