When developing fluency in a language, there are no guarantees in life, but there are techniques designed to help improve your conversational skills and move you closer to your goal of English fluency.
In this lesson, Gabby introduces six online superstar English experts with tips that have helped her and her friends in their pursuit of learning a foreign language. They are as follows:
Include additional words or phrases every day into your conversations.
- Don’t keep using same words and expressions over and over again. Repetition is a great way to remember phrases and words, but you’re limiting your conversational skills and you’re decreasing your confidence. You want to be able to communicate using a wide variety of words.
- Try adding new words to your everyday conversations. Introducing one or two new words/phrases at a time will help build your vocabulary much faster, develop your confidence, and allow you to have deeper conversations with native speakers.
Learn to think in English. If you can think in English, your conversational skills will speed up.
- This method will help you learn new vocabulary better and will help you speak faster and more naturally. It’s a great way to help you think directly in English instead of in your native language.
- One effective tip is to look at your environment and describe what you see. You can start off by telling yourself, in your head, the things you see (tree, car, river), and then start forming more complex sentences (I see an oak tree. There is a rusted car.)
- This is a great tip if you want to practice your vocabulary and your spoken English.
Be consistent and make English relevant to your life. Do something that you enjoy in English each day.
- Making English consistent with your daily life simply means you need to make English an everyday task for you to do.
- Change the language of all your electronic devices (computers, phones, etc.) to English. This means that you’ll be exposed to English every time you use them. It doesn’t require a lot of energy, and you’re teaching yourself English at the same time
- Make English relevant. It’s more challenging to learn English if the topic is not interesting to you. We do things more often if they’re interesting to us, and this tip can help you develop a vocabulary with words that you’re going to use often.
Choose conversations and identify the stressed words. Write them down and check them against subtitles later.
- Listen for the stressed words when watching a TV show in English (make sure the English subtitles are off). Stressed words are easier to hear, but grammar words are more challenging (this is called “shrinking and linking“). Pause and listen to those words as many times as you need to. Turn on the subtitles and see how many words you were able to hear.
- Being able to listen for stressed words, as well as “shrinking and linking” words can help you towards reaching English fluency.
Create relationships with native English speakers. Use every opportunity to converse with native speakers.
- Why is this important? Many English learners, especially international students studying in English-speaking countries, are too nervous to develop friendships with native speakers. Most English learners will spend all of their time with people who also speak their native language.
- This makes it very challenging to practice English, and it robs you of a cultural and linguistical experience. Plus it lowers your confidence to speak English!
- Creating friendships with native speakers will really inspire you to learn more and to communicate your ideas more freely and confidently! Make friends with native English speakers!
Focus on that which you find interesting.
- We all love talking about a specific topic and we use a lot of words that are related to that topic. This is an advantage when learning a language!
- There are plenty of phrases and vocabulary words that you could learn, but it’s a great idea to focus on the words that are interesting to you. If you love talking about Politics, then focus on building an English vocabulary that focuses on Politics! You’ll be able to have conversations with people about things that are interesting to you.
Use your ears. Train them to pick out sounds of English. Compare what your eyes think they see with what your ears hear
- In school, we’ve been taught to learn using our eyes, and not necessarily our ears (we read what’s on the board while we hear the teacher giving the lesson). In English, we want to do the opposite.
- Using your ears instead of your eyes is a good way to develop listening comprehension and conversation, so this is why you want to focus on making your ears comfortable with English, as well as your eyes.
- An excellent way of practicing this is to listen to English media. You can watch TV shows, cartoons, the news, and movies in English. Expose yourself to as much English-speaking media as possible (and make sure you like it, too!).
Practice these tips for speaking better English and you will be excited with the results on your trip to English fluency. Go Natural English will be your constant companion on this journey.
Check out these sites to learn more about Gabby’s English expert friends, and watch the video below!
Photo Credit: Joanne Johnson