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Studying will not help you speak a language

You cannot learn to speak  a language by studying. That seems like a paradox. A good paradox as you can finally part with your verb tables and grammar rules books. Of course, let’s not kid ourselves, in order to reach a certain level, you must study to learn essential rules and the most common words and verbs, but beyond this, studying will only get you so far. You may be an expert on grammar and spelling, but spoken English differs significantly from taught formal English, and you do not need to have perfect grammar. Native speakers often make grammatical errors (I challenge you to ask an native English speaker the apostrophe rules and the difference between effect and affect.)

The reason that we study a language is to speak it fluently and  this goal is logically only accomplished through speaking practice and below are the reasons why.

1:Listening Practice

An important part of language is listening. You must be able to understand your interlocuteur to engage in conversation and reading a study book does not help you with this, especially as native speakers talk extremely fast. Through speaking English with anglophones, your listening skills will improve and you will accomuste yourself to the pace that English is spoken at. 

2:Accent and Pronunciation 

Accents are one of the most difficult aspects of a language to master, but if your conversation partner does not understand you, you will not be able to converse fluidly. Through practicing speaking, your accent and your pronunciation of words will improve and who knows, you may be able to eventually pass for a native English speaker!

3: Confidence 

When we speak a foreign language for the first time, it is extremely daunting and we are often filled with self doubt. This causes us to make errors and our fear of making mistakes restrains us from using advanced vocabulary. This feeling must be beaten if we want to speak fluently, and this confidence is gained through practice! 

4: Spoken Language 

Spoken language vastly differs from written language and how we are taught English, but it is necessary to grasp if we want to reach fluency. Think about your native language, do you communicate with your friends in the same way as you study it at school? No. Practicing speaking with native speakers will help you with spoken language as you will learn new words and phrases and how to communicate. There are 25,000 idioms (mainly used orally) and getting to grips with the most common ones is crucial, not only to improve your English, but to understand it. Otherwise, you may feel lost upon hearing ‘Hold your Horses!’ Spoken language is also filled with cultural references and nuances, and if you can understand these, or even employ them yourself, you will have officially become a master in English!

At MyDialogue, we recognise the importance of speaking, which is why every lesson is accompanied with an exercise where you are able to speak with a native speaker. 

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