The first question to ask is what is fluency?
Fluency is to speak smoothly without stopping or hesitating There are 2 parts to fluency; physical and mental and you need to work on both parts in order to improve.
- The physical part is that your mouth needs to produce and connect English sounds and words fast and smoothly.
- The mental part is that you need to be able to build sentences quickly and smoothly.
(We will look at how to improve them further on.)
So, you need to understand that if you want to improve your speaking you must practise speaking, it’s the same with other skills such as listening and reading.
You will not improve your fluency simply by studying what it is, it is practical skill just like playing football or tennis. You should practise speaking for at least 2/3 hours per week, the more you practise the better you become!
What steps should you take to improve?
Here are a few things you could do;
- Join groups online with English speakers. Join our Facebook Group here
- Talk to foreigners.
- Why not try language exchange?
- Start English classes.
- Find a speaking partner. Try our speaking course with a native teacher
big problem English learners have is that they don’t feel confident
when speaking the language and they sometimes feel silly and worried
about what other people will think. My advice to this is; to understand YOU WILL FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE and accept it.
That’s right, this feeling won’t go away, you will feel nervous and this feeling is completely normal. Yes, I know that it’s not the nicest feeling when you get stuck for words and can’t think of what to say and maybe even panic, but don’t worry you just need to realise it will be difficult but the main thing is DON’T LET IT STOP YOU!
Let’s look at a few things you can do to help improve the ‘physical’ side to fluency;
- Use songs – Learning English songs is great to learn new words and expressions etc. but by singing songs and saying the words you are training your mouth to produce the words and sounds.
- Speed read – This is where you read a small article, something not too difficult for your level and not too easy. Time yourself. Then read it again and again getting faster each time. This will help you connect your sentences faster and smoother.
- Mimic – Mimicking is when you copy what someone has said and how they have said it. So, listen to a native speaker and copy what they say!
Now you know how to practise the ‘physical’ side here’s something you can do to improve the ‘mental’ side to fluency;
- Learn phrases not just words – You have probably heard this before, many English learners will write down a big long list of words with the translation next to it, this is probably the worst thing you can do. You are making your brain work in a very unnatural and complicated way. By learning phrases, you are making it easier for yourself when you speak as you’re not having to think of each individual word.
‘What are you going to do at the weekend?’
- I’m going to……….
- I’m thinking about…….
- I might……
Now, try to think of different endings to these phrases.
If you learn a language in big pieces (phrases) you only have to remember 2 things;
- (I’m going to) + (go to the cinema)
- (I’m going to) + (clean my house)
- (I’m thinking about) + (seeing my friends)
- (I might) + (go for a walk)
By learning like this, it makes it easier to respond to questions like this and speak more fluently.
Let’s look at another way;
I _______ on Wednesday
- I (went to the park) on Wednesday
- I (had an exam) on Wednesday
- I (got a new job) on Wednesday
This is a much more natural way to learning vocabulary.
So now you know how to improve your fluency, what are you going to do to start improving?
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