7 tips on how to speak English
Tip 1: Meet people who donâ€™t speak your language!
This is arguably the most effective way you can improve your English fluency. Â Speak English with others, whether they are native speakers or not. Itâ€™s an excellent way to increase your confidence and vocabulary, but more importantly, itâ€™s also fun!
Student: â€œBut I donâ€™t know any other English speakers!â€
Teacher: â€œWell youâ€™ll just have to meet some then!â€
This is not as hard as it sounds. In almost every city on Earth, there are people just like you who want to make friends and practise their English. Even native speakers are willing to help!
Dubai is full of newly arrived expats wanting to grow their social network.
Here are some places you can meet people and practise your English:
Meetup Â – A great site for people to meet face to face offline and share their interests in person. Activities include: social conversation groups, book clubs, pub meetups, business discussions and many more.. Even SPEAK has itâ€™s own meetup group!
Busuu and Livemocha – These are great sites where students can exchange languages and practise online. You can give and receive feedback with others making it a really social experience
Sports – Join a team! You can play almost any sport here in Dubai. Practise your English while keeping fit!
Speak’s Social Events – Join us! We organise regular free and paid activities for people wanting to meet others and practise English in a variety of situations!
Tip 2: Ask friends and colleagues to correct your mistakes
Everyone wants to be a teacher, so you will find that others are normally more than happy to help you with your English. It also shows people that you are willing to improve your language skills. Butâ€¦
Be careful who you take advice from! This is very important. The best advice obviously comes from native speakers or English teachers. However, this doesnâ€™t mean that non-native speakers will give you bad tips! It means you have to keep in mind that the people correcting you might not know English as well as they think!
As English teachers, we experience this often:
Teacher: â€œIn English, we say â€˜make mistakesâ€™.â€
Student: â€œBut my friend lived in London for 3 years he told me to say â€˜do mistakesâ€™!â€
Teacher: â€œHmmmâ€¦. no, be careful who you take advice from.â€
Always thank your friends for their tips, corrections or advice. Â Whether theyâ€™re native speakers or non-native speakers, if you have a doubt, ask your teacher or google it!!
Tip 3: â€œPress â€˜2â€™ for Englishâ€Â
Take every opportunity you can to speak English. Even though you may speak Arabic, â€œPress 2 for Englishâ€ next time you call du, Etisalat or DEWA. Give it a try. What have you got to lose? You can always call back and choose another language if needed!
This tip isnâ€™t just for the phone. Get in the habit of going through your daily life speaking English with others, even if they might know your language. Practise with shop assistants, taxi drivers, waiters, neighbours and of course, your family and friends.
Help a lost tourist, ask your doorman how his day has been, make English your No. 1 language. Take every opportunity you can and try keep the conversation going! Itâ€™s real life practice, itâ€™s fun, and itâ€™s a great way to boost your confidence.
Tip 4: Sing in the shower!Â
You donâ€™t need a partner to practise English. Sing your favourite songs in the shower or in your car everyday! The idea here is to imitate, mimic or shadow pronunciation and intonation as often as possible. As you can imagine, this is probably best done alone!
â€˜Shadowingâ€™ is a technique many find useful. It involves listening to and reading a text in English, then speaking it aloud at the same time as the native speaker.
This can be done with graded readers, song lyrics, news articles, anything that has both text and audio available. Itâ€™s a great way to improve your fluency, pronunciation and vocabulary around a topic of your choosing. If you donâ€™t have the audio, just read your books, magazines or newspapers out loud.
If itâ€™s not fun for you, try something else!
Tip 5: A good English speaker is also a good listener!Â
Spend as much time as you can listening to English! Choose an English speaking radio station and listen to it on your way to work. You will start your day warmed up to the English language. Go to the cinema, watch the BBC, listen to music. It doesnâ€™t matter what level of English you have, you donâ€™t need to understand everything. Itâ€™s about training your ear to pick up as much as possible and it should be enjoyable.
In conversation, listening is far more important than people realise.Â A good communicator knows when to listen as much as when to speak. Wait for the other person to finish speaking before you start! Ask questions to clarify yours doubts. Remove all distractions! Put your phone in your pocket, turn off the TV, make eye contact.
Another tip to try is walking side by side while you communicate with others. Many find it easier to process and deliver information. It can increase blood flow to the brain and improve your mood. When people walk together, side by side, they almost always walk in rhythm, almost like a dance. When “in sync,” we humans feel more similar and collaborative and therefore more prone to common understanding and agreement.
Tip 6: Eat Fish & Chips everyday!
Well, maybe not everyday! The idea here is to get involved in the culture behind the language and discover what itâ€™s all about. Get a feel for what it is to be a native English speaker. Join a football team, go to social outings, watch British and American films, and if you can, visit their countries!
Don’t forget about the rest of the English speaking world! Learn more about Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand and many more. Learn some slang and idiomatic expressions unique to each area. It will make your conversational skills much more personalised and familiar to others.
Tip 7: Join Speak English Institute in JLT!Â
If youâ€™re in Dubai, come join us! Speak English Language Institute offers effective English language training for individuals and companies who are serious about improving their language skills.
Speak offers group courses for general English with 10 students or less, and one-day workshops in our conveniently located institute by Marina Metro Station – JLT side (currently under construction).
We also offer in-company group courses with personalised training to suit each companyâ€™s individual needs.
All our students join our Online Campus where they can login to practise and learn new skills in grammar, reading, writing, listening, pronunciation and much more. Students have access to a wide range of useful, interesting activities that they can enjoy on their own computers after class.
The most exciting part of Speak is its social community with events and activities organised all around Dubai. Join us as we organise social nights out, coffee mornings, sports days, BBQ picnics and many more.
These are just a few reasons why you should join Speak, but donâ€™t take our word for it. Come see for yourself!