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I Can Understand English, But Can’t Speak Fluently

Updated on January 10, 2020

I can understand English but can’t speak fluently

We hear this statement often, especially from learners who have just started to learn the English language. A native speaker might find this statement a bit odd and may not understand the issues faced by newer learners. Students of developing countries, who have studied in schools where the medium of instruction is English, might be unable to speak in English. This might be due to our treatment of languages as academic subjects wherein the sole purpose is to score good grades. Owing to this learners fail to gain the expertise in speaking even though they understand the language. Thus, learners tend to answer questions in just one word or as few words as possible.

Let’s talk about few hurdles which might be in the mind of the speaker.

First and foremost the problem we face is hesitation while speaking in English. In order to excel in Spoken English we first have to fight fears. Many a times, speakers know the correct sentence structure but the hesitation within, stops them from speaking. I personally feel that in order to learn anything we should be in the psychological state of a child.

What do we gain by being in this state?

Eagerness to learn - For a child, everything around is new and the child is always eager to learn and explore. Similarly if you want be fluent in spoken English you have to be eager to learn, ask questions and gain knowledge. If you have partial knowledge then it will impact your fluency while speaking the language. Give impotence to grammar. Don’t hesitate and start speaking English.

Not scared to make mistakes - As humans we are not born perfect. We learn, do mistakes, then we rectify and then reattempt. This repetition of the same action is what helps us perfect the skill that we aim to master. Similarly in order to achieve fluency in spoken English we have to use the technical grammatical knowledge and convert it into speech by doing verbal practice. Making a sentence in the mind and not speaking it aloud will not help you at all. Speak out and then rectify your mistakes if any. Then repeat the rectified sentence loudly again. Continuously doing this will develop a comfort zone where you will not hesitate to hear yourself making mistakes and rectifying the same.

Steps to follow to be fluent in Spoken English

Time management- In today’s world everyone has a hectic schedule. It is obviously not reasonable to expect a person to practice every day. On the other hand the fact that the candidate has realized that he needs to speak English fluently means that somewhere in his life or work the need has arisen. Considering this need it is suggested that we attend to it at the earliest. There is a proverb which says ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. So you have to cater to this requirement now.

Listen to English language

You must have heard this many times, but this is a perfect way to learn. TV series and movies can be very useful as it makes the learning process a fun. We watch what we like and also learn.

Implement – Create a platform to speak. Avail all opportunities to express yourself in English; you can learn Spoken English by only speaking the language. Don’t be harsh on yourself if someone does not understand you. Keep speaking and definitely you will achieve fluency in Spoken English.


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