The biggest fear that we all have is not being able to speak when the time comes. That’s understandable and that was my biggest hurdle when I first started learning. If you are just learning on your own and not really using any materials to help you improve your speaking I would recommend waiting until you have listened to enough German so that you are able to replicate it better. But if you are able to get a hold of a really good audio program like Pimsleur then I think it is perfectly okay to begin speaking from day one. They walk you through the phonetics of the words starting from the end of the word and working your way to the front. It is very useful and causes words to flow off of your tongue very easily.
Now, although I didn’t speak German at home I heard a lot of it when I was really young and that helped me a lot with being able to discern between different words. You know when you first hear a language you can’t tell when a word ends and begins? It is all jumbled together to your ears. I never had that with German but I understand it because I totally have it with French. It is very disheartening when you can’t even hear enough to understand where the words are!
The only way to fix that is to listen. You need to listen to a lot of German. It needs to be natural German. Not from a program. So you can start with the audio program I mentioned before to get you comfortable with speaking. All the while you should still be listening to a lot of German. My mom had some old German cartoons that she brought over with her from Germany that I used to watch as a kid. You can go on to Youtube and find cartoons or anything and just play it in the background after you have done your daily 30 minute audio. You may even hear some words pop up. And when you do they will stick with you! Then when you are feeling more comfortable you can begin to incorporate transcripts. That will propel you forward. I recommend Yabla for that. They have tons of video and they are all transcribed and give you definitions and you can slow them down and speed them up!
How Will this Improve My Speaking?
You know how hard it is to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand you? Exactly. So you don’t want to be selfish and just be able to speak without understanding. So it is very important that you work on your listening. Lots and lots of listening. Because even if you don’t know how to respond there are many of ways you can still communicate.
How Do I Practice My Speaking?
So there are so many ways that you can do this.
Personal Tutor – This can get expensive but if you like that in person help this is a great way to go.
Skype – You can find a lot of tutors even in Germany that are willing to speak to you on Skype. This is less expensive than the one on one. There are a lot of services out there. Just do a search for Skype German Tutor and you will find some. And it is ok if you don’t like your tutor. Find another one until you feel comfortable.
Fiverr – Now, a lot of people on Fiverr use Skype to tutor but I want to put it separately because you can get a block of time for only $5. A lot of times if you don’t go through Fiverr it can cost you more than that for a session. Fiverr is also good for help with your writings. You can have someone edit your German writings and even make an audio version of them; and it’s only $5.
So in order to get better at your conversational German get a good audio program like Pimsleur that will help you with pronunciation and do a lot of listening using transcribe videos. Then when you are ready, go ahead and get on Fiverr or Skype or an in person tutor if you can afford. It. Your fluency will skyrocket.