Think before you speak!!! You can train yourself for the interaction you face and the communication you have. Translating is inevitable but before literally translating word for word, think about the whole sentence; think about the differences between English and your native language. If you pay attention to the differences, accept that languages work differently, and actively work on creating mental notes, you will refer to native language ‘equivalents’ instead of literal translations.
E.g. In Spanish, Catalan and many other languages you can say:
‘cada día voy a currar’ or ‘está tarde voy a currar’ The verb tense is the same for habitual or temporary events.
BUT IN ENGLISH – Specific time is different to the habitual/factual
‘every day I go to work’ but ‘this afternoon I’m going to work’
Remember those Auxiliary and modal verbs!
Tips and recomendations to Improve your speaking skills
- At home, on the train or in the car, you can actively think about language in context. Let your brain wonder in English, try and think in English about whatever comes to your mental voice.
- SING!! Even if you make it rain! Singing is the next best thing to speaking because you are producing language! Go on YouTube, find your favourite songs ‘with lyrics’, sing along, learn from the greats!! Sing when you are in the car and have the radio on; nobody can hear you!
- Replay situations and consciously think about how the conversation/presentation/etc went and what you would say differently next time in the same situation.
- Think about when you actually have contact with English. What for? Work? Social contact? What language norms are used in those contexts? Think about what you tenses you use, what vocabulary you need, who you are speaking to; a boss or a friend? All these things will help you to react quicker and feel more confident.
- Learn the English phonemic chart. Practice moving your lips, tongue and cheeks. Become familiar with where English sounds are produced in the mouth.
- Learn aspects of connected speech: /wodjumeen?/ – what do you mean?
- Have a conversation with yourself or with your dog. In a restaurant, on holiday, in a meeting (real contexts with you playing both parts will show you exactly what language items you are missing or need to work on).
- Speak in English for 5 minutes to co-workers everyday about the same topic (e.g. what did you do on the weekend, what are you doing this weekend etc. to practice different tenses)
- Record yourself speaking. This is extremely useful because you can improve pronunciation focusing on word and sentence stress and intonation patterns.
- Listen to native English in small chunks and try to reproduce the exact utterances imitating sound patterns (Even if you can’t understand what they are saying!!)
- Have a look at these different sites for more ideas;
Phonemic chart alternative to the one above:
Linguistic lectures and slides:
Una Familia Online: Ideas, sugerencias y fuente de inspiración para familias activas.
Aprende ingles por tu cuenta– Improve your listening skills
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