What’s up Advanced English learners, Mary Daphne here. If we’re meeting for the first time, welcome! This is the place to be to improve your fluency, confidence and clarity in English communication.
Learning to communicate effectively in a language is generally our goal as language learners. We want to be able to have a conversation and exchange ideas with people in the language we’re learning. So let’s imagine a scenario where someone has been studying English for years. They know the grammar really well and understand everything they read. However, Person A can barely hold a conversation in English. Frustrating, to say the least! What they’re missing are these strategies to improve their English fluency and English communication skills!
In this lesson I am teaching you how to improve English speaking skills in 5 steps. There are two bonus strategies at the end of the lesson. So we really have 7 strategies today that will help your English fluency!
Train Your Mind to Think in English
Whenever you are speaking in English, force yourself to think in English. While it might be easier to first think in yournative language then translate the phrase into English in your mind, don't do that. You’ll improve your vocabulary and fluency if you train your mind to think in English before speaking in English. If you don’t know how to fully express yourself, that’s ok. Use the words and phrases that you know that come closest to expressing your meaning. Make a note of the word you want to use and look to see what the equivalent could be in English. Remember, oftentimes there is not a direct or perfect translation for words so we have to find new ways of saying something similar, recognizing that there might not always be a perfect match.
Read and Write Aloud
As you are reading, read aloud. As you are writing, write aloud. This will allow you to practice using the language and you can hear what you are saying. When reading, try to use the intonation and inflection patterns that are appropriate.
Watch TEDTalks with English Subtitles
For this task, you are listening while reading. As you follow along, listen to the connected speech, the way one word blends into another. Pause and rewind if there is any connected speech or language chunk that you’d like to listen to again. As you’re watching pay attention to the body language the speaker uses. For example, what are their hand gestures doing with specific phrases? How do their facial expressions showcase an idea? What do their nonverbals tell you about the way they are communicating? Choose a few phrases or paragraphs and imitate the speaker: use the same inflection patterns, stress, body language, and intonation as they.
Listen to Music in English
Choose one of your favorite songs at the moment that you wouldn't mind listening to a few times. Look up the lyrics and sing along.This is always a fun one, because it doesn’t feel much like work. It’s fun and you get to learn new vocabulary in the process. Keep in mind that the language register used is rather informal and casual, so you wouldn't want to bust it out in a business meeting, necessarily.Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the lyrics, practice singing the song without missing a beat!
Keep a Vocab and Expressions Book
Whenever you hear a new word, phrase or expression log it in your book! Every week, practice using them. This should be something that you can easily access. So if a small notebook that you keep in your pocket works for you, go with that. If you prefer to have it on your smartphone or tablet, go with that. Do what’s best for you. But have a place where you can keep an ongoing list of new words, expressions, and collocations that you refer to regularly. Once a week, when you’re meeting with friends who speak English, online or offline, make it a point of drawing from your new list of words. Use the phrases from that week but also from previous weeks. This wil help you build on the language.
Watch Shows and Movies without Subtitles
For as much of the movie or show you can, watch without subtitles. You can also alternate every thirty minutes between watching without subtitles and watching with subtitles. But if you’re using subtitles, make sure they are in English, so that you can read the words as the actors speak them. Keep the remote in your hand because you’ll be pausing often to write down words and expressions in your vocab and expressions notebook we talked about. When you feel more comfortable with a language chunk,pause and practice imitating the actors as they say the phrase that sounds enticing.
Conversation Partner with a Native Speaker
Sync up with a native speaker friend and practice with them. This could be IRL or online. Something that’s really helpful with this type of conversation partner is that you can ask them for corrective feedback. Meaning, ask them to correct you. At first they might be hesitant, not wanting to hurt your feelings. But explain to them that this will be really helpful to you and that you’re doing them a favor.
There you have it! Seven strategies for improving your fluency in English. Practice these strategies and you’ll increase your communication skills in no time!
So now that I’ve shared my thoughts, I want to hear from you. What other strategies allow us to have successful phone calls? What has been working for you? Share that with me in the comments below.
Thank you for joining me! Don't forget to smash that like button, turn on notifications so that you don’t miss a lesson, and subscribe to Advanced English for more lessons like this one. I will see you in the next one.
Bye for now 😊