Learning a new language can be challenging, but it can also be extremely rewarding. One of the best ways to improve your language skills is to practice with others who speak the same language.
Whether it is online or in person, interacting with native speakers or fellow learners can help you boost your confidence, expand your vocabulary, and learn from your mistakes.
Finding Others to Practice With
One of the most important steps in learning a new language is to find someone to practice with. However, we know that it can be hard to find a practice partner or a group, especially when you are just starting out. That’s why we want to share some tips on how to find more opportunities for practice and connect with other learners like you:
Join an online community that connects you to other language learners. For example, if you are learning American Sign Language (ASL), you can attend our free ASL group practice sessions that are held every Wednesday at 5:00 PM Pacific time (8:00 PM Eastern). The Zoom link is sent out each week via our newsletters, which you can join for free here.
Find a language partner or tutor who can help you improve your skills. You can use apps or websites that match you with someone who speaks the language you want to learn or teach. For example, if you are learning ASL, you can use Glide, a video messaging app that allows you to send short videos in sign language. Also, if you are looking for a tutor, feel free to send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may be able to find a suitable ASL tutor for you to work with.
Enroll in a class or course that teaches the language you want to learn. You can choose from online or offline options depending on your preference and availability. For example, if you are learning ASL, you can check out some online resources, such as Lifeprint.com where you can follow a series of lessons or you can check out our Guide to Learning ASL: Getting Started article which outlines some helpful resources and tips to get you started.
The Benefits of Practice
Here are just a few of the benefits of practicing with others when learning a new language:
You get real feedback. When you practice with others, you can get immediate and honest feedback on your accuracy, grammar, and comprehension. You can also ask questions and clarify any doubts you have about the language. This way, you can correct your errors and avoid developing bad habits.
You learn how to communicate effectively. When you practice with others, you learn how to use the language in different contexts and situations. You can also learn how to express yourself clearly and politely, how to use gestures and body language, and how to adapt your speech according to your audience and purpose.
You may find a “language parent”. As linguist Chris Lonsdale puts it, a language parent is someone who helps you learn a new language by communicating with you in a natural and meaningful way. They don’t teach you grammar rules or correct your every mistakes, but rather encourages you to express yourself and understand the message. They work to create a safe environment where you can learn by listening and imitating, just like a child learns from their parents and is willing to share their knowledge and experience with you.
You have fun and stay motivated. When you practice with others, you can make learning more enjoyable and engaging. You can play games, watch videos, read stories, or have conversations about topics that interest you. You can also make new friends and learn about their culture and experiences.
Practicing with others is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language. It helps you get real feedback, learn how to communicate effectively, and have fun while staying motivated.
So don’t be afraid to reach out to other language learners and start practicing today!