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If you want to improve your spoken English without spending thousands of dollars on English lessons, there are 4 areas you need to work on;

1) Pronunciation

The first step to good to English is good pronunciation.

If your pronunciation is bad people will not understand what you are saying.

Having good pronunciation means you will be able to make all the different sounds used in English, and people will easily know which word you are saying.

Pronunciation versus Accent

Many of my students believe their English is bad because they have an accent.  This is not true, an accent means people may know you are foreign but will still understand you.  For example many Swedish and Indian people speak excellent English and are extremely easy to understand, but still have a different accent to English and American people.

Having good pronunciation means you will communicate well, having a “good” accent means people may think you are English or American.

 Remember you do not have to have an English or American accent for people to understand you!

 

2) Listening

Listening means being able to understand what is being said to you.  You do not always have to understand every word to communicate effectively.

There are different types of listening activities which improve these different areas.

Listening Accuracy

Hearing which word or sound is being said.  For example being able to hear the difference between ‘bill’ and ‘pill’.

Gist  Listening

Understanding the general idea.  For example if someone wanted to buy something from you in a shop, you would understand what they want, but you may not understand everything they say.

Detail Listening

Understanding specific details of what is being said.  For example if someone was describing a person to you, you would know what color their hair is, what color their eyes are and so on.

 

3) Fluency

Often people say someone is a fluent speaker to mean they are very good at English.  It actually means speaking without pauses, fluidly.  So someone could speak very fluently but if they had terrible pronunciation you wouldn’t understand them.  Or someone could only know a few phrases, but be able to say them without pausing, and so they would have good fluency.

Becoming fluent is important to make people feel more relaxed and comfortable when speaking to you.  If you have long pauses when you speak, people may get frustrated.

4) Rhythm and intonation

The timing and pitch of speech.  A sentence can have a different meaning if the pitch goes up or down.  For example if you say really one way you sound surprised and interested, but if the pitch goes a different way it sounds like you don’t believe the other person.

Having good rhythm and intonation will help your English sound natural and easy to understand.

 

Click the tabs above to find fun fast and free ways to improve these areas!

 

 

 

14 comments

  1. Good Information to learn. Thanks for sharing.

  2. mahi says:

    Very Great Tips For Improving The English.i like the artical it is useful to all very good artical thank’s

  3. Ejaz Alam says:

    Very nice blog for learning English, many new things for students who want to improve their spoken skills. Good luck sir

  4. Sabir says:

    Thanks alot.
    very informative and useful for me.

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      Hi, thanks for the feedback, I am currently redesigning the site, the new site will have more interactive features and better loading times.

  6. dũng says:

    HELLO mr.Alex it me Dũng

  7. Marc says:

    Thanks, really interesting read and some great techniques. I find the trouble with learning and practicing english speaking skills is that its hard when you don’t have anyone to practice with. I wanted to let you all know about a website http://www.practice-speaking-english.com which allows you to practice english speaking live with a british person living in England using Skype or IMO. Thought this may be of interest to everyone! Happy learning.

  8. I personally follow the first point about pronounciation. My language training institute : inlingua New Delhi also made me emphasize more on Pronounciation than accent. They always said that more important is lanuage’s need to communicate.

  9. bob says:

    Thanks for the information… I really love your blog posts… Spoken English

  10. Julian says:

    This articles is helpful for almost everyone that want to learn English,I’m 15 years old and my native language is the Spanish but I love the English because is the language of the knowledge.I like each point that you put in the article cause it’s really helpful.thanks to I’m learning that commit some mistakes at time to talking or even at time to writing is not too bad as I thought.excuse me for commit some mistakes now,but I don’t care as I still learning and we weren’t born learned,in fact the being human is designed for get a continuous understanding and knowledge.

    I was frustrated for learning a perfect English,but that it’s impossible because even the Americans and English people commit mistakes sometimes and it doesn’t bad while our minds are open for correcting and so learning more things.

    Really your articles serves me so much,I’ll try to follow each advice that you gave us in this article (at least as far as possible).i don’t think I’m only that got help from here.

    Blesses to everyone

    • alexsweeney@live.co.uk says:

      Thanks Julian, I’m glad you enjoy the site, and it’s nice to hear that you find it useful.

      Your English is very good and you are still only 15 so keep up the good work, as you practice you will get better, and you can use this site and other sites to find the best ways for you to practice.

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© Alex John Sweeney and http://www.howtoimprovespokenenglishblog.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alex John Sweeney and http://www.howtoimprovespokenenglishblog.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.