Do you struggle with speaking Spoken English fluently and confidently? Are you at a loss for words or stumbling over your sentences? Well, fear not, because this blog will make us funky with English-speaking skills and techniques! We'll cover everything from building your vocabulary to improving your pronunciation and intonation. But we're not going to bore you with traditional language learning methods. Instead, here are some fun and quirky techniques that will help you develop your speaking skills in an engaging, memorable, and most importantly effective way. So, get ready to bust a move and let's move toward better English speaking skills!
The good news, you can improve your vocabulary without help from other people. Vocabulary is a vital part of your English game. Vocabulary learning is an ongoing process, so improve your vocabulary in an easy and fun way. Your vocabulary will grow if you study and learn unknown words when reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Use Flashcards - The objective is to memorize and match the English word with the translated phrase in your native language. One side of the paper has the English expression, and the other has the word in your native language. You can watch and practice English words and memorize them in your native language. You can quickly check your answer by looking at the other side. Flashcards are typical in early English classes, but this method can also be used with more advanced words.
My Translator Method – I call it the “translator method.” When I travel, I often need a translator. I started to notice that their English would improve as they translated conversations. Translating can be difficult, but it is beneficial for im- proving English skills. Translators must listen to one language and think quickly about translating to another language. When listening or speaking your native language, think about the English translation. Can you summarise your conversations? Study the English words and phrases that are difficult in your discussions. This is a suitable method for learning common vocabulary in everyday conversations. When it's time to speak, you're ready.
Read in English. When you read, you should learn new words and improve your vocabulary. Research shows that more people have a higher language than those who read less. This is also true for native English speakers. Practice your English by reading books, e-books, online news, articles, and other sources. If you come across a word or phrase you don't understand while reading in English, you can look it up online or in a dictionary. It is effective for improving your vocabulary and English skills.
Watch movies, television, and videos in English. It can be tough to watch these in English without subtitles. For ease of translation, you can watch the movie with English subtitles first. However, words and phrases that you do not understand must be learned. It becomes easier with practice.
Play Word Games. Many word games are available. The internet has many resources for computers and phone apps. Also, many board games are available such as Scrabble, Scattegories, Catchphrase, Taboo, Apples to Apples, etc. Games are an effective and fun way to improve your vocabulary.
Online Vocabulary Lists – Many English vocabulary lists can be found online. You can search for lists of the most common English words or specific topics for your hobbies, interests, or work.
IMPORTANT FACT: You can improve your vocabulary every time you use English. You can choose writing, reading, speaking, or listening. Many activities can be used to improve vocabulary. Choose activities you enjoy. As you learn new words, you must practice using them, or you will forget!
Pronunciation is the making of different sounds when speaking English. To be clearly understood, good pronunciation is required for verbal communication. When speaking, good grammar and other language skills can be irrelevant and useless with poor pronunciation. Most students say improving pronunciation is a priority and they need additional help.
The problem is teaching pronunciation is very difficult and requires physical action by the students. Pronunciation involves not just memorizing rules or knowing information, it is also a physical skill requiring action―like playing a sport or musical instrument. Students need to be motivated to practice their pronunciation.
English pronunciation has many exceptions to the rules. Some languages have one letter for every sound. Unfortunately, English is not one of these languages he. For example, the 5 English vowels have over 20 sounds. English pronunciation has rules, but exceptions are common.
When learning a new word, studying the spelling as you read the word is good. You can see the rules and the syllables for learning the correct pronunciation. Then, you can practice speaking the words.
English has many exceptions. The rules help, but they are prepared for exceptions.
Voiced / Unvoiced - A voiced sound is strong when the throat vibrates (B, V, G). An unvoiced sound is a soft, quick sound using air in the mouth with no throat vibration (P, T, F). Check a phonetic chart for the complete list.
Rule #1 (Always true) – One-syllable words have no stress.
Rule #2 (Always true) – Multiple-syllable words always have a stressed syllable.
