Many, who are studying English as a second language, often look for ways to improve speaking skills. It is because most students find that it is easier to learn to read and to listen in English as opposed to learning written and spoken English. It is usually due to the degree by which a student’s first language differs to English. It also relies on the exposure and opportunities the students gets to converse in English and put his or her learning into practice. Students may also face challenges in the four critical areas of learning to speak English, namely vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and the difference between spoken and written English. Overcoming these challenges is paramount to gaining success in any aspect of a student’s life be it academic, professional and personal.
The version of English language in use today is made up of one of the world’s largest and comprehensive vocabularies in comparison to other major languages around the world. Many international students will find aspects such as phrasal verbs, collocations and slang. Phrasal verbs are two-word phrases made up of an adverb and verb or a verb and a preposition. It can put forth dissimilar meanings, and it depends on the context used. For example, the terms “Backup” can be inferred to mean to reverse or to support and will depend on the circumstance of the sentence is used.
Collocations are a combination of words commonly used together to form meaningful phrases that cannot be phrased using any other words. In effect putting collocations in any other form, would just not sound right to a native speaker. Phrases such as “Do your best”, “Have a good time”, Break rules”, “make a mess” and “take a seat” are examples of commonly used collocations. Mastering collocations is essential as they help naturalise one’s speech and broaden student’s scope of expression. Slang is another aspect of English that international students need to master if they are to improve their speaking skills to a level that is intelligible to native speakers. Slang refers to phrases informally used in the vernacular of English speech such as “Cool,” “like,” “Yeah” and “no worries.” Proper use of these words and phrases at the correct time will ensure the student’s speech is instantly understandable to native speakers.
Students looking to master the afore-mentioned aspects of English expression and improving speaking skills can self-learn these and other parts of English speech online. A perfect example of an online resource available to students is English Club TV, which features programmes such as “Speak Up” and “Say It Right” that deal exclusively with improving English speaking skills.