People who learn English as a second language tend to do very well in reading and writing English, but often do badly when it comes to actually speaking the language. Are you in this situation?
With certain adjustments to speech patterns, it’s amazingly easy to improve your English speaking level with virtually no effort.
1. Speak slowly
8 out of 10 people speak lightning fast. Our fast-paced lives have taken over our speech as well, so we try to say as much as we can in as little time as possible. This is unfortunately transferred to other languages, even if we’re not fluent in them. When you speak English you speak fast as well, but if it’s not your mother tongue you inevitably face issues. You make a lot of grammar and syntax errors, you miss whole phrases, and you might not even make sense as your accented English might be hard to understand if you’re speaking too quickly.
The key here is to slow down when speaking English, if English is not your native language. By doing so you minimize your errors and allow yourself to form correct sentences so that you sound like a native speaker. Don’t speak too slowly; just set an average speed level that makes you sound composed. If you’re speaking thoughtfully and deliberately, this also assigns some sort of prestige to your words, in contrast to those always speaking in a rush.
2. Build your vocabulary
An extensive vocabulary allows you to explore ideas and express feelings that you cannot otherwise communicate. A broad vocabulary ensures that you won’t stumble upon conceptual gaps simply because you didn’t happen to know a word. Vocabulary building software like Ultimate Vocabulary™ helps you widen your vocabulary and thereby express yourself more eloquently and accurately when speaking English.
3. Watch your language
Our speech is littered with fillers – uhms and wells and you knows – that we insert automatically. Try to pay attention to your own language production and listen for this habit. You’ll be able to pinpoint patterns as to when and why you use fillers when speaking in English.
A great trick to avoid fillers in your speech is to make some sort of physical movement each time you catch yourself using them. A simple, light tap of your fingers can be enough to make you fully conscious of your filler use, for instance.
4. Read aloud each day
The truth is that people with English as their second language rarely get a chance to speak English, so when a situation demands it they find themselves unprepared. When you practice your oral English daily you allow yourself to stay fit in producing English speech. All you need to do is either communicate with someone in English as much as you can; if this is difficult, you can always choose a text to read aloud.
This habit can be of great help as it allows you to get used to the idea of speaking English, and it keeps you in touch with all the idiosyncrasies of English, from its accent, its intonation, its rhythm and everything else in between.
With these simple tricks you can easily improve your speech, and without much effort either. Before you know it, your speech will be as good as your reading and writing level in English.