5 Ways to Speak English Fluently

Image taken from University of Cambridge Judge Business School

“Hey, I’ve been learning English for quite a long time but I feel myself not improving or couldn’t speak English fluently yet, how come?” This is a common statement or a question I get from my students.

Well, let me be honest with you. It took me 12 years to further my English communication skills. I started learning English in school, from work and most especially, I learned more from my habits, but up until now, there are still lots of things I don’t know with the English language, but I strive hard and still learn everyday. As a second-language learner, it’s not easy for sure but let me tell you how I have learnt English based from my own experience and might as well work for you.

1. Listen, listen and listen

If there is one essential skill that you need to work on, that would be your ability to listen well, to others and to yourself.

Why is LISTENING an essential skill?

Listening is the key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. As a result, the person you are speaking to ends up frustrated or irritated and you don’t want that to happen, do you? So if I were you, focus on listening first.

2. Immerse yourself in an English learning Environment

With my 8 years of teaching English, I have never seen someone who became good in English by consuming any other languages like Korean or Japanese. Of course, you need to put yourself into speaking the language itself. If you would like to improve your listening skills, then why not start listening to podcasts and watching English movies without subtitles. If you’re into writing, you can start with journaling your thoughts or feelings or begin writing your daily activities. It may sound simple but it takes consistency with good practice before you see the results.

Why not start with movies?

This was my stepping stone back then when I was learning English. What’s in it for you? Just by simply watching movies, you can acquire the following skills:

  • Good natural expressions
  • You can hone your listening skill
  • Improves your Visual learning
  • Predicting and many more essential skills.

And listen to English songs

When you sing a song, you have to go along with the speed of the song. Also, you are improving your listening skills plus it relieves stress and it makes you feel better. How does that sound?

3. Spend time with people who actually speak the language

Finding the best environment for practicing the language itself has been a struggle to some people most especially if you live in a non-English speaking country. I always believe that if you really want to learn something, there is always a way. If you really need to move to a different place just for the sake of your learning, then why not do it even if it’s costly. It’s easier said than done but there are other alternative ways.

If you can’t afford to go to an English speaking country, then there are lots of applications and online platforms out there to learn English like DUOLINGO, ELSA for Pronunciation and CAMBLY or find a private teacher for a one-on-one English communication via Skype or Zoom. Do whatever it takes to find a partner or someone who speaks the language itself, whether a friend and a teacher but remember, find someone who has mastered the language so they can give you proper feedback and corrections, that way, you know what to do the next time you speak or say those words again.

I know it’s quite difficult to find the best learning environment that is suitable for you, but remember that this is crucial in terms of your learning development. Let me say it again, if there is a will, there is a way.

4. Read out loud and hear your voice speak

I’m currently based in Vietnam and one thing that I’ve observed is that most of my students cannot produce the correct sounds of words. Why is that? There maybe a lot of factors affecting their inability to produce the correct sounds of words as compared to their mother language, but one thing I know for sure, they don’t pay attention to the sounds of the words. They don’t hear themselves speak and that’s one of my job as their language teacher and that’s where PRONUNCIATION comes. Take note that the ability to listen attentively to your own words and sounds creates a big role to become fluent in English so pay attention to your own voice.

Here’s a TIP:

Read books in your level through speed reading, set a timer and monitor how fast you can read the text, and try to do it again and beat your first reading if you need to.

5. Never be afraid to make mistakes and just speak

Oh, I’m shy and I don’t have the confidence. One reason is probably because you are afraid to make mistakes or you get embarrassed from your classmates or colleagues. Hey, just speak and don’t be scared to make mistakes. I remember when I was still learning, I knew I was making a lot of mistakes but never did I doubt myself even if I made lots and lots of mistakes. If you made a mistake, that’s okay, we all do. Remember, we are humans and we make mistakes but remember not to repeat those mistakes again. Learn from it instead.

HERE ARE SOME BEST PRACTICES:

  • Learn English in Chunks. You can take it slow but just don’t stop.
  • Translating and memorizing may not be the best way for you because it’s unnatural so stop translating. Start thinking in English.
  • Better learn phrases and sentences instead of just simply words. Learn some sentence patterns instead.
  • Lastly, just enjoy learning! Love the process and have fun.

How do you know when you are fluent in English?

The moment you speak and observe yourself making a mistake and correct it, you are one step ahead and you’re on your way up there. Lastly, if you can speak or use a wide range of vocabulary in different topics, that’s when you realize that you have become fluent but don’t stop there, just keep learning and keep improving.

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Julian Dalignoc Jr.

Julian Dalignoc Jr.

Your English Guro (Teacher) and writes about Communication, Marketing and Personal Development.