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how to improve speaking skill

By maha_ayan Sep 26, 2014 7629 Words
My interest in speaking skill comes from my personal experience of learning English. When I was in high school, where we were engaged inpassive learning and instructed mostly about grammar rules for English; I lost interest in English, feeling it was just too hard for me. Even though I had a good understanding of English grammar, it did not help much. After I got into the university, I took a survival English class in a non-intensive institute. There, I found another way of learning English. I became interested in speaking in English to communicate with others.That was my real beginning of learning English.It is hopeful that most second/foreign language teaching today does not only focuson massive memorization of vocabulary and grammar rules. It seems that people now believe learning language to communicate is more important than learning about the language. Recently, the categories and the contents of the TOFEL test, one of the most popular and reliable English tests for foreigners,have been changed by making an effort to test more communicative ability than before. Testing grammar is no longer part of the test and testing speaking ability has been added tothe test. Also, testing each section of listening, speaking, reading, and writing separately has been replaced by more integrated tests of all skills. Now, the new test seems to focus more on evaluating communicative ability. It reflects the current trend and perceived needs of learning English as a second/foreign language

Thesis Statement
How English language speaking skill can be improve?
People living under this new economic order are pushed to learn this common language. However, in what ways should we learn it. Being able to keep a fluent conversation with a native speaker is viewed as the main goal which underlines the importance of speaking skills. The students have found some troubles to improve their speaking skills. Different approaches of teaching-learning English are different in the ways to prepare their English to master the speaking skills, just not in the classroom but in the real life. The obstacles of mastery of speaking English language depend on the difficulties of language application, so that wanted the suitable method in learning English. Speaking skill needs the instruments that stress the students to act their language in communications or conversations with the classmates.

The word language “seems to have been derived from the Latin words, “Lingua,” which implies “tongue “. The French term,” language” also refers to a specific from of speech .Hence, in the whole process of language teaching, spoken language occupies an important place. Ballard says,” talking comes before writing, oral composition before written composition. (Dash, 2004, p.165-166)

Speaking is the productive skill in the oral mode. It, like the other skills, is more complicated than it seems at first and involves more than just pronouncing words Josh Billings says
“Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute”.
Speaking as a skill
For most people, the ability to speak a foreign language is synonymous with knowing that language because speech is for them the basic means of human communication. English learners no longer expect the traditional approach of their teachers based on developing mainly the grammatical competence and using methodology popular in the past. Today, teachers are expected to provide their students with useful active knowledge of the foreign language, not just theory about the language. Communicative approach focuses on a balance between fluency and accuracy and is the most suitable for those students whose aim is to gain confidence in speaking and conversational abilities. Nevertheless, speaking in a foreign language has often been viewed as the most demanding of the four skills. “While listening and reading involve the ability to correctly receive messages and are therefore referred to as receptive skills, speaking and writing, on the other hand, involve language production and are referred to as productive skills.” (Harmer 1995, 16) Producing spoken language has often meant a difficulty and an obstacle for English learners. There might arise a question why. The answer is obvious. In the natural spoken language students are required to be aware of characteristics of fluent speech, such as reduced forms, use of slang or idioms, fixed phrases, collocations and most importantly the pace of speech. All of these have to be taken into consideration while practising conversation in class. Without these, our spoken language would sound bookish and unnatural. To avoid this, it is essential to introduce and practise “real” communication with our students within the learning process. If it is neglected, it may be a reason why students are often shocked and disappointed when using a foreign language for the first time whilst interacting in foreign environment. They have not been prepared for spontaneous communication and could not cope with all of its simultaneous demands. The embarrassment is usually caused by students’ inability to adjust to native speakers’ speech. This is natural and adjures patience while learning to speak or communicate in a foreign language. As I already mentioned, native speakers are a great support and the opportunity to communicate with them means even greater encouragement for our students. Although it is quite demanding for students to keep up in conversation with them, they take it as an advantage in their studies. Most English learners are actually familiar with the fact that the best way to advance their speaking skills is adjusting to it in an English speaking environment. Difference between speaking and conversation

Although the terms “speaking” and “conversation” may seem clear, they often get misunderstood. Speaking as a skill taught at schools presents the student’s ability to express his or her opinions, thoughts and ideas to a particular matter. Speaking practice, which is usually based on story telling, giving speech or presentation, is the necessity for later successful conversation. Nevertheless, the focus on speaking activities has diminished in recent years. This has been caused by many factors, especially by realizing the need of everyday communication.

