7 tips to help improve your spoken English
Have you studied English for years? Do you know your grammar and vocabulary? Can you follow and understand an English film (without subtitles)? Can you read and write in English?
If the answer to all these questions is “yes”, then congratulations, you are a passive user of English.
Now, can you speak English correctly, clearly and confidently?
Students often spend so much time on the theory that the practice gets overlooked. The only way to become a successful speaker is to practise, practise, practise!
Here are a few quick and easy tips to try:
- Start off with something easy such as learning the words to your favourite song and singing along with the music. This will also help with rhythm and intonation.
- Find an English speaker reading a passage from a book or a speech. Youtube is a great place to start your search. Listen carefully and try to copy their speed, stress, pauses and intonation.
- Record yourself speaking. Once you get over the initial shock of how your voice sounds, use the recording as a benchmark for checking your progress.
- Rather than trying to do everything at once when speaking, try concentrating on one aspect such as accuracy for five minutes. Get all your tenses correct, use the correct prepositions and structures. Afterwards concentrate on fluency for five minutes, making sure you keep the flow going, without worrying too much about making a few mistakes.
- Take your time. Use fillers such as “errm” or “well….” Speak more slowly if necessary. This will give you more thinking time to plan your sentences.
- Learn some typical collocations to sound more natural. Do English speakers say “fish and chips or chips and fish, peace and quiet or quiet and peace?” You can also learn phrases, rather than individual words.
- You can also try thinking in English while going about your day. This will help by reducing your reaction time when it comes to formulating sentences. Talking to yourself (when you are alone) is also a great way of practising.
Finally, enjoy it and remember, it’s always better to try saying something than nothing at all.