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Doing English

How to speak clearly in English?

in Doing English Podcast

Common question ー

“How to speak clearly in English?”

Okay, here we go…

1. Sort out your pronunciation

No, you don’t need to sound like a native speaker (in fact trying to sound like a Brit or an American just makes things worse – I’ve done research that suggests native speakers just find it irritating and fake).

But you do need to say stuff right.

Take an 80/20 approach and focus on the vowels.

2. Learn to chunk right

One of the main reasons you are hard to understand is because you don’t chunk your English properly. If you speak in individual words, pronouncing each one properly it just makes you HARD to understand, not easy (because that’s not how natives your their language).

3. Speak in probable phrases, not grammatical phrases

What do I mean?

Native speakers speak in chunks. High-frequency, highly-probable phrases.

They don’t speak using grammar rules and words like you were taught. And this is one of the biggest things that makes it obvious English is your second language (and makes you hard to listen to). You speak using expressing that are grammatically correct…. but they are NOT the ones we expect.

4. Vary the speed of your voice

Native speakers don’t speak “fast” like you think they do.

They speed up and slow down.

Speak fast when excited. Slow down, pause and carefully enunciate for dramatic effect. Getting this right makes you interesting… and, yes, clear.

5. Organise your speech well.

Most people think “fluency” is one thing… but it’s not.

Fluency is actually FIVE separate things all happening at once that, when all done well, make your “fluent”. One of those is how well organised English is in your head, and how organised and logical your flow of speech.

If you speak messily…

… don’t expect people to easily understand you.

What’re the other elements of fluency?

We’ll be covering that MEFA in Week 7 (including how to improve each one).

If you’re on the course (or have just finished), well done.

If not?

Sucks to be you.

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