I’ll be perfectly honest with you right now. These spoken English “tips” really shouldn’t be considered secrets at all. The reason I call them secrets is because for some strange reason, English is taught so badly in the real world. I promise you that if you follow this advice, you will truly be speaking English like a native speaker in an amazingly short time. (I think you’ll also benefit from my free style spoken English course which is really just a cool blog for English learning)
Here are the 5 tips:
1. Use your smart phone for learning English instead of only wasting your time on that. I don’t know you but I bet you have an Iphone, Android, or at least an Ipod. This is the modern world and most people have these things. You should be using them to improve your English instead of just playing around on Facebook. English podcasts are a great way to practice your listening skills and learn new vocabulary. You can download them in MP3 and put them on any of these things and listen in your free time.
2. Listening is the key to good pronunciation. When we are babies we learn how to speak from our parents and our environment. If your parents don’t speak English, don’t worry. All you have to do is spend A LOT of time listening to native English speakers. The more your listen, the better your pronunciation will become. You don’t have to be shy or ask other people how you sound. This comes naturally with a lot of listening. Most students focus too much on grammar, vocabulary, and reading. This might help test scores but it won’t help your spoken English much.
3. Pay close attention to the dialogs in TV and movies. The talking in TV and movies is probably the best example of native spoken English you will ever find. Characters talk to each other and use modern words and express themselves the same way native speakers would in real life. A lot of people know to do this, but the trick is to do it with English subtitles only. You won’t understand as much at first but at least you will know exactly what is being said. Watch the same movie a couple of times and also make sure you are following some MP3’s that actually explain the slang and common vocabulary for non native speakers.
4. Don’t get lazy when you start to improve a bit. I’ve seen so many students get super happy after they start speaking with foreigners. This is great but it’s dangerous. You don’t want to fall into the trap of being overconfident. Many people improve quickly and then stop improving. This is simply because they get comfortable with their “ok” level of talking and never push it to the next level.
5. Practice writing your thoughts down. If you write a long email or something like that you are essentially practicing your spoken English. English speaking is really all about thinking what you want to say and then pronouncing it correctly. We already talked about what to do with your pronunciation. The other problem is knowing how to express yourself. This is often not a vocabulary problem but instead it’s a problem of doing something you’ve never done before. Many people I know can speak English but they get nervous when writing a Facebook message or a small email to a western person. They make little mistakes that don’t seem like a big deal when they are speaking. They notice them only when they write. If you practice enough writing, you will see where your problems are and you’ll be forced to fix them. This will help you big time with speaking.