It isnâ€™t that difficult to see why speaking along with listening is one of the most difficult skills in a foreign language. Several linguistic skills are having to be managed at the same time â€“ pronunciation, vocabulary, spontaneity, rythmn, intonation, pronunciation, grammar use, register etc.
There are some strategies that you can use to facilitate the task in order to improve precision and fluidity in oral expressionÂ :
- Some linguistic elements are purely transactional â€“ communication is for specific objectives such as the purchase of items in a shop. You can prepare yourself beforehand by practicing by role play etc.
- Sometimes you can use conjecture, if you canâ€™t find the words that you need, you could always try to guess the right words â€“ not always satisfactory at 100% but at least it is better than just blocking.
- Try to get around blocking barriers by paraphrasing or asking open-ended questions and listen actively to the response.
- Learn buffer expressions to control the speaker Â«Â Can you repeat that pleaseÂ Â», Â«Â Can you go over that againÂ Â» Â«Â Can you say that another wayÂ Â» Â«Â Can you spell that pleaseÂ Â» etc.
- When reading, try to read aloud, this will have a positive impact on your memory by remembering key sentences and expressions. This will also help your fluidity and your ability to speak more naturally. Try repeating in front of a mirror to start using your facial muscles, your tongue and your lips in a way natives do when speaking.
- Start taking more risks by speaking as often as possible â€“ even if you still make mistakes, this is rarely fatal and only those who donâ€™t dare take risks and make mistakes never progress â€“ you will eventually be able to eliminate your mistakes with practice.
- Record yourself in order to be able to evaluate yourself â€“ donâ€™t get too preoccuppied with your accent â€“ this is YOU â€“ look more at pronunciation, rythmn, tone, stress patterns and fluidity.
- Take whole sentences and repeat them aloud using a variety of different emotions (sad, happy, nervous, excited, bored) â€“ record yourself and see if the emotions can be identified afterwards. Change the speed of delivery and the stress on different words in a sentence to convey different messages
- Note down words as you HEAR them as well as how they are spelt to improve pronunciation.
Have fun doing the above â€“ smile and enjoy your learning.