lunes, 5 de mayo de 2014

English Conversation Tips

 English Conversation Tips

Nothing helps your speaking more than practising with others.

In a controlled environment (i.e. a classroom) speaking English with others is relatively easy, as you're probably practising particular expressions or vocabulary.
But in the outside world, conversations can be a lot more unpredictable and things can go wrong in conversations. Maybe you don't understand the other person – or maybe they don't understand you. Maybe you're talking about a difficult subject with technical vocabulary, or maybe the other person uses a lot of slang or English idioms that you don't understand. Here are some tips and strategies for when there are communication problems.

You don't know the word

Sometimes we forget the right word, or we realise as we're speaking that we don't know the word we need. We can also forget the word if we are under pressure, such as in an exam. But the important thing is to keep going – don't let the conversation stop! If you don't know the word, try to say it in another way. Define it, give an example, or give a synonym.
For example, if you can't remember the word "mug" you can try these:
"It's something you can drink coffee from."
"You can use it to drink coffee from."
"It's used for coffee."
Examples, explanations and descriptions
"It's made of china. You use it for drinking coffee."
"It's bigger than a cup."
"It's like a cup, but bigger."
"It's similar to… (a cup)."
"It's a kind of … (cup)."
The other person doesn't understand youYou'll probably guess that this has happened from the blank look on the other person's face.
Ask a question such as "Do you know what I mean?" or "Sorry, have I lost you?"
Or use a rephrasing phrase, such as "Let me say that again", or "Let me put that another way."

You run out of things to say

A conversation should be two-way. If you find that you are talking all the time, or if you don't have anything else left to say, get the other person to contribute by asking a question.
You can try a short question:
"We tried out the new Chinese restaurant last night."
"Did you?"
Or you can ask a more direct question, such as "What do you think?" or "what's your opinion?"

You don't know how to end the conversation

Some conversations should be short. For example, asking someone for directions, giving directions, asking for information in a shop are all situations where the conversation comes to a natural end. In these situations, a simple "Thank you" (where the typical response is "You're welcome" or "Not at all") shows both people that the conversation is over.
But in other situations, you might just be chatting, with no particular purpose. End the conversation with a phrase like "I'd better get going" or "I think that's my bus / train" (if you're waiting for public transport, say) to end the conversation naturally.

How to practise your English Speaking

How to practise your English Speaking

If you don't live in an English-speaking country, and you don't have friends or family to speak English with, where can you practise your English speaking skills?
It's easier to have a conversation if you have a reason to speak – something to talk about. These ideas all give you a reason to speak with another person.
Start a film or book club
Invite people to discuss a film that you all watch together, or a book that you are all reading. Prepare questions before, to help people talk about specific aspects.
Volunteer to help other people
Does your town or company often welcome foreign guests? Can you offer to translate for them? Or perhaps you can offer to help children or students with their English homework.
Take part in a film conversation
Watch a film on DVD, and decide in which part you can speak with the film character. Listen to what the character says (and the reply) then rewind, and either mute or pause the DVD after the film character speaks. Take the other character's role, and reply to the first character. You can also find film scripts on the IMDb site. Print it out, then practise taking a role in the film.
Use Skype
Chat with other people in a penpal forum via Skype. You can get to know them first by writing to them, then invite them for a conversation.
Take English lessons
This is the most expensive option, but paying for private or group lessons is a good way to regularly practise your English. If you have a job, maybe your company can also arrange lessons for you.
Before you start speaking
- Try to plan what you want to say. Make sure you know the most important words or technical terms that you'll need.
- Practise standard expressions. For example, "Pleased to meet you", or "How are you?" Getting these expressions right makes you feel more confident to continue the conversation.
- As well as concentrating on what you want to say, also concentrate on listening to the other person. Give your full attention, and make sure you understand by using clarifying expressions such as "Sorry, do you mean…" or "I'm sorry, but I don't understand. Can you repeat that please?" Don't forget: being a good speaker also means being a good listener. People will want to have conversations with you if they know you're interested in what they say!

