Why is it so complicated to improve your English speaking skills as an ESOL learner and speaker? Even if you see that your English level is improving you may start to notice a plateau in your learning and be confused about what you can do to continue to develop and become fluent.
While it is essential to focus on several elements of the language while you are learning such as pronunciation and its intonation. You must also be aware of the fluidity of the language and the kind of English vocabulary used in communication.
Following this guide, we help you to progress quickly in English!
When you are learning a language, you are often told a lot about verb tenses, grammar, sentence structure and how to communicate your ideas. But not a lot of attention is given to pronunciation.
Of course, when you are just starting out learning a language, pronunciation may not be the most important thing because you can not even speak yet. But when you are gaining exposure to how to verbalise the language, it is essential to begin to be aware of the importance of pronunciation in English.
The good thing about pronunciation is that it is not hard to put into practice and it is more paying attention to how other people verbalise things and adding this to your own self-expression than having to learn something entirely. Which means that pronunciation does no sit alone, but it works side by side with listening.
A good reason to prepare yourself for an oral exam in English. Photo Source: Unsplash
To be able to improve your pronunciation in English you must learn to listen. This is because improving your pronunciation is a step by step process, you must listen, you learn and adjust your speaking, and then you listen again.
Keeping your accent or your particular way of saying things is fine, but the whole point of communication is to be understood. So to be sure that you are understood, you have to pay attention to any poorly pronounced terms which can lead to a misunderstanding on the part of the native English speaker.
An exciting story about pronunciation goes: A lady was lost in the middle of the British countryside. She was desperately looking for a castle. She asked a resident: “do you know where the castle is?”. He did not understand what she wanted to say and she had to repeat it many times before he said, “Ah the caaaaastle!”
By emphasizing the / a /. She had not placed the toned accent, and her / a / was not long enough which made the word unfamiliar to the local. In English, we see things like this with international English for example if you learn to pronounce everything in American English, understand that the rules may not be the same if you go to the UK.
I remember when I was on a bus in the USA and wanted to get by a passenger standing the aisle. I said “Sorry” and proceeded to walk by him. He turned and said “why are you sorry?” it seemed that even for native English speakers there can be some confusion because different countries use different words in different situations.
While excuse me is a universal way to express what I wanted to say, in the UK you can also say I am sorry, not to apologise but to ask for the person to be aware that you are there and simultaneously say Excuse me at the same time. So you see even native English speakers have communication issues when travelling to English speaking countries. But since then I learnt this lesson, and when I am in the USA, I know that I can not say I am sorry in place or excuse me.
When learning to be aware of your pronunciation, it is essential to:
Also be aware of the emphasis of tone on any word or phrase, because in English we do not use accents to highlight where the stress goes. You just have to listen and then get used to using it!
Being stressed will limit your ability to speak well. Photo Source: Unsplash
The best way to improve your accent is to imitate what you hear from English speakers, this is the same process used when you learnt your native language and is a powerful technique.
Speaking English to gain new vocabulary, is a fun and accessible way to learn a new language and also to concreate new language in your mind. Learning to speak English is not only useful to pass your oral test or English exams but gaining confidence in speaking in English, you will be able to communicate with native English speakers.
Listening is the first step to improve your knowledge of a foreign language, this is why having access to speak with native English speakers can really help your progress. In your education when you prepare for a test, it isn’t just repeating what you hear, but it is also about expression, understanding and communication.
By listening, you will train your ear to understand English sounds, and from these sounds, you learn to speak.
Aside from learning to speak English for yourself and your own language learning fluency. You may also be studying to practice for a test which can be challenging. The most challenging thing about studying for an oral examination in English is the mindset that you are studying for an oral test in English. If you are able to relax and just learn to speak in English, you are likely to have much more confidence. You will also do much better than you would with the stress of the test on your shoulders.
The most challenging thing about studying for an oral examination in English is the mindset. Photo Source: Unsplash
But of course, the reality is that you will be taking a test, so it is good to organise your learning to make sure that you can pass that test. The best way to do this is to link your knowledge to the subjects in your test.
The oral exam in business schools or degree programs are a little more advanced. But you can still follow these tips although it will be necessary to be able to speak in depth on the subject of your study.
A key to being able to speak in English as an ESOL student is to remember to set up a working group in English, where you practice speaking English and discuss with your peers the different topics of your class.
All study for an oral exam should include listening or speaking, So while you can reading to gain access to new vocabulary, you should try watching movies with English subtitles and rewatch the film so that you can practice your English intonation and pronunciation.
Another good reason to prepare yourself for an oral exam in English is to open yourself up for new and beautiful opportunities that will open to you once you can communicate well. Applying for jobs and being hired for new positions where you get to use your English language skills.
But whether English is your first language or your second language job, interviews are a challenge and nerve-racking experience. Just practice how to discuss and share about your strengths and weaknesses, your professional future, or what makes you the ideal candidate. Regular practice is the key here.
Even if you are ordinarily bilingual, continue to practice day after day. A language is forgotten quickly enough. Without exercising English regularly, your vocabulary will become poorer, and you will have gaps when speaking.
Immersion is what works best for learning a language. But if you can not afford to wander around the globe, remember that this immersion can take place at home! With English-language television channels, shows, movies, books and conversations that you can have in English at a café, online, or Skype. With these tips, you will progress in English at lightning speed! Good Luck!