How to speak clearly and confidently in English

How to speak clearly and confidently in English
Melbourne Classical Radio - My speaking ability improved more in three months than it did in my five years at French immersion school. That is why today I want to sit down and talk about how I learned french and how I'm using what I learned from that experience to help me with my Japanese. 

Because surprisingly it's not as easy as just practicing your speaking every day. I did that for five years at my french immersion school and as the years went by I didn't see any significant improvement.

I didn't feel like I could properly speak the language and that I sounded really unnatural and I just felt really limited in the way that I could express myself in the language
even though I had gone to a french immersion school for five years and was practicing it every day.

Mais maintenant je suis a le niveau donc que je peux parler en français sans penser à ce que je parle. Je ne dois pas faire des traductions dans ma tête. Mais je n'ai pas parlé en français depuis des années, alors je sais que mon accent n'est plus là et je suis sûre que je fais des fautes. Mais c'est encore assez bon donc que je puisse m'exprimer et je peux me faire comprendre.

But when I was at the peak of my French and I was practicing it very actively, my proudest moment was when I was talking to someone from Quebec one day and they only spoke French and they actually asked me what region of France I was from. Maybe they were just being nice but I like to believe that at one point my French was good enough that someone actually mistook me as a francophone from france.

So hopefully my story will help you in your language learning because my speaking ability improved more in three months than it did in my five years at French immersion school
and now I get to apply what I learned from that to learning japanese from home. I started learning French when I was 10 years old completely from scratch.

My parents didn't speak French I never really heard French at all in my life before. but from the very first day our teachers only spoke to us in French and we are expected
to also only speak in French. At first, it was pretty confusing but we could still understand what our teacher wanted from us or what she was saying because she'd be very repetitive and use lots of props so that we'd understand.

so even if we didn't understand the words that she was saying we could understand her intent. It didn't take too long to pick up on really common words and phrases and within the first
month we were actually learning our regular curriculum fully in French. so we were learning our math in French, our history in French, our science and French, and we actually understood enough to learn that new content in a new language.

In the first month, we were also expected to speak in French so even though it was very basic and very broken French we were good enough that we could talk to our teacher whenever
we needed to. As the months went by our vocabularies got bigger and we could talk without taking as many pauses but we still talked at a very novice level. The way we spoke was still very choppy and unnatural and we are very limited in the ways that we could express ourselves when talking in French. 

This continued with each new year of French immersion. I'd learn new words, maybe learn some new grammar structures, some new verb conjugations. but it never really all came together in a way that made me feel that I could fully articulate my thoughts in French.

I knew a lot of things about the French language but I didn't feel like I knew French. In fact in my third year of French immersion, we took a school trip to Quebec City and many
of us had trouble understanding the locals and being able to talk to them. Even though our teachers spoke to us in French every day and we were expected to speak French
every day in our classes, it was a very simplified version of French and on top of that a lot of our teachers weren't native French speakers.

They had learned French as a second language in a French immersion school and then they decided to become French immersion teachers so their French was good enough to be French teachers but the way that they spoke was not the same as a native speaker. It was very controlled and simplified. That was my experience in French immersion school.

I spoke French and heard French every day for five years but I still didn't feel confident that I could actually speak French. But then in high school, I had the opportunity to go on exchange in France and don't worry, the advice for this video is not to pack up your life and go to another country. That is not very useful advice.

Most people can't do that. but during my time in france my language skills jumped so much more in those three months than in my entire five years at French immersion school.
When I came back from my trip I had to do a presentation for my class and that's when I really noticed how much my speaking ability improved.

Before when I did presentations in class I would usually have to figure out what I wanted to say and then how I was going to say that in French and really think about all the different
words and phrases that I wanted to use in my presentation and practice a lot. But for this presentation, I literally just put a few photos on a slideshow, put them
up on the board and just started talking about my trip.

I never felt so at ease when I was speaking I didn't have to be thinking in the back of my mind, "hey how am I going to say this next sentence. is it going to make sense if I use this verb or this conjugation? " I could just talk like I was talking to my friends about my trip, which is what I was doing. this whole experience taught me that there are basically two stages in learning how to speak a language first stage is all about getting comfortable speaking in your language at a very basic level this stage is about training your brain to be able to recall basic words and phrases so that you can string together really simple sentences without having to translate anything in your head this is the level that I was stuck at school I could technically speak French but it wasn't very natural and I was very limited in the things that. 

I could say the second stage is when you actually start to sound like an adult and the more time that you put into it the better that you will be verb conjugations will come more naturally to you the way you structure your sentences will sound more fluid and natural and overall you're just going to feel more confident that you can speak the language.

Now in my experience if you want to reach that second stage it is not enough to just practice speaking every day my time in france really made me realize that it wasn't speaking
every day that made me a better speaker. Because I was already doing that at my French immersion school and wasn't getting any bette. If you want to speak your target language more naturally express more complex thoughts and generally just speak more like a native speaker, you have to engage with native speakers during my time at French immersion school. 

I rarely had any exposure to native French speakers but when I was in france. I was always hearing new words and new expressions and just hearing how people actually spoke the language and as I heard everyone talking around me I picked up on new words and expressions and my ears got used to how their accent sounded and I was able to adjust my own pronunciation to match theirs the verb tenses that i'd been studying for years finally made sense and I didn't have to think about them when I was talking they would just come out naturally as. 

If I was speaking in english I didn't have to think about is this going to be future stamp is this pastel composer is this in parfait I could just talk in the language and express
myself without having to second guess how to say it the best part is. I didn't have to go to france to improve my speaking ability there are so many tools and resources that
you can use at home that will help you improve and simulate the experience of being surrounded by native speakers at a fraction of the cost you can do this to an extent by using immersion materials which is something that .

I talk about a lot on this webiste so I won't go too far into it but they're a great way to simulate being around native speakers and a good source to pick up on new words and expressions. When you're actually talking with someone you're going to be so much more engaged you're going to remember more things and you'll get to pick up on the way that actual people talk and you're going to pick up on all those new words and phrases and be able to use them in real time the best way to do this in my
opinion especially.

If you're still in that first stage is by using italki if you're unfamiliar italki is a platform where you can book online one-on-one sessions with native speakers in whatever language you're learning you can ask your tutor to help you with whatever it is you want to improve they could walk through the genki textbook with you they can correct your exercises they can help you prepare for a language test but the way that I like to use italki is to simply have conversations with native speakers the tutors are there to help you learn and are very used to talking to beginner language learners so you don't have to worry about not knowing enough or feeling shy about talking your tutor will adjust to match whatever level you're at even if you've never tried speaking before when

I first met my tutor she used a lot of props and drawings to make sure I understood what she was talking about she was also really good at explaining things in japanese in a way that was really easy for me to understand and she would also type out new words that we came across in our conversations in our text chat so that I could look them up later there are also language exchange apps that you can use to talk to native speakers who are trying to learn whatever language it is you speak but I really wouldn't recommend them unless you're firmly in that stage two of speaking because otherwise it's just gonna be really frustrating for the both of you it's best to start with a native tutor who knows how to engage with beginner learners and that can lead the conversation while you're

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