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From experience the only real solution is to practice and practice and practice with a native or very fluent speaker. I am a French Canadian from Québec, though now I think in English because that language has been my work language all of my adult life. It is also the language I use at home as my wife is Mexican and we met years ago when she did not know French and I did no know Spanish.

I am currently living in Mexico, but immersion is not sufficient to actually speak the language very fluently unless you are forced to speak it. After almost 13 years living here I am fluent enough for doing business negotiations in Spanish as I do not have much chance speaking it in that context. I understand everything and watch TV daily in Spanish, but since I never had any grammar classes I still have problems with the verbs as I tend to only speak in the present tense which get to be a pain. The main reason for this is that I work from home and communicate almost entirely in English, when we go out together I got in the habit years ago to let my wife handle most of the general conversations as I did not understand at all in those days, and most business I do locally is normally handled in English. I guess that it is sheer laziness on my part as when I am forced to be on my own for a few days the fluency increases tremendously as I am forced to use the language.

From past research that I did some years back while writing some English as a second language software for my wife to use in some English classes she was giving locally, I found the following:

  • 1. Most word game software are very helpful to build vocabulary, but you eventually hit a wall after a while unless the games also teaches you how to build and structure phrases.
  • 2. The quickest way to gain a working knowledge of a language is to use or take a conversation course where you are forced to use the language.
  • 3. To reinforce your conversation skills you also need to study the grammar as without knowing the rules you cannot logically construct meaningful phrases.

How to make that fun is very different from person to person, and it all depends on the use of the language you will have. To start interaction course can be fun as they help you build vocabulary in a fun way, but they are not enough to really learn a language. Taking a conversation class after some preliminary vocabulary building is probably the most productive and would give you the most rewards as you can interact in the language very quickly. Then, if you want to deepen your knowledge you will need to learn the grammar as without that knowledge you cannot really use the language properly. Of course after learning the basics immersion especially while traveling can be the most fun as it can bring fantastic experiences.

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