- Hello everyone, and welcome back to English with Lucy.
Today I have a spoken English class for you.
I have got eight tips that will help you
to master spoken English.
If you apply these tips to your everyday life,
you will really notice a difference,
and you will become more confident
and more comfortable speaking English.
My first tip is to get to know the parts
of your body that you use while speaking English.
This might sound a little odd, but trust me on this one.
If you don't understand which parts of
your face, tongue, and throat are used
when speaking English, then how will you ever
be able to correct your pronunciation mistakes?
Watch yourself in the mirror while speaking English
is a common tip that many teachers give.
However, I think you should go one step further than this.
You absolutely need to analyse what your
lips, tongue, throat, face in general is doing
when you speak English.
You need to find a close-up video, a zoomed in video
of a native speaker or a speaker that you admire
speaking in English.
You then need to record yourself up close,
preferably at the same distance speaking the same sentence.
Analyse the way your lips move in comparison to their lips.
Analyse how far they stick their tongue out
or maybe they push it right back in their mouth.
What are you doing with your tongue?
This started a big learning curve for me
when I was learning Spanish.
I started to really analyse Spanish speakers tongues,
they might have found this quite weird
when I was watching them speak,
looking at their tongue instead of their eyes,
but I realised that when, in English,
we say "duh" with the tongue inside of our mouths.
"Duh, duh" is quite a delicate sound.
The Spanish speakers in the area I was living in
would stick their tongue out a little bit more.
"Deh, deh" like that.
By listening alone, I would never have realised that.
But by watching and analysing, I managed to transform
my pronunciation, and you can do the same with English.
You should also analyse the voice quality,
how much voice do we allow to escape through our throats?
Compare it to yours as well.
If you are serious about improving your pronunciation
and your spoken English, then you do need
to be very critical about what you are speaking at present
and work towards correcting it.
Tip number two is to combine reading and listening,
thus improving your pronunciation.
Perhaps you will know by now that
a way a word is written in English
normally gives very little indication
as to how that word is pronounced in English.
In many languages across the world,
the way a word is written tells you and shows you
exactly how that word should be spoken.
This is not the case in English,
and it's part of the reason why
English pronunciation and English speaking
is so difficult for learners.
I have found a really good method that has
helped so many of my students.
Take a book that you have already read in English
or a book that you would like to read in English,
I have got a fair few recommendations
in the description box down below.
And read that book again, but here's the important part:
whilst listening to the audio book version on Audible.
If you listen to a word as you read it,
your brain will start making connections.
And the next time you hear that word,
you will know how it's spelled,
and the next time you read that word,
you'll know how it's pronounced.
It's such an effective method,
and the best part is you can get a free
audio book that's a 30 day free trial on Audible.
All you've got to do is click on the link
in the description box and sign up.
Then you can download one of my recommendations.
Give it a try, it really works.
Tip number three is another reading one,
but it's practise speed reading.
This isn't such a common technique,
but I think it should be.
It's a really good way of improving your
fluency, so how fluently you speak English,
your velocity, so that's how quickly you speak English,
and also it will help with your connected speech;
how you join one word to another,
or one sound to another in English.
You need to find a text that you'd like to read.
This text can accommodate your level.
Honestly I recommend using reputable news sources
and news websites.
If you want to practise your informal speech,
then you could find a blogger you like
who writes as if they're chatting to a friend.
Read the text aloud, and time yourself as you're reading it.
Then read that text aloud again,
and try to beat your previous time.
You can repeat this as many times as you want,
but I find after four times, four, after four times,
I'm getting pretty bored of the text.
This will help you to familiarise yourself
with the common sounds in English.
A step further would be to record yourself
and to send it to your language instructor,
or to use it as a topic in your next language lesson.
Tip number four is a tip that has been massively
important for me as a native speaker,
so I can only imagine how important it could be for you.
It is to prepare your monologues and stories
that you are likely to repeat in advance.
I'm talking funny stories you want to tell
at a dinner party, I'm talking about your elevator pitch,
I'm talking about your answer to
what do you do for a living, or where do you come from?
These common questions that you get asked
again and again and again.
Prepare your answer, have them up your sleeve.
That's the way we say to have something prepared,
to have it up your sleeve.
If you're an advanced speaker and you're more worried
about keeping people interested or making people laugh,
then prepare your funny and interesting stories.
I first thought about this when I was dating.
This was a long time ago,
and I remember that I would get stuck,
and I wouldn't know what to talk about,
so I always felt good and confident
if I went into a dating situation with my best stories,
and my most interesting things to say up my sleeve.
It was funny because when I met my husband-to-be,
I had all these stories and interesting things to say
up my sleeve, and it all went out the window.
Conversation just flowed without any effort,
but I understand that speaking English,
speaking a second language can be very nerve-wracking,
it's just like dating in my opinion.
And you do want to have these things prepared.
Tip number five is focus on pronunciation over grammar.
Now there will be some teachers out there watching this
and thinking, oh my god, what?
This is honestly my opinion.
I think that bad grammar habits
are much easier to correct than bad pronunciation habits.
I would say that it's much easier to understand
somebody speaking with great pronunciation, but bad grammar,
than hearing someone speak with perfect grammar
but terrible pronunciation.
I've met so many students that know
every single grammar rule;
they even sometimes can correct me,
but their pronunciation, they just,
they got to a certain level and then
they found it very, very difficult to improve.
They are able to improve with specific help,
professional help, but it could've been so much easier.
But from a very, very young age,
they were taught bad pronunciation,
or they weren't corrected on their pronunciation.
