How to Learn English – Spoken English
Part 1 of 3: Improving Your Spoken English
1. Speak a little English every day
The absolute best way to learn any new language is just to speak it. It doesn’t matter if you only know five English words or if you’re practically fluent — speaking English with another person is the fastest, most effective method of improving.
Don’t wait until you “feel more comfortable” speaking in English — you probably won’t reach that level for a long time, so push yourself outside of your comfort zone and start speaking English today. You’ ll be amazed at how quickly your language skills improve.
Find a native English speaker who is willing to spend some time speaking English with you — you may be able to offer them a language exchange, where they spend 30 minutes speaking English with you and you spend 30 minutes speaking your native language with them.
If you live in an English-speaking country, you can practice by starting simple conversations with the people you meet, whether it’s saying “hello” to a shopkeeper or asking a stranger for directions.
2. Work on your pronunciation.
Even if you have an acceptable grasp of the English language, with good grammar and an extensive vocabulary, native English speakers may find you very difficult to understand if you don’t work on your pronunciation.
Correct, clear pronunciation is essential if you really want to improve your level of English. Listen closely to how native English speakers pronounce certain words and sounds and do your best to copy them.
Pay particular attention to any sounds that you are unfamiliar with or that do not exist in your native tongue. For example some people have difficulty pronouncing the “r” sound, as it does not exist in their native language, while other people have difficulty with certain consonant clusters, such as the “th” sound.
Be aware that the pronunciation of certain English words varies greatly depending on the part of the world it’s spoken in. For example, American English is very different from British English. If you intend to travel to or live in an English-speaking country, this is something you should take into account when learning how to pronounce certain words.
3. Expand your vocabulary and use idiomatic phrases.
The wider your vocabulary and the more English phrases you learn, the easier speaking English will become.
Again, spending time with native English speakers will help you to pick up on common vocabulary and phrases in a natural way. Although reading, watching English TV and listening to the news is also beneficial.
Once you have learned a new word or phrase, you should make an effort to use it in a sentence — this is the best way to commit it to memory.
Another easy way to commit new words to memory is to make labels for everyday household items and stick them around your house or apartment. Then every time you use the kettle or look in the mirror, you will see the English word for these items staring back at you.
You should also start a notebook of idiomatic phrases that English speakers use all the time. Some examples include “it’s raining cats and dogs ” (raining heavily), to be on “cloud nine” (to be very happy) or saying something is a “piece of cake” (when something is very easy). Sprinkling these kinds of phrases into your conversation will bring your level of English up several notches.
4. Attend an English class or discussion group.
Another great way to incorporate some extra English conversation into your weekly routine is to sign up for a class of discussion group.
Attending an English class is a great way to focus on some of the more formal aspects of speaking English. A class will teach you the grammatically correct way of speaking — which includes proper sentence structure and verb conjugation and will generally provide a very structured approach to language learning.
Attending a discussion group is a more informal and relaxed way of learning English, where the emphasis is more on communication and relationship building than on speaking “correct” English. Speaking English in this setting can help you to become more comfortable with speaking in front of other people.
Both of these language-learning settings have their pros and cons, so it’s best to do both if you can!
5 Carry a dictionary.
Carrying an English dictionary with you at all times (whether it’s an actual book or a phone app) can be very useful.
Having a dictionary means that you will never be stuck for a word. It can save you a lot of embarrassment if you’re having a conversation with an English-speaker and forget a word in the middle of the sentence — all you have to do is take a second to look it up!
Aside from saving you awkwardness, looking up the word you need then immediately using it in a sentence will actually help you to commit the this new vocabulary to memory.
It is also helpful to have a dictionary to peruse throughout the day, during private moments, like when you’re sitting on the train, waiting to cross the street or just having a cup of coffee. You could learn an extra 20 to 30 English words per day using this technique!
As a beginner, you should start with an English dictionary that provides definitions in your native language. However, once your language skills improve, you should switch to using an English-English dictionary, which provides English definitions for English words.