10 ways to independently improve your spoken English

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So you are independently studying English?  

How can you practice speaking English without anyone to help you?

Although having some to chat and practice the language with will really accelerate English, sometimes this isn’t an option especially in the early stages of language learning or what if you simply don’t have the confidence to practice with a native speaker?

You can still improve your spoken English, even without a speaking partner.

Here are 10 ways to independently improve your spoken English…

1. Focus on fluency, not grammar perfection 

Challenge yourself to speak without taking any pauses between your words – other than to breath! This will mean that your sentences won’t be grammatically perfect but that’s okay! Even native speakers can get lazy with their grammar! Try not to focus on perfectionism as this can get in the way of speaking. Focus instead on fluency and pronunciation and you’ll be better understood. You  Grammar and word rules can be corrected as you use the language.

2. Pay attention to the stressed sounds

Although English is not a tonal language, such as Chinese Mandarin it does use stresses in words and sentences. That means you’ll need to stress or emphasize, certain words and sounds (syllables) to give words and sentences different meanings. When watching English movies and shows focus on where native speakers place the emphasis as they speak. Try to repeat it the same way. This won’t only help to improve your speech, but will also reduce any misunderstandings.

3. Learn whole phrases, not individual words

Learn whole phrases and common sayings to enable you to learn English quickly. You might be using correct grammar and vocabulary, but it’s still not how a native speaker would say it. For example, you can say “how do you feel today?” but a native speaker might say “how you doing?” or “what’s up?” instead. Learning phrases can be a really helpful way of sounding more natural when you speak. Take some time to really notice how you speak in your native language. Learn how to say your most commonly used phrases and words in English.

4. Think in English

Think in English rather than your native language. If you think in your native language and then try speaking English you’ll have to translate between the two constantly. I know of people who now think in English so much that sometimes they forget words in their own native language!

When you think in English, it’s easier for you to speak in English! 

Thinking in English is something you can do this anywhere, anytime. Try to use English when you’re thinking about your day, or when you’re trying to decide what food to order. When you start thinking in English then you might even start to dream in the language too!

5. Talk to yourself (and maybe even answer back) 

Whenever you’re at home practice your English out loud! If you’re already thinking in English, then try speaking your thoughts. Read in English out loud, too. Remember practice makes permanent!  Speaking out loud will help you to feel more comfortable speaking English.

6. Listen and repeat

Do you watch TV shows, Listen to Podcasts or YouTube videos in English? Actively use them to improve your fluency. Try to match the tone, speed and even the accent (if you can). It doesn’t matter if you miss a few words, the important thing is to keep talking. Speechling is a great way to practice listening and repeating. The more you listen to this authentic English, the better you will understand how to speak English naturally.

7. Sing along to English songs

Singing along to your favorite English songs will help you become more fluent.

8. Tell a story from your language in English

Choose a story you know really well and record yourself retelling it in English.
Remember to think in English as you’re telling your story. Focus on speaking fluently instead of correctly. Even if you have nobody to talk to in English, you can still build confidence and master fluency on your own time.

9. Set your social media accounts to English  

Once you feel comfortable to do so set your social media accounts and mobile phone in English.

10. Relax!

English is a hard language to learn and even native English speakers make errors – including me. Try not to worry about how you sound when you speak, simply relax and start to flow into English. If you get stuck or feel confused, just take a big breath and start over. If you do have a strong accent remember this means you can speak more than one language and this is something to be proud of. Practicing speaking independently first helps to build confidence, but at some point, you will have to speak to others. Afterall we speak languages for social reasons

If you liked this post please share it with you English learning friends and let me know in the comments section how you get on.

Learning English, but hit the intermediate plateau? Book a teaching session with Trisha on Class Gap.


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1 comments on “10 ways to independently improve your spoken English”

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