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Linguaholic

Talking to yourself?


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I was reading an article earlier on on how best to go about learning a foreign language when I came across what I consider  a rather, dare I say, strange tip LOL The article encourages you to have a one-way conversation with yourself in your chosen foreign language to practice your oral skills. IDK, but I'm not sure this is something I'm very keen on LOL I think I'd seriously struggle to keep a straight face, not to mention I'd also feel silly.

 

Have you ever done something like that, did it work? If not, would you consider doing it?

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Yes, of course. One of the biggest achievements when learning a new language is thinking in it. When it happens spontaneously you know your brain is trained enough to do so, so that's a big win.

A natural extension to thinking in your target language would be to talk to yourself using it. Beyond the silly part, it can be a good way to practice your skills without fearing social embarrassment. On the other hand, you better have at least intermediate level since you won't be able to spot all of your errors so it helps to monitor yourself and -perhaps- checking your with learning resources when you don't know how to say something or don't have enough confidence with your way to tackling it.

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I do it all the time, and also the talking out loud part, not simply talking inside my head. This worked for me a lot as I had pretty good reading comprehension and writing skills but failed when it came to talking. I do it while alone in my car commuting to places, it is the perfect location as you are really alone and nobody is going to suddenly enter and disturb you. 

There is a concept called "cognitive ease" that states that the  more that you do something the more natural and easy it feels, I guess it applies to speaking the language that you are learning as well, by the time that you actually have to talk to another person you have hours and hours of talking to yourself under the belt, expressing yourself using this new language.

Do it, I highly recommend it.

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I also do this at times, not only when it comes to language practice but most especially when I have to talk in front of a lot of people or do a job interview. I find it even more effective if I talk to myself in the mirror. When I get highly immersed with my self-conversation, I begin to forget that I am actually talking to myself but I feel like I'm actually conversing with another person. I really think this is a good technique because you get to practice the language you're learning not only in your thoughts. You get to hear your strengths and weaknesses while talking and be able to correct them before even immersing yourself to talking with another person using that language.

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. . . the article encourages you to have a one-way conversation with yourself in your chosen foreign language to practice your oral skills.


It's a strategy that can work but there's one problem — you still won't know how to pronounce some words correctly which is why it's better to find someone a native speaker preferably and chat with them. There are lots of people who are lonely and will be more than happy to talk to anyone on the net.

And there also numerous sites where anyone can find a language exchange partner if they so desire.

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16 hours ago, LeHolic said:

Yes, of course. One of the biggest achievements when learning a new language is thinking in it. When it happens spontaneously you know your brain is trained enough to do so, so that's a big win.

A natural extension to thinking in your target language would be to talk to yourself using it. Beyond the silly part, it can be a good way to practice your skills without fearing social embarrassment. On the other hand, you better have at least intermediate level since you won't be able to spot all of your errors so it helps to monitor yourself and -perhaps- checking your with learning resources when you don't know how to say something or don't have enough confidence with your way to tackling it.

I guess I can see the thinking part, but would never ever have given any thought to talking out loud to myself LOL When you really think about it, as strange as it does initially seem, it does make some sense, because it gives you the chance to do some practicing and vocalising it means you're able to pick out mistakes and work harder to correct them. I just never thought about it in that sense at all.

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I tend to do this in my head. I'll think in a different language and make myself think that way. I'll try to think about what I'm going to do that day and plan it out in my chosen language, or plan what I'm going to cook. If I go to the grocery store I've been known to have a list in a different language too. And I can draw little pictures as guidance if I feel like I'm going to need it. That way I'm encouraging myself to talk in that language even without there being someone else there to practice the conversational elements with. 

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I actually talk to myself loudly at home, so that would be no problem for me. Just make sure no one else sees you, or no person who isn't used to your quirks sees you and you're good to go. Practicing by talking to yourself helps improve your memory, you know?

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  • 4 weeks later...

It does sound a little kooky but at the same time I have to say that it also does sound a lot sensible as well. For the most part you will probably just be alone when learning and having someone there to exchange phrases with won't always be possible and it might even break your concentration because you are having to play off of someone else, and this way you also get to learn both sides of the conversation which probably cuts your learning time in half. I'd say it sounds like it is worth a shot. 

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Talking to yourself actually makes you discover who you are from what others see.

It is always best to start using a mirror and then sometimes you find out you even argue with yourself and using it with language learning may sound silly but with time you become a pro and can confidently communicate with others.

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Absolutely I do it to help me learn languages.  I have no one to speak to in French so when I was learning it I would speak it out loud at home and speak to my dog in French.  I live alone and there is no one here to hear me talking to myself so what difference does it make?  I have to practice my oral linguist skills somehow and it's not silly when you need to become accustomed to speaking in other languages.  I find commenting on what I'm doing or thinking in other languages and saying things I would normally say in English is the best way for me to retain new language information.  It works for me. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think practicing out loud only works when you are sure you can make the proper sounds.  I try this with Spanish when I was younger because I didn't have anyone to practice with but I ended up saying it wrong.  It was really hard to fix the damage of the bad practice.  I think it's better to practice with someone else who can pick out that you're saying something wrong then to get used to the wrong sound coming out of your mouth.  

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I don't think that would really work. How would you know if you were saying it wrong? And what's the point of practicing something unless you are absolutely sure it's the right thing? I don't think that tip will help you at all, but who knows, different things work for different people. 

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@clair02.....you make a very valid point there, actually LOL You could be carrying on and on and all the while  not actually learning the correct thing. Now, that combined with the loopiness of the whole thing=not a very good combination!! I guess like you say, different things do work for different people, and if it's working for them then why not, right? Like Rooks57, I can relate to practicing out loud, that makes more sense to me. So I doubt I could full carry on a one-way conversation as practice hehe.

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18 hours ago, Rooks57 said:

I think practicing out loud only works when you are sure you can make the proper sounds.  I try this with Spanish when I was younger because I didn't have anyone to practice with but I ended up saying it wrong.  It was really hard to fix the damage of the bad practice.  I think it's better to practice with someone else who can pick out that you're saying something wrong then to get used to the wrong sound coming out of your mouth.  

I agree, having some one that speaks the language with is still the best way. It's so easy to make mistakes and not know that you are making them. When it comes to try and unlearn and correct your pronunciation can really be difficult.

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