NOLASCO, Rob & ARTHUR, Lois. Conversation. Oxford : Oxford University Press 1987, 150p., ISBN: 0-19-437096-8 Nolasco (1987, 3) mentions that being able to speak reasonably correct and even fluent English is one thing, but being able to engage in on-going, interactive, mentally satisfying conversation is another. Conversation is such a natural part of our lives that many people are not conscious of what happens within it. However, conversation follows certain rules which should be obeyed in order for participants to feel relaxed and be satisfied with it. Arthur (1987, 5) adds that the main purpose of conversation is the exchange of information among people. While communicating, our students may find themselves in different social situations playing various social roles and the main task for language teachers is to prepare them for these real situations they might participate in. This also includes leading students to develop the ability to initiate and sustain conversation whenever it occurs.

Speaking situation

There are three kinds of speaking situations in which we find ourselves:

Partially interactive, and

Interactive speaking situations include face-to-face conversations and telephone calls, in which we are alternately listening and speaking, and in which we have a chance to ask for clarification, repetition, or slower speech from our conversation partner. Some speaking situations are partially interactive, such as when giving a speech to a live audience, where the convention is that the audience does not interrupt the speech. The speaker nevertheless can see the audience and judge from the expressions on their faces and body language whether or not he or she is being understood. Some few speaking situations may be totally non-interactive, such as when recording a speech for a radio broadcast.

Micro skill

Here are some of the micro-skills involved in speaking. The speaker has to:-

Pronounce the distinctive sounds of a language clearly enough so that people can distinguish them. This includes making tonal distinctions. Use stress and rhythmic patterns, and intonation patterns of the language clearly enough so that people can understand what is said. Use the correct forms of words. This may mean, for example, changes in the tense, case, or gender. Put words together in correct word order.

Use vocabulary appropriately.
Use the register or language variety that is appropriate to the situation and the relationship to the conversation partner. Make clear to the listener the main sentence constituents, such as subject, verb, object, by whatever means the language uses. Make the main ideas stand out from supporting ideas or information. Make the discourse hang together so that people can follow what you are saying.

Importance of Speaking English

By speaking we do not mean merely uttering words through mouth. It means conveying the message through the words of mouth. This skill is also neglected in our classrooms students do not get any chance either in the classroom or outside to speak English. Speaking is not a part of our examination. Learning to speak also demands a lot of practice and attention. We learn to speak our mother tongue just by listening and repeating. Teacher can adopt the same natural way he can give them certain structure and ask them to repeat. This will remove their shyness. He can give those drills in the basic patterns of language (Mumtaz, 2007).

We learn to speak our mother tongue by imitating those who speak around us .In a similar manner , a foreign language is learnt by imitation and reproduction .in the early stage ,parrot like repetition is more important then understand the various part of sentence or formulating ideas in desired patterns. It is just like learning some skills as driving or knitting. The rule follow is, “practice makes man perfect”. Teacher should produce them at his will. The teacher should therefore, drill practice in the basic pattern of language so that they become automatic with pupils (Hashmi, 1991).

A speech will be characterized by a long turn (a speaker speaking without interruption), whereas, when we talk to friends there will be short turns, where people say a few words and then someone else contributes, and so on.

It is likely that different topics will be discussed in these situations. In a work context there is likely to be a set topic and issues outside those related to work may not be acceptable. The formality of the language will also vary because the power relationship between friends is equal, but this is not the case when speaking to a boss. This may affect who initiates conversational exchanges – typically the person with more power or authority – and also the choice of vocabulary used.

The discussion with the newsagent may be ‘transactional’ in nature. She asks for a certain amount of money, you give it, say thank you, and leave. There is unlikely to be any development beyond what is essential for the transaction to be completed. This is obviously different to speaking to a friend, where there is no transaction as such, and the purpose is to build or maintain social relationships (Watkins, 2007, P.81)

Different Levels of speaking.

Learning of speaking skill for a foreign learner of English language is a hard task. The habits of speech which facilitate the native speakers pose serious problems for the foreign learner. However, speaking skill can be divided into sub skills according to the level of the foreign learner. These sub skills can be called as of speaking .They are mentioned as follows.

1 Ability to pronounce phonemes of English:
First level of speaking English is the ability of the learner to pronounce or a basic sound of English. Pronunciation of sounds with good standard is very vital for the production of understandable speech. If sounds not pronounced correctly, communication can not take place between two interlocutors coming of two different areas .So it is necessary that a Learner can pronounce sounds with good standards.