Rule #3 (Always true) – There are many exceptions to the following rules.
English words with two syllables
Rule #4 – 2 syllable NOUNS normally have first syllable stress.
CHI-na, WA-ter, TA-ble
Rule #5 – 2 syllable ADJECTIVES normally have first syllable stress.
HAP-py, HELP-ful, NA-tive
Rule #6 - 2 syllable VERBS normally have a second syllable stress.
de-CIDE, be-GIN, re-VIEW
English words with more than two syllables
Rule #7 - Penultimate (means ‘second from the end’) syllable is normally stressed for words ending in -ic, -tion, -sion (communi-CA-tion, reali-ST-ic, dis-CUS-sion).
Rule #8 - Ante-penultimate (means ‘third from the end’) syllable is normally stressed for words ending in -cy, -ty, -gy, -phy, -al, -ate (de-MO-cracy, person-AL-ity, bi-OL-ogy, com-MU-nicate).
Rule #9 – Compound nouns normally have the stress on the first word (NOTE-book, AIR-port, CLASS-room).
Rule #10 - Compound verbs and adjectives normally have the stress on the second word (under-STAND, up-GRADE, easy-GOING).
Rule #1. The number of syllables in a word - Each syllable has ONLY ONE vowel sound. Find the vowels and do not count the silent (e) vowel or the second vowel in a diphthong. Diphthongs (ai, ay, oi, ea, ew, ei, ie, oy, ou, ow, au, aw, oo) combine to form a new vowel. Example: The word “cause” has three vowels but only one vowel sound. The “au” is a diphthong with one sound, and the “e” is silent.
One-syllable words: cat, dog, toy, down, choose, sound, cause
Two syllable words: aw-ful, be-cause, cow-boy, o-pen, out-side Three syllable words: re-mem-ber, un-hap-py, an-i-mal, qua-li-ty
Rule #2. Divide syllables between two middle consonants when VCCV (Vowel- Consonant- Consonant-Vowel). Exception: Consonant digraphs (th, sh, ph, ch, wh) join together to make one new sound so the consonant digraphs are NOT divided (Let-ter, hap-py, dir-ty, bas-ket-ball, to-ge-ther, wa-sher).
Rule #3. Divide syllables before the consonant when VCV (Vowel-Consonant-Vowel). (O-pen, be-low, ti-ger, a-way).
Rule #4. Divide before the consonant before an "-le" syllable. When you have a word with the "-le", divide before the consonant before the "-le" (a-ble, trou-ble, little, cy-cle).
Rule #5. Divide compound words. (bed-room, side-walk, fire-man).
Rule #6. Divide the prefixes, suffixes, and roots. (prefixes: un-happy, pre-view, reorder) (suffixes: work-er, help-less, care-ful, play-ing).
How many syllables are in the following words?
- (2) 2. (1) 3. (4) 4. (2) 5. (5)
Words ending with “-ed”
Rule #1. Verbs ending with an unvoiced sound (except [t]). If the verb ends in an unvoiced sound (p, k, ch, f, th [θ], s, sh, h), the past tense “-ed” ending will be pronounced as an unvoiced (t) sound.
In these examples, the “-ed” sounds like a (t):
1.She mopped the floor.
2.They walked to the store.
Rule #2. Verbs ending with a voiced sound (except [d]). If the verb ends in a voiced sound (b, j [dʒ], g, v, z, th[ð], s [ ʒ], m, n, ng[ ŋ], l, r, y[j], w), the past tense “-ed” ending will be pronounced as a voiced (d) sound.
In these examples, the “-ed” sounds like a (d):
1.He begged her to stay.
2.The officials judged the results.
Rule #3. Verbs ending with a (t) or (d) sound. If the verb ends in a (t) or (d) sound, the past tense “-ed” ending will be pronounced as a [əd] or [ɪd] sound.
1.We visited the new restaurant.
