Have you ever heard the phrase “lost in translation?” It’s an unfortunate reality that so many language students spend their time and money learning a new language only to find out they can’t carry a conversation with a native speaker. After all, isn’t that the ultimate goal of language learning – to converse with a native speaker while traveling or to do business?
Many language courses and apps available to students tend to focus on building vocabulary and teaching grammar rules. However, there is more to it than that. If you have ever seen a poorly translated sign or slogan, you know what we mean.
The best way to learn a new language is by taking instruction from a native speaker who can also teach you about the various social factors contributing to a successful conversation. Below and some recommendations for where students can find a native-speaking language instructor to practice with.
Accredited Language Courses Agree: Conversing with Natives is Important
There are two concepts in learning a new language: communicative competence and linguistic competence. Linguistic competence scopes the fundamental rules of the language, such as grammar and verb conjugation.
However, linguistic competence doesn’t factor into how language is used in the real world. For example, many native speakers tend to communicate in vernacular, which is not considered grammatically correct. Additionally, you need to know how and when to appropriate words, or else you are misunderstood. Knowing appropriate terms to use is where communicative competence comes in.
Conversing with natives gives you communicative competence, in addition to linguistic competence. You get to learn proper pronunciation and practice the native accent. It also improves your listening skills as you can always ask for clarification whenever anything is unclear. Speaking with natives also offers a window into their culture, making it easier to understand what they say and their meaning and intentions.
Where to Find Native Speakers
Many people learn a second language while away from the country where the language is spoken. Consequently, getting the new language’s native speaker may be challenging, limiting the spoken aspect of learning the new language. However, you can find natives by searching on the right platforms, including:
Facebook has billions of users spread out worldwide, making it easy to connect with the new language’s natives. Additionally, the platform hosts thousands (possibly millions) of groups dedicated to learning new languages or connecting foreigners. You can find these groups by searching various keywords, depending on the language’s native country.
Local Language Centers
What are the odds of finding a foreigner who is your new language’s native speaker in your country? Many American cities have organizations such as the Alliance Française for French speakers or the Goethe Institute for German speakers that offer meetups to explore language and culture for both native speakers and curious students.
You can also search local listings in the language’s native country and opt for virtual face-to-face conversations. Communication solutions such as video calls will help you bridge the geographical distance.
You can also seek professional help by enrolling in online language courses. Good language courses cover all aspects of learning a new language, including the spoken word.
Most accredited language courses provide opportunities to talk with natives trained as linguists. These professionals will move at your pace, making it easier than holding conversations with strangers.
We make it easy and enjoyable to learn a new language here at Language Bird. Our resources include access to native speakers who double up as professional linguists. Contact us and enroll in our accredited language courses to start your journey.