English has fast become the world’s unifying language, spoken by over 340 million Native speakers and a further 267 million who speak English as a second language. It results in an enormous international demand from those who wish to learn English. However, the intricacies of English pronunciation and speech as well as the subtleties of English grammar leave many foreign students lacking confidence in the accuracy of their ability to speak proper English. Fluency in English however can be achieved if students are properly motivated and committed and practice on a regular basis.
The best approach to learning a language as complex as English is to do so as if one were learning one’s mother tongue, which is by listening. By the simple act of actively listening to others speak both formally and informally, students can learn to absorb the intricacies of the English language. It is crucial that students focus on understanding the various usages of words, terms and phrases. Also learn how to incorporate these into proper sentences if one’s speech is to sound natural to a native speaker. It is the reason regular practice by oneself or with others is crucial to achieving fluency in the English language.
To do this, students must spend a considerable amount of time in the company of and listen to native speakers. Particular attention must be paid to how use words and phrases to articulate their speech. Listening to speakers on television is a good way to learn how native speakers incorporate idioms into their speech to make it sound natural. It is best to view television programmes of a more serialised and episodic nature as opposed to news reports. The English used in these reports is more of a formal nature and if one’s intention is to speak as fluently as native speakers then one must immerse oneself in informal speech. It does not mean that one should absorb everything, as many slang phrases and colloquialisms are not necessary and only have an adverse impact on fluent English. Students should always be attentive to pick up and absorb only the proper use of English without these negative influences.
The best method is for students to immerse themselves in informal English is to look for resources available online. One such channel is English Club TV, which is an excellent source for learning English and features many programmes that use informal English. The lessons are designed specifically to teach students how to speak English like native speakers.