We know what it’s like speaking in a foreign language. You can have good days where you think you can be bilingual, and bad days when you want to crawl into a hole and never leave. Some students feel frustrated because they spend a lot of time working on their English and then ‘go blank’ in real life. Sometimes, you can’t think of the words you wish to use, which in turn affects your fluency.
Being fluent is the means to speak smoothly without stopping or hesitating. Fluency means to have the knowledge of the language and to actually be able to use that knowledge when speaking. Your brain needs to find the words and give them to you and then send them to your mouth.
Getting fluent is like learning to make good coffee. You need a lot of help. You’ll make a lot of mistakes and not everyone is an expert barista. But when you make it, it’s amazing. You have to get out there, speak English, talk to people and have regular conversations. Listening to things improves your listening. Reading things improves your reading and so of course speaking to people improves your speaking. Being shy or not doing it because it’s difficult or scary isn’t an excuse. We don’t ‘do’ excuses, we ‘do’ successes at UKCE. So, here are some ways that can help you become more fluent. Give it a try and see your fluency improve by leaps and bounds.
- Make phone calls
Phone calls are devoid of facial expressions and gestures that we use to make ourselves better understood. They are a great way to really focus on the fluency aspect of a language. They can feel daunting but that is the best way to train yourself. Speaking is so much easier off the phone that if you get good at doing it on the phone, real life situations become less stressful.
- Join interest groups
The best way to get used to talking fluently is to practise talking about things that interest you with like-minded people. One way is to join interest groups face-to-face or on the internet and meet people there. Do you like salsa? Join your local salsa class and make some friends.
- Online conversation partner
If you live in a foreign country and you know someone who speaks English – guess what – zoom is free! Schedule an hour a week and make sure you stick to it. Talk to them about absolutely everything you can and your fluency will come along in strides.
- Speed reading
This is another easily achieved one. You just read a newspaper article in English online or a great blog post or something like that, and time yourself. That’s it. Then you do the same one again and try to beat that time. That way you can focus on the physical aspect of fluency and not the mental one so much. This helps with your vocabulary and learning typical chunks of language. The more you know, the more your brain will be able to summon that knowledge and use it while speaking.
- Listen and repeat
Listening and repeating along as you watch a film or the news or a video will train your brain as well. This is because it can marry up your listening and speaking skills, and if you pop those subtitles on it’ll make a bridge between those reading neurons and the speaking and listening ones. Oh, the power of science!
So, whichever tips you try to use from this article, even if it’s just one. It should help you in becoming more fluent. The more you practise, the easier it gets. Give it a try and see your fluency improve by leaps and bounds.