2 Ability to use stress correctly on the syllables of the longer words: A speaker combines phonemes or sounds to make words which are basic meaningful unit of speech. When in a word there are more than one syllables in words are stressed or pronounced prominently. Such prominence gives rhythmic character to English speech If the syllables are stressed incorrectly .Vowel sounds will change the words will not give their meaning correctly and the listener will not be able to understand the speech.

3 Ability to use stress to emphasis
The correctly and stress syllables in words rightly .a speaker should be able to pronounce content words in a sentence. Native speakers of English do not pronounce every word of a sentence equal voice .They pronounce content words likes nouns , verbs etc. at high voice and grammar words like articles , preposition, pronouns at low voice ,this rhythmic characteristic of English speech is to be necessarily followed if a speaker wants to keep his speech understandable.

4 Ability to use correct intonation pattern:
Native speakers of English complete their sentence with the raise and fall voice in voice. These two patterns indicate the necessity and attitude of the speaker which make the speech highly communicative. These intonation patterns also serve as grammar purpose of the sentence and sometimes they serve a lexical purpose. So mastery over at least basic intonation patterns is highly necessary for a speaker of English.

5 Speaker should have the knowledge of grammar:
Accuracy of speech is based on the grammar rules of a language .So the foreign learner should have good knowledge of morphology and basic grammar rules.

6 Speakers should know formats for expression:
A Foreign learner should have ability to express his meaning with the help of set format of expression..For example he should be able to use “will “plus the base form of the verbs in order to express a decision as in this sentence “that’s ok .I’ll put it through the computer at the office if you can’t do the work”.

7 Ability to plan message:
In speech only linguistic and phonetic skills are not enough, a speaker should be able to interact successfully for this purpose he should be able to plan his message and use interactive routines. For example he should be able to ask someone for directions to a particular place like bank, office hospital, etc

8 Ability to use routines appropriately:

Meaningful use of language at interactive level is very complex. Here the speaker should have knowledge about the listener and the context .He should also be aware of the level of formality needed. For example if the speaker is an employee and requires disagreeing with his employer, he should be able to disagree politely (Bajwa, 2002).

Problems of speaking for second language learner.

Difficulties in learning correct speech habits English arise from several sources.

1. There is no correspondence between sound and symbols. For Pakistanis whose national language is highly phonetic, English pronunciation presents difficulties, particularly in clusters like “ough” that has many different sounds as found in ‘rough’ (raf) ‘plough’ (plow), ‘thought’ (thot), ‘drought’ (drot) and ‘naughty’ (naty). The sign “OU” has seven different vowel sounds as in cloud (clowd0, soul (sole), touch (tuch), youth (yooth) could (kud) bought (bot), journey (jurni).

Long ‘e’ (ee) sound is also very troublesome. It is represented by as many as seven vowel letters or signs, as in, me (mee), mete (meet), meat (meat), field (feeld), seize (seeze), cease (seez), police (poleece).

2. The silent letters are usually baffing because in Urdu we have very rare such occurrences. We come across silent in the medial position of such words as. But silent letters in English are found in all the three positions.

Initial Position: *Psychology, *Psalm, *Wrap etc.

Medial Position: *Debt, *Calm, *Adjustment etc.

Final Position: *Autumn, *Condemn etc.

3. Hard and Soft sounds create difficulties:

Letter ‘C’in Cat – hard sound.

Letter ‘C’ in Cinema – soft sound.

Letter ‘G’ in Get – hard sound.

Letter ‘G’ in Gem — soft sound.

4. The chief problems arise out of the contrasting patterns of the sounds of the mother tongue and English. Our students utter the sound of English letters I the pattern of Urdu.

5. Letters in English spellings do not correspond with their sounds. One letter ‘a’ gives different sounds in father, fate, late, cat, fall; ea; in beat, heart, break, ear, learn, bread gives different sounds; ‘U’ in but and put causes a lot of confusion to the child.

6. Long, short and broad sounds of vowels are bewildering.

Short ‘a’ as in rat.

Long ‘a’ as in baby.

Broad ‘a’ as in father.

‘a’ with short ‘o’ sound: What (wot), Was (wos)

‘a’ with ‘au’ sound; all (aul), bald (bauld)

7. The problem of stressed and unstressed syllables, vowels and consonants.

8. Transliteration creates pronunciation problems. By transliteration we mean to write the English word in Urdu script, for example, ‘Electric’. The danger of it is that the students pronounce the English word as it is expressed in Urdu. This sort of practice of the teacher has marred the correct pronunciation of our students.

