ESL Study Guide

Monday, May 26, 2008

Improving your speaking

Speaking is one ability that language learners often have a hard time improving. Too often they are able to become proficient in one English skill such as grammar and neglect others. This is a very poor thing to do with regards to your overall fluency. If you are unable to meet native English speakers on a regular basis, you should keep certain things in mind.

What helps in your overall speaking ability?

1.) pronunciation
This is incredibly important. Native speakers of languages other than English often have specific sounds that are not present in their first language. It is important to recognize this and know which sounds are typically a problem.

In the case of Korean speakers, it is typically /f/, /v/, /q/ and /ΒΆ/. These sounds are produced as /p/, /b/, /t/ and /d/. The /p/ and /f/ and /b/ and /v/ sounds are also very often confused. English consonants such as /p/ and /b/, /t/ and /d/, /k/ and /g/ are also often mixed up.

2.) intonation
What is the tone of your voice like? Do you talk in a monotone? Are you placing emphasis on the end of a sentence? This is something that signifies a question rather than a sentence.

3.) pacing
Watch how fast your talk. Talking too quickly or too slowly indicates a lack of proficiency and needs to be addressed.

If you feel you are weak in your speaking ability, you can also visit our Live Chat feature and practice with native speakers.

Good luck with your studies,
ESL Study Guide

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