When you’re learning English, it can be challenging to practise speaking, especially if you don’t have anyone to practise with. One way to help you do this is to record yourself speaking. Although it may feel a little strange at first, voice recording is a powerful tool that can help you hear how you sound, identify your strengths, and recognise areas for improvement.
Let’s look at how to improve your speaking using voice recording.
Improve vocabulary and grammar
Recording yourself speaking allows you to assess your vocabulary and grammar.
- Pick a topic from your coursebook or online. You could make some notes on what you’re going to say or speak about it spontaneously.
- Once you’ve finished recording yourself, listen and take notes of any grammatical mistakes you made or vocabulary issues you had. You can then work on these areas by doing extra practice online, or completing activities from your coursebook or workbook.
By doing this regularly, you’ll improve your use of different vocabulary and grammar structures, and become more comfortable and confident in using a wide variety of language.
Recording yourself speaking also allows you to focus on your pronunciation.
- Choose a short passage from a book, news article, or any English text and read it aloud while recording.
- Listen back to yourself and pay attention to your pronunciation. Are there any words or sounds you’re struggling with? Is your voice going up and down in the right places? Are you stressing the right syllables?
- Make a note of your answers to these questions. Try to focus on them next time you speak.
By identifying these areas to improve your pronunciation, you can make your English speaking sound more natural and fluent.
Increase the length of time you speak for
A great way to challenge yourself and improve your speaking skills is by increasing the amount of time you speak for, over time.
- Take discussion questions from coursebooks or look at some exam questions.
- Challenge yourself to speak for different time durations. Start with 30 seconds, then gradually build up to one minute or two minutes, or even longer.
This will help you build confidence in expressing your thoughts and encourage you to develop your answers to questions. It can also help you organise your ideas efficiently.
Monitor progress over time
By recording yourself speaking, you can follow your progress over time.
- Make it a habit to record yourself speaking on a regular basis, such as once a week or once every few days.
- Listen to your previous recordings and compare them to your current ones. Notice any improvements in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, fluency, or your general confidence in speaking.
Don’t forget to celebrate your progress and use it as motivation to continue practising and improving your English speaking skills.
How to improve your speaking using voice recording
When recording yourself speaking, there are three key areas to focus on to help you improve your skills: fluency, accuracy, and pronunciation. Here are some questions you can ask yourself during the recording process:
- Do I hesitate or pause frequently while speaking?
- Do I sound natural and confident?
- Have I learned linking words and phrases to help organise my speech?
To improve fluency, practice using linking words like ‘however’, ‘therefore’, ‘in addition’, and phrases such as ‘on the other hand’ or ‘as a result’. These will help you connect your ideas smoothly and express your opinion more effectively.
- Do I struggle with specific grammar points?
- Did I use grammatical structures and tenses correctly?
You can focus on speaking about events at different times (past, present, future) to practise your use of different tenses.
- Can I be understood?
- Do I use appropriate intonation and word stress?
- Are there any specific sounds or words I need to work on?
There are many benefits of recording yourself. It’s a great way to practise your speaking skills when you don’t have anyone to practise with, and it’s useful to hear yourself and build your confidence in your speaking abilities.
If you would like to learn more about how you can improve your pronunciation click here!
Match the words and phrases to their meaning.
- Word stress
- Linking words and phrases
- How correct something is
- When your voice rises and falls in a sentence or question
- In addition, however, although, on one hand, on the other hand, etc.
- When you can express yourself easily and in a natural-sounding way
- Past, present, future
- When you place emphasis on a specific sound