gb   United Kingdom

Speaking Vs Listening/Reading to Improve Speaking

April 2019

I was just sat here wondering exactly how much actual speaking practice you have to do to get good at it. I know Steve admits that you have to do a lot of speaking to speak well, however, I was wondering at what stage that applies most? I've also heard Steve say he's yet to encounter anyone who could understand really well but couldn't speak, which might support this idea.

So if one is to start speaking at say a late beginner/early intermediate level of listening and reading comprehension, I could see that you'd have to practice speaking if you want to say more than your name and where you're from etc. What I was thinking though, is what if you delayed practising that level of speaking after getting your comprehension level up to an upper intermediate/early advanced level?

How useful was struggling through trying to speak when you had, at best, an early intermediate base?

Then I started to wonder about someone exclusively listening and reading for say 3-5 years straight, no speaking at all, say 8 hours + per day, to the point where literally nothing they read or listen to is the slightest problem to them.

How quickly would that person pick up their speaking? Would it flow naturally almost instantly? Would it take a week? A month? A few months?

Would it, in fact, be an optimal strategy to avoid it, struggling to understand whilst at the same time struggling to string basic sentence structures together? Could that actually be a complete waste of time if your end goal is fluency?

Again, I'm not talking about 30 minutes a day, or about what it's like after 6 months. This would be close to full (passive only) immersion for a minimum of 3 years.

Is there any account of a 2nd language learner having done something like this?

Edit: Just to say, this is purely hypothetical, I'm not thinking about doing it, haha.

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