2.We ended the dinner with chocolate.
ACTIVITY: Practice saying the following words:
washed (t), rained (d), pretended (ed), reached (t),
tested (ed), passed (t), entered (d), assisted (ed)
Rule #1. The letter “Y”: “Y” is pronounced as (ai) or (i:).
One syllable words: “Y” is pronounced as (ai).
[ cry, fly, try, my, why ]
Two syllable words: “Y” is pronounced as (i:).
[happy, funny, city, candy]
Practice: Why my happy baby will try to cry. I fly to the happy city to buy funny candy.
Rule #2. The letter “C”: “C” is pronounced as (s) or (k).
'C' followed by 'A', 'U', or 'O' is pronounced as (k). [ car, cold, cute] When an “E”, “I” or “Y” follow the “C”, it is pronounced as (s). [ city, center, cycle] With the word circus, the first “c” sounds like an “s” and the second “c” sounds like a “k”.
Practice: The circus can come to the city center to calm certain cute children.
Rule #3. The letter "G":
“G” followed by "e, i or y" normally has the soft "j" sound. [gym, general, giant]
“G” followed by “a, o, u” normally has the “g” sound. [go, game, gum]
Practice: Go get George the good geography game.
Rule #4. Consonant blends: A consonant blend is two or more consonants that come together but each sound is heard.
Common initial blends (at the beginning of words):
S blends: sp, sw, st, sc, sm, sk, sl – spell, stop, small
L blends: bl, pl, cl, gl, fl – blue, plural, class
R blends: br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr – break, cry, drop
Practice: Slowly stop smelling the sweet steak. Glad to play the black flute in class. Try green products from cruel brother.
Common final blends (at the end of words):
S blends: sk, st - (last, task)
L blends: ld, lf, lk, lp – (could, wolf, walk, help)
N blends: nd, nk, nt,– (and, bank, want)
Other blends: ft, mp, pt, rt – (camp, soft, part, accept)
Practice: The best is the last task. Could you help the wolf walk? The bank will want a pound. The champ will accept the soft part.
Rule #5. Consonant digraphs: (th, sh, ph, ch, wh, ng) Consonant digraphs come together to make one new sound (with, shall, phone, which, sing).
Practice: Chosen cherries should shine. The cheap phone should ring.
Rule #1. “W” followed by a short “A” sounds like a short “O”. (wall, wash, watch)
“W” followed by a short “O” sounds like a short “U”. (won, work, word)
Rule #2. A vowel at the end of a syllable followed by a consonant is shortened.
CVC (consonant – vowel – consonant) [sit, cat, dog, drop]
Rule #3. A vowel at the end of a syllable followed by two consonants is short. CVCC (consonant – vowel - consonant – consonant) [bill, call, doll, west]
Rule #4. A silent “E” at the end of a syllable, then the vowel before the “E” is long.
CVCe (consonant – vowel – consonant - ”e”) [white, bite, name, more]
Rule #5. There are two vowels next to each other in a syllable. The second vowel is silent and the first is a long vowel. CVVC (consonant – vowel – vowel - consonant) [meat, meet, train, coal, air, coat]
Remember: “When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.” Exception: Diphthongs join to make a new sound
(ai, ay, oi, ea, ew, ei, ie, oy, ou, ow, au, aw, ue, ui, oo).
Rule #6. A syllable ends with the only vowel, it is long. (me, no, be-lieve, o-pen)
Rule #7. When an "I" is before a “GH”, the “I” is long in one-syllable words.
(right, light, high)
Rule #8. When a "Y" ends a one-syllable word, the “Y” is long. (my, fly, try)
Rule #9. When a "Y" ends a multi-syllable word with the stress on the "Y", the “Y” has a long “I” sound. (verify, modify, reply)
Rule #10. When a "Y" ends a multi-syllable word with the stress NOT on the "Y", the “Y” has a long “E” sound. (baby, funny, ugly, very)
Rule #11. When an “EI” is followed by a silent "GH", the “EI” has a long “A” sound.
