I think you already know that if you want to improve your English speaking skills, you have to practice, right? You have to speak. Studying grammar will never improve your speaking. Listening to English alone will never improve your speaking. You have to actually speak. But what if you don't have someone to talk to in English? How can you practice, then?
Well, there's a technique that allows you to learn to speak English by yourself. No speaking partner is required. This technique can help improve many aspects of your spoken English— your sentence structure, your grammar, your vocabulary, and most importantly, your ability to express your thoughts and ideas effectively. So, what is this technique? Well, here's what it is: Learning to Speak English through Imitation.
When I say imitation, I'm not talking about repeating after native speakers using the exact same words to improve your pronunciation. I'm talking about something a little more advanced than that. Here's how it works: You listen to a conversation, a story, or some kind of speech and then try to deliver that speech in your own words. Let's see this technique in action.
"When I was a child..."
When he was a child...
"...my parents liked to pretend, like many other parents..."
...his parents liked to pretend, like many other parents...
"...that Santa Claus would bring us presents at Christmas."
His parents liked to pretend that Santa Claus would bring them presents at Christmas.
"So when my siblings and I would wake up on Christmas morning..."
So when he and his siblings would wake up on Christmas morning...
"...there'd be a bunch of presents, from supposedly Santa Claus, sitting in front of the fireplace."
...there'd be a bunch of presents, from supposedly Santa Claus, sitting in front of the fireplace.
So, that's how it works. But that's just one way to do it; there are other ways, too. For example, instead of imitating very small portions of speech, like phrases and short sentences, you can imitate larger portions of speech. So, in this case, you wait until the speaker completes a thought or an idea; then pause and try to express that idea yourself.
Another approach is to simply listen to the whole speech and then try to deliver that entire speech yourself. So, there are several ways to go about it, but what I recommend is to combine them all together. And I call this approach "Easy-to-Hard Imitation."
Easy-to-Hard Imitation is based on the concept of progressive training. The idea is that you start with something easy and then increase the difficulty of the activity, forcing yourself to get better. A number of studies have found this kind of training to be very effective.
Here's how you can apply this concept: Start by imitating small portions of speech first, like phrases and short sentences; then move on to imitating larger portions of speech, like long sentences or even groups of sentences. And finally, try to deliver the entire speech on your own. This technique offers many benefits: You get to listen and imitate correct English, which helps you learn to form sentences properly. You get to learn idioms, expressions, and other speaking patterns that are used in day-to-day conversations.
You get to learn grammar. When you imitate other people, you're learning grammar through a process called "implicit learning." This is the process where the learning happens without your awareness. This is how babies and children learn the grammar rules of their first language. When you imitate, you don't think about grammar. You're not trying to understand why the present perfect tense is used in this situation or in that situation. Instead, you're focused on communication, on understanding and expressing ideas. You're still learning grammar, but you're not aware that it's happening. This is one of the proper ways to learn grammar.
Okay, that concludes this video. To help you get started, I've put together a step-by-step tutorial on this technique. If you're interested, click here to go to that tutorial.
- 「從事、開始做」- Go About
So, there are several ways to go about it, but what I recommend is to combine them all together.
- 「繼續前進」- Move On
Start by imitating small portions of speech first, like phrases and short sentences; then move on to imitating larger portions of speech, like long sentences or even groups of sentences.
- 「獨立、靠自己」- On One's Own
And finally, try to deliver the entire speech on your own.
- 「整理、匯集」- Put Together
To help you get started, I've put together a step-by-step tutorial on this technique.