Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Why record yourself speaking?

You want to get better at speaking English, but how?

Well, you do have a powerful communications device in your pocket.

Oh yes, that device.

You know that recording yourself speaking is a great way to judge where you're currently at with speaking, and measure your progress. So why aren't you doing it already?

Here are the most common reasons why, and some tips to help you start.

Excuse 1. I hate the sound of my voice on a recording. 

Look away, it's too frightening!

Solution: So does everyone else!  (I mean they hate their voices, they don't hate yours). Record yourself, then play it back when you're on your own. That way you won't be embarrassed by anyone else hearing it. You'll soon get used to how you sound.

Excuse 2. I recorded myself once and I thought my accent was really bad, so I didn't do it again.

It was like this!

Solution: Everyone thinks their pronunciation is better than it is until they hear themselves for the first time.  But if you record yourself once a week, keep studying and practising English, then play back all your recordings once a month at most, you'll soon start to see the process you're making.

Excuse 3. I've done it once or twice, but I kept forgetting and then I stopped.

All calendars have ladies with hats on them.

Solution: Set a regular time when you know you'll be at home, and that doesn't clash with any favourite TV shows etc. Set a weekly reminder on your phone so that you remember.  Then set a monthly reminder to re-listen to all your recordings.

Excuse 4. Sometimes I record myself, but I don't know how to get better at speaking.

That's what friends are for!

Solution: Find a friend to help you (it doesn't have to be a native speaker, just someone you can hear speaks more clearly than you). Record them saying the same words or phrases as you, and listen to the difference. Are there specific words or sounds that cause a problem for you? Is it to do with intonation or stress? Do you speak extremely fast, or do you pause every few words? Once you identify a specific problem, you can work on it till you see improvement.

Remember: don't try to lose your accent entirely, because it's part of who you are. And if you have a teacher, ask him or her how you can improve your spoken English - I'm sure they will have some suggestions!

Images taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @mkofab, @purple_steph, Oya Karabetca, @IsabelQuesada3, and Maria Bossa used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

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