9. Bad mode.

10. Lack of understanding of the systematic arrangement of various sounds which a human vocal organ is capable of producing.

Denial Jones in his book ‘An Outline of English Phonetics’ points out five main difficulties that a student of spoken English has to face.

(i). Learning “to recognize readily and with certainly the various speech sounds occurring in the language, when he hears them preannounced.”

(i) Learning “to make foreign sounds with his own organs of speech.”

(ii) Learning “to use these sounds in their proper places of connected speech”.

(iii) Learning the proper usage of stress, intonation, rhythm etc.

(iv) Learning “to join each sound of a sequence on to the next, and to pronounce the complete set stumbling(Tahir,1988,p.179 -182).

Speech organs

Speech organs produce the many sounds needed for language. Organs used include the lips, teeth, tongue, alveolar, ridge, hard plate velum (soft plate), uvula and glottis.

Speech organs – otherwise articulators – are dividing into two: passive articulators and active articulators. Passive articulators are those which remain static during the articulation of sound. Upper lips, upper teeth, alveolar ridge, hard palate etc. are the passive articulators. Active articulators move towards these passive articulators to produce various speech sounds, in different manner. The most important active articulator is tongue. Uvula, lower jaw which includes lower teeth and lower lip are the other active articulators.

Features of good speaking

Many English students complain that they understand English, but don’t feel confident enough to join a conversation. There are a number of reasons for this including:

Students are trying to translate from their native language into English. Production “blocking” is occurring due to nervousness, lack of confidence, etc. The speaker is looking for a specific word, rather than using simple language to describe what is meant. There aren’t enough conversation opportunities in or outside of class. Students aren’t able to speak to peers (for example: mixed classes of adults and teenagers). Exam preparation focuses on grammar, vocabulary, etc. and leaves little time for active use.

Manners of articulation

Manners of articulation include:

Where there is a total blockage and the sound instead goes through the nose. Examples include English /m/, /n/, etc. to nasal, where there is complete occlusion of the oral cavity, and the air passes instead through the nose. The shape and position of the tongue determine the resonant cavity that gives different nasal stops their characteristic sounds. Examples include English /m, n/. Nearly all languages have nasals, the only exceptions being in the area of Puget Sound and a single language on Bougainville Island.

Plosives or stops an “explosion” resulting from a momentary closure and then release of air. Examples include English /p/, /b/, etc. , plosives where there is complete occlusion (blockage) of both the oral and nasal cavities of the vocal tract, and therefore no air flow. Examples include English /p t k/ (voiceless) and /b d g/ (voiced). If the consonant is voiced, the voicing is the only sound made during occlusion; if it is voiceless, a plosive is completely silent. What we hear as a /p/ or /k/ is the effect that the onset of the occlusion has on the preceding vowel, as well as the release burst and its effect on the following vowel. The shape and position of the tongue (the place of articulation) determine the resonant cavity that gives different plosives their characteristic sounds. All languages have plosives.

Fricatives or spirants, where there is continuous friction at the place of articulation. Examples include English /f/, /s/, etc. Sibilants are a special type of fricative where the airflow is shaped by the form of the tongue. /s/ and /z/ are sibilants in English. Lateral fricatives are yet another type of fricative, where the friction occurs on one or both sides of the edge of the tongue.

Sibilants are a type of fricative where the airflow is guided by a groove in the tongue toward the teeth, creating a high-pitched and very distinctive sound. These are by far the most common fricatives. Fricatives at coronal (front of tongue) places of articulation are usually, though not always, sibilants. English sibilants include /s/ and /z/.

Lateral fricatives
Lateral fricatives are a rare type of fricative, where the frication occurs on one or both sides of the edge of the tongue. The “ll” of Welsh and the “hl” of Zulu are lateral fricatives.

Affricate which begins like a plosive, but this releases into a fricative rather than having a separate release of its own. The English letters “ch” and “j” represent affricates. Affricates are quite common around the world, though less common than fricatives.

Flap often called a tap, is a momentary closure of the oral cavity. The “tt” of “utter” and the “dd” of “udder” are pronounced as a flap in North American English. Many linguists distinguish taps from flaps, but there is no consensus on what the difference might be. No language relies on such a difference. There are also lateral flaps.

Trill in which the articulator (usually the tip of the tongue) is held in place and the airstream causes it to vibrate. The double “r” of Spanish “perro” is a trill. Trills and flaps, where there are one or more brief occlusions, constitute a class of consonant called rhotics.

