10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken English at Home (Without Lessons!)
When you’re reading a novel or an article in the newspaper in English, read aloud instead of to yourself silently. Although, not the same as spontaneous natural conversation, it can be a very powerful tool to practise pronunciation and fluency.
2.Sing along to your favourite English songs.
English songs are full of native expressions, phrases and slang; for this reason it’s perfect for learning new vocabulary and using it in context.
3.Watch videos and talks on YouTube or other sites.
There is an abundance of great resources online nowadays, so whatever interests you, you will be able to easily find interesting and intelligent videos, which use more complex, academic as well as conversational vocabulary. TED is an amazing resource for any English learner. Repeating expressions and sentences you hear and noting them down will help you in their correct usage.
4.Don’t neglect pronunciation, especially of vowels and consonants!
English can be very frustrating due to its pronunciation, but it is also a very important aspect of the language to master. Familiarise yourself with the phonemic alphabet and if you are still not sure how to pronounce something, look it up online. Dictionary.com has a recording of the correct pronunciation of each and every word.
5.Correct word stress will make you sound more native and more confident.
Often, this part of pronunciation is neglected by or unfamiliar to many learners. In words that have more than one syllable, it can be a puzzle to which one we should stress. However, it is very important to do it right; not only does it affect how well people can understand you, it can also affect the actual meaning of words. Take for example ‘contents‘: if you stress the first syllable, it means something that is contained (contents of a box) or the topics covered (contents of the book), but if you stress the second syllable it becomes an adjective for being happy and satisfied!
6.Find and practise fixed expressions.
Fixed expressions (usually made up of 3 or more words) have a conversational function in spoken English and they are important to maintain a flowing discussion. They include expressions such as: to be honest, on the other hand, for the most part, to say the least (and many, many more). Research and listen to them, and practise to perfect your fluency.
7.Remember those idioms!
Although, most languages will have a rich collection of idioms, they are rarely identical or even similar! You might find parallels between the idioms in your native tongue and English, but it is important to use them 100% correctly and to apply them to appropriate situations. Movies, TV shows and even songs are great resources of idioms.
8.Don’t be afraid to take on the infinite supply of phrasal verbs!
Yes there are so many of them that learning them seems like an impossible task, but I promise it’s worth the trouble. We use phrasal verbs instead of regular verbs and native speakers do not even realise they use them, which is why they will usually not make any special effort to avoid them when speaking to non-native speakers. Take it slowly, but try and tackle them gradually. And don’t forget that some of them have more than one meaning!
9.Mastering collocations should be a major goal!
Some words fit together well and some don’t at all. For example, we take a photo, not make a photo! It seems like a minor difference but it makes a huge difference!
10.Find out which accent you prefer and imitate it.
Different learners will have various feelings and opinions about native accents. Do you prefer American or British accents? If British, do you feel more comfortable with the northern or southern accents? It’s completely up to you but once you choose you should try and stick to your chosen one. 🙂
There are countless methods to perfect your spoken English and therefore to boost your confidence, but the above mentioned are fool proof ways to steadily progress so that there are no topics or people you would shy away from. Practising all your new knowledge and skills is the most important, and you can do so with other motivated learners on Word Perfect English!button