Vowel Pronunciation Practice
This exercise is for practising the different vowel sounds. Record yourself and check your pronunciation with native speakers or online resources. The objective is to say a phone number but replace the matching word for each number. Try and do this exercise as fast as possible with clear pronunciation and without any mistakes.
ACTIVITY: Vowel Pronunciation
- Study the words in the table. Check your pronunciation.
- Write down a phone number. (Example: 5789635412)
- Say the phone number but use the matching words.
- Repeat this exercise and try to speak faster.
- Use another phone number and repeat the exercise.
Example: Using phone number, 5789635412, you would say, “flute (5) -foot (7) -fault (8)- fest (9) -fate (6)-fist (3) -flute (5) -front (4)-feet (1) -flight (2)”
ACTIVITY: Consonant Pronunciation
Oral communication involves physical skills. Like learning a sport, practicing the physical skills is needed. Knowledge of the English language is not enough, and success requires pronunciation practice.
Tongue twisters are a great way to practice pronunciation.
Record yourself and check your pronunciation with native speakers or online resources. The objective is to say the tongue twister with clear pronunciation as fast as possible without any mistakes.
The sounds of ‘P’ and ‘B’
P – Lips start together and blow out air soft but fast (unvoiced).
B – Lips start together and blow out air strong with throat vibration (voiced).
- Big black bear sat on a big black rug.
- Black back bat.
- Barber baby bubbles and a bumblebee.
- Betty Botter bought some butter.but she said the butter’s bitter.If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter.But a bit of better butter will make my batter better.So ‘twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.
The sounds of ‘R’, ‘L’
R – Pucker lips like a kiss with tongue at the back of the mouth (NOT touching top
of the mouth) (voiced).
L – Tongue touches the top of the mouth (voiced).
- Truly rural
- Rolling red wagons
- Willie’s really weary
- Larry lost his luck looking for a lost ladder.
The sounds of ‘M’, ‘N’
The ‘M’ and ‘N’ sounds we blow air through our nose, not our mouth. If you hold your nose, you cannot make these sounds.
M- Close lips, breathe through the nose with voiced sound.
N- Tongue touches the top of the mouth. The tongue should not move. Breathe through the nose with voiced sound.
- Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.
- Mary Mac's mother's making Mary Mac marry me. My mother's making me marry Mary Mac. Will I always be so merry when Mary's taking care of me?
- Nott was shot. If the shot Shott shot shot Nott, Nott was shot. But if the shot Shott shot shot Shott, then Shott was shot, not Nott. However, the shot Shott shot shot not Shott — But Nott.
The sound of ‘TH’
TH – Tongue between the teeth and blow air.
- I thought I thought of thinking of thanking you.
- He threw three free throws.
- The thirty thousand thumbs thumbed on the thirty thousand drums.
The sounds of ‘V’, ‘F’, ‘W’
V – Loosely bite lower lip (voiced).
F – Tightly bite lower lip but with fast air (unvoiced).
W- Pucker lips like a kiss then relax (voiced).
- Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy.
- Four furious friends fought for the phone.
The sounds of ‘CH’, ‘SH’, ‘J’
J – Lips like a kiss with downward jaw movement (voiced).
CH- Same as ‘J’ but unvoiced.
SH – Same as ‘CH’ but no jaw movement.
- I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch.
- Chosen cherries should shine.
- John joined Jill on the jumbo jet journey to Japan.
EXTRA TONGUE TWISTERS
- How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
- The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
- I thought a thought. But the thought I thought wasn’t the thought I thought I thought.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
- While we were walking, we were watching window washers wash Washington’s windows with warm washing water.
- I saw Susie sitting in a shoeshine shop. Susie works in a shoeshine shop. Where she shines she sits, and where she sits she shines
- When a doctor doctors a doctor, does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as the doctor being doctored wants to be doctored or does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as he wants to doctor?
