To understand the benefits of spoken English training, one must first understand the difference between spoken English and written English. Written English follows very precise and complex rules of grammar. Spoken English, on the other hand, often includes slang terms and differences in pronunciation that can make fluency with native speakers difficult if a student only knows written English. For example, phrases such as “want to” and “going to,” when spoken by a native English speaker, are often pronounced like one word – “wanna” or “gonna.” These differences can be hard to decipher for someone who does not speak English fluently.
The goal of spoken English training is to increase a student’s fluency in conversational English. While written English focuses on teaching specific words, verb conjugation, and proper grammar rules, spoken English is much less formal. Pronunciations and grammatical changes, whether correct or not, are vastly different when English is spoken than when it is written. Sounds that should be unique often run together, and sentence structure is less formal. Certain communication elements are indicated by facial expression, or hand gestures, rather than spoken aloud. These aspects of communications are not taught during formal written English lessons.
An added obstacle for students new to actually speaking English is the variety of dialects, word usage, and slang from different regions and English-speaking countries. Some phrases and terms have different meanings, or different words might be used to describe similar things, depending on the country or region. For example, in America the word bathroom is used, while in England it is referred to as a loo. Likewise, in America, the word “window” might be pronounced “winda,” “winder,” or “window,” depending on the region. Spoken English training can address these differences and help students become better equipped to understand spoken words from different regions and the various terminologies and slang used.
Spoken English training can assist with addressing these dialect differences and changes between written English and the actual spoken language. Formalized training in written English is strongly recommended for students who wish to truly master the English language. However, in order to be able to converse with native and fluent English speakers across the globe, training in conversational or spoken English is necessary. Since spoken English is often more simple than written English, some students may benefit from learning to speak English first. Although, learning to run sounds into each other, as is common in spoken English, could pose potential confusion when learning to write English.
About the Author
Grace Rimando graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. She is currently working at TalktoCanada as the Assistant to the Programs Manager