- Think in English.
Try to use English when you’re thinking about your day, or when you’re trying to decide what food to order. Even try to use OPD to look up words. That way you never have to use your native language and translate words. You’ll notice that when you think in English, it’s easier for you to speak in English.
- Listen to more English
Listening to more English will improve your speaking
Most English learners read too much and listen too little.
But when babies and children learn English, they listen first – then speak – and later learn to read and write.
- Listen and repeat.
Do you watch TV shows or salamzaban videos in English? Use them to improve your fluency. Choose a short part of a clip and repeat it line by line. Try to match the tone, speed and even the accent (if you can). It doesn’t matter if you miss a few words; the important thing is to keep talking. Try to sound just like the native speakers on the show.
- Read out loud.
- Focus on fluency, not grammar.
When you speak in English, how often do you stop?
The more you stop, the less confident you sound and the less comfortable you become. Try the mirror exercise, but challenge yourself to speak without stopping or stammering (taking pauses between your words) the entire time.
This might mean that your sentences won’t be grammatically perfect, and that’s okay! If you focus on speaking fluently instead of correctly, you’ll still be understood and you’ll sound better. You can fill in the correct grammar and word rules as you learn them better.
- Speak slowly
Sloooooow down when speaking English – don’t “try” to speak too fast
Trying to speak English too fast won’t make you sound like a native speaker. Instead, it can actually make it more difficult for the other person to understand you.
Speaking English slowly has two advantages:
- It gives you more time to think of what to say
- It makes your speech clearer so the other person can understand
Over time and with practice, your spoken English will get faster naturally.
- Learn phrases, not words.
An even better idea is to learn word phrases, not just words.
You might be using correct grammar and vocabulary, but it’s still not how a native speaker would say it.
For example, you can say “how do you feel today?” but a native speaker might say “how’re you doing?” or “what’s up?” instead. Phrases and expressions can be helpful for sounding more natural when you speak.
- If you forget a word, use other words
It’s very common for English learners to stop a sentence in the middle because they’ve forgotten the word they want to use – but try to be creative. The other person can help you if you describe the word you want by using other English words.
Use other words when you can’t remember a word.
Be creative – use other words when you can’t remember the word you want
For example, one of students was describing a recipe, and he didn’t know the word for one of the vegetables. So he said “It’s white, and like a ball, and when you cut it, you cry.”
The teacher said, “It’s an onion.”
So you can see that the student communicated successfully by using different words, even though he didn’t know the word he wanted to use.
- Talk to yourself.
Whenever you’re at home (or alone somewhere else) you can practice your English with your favorite person: yourself. If you’re already thinking in English, try speaking your thoughts out loud.
- Record yourself.
It allows you to compare how you sound to others. Also, getting used to the sound of your voice builds confidence.
Record yourself reading a short text, such as a poem, magazine article, or blog post. You can also record the phrases you’ve collected.
- Use a mirror.
Whenever you can, take a few minutes out of your day to stand in front of the mirror and speak. Choose a topic, set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes and just talk.
The point of this exercise is to watch your mouth, face and body language as you speak. It also makes you feel like you’re talking to someone, so you can pretend you’re having a discussion with a study buddy.
Talk for the full 2 or 3 minutes. Don’t stop! If you get stuck on a word you don’t know, try expressing your idea in a different way. You can always look up how to say that word after the 2-3 minutes end. This will definitely help you find out what kinds of words or sentences you have trouble with.
- Sing along to English songs.
Singing along to your favorite English songs will help you become more fluent.
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