A few days ago, I was watching a video of Benny and Olly Richards talking about 7 polyglot questions as you can see below. One of the questions being asked is, is reading aloud helpful when learning a language? I thought it would be a good idea to write about it. Whatever your opinion or preference is, let’s dive in on this interesting topic from a language learning view.
Why Is It Helpful
The text you’re reading serves like a script. It may or may not relate to you. Look at how actors, presenters, news anchors and so on speak. With it, they speak flawlessly as if it’s their own words and not a ready-made. When I was a child, I used to think that the news anchors memorize all those… my innocent mind 😀
Think of it like a song lyric. When you sing a song you don’t sing quietly, don’t you? You sing it out loud. That way you’ll remember it easily. If you can relate the texts to your everyday life, that’s even better. Take Adele song’s Hello as an example.
“Either it sounds right or it doesn’t sound right.”– Isaac Asimov
If it’s not related to you in any way, it still does help, in term of pronunciation. You can learn to pronounce each word clearly. If you meet with difficult words say twice in a row, you’ll learn to pronounce it slowly to avoid tongue twisted.
It can also help boost your confidence. Somewhere in the text, there have to be words that you commonly use in your life. And when you already know how to pronounce those words, that’s when the confidence kicks in.
“Reading aloud helps improve your diction and expression, which you will then transfer into your speaking voice and writing voice.” – Kirtti Shakthawatt
As said with the above quote, some people have a habit of speaking fast, especially when they are nervous. Reading out loud can help them because when reading you need to have intonation to make it more interesting, the same with speaking. If you speak with the same bland and straight tone, people would be bored and after half an hour (probably less than that) they’ll become less interested.
Why It Won’t Be That Helpful
While text can help us to speak smoothly, our life, unfortunately, is not based on scripts. Yes, there is a certain scenario that would fit with certain scripts like introducing yourself to people, ordering foods and drinks, asking for direction and so on and so forth. But beyond that, it is just you and how you are planning to bring your thoughts to life situation.
Let’s say you are talking to someone in your target language, and somewhere in the middle of the conversation, that person is asking you something that is not written in the script. What would you do then? It’s not like you can say “Sorry, I don’t have the answer to that in my scripts” which you can’t.
If you’re able to reply to it with whatever that is left on that limited vocabulary of yours plus with the broken language you have, that wouldn’t be so bad, at least.
Some people find reading aloud helpful because it keeps them focused on whatever they are reading. Others may find it incredibly distracting. As for me, among the many methods I use, I always make it a habit of reading out loud when I read my blogs (proofread) or other people’s blog and/or article.
How about you? Do you think it’s helpful? Which one do you prefer?