6 Easy Ways to Practice Speaking English on
Many of our ConfidentVoice.com students have
asked for ways they can practice their spoken English on
their own. Here are six strategies you can use to practice
speaking English at home. Students studying English
pronunciation in American universities commonly use these
Make a list of words that you use frequently and look them
up in an online dictionary that uses American English
pronunciation audio files. Two online dictionaries that I
recommend are merriam-webster.com and dictionary.com. Using a
dictionary, find each word on your list. Play the audio file to
listen and repeat the word several times. Then say the word in
a sentence. Do this several times a week until you can say all
the words on your list with confidence.
Talk to some trusted friends or coworkers and tell them that
you are working on improving your pronunciation. Ask them to
correct you when you are in private conversations. Friends and
coworkers often want to help but they usually don’t know how to
approach you without hurting your feelings.
Speaking is physical so put your hand on your face, throat
and jaw to feel the way your face moves when you say American
English sounds. Be aware of the way your tongue touches the
different parts of your mouth when you speak. (Of course you
want to do this in the privacy of your own home!)
Many public speakers and actors ‘rehearse’ what they are
going to say when they are alone. When you have an upcoming
situation where you know you will be required to speak English,
practice the situation aloud paying attention to the speech
features (stress, consonant clusters) that you are working
When you are watching an American television program or
movie choose a character to ‘mirror’. As soon as your character
starts to speak say exactly what he or she is saying as they
say it. Mirror your character’s speech for about 15 seconds at
a time. This will help you get a feel for American English
intonation and stress patterns.
One excellent way to monitor your own progress is to make a
recording of your voice. Here is one way to do it. Take some
text and mark the features that you are trying to improve on:
syllable stress, intonation, etc. Then record yourself saying
the text. When you are done recording used the marked text to
judge your accuracy. If you are not happy with your recording
try it again. (Take a look at the Mini Lesson below to read
more about this process).
Remember, short frequent speaking
practice will bring better results than
practicing for a longer duration only once a week!
Mini Lesson: Marking and
One technique you can use to improve your
English pronunciation is to mark sentences or a paragraph
with the speech features you are working on, and then record
yourself to practice these features. (See tip #6 in the list
of strategies above).
In this mini-lesson you will mark the
intonation patterns in four different sentences and then
make a recording. (You learned about intonation patterns
in the previous lesson).
First, decide which type of intonation to use
for each sentence, rising-falling or rising. Then mark each
sentence with arrows ?.
Here are the sentences.
1. When are they coming?
2. Are they coming over this evening?
3. They’re bringing a pizza.
4. They’re bringing a pizza?
Second, record each sentence using your computer, phone or
other device. Third, play back the sentences and listen to see
if you pronounced the intonation patterns correctly.
Here are the correct intonation patterns; 1.
RF, 2. R, 3. RF, 4. R
When you are done you can click below to listen
to each sentence.
Insight: American English
An idiom is a unique expression in which the meaning cannot
necessarily be understood from the literal definitions of the
In this lesson, I’ve chosen two more of my favorite
food idioms to share with you.
The first idiom is: couch potato
In American English a couch potato is a person who spends
their free time sitting on the couch in front of the television
eating junk food. As you can imagine, if someone calls you a
couch potato it is NOT a complement!
For example: If my brother has been sitting in front of the
TV all weekend I might say, “Come on Peter, don’t be such a
couch potato, let’s go for a walk”.
The second idiom is: food for thought
Food for thought refers to an idea is important and
therefore worth thinking about or considering. For example: If
my sister tells me that I should go to a particular store to
get a good bargain on clothing I might say, “Hmm, that’s food
for thought, thanks for the suggestion”.
Click below here to listen and say each idiom in a
1. Come on Peter, don’t be such a couch potato!
2. What a great idea, that’s definitely food for
features sets of sentences and dialogs that
you can use to listen and repeat American
English. The sentences and dialogs are
arranged by topics such as Travel, Business
English and Interview Questions. The
narrator’s American English pronunciation is
very clear and he is easy to understand.
Click on the image to go to the site