I'm struggling with improving speaking right now, which is far inferior to my reading and writing skills. The language is Mandarin Chinese and I live in China and attend language school.
But the biggest problem for me is that there is little or no opportunity to speak the language, even if I live in the country where the language is spoken. I speak the language only a few minutes in a day.
So I need the opportunity to speak the language but since I don't have the enough opportunity, I have no choice but to speak to myself, which some actually recommend. But I feel it is very awkward at least, and people around me start to think I'm a retard at most. I feel embarassed as well, and rather want to speak just in my brain (i.e. don't issue any word, just like daydreaming).
But I wonder if it is as effective as when I issue the words and sentences. Actually I'm dubious of the effectiveness of speaking to yourself; at least I'm sure the effectiveness is not even close to when you talk with others in person. But the base of the question is for those who have no such opportunity to speak with someone, so I would like to ask it in the context of speaking to yourself.