Practical Guidelines on How to Improve Spoken English

by mareq22 on November 17, 2014

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How to improve spoken EnglishHow to improve spoken English

 

English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and as such, it is also a top choice for people who are looking to learn a foreign language. While English is fairly easy to learn, many find it hard to become fluent speakers, let alone gain a neutral (or Standard American) accent. There are a number of factors that can affect one’s learning progress, but when it comes to improving on spoken English, there are a number of clever ways to gain results in as little time as possible.

Listed below are simple but effective methods on how to improve spoken English and perhaps even gain a neutral or American accent along the way. Also included are some of the most common roadblocks to learning English and becoming an excellent native-sounding speaker.

Make English Part of Your Daily Routine

Practice makes perfect. This is a mantra that applies to language learning because the brain is biologically programmed to respond well to repetition and routine. Whether you are a student or a professional, it is necessary to speak English constantly in order to train your mind to adapt it as a natural language as opposed to something that has been acquired. This is a very simple tip that many people fail to use to their advantage mainly due to apprehension and embarrassment (i.e. fear of being alienated from friends and family who do not speak much English).

Since speech is an active process, learning a new language (English in this case) requires constant practice. This principle is similar to that of muscle memory. That is, if you perform a task about a hundred or times over (i.e. typing rapidly), it will eventually become second nature to you.

Build a Strong Vocabulary

All languages are made of thousands of words, which means you have to learn as many English words as possible to improve your speech. One of the most effective and fun ways to do this exercise is to read everyday. Reading allows the brain to absorb details and commit information to long term memory. The more you read, the more words you encounter and remember. Since you are bound to run into words and phrases that are hard to understand (some writers do have the penchant for high-falutin words), it is best to have a dictionary and/or thesaurus on hand to easily check for definitions, synonyms, and common usage.

Fiction novels are a good choice for daily reading, but if you are looking to be exposed to good writing, it is always best to pick up news publications, i.e. Times, Time Magazine, People, etc. Also part of this exercise is reading aloud, which you should do in the privacy and comfort of your own home. It would be a god idea to record your reading so you can go back and review it. This is the easiest way to pin point mistakes in pronunciation and grammar.

Purchase Online English Audio Lessons

While an online-based English program is almost a given for most people who wish to improve their speech, some are not likely to make the same choice. English audio lessons, especially those that include listen-and-repeat/respond exercises are among the best tools you can have on hand because it allows you to practice correct pronunciation and grammar. You can listen to the audio lessons repeatedly until you become confident of your skills and be able to converse naturally.

Some of the best online-based English programs focus mostly on speech practice, which is an essential method to use if you are looking to become a native-sounding speaker. Imitating the voice-overs allows you to imbibe the language completely until it comes naturally to you.

To maximize your progress, it would be best to get lessons which you can download and transfer to a portable mp3 device (or ipod) so you can listen during lulls (i.e. if/when you are stuck in traffic, having coffee break, etc.). Keep in mind that mastering any language takes time so it becomes crucial to make the most out of your free time.

Join Online Forums and Find People with Similar Goals

At any given time, there are millions of people all around the world who are trying to improve their English speaking skills. With this in mind, you can use certain avenues online to connect with people with similar goals as you do. Some online forums allow for private messaging between and among members so you can easily get in touch with several people whose goal it is to become excellent English speakers.

Connecting with people online would allow you to practice your speaking skills simply by conversing with them in English. This is the next best thing to having an English tutor because it involves actual conversations with another human being. You can give your partner/s pointers on their speech and they can do the same for you. Feedback is just about the most important thing when acquiring a language and attempting to gain fluency.

Become Familiar with Colloquialisms and Common English Expressions

The key to becoming a fluent English speaker is to make sure you are familiar with colloquial terms, idioms, and other common expressions that are often used in daily conversations. Being able to use these expressions in the normal course of a conversation is a huge step forward towards achieving fluency. Native speakers are very easy to spot because there is not much thought involved in their speech. Your ultimate goal is to be able to start and/or actively participate in a conversation with confidence and ease.

Learn to Utilize the Phonetic Alphabet

Learning how to pronounce English words is crucial to becoming a fluent speaker. In order to achieve this feat, you can make use of the Phonetic Alphabet, which shows exactly how words should sound. Phonetic spellings are made available in some online-based lessons, so you can study as many English words and be able to sound them out properly. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, because pronunciation of some English words can indeed be tricky. The point is to get yourself used to the sounds so that your brain can easily process the auditory stimuli and commit everything to long term memory, which is really the ultimate goal.

There are many other ways on how to improve spoken English, but the guidelines and tips stated above are among the most effective. Once you become more comfortable with the language, you will find that it is easier to learn and maintain information.

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