A lot of my students ask me what is it that they should do to improve their Spoken English. So here is a post to tell them what I feel can improve their English skills.
I stated thinking about it and realized that I was lucky to be born in a family where, despite being Indians, English was the language of choice. Since my father rarely spoke Marathi and my mother only ever used Gujrati to discipline me in public, I only ever heard them speak to each other and me in English. Hence fluency in the language just came naturally to me. I only picked up Hindi once I started schooling.
A lot of people don’t have such a family environment. The first language they learn is their mother tongue. The next will be Hindi, if they are based in North India. Then when they reach school they finally learn English as the third language. In South India the second language is English, which is the reason why despite accent trouble they are much more comfortable speaking in English.
As a result, here are a few tips that I have collected to help improve Spoken English.
Tip No # 1 Get comfortable with the language. Read for 20 minutes in English. It can be a newspaper, a short story, a poem, or even a novel.
Tip No # 2 Develop your written language. If you don’t have the requisite vocabulary you won’t be able to communicate.
Tip No # 3 Start Speaking. Try out your spoken English on anyone who will be able to respond to you. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
Tip No # 4 Keep your ears open for the accent. Watch the English news on Television. Watch BBC for the British Accent, CNN for the American Accent and NDTV 24/7 for the urban Indian Accent.
Tip No # 5 Record yourself. Listen to your voice and catch your pronunciation mistakes. Make a deliberate effort to avoid them.
Tip No # 6 Grammar is important. The parts of speech, tenses, form of verb, articles and modals all contribute to fluency. Make an effort to learn them.
Tip No # 7 Make the Dictionary your best friend. To date I head for it when confronted with a new word. Familiarize yourself with its meaning and use it in a sentence that very day.
Tip No # 8 Have someone proficient read aloud to you. A storybook or a newspaper article will do. Watch how they move their lips while pronouncing certain words.
Tip No # 9 Learn one new word a day. To increase your active vocabulary start memorizing the meaning of a word you had heard but were not sure of. Use it regularly to absorb it into your vocabulary.
Tip No # 10 Start writing a Diary. It will allow you to practice the language in a totally non threatening environment. Write one entry of at least 100 words everyday.
Consequently your Spoken English will improve, but not if you are lacking in commitment. It’s all very well to be pumped up today about learning the language and forgetting all about it tomorrow.
Always remember the skills involved in any language are Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Any single one can’t be developed in isolation