Being able to properly pronounce words and understand other speakers is of critical importance when mastering any foreign language. As correct pronunciation is a basis for effective communication in any language, being unable to properly pronounce some words can lead to miscommunication, conflicts and wastage of time. Proper pronunciation can be defined as a reproduction of language sounds in such a way that the intended message is passed easily and is properly understood by a fluent speaker of the language in question.
Although many students master the fine points of English grammar, they still find themselves at a loss when it comes to actually having a conversation with native speakers, this is mostly because of issues with pronunciation. In reality, the only way to develop fluency in speaking is by huge amounts of listening, and then practicing. The following are a few tips for improving English speaking skills. Keep in mind that listening is the foundation for speaking!
- Find an English-Speaking Conversation Partner
It’s important to find native speakers to practice with. Finding an English-Speaking Conversation Partner will allow you to get more practice speaking and listening in English, it also allows you to immediately correct any pronunciation mistakes which accelerates learning and it helps build confidence while speaking in English. A great way to find informal opportunities to chat with English Speakers could be by joining a club or an organization where English is the only language of communication. Additionally, students can also find tutors online via tools like Skype or Google Hangouts.
- Make Sure to Listen as Well As Speak
When practicing with a native speaker, it is important to balance your listening and speaking. As listening allows you to learn the correct pronunciations to words and speaking is good conversation practice to correct your mistakes.
- Record Your Conversation Practice
Recording is another great way to get the maximum benefit from a conversation with a native speaker. By listening to your own recording again, you can evaluate your own pronunciation and notice areas that need improvement. You can also review the content of the conversation, take notes on new vocabulary or correct misunderstandings/mistakes.
- Surround Yourself with The English Language
Another way to improve your English-speaking skills is to immerse yourself in English as much as possible. Listening helps you become familiar with the rhythms and intonations of English. So, watch movies or TV shows in English with subtitles and once the sounds are familiar, try imitating them.
- Practice With Music and Movies
Listen to music in English and sing along. Music is one of the best tools for learning intonation pronunciation. Listening to and singing songs might also help you remember vocabulary and phrases and it will help you learn to pronounce English rhythm in a more natural way. By unconsciously imitating the singer, you’ll learn to pronounce phrases the way native speakers do. Movies are a much better choice for learning English. You’ll learn vocabulary, idioms, slang, pronunciation, and listening by watching movies.
- Read Aloud
Reading out loud is a great way to practice speaking when there are no conversation partners available. Reading aloud gives you a chance to focus on pronunciation and pacing without worrying about coming up with words. Just make sure to practice with material that you can understand.
- Talk to Yourself
Saying your thoughts out loud or narrating your actions (“I am drinking coffee, and now I’m going to open my book”) can be a very effective way to practice spoken English. By talking to yourself, you can become more fluent in translating your thoughts into spoken words. Practicing alone is also a low-pressure way to practice, since no one will hear your mistakes.