Lesson 4
Learning To Speak

What do you need to speak at an advanced level of English?

Learning to speak at an advanced level of English requires two things:

  1. Learning a lot of vocabulary and structures
  2. Practising many hours

In the following lessons you’re going to learn a lot about verbs, structures and vocabulary, so, in this lesson, we will focus on what to do to practise your speaking as much as you can.

Ways to practise your speaking

There are three alternative ways to practise your speaking:

  1. Hire a private teacher: Without a doubt, the best choice is to hire a teacher because a good teacher can correct your mistakes.
  2. Do a language exchange: If you can’t have a teacher, the next best solution is to have a language exchange.
  3. Speak to yourself: Before we talk about this last alternative, let’s learn more about language exchanges.

  • What is a language exchange?
  • It’s an agreement between two people who speak different languages to teach each other their native language for free.  So, you exchange your knowledge of Spanish for a native speaker’s knowledge of English.


  • How long does a language exchange normally last?
  • Normally, one person teaches the other his own language for about 30 minutes and then they change roles.


  • Where can you find a language exchange?
  •  

    NEW: I really recommend to use the app Hellotalk (Android and IOS).

    Or, check this list of websites for practising your English:

     

    Is it easy to find the right language exchange?

    No, it’s not easy.


    Normally, the number of people trying to learn English exceeds the number of people trying to learn Spanish. This makes it hard to find English speaking partners.


    What can you do to find the right language exchange?


    You must be very perseverant to get the right person. Following these steps will also help:


    1) Sign up for an account on a site such as mylanguageexchange.  You can also try any of the other sites I have listed above. 


    2) Pay to have more chances to succeed.  Do not skimp, as it is not too much money. Note:  Please, take into account that we don’t have any agreement to promote these sites. This advice is only intended to help you to get the best deal.


    3) Send 30 emails, at least, to get your language exchange. Yes, you read correctly: “at least 30 emails”.  You’ll start getting results when you reach that number.


    4) Get at least two people (even better, three) to speak at different times. If one fails, you always have another.


    5) If you find natives, perfect, but if you don’t, do not close the doors completely to non-natives. You can speak to a non-native who has higher level of English than yours perfectly well. One of my students, for example, practises with a Greek man and an American woman. The Greek man has a good level of English but is not a native.

    6) The more chemistry there is between your language exchange partner and you, the more successful your speaking practise will be.  The best language exchanges are not always someone your age or with the same job or hobbies. What works is to share the same interests and topics for speaking.


    7) What can you talk about?

    Here you have a table of topics. Move between levels.  Remember that many advanced students sometimes don’t know the basics so it’s good to practice talking about very simple things. It is with these ‘beginners’ topics that you can improve your pronunciation because you won’t be worried about understanding the meaning or learning new words.

    Day of the week

    Beginner/low intermediate (A-2)

    Intermediate- Upper Intermediate (B1- B2)

    Advanced (C1)

    Monday

    100 most important words and pronunciation

    10 Common expressions in English

    Phrasal verbs in daily conversations

    Tuesday

    Introductions 1

    Modal verbs

    Family (advanced)

    Wednesday

    Introductions 2

    Movies

    48 Phrasal verbs

    Thursday

    Nationalities and languages

     

    Job interview questions

    Yard sale

    Friday

    Every day activities

    Family

    Get

    Saturday

    Conver

    Pets

    Expressions used at a restaurant

    Sunday

    What's London really like?
    Transcript here

    Uncountable nouns

    Alcohol and drinking



    8) How to make your language exchange last?

    If you find a great speaking partner, don’t let him/her go.  Prepare your Spanish lessons well, ask for feedback about your classes and correct his/her mistakes. In short, try to excel at teaching Spanish and create a lasting impression. In this way, your language exchange won’t feel the need to look for someone else or stop the speaking sessions.

    If you can’t find a language exchange for whatever reason, the only thing you can do is to try to speak to yourself.


    But how do you speak to yourself?

    Repeat sentences and paragraphs as much as you can.


    As I said before, we’ll learn to raise our speaking level with the audiobook  “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in the following lessons. Nevertheless, now I would like to give you more resources that you can use to increase your level of speaking by repeating sentences and paragraphs aloud.

    RESOURCES YOU CAN USE TO SPEAK ENGLISH WITH YOURSELF

    Day

    Beginner/Low Inter (A-2)

    Inter/Upper Inter

    (B1-B2)

    Advanced

    (C-1)

    Mondays

    Tom 1

    Tom 2

    Tom 3

    Tom 4

    Listen and repeat for about 11 minutes every Monday

    Exercise 1

    Exercise 2

    Exercise 3

    Exercise 4

    Tuesdays

    Minimal Pairs 1 

    Improve pronunciation

    Conversation practice  1

    Conversation practice 2 

    Conversation practice 3 

    Exercise 1

    Exercise 2 

    Exercise 3 

    Exercise 4

    Exercise 1

    Exercise 2

    Exercise 3

    Exercise 4

    Wednesdays

    Singular and plural forms

    Opposites

    Daily actions 

    I was thinking of

    Exercise 1

    Exercise 2 

    Exercise 3

    Exercise 4

    Exercise 1

    Exercise 2

    Exercise 3 

    Exercise 4

    Thursdays

    I must- I have to

    Everyday actions at home

    Classroom English

    Listen and repeat for about 15 minutes every Thursday

    Listen and repeat for about 15 minutos every Thursday

    Fridays

    Should and Could

    Adverbs of Frequency

    What did you do

    Past Simple

    Listen and repeat for about 6 minutes every Friday


    Listen and repeat for about  15 minutes every Friday

    Saturdays

    Listen and repeat approx. 15 minutes every week.

    Listen and repeat for about 5 minutes every Saturday

    Listen and repeat for about 10 minutes every Saturday

    Sundays

    Daily Routines

    Listen and repeat for about  7 minutes two Sundays

    Countries and nationalities

    Listen and repeat for about 6 minutes every Sunday

    Listen and repeat for about 8 minutes every Sunday


    Note: When I say “listen and repeat for about 6 minutes every  “X” day”, I mean that you should start with the first 6 minutes of the video in week 1, continue with the following 6 minutes in week 2 and so on until you have listened and repeated the entire recording.

    To sum up:

    There are three ways to practise your speaking:

    1. Hire a private teacher. This is the most expensive choice but it’s without a doubt the best. A good teacher should correct your mistakes and teach you structures and vocabulary that would be difficult to learn on your own.
    2. Do a language exchange. As it’s not too expensive, try paying a small fee to the language exchange site in order to have more opportunities to find the best partners to do the language exchange with. Be perseverant as it won’t be easy to find the right person.
    3. Talk to yourself. We’ll use the audiobook “The Picture of Dorian Gray” as the main resource for speaking to yourself, but you should also make use of the list of resources I have included in this lesson.