It’s challenging to speak English if it’s not your native tongue. Many English language learners think they may never speak the language comfortably. Anxiety, shyness and uncomfortable feelings can be overcome. Here are some techniques that others have used to become comfortable speaking English as a second language:
Have Confidence in Others
Non-native speakers often experience a lot of anxiety about speaking English to native speakers. Most fluent or native English speakers will be polite and happy to help you express yourself in English. If you are shopping and need to ask a question, politely ask for assistance and store staff will help you nearly all of the time. At work or school, you will find that politely speaking in English will help you improve your vocabulary and pronunciation.
Just Do It
You may have heard the American term, “fake it until you make it.” This doesn’t mean exactly what it says. Language coaches will advise English learners to try to speak English with others even if they feel like they are just “faking it.” Repeated practice will help to achieve your goal of speaking English comfortably. You could notice improvement every time you speak English in preference to your first language.
Practice Deep Breathing and Prepare in Advance
Simple physical actions can make a difference according to second-language counselors. Taking a deep breath before you speak enables you to speak more clearly. It will also give you additional confidence and help to calm anxiety. Take adequate time before you speak to organize your thoughts. Organizing your thoughts and ordering what you plan to say in advance will also strengthen your ability to express yourself in English.
Attend English Classes
Time and practice are the two greatest factors in improving English speaking skills. Formal education through an English as a Second Language course will improve your confidence and abilities. Look for an ESL curriculum that includes listening, conversational speaking, reading, writing, pronunciation and grammar skills. Spending appropriate time in class and studying and speaking at home will build confidence and fluency.
No one ever became fluent in speaking any second language overnight. A child learning his or her own native language takes several years to be able to speak confidently. Adults who want to learn English shouldn’t expect to speak perfectly within a short period of time. Combining English as a Second Language classes with practical strategies to build confidence can make you comfortable in speaking English.
About the Author
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. For your ESL needs, Hannah recommends the Interactive College of Technology.
Editor’s note: To all of you who struggle with the English language, Welcome! Even those of us who have English as our first language struggle with getting it right. Finding a program to help you can be one of the best investments you can make. And, please, please don’t be afraid to speak. Most of us are excited to help you.