How to improve your speaking in 2023
Of all the skills in English, learning how to speak is the most difficult. We’ve all been there: you know what you want to say, you’ve studied how to form the sentence correctly, and chosen the best vocabulary for the situation, but when you open your mouth to speak….blah. Everything comes out wrong. Learning grammar and vocabulary on paper is one thing; you have time to think and prepare, but using it spontaneously is another level of difficulty. With that in mind, here are some tips from an English teacher on how to improve your speaking in 2023.
Copy what you hear
I know it’s obvious, but speaking is not reading. You can’t learn to speak (and pronounce things correctly) by looking at words on the page and reading them aloud. Listening to what words, phrases, and expressions sound like when native speakers say them, and repeating them in the same way, is one of the best ways to learn an accent, proper pronunciation, and how to structure a sentence.
Start a vocabulary book
Start your own personal dictionary of words and, especially, phrases you often hear. Is there a phrasal verb the shopkeeper near your house often uses? Does a colleague at work often use idioms when he speaks? Write them down in a vocabulary book and use them in your everyday conversations.
Record yourself speaking
Most phones, or apps like WhatsApp, let you record audio. So practise new phrases and expressions by recording yourself and listening to the results. Compare yourself to native speakers. Do you pronounce things like native speakers do? Do you use the same intonation and stress? A lot of people don’t like listening to themselves speak, but it’s a great tool to assess your progress.
Join a language exchange
In most big cities it’s easy to find a language exchange. This is a community of people who want to learn languages. You meet up at a pub or cafe, and spend time speaking in your language and then in English. You get to teach your language to somebody, and they teach you theirs.
These are just a few tips that we hope you find helpful on your journey to improve your speaking in 2023. Keep practising every day, keep working hard, and you’ll achieve your goal!
- (v.) make a judgement about something; evaluate
- (adv.) not silently; to say something so everyone can hear it
- (v.) successfully reach a goal or aim
- (n.) the owner or manager of a shop
- (n.) the rise and fall of the voice in speaking
- (adv.) doing something without planning or thinking ahead
- (n.) a phrase or idiom that people commonly use