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TheIndependentAquarius 08-26-2013 07:44 AM

How to practice spoken English when you are all alone?
 
I don't have anyone around me with whom I could communicate in English.

What are practical and non boring ways to practice spoken English when you are all alone?

273 08-26-2013 08:05 AM

I'm not sure you can practice alone without anyone to correct you. Apologies for assuming but from the few posts I've seen of yours here I think you're likely at the point where you could do with talking to people who can pick up on any little errors rather than being able to benefit from simply repeating phrases to yourself. You strike me as being more or less fluent in English from a technical standpoint so I think more advanced interaction could be what you need.
Can you talk to somebody on Skype? Do you use anything like Second Life you could use to chat?
Sadly there's no substitute for interaction and having somebody to correct any little mistakes you may have fallen into. You could spend years doing exercises by yourself and become technically proficient but miss some nuances and end up sounding very strange indeed or mispronouncing some words entirely.

Arcane 08-26-2013 08:55 AM

Easy! Play multiplayer games with chat. Unless you ask about verbal practice..in that case play multiplayer with voice chat.

AnanthaP 08-26-2013 09:20 AM

I second 273's suggestion. BUT how are you to know that you have chosen the right guy?

Long back, British Council used to have tapes in their library. In those days, you needed some practical tutor sessions for the teacher to tell you how to shape your mouth.

Eg: McCavity is a missstricat who kundifaaaye the low.

Nowadays, the same British Council is likely to have online or VCR lessons.

British Council or some equivalent should be OK.

OK

273 08-26-2013 09:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnanthaP (Post 5016213)
I second 273's suggestion. BUT how are you to know that you have chosen the right guy?

That's a good point. I think it depends upon your reason for learning English. If you wish to converse with native English speakers professionally then you will need to speak to a native English speaker (US, UK, Canadian, Australian etc.) or you could end up with a peculiar dialect that could confuse native speakers. I think sometimes when people learn English with others for whom it is a second language they can fall into strange sentence structures and pronunciations that can confuse native speakers. I mean that with the utmost respect, by the way, since as an English person I have managed to get away with never really learning another language and I have a great deal of admiration for people who learn languages. I have been lucky enough to speak English with people from several countries and it never ceases to amaze me how well people can learn such an illogical and baffling language as English.

Habitual 08-26-2013 12:01 PM

Skype with English-speaking contacts?

dugan 08-26-2013 12:11 PM

Get your husband interested in practicing English too.

SAbhi 08-26-2013 12:12 PM

Quote:

I don't have anyone around me with whom I could communicate in English.

What are practical and non boring ways to practice spoken English when you are all alone?
The best way to learn english is start using it in your day 2 day life. I learned it myself without any help and was as alone as you are, so i started using it and started reading novels, tried to listen to the English news channels and marking the words i found difficult to understand, grabbing the accent of the words and then applying them. Eventually the funda is when you hear or see things happening you learn them faster.

H_TeXMeX_H 08-26-2013 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 273 (Post 5016236)
That's a good point. I think it depends upon your reason for learning English. If you wish to converse with native English speakers professionally then you will need to speak to a native English speaker (US, UK, Canadian, Australian etc.) or you could end up with a peculiar dialect that could confuse native speakers. I think sometimes when people learn English with others for whom it is a second language they can fall into strange sentence structures and pronunciations that can confuse native speakers. I mean that with the utmost respect, by the way, since as an English person I have managed to get away with never really learning another language and I have a great deal of admiration for people who learn languages. I have been lucky enough to speak English with people from several countries and it never ceases to amaze me how well people can learn such an illogical and baffling language as English.

I think you have it backwards. Someone learning English shouldn't have any problems communicating with anyone else that understands English. It's people who learn particular dialects of English that have problems communicating to others, because they use dialect-specific terms or sometimes it's just the way they speak that makes them almost unintelligible. As a quick example, although I know English quite well, I can't understand anything when someone speaks with an Irish accent. There are also some accents in England that are quite difficult to decipher. Other than that, I've been to pretty much every English speaking country and have had no problems communicating.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SAbhi (Post 5016331)
The best way to learn english is start using it in your day 2 day life. I learned it myself without any help and was as alone as you are, so i started using it and started reading novels, tried to listen to the English news channels and marking the words i found difficult to understand, grabbing the accent of the words and then applying them. Eventually the funda is when you hear or see things happening you learn them faster.

