“How can I speak English fluently?” This is the “million-dollar question” and today I’m going to answer this for you, for free. Be warned: There is no magic pill which will allow you to speak English fluently, but there are few things you can do to speed up the process.
Keep reading to find out how to speak English fluently. It’s that simple!
Dare to make mistakes
That’s right, I said it. Making mistakes are fine. In fact, without making mistakes you will never speak English fluently. So get out there and fall on your face a few times. Just make sure to pick yourself up and try again. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, nobody will laugh at you. If they do, they probably aren’t worth speaking to anyway. Again, we go back to the fact that if you are too afraid of making a mistake that you won’t allow yourself the chance to improve your English. To leave you with a smarter man’s words: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
Accept English, don’t fight it
Let me explain myself a little more clearly. No teacher can explain everything about English without throwing their hands in the air countless times and saying “…because that’s the way it is.” English, perhaps more than many other languages, has a host of exceptions. Why? “…because that’s the way it i!.” Don’t fight this. Accept the fact that English has a lot of exceptions and you will need to remember them, not understand them. In order to speak English fluently you will need to either change the way some 359 million people speak English, or embrace the exceptions and roll with them. Why? “…because that’s the way it is.”
Run before you walk
Think about all of your teachers that told you, “You’re not ready for this, you have to learn how to walk before you run.” Well, I’m here to tell you that they are wrong. If you want to speak English fluently you are going to need to speak English when you are out on the town, asking for directions, ordering a cup of coffee, or just shooting the breeze with Joe Schmo while waiting for the bus. You won’t say everything perfectly, you won’t understand everything, you may not even be understood all of the time, but you’ll be trying and that’s what counts. If you try to walk before you run, you will starve for fear of ordering a sandwich in English. Don’t starve, take off running and you will soon speak English perfectly.
Use it and don’t lose it
You need to be switched “on” all the time. By actively listening for new phrases and words, intonation patterns, pronunciation, accent and everything else you hear from a native speaker, whether it be on the street, in a movie, or on the phone, you will be able to pick up many new things. The next step is to try and use them when you speak English. Don’t keep these new words or phrases bottled up, you might forget them. This is what I mean by “use it and don’t lose it.”
Don’t focus solely on one skill. Do focus on all of the skills that you need to improve your English. Some students say, “I hate grammar, I just want to speak.” Others rely far too much on grammar, completing exercises, and taking quizzes but at the end of the day are afraid to speak English. Are you one of these people? In order speak English fluently you need to be able to complete grammatically correct sentences and pronounce them in an understandable fashion, but you don’t want to be so cautious that the sentence never comes out. Remember, you want to SPEAK English fluently. By becoming well-rounded in English grammar, writing, listening and pronunciation, you will improve your English speaking skills.
Have an open mind
You may ask yourself why you need to be open-minded to speak English fluently. I think Charlemagne summed it up best when he said: “To have another language is to possess a second soul.” If you don’t know who Charlemagne is then maybe you should be studying history instead. No, wait, I know, you should study history in English. Jokes aside, in order to learn a language you need to learn another culture. Many doors will be opened along the way and you you will be able to speak to more people from around the world. You will learn new songs, traditions, and jokes. Essentially, you will take on a second identity so keep an open mind on your path to English perfection.
Don’t point at the sky
Of course you need some of the traditional “textbook-heavy” approach when you study English, but make sure that you’re also exposing yourself to real life contemporary English. Remember, you want to speak English fluently, and for this you need to know how we native speakers really speak. Why is this important? Well, when somebody says “What’s up?” you don’t want to point to the sky, do you? You also might not want to say, “I’m fine and you?” Maybe, you’re not fine, or maybe you’re just tired of responding with the same phrase over and over again. Okay this example might be a little extreme, but you catch my drift. Students who are too focused on textbooks are generally inflexible when it comes to real-life situations and may find themselves lost when a native speaker uses a collocation that they have not encountered in a traditional ESL book.
Enroll in English classes
If you are really serious about learning English fast and you want to speak English fast, then sign up for English classes at a school or on online via Skype. Most students benefit from having an English teacher and participating in a regularly scheduled class. Take as many classes as you can every week or every month. The more classes, the better. If you can, try to find a small group class with a native speaking English teacher. Make sure that your teacher has experience, understands the intricacies of English, but most importantly is a good teacher. If you can’t take small group classes, take a private English class. A private class is usually a little more expensive, but you will focus specifically on what you need and you can move at your own pace.
Try not to judge the teacher based on your ideas of how a teacher should be and how they should teach, judge them by how much they motivate you to learn English. Every teacher uses their own particular style, but a good teacher inspires the student and pushes them further.
Keep calm and study on
If you have read this far then I know you’re serious, but are you calm? You have to be calm if you want to speak English fluently. Getting all wound up will do nothing but make you feel hopeless and discouraged. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither will your English be learned in a day. Learning how to speak English fluently will take a long time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way. So, keep calm and study on!
Well, there you have my advice. Now it’s up to you. If you have any questions about English or accent reduction, please ask. Remember, you can speak English fluently if you put in the time and turn your language on!