13 September, 2019
The English language consists of many elements. Elements such as reading, writing, spelling, and grammar. But, the one element most students struggles with is improving conversational English. But, it is not as difficult to improve as many people would think.
Here follow some ways you can use to improve conversational English skills.
We all grew up with our parents telling us that watching too much TV is not good for you. Yes, this is true. But improving conversational English skills is the topic in question here. Not listing to Mom and Dad!
When listening to the radio, you are only listening. There are no images. You need to sketch an image in your imagination. When watching TV, you are engaging with a visual and audio aid that lets your brain make more sense of what is going on.
Let’s put it another way. If you listen to a [random language] radio show, you might learn some new words. If you watch a [random langauge] TV show, more senses get informative input. The information is available to you by looking and listening to the TV. Hence, it easier to understand and you can start identifying key vocabulary words.
A classic example of this is the first televised, presidential debate between JFK and Nixon. Read more about it here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/videos/category/history/how-jfks-clever-tv-strategies-helped-him-wi/
When it comes to improving conversational English skills, nothing is as damaging as subtitles. With a foreign language film, we are never certain what the person in a film is saying. Thus, we want to know what they are talking about and we all use a shortcut - i.e. subtitles. This, of course, is not good for learning a new language. You would rather revert to your native language than concentrate on a new one.
So, switch off those subtitles and watch the film without it. I know it's tough, but it's a great way to learn English. At the end of the movie, go online and read what the film is about in your native language. You'll be amazed see how close you came to understand everything.
Although reading can be studied like science, there is quite a skill in reading like a native English speaker. Yes, you might be able to read English fast in your head. But speaking English in your head and speaking it to others is quite different.
To combat this, read out loud and record yourself. You might be embarrassed at first, but it is not as if anyone is going to listen to it. Then listen to yourself afterwards. You can use the recording to judge how well you read and pronounce words. And nobody has to know...
No matter what language you speak, there will always be different accents. Many consider the British and American accents to be the best. But did you know that there are many different types of British or American accents? We're most familiar with Hollywood accents.
Another method to improving conversational English skills, is by copying accents. It’s a lot of fun and it makes conversations with friends a lot of fun. The benefit to this is that you are engaging with English in a fun way. And you are also getting a better understanding of English speaking/Western culture.
These are some suggestions on improving conversational English. Please click here to see part 2!