Where there is very little obstruction. Examples include English /w/ and /r/. In some languages, such as Spanish, there are sounds which seem to fall between fricative and approximant.

One use of the word semivowel, sometimes called a glide, is a type of approximant, pronounced like a vowel but with the tongue closer to the roof of the mouth, so that there is slight turbulence. In English, /w/ is the semivowel equivalent of the vowel /u/, and /j/ (spelled “y”) is the semivowel equivalent of the vowel /i/ in this usage. Other descriptions use semivowel for vowel-like sounds that are not syllabic, but do not have the increased stricture of approximants. These are found as elements in diphthongs. The word may also be used to cover both concepts. Lateral

Approximants, such as the English /l/, is a special type of approximant formed at one or both sides of the tongue.

How to speak ENGLISH well

Here are a few steps to consider when speaking with confidence Steps.

I. .Learn how to have conversations with people. Your ideas or opinions may not always be accepted by others, but this is nothing unusual. Open your mouth, express your beliefs! This will improve your courage.

II. Don’t be afraid and speak loudly
If you speak in low voice, not only will others not be able to hear what you say , but you will also portray a submiddive demeanor, which suggests the opposite of a confident one.

III. Make eye connect when you speak
For one thing it is polite for others .Also, eye contact will help others to listen to your thinking carefully.

IV. Praise yourself every day
This will promote your own confidence, which is important when you speak, with more confidence .people will take your thinking more seriously.


Don’t be nervous when you make mistakes. Human error is far from being a new concept –no body is perfect! It’s normal for everyone to make mistakes. Just clam down keep speaking bravely. Try and try again! This may be difficult for a shy person at first, but you need to force yourself to speak, and not seclude your thoughts. If you have some ideas, then try to speak out! Don’t just keep them in your head. If you have self confidence issues.try to think that you are the only one who has sound knowledge about the topic. Ten go ahead and impart your knowledge to the audience in an effective way.

Remember that there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Don’t portray an exaggerated amount of confidence, or you will come off as arrogant, believing that your ideas are better than the ideas of everyone else

Phonetics is the studies of the production transmission and reception of speech sounds. It studies medium of spoken language .Touching upon psychology and physics, phonetics is now a pure science that studies speech processes, including the anatomy, neurology and pathology of speech the articulation, description, classification, production and perception of speech sounds. It looks at speech from three distinct but interdependent view points. It studies the speech organs, which produce sounds of language; It studies waves, then physical way in which sounds are transmitted through the air from one person to another, and it studies the way in which human beings perceive sounds through the medium of ear .The study of phonetics can be divided into three main branches, acoustic, auditory and articulator phonetics.

Acoustic phonetics:
Acoustics phonetics is the study of the physical properties of speech sounds such as frequency and amplitude in there transmission. Acoustic phoneticians analyze the speech waves with the help of instruments It is in the field of acoustic phonetics that the most striking developments have taken place since the Second World War. Complex sounds waves produce in speech can be analyzed into their component frequencies and relative amplitudes. Considerable progress has also been made in speech syntheis.Acoustic analysis has confirmed that speech is not made up of a sequence of discretesounds.The articulator features of sounding of voice of nasality, of obstruction and of fraction can also be identified acoustically. Acoustic phonetics has achieved good deal of success in maters of vowels, but regarding consonant it has not reach final conclusions.

Auditory phonetics:
Auditory phonetics is the study of hearing and the perception of speech sounds it studies different auditory impression of quality, pitch and loudness of sounds. The auditory classification of speech sounds .The auditory classification of speech sounds has not yet been to a device phase at present time, phonetics can be regarded as being made up of two main branches articulator and acoustic phonetics The result of acoustic and auditory phonetics need very minute observations and great scientific and technical expertise And are several times puzzling these branches use instrument which cannot be used easily outside a laboratory and cannot be transported successfully from one place to another .Hence the easiest approach to observations about speech is the traditional and most common approach of articulator phonetics.

Articulatory phonetic:
Articulator phonetics recognizes that speech is produced by some kind of sound-making apparatus inside the human body, and that specific sounds may be related to specific movement of to apparatus. Hence it is the study of movement of the speech organism the articulation of speech—lungs, larynx soft palate tongue teeth, jades and lips. The knowledge of the organs of speech, their relation to each other, and the way in which they are used in speaking provides a sounds basis for the classification of sounds of human languages.

