Learning English is different from mastering the language. Many students who’ve taken formal language classes have already mastered the finer points of English grammar. But when engaging in conversations with native speakers, some find themselves struggling to find the right words.

One of the best ways to achieve native-level fluency in English is through listening and speaking the language. Immersing yourself in real-life English conversations lets you put into practice the lessons you’ve learned in your language classes. Plus, you get to learn the unwritten rules of English, such as the proper usage of different phrasal verbs.

ESL Tutoring Services shares five practical tips to improve your English-speaking skills.

  1. Improve your pronunciation

Practicing your pronunciation ensures that you’re enunciating your words correctly, thereby preventing miscommunication and misinterpretation.

Proper pronunciation also helps when you’re talking to native speakers. Native English speakers often find it difficult to understand when people mispronounce words, which impedes the conversation. When you observe proper pronunciation, the conversation will flow smoothly, ensuring a continuous exchange of ideas.

To improve your pronunciation, pay attention to how your mouth, lips, and tongue move when you’re saying words. The placement of these three body parts as you speak determines how you pronounce words.

You can watch pronunciation videos where the host exaggerates the movement of their mouth. Mimic the way they move their mouth and watch yourself in the mirror to check if you’re doing it right.

  1. Limit your use of verbal fillers

Verbal fillers distract your audience from what you’re trying to say. They can also hinder comprehension. When your speech is filled with “um,” “ah,” and other fillers, listeners might lose track of what you’re trying to tell them.

However, linguists say that you can’t entirely avoid filler words when speaking. The only thing you can do is lessen your verbal fillers and use them more strategically in your speech.

In casual conversations, “ums” and “ahs” are acceptable. But when speaking to a crowd, you can plan the pauses in your speech. These pauses give you time to catch your breath and organize your thoughts before diving into the next part of your speech, which can reduce your verbal fillers.

  1. Learn the natural flow of English

The English language has a natural flow. Following this rhythm will get you from saying only words and phrases to speaking in full sentences. It will also help you move fluidly from one word to the next, improving your overall diction.

Whenever you’re talking to a native speaker, listening to an audiobook, or watching a show, pay attention to how the speaker links words together. One popular example of linking is the phrase “I want to.” When Australian speakers link these words together, they typically say the phrase as “I wanna.”

Another indication of the natural flow of English is the stress on words and sounds. Some syllables and letters are pronounced more strongly than others. Take the word “environment” for example. The stress here is on the second syllable “vi,” so you pronounce the word as “en-VI-ron-ment.”

There are rules for where the stress goes in each word. You can memorize them if you want, but the best way to learn the natural flow of English is bynoting the stresses when talking with native speakers.

  1. Do the speech shadowing technique

To assist with improving your English speaking skills we recommend the use of speech shadowing, which is essentially a ‘repeat-after-me’ language learning technique. You’ll listen to a native speaker and repeat what they’re saying immediately after they say it. This technique improves your pronunciation, helping you achieve native-level fluency in spoken English.

There are plenty of videos and audiobooks that teach language through speech shadowing. But most of these focus on basic grammar and vocabulary. If you want more complicated material, you can speech shadow movies and TV shows, as well as TED talks.

The key to implementing speech shadowing is to imitate the narrator per sentence. Make sure to repeat their speech pattern as best as you can. You can turn on the subtitles so you can follow along the sentences more closely. It’s a good idea to record yourself while practicing so you can compare your speech with the original.

  1. Find an English-speaking conversation partner

Finally, look for a partner who can practice speaking English with you, preferably a native speaker. If you live around English speakers, you can engage them in conversations daily. It doesn’t matter what you talk about, as long as you can practice your grammar, vocabulary, and diction.

Your speaking partner can help correct any mistakes, plus you will have the opportunity to learn new phrases and terminology that native speakers use often, therefore giving you the opportunity to use these in your day-to-day speech.

If you don’t know anyone who you can practice your English speaking skills with, you can hire a private tutor. There are many local and online tutors who’ll help you refine your grammar and pronunciation.


Achieve Native-Level Fluency with ESL Tutoring

ESL Tutoring Services is Australia’s premier English tutoring service.We help you achieve your desired fluency level through programs designed around learning needs and preferences.

We offer a range of English tutoring programs, from general English to corporate and business English.

ESL Tutoring offers English tutoring services in the following cities, as well as online:

Contact us to start planning your English skills development path. You can also email us on info@esltutoringservices.com or call 1300 137 186.


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