You want to become more fluent in English, where should you start? You need to know that practice makes a real difference even with a vast vocabulary and the correct pronunciation. However, we usually don’t have much time or chances to speak English, so here are a few solutions to improve quickly and effectively:
Apps and platforms to improve your English fluency
1. Improspeak: Get better by talking with real people
Improspeak is a new original platform where you can talk about your passions in a community of like-minded people. All you need is a webcam and a microphone, and Improspeak will match you with someone based on your shared interests, then a video conversation can start.
If you don’t know what to say or struggle to find topics to talk about, Improspeak gives you fun question cards that you can use to keep the conversation going.
Improspeak has a sound system for moderation: after each chat, you will be able to rate your conversation buddy. This system keeps away pervs and bullies and protects the quality of the community.
If you want to practice your English speaking abilities while having meaningful conversations with interesting people, Improspeak is the perfect solution. Oh and, by the way, it’s free.
2. Italki: chose the modality that fits you best
Italki is an app that helps you become a better English speaker. You can choose between three modalities:
- Tandem modality: it’s a language exchange that connects you with native English speakers who want to learn your language, so you teach them yours while they teach you theirs in a reciprocal way.
- Choose a teacher: you can select a qualified teacher for private online lessons to join on Skype or Hangout. Every teacher has a profile that includes a video-presentation, the languages they’re teaching and their price list, so you can consider which option you prefer and then you can schedule your first lesson.
- Choose a Tutor: you can use the tutor modality (unqualified teacher) as a middle ground, where you only practice the language you want to learn with someone that wants to learn as well.
Teachers and tutors set the prices.
3. Hello Talk: practice with a language partner
Hello Talk is a free app where you can find a language partner to practice with. You can choose your partners based on where they’re from, what language they speak and which one they want to learn.
Once you find your language partner, you can send messages and organise video calls; however, the different time zone between you and your partner could make it hard to have live conversations.
Since there is no qualification required for you and your conversation partner, you may both make mistakes. To avoid this, Hello Talk has a grammar correction tool that helps you find errors before you send messages.
4. SpeakingPal: talk with a virtual partner
If you’re shy and want to practice by yourself before talking to a stranger, you can use SpeakingPal, a free app that lets you have scripted conversations with a video chatbot.
SpeakingPal has a speech recognition system that lets you know if you’re making mistakes and helps you to correct them and check pronunciation.
The app also includes script translations to expand your vocabulary.
Last but not least, SpeakingPal helps you track your progress so you can see how much you’ve improved!
What to do to practice English by yourself
1. Speech shadowing: have fun by acting!
How many times did you watch Games of Thrones? There’s no “too many times” when we talk about our favourite movie or show, and you probably could repeat some scenes word by word. So what about doing it in English?
Choose your favourite scenes and play them in English with subtitles, listen to them, and focus on the pronunciation and flow.
Focus and listen to your voice, check the differences with the speakers of your favourite movie and look for mistakes to correct. Repeat this exercise as many times as you want with different scenes to gain a more comprehensive vocabulary.
PS If your favourite show is from the UK, it’s even better!
2. Self talk recording: get that mic!
Everybody hates listening to their voice, we know. This exercise allows you to make sure you don’t make mistakes, and it helps you get more used to listening to your pronunciation and become more confident.
You could only speak in English for 30 minutes every day by using simple sentences or even reading some pages in English while recording your voice.
Remember that nobody is perfect, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes; the more you practice, the better you will become!
Where to practice English outside
1. Language Cafés: enjoy the company while you practice
If you’re more of an extroverted kind of person and you’re not afraid to speak publicly in English, then you should check international events in your city! Some cafes organise specific meetings, dinners or happy hours to practice languages in a friendly atmosphere.
You can check social media like Facebook groups to see if there are events like language meetups, English happy hours or social dinners.
2. Exchange students meetings: discover a new world
You can check University programs or meetup groups for exchange students where you could practice your English speaking abilities while enjoying a beer or even a typical dish with new people!
Have you ever heard about Erasmus programs? There are a lot of chances your city hosts many Erasmus students willing to learn about the city life and with whom you can speak in English. To find Erasmus students, you can check associations and groups on Facebook or your local university pages.
3. Au Pair groups on Facebook: meet new friends for life
Au pair programs allow you to live with a host family in a different country and help them with housekeeping or with kids while learning a new language and a foreign country lifestyle.
If you want to be a better English speaker while meeting new interesting people, you can check the Au Pair groups and events on Facebook in your town.
Since the program doesn’t include courses and lessons to meet new peers like the Erasmus exchange, you could be a precious friend and city guide for an Au Pair (especially if you have a car) while working on your English fluency!
These are the most fun, quick and practical techniques to become fluent in English in your day-to-day life; now it’s your turn! Choose the method that fits you better; remember to practice as much as possible and have fun!