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  • (peaceful music)

  • - Hello everyone, and welcome back to English with Lucy.

  • Today I have a spoken English class for you.

  • I have got eight tips that will help you

  • to master spoken English.

  • If you apply these tips to your everyday life,

  • you will really notice a difference,

  • and you will become more confident

  • and more comfortable speaking English.

  • My first tip is to get to know the parts

  • of your body that you use while speaking English.

  • This might sound a little odd, but trust me on this one.

  • If you don't understand which parts of

  • your face, tongue, and throat are used

  • when speaking English, then how will you ever

  • be able to correct your pronunciation mistakes?

  • Watch yourself in the mirror while speaking English

  • is a common tip that many teachers give.

  • However, I think you should go one step further than this.

  • You absolutely need to analyse what your

  • lips, tongue, throat, face in general is doing

  • when you speak English.

  • You need to find a close-up video, a zoomed in video

  • of a native speaker or a speaker that you admire

  • speaking in English.

  • You then need to record yourself up close,

  • preferably at the same distance speaking the same sentence.

  • Analyse the way your lips move in comparison to their lips.

  • Analyse how far they stick their tongue out

  • or maybe they push it right back in their mouth.

  • What are you doing with your tongue?

  • This started a big learning curve for me

  • when I was learning Spanish.

  • I started to really analyse Spanish speakers tongues,

  • they might have found this quite weird

  • when I was watching them speak,

  • looking at their tongue instead of their eyes,

  • but I realised that when, in English,

  • we say "duh" with the tongue inside of our mouths.

  • "Duh, duh" is quite a delicate sound.

  • The Spanish speakers in the area I was living in

  • would stick their tongue out a little bit more.

  • "Deh, deh" like that.

  • By listening alone, I would never have realised that.

  • But by watching and analysing, I managed to transform

  • my pronunciation, and you can do the same with English.

  • You should also analyse the voice quality,

  • how much voice do we allow to escape through our throats?

  • Compare it to yours as well.

  • If you are serious about improving your pronunciation

  • and your spoken English, then you do need

  • to be very critical about what you are speaking at present

  • and work towards correcting it.

  • Tip number two is to combine reading and listening,

  • thus improving your pronunciation.

  • Perhaps you will know by now that

  • a way a word is written in English

  • normally gives very little indication

  • as to how that word is pronounced in English.

  • In many languages across the world,

  • the way a word is written tells you and shows you

  • exactly how that word should be spoken.

  • This is not the case in English,

  • and it's part of the reason why

  • English pronunciation and English speaking

  • is so difficult for learners.

  • I have found a really good method that has

  • helped so many of my students.

  • Take a book that you have already read in English

  • or a book that you would like to read in English,

  • I have got a fair few recommendations

  • in the description box down below.

  • And read that book again, but here's the important part:

  • whilst listening to the audio book version on Audible.

  • If you listen to a word as you read it,

  • your brain will start making connections.

  • And the next time you hear that word,

  • you will know how it's spelled,

  • and the next time you read that word,

  • you'll know how it's pronounced.

  • It's such an effective method,

  • and the best part is you can get a free

  • audio book that's a 30 day free trial on Audible.

  • All you've got to do is click on the link

  • in the description box and sign up.

  • Then you can download one of my recommendations.

  • Give it a try, it really works.

  • Tip number three is another reading one,

  • but it's practise speed reading.

  • This isn't such a common technique,

  • but I think it should be.

  • It's a really good way of improving your

  • fluency, so how fluently you speak English,

  • your velocity, so that's how quickly you speak English,

  • and also it will help with your connected speech;

  • how you join one word to another,

  • or one sound to another in English.

  • You need to find a text that you'd like to read.

  • This text can accommodate your level.

  • Honestly I recommend using reputable news sources

  • and news websites.

  • If you want to practise your informal speech,

  • then you could find a blogger you like

  • who writes as if they're chatting to a friend.

  • Read the text aloud, and time yourself as you're reading it.

  • Then read that text aloud again,

  • and try to beat your previous time.

  • You can repeat this as many times as you want,

  • but I find after four times, four, after four times,

  • I'm getting pretty bored of the text.

  • This will help you to familiarise yourself

  • with the common sounds in English.

  • A step further would be to record yourself

  • and to send it to your language instructor,

  • or to use it as a topic in your next language lesson.

  • Tip number four is a tip that has been massively

  • important for me as a native speaker,

  • so I can only imagine how important it could be for you.

  • It is to prepare your monologues and stories

  • that you are likely to repeat in advance.

  • I'm talking funny stories you want to tell

  • at a dinner party, I'm talking about your elevator pitch,

  • I'm talking about your answer to

  • what do you do for a living, or where do you come from?

  • These common questions that you get asked

  • again and again and again.

  • Prepare your answer, have them up your sleeve.

  • That's the way we say to have something prepared,

  • to have it up your sleeve.

  • If you're an advanced speaker and you're more worried

  • about keeping people interested or making people laugh,

  • then prepare your funny and interesting stories.

  • I first thought about this when I was dating.

  • This was a long time ago,

  • and I remember that I would get stuck,

  • and I wouldn't know what to talk about,

  • so I always felt good and confident

  • if I went into a dating situation with my best stories,

  • and my most interesting things to say up my sleeve.

  • It was funny because when I met my husband-to-be,

  • I had all these stories and interesting things to say

  • up my sleeve, and it all went out the window.

  • Conversation just flowed without any effort,

  • but I understand that speaking English,

  • speaking a second language can be very nerve-wracking,

  • it's just like dating in my opinion.

  • And you do want to have these things prepared.

  • Tip number five is focus on pronunciation over grammar.

  • Now there will be some teachers out there watching this

  • and thinking, oh my god, what?

  • This is honestly my opinion.

  • I think that bad grammar habits

  • are much easier to correct than bad pronunciation habits.

  • I would say that it's much easier to understand

  • somebody speaking with great pronunciation, but bad grammar,

  • than hearing someone speak with perfect grammar

  • but terrible pronunciation.

  • I've met so many students that know

  • every single grammar rule;

  • they even sometimes can correct me,

  • but their pronunciation, they just,

  • they got to a certain level and then

  • they found it very, very difficult to improve.

  • They are able to improve with specific help,

  • professional help, but it could've been so much easier.

  • But from a very, very young age,

  • they were taught bad pronunciation,

  • or they weren't corrected on their pronunciation.

  • The focus was only on grammar,

  • and that focus needs to switch.

  • I'm not talking about having a perfect accent.

  • You don't need a perfect accent.

  • You just need to be clear and understandable when you speak.

  • It will make you feel more confident.