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The ONLY way to speak a language

Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?

There are thousands of ways to learn a language; Pimsleur, LingQ, Rosetta Stone, lots of studying, silently absorbing (click the links to see why I don't fully recommend learning these ways). There is also SRS, image association, singing along to your favourite songs, and lots of other things that I do recommend.

You can argue with me or disagree with me about these preferences. That's fine. Any method may ultimately bring you in the right direction.

But there is one thing that must be made clear: If your goal is to speak then none of the above matters at all if you don't follow the golden rule – the number one “method” that I want to make clear in this shorter-than-usual post (especially since the blog has a lot of new readers in the last weeks).

Are you ready?

The only way to speak a language is to OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SAY SOMETHING.

I'm not joking or playing word games here. I'm serious.

Stop telling everyone how you're too old, that you don't have time, that you aren't naturally talented, you aren't “ready” yet because you don't have any words or comfortable conversation fillers, or that you are too shy.

The only way you will speak a language and make progress in speaking it faster and better is if you practise speaking it a lot. Maybe speaking isn't your priority – that's fine, but if it is say something. Now.

All auxiliary tasks can help move you in the right direction, but will not ultimately help you speak unless you find a native, put yourself in front of them and force yourself to start to communicate. Try your best, make mistakes, and enjoy actually using your language with a human being.

It's the only “method” that is guaranteed to produce results.

Before you start thinking too much about why it's impossible, go out and give it a try. It won't be perfect, but you will have spoken the language. With lots of practice, soon you will be doing it much more confidently.

So stop focusing so much on learning a language!!!

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Benny Lewis

Founder, Fluent in 3 Months

Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is to speak from day one.

Speaks: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Dutch, Irish

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