I think I am ready to speak...
I have been having a lot of fun learning french with Duolingo. The other day I tried to describe my day (to the dog) and I knew what to say! I looked up some words, but overall I feel like I am ready to use the language somehow. I just don't know how. None of my friends speak french. My problem with languages is that I always learn to read and write but never get the courage to speak. Does anyone else feel that way? What do you do to practice speaking?
lack of courage to speak your second language is very common, because it generally involves displaying your skills (or lack of skills :) ) to another person, which brings with it a fear of being judged or making a mistake. And that fear can be difficult to overcome, especially because you will make mistakes, no matter how careful you are. it's easier said than done, but truly accepting that you will make mistakes in front of real people can help boost your confidence to speak to real people.
if you don't feel like speaking to another person (due to confidence or lack of skill) then actually speaking to your dog is helpful. having a mock conversation with your dog can help with fluency and confidence. they won't be able to correct your mistakes, but it can help.
You can also create cards about topics of conversation, pick one at random and dive into a monologue about the topic in your second language, speaking as slow or fast as you feel is needed pronounce things properly and to get the grammar right.
finally, if you feel ready to speak to a real person, try and find a language buddy (i.e. someone who is fluent in your second language). There are a lot of social groups like that around that (ideally) pair up people whose mother tongue is the other's second language, so you can both practice speaking you second languages. just make sure that you are both patient, respectful and understanding, as speaking your second language fluently is arguably the hardest thing to do as a second language learner.
anyway, hope this helps, and best of luck to you!
There is another app that I use in tandem with Duo, and it’s called HelloTalk. It’s great for helping you find language buddies who are native speakers of your target language. You can share voice notes with each other and help correct each other so that you can improve and support each other. It’s a great tool.
I play this game called VRchat which is the main reason my Japanese is so fluent now despite never having been to the country. It is also helpful if you want to practice your french because I've encountered many french players there but I still am not fluent enough to converse with them. Though I'm sure they'd be glad to help you. You can get the game for free on steam. It's basically a VR game but you'll be fine without a VR headset if practicing language is the only thing you want to use it for.
Another app I'd recommend is HelloTalk. This app is perhaps even better than VR chat since it has millions of people who are there with the sole purpose of practicing their language. It didn't work out for me cuz I'm so awkward at making phone calls to random people but you should definitely give it a try.
I am a paid up member of tandem for language exchange french english.Because of that i have all sorts of challenges but kindly albeit it seems a very respectable number of people trying to help me learn to speak, write, understand. I have got the challenge of composing 5 minute convos for each one. Perhaps I need to find kate people amongst them? So challenge level is right up. I also have fortunately blessed with some french speaking writing understanding members of my family who are far ahead of me and who need impressing. So I might set up a whatsapp group for that purpose. I also want to visit Paris so I can put speaking writing understanding and culture which I am trying to teach myself from undergraduate french language and literature syllabi so I can start finding myself culturally speaking. all very challenging. I approve of duolingo emphasis on speaking writing understanding as an app to just make you speak seems to me to be an exercise in short changing would be french hedonistes like me.