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Good English: by Prof. Gopalakrishnan.K

Good English: Podcast-23
Language: English

What Can You Do to Improve Your Spoken English? Or, how often does the cat get your tongue?
One of my colleagues got into a taxi the other day, and as she talked with the driver, she noticed that he spoke English very well. In fact his English was even better than some of her colleagues! “Where did you learn your English?” she asked. “Oh,” he replied, “I never went to college, ma’m. So while I’m driving around, I listen to the English radio stations for news and music. And if a foreigner gets in, I try to start a conversation with him in English. That’s how I learn it!”

There are many things which contribute to good spoken English, but an important question you should ask yourself is this: do you have the attitude?? Are you willing to try to start a conversation with an English speaker? Or do you feel as if “the cat did get your tongue”? – that whenever you try to speak in English, your tongue won’t behave itself and you can hardly make a sound?

How then can you improve your spoken English? How can you try to put your resolution to improve into practice? Here we will suggest a few concrete things you can do on your own (for little or no money) to improve your English – spoken English in particular.

1. Fall in love with English. Or, at least develop a feel for it.

2. Start loving words. Start reconstructing sentences. Read out passages loudly.. Talk to yourself. When you do something say, ironing, describe how you do it. Look at things say, a lock and try to describe it. What do you call the ‘handle’ of the lock? (it is called a shackle.) Observe everything and try to find words for the ordinary things that you see around.
3. Listen to the radio. You should find time to listen to good English programmes, newscasts and the BBC.
Also, find time to ‘hear’ TV. When you do something that does not require much concentration, switch on the television and listen. Chances are you might discover the right pronunciation of a word or the right usage of a phrase.
4. Watch information channels to improve your listening skills. Or, try watching Other channels to pick up bits of conversational English.

5. Watch a movie on your DVD player. Listen to a dialogue. Stop the player. Remember what you heard. Replay and hear it again.
6. Invite your English friend/teacher for dinner. Make it a point to talk only in English. Get your doubts clarified. Extract clues. Make the most of the evening.
7. Become a member of all libraries. Take books. Even if you don’t get time to read them, get familiarized with them. Note down words, phrases that interest you.
8. Join debating societies. Listen to debates, organize thoughts and start debating.
9 Go to watch English movies (preferably a week after the release so that the theatre will not be crowded) and listen to dialogues. Repeat the dialogues with the right intonation.
10. Listen to songs. Note the lyrics. Look up the meanings of words.
Find a true friend. Resolve to talk to him in English every day. Tell your friend to point out mistakes.

11. Read speeches like ‘speeches.’ See how difficult it is to convey an idea. (Nehru’s February 2 speech ‘A Glory Has Departed’ is a case in point.)

12. Make foreigners your friends. Understand their culture. Mastery of spoken English becomes complete only when you understand a bit of English culture also.
13. Never be shy. Shyness

14. Listen to popular songs. Write down the words. Carry a dictionary. Look for words.

gk.JPG15. Find a good friend. Resolve to talk in English for one hour everyday. Take this seriously and you will be fascinated to calibrate your own progress.

 
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2 Responses to “Good English: by Prof. Gopalakrishnan.K”

  1. Dear Mr. Gopalakrishnan,

    as a columnist with a vernacular daily news paper, I suggest my readers that, that (what you suggested in this podcast script) is the only way they would be able to learn English.

    Else it is very difficult for them to learn it and use it to their advantage in the IT driven world of today.

    But it is unfortunate that most of the students who have access to a library hardly take the pains of going through a daily news paper, leave along the books that would help them in other aspects, you have mentioned in your write up. They seldom go beyond the Sports and local event columns.

    Whoever had put in the text here could have been a little bit more ‘diligent’.

    Perhaps you, would be able to share your ideas about how and what you suggest your students from the not so-urban provinces.

    Best Regards
    anil

  2. A great experience! thanks a lot