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“I talk to myself. Sometimes you have to talk to someone intelligent.” We have no idea where this saying came from, but one thing is for sure – it does apply to language learning! And although we are often afraid that someone on the street will notice that we are having conversations with ourselves (which so many people have!), in our own home we should try to stop feeling “weird” and talk to ourselves as often as possible.

WHY IS IT WORTH TALKING TO YOURSELF WHILE LEARNING A LANGUAGE?

First of all, this method lets us get used to speaking a foreign language, and this is what learning is about – we want to be able to use it in practice as soon as possible. Unfortunately, in the beginning, we often feel blocked by the language barrier, and so the fear of communicating in a given language. One way to break it is by talking to yourself.

Second, it is a great way to practice correct pronunciation. In this case, you first need to check the transcription (i.e. phonetic spelling) of the word or phrase. It’s also a good idea to repeat after native speakers, say, while listening to recordings.

HOW ELSE CAN I USE THIS METHOD?

You can also try reading aloud. At first, you don’t have to worry about perfect pronunciation – here it’s all about getting used to your voice and speaking a foreign language. If you’re learning vocabulary (preferably placed in example sentences), you can also say them out loud – thanks to this you will overcome the fear of using them later, in practice.

If, on the other hand, you’ve been learning a language for a while… just improvise! Tell yourself about your day, your plans for the weekend, your favourite food – you can do it while you’re washing the dishes, vacuuming the apartment or walking the dog (but that’s an option for those brave enough to do this outside!).

WHAT CAN HELP YOU SPEAK OUT IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE?

Recordings of native speakers and phonetic transcriptions will certainly be helpful. These can be found in some of the SuperMemo courses. They also include an extremely useful STT feature that allows you to compare your pronunciation with the recording. If you are considering self-learning from an app, it is worth paying attention to whether it includes the above features, which help you practice your accent and overcome your fear of speaking.