Hello! I hope everyone is doing well despite the kind of year we are having. Please, be safe! I pray for good things to come!
Now, on to the article.
If you are reading this, it means you wish to enhance your speaking skills. Pronunciation is crazy, with so many different areas to consider. People will do their best to understand while others do their best to be understood, which takes some of that pressure off. But, you came here to test your skill, right? And you came to this short article to find something that will hopefully help you. I want to help everyone with their dreams. So, please, consider these ideas when practicing your skills.
First, you have to know what you want. Are their certain accents you enjoy more than others? Is there a country or area you wish to move to? One thing that gets checked in these exams is consistency. While this may not be an issue, it does create for a smoother flow in conversations and will help with listening in regards to specific accents. And, as a teacher, you’ll be passing these down to your students as well. Again, if you say “water” like a British speaker but “report” like an American speaker, this won’t be so confusing. This is an exam, however, and one area of grading is consistency. Plus, the more consistency you have, the easier it will be to give advice on what you need to work on.
Second, you have to listen to a lot of speakers speak. Watching videos from any source, listening to podcasts, watching speeches, etc., will all train your ears and give you something to practice. Record and repeat what you hear. Listen back to it. Did the recording match the speaker’s energy and intonation? Were your words clear and easy to understand?
You can also record a diary where you can not only practice grammar and vocabulary but also check pronunciation and intonation that’s coming from you. Did it sound good? Did it match the energy you want to express? You may not be able to catch everything, but you will catch some mistakes. Trust me. It’s also good to just speak from your heart though–without any diary. We cannot prepare for every conversation we will ever have. We cannot prepare for every story we will ever tell. Speak from your heart and record that from time to time. Listen and check. How do you feel about what you listened to?
Of course, this is if you don’t have anyone to speak with. If you have friends who can speak English, speak with them more and more. Ideally, native speakers would be best so they can fix any mistakes you make. Even better, native speakers who are teachers would be the absolute best as it is their job to correct your mistakes. There are many places to find teachers–online or in person–and it’s worth it to take some lessons from them sometimes. Just be sure to state that you want a lot of pronunciation focus in the lessons. Some teachers will focus more on other areas.
In summary, the key is to utilize the internet and media, find anything that you wish to listen to and mimic, and chat with English speakers. Writing and not writing both have their pros and cons when used in speaking practice. Looking up problem sounds that Japanese speakers encounter (R vs L, TH vs S vs SH, etc.) and studying about connected speech (going to → gonna, and →’n’, etc.) will also be great. Finally, simply put, speaking is crucial–whether it’s by yourself or with others. You have to speak. Thinking about lifting weights doesn’t make you stronger. Thinking about what you will cook later doesn’t put it on the table. Thinking about your language ability doesn’t make your words clearer or more natural.
Continue to speak as much as you can.
And, if possible, please talk with native English speakers and take lessons sometimes.
I hope this short article has given you some ideas.
I hope you all reach your dreams and become the speakers you wish to become.