en
  • Find tutor

Basic Areas of Proficiency in Speaking

Julia Kalaputi
Julia Kalaputi
Book lesson

Vocabulary

One way of improving your overall proficiency in speaking is by building your vocabulary. A wide range of vocabulary is not enough to be able to keep going on with speaking. Using appropriate words, knowing the technical vocabulary, and using idiomatic language will all add up to your speaking ability. Most importantly, choosing words that go well together will make you sound more coherent.

In the Oxford 5000 dictionary, you can find the most useful high-level words. Symbols are included to show the English level of a word, phrase, or meaning. For example, a word that has a B1 symbol is a word that learners at the B1 level are expected to use.

Fluency

A confident speaker knows how to connect their ideas by using linking words regardless of the content. Whether you are engaged in an informal or formal context, you must organise your sentences by connecting them appropriately and precisely. Also, finding a way to explain yourself even when you do not know the right word is a skill every learner should master. You do not have to be a native speaker to sound natural.

Tips: If you don’t remember the word you wanted or you simply don’t know it, expand your sentence with a description. For the word “cottage,” you can say, “a small house, typical of the English countryside.” To clarify your sentences and connect your ideas, look for the appropriate linking word.

Grammar accuracy

Correct grammar overlaps with vocabulary and fluency as they all contribute to meaningful communication. However, if you want to communicate your message confidently, solid grammar is the key to proficient speaking. For example, make sure you use the articles correctly. Even if your native language has a system of articles, the rules may vary. For a smoothly flowing conversation, the correct use of modal verbs is also necessary.

Do you know that the use of the modal verb “must” to indicate a strong obligation has declined in spoken English? The forms “have to,” “(have) got to,” and “need to” are more frequently used instead. However, this is not the case with written English, where “must” is still widely used.

Pronunciation

Our voice and pronunciation are the first things people notice when we speak. As the saying goes, “it’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it.” Pronunciation plays an important role in successful communication. The correct pronunciation is about intelligibility, which means being understood. The basic skills for clarity and precision in pronunciation are: speaking clearly; emphasising words that convey particular meaning; and getting the stress right on long words.

Tips: Pay attention to aspects of pronunciation like stress, rhythm, intonation, and pausing. Stressing a less important word in a sentence may cause misunderstanding. Also, different intonations can communicate different meanings. For example, rising intonation is common in “yes/no” questions, whereas falling intonation is commonly used with “wh” questions.

Language Learning

Julia Kalaputi

EFL Teacher and Social Science Educator Helping students achieve desired learning outcomes Writing articles, and poetry Volunteering in translating TED Talks

Book private lesson
per hour
trial hour

Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

Valentina Dordevic

Hello! My name is Valentina. Book digesting is my specialty. I transform book ideas into easy-to-follow summaries, articles, study guides, reviews, essays, analyses, slides, or e-books.

Beth Taylor

Hello! My name is Beth. I'm from France. I'm a French and English native speaker and I really like writing.