Many students want to know how they can practice speaking English in order to become fluent as fast as possible.
Speaking can be one of the most difficult aspects of learning a language because it requires interaction with others and, most of all, confidence. You can build your confidence at any level by following some of these simple tips to help you learn to speak English fluently without struggling:
How to improve your spoken English:
1. Watch videos on YouTube and speak along with them
Watching videos on YouTube and imitating them is a great way to practice speaking English when you are alone. Activate the “closed caption” feature so you can view the subtitles while you speak.
If the speaking is too fast, you can use the “playback speed” feature found under the settings menu to slow the audio and video. The 0.75 speed is usually the best option as it doesn’t distort the sound.
Choose a variety of videos to imitate. National news broadcasts are a good choice because the presenters and reporters have been chosen for their clear pronunciation. Selecting a local station can also help you imitate and understand the local accent.
Movies and TV series are also good options, but it’s best to have some guidance from a native speaker so you choose good speech models. Experienced teachers, such as those at Language On, can help you select the best videos for improving your speaking.
2. Speak to your pets in English
If you have a dog, cat, or any kind of pet at home, try speaking to them in English. Pets aren’t judgemental like many humans can be and it can be a a good way to overcome your anxiety about speaking English.
The most recent research has shown that dogs can actually understand a small number of words. So, if you ever need to leave your pet in the care of someone who doesn’t speak your native language, getting your pet used to hearing English can even make it more comfortable while you are gone.
3. Change your smart speaker or personal assistant settings to English
If you use a personal assistant such as Alexa, Siri, or Google, change the language setting to English. You’ll have an English conversation partner instantly available whenever you want to practice.
Speaking to a personal assistant in English will help you improve your enunciation as clarity is important for the device to understand you.
4. Use an online dictionary or app with audio for words that are difficult to pronounce
Although learning to pronounce words in the context of a complete sentence or longer text is best, sometimes there are individual words that are a real challenge. For these words try an app or online dictionary that will speak the word for you.
One of the best free apps for learning to speak English is WordReference.com, which will pronounce individual words in the accent of your choice. You will also have the option to slow the audio down, so you can precisely capture the correct pronunciation.
Merriam-Webster is another great app for learning English. It also offers audio for many words, but without the accent and speed options.
There are also many quizzes and interactive vocabulary building exercises available that can help you improve your English fast.
5. Practice saying English “tongue twisters”
Tongue twisters are sentences that contain rhymes and use alliteration (many words beginning with the same sound). The similarities in sounds make them a challenge for even native speakers, so mastering tongue twisters is a great way to build confidence, and they are fun.
Start slowly, then gradually increase the speed and number of repetitions. Some famous examples are:
“A big black bug bit a big black bear.”
“She sells seashells by the seashore.”
“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
As you become more fluent, look for longer and more difficult tongue twisters to practice.
6. Talk to yourself and answer yourself in English
Part of human nature is to have an internal dialogue. This is when we reply to our own thoughts, usually silently. It might be about something as simple as deciding what to have for dinner, or making a decision about a more serious matter.
Try speaking these internal dialogues out loud. This technique can help you lose your inhibitions about speaking English to other people. Since you begin with your thoughts, it’s also effective in encouraging you to start thinking in English, rather than your native language.
7. Sing along with English songs
Find some English songs you enjoy on YouTube, with lyrics in the video or in the closed captions (subtitles). Sing along with the songs, and look up any words new to your vocabulary. You’ll both improve your speaking abilities and increase your vocabulary by doing this.
Some styles of music are better than others for this. Contemporary artists like Taylor Swift and Coldplay are good choices because they sing clearly and tell stories with their songs. Classic pop/rock singers and groups like Elvis Presley and the Beatles are also good language models.
8. Perform an English song at a karaoke bar
Once you’ve become comfortable singing some English songs at home, take the big step and sing them at a karaoke club or bar.
Singing in front of a crowd will make everyday speaking seem easy by comparison, and it will really take your confidence in speaking English to a whole new level.
9. Keep a verbal journal
Keeping a daily or weekly written journal of events, thoughts and feelings is a habit for many people. It can be a good way to stay focused and manage emotions.
Make regular posts to your journal, all in English! Read your thoughts out loud after writing them, or speak them directly into a recorder.
10. Practice in front of a mirror
When speaking or singing in English, do it in front of a mirror. You’ll improve your spoken English quickly because you will be able to see the movement of your mouth and lips.
Speaking in front of a mirror will also give you the illusion of speaking to another person, which will help you gain confidence in conversation.
11. Take an English class
Enroll in an English class where you will have many opportunities to speak English. Choose a school that offers classes for all types of students so you can find a course that will fit your individual needs.
You’ll be more confident because the teachers will help you correct any errors, so you will trust yourself more when you speak English in everyday life. The cost of English classes can be surprisingly affordable. It’s a great investment because you will have native speakers to provide you with accurate models to imitate.
12. Take a train trip
Traveling by train can be a great way to meet locals and also people from all over the world who speak English. People on board a train are usually as interested in enjoying the journey as much as reaching a destination, so are more willing to converse with fellow passengers.
Trips to places off the usual tourist path can be a great choice as you’re less likely to find speakers of your native language.
13. Order food in English
When you go to a restaurant or order take out food, speak to the server in English. Looking at a menu is a great way to increase your vocabulary, as well. You’ll be motivated to speak your best, because you want to get your order right!
14. Use an app that matches you with an English speaker
There are free apps that will match you with an English speaking conversation partner. In turn, you can help others learn your native language. Try to use one of these apps, for example Tandem, a few times each week.
While such apps can be a great source of extra practice for speaking English, taking an English course in the USA is the best way to make sure you are learning English quickly and correctly.
15. Perform at an open mic night
For many English learners, speaking in front of others is difficult. One way to increase your confidence in speaking English is to recite a poem or short story at an “open mic” night, where anyone is allowed to perform.
You can find these events at small lounges, coffee shops and bookstores. Learn a favorite piece or even write your own short story or poem in English for an even bigger confidence boost.
These events are usually informal, and the audience will appreciate your efforts. Don’t worry about speaking perfectly–just enjoy the experience!
16. Join a group for gaming
Joining a group for gaming–either online or in person–will give you a great environment for English speaking practice. Since video game players can be anywhere in the world, you’ll often be using English as a common language for communication.
In-person clubs to play chess, board games, or card games are also fun places to practice speaking English in a relaxed atmosphere.
17. Enact your favorite movie or tv scenes
This can be a really fun way to practice speaking English. Get together with a group of friends and perform your favorite movie or tv scenes. Make a party of it, and switch roles to get the most practice for everyone.
To improve your natural conversational ability in English, stop the video but continue to improvise the scene as you imagine it would develop.
18. Read outloud
When you are reading English texts at home, read them out loud! This is one of the ways we learned our native language so quickly as children, and it can be helpful for adults learning a new language as well. Practice speaking English by reading books, magazines, websites, and even your emails out loud.
19.Create your own commentaries for sporting events
If you’re a sports fan, listen to some play-by-play commentaries in English. Then, replay the game and make your own commentary.
This technique is a great way to improve your spoken English because the excitement of the game will help you overcome your inhibitions.
20. Record yourself speaking
Recording yourself, either the audio alone or full video, is another way to increase your confidence in speaking English. Many people are self-conscious about hearing their own voice and seeing themselves but you can turn this into an advantage by identifying at least two good things about your performance the first time you listen or watch.
Keep these qualities in mind as you practice and record your speaking again and again.
Speaking English fluently can be challenging. But, if you follow some of these tips, plus take some English classes at a quality school, you will be on the road to success! #TurnYourLanguageOn