According to Bloomfield phonology is the organization of sound into patterns. In order to fulfill the communicative functions, languages organize their material the vocal noises into recurrent bits and pieces arranged in sound patterns. It is thy study of this formal organization of languages which is known as phonology (Bajwa.s.2002). Like Phonetics, Phonology is also an area of study in Linguistics. Phonetics and Phonology are closely related. Phonetics is the study of human speech sounds while Phonology is the study of how sounds are organized and used in a language or languages. According to David Crystal, “Phonology is a branch of Linguistics which studies the sound systems of languages”. In other works, phonetics is surrounded by phonology which is the application of phonetics to a particular language or languages. Phonology is language specific; it studies the speech sound of a given language and their function within the sound system of that language. As a matter of fact, human speech is something which is extremely, delicately patterned. It is not just a jumble of sounds but a highly organized system of structure and it is in this structure that the phonologies are interested. The phonologies’ analyses speech as an orderly sequence of specific sounds and sequences of sound. The speech is orderly in terms of very complex set of patterns which repeatedly occur and which are at least partially predictable. There patterns in phonological analysis form the structure.

The most basic elements in the sound system of a language are called phonemes. Phonemes are the minimal (smallest) meaningful elements in the sound system of language. For example /p/, /b/, /t/, /@/ is called phonemes. In any language, there is a definite number of phonemes. In English, for example, there are 44 phonemes grouped into 20 vowels and 24 consonants. If there is a minor change in the sound of a phoneme, the sound is called allophone. For example.

/t/ is a phoneme; th/ is its allophone.

Syllables: Phonemes are organized into syllables in a quite definite and systematic way. Each syllable must have one or more consonants before the vowel. For example, there are three syllables in the word ‘unkindness’ un-kind-ness. In each, there is a vowel sound. The maximum number of consonants which can appear before a vowel in a syllable in English language is three, while the maximum number of consonants that appear after the vowel is four. The diagram below shows the possible structures of a syllable.

C = consonant’ V-vowel.

C0-3 V C0-4

There are quite intricate restrictions on the combination of vowels and consonants that each language permits. Of all the possible combinations of English sounds, only a small promotion are admitted as complying with the patterns of English speech structure.

Phonetics and Phonology are two fields within Linguistics which is the scientific study of various aspects of Language. The two fields focus on the same phenomenon and complement each other in the comprehensive investigation of the speech sounds of any language. Phonology is just one of the several aspects of language. It is related to other aspects such as phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Given below is an illustration that shows the place of phonology in an interacting hierarchy of (lower to higher) levels in linguistics.

Pragmatic (language in communication)

Semantics (study of meaning)

Syntax (study of sentence structures)

Morphology (study of word structure)

Phonology (study of arrangements of sounds)

Phonetics (study of production of sounds)

Phonetics (study of production sound)

Both Phonetics and Phonology deals with the sounds of language. But there are certain differences in their range and process. The following comparative table is helpful to understand this difference.

Phonology Phonetics
1. It operates at the level of sound systems and linguistic units called ‘phonemes’ and arranges sounds into meaningful utterances. 1 It is concerned with the study of how human speech sounds are produced. 2 It has two branches: Segmental, Supra-segmental. 2 It has three branches: articulator, Acoustic, Auditory. 3 It is the basis for further work in morphology, syntax, discourse. 3 It is the basis of phonological analysis. 4 It analyzes the sound patterns of a particular language by pointing out which phonetic sounds are significant and how these sounds are interpreted 4 It analyzes the production of all human speech sounds, regardless of language.

Though not impossible, it is very difficult to describe a vowel sound in writing in such a way as to give the reader a complete idea about the nature of vowel sound. The only way to familiarize the reader is to relate the unknown vowels to known vowels. In production of the vowel, the tongue, lips and the mouth play a very important role. At the time of the production of vowels the tongue is held at such a distance from the room or the mouth that no frictional noise is produced. A resonance chamber is formed, when the tongue takes up a vowel position. This chamber modifies the quality of the tone produced by the voice and give rise a distinct quality or timbre, which is known as a vowel. Though the number of possible vowels is very large, in actual practice we use very small number of vowels. For example, when in Spanish there are only five essential vowels, in English there are more than this classification of vowels. The position of the tongue and lips determine the qualities of vowels. Therefore, we should classify them according to the position of the main part of the tongue. The position of the lips on the other hand, does not have much effect on the quality of vowels. While producing most of the vowels, the tongue is convex to the palate. Therefore, it is very convenient to arrange the vowels “according to the position of the highest point of the tongue”. In order to have practical knowledge about the position of the tongue, we should examine with the help of a looking glass or feel with out finger the movements of the tongue, when it passes from one vowel position to another.