The focus was only on grammar,
and that focus needs to switch.
I'm not talking about having a perfect accent.
You don't need a perfect accent.
You just need to be clear and understandable when you speak.
It will make you feel more confident.
When people move to an English speaking country,
they are most likely embarrassed of their
pronunciation than they are their grammar.
Bad grammar can make it not so easy to understand
someone, but bad pronunciation can make it impossible
to understand someone.
So big tip: focus on pronunciation.
Tip number six is to try and think in English.
I have made an entire video about this topic,
but it's such a big topic.
Some people find it very easy to think in English,
and some people find it near impossible to think in English.
If you want to be able to speak English fluently
without even thinking, then you need to
train yourself to think in English.
A good way to start doing this is to have
a little English narrator in your head.
Choose someone's voice that you like.
I know a lot of people use Emma Watson's voice;
they have her speaking in her head.
This is normally females.
But for a couple of hours a day,
or even couple of minutes a day,
have your little chosen person, Emma Watson
or whoever it is, narrate in your head
everything you're doing.
I am washing the dishes, I am picking up the spoon,
I am putting it on the table,
oh no, I don't like that, what have I done?
Just chat to yourself as you would in your own language,
but in English.
Something weird might happen after a while.
You might automatically start thinking in English,
and you might even start dreaming in English.
They say that you are really, really becoming fluent
if you start dreaming in a second language.
And a very weird thing can happen.
You can start dreaming about your friends and family
that don't speak your second language
speaking in your second language.
I've had my parents telling me to do stuff in Spanish,
and I've just woken up very, very confused.
Another point, still related to the topic
of thinking in English is to be
constantly on the search for new words,
new phrases, a new vocabulary.
Keep a note app on your phone or a physical vocab book,
and when you are idle, or not doing something,
for example commuting to work, or at work,
look around, think what don't I know in English?
And if you see something, for example,
lamp post, curtain, then note it down,
and make a point that at the end of the day,
finding out what that word is in English.
Number seven, this tip is very helpful
because I know a lot of you just want to learn
one specific accent.
Well this tip is speak with a variety
of native speakers who all have different accents.
It's so tempting to just focus on one accent,
but you will be doing yourself a disservice.
The wider the variety of people that you speak with,
the more flexible your brain will be
when it comes to understanding speech.
A great example is my poor mother.
She struggles so badly when it comes
to understanding different accents.
It's funny and it can also be insulting
to the speaker sometimes.
But I'm talking Scottish accents, Irish accents,
Spanish people speaking English.
She is surrounded by mainly English people,
she speaks with people who all speak
the same accent, and she really, really struggles.
I, however, have been to many different countries,
and I've had students from all over the world,
I've lived in different locations,
and I find it very easy to understand different accents.
We've got the same genetics,
we've had the same upbringing to a certain point,
but because I listen to speakers
with lots of different accents,
I am able to understand, and she isn't.
Thank you Mom for letting me use you as an example.
She does find it funny.
She really struggles.
But it might happen to you as well.
If you just focus on a clear, (mumbles) accent,
then you will struggle to understand a Glaswegian accent,
or an Australian accent, or an accent from
the deep south of America.
Many of you will be thinking,
great, I would love to speak to loads of native people,
but I don't know how to speak to them.
Well, I have a couple of suggestions.
Number one is of course attend English classes,
group English classes.
Number two is attend expat meet-ups.
Expats are people who have left their home country
to live in another country.
A lot of them will have meet-ups because they want
to speak with other people that speak their language,
and have a taste of their own culture, their home culture.
Well, you can also try going to those
and seeing if you can mix with them
and speak their own language with them.
You will find a wide variety of accents
'cause they normally come from all over the world.
You can also use Italki's language partner feature.
I've spoken about this quite a lot.
This is a free feature where you can find
a language partner to practise with.
If you speak a language that the partner wants to learn,
and the partner speaks a language that you want to learn,
you can do a tandem, I think it's called in some countries,
a language exchange.
I've left a link to that in the description box.
Some people find it quite hard to find native speakers
that want to speak their language,
especially if you come from a country where
everyone wants to learn English,
but it isn't as popular for English speakers
to learn your language.
You could perhaps consider paying for
a private language tutor.
Italki's prices are really, really good per hour.
Yeah, they're very, very affordable.
I would recommend; I've used them myself.
And number eight, if you cannot find native speakers
with whom to practise, then just find like-minded people.
A really great resource is Facebook.
I never thought I'd be recommending Facebook,
but honestly Facebook groups are fantastic
for finding like-minded people,
and for helping each other out.
If you have a question about English,
if you want someone to analyse the way you speak,
there will probably be someone on a Facebook group
that will be willing to help you.
I'm on lots of Facebook groups for many different reasons;
Facebook groups for wedding planning,
Facebook groups for being a farmer's wife,
lots of them, and there are so many helpful people.
I'm a member of some English groups as well.
I'm not gonna tell you which.
But I will often respond to people's questions anonymously.
There are also some good forums on websites like Reddit
and places like that.
Right, that is the end of my lesson.
Those are the eight tips for spoken English.
Don't forget to check out Audible;
the link is in the description box
so you can click that and claim your free audiobook.
And don't forget to connect with me
on all of my social media.
I've got my Facebook, my Instagram, and my Twitter.
And I shall see you soon for another lesson.
I'm only one minute from finishing, I'll see you in a sec.
Oh, could you just hang out the duvet?
The duvet's in the wash, would you mind just hanging it up?