Improve your English speaking skills | Sunday Observer

Improve your English speaking skills

English is the leading global language in the world. Therefore it has become necessary for each one of us to be able to communicate in English with confidence. This is a challenge for a country like

Sri Lanka, where English is not our first language.

To overcome this there are a number of things you can do on your own to improve your English speaking skills.

  •  Constantly practise - even if it means talking to yourself. Alternatively you can find a friend who also wants to improve his/her English speaking skills and practise.
  •  Push yourself to think first and foremost in English. Stop thinking in one language and then translating it to English, and thereafter speak in English. It’s too stressful for the brain.
  •  Be disciplined and stick to English only. Do not mix it with another language. (e.g.– Singlish should be avoided)
  •  Watch as many English movies as possible without subtitles. If you miss anything rewind and watch/listen to it again.

This would help improve your listening skills as well.

  • Read. It is an old school method but possibly the most effective.
  •  Listen to English music. Ideally start with love songs. Gross I know, but it is easier for you to identify the words in a love song, as the tune is generally slow.
  • Do not be afraid to speak. Language speaking is mostly psychological than knowledge based.

It doesn’t matter if you have a PhD in linguistics, if you’re afraid to speak, you won’t be able to speak English effectively.

Therefore, please just speak. It won’t hurt you.

  •  Speak slowly, but do not use fillers (e.g.– ‘uh’, ‘um’)
  •  Find for yourself a language related hobby - writing poetry, reciting prose/poetry, writing articles, or singing English songs.
  •  Pace yourself when you speak on the phone. Rushing through your words may make you sound rude or disinterested. Remember communication is a two way street. Just because you have spoken doesn’t mean that you have achieved your objective of communication. Your listener must understand you.
  •  Ask for help from those who you feel are advance speakers. Speak with one of them for at least 15 minutes a day if possible.
  •  If you make a mistake, please do not be embarrassed or harsh on yourself. Negative emotions can take you several steps back.
  • Give yourself time, there isn’t a quick fix. You will make mistakes and you will learn.
  •  Try and learn a new word every day. See how you can apply that new word in conversation.
  • Measure your progress. Check with yourself and see how you feel about speaking English – First day, second day, third day… and so on. You will have good days and bad days.

There may not be a straightforward chronological development. But there will be development nonetheless.