Recently I’ve been thinking a lot. Not just about how far I’ve come with my Russian, but where I want to be and how to get there. At the end of the day, a book can only take me so far -there isn’t a comparable substitute for actually speaking and interacting with someone else in a foreign language.
So, what’s to be done? Well, here’s where the internet has it’s advantages. After a surprisingly small amount of research, google will throw up a whole host of websites that allow it’s users to connect, talk and exchange languages. There’s italki, the mixxer, conversation exchange, livamocha and many more (list will be posted in useful links), all of which allow you to find “language partners” and talk via skype.
These tools are incredibly useful – they not only allow you to practice pronunciation and improve your confidence in actually speaking the language, but they can also offer a real insight into another culture. As it’s founded on exchange, there are also benefits for both parties.
One word of warning that seems to be commonplace however, is to not to commit too early. By this it’s meant that you should probably have some basic language skills and a few extra bits of vocabulary to kick start a conversation, otherwise you could find your confidence knocked as you struggle to understand a word of what the other person is saying. On the other hand, sometimes it’s best just to jump into the deep-end otherwise you’ll end up putting things off forever.
Over the next few months then, I’ll be trying out some of these platforms in a bid to improve my Russian – and no doubt will be sharing the results with you!
Here’s a link to a great blog by FluentU if you’re interested in finding out more-