Being Friendly in English

Being Friendly in English

Having good social skills is important if you want to make a good impression on the people you meet. Here's some advice on what is considered polite or impolite in English-speaking cultures.
1. Please, thank you, excuse me and I'm sorry
These polite expressions are used a lot in spoken English, and not using them can make you appear rude. As politeness is considered perhaps the most important quality in relationships, make sure you use them! Don't worry if you think you use them too frequently: the worst that people will think of you is that you are sweet and charming:))
Please = use whenever you want someone to do something for you, or if you want something from another person
Can you tell me where the post office is, please?
Can you pass me that newspaper please?
Never use imperative forms unless you are giving someone directions. So although you can say to someone "Take the 130 bus to Croydon and get off at Asda supermarket", you can't say to someone "Pass me that newspaper".
Thank you = use whenever someone does something for you, or gives you something.
Excuse me = use when you want to introduce a request to someone, or if you want to get past someone
Excuse me, can you tell me where the post office is, please?
Excuse me, is this the right platform for the London train?
I'm sorry = use any time that you inconvenience someone, tread on someone's toes in a crowded train, or if someone asks you something that you can't do.
I'm sorry, but I don't understand. Is the post office on the left or the right?
Is Mr Jones in the office?
I'm sorry, he's out this morning.
2. Ask permission before doing something that may inconvenience others
Do you mind if I open the window?
Can I take this chair?
3. Avoid controversial topics when you meet someone new
Some topics of conversation can lead to arguments, so unless you know someone well, it's best to avoid them. These topics are politics, religion and financial information such as how much money you earn. If you are in doubt about what to talk about, let the other person take the lead, and respond to them. This leads on to the next point:
4. Keep the conversation going
If someone asks you a question, respond to it. Avoid one-word answers, and try to say at least a few words. Then you can return the question.
For example, if someone says "Terrible weather, isn't it", avoid just saying "yes". Instead you can say "Yes, I wish it would stop raining" or "Yes, it wasn't like this last summer, was it?"
Some cultural tips
- in Britain, queuing is considered polite. If you "jump the queue" (go to the front, rather than stand behind the last person in the queue) or push the people in front of you, you will make yourself very unpopular!
- don't stand too close to people. Stand at least an arm's length away if you can. On crowded public transport this isn't possible, but people rarely talk to each other in these situations.
- keep eye contact when you talk

The Best English Speaking Skills

The best English Speaking Skills

Improving your English speaking skills will help you communicate more easily and effectively. But how do you become a more confident English speaker?

Practise where you can, when you can. Any practice is good – whether you speak to someone who is a native English speaker or not.
It's important to build your confidence. If possible, use simple English sentence structure that you know is correct, so that you can concentrate on getting your message across.
Try to experiment with the English you know. Use words and phrases you know in new situations. Native English speakers are more likely to correct you if you use the wrong word than if you use the wrong grammar. Experimenting with vocabulary is a really good way of getting feedback.
Try to respond to what people say to you. You can often get clues to what people think by looking at their body language. Respond to them in a natural way.
Try NOT to translate into and from your own language. This takes too much time and will make you more hesitant.
If you forget a word, do what native English speakers do all the time, and say things that 'fill' the conversation. This is better than keeping completely silent. Try using um, or er, if you forget the word.
Don't speak too fast! It's important to use a natural rhythm when speaking English, but if you speak too fast it will be difficult for people to understand you.
Try to relax when you speak – you'll find your mouth does most of the pronunciation work for you. When you speak English at normal speed, you'll discover that many of the pronunciation skills, such as linking between words, will happen automatically.

Remember, when speaking English…

Try to become less hesitant and more confident.
Don't be shy to speak – the more you do it, the more confident you'll become.
Remember to be polite – use "please" and "thank you" if you ask someone to do something for you.