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Say It Right Series

Speaking fluently in Chinese

Posted by KennyK April 29, 2007 in the Group General Discussion.

I love learning Chinese with ChinesePod!  It's a great way to improve in many areas of Chinese - vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening, etc...However, after reading many users' comments online, I realize now many people may have the same problems as I do...

Living in Taiwan and studying Chinese on my own for 3 years now, and currently I can say my grammar and vocabulary is great, my reading of traditional characters is excellent, and my listening is really good... So, most people assume my speaking will be excellent as well. However, I find it so difficult to practice speaking in Taiwan because most people will want to speak to me in English (because they want to practice English), and when I do get the chance to speak to someone who can't speak English, I try my best to speak in Chinese, usually starting off fine, but when the conversation gets a bit deeper I struggle horribly.  It seems my current method of learning to "speak" chinese is not really working and although I would love to take a class I simply don't have the free time...The methods I have tried include:

1.  Reading aloud when reading Chinese - this is a good way to get the feel of speaking Chinese, but it does not train the brain to respond during an actual conversation. 

2.  Language exchange --- this is a great way to practice conversation - IF both parties language abilities are about the same.  However,  most people in Taiwan have studied English for at least 5-10 years, so I find that the conversations always divert to English.  Most of these sessions tend to be about 80% English and 20% Chinese.

So, my question is, are there are suggestions and/or resources that Chinesepod could provide to improve this very essential area?  Should I move to a remote area of China where English is not well-known? LOL   For me, speaking is the most important part of learning a language and to speak fluently in Chinese requires a lot of practice due to the fact that the rhythm and tone of spoken Chinese is so much different from English. I would love to hear from anybody who learned to "speak" Chinese fluently without attending classes.  I really want to master this and I would great appreciate any feedback from other members or Chinesepod.

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