How to Learn a New Language – Part 4

Posted on April 15, 2015

Speaking is an active skill.  That means that in order to improve your spoken English, you must practice, practice, practice.  Then, practice some more!  If a person you are speaking with does not understand what you are saying, try to figure out what the problem was, and make the correction next time you say the same thing.  Ask, “Is it my pronunciation?” or “Did I use the wrong word?” or “How could I say it better?”


Most of the time when we cannot make ourselves understood it is because of incorrect pronunciation.  Always try to improve your pronunciation – it is important for communication in American society.  If a person cannot understand a particular word that you are saying, try using a synonym (a different word with the same meaning).  This will become easier as you expand your English vocabulary.  A synonym dictionary is called a thesaurus, and you can use one to learn different ways to say the same thing.  In English, it is usually good to use varied language and not always say things the same way every time.

Howtolearn4-2 You should also push yourself out of your speaking comfort zone.  Try to get your family, roommates, or coworkers to agree to a policy of speaking only English at home or work one or two days per week if you usually only speak your first language.  If you have young children or grandchildren whose English is better than yours, read English-language children’s stories to them, and ask them to correct your pronunciation.  Let your children help you for a change!


About the Author:

Ed Mize is the team leader for the Intermediate 1 class. He has lived in Korea, Japan, and the UK, and speaks Korean, Japanese, and English. Next on the list: Chinese!

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