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3 Tips for Practicing Your Persian Speaking Skills

3 Tips for Practicing Your Persian Speaking Skills

When you start out learning a foreign language everything is exciting. You pick up new words and basic phrases fairly quickly. The first time you say a greeting or answer the question “How are you?”, you might even get a thrill. Speaking fluent Persian doesn’t feel that far off and at this point it really does seem like language learning isn’t all that difficult. But after a week or two things begin to change…

After a few weeks of study you start to hit walls as you’re faced with strange grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Everything about learning Persian seemed promising and hopeful before, but now you start to realize how difficult it’s going to be. Speaking the language now feels like a long faroff goal that you may or may not achieve one day.

But don’t let the innocence of being an absolute beginner or the disillusionment of an experience learner discourage you from learning Persian. In all honesty, speaking the language may not be as far off as you thought.

In this post we’ll look at some practical tips that will help you speak better Persian no matter what level you’re at.

Practice with Native Speakers

1) Practice with Native Speakers

Practicing your Persian with native speakers is by far one of the most effective things you can do to improve your speaking abilities. Think of speaking a foreign language as riding a bike. After a certain point you can’t read or theorize about how to do it. You have to actually do it. If you can practice speaking with native speakers who correct you and give good feedback, then you’ll be well on your way to improving your speaking.

Where To Find Native Persian Speakers

Where to find native persian speakers

If you live in or near a major city there is a good chance there are some Persian speakers there. You might even get lucky and discover an entire Persian community. Do a little research into the demographics of the your city or simply keep your eyes open the next time you go through town. You can also attend a language exchange or cultural event. Meetup is a site for local enthusiast groups and there are usually some language speaking clubs or cultural clubs there.

If you’re unable to find native speakers where you live then jump over to the net and find them there. There are a lot of free online exchanges that allow you to connect with other language learners from all over the globe via text, audio, or video chat. Look for a Persian speaker who is learning English. You can spend an hour or so helping each other in your respective target languages. This is a highly practical and helpful way to learn (not to mention it can be fun too).

Learning Pronunciation

2) Devote some time to learning pronunciation

Pronunciation often isn’t the first skill people think of working on when they learning a foreign language, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. Truth be told, you don’t absolutely need a great accent to speak or understand Persian. However a decent accent can vastly improve your listening and speaking abilities in ways you might not expect.

Being able to pronounce Persian words and sounds makes it a lot easier for you to remember and understand new words simply by hearing them. If you can physically make a sound with you mouth then you can mentally remember it. Once you have a good accent the Persian language won’t sound as foreign as it once did, and you will be able to understand rapid speech as well as pick up the definition of new words based on their conversational context.

How To Improve Your Accent

How to improve your accent

If you’re serious about developing your accent then you’ll want to dissect the Persian sound system into its individual parts: first by letters, then individual words, followed by whole phrases. Start doing some mild research on the phonetics of the Persian language. You don’t have to get too technical here, just try to get an idea of some of the main differences between English and Persian pronunciation. Find out where Persian speakers usually put their tongue while saying certain sounds, or pay attention to the shape of the their mouths when they speak (is it open or closed?). These subtle differences are what help you improve.

Once you get the letters down start listening to native audio and compare your pronunciation to the native speakers. PersianPod101’s playback feature is a great way to accomplish this. Take a phrase from a lesson and start by practicing the individual words, playing the audio back at a slower and a regular speed. After comparing your speech to the audio, combine the words to make complete phrases, imitating the intonation of the native speakers.

These precise method of pronunciation practice is one of the most efficient and effective ways to learn pronunciation.

Imitate

3) Imitate, don’t just repeat.

Anytime you speak Persian do your best to imitate the native speakers you’ve heard and practice with. Match the way their intonation rises and falls. Pay attention to their word order. It’s even a good idea to match some of their body language. This degree of imitation will probably feel weird at first; but it reinforces fluency in the language and breaks you out of the parrot trap where you simply learn and speak through rote memorization or repetition. This is a common problem that I’ve often cited with other less effective language learning methods.

Speaking a language is like playing music or dancing. You don’t want to just know it. You want to live in the moment and feel it as you use it. You don’t sit and think of what you’re going to say in English before you say it. Why would you expect to do the same in Persian?

Final thoughts

Don’t let ruffled expectations make you think that speaking Persian is impossible. Yes it’s difficult but it probably isn’t as difficult as you think it is. With a little determination and some faithful practice you might be surprised how quick and how far you can progress. Use these tips to better practice the language and see real results in your speaking abilities!