3 Rules for Learning Spoken English

This article explains three rules that you must follow in order to learn spoken English. These three rules help you retrain your mind and tongue simultaneously so that you will learn to speak fluent English quickly.

There are three simple rules you must follow when you are learning to speak English:

3 Rules for Learning Spoken English

1. To learn to speak English correctly, you must speak it aloud

When you are studying spoken English, it is important that you speak loudly and clearly. You are training your mind to respond to a new pattern of proprioceptive and auditory stimuli. This can only be done when you are speaking aloud at full volume.

One of the reasons that your English studies in school required so much time while producing such poor results is that none of the silent studies did anything to train your tongue to speak English.

2. To learn to speak English fluently, one must think in English

The proprioceptive sense is not all that you are retraining when you learn spoken English. There is cognitive learning (memory) which must also take place. Grammar-based English instruction has emphasised cognitive learning to the exclusion of retraining the proprioceptive sense. Nonetheless, cognitive learning is an important part of learning to speak English fluently.

Your mind must be actively involved in the construction of syntax for speech to occur. The more actively your mind participates in spoken English, the more effective your learning process will be.

However, just as you will hinder proprioceptive training by trying to study silently, so you will also limit cognitive learning by reading from a text rather than constructing the syntax in your own mind. If you are studying English with Spoken English Learned Quickly, you may use the written text when you first study a new exercise. However, after repeating the exercise two or three times, you must close the text and do the exercise from recall memory as you listen to the audio recording. You must force your mind to think in English by using your recall memory when you are studying spoken exercises. You can't read from a book.

I will come back to this later in Chapter 5: Selecting a Text, because there will be times when reading from a text such as a newspaper is an effective language learning tool. But when you are doing sentence responses with recorded exercises, you must force your mind to develop the syntax by doing the exercise without reading from a text.

You are not thinking in English if you are reading. Making your mind work in order to think of the response is an important part of learning to speak English.

3. The more you speak English aloud, the more quickly you will learn to speak it fluently

Proprioceptive retraining is not instantaneous. It will require a great deal of repetition to build the new language patterns in your mind. As these new patterns develop, there will be a progression from a laborious, conscious effort, to speech that is reproduced rapidly and unconsciously.

When you speak your first language, you do so with no conscious awareness of tongue or mouth position and the airflow through the vocal cords. In contrast, it requires experimentation and conscious effort when you first attempt to make an unknown discrete sound in English—this single sound, usually represented by one letter, is called a phoneme. Some of the new sounds will be relatively simple for you to make. Others will be more difficult.

To add to the complexity, each phoneme has other phonemes or stops adjacent to it that change its sound slightly. (A stop is a break caused by momentarily restricting the airflow with the tongue or throat)

For example, the simple English sentence, "Why didn't that work?" may be difficult for you to pronounce if your language does not use the English "th" sound. But it may give you difficulty for another reason as well. There are actually two stops in the sentence. When properly pronounced, there is a stop between the "n" and the "t" in "didn't" and another stop between the final "t" in "didn't" and the first "t" in "that." Even though the sentence may be said very quickly, the two stops would make it, "Why didn / t / that work?"

Your objective is not to be able to write the sentence, "Why didn't that work?" accurately in English. Your goal isn't even to be able to say it well enough for someone to figure out what you're saying. Your objective is to be able to say, "Why didn't that work?" so perfectly to an American that she would think she had just been asked the question by a fellow American.

That degree of perfection will require thousands, if not tens of thousands, of repetitions. Therefore, to be somewhat facetious, the more quickly you correctly repeat a particularly difficult phoneme ten thousand times, the more quickly you will be able to use it fluently. That is what I mean when I say, "The more you speak English aloud, the more quickly you will learn to speak fluently."

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