On a regular basis I always listen to the YouTube videos by Steve Kaufman. I think since joining his site, LingQ.com, my skills, confidence and enthusiasm for language learning has really improved. It’s not that I wasn’t enthusiastic before but rather that my studies have shifted from drill books to a fully immersion in the language. I’m reading articles/conversations for about an hour a day and listening to the audio for at least two hours. There is a lot more to LingQ than this but my blog today is really about Steve’s video on speaking and listening. Steve talks a great deal about listening comprehension as a priority and speaking being less of one. The thing I picked up on was his two hours of conversations a week. I don’t do any and haven’t for years. Speaking is my biggest problem not just because it’s hard to do (I think you can throw a stone at Japanese or Chinese and find something which is hard to do) but more because I become anxious at doing it. Well, this week I decided to take a new approach.
Talking to myself. 🙂
Using Audacity I started the week only managing about nine minutes of Japanese – though this was predominantly peppered with ers and ums. By the end of the week I managed to do about fourteen minutes. After each recording I would listen and make notes as to the problems I had and then went about solving them. This whole process not only showed me the grammatical patterns I was using regularly but also gave me more confidence in solving problems. In fact, after over five years of doing Japanese I did my first Skype conversation today! Onwards and upwards.