In today’s world of globalization and Internet communication, a fluent knowledge of English has become a valuable skill. Everybody from business people to travelers to college students can benefit from improving their English. However, students of English as a Second Language may find that they have trouble speaking the language as fluently as they’d like to. Several strategies can help you improve your fluency in spoken English.
Listen to as much English as possible. Listening to English will help you to internalize the speech patterns and intonations of native speakers, which can be the final step for many students in becoming fluent or bilingual. You can find many English-language television and radio programs online (for instance, National Public Radio has excellent resources). When speaking English, try to imitate the natural rise and fall of native speakers’ sentences as much as possible. Keep a running list of vocabulary that is new to you that you can memorize.
Read as much English as possible. Not only will reading in English improve your vocabulary, but it will also improve your syntax and grammar. Seeing these patterns repeated will help them become second nature to you. Online newspapers (for example, the New York Times) offer students of English a way to practice their language skills while keeping up with current events. Many cities also have English bookstores as well. Lighter novels (such as crime stories or “Chick Lit”) can make learning English more of a pleasure and less of a chore.
Speak with natives. Most larger cities offer English classes taught by native speakers. If this option is too expensive, consider doing a language exchange with another student who is learning your native language. Students who live in smaller cities or towns may have difficulty finding native speakers; however, posting online (on Craig’s List, for example) may provide an opportunity to find a telephone or Skype partner.
Work on your accent. If you have access to a native speaker of the language, study his accent. Note which words and syllables he accentuates as he speaks and how he shapes his sentences. You can also learn a lot from your own native language and the accent speakers from your country have when they speak English. For example, native French speakers often have a hard time with the English letter H at the beginnings of words or forget to pronounce the S at the ends of plural words, as these letters are treated differently in French.