You can read, listen, and write English quite comfortably, but when you have to open your mouth to speak an English sentence to a foreigner … Oops, the vocabulary is flying. You don’t know how to speak English smoothly and confidently. You think that you do not have foreign friends to practice; hence, you can never make progress. In fact, you absolutely can practice speaking English yourself and improve your English fluency. Refer to the following 11 tips to become an excellent English speaker.
Practice English pronunciation.
1. Practice speaking English whenever you can
When you say that you have no one to practice speaking with, I think you forget an essential person. That person is YOU. Yes, it is YOU. Whenever you feel comfortable, you can talk to yourself. Have you ever mumbled to yourself with your thoughts in your mother language? A few times, right? So why not mutter in English?
Read aloud the thoughts that are going through your mind in English. Please don’t care about the wrong grammar or wrong vocabulary, as long as you say it out loud. By practicing like this, you will not be afraid to speak English anymore. You will find that speaking English is as natural as your mother tongue.
2. Try to speak fluently first then try to correct the grammar
Why practice speaking fluently first but not having to practice grammar first?
Do you think 3-year-old American kids know how to speak grammatically correctly? Why do adults still understand them? Grammar is not a prerequisite for a successful conversation as long as you speak clearly, you use the right vocabulary for context, and you have body language to describe. All of these factors will help you convey information to the listener. But saying that doesn’t mean you don’t need grammar. Please still improve the necessary English grammar sentence so that you will become more confident.
3. Practice in front of mirrors
Whenever you have an opportunity to stand in front of a mirror, linger and talk to yourself about a familiar topic for 2-3 minutes. For example: share about the delicious food you ate today; what do you intend to do tomorrow; where are you going to travel this year, etc. At that time, look at your mouth to see if you have the correct pronunciation, expressions, and body language.
Remember to practice the habit of speaking loudly, slowly, clearly, using pauses at the right time to continue thinking. For example, when talking about delicious food today, if you do not know the name of the dish, stop to think more, and you can describe the ingredients in it. After that, you can always look up the dictionary to supplement your vocabulary.
4. Put the right stress on the words
Do you know that every English vocabulary has a stress? For example, how do you say the word “Hello”? If you say “HEllo”, the listeners may not understand that you are greeting. But they will undoubtedly understand heLLO because you correctly put a stress on the “LLO.”
Moreover, with the same English word, if you wrongly stress, it will give you a word with entirely different meanings. For example, the word “Present”. If you say “PREsent” then it means “Gift”. But if you stress “preSENT,” then the Americans will understand “Presentation.” Therefore, the English dictionary always has more phonetic parts, so you know where to emphasize the stress. When encountering new words, always look up the dictionary to understand how to pronounce words.
Besides, you can refer to the principles of putting stress in English to predict the pronunciation of words yourself. Finally, do not forget to practice listening, watching English wherever you are so that you can focus on the speaking style of native speakers. Keep listening and repeating will help you create a natural reflex without much effort.
5. Listen and repeat
Do you enjoy watching comedies or entertainment shows on Youtube? If you are watching them in your mother language, it is time for you to explore those programs in English. I guarantee that the English content is also very funny, witty and easy to understand.
Choose a short conversation that you like. Listen over and over again and repeat the tone, the pace, and the accent of the speakers. The most effective is to record what you say, listen again and find out your mistake. You will be very surprised because it sounds like the voice you hear directly is different from the one you hear on the tape recorder. But that is your real voice. And maybe you’re stressing the wrong accent without you noticing. Recording, listening again, editing will increase your ability to speak English fluently.
Improve the spoken content.
6. Thinking in English
Have you ever thought in your mother language and translated into English to speak? And the result is …? Do you find yourself funnily describing the idea? Did someone tell you not to translate “word by word”? So what to do?
Think in English.
Start by thinking of each word individually. For example, you might think: What will I eat tonight? Banana, noodle, egg.Then, if you have time, find out how the natives ask the question instead of saying, “What will I eat tonight?”. The most abundant source of content is in American comedies. Once you’ve found it, you’ll see them say, “What to eat tonight?” or “What am I gonna have for dinner?” or many other ways. And thanks to this you will get used to thinking in English, and you can speak English more fluently.
7. Learn the forms (nouns, verbs, etc.) of new words
By knowing the different word forms, you will be more flexible when speaking. Instead of saying, “I learn English because it’s good.” Now you can say “Learning English is good for me”.
The steps you need to do are:
Step 1: Identify the form of new words. For examples: nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
Step 2: Find different forms of words and save them
Step 3: Set sentences and practice speaking with the words you find. Also, remember to record and check your pronunciation!
You may need to know a little basic knowledge of English grammar. And when learning new words, learn about the word forms by looking up the dictionary.
8. Learn phrases instead of learning each word individually
Have you ever found yourself learning English well, but when communicating with native speakers, you don’t catch up with the way they use words? Would you be surprised if they say, “What’s up?” ? If the answer is yes, stop memorizing a single new word. Learn the whole phrase, learn the vocabulary in the context of using that word.
For example, when asking someone, you can say, “how do you feel today?”. In this case, native speakers often say, “How are you doing?” or “What’s up?” Or if a person tells his neighbor, “Break a leg.” If you only learn the word “break” you will only know that word means “to damage something by separating it into pieces.” But if you learn the whole phrase, you will understand that it means “perform successfully” or simply “do well”. That’s how Americans send greetings to each other.
The steps you need to do are:
Step 1: start watching the actual dialog, the content that the natives often watch, or read.
Step 2: take note of the new phrases you watch. Remember to learn the pronunciation too.
Step 3: Open the daily notebook and review.
9. Learn to speak English through songs.
English is a language that has ups and downs in speaking. Native people speak English like singing. That’s why I like to practice speaking English by singing. Did you notice the linking sounds in English songs? For example, the song “Hold on together” by Diana Ross. The chorus has the phrase “If we hold on together.” How do you read this sentence? You will speak up each word clearly, right? But Diana sang, “If we holdon together.” Can you hear the “d” sound connected to the “on” sound? That’s how native speakers link the words. And when you practice connecting sounds, you will feel your speaking become more “natural,” just like Americans say. Right?
10. Prepare for specific situations.
Are you studying English for a specific purpose? For example, job interviews, presentations, negotiations with partners. Or simply, will you need to communicate with anyone by English in the early future? If so, it’s time to prepare the content for the talk so that you are confident and fluent.
The steps you need to do are:
Step 1: Refer to the dialog content that native speakers often exchange with each other. You can watch videos on Youtube (watch American comedies, TV Shows).
Step 2: Learn the vocabulary in that conversation by looking up the word, listening to the pronunciation and saving the vocabulary to practice
Step 3: practice speaking the common sentence patterns fluently in those conversations according to the tips shared above, such as speaking in front of a mirror, talking to yourself, etc.
Here are some specific situations you can refer to:
Communicate in the office
Order at the restaurant
11. Always relax.
In communication, your composure and confidence are much better than your pronunciation or your grammar. So if you use the wrong word or become lost for words in the speech, take a deep breath and start over. Speak loudly, clearly, and slowly. Know how to pause to prepare for the next sentence.
I hope these tips will help you have a plan to practice speaking English fluently. Please share with us the way that you find the most effective to study speaking English!