The Most Crucial Skill You Need to Master When Learning a Language

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Arguably the most critical of the four pillars of learning a language is speaking.

The other pillars, reading, writing, and listening are also important, but they don't demand the same level of language mastery that speaking demands.

When reading and writing, you can search for the correct words. When speaking, you need to come up with the correct words immediately.

In some contexts, you need to understand a word when you hear it, but that is still easier than having to come up with that word when speaking.

Reading, Writing, and Listening

The good news is that practicing reading, writing, and listening benefits your speaking skills. Practicing vocabulary and grammar, for example on Learn Practice, benefit all of the four pillars.

Nevertheless, those activities aren't enough to develop your speaking skills. You need to practice your speaking skills separately, on top of those activities.

Blend In with the Community

If you're lucky enough to live in a Dutch speaking community, I strongly recommend that you practice speaking with the members of your community.

I know that is easier said than done. I went through that phase, when I couldn't speak fluently with people in my community. Worse yet, they openly laughed at me.

However, you don't have any chance but pushing through that phase. The only alternative is to quit living in a Dutch-speaking community.

If you have a difficulty pushing through the beginner level, I strongly recommend that you read my post The Psychology of Learning a Language.

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Find Conversation Partners

Let me go through some tips to practice speaking.

Having a job where I had to speak Dutch made a huge difference in my speaking skills. If you have the choice, choose a job where you have to speak Dutch.

If you have a Dutch speaking partner, speak in Dutch instead of English. This can feel weird at the beginning, but over time, you get used to it. I've been there as well. So, I'm speaking from experience.

If you live in a Dutch-speaking community, visit the municipality, i.e. stadhuis or gemeentehuis. Ask them if they have a program where local volunteers spend time with newcomers to welcome them into their community. That's a perfect opportunity to practice Dutch with locals.

You can find conversation partners in online language exchange groups. These are people who want to practice your native language. In exchange they offer their time to practice their native language, e.g. Dutch.

Moreover, you can volunteer in Dutch-speaking charities so that you have the opportunity to speak Dutch with other volunteers.

Practice All Aspects of Dutch

I strongly recommend that you read and bookmark the related posts below. Apply the tips in them because they will benefit your speaking skills.

Needless to say practicing your vocabulary and grammar on Learn Practice every day benefits all of the four pillars of learning a language.

Any questions or comments? Send an email to to contact me directly.

Burak Bilgin,
Founder of Learn Practice

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Published on Sunday, September 15, 2019.

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