Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Sat Jun 25, 2022 1:58 pm

rdearman wrote:Had to look up cachet. If that is the case why do all villains in America films have a British accent? Or am I the only one who has noticed this particular stereotype?


Article in The Atlantic:
Why Do Cartoon Villains Speak in Foreign Accents?

I guess this sums it up:
The most wicked foreign accent of all was British English, according to the study.


On the other hand, spy thrillers usually have a British hero and a villain with a German or Slavic accent.
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby Le Baron » Sat Jun 25, 2022 2:50 pm

Villains seem to have more cachet. Suave and debonair ones at least.
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby luke » Sat Jun 25, 2022 4:41 pm

rdearman wrote:
luke wrote:Also, some learners are lucky and their stereotypical accent carries cachet. Think British accent in the U.S.
If that is the case why do all villains in America films have a British accent?

American James Bond films have a British 007.

Why do some villains in American films have British accents? Hollywood films are just using that cachet to promote villainous behavior. ;)
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby rdearman » Sat Jun 25, 2022 7:27 pm

According to some psychology research it is because Americans perceive people with a British accent as more intelligent and better educated but less trustworthy. However he couldn't say if this was the reason for the film trope, or the film trope is the reason for the perception.
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby Sae » Sat Jun 25, 2022 8:07 pm

There's an app called "Mango Languages", it has a web version too if learning from PC/Laptop. It encourages you to speak the language and compare it to their native speaker's pronunciation by recording your voice and playing them side-by-side. I've found this more useful than say, other apps that encourage speech but try to rate you on your speech using it voice recognition software.

Though of course, being able to speak to somebody is pretty valuable, if not a tutor (as they cost money) stuff like Hello Talk and Tandem at least pair people as language partners, maybe that's an alternative option.
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby Le Baron » Sat Jun 25, 2022 8:43 pm

Why less trustworthy? I wonder how far that and deep that runs? Perhaps as far as...'don't worry old chap, there'll be no taxation without representation..!'
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby luke » Sat Jun 25, 2022 10:03 pm

It was a silly tangent, so what was my real point?

By delaying speaking, the adult doesn't so quickly harden their "this is how it's said" muscles.

Children have much greater neuroplasticity, so that's another area one can make a reasonable challenge to the "learn like a child" advocates.

There seems to be a lot of overlap between the "input" and "learn like a child" groups.

What do you all think?
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby SpanishInput » Sat Jun 25, 2022 10:29 pm

Hi! I'm a bit late but I'll try to add my 2 cents.

First, we need to define what the OP's problem really is. Is it not knowing what to say in a situation they regularly encounter, or is it not knowing what to say when introducing themselves to strangers?

If it's #1, working with your tutor to create a custom "phrasebook" could be useful. Then create Anki flashcards in the English > Spanish direction with the Spanish audio on the answer side. It's going to be hard to memorize whole sentences verbatim, but when I did this every day for Chinese back in 2015 it helped a lot. Having some pre-packaged sentences in your memory, ready to use, frees up your brain to process what's going on and what to say next. Of course, I shadowed/chorused those sentences like there's no tomorrow every time I reviewed each card. I was not happy until I managed to say it with the exact same rythm as the native recording... 3 times in a row, at a minimum.

If it's #2, I have to admit that even in my native Spanish I'm not really that talkative around strangers, so at one point in my life I actually carried on my phone a list of conversation topics. It worked wonders while on a tour with other Ecuadorians.
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby tiia » Sun Jun 26, 2022 9:37 am

thevagrant88 wrote:The obvious thing would be to set up time with a tutor or language partner, but my schedule is not consistent Even if I did, it would be once a week and I’d absolutely want to supplement it somehow anyway.

So why don't you do that? Once a week is just fine. I would only give you the hint that it really is important to make out the next meeting at the end of the previous one. No "I'll text you" or anything like that. At the end of the meeting just look at your calendars and find another suitable date. It doesn't have to be the same day or the same time every week, but it is important to agree on a time for the next meeting, so that you won't forget to text each other etc.

thevagrant88 wrote:So what can I do from the comfort of my home?[...]Could journaling help? Talking to my pets?

Generally speaking those are at least things you could try.

But especially since you say
thevagrant88 wrote:[...]And yes, I know nerves are 100% a factor.

the concept "You only learn how to speak by speaking" applies. I don't think there is any possibility you can speak spontaneously, if you don't speak regularly.

I looked a bit at your log, and noticed you already mentioned those problems in the very first post of it, which was about two years ago. But I also found this bit here from 2021:
thevagrant88 wrote:Spanish - I just have Spanish now. Like, it’s there and not going anywhere. I don’t generally have much trouble communicating with strangers unless they have a really challenging accent. I read novels, listen to podcasts, play video games, and generally just use it. I’ve been thinking about getting involved in some kind of online gaming to meet people. It’s also humbling because even with my more advanced level, there is still droves of room for improvement.

Did you actually try the online gaming with other Spanish speakers? If not, could now be the time to do so?

Another question I would be: How much do you use your productive skills? I read a lot about listening/watching series and reading books, but I didn't really anything about writing. (Though I may have missed that.) So how often do you write and speak? Is speaking the only productive skill you use at least every now and then?
If this is so, then regular writing practice could actually help you, too.

Oh and by the way, don't be unsatisfied, if you don't speak as eloquently as people in the movies or series you're watching. That is normal. It may come with time, or it won't, but I wouldn't worry about it (yet).
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Re: Other ways of improving speaking skills apart from…speaking?

Postby thevagrant88 » Sun Jun 26, 2022 3:53 pm

tiia thanks for the input. I've actually been trying to make an effort as of late to NOT play video games so I haven't really explored that specific thing. Having said that, I had my speaking session and...it was totally fine. I spoke with almost no effort entirely in Spanish for the duration of the session. I'm more convinced now than ever that it's nerves/lack of confidence. I just gotta say, "screw it" when the opportunity to speak Spanish comes up.
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