13

My mother tongue is Hindi. I also like to speak, write, read and learn English.

My English is weak, I fear to speak English with my friends, Social media, and with professionals. I've fear about grammar, syntax arrangement, and pronunciations. Because, they point out me, immediately (sometime).

My question is:

Please, can you tell me, how to improve spoken English?

  • 19
    While not perfect, your writing is clear and comprehensible - there is no difficulty in understanding the meaning of your question. I've read much worse from native English speakers! You're on the right track. – Digital Trauma Jul 1 '16 at 15:45
  • 2
    You are right: the main site is where you should post this. Meta is for questions about the website itself, and main is for questions about the site's subject (in this case, English Language Learners). – wizzwizz4 Jul 1 '16 at 18:30
  • I agree with @DigitalTrauma even not being a native speaker as well, I have the same dificulty as you. I have no chance to practice so I often talk to myself(in my thoughts, I mean) and I think it is helpful. Did you try it? – DontVoteMeDown Jul 1 '16 at 18:32
  • Possible duplicate of How to learn English in quick way – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 1 '16 at 20:10
  • Most helpful is speaking and listening - conversing with people. Most unhelpful for doing that is inhibition (fear). One thing very helpful for overcoming inhibitions is alcohol. Try to find a safe, informal, friendly setting where you and others can converse in English while eating and imbibing a bit of alcohol (preferably with people who speak somewhat better than you do, but that's not the most important thing). You will find yourself speaking more, listening more, and having fun. Guaranteed to help! – Drew Jul 2 '16 at 0:29

10 Answers 10

16

Oh, same there. I felt absolutely miserable about my accent and improvised speech during English lessons.

A thing that have helped me to overcome the hesitation to some degree:
I started coordinating guild raids in a MMORPG through a voice chat. Apparently, during the game you stop worrying about your English and start worrying about the boss that owns you. I had to concentrate on the game and think fast, so I sort of allowed myself to use primitive grammar and to speak with heavy accent. As long as the guildmates were understanding me, I did good.

I can't say it improved my pronunciation, but at least I've got the environment where I wasn't afraid of speaking English (mostly because I was distracted by the game, it's not like I suddenly became less socially awkward), and a lot of practice there. And it certainly helped with the improvised speech.

I'm not sure how to extrapolate this advice to non-gamers, though.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    "I'm not sure how to extrapolate this advice to non-gamers, though." Non-gamers will know what motivates them, what challenges them, what captures their focus. Your generalized advice doesn't need to be padded with a bunch of examples that apply more to their lives. They can figure out how to apply the generalized advice to the activities they do. – TOOGAM Jul 1 '16 at 15:21
  • I have tried to practice in online gaming as well. – DontVoteMeDown Jul 1 '16 at 18:33
6

I can understand your concerns, as I am also still trying to learn English.

What I mainly do, is talk. Just talk to people, make mistakes, listen to their critique, get better ;-) I think the most important thing here it not to be afraid of getting corrected by someone.

I also found that talking to myself helped me a lot with pronunciation.

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    +1 There are no shortcuts; the only way to master a skill is to practice it. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 1 '16 at 12:48
4

One solution that is easy to implement is: repeat things, and say them out loud. For instance, immediately repeat things you hear on TV and read your books out loud.

I went to an advanced language training center, and there were a few things that helped me the most. Firstly, we read books out loud in the new language. Secondly, we heard skilled speakers say things and immediately repeated what we heard, trying to match the way they said it. (It helped that so many of us were new. In general, we felt more comfortable making mistakes when we were around friends who were also making mistakes.)

| improve this answer | |
3

I agree with Tomek that the way to improve speaking is to speak, he also implies that you are speaking with someone who will feel comfortable correcting you, and by whom you feel comfortable being corrected. You may need to make special effort to find such people and arrange suitable time with them.

You may be lucky enough to have friends who will do this for you, otherwise you may be able fund a teacher or a class, perhaps online.

| improve this answer | |
3

I've learned English as a child (2nd grade - 12th grade) in school, grammar and all. I've also been exposed to a couple years of extra home tutoring. I forgot most of the grammar theory but I kept the practice.

I improved it (as a child) by watching Cartoon Network, in English obviously. Later on they dubbed it, replacing the original voices with local voices. That was a sad day!

I read many books in English. Literature classics as a child, technical books these days (programming mostly).

