Without a doubt, the need to improve spoken English is a question that comes up often among all those who speak English as their second language. It’s a thorny issue, because of the vast differences in ability and because there are so many different approaches to teaching people to speak well. That said, some recommendations can be made that will help those who are trying to improve their spoken English.
Ways To Improve
The first thing you should do is make sure you're good at listening.
If you don’t really know what you’re hearing, you won’t have any idea how to say it back- no matter how much vocabulary and grammar knowledge you’ve got. So make sure that your listening comprehension skills are tip top before starting on something else.
Next, you'll need to start reading and writing a lot more.
The spoken word is shaped by the written form- it’s the written form that has most of the vocabulary and grammar rules in it, after all. If you can write well, then your speaking will also improve quite rapidly over time. It may be hard at first to get into this habit, but it’s not impossible!
It may take some time for some aspects of English pronunciation to sink in; especially if you’re used to trying to speak by paying attention only to spelling or using a dictionary as a crutch.
Pronunciation is based much more on intuition than many other factors- so just open up your mouth and try something without giving yourself too much time to think. If you can get out those sounds on a regular basis, it will start to feel much more natural.
Another method is to just talk more and more; until you've got some practise under your belt.
Make sure that all of your sentences are full (with little filler words like “um,” or “like”) when speaking English with others. It may not be pretty at first, but over time it will sound a lot better than repeating the same phrases over and over again!
After you’ve put in some quality reading time each day, and some effort into being able to produce what you hear inside of your head- try watching movies in English or TV shows without subtitles while listening carefully for the accents.
Try to figure out what kind of accent you’re hearing by talking to friends. And if you can’t do that, try watching a video (like this one) with subtitles so that you’ll be able to understand the words being said.
When talking about spelling or other linguistic aspects of English like grammar, make sure that you listen carefully for mistakes in these areas when others are speaking.
If someone says something incorrectly, correct them gently- but only after they’ve finished their sentence. Avoid pointing out issues as soon as they come up because correcting people on every single word is very off-putting!
It may seem daunting at first, but it’s not impossible at all, and it will lead to improvements over time if you stick with it. Of course, if you need a more complete English education then check out the ESL resources at EduBirdie- and be sure to share your experiences getting better at speaking English in the comments!
Best App for Spoken English
The best app to help you speak English fluently is always the one you have with you. But, if that´s not possible there are several great options in this article to satisfy your needs. I gave it a try and these are the apps I found:
- Word Now – Review: 4 Stars (I think they could do better.) This app comes with two interesting features ´Word of the Day´ and ´Speak out!´ . As described on their web site, Word of the Day will give you useful word every day while Speak Out! will provide an audio recording where native speakers say different words and sentences.
- FluentU – Review : 4,3 Stars I like this app because it takes video from real-life situations like TV shows or news and transforms them in English lessons. The structure is very simple! If you decide to buy the application it will cost only $4 per month for unlimited use on any device (iOS, Android).
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Another good thing about this system is that while you are watching the videos there are interactive subtitles allowing you either to read along with what they are saying or just click on words that you hear so then the video stops, the subtitles go away and you are left to see the pronunciationÂ guiding you how a native speaker pronounces certain words.
- SpeakEasy – Review: 5 Stars (They know what they are doing!) SpeakEasy is designed to help you practice your English in a fun, easy way! Use this app to speak with native speakers from all over the world and learn with them about their culture and lifestyle.
It’s simple, just choose your country and find a friend that wants to chat with you! No matter where you are there will be someone trying to talk with you on those topics!
The application has several interesting features like:
Choose if you want to talk only about certain topics or just about anything;
Send voice messages while chatting;
Add friends from different countries and keep in touch with them;
Leaderboard where you can compare your language skills with other users;
This is what they say about it: ” SpeakEasy is the most popular English communication app around. It’s available on Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone. We’re proud to have over 2 million members speak English fluently!”
- HelloTalk – Review : 5 Stars (They did a great job!) This app offers chat tools to make conversations based on different topics. As they describe their product from their web site: ” By chatting with people on HelloTalk, friends can build language skills together by practicing real conversation in every day situations.”
The application also provides more than 100 languages and allows users to send images or voice messages even if you don’t have words ready to type. A really interesting thing about this app is that it has follow-up activities.
The users can get advice from the native speaker about improvements or ask for something they want to learn about, send photos to talk about them in different situations, share documents and create tasks together. This application really facilitates conversation and helps you improve your conversational skills with a new friend who may be on the other side of the planet!
- Duolingo – Review : 4 Stars I like this app because it combines two things that are not only great fun but very helpful if you want to start speaking English fluently:
Learning a language and gaming! It is a free application that classes itself as a “fun way to learn languages.” The app helps you completeÂ bite-size lessons by translating words in more than 20 different languages. It uses an adaptive system and gives the right amount of exercise based on your skill level.
This is what Duolingo says about it (from their website): ” A free language-learning platform that makes learning proper grammar fun and addictive through gamification and repetition. We’ve gotten rave reviews from publications like Forbes, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Fast Company, TechCrunch , etc. Over 50 million users have used our service since we launched three years ago . Our motto is: Learn a language with the help of friends or Lingua franca .”