Secrets for speaking and understanding English skills improvement

Secrets for speaking and understanding English skills improvement


Word Stress is golden key number one for speaking and understanding English. Word Stress is *very important*. You can try to learn about Word Stress. This is one of the *best* ways for you to understand spoken English – especially English spoken fast.

What is Word Stress?

Take 3 words: photograph, photographer and photographic, for example. Do they sound the same when spoken? No! They sound different, because *one* syllable in each word is "stressed" (stronger than the others). PHOtograph – phoTOgrapher – photoGRAPHic

This happens in ALL words with 2 or more syllables: TEACHer, JaPANCHINa, aBOVE, converSAtion, INteresting, imPORtant, deMAND, etCETera, etCETera, etCETera.

The syllables that are not stressed are 'weak' or 'small' or 'quiet'. Native speakers of English listen to the stressed syllables, not the weak syllables. If you use Word Stress in your speech, you will instantly and automatically improve your pronunciation and your comprehension.

If you have an English teacher, ask him/her to help you understand Word Stress. Try to hear the stress in words each time you listen to English – on the radio, or in films for example. Your first step is to *hear* and recognise it. After that, you can *use* it!


Sentence Stress is golden key number two for speaking and understanding English. With Sentence Stress, some *words* in a sentence are "stressed" (loud) and other words are weak (quiet). Look at the following sentence: We want to go.

Do we say every word with the same stress or force? No! We make the important words *big* and the unimportant words small. What are the important words in this sentence? Yes, you're right: WANT and GO. We WANT to GO. We WANT to GO to WORK. We DON'T WANT to GO to WORK. We DON'T WANT to GO to WORK at NIGHT.


Students sometimes say: 'I don't listen to the BBC news on the radio because it's too fast for me and I can't understand it.' That's a pity! When it's too fast for you, when you can't understand it, that is exactly when you NEED to listen to it!!! How can you improve if you don't listen and practise?

When you were a baby, did you understand your own language? When you were 3 weeks old, or 2 months, or 1 year, did you understand everything? Of course not! But you *learned* to understand by *listening*. Think about it. You learned to understand your own language by listening, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After that, you learned to speak. Then you learned to read. And then you learned to write. *But listening came first!*

 Secret 4: DON'T LISTEN!

In Secret 3 it is said LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN! Now DON'T LISTEN! Do you know the difference between the verbs TO LISTEN  and TO HEAR? TO LISTEN is active. TO HEAR is passive. Sometimes you can LISTEN too hard. Sometimes you can TRY too hard. Sometimes it is better only to HEAR. Let the radio play. Let the cassette play. But DON'T listen. Just HEAR. Your subconscious will listen for you. And you will still learn. If you listen and try to understand, you may block on one word and get frustrated. Don't worry! Just HEAR! But you will still be learning. The important thing is to let the radio or cassette or television or record PLAY. Let it play. And you - you do nothing. Your brain will HEAR, your subconscious will LISTEN and you will LEARN!


Vocabulary is easy! How many days are there in a year? 365, normally (on Earth). If you learn only 5 new words a day, you will learn 5 x 365 = 1,825 new words in a year. ONE THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE WORDS. That is a lot of new words. And we are not counting all the other words you will learn in other ways - reading, conversation etc. Buy a notebook and write in 5 new words EACH day, EVERY day. Learn them! You will soon have an excellent vocabulary.


In fact, 30 minutes of English study once a day is better than 5 *hours* once a week! Study regularly. Study often. LITTLE + OFTEN is better than LOT + SOMETIMES. It's easier, too. You can easily find 30 minutes each day. How? You can get up 30 minutes earlier. Or have a shorter lunch break. Fix a particular time every day – and keep it!


If you revise, you'll improve your learning by 100%. What does "to revise" mean? It means "to look again". You should be systematic about this. When you learn something, you should note it. Then you should *look at it again*, 3 times: - after 1 day, - after 1 week, - after 1 month. Each time you revise, test yourself. Learn, revise, test. Revise, test. Revise, test. NOTE: revise (BrE): read again to improve one's knowledge revise (BrE & AmE): read and correct; update.

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