Why does the title of this blog sound so common and so discussed? Why do so many people want to speak in English at a lightning speed? Let us gain a historical perspective first.
The British empire at its prime was regarded as the empire on which the sun never set, apparently thanks to its geo-political vastness. They dominated present day Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, parts of Africa and even some bit of the chilly and secluded continent of Antarctica, amongst the others (God forbid an extraterrestrial race in the future descends onto the face of our planet and claims that they too have been colonised by the Brits).
While sixty-five countries gained independence from the United Kingdom and got rid of the tyrannical rule that was forced on them, a multitude of legal, cultural, sartorial, culinary and lingual legacies stayed and were absorbed by those people. The most notable of all those inheritances is the English language.
In 2021, a total of 1.348 billion people from all over the world speak in English, making it the world’s most spoken language. Whether it is mingling with people at public places in your own country or asking for help as a wandering tourist in a foreign nation (with translators at the ready), one frantically tries to find someone who can converse in English. This is all thanks to its universality.
A number of schools use English as the medium of instruction and many corporate meetings involve people who have English as their second language in the least. This makes knowing and speaking in English a necessity in today’s globalised world. How does one, then, get to learn and digest the nuances of the language and improve their English? Mentioned below are a few things that you can do if you want to see your English get better gradually.
- Improve and expand your vocabulary using dictionary and thesaurus:
- Cultivate the habit of reading in order to speak more fluently:
- Think in English:
- Watch Hollywood movies, documentaries and other content with English subtitles:
- Participate in public speaking:
- Listen to English songs:
- Chat or text in English:
It might come as a surprise to you, but English actually has the greatest number of words of any language. Back when mobile phones were simpler and smartphones did not exist, you had to rely on flipping through the pages of a fat dictionary to find the meaning of a certain word. It was a tiring task, and indeed it would hinder people’s reading. Things are different now since we have plenty of dictionary apps that we can download. You can look up a word in those by typing it in the search bar and voila, you get the meaning of the word instantly.
This will help you in building your English vocab and with all the different words you learn, you’ll be able to express yourself better and be an excellent communicator. This will reflect not only in your spoken English but also in your written English. A thesaurus also will aid you in widening your vocab. Unlike a dictionary that contains words and their meanings, a thesaurus is a collection of synonyms that have been listed or grouped together alphabetically or conceptually.
Life becomes much easier and convenient when you know the names and meanings of things such as food ingredients, directions, objects, emotions, professions and actions. The stronger your vocab is, the more will you be able to understand people’s dialogues and respond confidently. Apart from bettering your spoken English, a good vocab will also add to your general awareness and possibly make you more street-smart.
There is not a more foolproof way of bettering your English than reading. Whether it is reading books or print media such as newspapers and magazines, you will find yourself swimming in facts, opinions, and stories. The language in which they have been articulated, the choice of words of the authors, the style of writing are the factors that would go on to contribute immensely to not only your vocabulary, but also make you richer in knowledge of all sorts. Moreover, things such as parts of speech, grammar, sentence formation are best understood when we witness them being put to use correctly by native speakers of English.
Another thing that written English teaches us is how the same word is being put to use in different contexts. If you want to gain insight about why reading books is holistically important, you can take a look at our blog on Benefits of Reading Books
We're enamored with the comfort that our mother tongue gives us. When we're about to talk to someone, we tend to first form sentences in our mind using our mother tongue. Then, whatever manages to escape our mouth is simply an iteration of our thoughts. The spoken version of those thoughts may be in our mother tongue or in English or in any other language, as a matter of fact.
The trick here is to think in English, since our effort to form sentences in English after thinking in our mother tongue would be substantially lessened. The idea here is to think in English and then to speak in English. This will surely boost your confidence and reduce your chances of fumbling while speaking in English.
While we think of subtitles as a mere transcription of a movie actor or narrator’s speech, we miss out on a rather important purpose that they serve. A lot of people are thankful for subtitles, and for good reason. They are meant to help a movie goer or watcher understand what is being spoken, given the fact that movies can have situations or action or musical sequences in which the actors’ or anchor’s voice cannot be coherently heard or because their accents can be difficult to understand.
Subtitles bless cinema goers twice. They bless them once by making them understand the dialogues and hence ultimately, the plot of the story. Another way in which subtitles disguisedly bless us watchers is by bettering our English while serving their primary purpose. For those of you who find reading books boring, watching documentaries, YouTube videos with subtitles would be of great help.
Let us all admit it, we can’t really actualise our thoughts and ideas until we convert them into speech and/or action. Communication is what lets others know what we’re wanting to do or what we’re thinking, and hence must be strong and worked upon by every individual.
A rather good way of enhancing our communication skills is participating in elocution or public speaking competitions. While many of those are conducted while we’re studying in school, we start running out of patience to pay heed to such events once we grow up. Whether it is a local speaking competition or an international one, taking part in it will not only make you a more confident speaker but also get rid of stage fear.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have the time to watch movies with subtitles or read a handful of books, listening to a variety of banging English music can and does help. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working or cooking or painting, you could grab a pair of earphones and drown yourself in English songs of all sorts or genres. By doing so, you not only will be challenged to understand various accents but will also find yourself googling their lyrics. Thus, it will not only increase your spoken but also your written English, all while your groove to the tune of English songs.
We are all children of a digital age. Our phones are full of social media platforms and messengers that require us to type a lot. If we’re brave enough to actually type English words instead of simply transliterating words of our mother tongue or local language in English, we would slowly and steadily start bettering ourselves in English. Since we’re obsessed with posting pictures on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, we can and should try writing elaborate captions and check for their grammatical correctness.
Another way to challenge yourself is to try telling a story in English. It can be a fictional one, and it might as well be an account of what happened the other day when you were buying oranges in some local farmers’ market.
Such are the simple but effective methods of enhancing your spoken English. While Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can, still, build the commitment it takes for you to become a true-blue English speaker and then work on it!