Becoming Fluent in English: How to Improve Speaking and Writing Skills
English is the most prominent language in the world. Perhaps not by the number of native speakers, but quite certainly so when you take into account all the people learning and speaking it as a foreign language. Learning to speak English fluently is, therefore, a very valuable skill to possess.
But learning a language, even one as frequent as English, is a tall order. No wonder, then, that learners of all ages have a lot of questions. They want to learn grammar easily, they primarily want to practice speaking skills, and they want to know how to improve sentence structure. So, let’s begin by answering some of the questions students of Los Angeles language schools often ask.
How can I improve my English speaking skills?
Ah yes, speaking. Virtually every English language learner on the face of the earth wants to learn how to speak English. And understandably so. With English being the lingua franca of the world, knowing how to speak it is no longer a luxury, but a requirement.
Frequent traveling, studying in a foreign country, watching films, listening to music, communicating with people online… All these activities demand knowledge of English language, to greater or to a lesser extent. And speaking English is the most sought-after linguistic commodity of the modern era.
There are two basic ways of improving your speaking skills, and they concern vocabulary and pronunciation. We are going to put grammar aside for now, as, according to the UCLA Department of Linguistics, grammar prowess is needed only for the more advanced levels.
What methods should I employ?
When it comes to methods that can help you improve your speaking skills, there are as many as you can think of. But, not all of them are tried and proven. Now, we’re going to see what some of the best methods for improving speaking skills are.
Speaking: Aaand you’ve guessed it, the no. 1 method for improving speaking skills is speaking. Don’t think we’re pulling your leg. Quite simply, the more you practice, the better you will become.
Reflecting: Once you’ve done speaking, you need to reflect. Otherwise, how can you identify your mistakes and correct them?
Recording: The best way to meaningfully reflect on your conversations is to record them, listen to yourself, and then write down all the mistakes you think you’ve made.
Relaxing: Yes, have fun with it. Don’t make it into a stressful experience. You can’t speak a foreign language when you’re wound tightly, so loosen up and let the words flow.
How often should I employ these methods?
Plainly put - as often as humanly possible. No, really, if you truly want to learn, take every, even the smallest chunk of your free time, and try to learn English. Even if it means talking to yourself, even if it means talking to yourself until you get sick of yourself. Speak on, and as frequently as you can.
And never shy away from repeating. If you think you’ve got it wrong, repeat. If you didn’t like the sound of it, repeat. If you think you can do better, repeat repeat repeat. Practice makes perfect, and, in this case, it’s constant and relentless practice!
How can I speak English fluently step by step?
Learning to speak English and learning to speak English fluently are two different matters entirely. For language learning beginners, fluency is an unattainable dream, a dragon in the cave at the top of the mountain waiting to devour your soul as you try to fell it. But it isn’t so grim, trust us.
While it is true that fluency in any language is difficult to achieve, impossible it is not! There are ways that can help you along the path to becoming a fluent speaker, and we are going to share the best ones with you.
Step 1 - Read out loud: Reading books in English does improve your vocabulary, and it can probably help with grammar too. But, reading aloud is what helps you become a more fluent speaker. How? Well, you’ll be uttering the words you would normally only read, transferring them into your active vocabulary. Which brings us to
Step 2 - Practicing pronunciation: Yes, this one is derived from the previous one. In order to become really fluent, you must be confident in your pronunciation. If you begin to question yourself, if you begin to think about it, gone is the fluency. Which, again, brings us to
Step 3 - Think it first, speak it later - Yes, although not many professionals employ it, making yourself think the sentences in your mind and practice them in this way will make you more fluent. The sentences in your mind will be too difficult to say out loud at first, but as you continue, you’ll see just how it can work wonders for your fluency.
Step 4 - Start small - Don’t go all “I will have been” and “Couldn’t you have” in the beginning. Stick to the more basic of sentences and grammar until you feel that you can utter them without mistakes and pauses, and then build on the strong basis.
How can I improve my written English?
Not all English is spoken English, and knowing only how to speak, neglecting the rules of spelling, punctuation, proper word order and structure can put you in a tight spot when you’re least expecting it.
But trust us, it is easier to improve writing than speaking skills, and for a number of reasons. Let’s see what the biggest problems English learners in Los Angeles are facing when trying to improve their writing skills.
How can I learn to spell correctly?
When it comes to spelling, the bane of existence of many an English learner, the rule is that there are no rules. Yes, there are some, but who has ever learned to spell by learning the rarely-without-exception rules of spelling? Our guess is nobody.
So what can you do? How can you learn how to spell? Is there a way out of that dark tunnel? Or was it single “n”? Anyways, yes, there are ways. And remember, “i” before “e”, except after “c”!
Common problems - Try to find a list of the most commonly misspelled words, and try to memorize them. We know, not interesting, but very useful.
Make a list - If you notice that you’re constantly misspelling the same words, write them down on a piece of paper and highlight them so they create a mental imprint on your mind!
Learn the origin - OK, this one is a bit out there, but it has worked for some people. Knowing the origin of the word, reading about the word you’re having difficulty with can help you stop making mistakes when spelling it.
Yes, learning how to spell is not particularly interesting for English language learners, but it is necessary all the same. One last piece of advice - write as often as you can, and check your writing as often as possible.
How do I learn formal writing?
This one is important for business. Writing in different styles is a useful skill to possess, as you may find yourself in a situation where everyday language simply can’t cut it. And, although it we’re saying different styles, people have most trouble accepting the rules of formal writing they will probably need at one point or the other.
Learning how to use formal language in written correspondence is a bit time consuming, but rather easy. There are set rules for beginning an email or a letter, ending it, using correct titles, pronouns, and so on. Once you learn how to write and spell, learning the rules of formal writing will be a walk in the park.
Is there a place in LA I can learn all of this at?
Yes, there most certainly is! College of English Language is the favorite English language school in Los Angeles for many English learners who come to the USA to improve their language skills and possibly continue their education. And, once you witness all the sights Los Angeles has to offer, such as the Griffith Observatory, it is easy to understand why people flock to this amazing city.
As for CEL, is there really any need to say anything? Yes? Well, ok then. The staff of this school is stellar, with only the most experienced and efficient teachers of English language. Couple that with the most modern methods of language teaching and learning, state-of-the-art technology employed during every lesson, and a pleasant learning environment, and you’ve got a winning combination. If you want to become one of the many satisfied students of our school, contact us today!