How to Learn English for Speaking
With 983 million speakers across the world, English is second only to Mandarin Chinese among the most commonly spoken languages.
It is the heavily preferred language in international business and media, and many people who may not need it for personal purposes still desire to learn English in order to further their careers and connect with others worldwide.
The language, however, contains many nuances and can be quite a challenge for somebody who did not grow up with it as their native language.
See below for some tips on how to learn English for speaking. These will help you to not only expand your vocabulary, but also feel more comfortable in conversation with English speakers.
1. Look for English everywhere you go
One of the best ways to learn any language is to immerse yourself in television, music, and print media that all speak that language. English is no different. Find TV shows, songs, and magazines that you enjoy that exist purely in English.
You can utilize subtitles to help you out but do your best to understand as much as you can before reading in your own language. After watching an episode or listening to a song, start it over and listen again, as the repetition will help you to pick up on different cues and to understand it more fully.
2. Find a Companion who speaks English
If you are in an area with many native English speakers, try to find someone who is willing to converse with you as much as possible. Nothing will help you get accustomed to and more comfortable with the language than constantly speaking to somebody who understands it perfectly.
You can also join classes or local clubs that are full of English speakers, which may help you to find multiple companions who will make for excellent conversation partners. The more you speak with your companions, the more you will understand the ins and outs of the English language.
3. Record Yourself
One method you can use in your own time is to record yourself every time you are practicing. You can also record when you are speaking with other people so that you can pick up on certain cues and accent differences.
This will help you to notice when your own pronunciation or rhythm may not match up with that of other speakers. This will also help you to figure out some questions you may have about the conversation that you might not have remembered while you were speaking.
4. Read Every Day
To master the English language, you must practice and be surrounded by it every day, so make it a point to read every single day, even if just a short article or blurb from the internet.
This will keep your memory fresh and help you to learn new vocabulary on a regular basis, making it easier for you to recall and utilize it in everyday conversation. Even reading the ingredients and advertisements on food or beverage packaging will help you as the words will continue to get easier every time you pick something up.
5. Read Out Loud
When you are practicing your daily reading, it can be very helpful to read everything aloud, even if there is nobody around. This allows you to hear yourself and pick up on different sounds as you vocalize them.
Sometimes when you read only in your head, you tend to scan over certain words in order to get to the point of the paragraph, but this is not the goal of reading when you are learning to speak English. You want to pronounce and emphasis every single word in order to further your own understanding and get an idea of how you should sound.
6. Narrate your day in English
This may sound silly, but it can be a very useful tool in helping you improve your English skills. From the time you wake up, talk to yourself in English, narrating everything that you are doing. Phrases like “I am making breakfast. Today I am having eggs and hash browns,” help with both vocabulary and sentence structure.
And because many of the things you do throughout the day will be common, everyday tasks, you will be able to connect with people who also perform the same activities. It will also help you to immediately put your thoughts into the English language, rather than having to stop to translate them when you are in conversation.
7. Listen as much as you can
You need to speak English constantly in order to get better, but you also need to listen as much as possible. When someone is speaking the language, listen carefully and try to pick out different words and phrases that you understand, as well as those that you don’t.
You can then later revisit these words and learn more about them. Also, if somebody asks you a question, make sure to listen carefully as there will often be clues within the question. When you listen and absorb the question, you will be more ready to answer it fluently.
8. Don’t let frustration get the best of you
English is a difficult, abnormal language to learn. There are many nuances and inconsistencies that may make it seem like you’ll never fully figure it out. It’s okay to be frustrated and to make mistakes! Don’t let these bring you down and realize that even many native English speakers don’t use the correct grammar or vocabulary all the time.
When you make a mistake, figure out what you did wrong and then teach yourself how to fix it, and remember that nobody is going to remember it within a few minutes.