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Stage 3: Learn to Speak

Welcome to Stage 3. After many months (or years) of learning to comprehend your target language (TL), you will finally learn to speak!

The ability to speak is not a single skill; it's a mix of four different skills:

  1. Comprehending the person you're conversing with (3A).
  2. Quickly converting your thoughts into words (3B).
  3. Physically moving your mouth to pronounce the language (3B).
  4. Embodying natural mannerisms and styles of expression (3C).

In Stages 3A and 3B, you will separate these skills and practice them each individually. You will then combine them in Stage 3C, culminating in fluency.

Stage 3A: Preparing for Output

In Stage 3A, you will focus on preparing for the various output practice activities in Stages 3B and 3C.

First up, you need to overcome any aversion to output. After months (or years) of avoiding output, some people experience psychological blockers that prevent them from writing and speaking.

You won’t be able to speak in a domain that you can’t comprehend. Everyday conversation is a different domain than what you mastered in Stage 2, so you’ll need to learn how people write and talk to each other in real life. Because you’ve already mastered one domain, this second domain should come quickly. In the following article, we explain all the activites necessary to master the domain of everyday conversation.

In Stages 3B and 3C, you will deliberately practice pronunciation and accent. To sound like a native, it’s easiest to copy a native. In the following article we explain how to choose a good native to adopt as your model for how to speak.

Move onto Stage 3B once you have level 5 comprehension of the everyday conversation domain and while listening to your language parent.

Stage 3B: Deliberate Practice

Output within the Refold method is not the same as traditional methods. You won’t be translating in your head and consciously constructing sentences from memorized vocabulary and grammar.

Instead, you will let your subconscious power your output. If you have level 5 comprehension in at least one domain, then you already have a large pool of acquired language available to you for writing and speaking. All you need to do is make a small mental connection and that acquired language will be ready for output.

In the following article, we explain the process of making these connections through writing. If you struggle with any step in the activation process, we’ve also provided a troubleshooting guide to help you diagnose and fix any problems.

To prepare you for speaking, you will also start working on your pronunciation and accent. The primary activity for pronunciation training is shadowing, but there are many other techniques you can use to improve your accent. We explain these in:

Output practice is important, but input will always be the engine of language mastery. As you identify problems in your output, you will address them using input. You will continue listening to your parent until you have level 6 comprehension. You should be able to easily and automatically understand virtually everything they say.

We explain how all of these activities fit together in:

When you have level 6 comprehension of your parent and you are comfortable writing, then move on to Stage 3C.

Stage 3C: Speaking

Now that you are comfortable expressing yourself through writing and have developed the muscle memory for good pronunciation, you are ready to speak.

Right off the bat, you should be able to have conversations with natives without a problem.

However, you will still make mistakes while speaking and you won’t yet sound completely natural. There are two categories of speaking mistakes: competence-based and performance-based. We explain these concepts in the following article:

To master speaking, there are many subtle aspects of native speech that you need pay attention to. In the following article, we explain each of these aspects and how to identify them:

You can’t learn to speak without speaking! There are many different practice exercises for speaking depending on your goals and preferences. We explain these in detail in the following article:

As you develop your speaking ability, you will run into various difficulties. We’ve collected questions from our community and written a troubleshooting guide for the most commonly reported problems.

At this point, there’s a lot of different activities you can do depending on your immediate goals and needs. In the following article, we explain how to think about your daily schedule and choose the right activities for your goals.

Level Up

By the end of Stage 3, you should be comfortable with everyday speech. Move on to Stage 4 when you want to expand into new domains.