Before jump into how to learn to speak English, let’s figure out what is to be fluent in English or what is fluency?
I think everybody has a different idea of what is the word “Fluent” means, but according to me fluent in the language means you don’t have to think before you speak, you don’t have to consider grammar rules, vocabulary to translate in your mind. What you have to do is “you have a thought” and “you express it”, there is no in-between stage for stopping and frame a sentence according to grammar and vocabulary. Some people naturally have the talent to express without stopping for translating or framing the sentence however most people struggle or stop their thoughts when they start to speak English. So there are some steps to be followed in terms of learning and speaking confidently.
Listen, Listen and Listen
The truth is before you learn how to speak English you need to learn how to listen to English. Now, just think about how you learned to speak your native language as a baby, you constantly listened to the people around you and to the words from Videos and Audios. You were taking in all these information, all of this input and one day you magically started to talk. Once you started with your first word, it continued into sentences, and you never stopped. All of the information, the input you took in, built up until that magic moment. The English explosion is the magic moment when there is a reaction and all of the English you have been learning and building up inside comes pouring out of your mouth. As you listen, you are filling your memory bank with information, and you have to listen again and again to store it in your memory. The more times you can listen to something the better, and all of the information will come out naturally as you start to speak.
Pronunciation means being able to say a word correctly, naturally and be understood: when one learns to perfect his/her pronunciation they will have a much easier time acclimating into an English speaking environment. Native speakers have special recognition all over the world for their accent.
How to improve English pronunciation:
- Pay attention to the pronunciation of native speakers. You can find a lot of videos on YouTube.
- Read aloud in English, any text or poem or a passage.
- Begin speaking with native speakers on Skype. Begin with small conversations.
You can download some books for Pronuncation such as English Pronunciation in use to practice at home.
Stop, Stop, Stop Learning Grammar:
To improve your speaking you have to stop thinking about the grammar and rules that you have learned. The grammar rules have helped you learn how to write better, but they are not helping you to speak better. In fact, these grammar rules are stopping you from speaking fluently because you are thinking too much about which words to say and what tense to use. Many teachers and schools tell you that the grammar is important before even you start thinking and speaking in English, but it will stop your ability to speak automatically. When you use grammar rules to speak, it’s like trying to solve a difficult math equation in your head. You only need to know the correct phrases to that English speakers
Study, Memorise and Review Phrases, Idioms, Collocations:
These are the important words and phrases that are used in most everyday conversations that native speakers have. If you know only these words and phrases, you will able to speak English better than other people who might know thousands of useless words. Native English speakers use the words that you have never heard before and never seen in English dictionary book. Well, this is because the native English speakers use slangs and idioms when they speak, and they speak phrases that are full of these idioms and slangs. But these are common words that you hear in everyday conversations. That’s what they have learned since their childhood; they don’t care about the meaning of the individual words. They just know that those words together have a meaning.
Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to speak English, but you felt too shy, nervous and scared to speak? Were you afraid you were going to make a mistake? Were you worried that the other person wouldn’t understand what you were saying? This is because you were so focused on negative things that could happen that you couldn’t get your words out. Many people feel the same way too. Don’t be afraid, have confidence and say this out loudly that “I can speak perfect English, and My English ability is amazing”. Open your mouth and try to speak.
Study the real conversations instead of books:
One of the biggest mistakes that many people make when they are studying is that they are not using the correct material, or they use old, boring material which is not useful in real life situations. You don’t need to know how a character talks in a book or how a pirate talks, what you need to know is how students in university talk or the people at work talk. You need to know how they speak in everyday conversations. You need to study the real conversations that would happen in real life. Hear the stories in present tense and try to convert that into past and future tense. You will eventually learn how native speakers use switch back and forth between the present, past and future tenses.
Do not be afraid to practice what you have learned!
The more you practice and interact, the more natural it will be to speak English and the exposure to other people speaking English will allow you to learn how they speak: what words they use and phrases they say. You can then incorporate that into your own speech and realise what sounds normal and what does not.At a minimum spend 1 hour per day practicing IELTS Speaking preferably just before going to bed & just as you wake up.
There are many ways to get you speaking English. Here are 3 of them: 1) Read Aloud 2&3) Practice Speaking English (Repeat what you Hear & Role Play).
Finally, have fun learning English, it sounds like a simple idea, but many people don’t do this. Many people make English learning as a job, and it becomes stressful and boring. But to make learning English more fun and easier you have to relax your approach to learning English. Just sit back and enjoy the way you learn by speaking confidently. If you have fun material, you will learn many new things without making any effort at all, for example, watching movies, learning to sing a song, etc. which makes you more comfort and have fun.