(i) All voiced sounds formed by means of an obstruction in the mouth.

(ii) All breathe sounds.

(iii) Those sounds in which are a narrowing of the air passage giving rise to a frictional noise.

(iv) Sounds which are gliding.

There are some consonants which we breathe and other we voice. Every breathed sound corresponds a voiced consonant. Voiced consonant is produced with some position or movement of the articulating organs, but with voice substituted for breath or vice versa. According “V” corresponds of “f” and “b” to “p”. in English, the breathed consonants corresponding to many of the English voiced consonants corresponding of “M” and “I” occur accidentally only. It becomes difficult to utter them internally. But making such sounds is a very good exercise. There are some people, who face problems in pronouncing a fully voided “V” or “Z” in isolation. It is possible to voice and “h’ which does not occur accidentally in speech. (Dash, 2004).

English is a stressed timed language. It is not a syllable timed language in India. A stressed language is one, in which every word receives a stress on one of its syllables. In other words, “The degree of force with which a speaker pronounces a sound or a syllable is called its stress.” This force is conceived chiefly as a pressure from the chest wall affecting the air stream, but in reality the pressure extends to other parts of the body and may often be observed in accompanying gestures especially of the head and hands. Stress may be classified into to parts, viz. stressed and unstressed, because of it’s variation from syllable to syllable. Who we pronounce a syllable more forcibly than it’s without much force, we call it unstressed. In other words the word which receives a stress on one of its syllables strongly is pronounced with strong stress and which is pronounced without much force is pronounced with weak stress.

Stressed – Mohan, neglected his studies.

Un-stressed – Mohan has neglected his studies.

To determine the stress in a word, there is no definite rule. But there is possibility of grouping the words according to whether they receive the stress on the first or second or third syllable.

In English language there is no specific rule to determine which word in a sentence is to be stressed except the one that in normal speech all nouns, demonstrative and interrogative pronouns, main verbs, adverbs and adjectives are generally stressed. On the other hand words like pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, articles helping verbs etc. are unstressed. To understand it clearly, let us have a glance upon the following sentences and phrases.

(v) The man in the ‘street’.

(ii) There is ‘nothing’ to be ‘done’.

(iii) Who is ‘that’ boy?

(vi) The ‘boy in the’ corner is ‘holding a’ book.

(v) ‘Did he’ run very ‘fast’?

Besides a few words which are stressed above, there are other word like on, in, it, did, he, at a, of, was, etc., which are not stressed. Articles, prepositions, helping verbs, pronouns and conjunction in English speech have given rise to unstressed pattern or the weak forms. Since English is a stressed timed language, knowledge of weak forms of words or weak parts in long words is indispensable in English speech. But in Indian languages, it is not so. If one speaks English only with strong form sounds, he is wrong. The use of weak form is an essential part of English speech. Those who desire to speak English in the “English way” should try to learn the weak forms of 34 English works mentioned below. This will make their English sound nature. At the time of need the weak forms become strong forms? Therefore, careful listening and practice is another essential aspect of developing oral proficiency.

A list of 34 words with both Strong and Weak Forms.
(1) A (1) A (1)
(2) Am (2) Am (2)
(3) An (3) An (3)
(4) And (4) And (4)
(5) Are (5) a; (5)
(6) As (6) As (6)
(7) At (7) At (7)
(8) But (8)
(9) Can (9) Kan (9)
(10) Could (10) (10)

(Dash, 2004).

Different types of speaking activities
Speaking means conveying the message through the words of mouth. We speak when we want to express our ideas, desires, and to establish social relationships. This skill is also called Oral Skill or Communicative Skill. This skill is very often neglected in our schools. Most of the students cannot speak English. They feel shy’ they are afraid of every student cannot get a chance to speak. To develop this skill, the students need intensive practice. Speaking practice is usually done in pair and group work.

Language experts have organized oral skills into four distinctive types.

Drill or linguistically structured activities.
In these activities, the teacher provides a particular structure, and the students practice it by repeating it. Drills are a good example of this type.The students are given a structure and are asked to repeat it. Drills are usually very controlled. They are fairly repetitive, and not very creative. However, they are a good practice for students to speak. They can be used to practice simple statements, question forms and answers

Performance activities.
In these activities, the student prepares himself beforehand and delivers a message to a group. A good example of such an activity is the students speech.

