Want to Practice Speaking English with a Native Speaker? Go Online!
Today, you will speak hundreds or thousands of words.
How many of these words will be in English?
Is your answer “not many”?
Then you’re forgetting about one of the best ways to learn English: practice.
Practicing your English speaking can help you become more fluent, feel more confident and get experience actually using all the English phrases, words and grammar you have learned. It is an important step in the learning process!
You might say, “But I don’t have anyone to practice with!”
Of course you do! There are thousands of people who can help you practice your spoken English, and they’re all right at your fingertips. You can find them all right here on the Internet.
Here are some excellent websites where you can find a speaking partner, no matter where you live.
Top 12 Places to Find an English Speaking Partner Online
1. Skype Tutors
Price: Depends on the teacher, but it is usually not free.
What it is: Many English and ESL teachers use Skype to teach English language learners over the Internet. If you’re not familiar with it, Skype is a program that lets you chat with people using text, voice or video. It is a bit like using a video phone, and it is very convenient when your teacher does not live close to you.
There are many people using Skype to teach, and it might take some looking around until you find the teacher who’s perfect for you. Preply, for example, has many different teachers to choose from, so you can look at a lot of options before you make your choice. You can also find a private tutor through their personal websites, like this one.
Price: Free to observe (watch). $19 – $45 per month to participate, depending on the level of membership you choose. Private tutor fees vary.
What it is: Skype is not the only place you can find private tutors online. Verbling offers a selection of tutors at different prices and for different skill levels. The teachers are hand-picked by Verbling, and you can view an introductory video from each one before you make your choice.
You can also watch some scheduled online classes either by signing up for them. Sometimes you can just join in on a class if the class is in session when you visit the website.
3. Video Game Voice Chat
Price: Free, aside from the price of the game.
What it is: Do you play video games on your PC or on a console like Xbox or PlayStation? Guess what, you have some English speaking partners already! Many games these days have built-in voice chats, so you can talk to others using a headset with a microphone. Don’t be afraid to join in the conversations.
In fact, video game chat should be easier than real-world conversations because no one knows who you are. You can feel free to make mistakes because you never have to talk to them again if you don’t want to.
Remember that you might not learn perfect grammar here, but you will get to hear native speakers taking naturally. Also keep in mind that some video games (for example, shooters like “Call of Duty”) have a lot of cursing in the voice chat, and not everyone is nice. But there are a lot of great gamers who would love to help you out and have fun playing games while you chat.
4. Physical Meetings
Price: Depends on what you do. Booking a stay with AirBnb will cost more than a (free) Meetup at a local park.
What it is: Having a speaking buddy over the Internet is nice, but it is even nicer to make a new friend in person. Surround yourself with English speakers if you can! Find a local group of people who speak English and have the same hobby as you, or find other people who want to learn English.
You can use the website Meetup to find a group of people meeting near you. There are even meetups for people who want to do language exchanges. In language exchanges, you will teach your native language to someone and they will teach you English, like this one in NYC.
If you are planning to travel someplace where English is the common language, instead of getting a hotel, try websites like AirBnb or Couchsurfing instead. You will get to meet and talk with real people, and maybe even make new English-speaking friends.
5. The Fluent in 3 Months Forum
What it is: Fluent in 3 Months is a useful website with lots of tips and help for people who are learning a new language. The best part of the website, though, is the community. Visit the Language Exchange forum and you’ll find lots of people looking to get a new speaking buddy. You can find someone like you who is learning English, or a native English speaker who is learning your native language.
Price: Varies by instructor.
What it is: Wyzant is the place to find a reliable, professional English tutor who lives near you. (Just keep in mind that this is only available in the United States at the moment.)
If you’re located in the US, you can find English tutors all over the country who specialize in teaching ESL. And you’ll even discover tutors who specialize in English grammar and in English writing.
You might find a tutor who you can meet with online, but the main purpose is in-person tutoring. You’ll be able to meet up with you tutor face-to-face, at a local library, coffee shop, park or even at your house!
7. Conversation Exchange
What it is: Back before the Internet, people had “pen pals,” or friends who lived far away and communicated by writing letters to each other. Conversation Exchange lets you find an email pen pal who you can write to in English.
Even better, the website helps you find people you can talk to with voice chat, or even native English speakers who live near you.
Price: Free to visit as a guest. Each club has its own fees if you decide to join as as member. Price varies for each club.
What it is: The Toastmasters Club is a place where people can learn public English speaking skills. It is not an English learning organization, but rather it is a general speaking practice organization.
Here, anyone can learn and practice speaking in front of others. It is a great place to get more confidence for speaking with people in English. There are videos online that you can check to see if this is the kind of speaking practice you are looking for, and there are clubhouses all over the world. Find one near you by visiting this page.
9. Go Speaky
What it is: If you don’t want to download or install any special programs for voice and video chat, you can just sign up on Go Speaky. This website has a built-in video chat right on the website, so you can find and talk to people without leaving your browser.
Go Speaky matches people up based on similar interests, so there is a good chance that you will have something in common with the speaking partners you find here.
Price: Basic membership is free. Premium membership prices vary.
What it is: Busuu boasts over 50 million native speakers, any of which can become your next speaking partner. Busuu is well known within the language learning community and can connect you to a speaking partner through its detailed search options.
Find an English speaker learning your language, or find another English learner to practice English with—it is up to you.
What it is: With thousands of members, Lingoglobe has many great options to find a language exchange friend. You can find someone who is currently available, or you can visit the lively new Language Forum where many language students like you are searching for someone to practice speaking with.
It might be a smaller website, but the people are friendly and you can search for people by the language that they want to learn (or are willing to teach). You can even search for people by hobbies and interests. If you don’t know where to start, you can simply join the main chat where you can find who is online right now and say hello!
12. Coffee Strap
What it is: More coffee? That’s right! Think of this website like drinking a cup of coffee with someone at a cafe. It is very friendly and personal. Coffee Strap only has about 2,500 users, but it makes up for the small size with a smart matching method that finds speaking partners that you’ll enjoy talking with.
Once you have found a partner, you can engage in guided conversations which are only seven minutes long. After the seven minutes are over, you will get a different partner to continue practicing with. That means you can get a lot of practice here.
Not quite ready to dive into interactions with real people? No problem. The internet also has plenty of ways to ease you in to the experience. Here are a few suggestions:
- Use chat bots. Chat bots are programs designed to talk to you like a human being but without the pressure of speaking to a real person. You can use these to pretend you’re typing to a real person and prepare yourself for the actual experience of chatting.
- Talk to personal assistants. What language do you use when you talk to Siri, Alexa, Google, Cortana or any of your other personal assistants? Use English to get some real English-speaking practice! You will need to use correct pronunciation and speak clearly when chatting with these assistants, getting you some practice with real-world speaking.
- Watch authentic videos. Authentic videos are made by and for native English speakers. Since we’ve already talked about how to practice your typing, reading and speaking skills, you can get some very important listening skills through native English videos.
Get all the listening practice that you need on FluentU, where videos like movie clips, music videos and funny commercials are presented with learning tools. As a bonus, you can also get additional reading practice here with the interactive subtitles and transcripts—click on a word to see its meaning and additional information or add it to your flashcard deck—and even some speaking practice in the personalized quizzes that accompany videos and flashcards.
And remember—when you’re on the internet, you’re never alone. Visit any of these websites and you’ll find many other people like you looking to learn and have some great conversations.