How to improve my spoken English? Notice I used the word "my" intead of "your." Because it is a question for you to answer. I am just going to share some of my ideas about the question and hopefully they can help you or inspire you to find your own answers. It could be a good idea to ask yourself that question once in a while. Because you are improving and the situation around you is changing. You would like know what you need and where to focus at that stage, so that you can achieve your goal sooner.

如 何提高我的英语口语呢?请注意我用了“我的”而不是"你的“。因为这是一个让你来回答的问题。我只是想跟你分享一下关于这个问题的一些想法,希望能帮你或 者启发你找到属于你自己的答案。我建议你不时地思考这个问题。因为你在不断的进步,你周围的环境也在不停的转变。知道在目前的阶段自己需要的是什么,注意 力应该放在哪里,将会让你更快的达到你的目标。

But sounds to me the question is so big and abstract. So let's think about what it will be like when your spoken English is very very very good! You will be able to understand the native speakers easily and express yourself instantly, fluently, freely and confidently, right? And actually that means good communication, you and the person you talk with both feel good. It seems to be a common goal for most ESL learners. There are 3 directions that we can check and work on to help us achieve that goal.

但 是在我看来这个问题有点太大太抽象了。让我们先来想象一下当你的口语非常非常棒时的情形。你将会轻易地听懂外国人说的,而且即时、流利、自如、自信地表达 自己,对吗?这实际上意味着良好的沟通,谈话的双方都感觉良好。这大概是多数英语学习者的共同目标。要达到这个目标,我们可以从3个方向去分析和努力。

1. How To Say It (Mouth Related)
  • Pronunciation - Can you pronounce the words acurrately?
  • Word Connections - Can you say the phrases or short sentences smoothly?
  • Intonation - Can you say the phrases or short sentences with natural stresses and intonation?
1. "怎么说" ( 嘴巴相关 )
  • 发音 - 你能准确地发出单词的音么?
  • 连音 - 你能顺畅的说出短语和短句么?
  • 语调 - 你能用自然地重音和语调读出短语和短句么?
2. When To Say It (Ears Related)
  • Listening - Can you catch the words from a speech?
  • Understanding - Can you understand what you just heard?
  • Responding - Can you respond to it automatically in English?
2. "什么时候说" ( 耳朵相关 )
  • 听力 - 你能抓住讲话中的字眼么?
  • 理解 - 你能理解你所听到的么?
  • 反应 - 你能自动地用英语反应么?
3. What To Say (Head and Heart Related)
  • Vocabulary - Are the vocabulary you have learned connected with your thinking and feeling?
  • Phrases - Are the phrases you have learned connected with your thinking and feeling?
  • Oraganization - Can you well organize your thoughts in English?
3. "说什么" ( 脑心相关 )
  • 词汇 - 你学过的词汇跟你的思想和感情有关联起来么?
  • 短语 - 你学过的短语跟你的思想和感情有关联起来么?
  • 组织 - 你能用英语很好的组织你的想法么?

You can ask yourself the questions above once in a while. So that you can find out on which areas to focus and make sure you are on the right track. Everyone could have a different situation and learning style. For example, if you know quite a few English words and phrases, but they are not connected with your thinking and feeling. It means you know What To Say, but not When To Say It. You can't respond in English automatically. So you may want to do more practices like quick and short conversations. Or you know exactly What To Say and When To Say It, but you have problems with How To Say It. That will probably result in being asked to repeat often, or just unpleasant to listen to. In that case, you may want to focus on fixing your pronunciation problems and improving your accent. 

隔一段时间就问 一下自己以上的问题,能让你找到专注的方向,确保自己是走对路了。每个人的情况和学习偏好可能都不一样。例如,你可能学过很多英语单词和短语,但是他们没 有跟你的思想和感情关联起来。也就是说你知道”说什么“,但不知道”什么时候说“。你不能自动地用英语来反应。那么你需要的很可能是更多快速、简短的对话 练习。又或者你知道”说什么“和”什么时候说“,但你不确定"怎么说"。这很可能会导致别人经常要你重复你刚说的,或者你的口语总是让人听起来不--服。这 种情况之下,建议你专注于纠正自己的发音偏差以及改进口音。

There are many different ways to practice English. You may find 100 different ways to work on the same direction or area. Every one of them can be helpful in one way or another. The point is to be clear about what you are doing and develop your own ability to guide yourself to where you want to go. You can and should be the best teacher for yourself!


Best Wishes,

© 2011 RetSam Zhang

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RetSam Zhang (Online English Tutor)