Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles (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.