I agree. I think the best way to learn a language, and perhaps the only way to learn it fully is to live somewhere where it is spoken. You actually don't need to speak it too much yourself, but you do have to hear people conversing. TV would be a good start when you cannot live in a country where English is spoken. Books are good for the spelling (a real issue in English, in fact it may be unique to English as in many other languages things are written as you hear them) and grammar.

jamison20000e 08-26-2013 01:48 PM

You could "sing sing a song sing out loud sing out strong" :)

273 08-26-2013 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 5016361)
I think you have it backwards. Someone learning English shouldn't have any problems communicating with anyone else that understands English. It's people who learn particular dialects of English that have problems communicating to others, because they use dialect-specific terms or sometimes it's just the way they speak that makes them almost unintelligible. As a quick example, although I know English quite well, I can't understand anything when someone speaks with an Irish accent. There are also some accents in England that are quite difficult to decipher. Other than that, I've been to pretty much every English speaking country and have had no problems communicating.

What I am referring to is when people pick up pronunciation errors or arcane grammar from teachers or other speakers -- for example I don't think speaking a language with a friend to learn it is a good idea as you may well know what each other mean but you could be unintelligible to others. Then there are little quirks that people pick up or that they miss.
For example a colleague from India wasn't aware that "Daniel" and "Danielle" are pronounced differently -- I wouldn't be surprised if a teacher missed something like this and I'm almost certain a friend or relative would miss it. On the other side of the coin I used to get a lot of stick from a Norwegian girlfriend because I couldn't pronounce "" properly -- something so common to English people we don't notice each other when we mispronounce it (as I found out in my Norwegian class).
Of course if the goal is just to be able to chat with other people in a language then these little things don't matter but if one is learning for more formal reasons then details could matter.
I do tend to agree though that people with strong regional English accents are often a lot more difficult to understand than people for whom English is a second language.

gnashley 08-26-2013 03:10 PM

The most common (funny,wrong,hard-to-understand) thing I hear from English speakers from the sub-continent is the pronunciation of the 'v' as a 'w' -so that 'Valley' becomes 'Walley'. Of course there's a bit of a sing-song sound to most of those same peoples' English which is quite charming -and telling.

I get a kick out of trying to guess where different english speaking reporters are from -even though I've only been to one english-speaking country.

Hungry ghost 08-26-2013 06:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 5016361)
Books are good for the spelling (a real issue in English, in fact it may be unique to English as in many other languages things are written as you hear them)...

Pronunciation in English may be difficult (at least for me, sometimes) because not everything sounds as it's written. This may be funny, but as I've learned English mainly by reading and writing (with very little oral communication), I can spell properly most of the words I know in English, but I don't know how to pronounce some of them. For example, until recently I believed that the word "determine" was pronounced de-ter-mine ("mine" as in a gold mine), whereas it's more like de-ter-meen or de-ter-mean.

jefro 08-26-2013 08:02 PM

The best way is to get a good course and tape record your own speech. Listen and hopefully compare. A good ear helps in this case.

I'd have to second the choice of a live speaker via some internet free deal. It used to be one could find a cafe where one learns foreign languages. I speak Texan so you'd end up with some non-British words like "fixin to" or phrases like "this ain't my first rodeo."

When I had lived in other countries I still found that I was learning bad habits on the streets. Darn if the girls in Thailand didn't teach me women's words. Ended up sounding like a sissy.

k3lt01 08-26-2013 09:18 PM

Basically the best way to learn any language is by immersion, yes you may be alone with regards to those around you who can converse with you in English but there are many tools such as skype, which has been suggested numerous times already.

With regards to accents I would suggest you try communicating with someone who speaks Esturine English (English from the Thames Valley not including some "vulgar" London accents such as East London) or from a "global city" such as New York (again you need to stear clear of "vulgar" accents). These accents are what I call Global English and unless the person listening has a lead ear are intelligible in the majority of countries where English is an official language.


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