Do you practice talking with native speakers?
It does not matter how hard you have studied a foreign language if you never practice. It also does not matter how many books you have been reading written in the language.
If you do not speak it, you will never grasp the language completely. You will never know the beauty of the words as they roll off your tongue. The beauty of knowing a new language is in speaking it.
Yet, as much as you would like to practice, sometimes, there is just no one to speak the language with. Maybe you are a student and you have been studying the language.
You could also be a tourist traveling through a country whose native language you have studied. There may not be many people who speak the language in your city.
In all these circumstances, it can be hard to find someone to practice with.
The cornerstone of learning a new language is practicing with a native speaker. So, where you can find native speakers?
Try some of these suggestions to help you find a native speaker to practice with you.
Online Ways to Find Native Speakers
Start With Skype
Skype is a popular video calling service. It is also a good way to practice with native speakers.
You can chat through instant messaging or text messages. This kind of flexibility earns this service the first spot on the list. Skype is a freemium service meaning you can either use the free version or buy credits, the free version is your best bet.
The main benefit of using Skype is that the person that you are practicing with can talk and type the words that you do not understand. Since you will be video calling one another, it makes for an even more personal experience.
If you have been studying Arabic, you can look for Arabs online, befriend one and tell them you want to practice speaking Arabic. If they agree, fine. If they do not, you can look for people who might be willing.
When looking for a native speaker to help you practice free of charge, you offer to help them learn your language.
Another option is to look for Skype tutors. Many language websites will have a list of tutors. You pay a fee, but you learn faster with a language tutor.
This is another freemium service depending on what you go for. Just look around on Facebook and you will find many Facebook live classes offering language tutorials.
This is a good way to learn and interact with native language speakers. You can even send friend requests to some of the people that you "meet” in these classes so that you can practice with them later.
While it may be hard finding a native language class for your language as most of them are for popular languages, there is no harm in trying.
Video Game Rooms For Gaming Enthusiasts
Have you tried practicing your language with someone that you share an existing common interest? MMORPG sites are one of the places where you have fun while learning, talking about something you love.
You can talk to others about your favorite games, techniques or avatars all in their language.
Who would imagine that gaming can be a good way of practicing a language with native speakers?
This is the age of MMORPG – Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. Many gaming enthusiasts can play their favorite game online at the same time. That is why they are called "massively multiplayer.”
If you are an enthusiast yourself, join the gaming communities so that you can use the benefit of voice chat. You just need a headset and a microphone.
The main benefit of using this technique to practice speaking like a native is that no one can see you. You are anonymous.
You will also pick up native slang, expletives and many more "nuggets” of language not taught in a traditional language class. Just make sure not to dwell on the expletives too much.
A popular site to join is MMORPG.com
The beauty of YouTube is that it is free and there are thousands of other people like you, looking for native speakers. Usually, the language video will have subtitles so that you can grasp the words.
When you are done practicing with the video, you can check the contacts of the person who shared the video in the description. You will find the means to contact them for private tuition and practice.
Find A Language Partner Online
Again, this is one of the best, free ways to find a native speaker to practice with. Many sites do provide these services today.
On these websites, you will find profiles of people, the languages that they know and what kind of language partner they are looking for.
For example, if one is looking for a Portuguese language partner, they will indicate so in their profile. Some of these sites are like social media sites where you can even add one another as friends.
Post An Ad Online
Wherever you might be in the world, there is always someone who can offer what you need. Thus, if you are looking for a native language tutor, just post an ad online, starting with Craigslist.
You will get many responses from native speakers. If you are a bit apprehensive about meeting total strangers, propose a coffee session first. Once you build a relationship, you can invite them to your place to speak with them.
Foreign Language Forums
The Internet is like a magician’s shop where you can find anything, and foreign language forums are not an exception. You can find forums fully dedicated to exchanging languages, or one that focuses on a specific topic or country.
These forums will familiarize you with the language and its usage by Native speakers.
Foreign Language Blogs
Are you interested in history? Literature? Crafts? Language Learning only? Then foreign language blogs are a great way to explore both the language and your topic on interest.
Find one about a topic that interests you and practice your reading. Leave comments to practice your writing. Give it a try.
Offline Ways To Find Native Speakers
A language exchange is not only a great way to meet people to help you practice learning another language. There you can also help others practice and learn your language.
Today, there are many language exchange programs organized by universities, cultural institutions or students’ associations. You can enroll in one, or simply meet a foreigner in your country over coffee for a language practicing session.
Ask your friends
You are six introductions away from the right native speaker who’d help you practice your language efficiently. In a world this populated, this may seem unlikely, but science has proven there are onlySix Degrees of Separation.
This theory suggested that any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.
It was proved true in 1967 by Stanley Milgram, then revalidated in 2001 by Duncan Watts and in 2008 byMicrosoft. So, ask your friends to connect you to their friends. Afterall, that is what are friends for!
In an increasingly globalized world, language is a key to soft power. That’s why different embassies and cultural associations (Think British Council, "Goethe-Institut” or "Institut Français” and others) usually provide access to native speakers.
Whether through systemic language courses or through friendlier language exchange meetings or book club discussions organized regularly.
Meet Up Native Speakers In A Local Park
Would you believe that the best things in life are free? They are, even learning how to speak a language like a native. Just hang out in the park, look for the most approachable person or people and join them.
If you know greetings in their language, it will be easy to get the conversation started.
If you do not want to try this random way, you may have to pay a fee to meet a person physically to practice speaking. It is always better to try a freebie before paying.
If you have met someone online, on a platform like Facebook, ask them when they can be available to meet with you.
Or try the popular website Meet Up. There you can organize an event for people to practice speaking.
If you are traveling to the country where the language you have been studying is widely spoken, do not stay in a hotel. An AirBnB booking would bring you much closer to native speakers.
Couchsurfing is a website and membership is free. Here is how it works: if you are traveling to Iran, you can check whether there is a family that can host you for a couple of days.
It is almost similar to an Airbnb arrangement. However, even if you do not get a host, you will still be able to meet a native who can show you around the place for a couple of days.
This is a good opportunity to practice speaking with a native. Just carry some money to give to your host as a token of appreciation.
The website has many filters to help you find what you need faster. You can filter by language, city and what you are looking for (host or a surfer).
Get A Native Tour Guide
This is something that you can do in your city too, or when you travel to a different country. Assuming you have been studying Spanish, you can contact a tour agency to put you among tour groups that have Spanish speakers.
You will pay for the tour, but you will gain much more than the sightseeing. If you are in a foreign country, you can get a tour guide to show you around. He/she will be glad to show you around his native tongue as well.
The Local Language Center
Most of the major cities have language centers. You can find out if your city has a language center that you can visit. If there is, you might be lucky to find a practice partner so that you can practice with a native speaker.
At the center, you will find people interested in teaching others to speak their language, or willing to learn a new language. These centers also offer lessons on various languages.
If there is one place where you can find a large number of language partners to practice, it is the universities. They have language centers too, which makes your work easier.
Besides, you can also post an ad looking for a language practice partner on the university notice board. If you are lucky, you might even meet students who speak the language and they can help you practice.
In 2016, there were over 4 million international students worldwide. With that many students away from their home, there is a good chance that there is a native speaker for you to practice with at your local university.
You may also be able to get him/her accustomed to your local culture and language. Check out your local university community and try meeting a new friend.
If you have been studying a language without a native speaker to practice with, these tips can help you. Luckily, as you have seen, sometimes, you do not even have to spend money to practice speaking with a native speaker.
So, which is you favorite way to practice with a native speaker? Leave a comment below I would love to hear from you.