Developing your speaking skill in English: The beginning
From Fokus magazine (M) 'Living English with Teech Airil'
by Airil Haimi Adnan @ Teech, July 2008
Tentu anda pernah berjumpa dengan seseorang yang mampu bercakap dengan fasih dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Bagaimana perasaan anda ketika itu? Tidakkah anda juga ingin bercakap dalam bahasa antarabangsa itu dengan fasih? Sebenarnya ia tidaklah sesukar yang anda sangka. Tetapi seperti biasa, ramuan yang diperlukan adalah usaha dan tidak cepat berasa penat dan jemu…
Hello again readers! I hope that you have been trying all the tips that I have shared with you so far, with regards to your English language skill. In this article I hope to share with you some simple tips to improve your speaking skill.
Oh yes! Just to let you know, when we talk about speaking in English the skill itself can be divided into two areas, namely fluency and accuracy.
In order to become a really good speaker of English, you must have BOTH fluency and accuracy. Having one without the other is not good enough for a GELL!
To help you memorize new English words and to use them fluently, you must practice these words as many times as possible. This is easy, you can start by setting yourself a target, for example five words per day for you to practice.
Then just practice using the words in real situations, for example by talking to your classmates or other people. The more you can use these new words when talking to others, the more likely that you will be able to speak fluently in future.
What about your accuracy? Many people will tell you that it is a real challenge for a Good English Language Learner to develop her or his spoken accuracy. This is because English has so many different vocabulary items and different rules of grammar that makes it hard for a learner to speak using accurate English.
To help you start, when you learn new vocabulary items or new ways to form sentences, choose the ones that you are most comfortable with. It is good to learn many ways of speaking or saying something, but do it slowly by choosing to use your favourite words first and by using simple short sentences.
Another thing that you must remember is that, you must always choose the most universal and most easily understandable form of English when you are speaking to someone else.
It is great if you can learn to use idioms, phrasal verbs or slang words – but be careful, if you do not really understand what meanings they carry you might end up saying something wrong or even offending the person or persons you are talking to!
One final point that goes without saying is that, try to avoid grammatical errors when you speak in English. For example, many beginning students of English cannot use the present perfect tense correctly as the present perfect is not easily found in other world languages.
What you need to do is to change your sentence construction from the present perfect to the simple past plus a time reference. For example, instead of saying “I have just finished my chores”, you can say something simpler like “I finished my chores just now”.
This goes to show you that English is such a rich and versatile language that we can actually CHOOSE so many ways to speak and to send our messages to the listener. What this actually means is that, you must never give an excuse like “I can’t speak in English because it’s so difficult!”
How can you say speaking in English is difficult when there are so many ways to say just one thing? Plus, from my own experience as an English teacher and lecturer, students who cannot speak fluently and accurately in English – are those who just choose to keep QUIET all the time and they do not want to try to improve their speaking.
Sad isn’t it? But, it’s true. Now, starting from this point onwards, choose to use English and to practice your speaking as many times as possible in a day, and speak in English whenever you have the opportunity. No more excuses, okay?!!
This is the original unedited version of the article that appeared in the magazine, please refer to the JULY edition of FOKUS SPM for the updated copy - Teech