practice language learning

How to Practice Your Language Learning Effectively

  • April 23, 2018 / Queenie Kawabe

My students are often looking for an opportunity to practice language once they attain the basic conversational fluency. I believe many people do the same too. It takes time and habitual practice in order to speak fluently. From an online coaching perspective, here’s my 11 effective ways to practice your language: Chinese and Japanese.

How to Practice language learning effectively:


1. Having an online lesson with a language coach/teacher.

Some language learners are considered an introvert due to the shyness. They feel more comfortable to practice with an audio-based calls with the language coach.  This is a little easier for people who feel intimated by having someone see them as a beginner learner.

2. Going to Chinatown and eating at a local restaurant there.

I often tell my students to go to Chinatown or go to a Japanese restaurant to practice their Chinese or Japanese with the staff there.  You can practice your speaking by ordering the foods on the menu. More importantly, the foods are tastier and more authentic.

3. Watching movies or TV shows.

I love watching movies and TV shows because it entertains me and I get a better understanding of how real Japanese is spoken when I see it on the show. When my advanced students ask me on how to improve their listening skills, I give them a list of popular Chinese and Japanese shows. It opens your eyes to another sound of the language.

4. Listening to music.

We all love music. Babies learn to listen before they can speak. This is the basic principle of life and I think languages are beautiful when a musician turns them into a song. You will realise you have a better understanding of the language from a broader grammatical range of expression.

5. Hanging out with your Chinese/Japanese friends ask them to speak the language with you.

I speak 4 languages a day and I often tell my students to speak Japanese to me after our lessons. Even a 5-minute conversation with simple topics is better than nothing.

6. Teaching English while living in China, Taiwan or Japanese.

Many foreigner teachers enjoy teaching English in these places, where they are supported by the organisation. It is not required to learn the language when you are hired, but if you have been studying Chinese or Japanese in your home country, this is one of the great opportunities to practice what you have been studying with local students.

7. Visiting and Travelling throughout Asia.

I love travelling and I think natives love it if you could speak Chinese or Japanese. They feel touched by the action because you are learning their language and culture. This gives you an opportunity to understand how real Japanese or Mandarin (Chinese) is spoken. Your effort is paid off when you know you can hold a basic conversation.

8. Text-to-voice or voice-to-text in Chinese/Japanese with a native speaker in TalkHello.

Many people are often looking for an exchange language partner in their home country, but it doesn’t seem like everyone love this idea. So, TalkHello could be the latest language apps for you. You could search and meet native-speaking language partner around the world. You have the ability to not only speak with people but to send text messages to them too.

9. Speaking Chinese/Japanese with the taxi driver.

When you are travelling by taxi in China, Taiwan or Japan, you should take this opportunity to talk or ask the driver about local foods or places. One of my students loves to talk with the taxi driver whenever he travels in Taiwan because it is the only moment he can speak with a stranger in Chinese and he can understand better how real Mandarin (Chinese) is spoken.

10. Talking to yourself.

This might sound strange, but it works when you are alone or have no one to practice with. You are actually thinking about the language and picturing yourself in a situation where you will speak the language with the native speakers. Take a restaurant as an example, I imagine that I am a customer and want to order foods in Japanese. I will talk to myself and pretend I am ordering foods. But please don’t do this in a room where people can see you.

11. Practising with Siri.

Have you ever talked with Siri when you need her help? Well, I used it a few time to talk with Siri in Chinese or Japanese about basic greeting and google search. I was amazed at her answer and sometimes it gives me a good laugh because of its answer. Try it now! If she answers your questions, congratulation! Because she understands you in Chinese or Japanese.

A small change in a day is good enough, so be consistent in your language learning adventure!

Happy Learning Chinese & Japanese, and leave a comment below and let me know – What other effective ways do you practice your Chinese or Japanese learning? 


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