English is the most widely used language of contemporary times. It is used in almost every aspect of our lives regardless of our nationality, race, and ethnicity. A few years ago learning how to speak good English meant getting formal education in a classroom, either as a full course or a vocational endeavor. Nowadays, you can actually learn how to speak fluently with proper pronunciation, grammar, and construction via the internet.
What Type of English Do You Want to Speak?
People want to learn how to speak in English for many different reasons. Some people want to sound good, some people require the same for academic discourse, and some want to learn English for employment or economic gain. Determining the reason behind your desire to learn English is the first step in determining the proper venue as well as the relevant type of educational materials you need.
Enroll in Class
Purists believe that basic English speaking skills should be learned in a classroom type environment. Online classes and audio visuals are of course effective, but they are not as efficient as an actual classroom. This is because you need someone to listen to how you speak and correct mistakes as soon as you make them. However, if this is not possible, you need to have a voice recorder in order to playback your voice. Remember what you think you sound is not the same as what you actually sound. Pronunciation is only the first step. The second step involves proper sentence construction and grammar. This is because regardless of how flawless you speak the words, if you cannot construct sentences using basic grammatical rules, you will never sound good. Of course, strictly speaking (no pun intended), you can get away with minor grammatical flaws, so long as you sound good.
E-books are not enough. At the very least you need to purchase a full internet course that includes audio visual aids, online classroom interaction, as well as one on one coaching. Some choose to rely on social media and free video streaming websites. Yes there are actual experts who post educational videos in these sites. The problem is it is like finding a needle in a haystack. And in most cases they are not extensive enough to actually provide proper education.
Practice Makes Perfect
To a certain extent speaking good English is all about practice and confidence. Once you have your basic instruction you need to immerse yourself in the language. This is the fastest way to eliminate prominent grammatical errors as well as certain ethnic or racial characteristics of your native tongue. At the very least you can neutralize your accent and speak with what some would call a professional or neutral accent.
The Awkward Weeks
Bear in mind that while you will sound and feel silly for the first few weeks, eventually, you will get the hang of things and any person you interact with will never realize that you were a virtual newbie just a few weeks back. Some might say that this is easier said than done. You have to understand that there is a reason why customer support has been outsourced to other countries. You may have caught a more than a few unintelligible call center representatives, but this is only half of the story. What you do not know is that these are beginners who eventually move on to become fluent speakers, even mastering what some might call the “slang” of certain dialects.
Realistically speaking, most individuals can learn proper English speaking in a matter of weeks through basic instruction, extensive practice, and immersion. This is all possible for any and every individual regardless of how hectic one’s schedule is and regardless of where he/she is. Therefore in the final analysis it is really up to you whether or not you are satisfied with your poor English skills or whether or not you want to enrich yourself personally, professionally and economically by learning to speak proper English.