“Why do Chinese English students always believe that speaking with a native English speaker will somehow improve their spoken English?”

Question from Quora and my response:

Likely because it is something that can greatly improve their spoken English if done effectively. And will probably help some even if not done very effectively.

Of course, speaking with a native English speaker can also be done in a way that is not terribly effective at helping improve someone’s level of English.

You probably know people who practice things and do not seem to improve quickly. Or you may think about something people do frequently, for example driving, but also do not rapidly improve after the beginning stages.

Comfort vs Panic

If you mostly say and hear things that are familiar, you reinforce what you know, but may not learn a lot.

If you mostly do not understand what you hear, the situation becomes uncomfortable and frustrating.

Figuring out how to be in between those two states can help learning.

Patience on both sides is necessary.

Awareness

If both people in the conversation are very aware of the other person, it can help.

Maybe one person is speaking too quickly. Slowing down might help a great deal.

Or maybe one person says too much at once. If the first part was not understood and the other person is still trying to figure it out, it’s unlikely they will understand more.

One way I practice language that can help quite a bit in earlier stages of learning is the game on this site. It has helped me be able to have conversations better and makes the conversations I do have more helpful.

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Comments

  1. well . i think talk to a native English speaker do helps a lot .Cause while you re in a conversation ,you dont have much time to think about words /grammar ect . You made mistakes while you re talking ,but you will more likely to make it right next time simply by talking to others. Besides ,you will never forget when they correct you straght away when you are wrong .Also, through the conversation ,we could learn how those native English speaker build their sentence,and to learn an English-thinking-way .
    i guess that makes talking to native speakers of the language you re learning so important.

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