I want to learn English speaking

...is what my student said to me. I know this is a dream for many EFL or ESL students so I thought about how to help my student without discouraging her enthusiasm. Speaking any foreign language can be difficult and can take a long time to become really good, but there are some simple rules you can follow to become good at learning to speak English.

Speaking English Rule 1: Don't worry too much about grammar

This is may be the most important rule. It sounds a little strange to some EFL or ESL students, but the truth is that to learn to speak English you don’t really need a lot of grammar. It’s different if you need to pass an English proficiency exam, you will need to understand English grammar. If your goal is to learn how to speak English, then try to learn speaking in English without worrying about grammar too much.
Worrying about English grammar when you try to speak English will slow your progress and often confuse you. Instead of thinking about speaking you think about grammar rules when you want to speak instead of saying a sentence naturally like a native. It is a fact that only a small percentage of English speakers actually know 20% or more of rules for English grammar. Often many English language students know more about English grammar than native English speakers.

Speaking English Rule 2: Learn and use phrases

Normally, English students learn lots of vocabulary words and try to construct a proper sentence using them. This is a difficult way to try and speak English. Children learn their first language by simply listening and repeating words and phrases and learning to use them in context. They don’t understand grammar rules or how to construct a grammatically correct sentence. It is important to learn to use phrases just as native English speakers do.

You can know 1,000 words and still not be able to construct a correct sentence. But if you know 100 phrases it is amazing how many sentences you can make just like a native English speaker. If you learn 1,000 phrases in English you will be making good progress to becoming fluent in English speaking.

Learning phrases avoids the need to translate from your mother tongue. Most of the time it doesn’t work very well because the word order is completely different or the phrase is not a literal translation.

Speaking English Rule 3: Practice speaking English as much as you can!

Reading English, listening to English, and speaking English are the three most important skills to learn. Writing in English will not make you a fluent English speaker. Normally children learn to listen and speak, then read and write. That is the natural order of learning most languages.

One of the main reasons why English language students practice listening, reading and writing more than speaking is because - it’s easier. Students think they need to have another person to speak with – to have a conversation. That is one option, but you can practice speaking English on your own. You can read out loud and practice saying the words. You can talk to yourself in a mirror and even record yourself and then listen to yourself speaking in English. Here are some other great ways to practice speaking with other people:
  • - Find a speaking partner on Skype or similar community
  • - Interview your friends in English and make a video
  • - Watch videos on YouTube and repeat phrases you hear
  • - have some fun using the voice search function on Google

Speaking English Rule 4: Immersion

You don‘t need to be intelligent to learn a foreign language. You need to have lots of exposure and do lots of practice. Anyone can do it. If you can learn your own language then you can learn another language too! There are many English students who speak English better than others who have studied abroad in expensive schools. How is that possible? The more you practice and the more immersed you become in a language the easier it becomes to become fluent in it. You need to surround yourself with English. Listen to English music, read in English, practice speaking in English as much as you can. Look for opportunities and other students to practice with. You will be surprised how easy it is when you really try.

It is a myth that you need to go and live in an English speaking country to become fluent in English. Yes, it helps and some people learn all their English when they move to an English speaking country. But it’s not essential. You can become fluent in English with lots of practice without leaving your own country.

Speaking English Rule 5: Copy good examples

The internet is everywhere. There has never been more material available for learning English. The best news is that a lot of it online is free. There are dictionaries, grammar sites, vocabulary learning apps, videos and songs, documentaries and movies. There is literally something for everyone – not important what your level of English is. You can find examples of words, phrases and native English speakers online. Copy what they say, learn how they say it, listen to their pronunciation and copy them. Practice and practice and you will become fluent in speaking English also.