- 說得快不等於流利Speaking faster does not equal better fluency
- 許多學生很容易在說英語時加快語速，好讓自己聽起來更流利。理論上，是的，這是合理的，然而在公開演講或觀看 TEDTalks 時，演講者通常會把語速放慢，並注重每個單詞的咬字是否清晰。為什麼？因為這樣會讓你聽起來更重要！把更多的重點放在你所說的每一個詞上，不僅可以讓你有更多的時間去思考和處理想表達的意思，還可以拉近聽眾的注意力。
- 將發音冗長繞口的詞彙拆解Break down those long and stringy vocabularies
- 許多學生在朗讀文章時，發現一個冗長或不熟悉的詞彙，就會停下來避免自己念錯覺得難堪。然而，閱讀和發音也是一個試錯的過程。 Vo-ca-bu-la-ry，res-pon-si-bi-li-ty，a-no-ny-mo-us-ly，用元音分解它們，可以放慢速度但要避免停頓，多練習幾次就會越來越流暢，並且抓到訣竅。
- 口音……讓人要嘛自豪，要嘛非常尷尬的東西Accents… the thing that learner is either super proud of or very embarrassed by
- “我想把英文說得像母語”“I want to speak like the native speakers.”
- 當我的學生表達這種願望時，我可以完全理解並感同身受。我自己早期在練習英文時也想像加拿大同齡人一樣說話。而最快速直接的方法就是多聽多練習，當你身處在全英文的環境，周遭都是英文母語的朋友同學，你也會淺移默化的被影響，不知不覺去學習模仿其他人說話。如果受限於環境，比較少接觸到英文，那就要想辦法踏出舒適圈，不管是去上英文口說家教，加入英文演講社團，參與跨國交流平台等等 (但請大家要注意自身安全，無論現實和網路都充滿各種騙局和危險！) 找自己喜歡、有興趣的事情，再加入英文的部分，幫自己創造練習英文的機會！
- 語言是文化交流的橋樑和工具，就如任何工具一樣，掌握它需要時間和練習Languages are tools to build bridges between cultures. Like any tool, it takes time and practice to master.
- 現在，走出去，開始練習說英文！🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻
I don’t pretend to be a language expert, but these are the tips and thoughts on improving English speaking my students found helpful during their learning journeys with me.
- Speaking faster does not equal better fluency
- A common thing many learners do is speed up their pace when speaking English to sound more fluent. In theory, yes, it makes sense. However, in public speaking or if you watch TEDTalks, the speakers usually presume a slower pace and announce each word with care. Why? Because it makes you sound more important! Put more weight on each of the words you are saying. This not only buys you more time to think and process but also draws your listener’s attention closer.
- Can’t pronounce a long and stringy vocabulary? Break it down!
- Pronunciation, just like many other skills, only improves when you come face to face with it. Many students would halt to a stop when they stumble upon a long or unfamiliar vocabulary while reading articles aloud. I understand. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves by doing something we are uncertain about. Nevertheless, reading and pronunciation are also a process of trial and error. Vo-ca-bu-la-ry, res-pon-si-bi-li-ty, a-no-ny-mo-us-ly. Break them down with vowels and try tackling them before coming to a full stop.
- Accents… the thing that learner is either super proud of or very embarrassed by
- I have taught students from various backgrounds, including Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea. Everyone has expressed thoughts of wanting to sound like a native speaker. Everyone wants to know how to ‘improve’ their accents (or get rid of their own accents with hints of their mother tongue). I’d say travel to English-speaking countries if time and finances allow. See for yourself just how many accents there are and how they tell a story of where we come from and where we are going. From the United Kingdom to New Zealand, accents vary from city to city and neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
- “I want to speak like the native speakers.”
- This is a tough one. I can completely relate to my students when they express this desire. At the early stage of language learning, I also wanted to speak like my Canadian peers. To some degree, I have achieved that. Yet, that’s also when I realised that perhaps it is not about sounding like a native but more like yourself. Mimicry is beneficial for language learning, but when you have a good grasp of the language at a more advanced level, it may be helpful to develop your preferred way of speaking. After all, unlike many native English speakers, we know at least two languages. Being bilingual or trilingual definitely alters our perception of a language and influences how we speak.
- Languages are tools to build bridges between cultures. Like any tool, it takes time to master.
- Sounds very wise, eh? I just came up with that, actually. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that learning a language takes time. Many of you may be used to the idea of taking a proficiency test such as TOEFL, IELTS and TOEIC to assess your own language level. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that language tests, however well-designed, only reveal how good you are at taking them. Know that learning a language is a lifetime endeavour. To put it simply. Language is a tool to communicate and express yourself to others from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds. As long as the others understand what you are trying to convey, that is a job well done.
- Now, go out there, and get speaking! 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