Speaking crisp and clear English is a significant part of learning the English language. It not only enhances the scope of communication but also augments the possibility of getting a good job. Today, most employers look for manpower with intermediate to expert English skills – both oral and written. But as English is considered to be the most widely used language for formal communications, more emphasis is placed upon spoken English skills than writing skills. This implies that it is imperative to develop and master speaking English, so that it goes a long way in shaping your career.
There are many aspects that need consideration when we talk about spoken English. Attaining fluency, developing vocabulary and learning the correct pronunciation/diction are some major points that need to be recognised in this regard. The best way to do this is by practicing a number of Spoken English Exercises that are fun and easy to do.
Some of the most common exercises and activities to improve spoken English are summarized below:
Reading – newspapers, books, magazines, dictionary, etc. aloud : Make it a habit to read either a newspaper, magazine or a book of your choice daily. The first part is to ‘read’ and the second part is to ‘read aloud’. While the first part will build the stock of words and knowledge of current affairs, the second part will help to learn and improve the pronunciation of different words. Don’t be shy; you do not, necessarily, have to read in front of anyone. You can try this in front of a mirror and check your diction yourself.
Playing word games that help stretch mouth and tongue muscles : Tongue twisters help to familiarize the tongue with similar and same sounding words and flexes the mouth muscles. Opening the mouth properly while speaking is very important. This adds accent and clarity to speech and prevents words from getting jumbled up inside the mouth. For example:
A twit who tweeted on twitter twice twittered a tweet to a twitterer.
I thought a thought but the thought I thought wasn't the thought I thought I thought.
Listening : Listen to English news channels daily, watch English movies or shows and listen to English songs to acquire correct diction and understand various accents. You will be able to speak well only when you listen well and get the pronunciations right.
Correcting diction by recording your voice : You can record your own voice and listen to your pronunciation. The focus remains mainly on the grammar and the choice of words while speaking. Therefore, to correct your diction and ascertain your weak points in spoken English, you need to listen to your ownself speaking. This will also help in improving the amount of stress and type of tone required to speak different words.
Practicing speaking by talking more : Don’t lose an opportunity to speak in English. Make it a point to speak in English, whenever and wherever possible. Call friends up and interact with them in English. Try to use the new words that you learn from your daily readings. You can also talk to your parents and siblings in English, if possible. This will also help in making thinking in English your second nature; enhance your fluency and confidence to speak in English publicly.
Playing games on public speaking : Public speaking bolsters confidence. Try to play games with your friends that involve giving short speeches on various topics. Participate in class or group presentations to get rid of the fear involved in speaking English in front of a large audience. You can initially practice speaking in front of a mirror in your room. This will help you to notice your body language, voice tone and facial expressions, and in turn will prepare you to speak fluently in public.
Listening to English songs and read the lyrics aloud : Listening to English songs can be considered a type of accent training. It helps in understanding varied accents. You can use sub titles in the beginning. Once you memorize the lyrics, you can read them aloud on your own. This will help in bettering pronunciation.
Playing word games : Word games like Scrabble introduce new words and hence increase the vocabulary. Games on identifying Idioms and Proverbs can also be played to learn and familiarise oneself with them. This will help you in learning a variety of expressions and describing different situations, while you speak. The more knowledge of words you have, the better it is for you while speaking.