- I have a date at a quarter to eight; I’ll see you at the gate, so don’t be late.
- If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose?
- Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.
- Stupid superstition. (x3)
- We surely shall see the sunshine soon.
- Fred fed Ted bread, and Ted fed Fred bread.
- A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk Stunk.
Check this out Top 10 tips to Practice English Reading in 2023
Learn to Listen
“To listen well is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.” – Proverb
ACTIVITY: Think about…
- How do you know if someone is not listening to you?
- How does it make you feel?
- What is the difference between hearing and hearing? increase.
Listening is how we start learning our native language before grammar, reading, writing or speaking. It is natural for us to learn from listening. However, research shows English speaking and listening skills are the biggest problems for most ESL students. Listening is necessary for effective communication. Excellent listening skills will help your English pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and speaking skills.
“75% of the students said that listening ability affected their speaking performance. 80% of the teachers thought that listening ability had influences on students’ speaking performance.” (Asian Journal of Educational Research, 2015)
Focus on Listening
You can hear sounds and noise but not be listening. Listening requires a focus on attention and understanding. While the other person is speaking, some people focus on their response. Listen to what they are saying before thinking of a response. You may have questions or want to verify (repeat) the key points. Focus on listening.
A Good Listener will…
- Focus on understanding the speaker
- Improve their pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, & speaking skills
- Understand the speaker’s tone, stress, and emotions
- Be a better communicator
Benefits of a Good Listener
- Increase Their Knowledge
- Effective Communication
- Builds Better Relationships
- Understand New Ideas and Opportunities
Listening to Important Information
English speakers will often speak with intonation and stress important words or phrases. It will be easier to understand if you focus on listening to the important words and phrases. When speaking, you should use good intonation and word stress so your listeners will better understand you. This is necessary to keep listeners focused. If writing notes are necessary, do not try and write down every word. Only write down the important words and phrases. After the speaker is finished, you can write the details. While listening, do not focus on writing because you could miss important information. Do not let writing notes distract you from listening. Listening requires an immediate interpretation and understanding. If you focus and listen, you will have a better understanding and can later write better notes.
It is important to listen because you cannot go back and replay the speaker. Speaking is often spontaneous. You can ask them to repeat everything, but it's not the same. When repeating, the speaker often responds with a summary or changes the vocabulary, tone, grammar, stress, or content. Having to repeat thoughts can be frustrating. It is important to focus and listen for effective communication.
IMPORTANT: Good listening skills require practice. You can practice listening by yourself without an English partner.
ACTIVITY: For listening practice, listen to audio and video sources: stories, movies, television, and news. There are many sources available online.
- Find something in English to practice your listening. It should be 5-10 minutes (MAXIMUM 10 minutes).
- Please select a topic of interest.
- Listen to it in English. (Beginners can first use subtitles, but then do a second time WITHOUT subtitles.)
- As you listen, WRITE DOWN vocabulary you do not understand.
- Learn the definitions of the new vocabulary.
- Listen to it again WITHOUT SUBTITLES.
- Keep repeating these steps until you can speak and understand everything.
This will improve all your English skills. Listening to English repeatedly multiple times is an excellent way to learn English. This is effective and works.
In conclusion, improving your English speaking skills is a journey that requires patience, dedication, and consistent practice. However, with the right techniques and strategies, you can speak confidently and fluently in English.
If you're ready to take your English speaking skills to the next level, why not book a demo lesson with ESOL (English School of London)? Our experienced tutors will work with you to identify your language learning goals and create an individual plan to reach them.
With our comprehensive resources, flexible scheduling, and individualized approach, you can quickly accelerate your language learning and improve your English speaking skills. Don't let language barriers hold you back any longer. Take action today and book a demo lesson with ESOL to unlock your full potential.
Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate student, start your journey to becoming fluent in English with ESOL today!