Anybody who has ever learned a second language can tell you that one of the most difficult things to master is actually speaking it. From mastering pronunciation to learning all of the things you need to know to put the proper inflection and intonation into your words, there is a lot that you need to understand in order to communicate effectively with other English speakers.
But don’t worry – you can boost your spoken English skills. It just takes a little bit of practice to get it right. You can start with the basics by taking an Udemy course in English pronunciation, which can guide you through the basics as well as through some of the trickier aspects of speaking English.
Ways to Learn Spoken English
There are many different ways to learn spoken English and to improve your skills, and each individual will have their own method. Don’t worry if you find that the way you seem to learn best is different than what others may suggest or recommend. However, do try all or most of the methods to ensure that you’ve really found a method for learning spoken English that you are comfortable with.
Everybody should try his or her best to engage in spoken conversation with a native English speaker as regularly as possible. If you don’t live in a community with many native English speakers, try finding a friend online who is willing to tutor you, or who is even willing to teach you English while you teach them your own native language. These kinds of exchange programs are often a great resource for those looking to learn a language. Through the computer, you can use Skype or any other messaging program in order to improve your spoken English skills.
If engaging in conversation isn’t for you, or you are still apprehensive about attempting to communicate in English, then you may consider watching a lot of films in English to learn some of the pronunciation. Watching these films with English subtitles that you can follow in order to see what is being said can be of big benefit to you, too, so be sure to make use of it when available.
Another similar option is to listen to audio books. Many find that following along while listening can not only help with their spoken English skills, as they can learn to pronounce many words while listening and reading, but they can improve their reading skills in English as well. Of course, listening to audio books can help you vastly improve your ability to understand spoken English. If this is something that you need help with, consider this Udemy course on understanding fluent English. This can be one of the most important things you do in improving your mastery of the English language.
On the flip side of that, those who have fluency in reading English may consider reading books aloud to improve their spoken English skills. Often, all that is needed for true fluency in speaking English is practice, practice, practice. The more that you read aloud, the better your use of language becomes, and the better your words flow as you speak them. Speaking aloud as you read can help you to fall into the natural rhythms used by native English speakers, and can also be the fastest way for you to identify the weak point in your spoken English skills.
Minimizing Your Accent
One of the biggest things that those who are looking to improve their spoken English skills want to do is minimize their accent. This can be a big challenge, and is not easily done. However, it is possible, though doing so will take a lot of work. Check out Accent Reduction Made Easy, an Udemy course that will guide you through the course of neutralizing your accent. This is especially important for professionals working in the IT industry or in call centers, as having a neutral accent will vastly improve your ability to connect with customers and clients and will ensure that they have a positive experience while working with you.
As you learn the pronunciation of English words, do keep in mind that the sounds that individual letters make are not always the sound that they make in a word, or even when used within a phrase. This is why listening to audio books as well as movies and television shows is crucial for improving your spoken English skills.
Remember that if there is a particular word that you are having a difficult time pronouncing, or if it is one that you have not heard pronounced before, there are many Internet resources that you can use to hear the way that the word is spoken, which will allow you to try speaking it yourself. Google Translate will speak a word for you, though the robotic voice of the simulator may not be as helpful as one would wish. If that does not provide you with the pronunciation that you need, you may be able to find a video on YouTube that will help you to pronounce the word you are trying to understand. This can be a good way to hear the word spoken organically, so you can begin to use it yourself.
Identifying the Most Common Spoken English Mistakes
You’re going to make some mistakes as you begin to speak English, no matter how fluent you may be. Knowing the most common mistakes that non-native speakers make as they begin to learn how to speak the language is a good first step toward correcting yourself and learning how to be a better speaker.
One of the most common things that people do is misunderstand the way that certain words are pluralized. It’s true that when you have more than one “apple” you have “apples”, and when there is more than one “duck” there are “ducks”. However, you can have one “fish”, two “fish”, or twenty “fish”. The plural form of the word never changes! It can be pretty confusing to think that you can have a single hair in all the hair on your head, can’t it?
As someone who is just learning to speak English, you do not want to rush too quickly into speaking. Start simple, and do not make your sentences overly complicated. As your ability to speak the language improves, you will be able to form more complex sentences that still sound natural to native speakers.
One thing that you can do to greatly improve your spoken English skills and to sound much more natural to native speakers is to understand and use contractions. Rather than saying you “will not” or you “can not” do something, say instead that you “won’t” or you “can’t”. Almost all native English speakers around the world use contractions, and not using them as you speak can sound very strange.
Similarly, pay attention to the way that some words blend together in English. “Got you” often becomes “gotcha”, and “going to” often becomes “gonna”. While you don’t have to use this type of pronunciation to be understood, it can make your speaking voice much more natural, which is especially helpful if you are trying to connect quickly to an audience of native English speakers.
All too often, those who learn English begin speaking it by mentally translating what they are saying directly from their native language. This can be a big mistake, especially if that translation leads to confusing statements that native English speakers do not understand. Rather than mentally translate, take the time to think of the correct English way of saying what you want to say, including the correct English grammar. Remember, if you need a primer in English grammar, you can always take An Introduction to English Grammar, an Udemy course that will ensure you have a solid foundation for success in the English language.
And finally, remember that the best thing that you can do in order to boost your spoken language skills is to constantly pay attention to the people around you and to the way that they are speaking. Even once you begin to develop some level of fluency in speaking English, you can still make mistakes, such as being overly polite or not using the right forms of address for the right people.
By paying attention to other people’s pronunciations of certain words and phrases, as well as to the way that they use English, you can quickly begin to speak just like a native. Though it takes a lot of work, learning to speak English correctly really is the easy part. Learning English in the first place is much harder, and requires a lot more attention to detail. Those who are interested in learning more about English and what they can do to master it should consider taking the 8 Steps to English Success course on Udemy, which can teach them even more about boosting their skills in this language.