Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Improve Your English Language Speaking Skills by Cutting Out Speech Fillers

Listen to Anyone Speak Casually in English
Listen to almost anyone speak casually in English and you’ll most certainly hear them use a constant flow of gap fillers, hesitations, pausings and discourse markers that stall their speech or conversation. You know the ones I mean like, uh, ah, hmm, errr, umm and so on. Others you might hear that are frequently used are Huh, oh, well .., so .., and … but uh …, let me see …, the list could go on and on.

Photo: Hilary Clinton reacts during the 2008 Presidential Campaign

While some discourse markers have a true place in oral discourse of many different types, most often they are unconsciously inserted as fillers or hesitations and do not serve to enhance or promote speaking, but rather heavily detract from what is being said.

English language learners
This can be especially true with English language learners and those who may speak English as a foreign or second language. In addition to the above-mentioned aspects, fillers may also be inserted when the speaker is thinking or searching mentally for the correct lexis and vocabulary. Not only is the distracting and annoying to listeners, but can negatively impact even the speakers themselves. If such is the case with you, what can you do to help minimize the problem?

What You Can Do
Here are five simple steps you might take to help to improve your oral discourse and speaking ability in English.

• Record yourself and others speaking in English
• Note what “fillers” you use, how and when
• Repeat short oral discourses practicing without using the fillers you noted
• Have a friend, peer or teacher listen to you speak and ask them to make note of
your use of “fillers” and unwanted discourse markers
• Watch, record and imitate experienced speakers to improve your skills

Try One Month
Working with these techniques to aid you in cutting out speech “fillers” will help you to improve your English language speaking skills in a very short time. Once you are aware of what you’re doing when you speak in English, and knowing when you use “fillers” will go a long way in allowing you to dramatically improve your spoken English. Try out some of these English language speaking skills improvement methods for one month practice period and you’ll see.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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