Hello guys! You know I usually don´t post stuff at this time of the year, but I guess you´re lucky. I came across this info and I thought about sharing it with you. I hope it helps with your September exams.
There are two things to practise in order to speak English well: pronunciation and fluency. (Fluency is being able to speak quickly and with a good rhythm).
How to improve your pronunciation
The best way to improve your pronunciation, I´m afraid, is to take lessons with a very good teacher who knows about phonetics. However, you can also work on your own.
1: Learn the sounds of English and the phonetic symbols
A very good place to start (for British English pronunciation) is the BBC pronunciation guide, which takes you through all the sounds of English. As for books, I recommend the English Pronunciation in Use series. This is also British English and, importantly, includes CDs.
For American English, this site from the University of Iowa, has all the sounds of US English with videos showing how to say each one.
2: Listen to the radio, a TV programme or an audio book and repeat phrases aloud
It’s also useful if you can get English subtitles or a transcript to be sure of what is being said. For example, if you are in the UK, you can watch the BBC on the internet here. To get subtitles in English (this is also called ‘closed captions’), start the programme, then click on the ‘S’ at the bottom of the screen. It’s important to pay attention to the intonation of the whole sentence as well as the sounds of the words. Also, make sure you check out all the permanent links you have on the right handside of the main page on the blog.
3: Use a pronunciation dictionary
Try the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. You can click on the speaker icon to hear the word in both UK and USA English.
How to improve your fluency (practice!)
1: Do a language exchange in real life
I’ve done this several times. It’s a really good way to meet people, though it depends on where you are. Here in the Valley we all know Misty and Melissa in Casavieja, and Robin in Sotillo. However, summertime is pretty busy in this area. If you hear somebody speaking English, don´t hesitate. Go over there, introduce yourselves and offer your help to the visitor. English speakers love this and it could mean the beginning of an awesome relationship. You never know!
2: Do a language exchange on the internet
You could try www.italki.com to find a language exchange partner on the internet.
3: Speak English with a friend who’s also studying
Of course, it’s great if you can find a native or very good speaker of English to practise with but if you can’t find one, you could try talking in English with a friend who also wants to improve. This takes discipline, but it can work really well.
4: Talk to yourself!
Describe what you’re doing in English to yourself, chat to yourself in the mirror, talk into a recorder. It all helps! (It’s probably best to do this when you’re alone!).