Participation activities.
In these activities, the student participates in some communicative activity in a ‘natural setting’. One of the most commonly used participation activities is the discussion on some topic.

Observation activities.
In these activates, a student observes something, writes a brief summary and presents his findings to the class.

A dialogue is a conversation between two persons. The students may be asked to talk, introducing themselves to each other. They may ask each others, personal questions about their likes and dislikes.

Role-play:(LADOUSSE, Gillian Porter, Role Play. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1987, 182p., ISBN: 0-1943-7095) A widely spread and one of the best communicative activities is a role play which trains the students in the classroom to deal with unpredictable real-life conversation in an English speaking environment. Ladousse (1987, 6) points out the special reasons for using the role play in the lessons. It puts students in situations in which they are required to use and develop language necessary in social relationships and helps them to build up their social skills. Using role play is useful especially while teaching shy students who have difficulty participating in conversation about themselves. Through this activity they are put into various roles and no longer feel that their own personality is implicated. Role play is an essential communicative technique which develops fluency, promotes interaction in the classroom and increases motivation. This is also a form of dialogue. In this type of exercise, the students are asked to play the role of different persons and talk to each other. For example, a student may act as a shopkeeper and the other as the customer in a shopping situation. This exercise will encourage the students to speak in real life situations.

Information Gap Exercises: (THORNBURY, Scott. How to Teach Speaking. Essex:Pearson Education Limited 2005, 156p., ISBN:0-582-85359-1) Information gap activities are described by Thornbury (2005, 80-84) who claims that in these kinds of tasks there is a knowledge gap among learners and it can be bridged by using the language. So, in order to obtain the information, the interactants have to communicate. Littlewood (1994, 22-26) labels these activities as functional communication activities. He emphasizes sharing the information among learners and its processing. The most common information gap activity is spotting the differences in the pictures, exchanging personal information, guessing games and also creating the story based on flashcards shown to the students in random order, for a few seconds and one flashcard per group only. This makes the students cooperate and communicate with each other to find the lacking information. This is again a form of dialogue. In this type of exercise, one person has some information which the other person does not have. So there is an information gap. To fill up this gap, one person asks the questions, and the other answers there questions.

Discussions: (CELCE-MURCIA, Marianne. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. Boston:Heinle&Heinle 2001, 584p., ISBN:0-8384-1992-5)

Discussions are a commonly used activity in a speaking lesson. A topic is introduced to the students via a reading or a listening passage and then they are asked to discuss a related topic in order to come up with a solution or a response. Celce-Murcia (2001, 106) mentions that students need to be reminded that each person within a group should have a specific responsibility in the discussion – either keeping time, taking notes or reporting the results made by the group members This is the advanced stage of speaking. The teacher will give some topics to different groups of students. He will give them instructions how to proceed. The students will discuss the topic. These, the teacher will ask the leader of the group to give the result of their discussion. (Mumtaz, 2007).

How To Improve English Speaking
(Nadeem Israr, Karachi)

English is an international language and now has been become the only approved language of the world. Through it one can easily explain to the people most often in the entire world. So, keeping this importance in the view, it looks mandatory that without having sufficient knowledge/grip over this language one cannot excel into the fields of education and business. Because only the good grip over the English language gives the surety of success in the present world. Now, question arises how we can improve our English speaking capability. For that purpose I have some suggestions which as far as I think will not only increase our English speaking capability but also boost our confidence level up.

• Watching the English Program into TV: This is one of the best way to improve the English speaking as in this way one learns that in which situation what questions or talking is made and how the response is given. It much depends upon the looking at these programs with a bit of understanding and grasping the knowledge. In some channels movies are relayed with the stripe running on downside which shows those words written on it which are being delivered by the mouths of actors. So it improves the understanding with the language.

• Reading the Comics and Cartoon Magazines: Comic and cartoon magazines are also a good way to improve English speaking as there are pictures of that story which is published into the papers, in which characters speak with each others and this gives also clue to the spectators that what and how should be said in that situation. I think watching the movies onto TV and reading the magazines give the same results.

• Speaking with Others: The most applicable and simplest way to learn any language is to speak with those who speak well. There is very common obstacle which keeps away majority to learn in this way is the lack of determination. In this way, one thinks that if he speaks so people would laugh over his weak speaking and this thing doesn’t let him speak continuously and he stops speaking. Although it is very common rule that speaking of any language comes by speaking much. So, it is good practice to speak English with those who speak well.

I think these are the basic rules which can enhance English speaking capability. There might be some other appropriate rules but in the practical way I think above ones are the best.

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