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How to create new opportunities to speak the language you’re learning
Ready to take your new and improved language skills out for a spin? Meeting new people in a new language might feel daunting, but there are simple ways to take your learning journey a step further, and they are easier to come across than you might think. Follow these suggestions to find more people to talk to and practise with. On your mark, get set, speak!
Keep your ears open
If you have access to bilingual services, places like coffee shops, banks, grocery stores and museums are great for short interactions with people who speak the language you're learning. While you’re waiting in line, pay attention to the small talk around you. How do people talk about the weather or last night's game? How do they greet each other and order their coffee? Once you're ready, step in with what you know and feel comfortable with! Try offering your seat on the bus, asking a question at the museum or making a recommendation at a restaurant. And if the person doesn't answer in the language you're trying to practise, don't worry too much about it—you still got to say a few words, and your next chance to practise is right around the corner.
If no one seems to speak the language you're learning, you can still pay attention to everyday interactions. Did you simply order a coffee, or did you also greet people, hesitate about what to get, ask about the muffins and say that you were running late? How would you communicate those same ideas in another language? Some of the expressions you see in Mauril will definitely come in handy! And for more ways to practise, have a look at our article on how to increase your fluency while flying solo.
Incorporate your interests
Taking a language course is a great way to learn a language, but taking any class taught in that language can give you a chance to get some practice in. To immerse yourself without too much pressure, try something involving movement or creativity, like a drop-in yoga class or a pottery workshop. With the main focus on doing the activity, you'll get lots of demonstrations and visual cues to better understand what's being said.
Looking for a challenge? Pick a subject you love and try enrolling in a more technical or text-heavy course. If you've been contemplating music lessons, a bartending masterclass, an intro to urban gardening or lectures about ancient history, find it in the language you want to practise! To push yourself even further, go for an activity where words take centre stage, like an improv class, some theatre lessons or a poetry workshop. Between community centres, libraries, gyms, art studios, evening classes at local schools and online tutorials, there really is something for everyone!
Interact with other learners
Even if you never hear the language you're learning at your local coffee shop, know that you are not alone! People all across Canada are learning French and English, so why not do it together? You could team up with someone who's learning your first language and help each other out. For longer conversations with native speakers, you'll also find many language tutors offering private sessions online.
Do you prefer group activities? Search online for conversation groups and weekly events for learners, or start your own! Whether in-person or online, you'll get a judgment-free space to practise regularly, and probably exchange a few tips and tricks. You might even meet some fellow Mauril users or get to introduce people to your favourite content on the app.
No matter how you choose to practise, never forget to be patient and kind with yourself. Everyone learns at a different pace, and everyone makes mistakes, even native speakers! New occasions to practise often lead to new encounters and new things to talk about. Trust yourself, and aim for getting your ideas across rather than picking the perfect idiom or verb agreement. If you find yourself at a loss for words, remember that synonyms, gestures and a positive attitude will keep the conversation going.