One: Keep it simple
- When you’re speaking English you can, and should, use shorter sentences and words than when you’re writing. Long and complicated words might hardly be used in spoken English and sound weird to your listeners. If you can, replace complicated verbs with phrasal verbs, for example, instead of “resume work” you could say “go back to work”.
Two: Enjoy your mistakes
- Everybody makes mistakes, even proficient English speakers. Be able to laugh at them and learn from them -Like when I used to call squirrels, “unicorns” in German. Enjoy your mistakes and the fear of them won’t drag you down. You can’t speak English naturally if you’re afraid!
Three: Learn about word and sentence stress and intonation
- At worst a mistake in word stress can change the meaning of a word, at best it makes words difficult to understand for a proficient speaker. The same goes for sentence stress. English has its own rhythm that is created by the patterns of stress and unstress. Learn about and follow these rhythms and your English will flow.
- Intonation covers the ups and downs of a language, otherwise known as the melody of a language. English should not be spoken in a monotone, or on one note. Learn to use this melody to add meaning and life to your speech.
Four: Learn how English word sounds combine
- For more advanced learners it’s really helpful to learn what words sound like together when spoken naturally. A beginner learning English might say, “That is it!” an intermediate speaker would say “That’s it” but a proficient English speaker says “That sit!”
Five: Practice, practice, practice
- As with any aspect of English, practice makes progress (not perfect!). How often do you get the chance to speak English? If it’s once a week or less you should really get proactive and find a way to practice. There are meet-up groups all over the place where you can speak English, quiz nights in Irish pubs, English speaking networking groups and much more online and in person
- If you aren’t ready to take your English out in public you can find a tandem partner -half the time they speak your native language and the other half you speak English-, or even sign up for conversation lessons online on such platforms as italki or preply.
How I can help
I can offer you an experienced ear, actually, two, to pick out which areas of pronunciation you need to work on to speak English more naturally. Through individual bespoke English pronunciation lessons I can help you can build up your confidence and fluency and reduce the influence of your mother tongue.
Send me a message or give me a call to find out more