If you are learning a language, conversational fluency is likely one of your goals because speaking a foreign language is incredibly rewarding. We designed Freak-Speak to help you accomplish this goal.
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What is required to reach conversationally fluency? The first step is digesting vocabulary and forming a variety of sentences using the vocabulary (not a small task). After doing this, you’ll have a certain number of weak neural connections that you can use in basic conversation. However, you’ll notice that it is difficult to use the connections fluidly because you always have to stop and think about how to say them. You are not able to recall them naturally from your subconscious.
The next step is transforming these weak connections into strong ones, so that during a conversation, you can easily and quickly recall them in a natural or “subconscious” manner. How do we do that? By continually stumbling/failing/thinking/revising/using them until they are eventually cemented into our brains!
Finally, we need to continue this process until the quantity of strong neural connections, or the number of phrases/sentences that we can recall naturally, is sufficient to communicate in the contexts in which we would like to be “fluent” (based on our goals). Strengthening enough phrases, with the goal of being able to describe ourselves, is going to take a lot less time than acquiring the phrases necessary for managing the majority of everyday situations in life.
We designed Freak-Speak with three ideas in mind: (1) to create fun and engaging environments for conversation so that users will practice more frequently; (2) to help language learners transform the most important weak connections into strong ones; and (3) to give users an opportunity to identify which important connections are completely missing from their repertoire.
Freak-Speak does this by offering a variety of conversation styles:
- Super-Speak focuses the conversation on strengthening the most important connections — the ones needed to reach conversational fluency for everyday life. Users participate in one-on-one and group activities. They also have access to a Preparation Document one week in advance, so that they can form weak connections that they want to strengthen during the conversation.
- Bonus-Speak includes:
- Virtual reality, so that learners can digitally immerse themselves in the language and culture through digital travel, games, meetups and nightclubs (PC compatible).
- Q-Talks, where users give a three minute “quick-talk” to a small group on one of the subjects that tends to repeat more often in life, such as our personal story, our work history or certain life-events. Once finished, the group asks a few questions.
- Cultural Discussion, a meeting to explore and discuss the cultures where the target language is spoken. A native speaker is often present to answer questions.
- Switch, similar to speed dating, users switch conversation partners every two minutes.
Wait, wait, wait you might be thinking to yourself : “shouldn’t I be practicing with a native speaker?” The answer is, maybe. Language learners can access native speakers through language exchanges, paid tutors found on websites like iTalki and with international friends. But there are some common problems with each, which Freak-Speak attempts to solve:
- Language exchanges:
- Most importantly, Freak-Speak solves the issue of meeting people that are on these websites for the wrong reasons! It does this by (A) being a paid service and (B) with moderators. It also DOUBLES the conversation practice time because users are no longer required to teach a language. The Super-Freak and Bonus-Freak conversation styles keep users more engaged with fun environments like Switch and Virtual Reality, while also focusing conversation on the most important topics—not to mention, there is no back-and-forth to schedule meeting times.
- iTalki Tutors:
- A great iTalki tutor is worth their weight in gold, but gold is expensive! This prevents many people from speaking frequently, which for most people is more important than the corrections a native speaker can provide. Speaking with a variety of conversation partners from around the world also keeps things interesting!
- Speaking with friends is a great way to learn a language. A common issue that can occur is that the native-speaker tends to do the majority of the speaking, since they are more comfortable with language! Depending on the student’s level, the conversation can also be quite un-engaging for the native speaker, which lowers the odds of them wanting to practice frequently (unless it is a language exchange). Finally, it is unlikely you will practice important situational vocabulary in such conversations, like role playing interactions in a grocery store, which are critical to reaching basic conversational fluency.
So, in other words, great opportunities to practice conversation DO exist outside of Freak-Speak, but many people find themselves in suboptimal exchanges. Give Freak-Speak a try and you’ll see what we mean! You can use the code: DICTIONARY to try a week for free and see how it works!
Fluency, Neural Associations, Goals, Immersion, Time