The Four Skills of Language Learning
There are four main skills of language learning: reading, writing, listening and speaking. All four are necessary to master a language. Like any form of learning, studying English is a mental exercise that requires daily practice to form new knowledge. The four skills of language learning all improve different aspects of the mind and come together to help improve your English speaking.
One of the key elements of learning a language is listening. Listening is both an active and passive form of learning. As we hear words being pronounced and used in sentences, we absorb information that we store for future use. Listening is a skill that is easy to incorporate into your daily life. If you have the opportunity to spend time in an English speaking country, you will have the benefit of listening to the language all around you.
If not, you can listen to English music and watch English TV shows and movies. These are passive forms of listening, background noise that you absorb without even realizing it. Learning a new language also requires active listening, in which you carefully focus to understand the meaning of each word and the entire sentence. Often times, listening is the first step to speaking. If you are engaging in a conversation, you have to listen in order to respond.
Similar to listening, reading is an important way to absorb the English language. The beauty of listening and reading is that you do not have to produce any language on your own. Instead, you are consuming the language and storing knowledge for you to later use as building blocks for writing and speaking.
The third skill of language learning is writing. This is more difficult to learn, as it takes time, patience, and repetition. Writing is an opportunity to use the words you’ve learned and produce the English language on your own. Unlike reading and listening where the content is provided for you, writing requires you to create something new. This can be difficult when you are first learning English. One way to practice writing is to pick themes or topics and give yourself assignments. This can help jumpstart your creativity and keep your studies engaging and challenging.
The fourth language learning skill is speaking. Like writing, English speaking requires you to produce your own content. It also requires you to use the other skills you’ve learned, in particular listening. The important thing to remember is that speaking a new language doesn’t have to be perfect. Unlike writing, where you can edit your words and fix mistakes, speaking is free-flowing and less polished. While that might sound more challenging, it actually works in your benefit. When speaking, you can rely on the words and concepts you are most comfortable with, mastering these as you build on your language abilities.
Steps to Learn English Speaking
The most common type of speaking for new English learners is typically done in the form of basic conversations. Learning basic conversation is the best way to start speaking English. Practice and memorize common greetings, how to say your name and ask the name of others, and everyday questions like “what is the time,” “where are you from,” and “how are you today.” These will be the foundation of your conversational skills.
The next step is to advance your speaking beyond common phrases and give yourself a set of vocabulary words that you feel comfortable using. You can’t speak if you don’t have any words to say, so memorizing vocabulary is necessary. It’s best to start with words you normally use everyday. Make a list of things you normally talk about, maybe your favourite hobbies and interests, as well as common objects. You’ll be most comfortable with topics you already know well.
Once you have basic conversations and vocabulary words to use, you should build on your speaking skills in the best way to help fit your language needs. First, decide why you are learning English. If you are visiting an English-speaking country, you’ll need to learn words that relate to tourism, entertainment, dining, and navigation. If you’re learning English for your job, you’ll need to focus on words related to your profession.
If you’re learning to communicate in everyday settings, you should expand your vocabulary to your daily activities. While the ultimate goal for all of these situations is to speak English, having a focused path that is tailored to your needs and interests will help make your studies a more personal part of your life.
Tips to Improve Your Spoken English
Once you’ve built the foundation for your English speaking, you need to practice your skills. These tips will help you find ways to improve daily:
Practice, Practice, Practice
Speaking can be intimidating and uncomfortable and is often overlooked when studying. Part of the reason it is overlooked is that people have a hard time finding a partner to speak with. Speaking a language in your head will only get you so far. The best way to improve your speaking is to practice out loud with other people. Study groups are a great way to find people to practice with. If you can’t find someone to talk to in person, you can connect with people around the world on video chat.
Find a Tutor
Native-speaking tutors are a great resource for improving your speaking. As with study groups, you can meet with your tutor in person or online. There are also language exchange groups where you tutor someone in your native language while they tutor you in theirs. Without a common language, you will both be forced to speak your non-native language to communicate.
In addition to speaking with others, you can also practice alone by imitating native speakers. One way is to watch TV shows, movies, or videos online and repeat what you hear. You can also have a pretend conversation by responding to the videos as if you are in them yourself. To take this a step further, try recording yourself speaking to really improve your pronunciation.
Mastering a new language takes time and dedication. Speaking is the biggest challenge when it comes to being fluent. Being patient with yourself and following these steps to improving your speaking will help you become successful in the end. The process will be slow, but varying your practice and trying new methods will keep your studies fun and challenging. Just remember, all languages are vast and dynamic, so make your practice your own. The reward is worth it!
Tips for Speaking English Fluently and Confidently
Here you will find a brief list of 50 simple tips for speaking English fluently:
1. Be realistic about your English learning goals
2. Practice speaking as well, not just reading and listening
3. Practice speaking English whenever you get a chance
4. Get native English-speaking friends and practice speaking with them
5. Do not be afraid of making mistakes
6. Use simple sentences at first, then progress to more complex sentences
7. Get a reliable English learning course
8. Make an effort to improve your pronunciation
9. Try saying something extra
10. Learn from your mistakes
11. Listen to English-language music
12. Learn some English tongue twisters
13. Accept English and all its uniqueness
14. Try learning some new words every day
15. Try some public speaking
16. Let English be all around you
17. Become part of a conversation group
18. Read your favourite books aloud
19. Watch videos of popular songs online
20. Try thinking in English
21. Practice paraphrasing
22. Conduct small talk in English
23. Try creating your own responses, rather than repeating what people say
24. Have confidence whenever you speak
25. Learn to listen better
26. Substitute phrasal verbs for regular verbs
27. Be passionate about English
28. Try to learn from everyone
29. Learn from your favourite personality or public speaker
30. Watch children’s cartoons
31. Don’t focus on speaking exclusively
32. If you haven’t done so already, change the language on your computer/phone to English
33. Learn some short natural responses
34. Follow the news
35. Record yourself speaking and have friends listen and comment on the recording
36. Be ready for specific situations
37. Make learning English fun
38. Practice speaking English in front of a mirror
39. Learn to say things in your own way
40. Master some specific phrases and English Idioms
41. Try writing based on new things you have learned
42. Retell a story or a joke in English
43. Engage in English activities
44. Debate in English
45. Don’t rush your speech
46. Listen and try to sing along to rap music
47. Try interrupting and interjecting politely
48. Understand that there is always room for improvement
49. Speak the English you know
50. Try to be realistic