Good oral English will benefit your career, schoolwork and personal life. Even if you are learning English as an adult, you can learn to speak well. Whatever difficulties you have -- pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary or grammar among them — you can improve your oral English by following these steps.
Listen to a lot of high quality spoken English. Language learning expert Stephen Krashen (see reference 1) says that we learn a language from input we can understand. Listen to a higher level of language if you want good English for business or academic purposes. As a beginner, listen to instructional CDs or software. When you are ready, listen to quality news, documentaries and movies in English. If you don’t live in an English-speaking country, find these sources on the Internet. You will need a lot of listening to improve, so commit to listening for an hour or more every day.
Read in English every day to increase your vocabulary. Read material you understand but gradually increase its challenge level. Try to read for 30 minutes to one hour every day.
Record your spoken English and listen to the playback. Try to hear your own strong and weak points. If you are taking an English class at a school with a language lab, look for pronunciation software. Listen to the speakers, record your own speech and play it back to compare. This practice will help you improve your pronunciation.
Pay attention to grammar when you speak. If you don’t know the rules, take a grammar class and ask English-speaking friends to correct you. However, don't expect grammar exercises to take the place of listening and reading. Stephen Krashen (see reference 1) believes that we learn grammar better by hearing and reading the language.
Improve your fluency by speaking in English every day. Seek out opportunities to talk to English speakers. Join a club, talk to neighbors or travelers and make new friends who speak English. Enjoy activities with English speakers so you use English in real-life situations. When you are alone at home or in the car, speak English out loud for practice. Speaking your thoughts aloud will also help you improve your oral English.
Look for opportunities to give speeches and presentations. Volunteer to give talks in English at school or in the community. If you don’t belong to a suitable group, join an English club or a speech club or sign up for a speech class in English. You will gain confidence by talking in front of a group and you will get valuable feedback. If you practice diligently, you will improve your oral English.
- “Teaching Pronunciation”; Marianne celce-Murcia, Donna M. Brinton and Janet M. Goodwin; 1996
- “Extensive Reading: Why? And How?” Timothy Bell