Let’s be honest. You cannot claim to be fluent in English if you are not a fluent English speaker. Even if you have memorized the English dictionary, it will not matter if you cannot communicate in English. With that being said, we understand that speaking in English for non-native speakers can be intimidating.
Conversational English, especially, is challenging. In addition to the other ways English is confusing when you want to speak like native English speakers, it means you must be familiar with slang, contractions, and cultural idioms.
So, how do you move from the textbook and the computer screen grammar practice to actually speaking English? To put it simply – you speak it! To become a fluent English speaker, you must make every effort to speak English daily and often.
However, many foreign language students find themselves struggling to find opportunities to practice speaking English. That’s where we come in. Below, you will find 15 ways to practice speaking English, especially if you take an English class in DC.
1. Talk to Yourself
First things first, you are going to need to get used to talking to yourself. No, this will not make you crazy! In fact, you will probably find you feel more comfortable trying out new English words and phrases alone before you try them out in conversation with someone else. When you find yourself alone in your home or dorm, talk aloud about what you are doing, such as describing the meal you are cooking.
2. Listen to Yourself
If you do not have anyone to practice English conversations, look for English language apps that have a recording tool. Use the recorder to record yourself speaking English and then listen to it. Do you sound like the English speaker you are repeating? Take note of what sounds and words you are struggling with and practice speaking them aloud into the recorder.
3. Watch Yourself Talk
Another unique way to practice speaking and build your confidence is to use a mirror. Yes – it sounds strange. But, by looking at yourself speak in the mirror, you will be able to see how your mouth moves and forms words, as well as your body language.
4. Join a Language Exchange Program
Another unique way to practice speaking English is to join a language exchange program, such as Tandem. Tandem pairs users with native speakers. Through the Tandem app, you will have the opportunity to have conversations in English with a native speaker using video chat.
5. Read Along with Subtitles
Whenever possible, you should use subtitles. While subtitles also help you learn how to read in English, you can also use the subtitles to practice reading aloud. When you read aloud, you are speaking.
6. Imitate What You Hear on TV
Find some television shows or movies that you enjoy watching. After watching, imitate the way the characters speak English. As you will come to learn, the tone affects the meaning in English conversation. By paying attention to the character’s tone and body language, you will have a better understanding of how to communicate in real life.
7. Use Video Messaging to Practice Speaking
If you have friends or family members who speak English and live abroad, you should take advantage of the many video messaging tools, such as Skype and Facetime, to practice speaking. In situations with friends and family, you will need to explain that you want to speak in English because they may assume you feel more comfortable speaking your native language.
8. Speak in English to a Virtual Assistant
Set up any virtual assistant tools you use (such as Siri, Google, or Amazon Alexa) to speak in English. Not only will the virtual assistant speak in English, but you must also speak English to get a response. Additionally, this is a great way to improve enunciation.
9. Order Food in English
Whenever you have go out to eat, order your food in English. This actually applies to anytime you are speaking with a customer service representative. When you are out in public, make an effort to speak to your waiters or store clerks in English.
10. Narrate Your Day
Whether alone or with a speaking partner, spend time each day narrating your day aloud. By speaking about your day, you will build up your conversational English skills, as two common English questions are “How was your day?” and “What did you do today?”
11. Make Commentaries in English
For those that are passionate about sports, use English to commentate sports games. Listen to English sports announcers and then mimic them. In addition to sports, you can also commentate video games in English and share them online.
12. Use a Messaging App
Another unique way to practice speaking in English is to download and use Whatsapp. Whatsapp is a messaging tool used by more than 1 billion people all over the world. In addition to using the app for video messaging and English conversations, the app is also a great way to connect with other English learners to practice.
13. Sing in English
Look for musicians and bands that sing in English that you enjoy. As you become familiar with their songs, sing them aloud! You can start with karaoke that allows you to read the lyrics while singing along. Singing is a great way to build your vocabulary and learn how to pronounce words.
14. Try Tongue Twisters
Brave souls should try to master popular English tongue twisters. These are funny one-sentence poems that involve rhyming and alliteration. Their similar sounds make them difficult to speak, so it is a fun challenge for English learners.
15. Take English Classes in an English-Speaking Country
Of course, the best way to practice speaking English is to take English classes abroad for a truly immersive experience. For example, students who enroll in English course Washington DC will have daily opportunities to speak English. In addition to speaking English to those they must interact with this metropolitan city, they will also speak English with teachers and students at one of the language schools in DC. At the Washington language institute, inlingua, students will spend most of their time in class speaking English.