I also watch many English movies. Always with English subtitles or without any subtitles, but never translated in my language. That's the only way to really understand English, idioms and expressions with more/less different meaning than the actual obvious translation. What you don't understand, you google.

And these days, due to my work, I think I speak more English than my own language.

Just speaking English will not teach you anything. There are no guarantees that your (local) friends speak it correctly (and only a good English speaker can tell). Nobody will have the time (or audacity) to correct you (to your face), thus you will forever linger in your uncorrected mistakes while others will judge and internally frown upon your poor form.

Expose yourself to correctly spoken English and embrace that. But have a solid foundation of grammar to build upon.

| improve this answer | |
3

Don't worry, Mithlesh. I have a similar problem with learning Chinese.

I've found that the best thing is to read Chinese newspapers each day, watch Chinese movies and listen to Chinese music, and to hang out with native Chinese speakers.

Some people will always make fun of your accent, but you shouldn't let them make you feel sad.

Cheers, Rachel

| improve this answer | |
2

My native language is English, and I have never been proficient enough with another language to try this with a second language, but I improve my own English by talking to myself when I'm alone.

As much as I rephrase things in my head throughout the day, saying something out loud requires the next level of specificity. You have to pick actual words, and put them in an actual order, and actually pronounce them with your mouth.

So just phrase your internal monologue out loud when you're alone, and try to get it so it sounds right. Also, try not to feel crazy if somebody walks in and asks who you're talking to. You're doing it for a reason!

| improve this answer | |
2

I was facing the similar problem few years back.

My mother tongue is Hindi and despite being studying in English medium, I was too shy to speak English in public. Because of this, I always stayed away from attending any function or event. But, believe me, its all my loss by missing the moments that I would have enjoyed.

So, after remaining in depression and trying to fight my own issues, I finally decided to communicate in English with myself [by standing in front of mirror] and with my family [most supportive people ever] and continued this trend for 1 year.

After that, I started reading fictional novels and read "Word Power Made Easy". Reading helped me a lot in finding appropriate vocabulary.

Then came a time, for which I was waiting from almost 3 years. I was organising an event in my college and since it was a national level tech fest, students different colleges of India came.

Then there was a moment where I have to explain rules and regulations to a crowd of 400 people in ENGLISH. I remember I almost drank 1 litre water being nervous and went on the stage. Then slowly but steadily, I started speaking .. and then it was like miracle. Everything was like dream, I was speaking proper English smoothly without hesitating and when I was done, all I was listening is the sound of appreciation in the form of applauds.

So, don't stop learning, believe in yourself and don't care what others think.

Note: "Fear and Frustration are the two things that can make you succeed in life".

| improve this answer | |
  • @MithleshUpadhyay Ur Welcome !! – Rahul Kharya Jul 2 '16 at 11:48
1

The most important things have been mentioned by other users. However, as a learner and as a person who has the same problem, and as a person who speaks fluently a local language besides Persian, and who knows a little Arabic language. I want to share my experience about Languages.

First of all, there is no magical way. In this universe great results are achieved through hard working and, hard working requires love and determination! I think the most important thing is to keep the pot boiling. I mean in order to reach to the mastery of English, a great and persistent effort is needed. Can you imagine an ordinary person playing the most complicated piece of music with his or her violin after a very cursory exercises? Can you imagine an ordinary person wining the Olympic medal?

There is also one thing left: learn a skill gradually from easy to hard. I believe that the first step is very important, your knowledge must be solid and concrete no matter how elementary is your level. The important thing is how much you are certain about your knowledge. For example, I know how to say "was machen sie?" in German, but I cant say "I don't like what are you doing". Are you asking why? It is obvious: since I do not have the elementary knowledge, which includes elementary grammar, punctuation, ... .

Finally, I can say that boost your writing, reading, and listening at the same time and does not stick only to one of them. This can make you more familiar with the new world and force you review your knowledge more often.

I think a long term solution is the best approach by which one can reach the acme of any field. If we are resolute, we can learn many things in this world by being loyal to our goal and through hard work.

| improve this answer | |
1

My mother tongue is Telugu. I just watch Hollywood movies. Doing so it is possible to understand their accent. Listening is main thing, so by listening it is easier to know how to talk or speak. Read novels , it may increase our vocabulary. Another best way to increase your vocabulary is to read newspapers.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.