Tips for Speaking in English

Over the years my students from any level asked me how they can speak English better. I have the same answer every time: Listen to English all the time! Pick up your favorite movie in English and watch it with subtitles. Have it play in the background as you are hanging out in your house or cleaning. Turn on a radio station that has mostly conversations and listen to them, even if you do not have any idea what they are talking about. I give this advice out of my own experience. I know it works! Let me tell you how I know it:

When I was in college learning English, I used to go to sleep with my “Walkman” playing my favorite TV show “Perfect Strangers” over and over again. During those days, the main TV channel decided to provide the English audio on the radio for some shows as they were broadcast on TV. I had a friend with a cassette recorder and he recorded these shows for me. So I would take these cassettes and play them as I went to sleep. I remember falling asleep and then waking up with the “click, click” of the Walkman shutting off, signaling the end of the recording. Sometimes in my sleep I would reverse the cassette to “listen to” the other side, which usually had another episode. [Does this seem like I went to great lengths to overcome some obstacles to learn how to speak English?]

My family did not have a VHS player, so I did not have a way to watch anything in English, unless I went to the movies in English with Turkish subtitles, which was not very often. So I used what I had and made the best of it. I know you can, too. We live in an age where technology made everything so accessible.. We hear what happens on the other side of the world in an instant. Social media is an amazing network that connects people.

These days, with technology at our fingertips, people with some motivation will find a lot of resources to listen to and watch programs in English. If you live in a region where English is spoken, you are lucky because you can practice English wherever you go if you choose to. [There comes the motivation part.]