Language Learning Strategies for Speaking and Communication

The last in this series, here are some speaking and communication strategies inspired by “Learning Strategies in Foreign and Second Language Classrooms: The Role of Learner Strategies” by Ernesto Macaro.We’ve previously covered language learning strategies for listening,  writing and reading.

Here are the speaking strategies:

  1. Switch to your native language for unknown wordsIf you’re stuck for word, use your native tongue. Your talking partner may be able to supply you with the correct word in your target language.
  2. Use body language, gestures, mime: All these non-verbal cues can help you get your message across
  3. Avoid words or topics you don’t know : Use the knowledge you have.
  4. Adjusting what you want to say so you can easily express yourself:  Find another way to express yourself using vocabulary and grammar you are familiar with rather than get stuck on a phrase you don’t know  how to say in your target language.
  5. Find another way to say unknown vocabulary: For example you may not know the word for ‘snowman’, but you know the words for ‘snow’ and ‘man’, so use them instead or ‘teacher’ ‘room’ instead of ‘staffroom’.
  6. Use synonyms for problem words: For example substituting ‘hurt’ for ‘sick’ or ‘buy’ for ‘purchase’ to get your message across.
  7. Syntax avoidance: Similarly to 3, avoid topics/sentences which require grammar you are unfamiliar with. Find another way to express yourself.
  8. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes: Mistakes are a natural part of the learning process ^^

What are strategies for communication and speaking?


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