The foundational components of English Speaking

G’day mate. How are things with you? Today, I am going to touch upon the foundational components of English speaking. Understanding how the components function effectively is critical to the further development of your English learning. Although native English babies are learning and being nurtured those things quite naturally, ESL students including myself won’t be like that. Thus, we should make a systematic study of English speaking. Let’s talk about the key components of English speaking, shall we?

The most obvious component of English speaking is to express a wide range of attitudinal meanings

Speaking is quite different from the other three skills (Writing, Reading and Listening) in terms of expressing one’s emotion. As for Reading and Listening, you don’t express any emotion, but presumably if you are frustrated by the lack of their abilities themselves, you’re going to express your current emotion subconsciously. But otherwise, speaking is the most obvious one that you express your emotion such as happiness, angriness, lovingness, excitement, fear, boredom, etc. You can learn by listening to a variety of speech read by a number of uniquely-characterised actors/actresses to appreciate the remarkable amount of emotional expressions that can be conveyed by their voices. (Recommended materials: TEDtalks, ABC news 24)


ABC news 24:

To organise English grammar, intonation and necessary/unnecessary pause need to be taken into account

There is no doubt that English grammar is critical to formulating English sentences when you are speaking. However, intonation and pauses play a pivotal role in the marking of grammatical contrasts. If you want to express your opinion in a positive or negative way, for instance, you need to rely on intonation, depending on circumstances, right? You’ve got to make sure you manage to make the important conversational distinction between a rising and falling pitch. Asking or telling? For example, if you’d like to say like:

He is really insane, isn’t he?⤴︎ This rising pitch obviously alludes to ‘asking’, which means that you are not 100 % certain whether or not he is crazy. So, you wanted to ascertain whether it is true or not.

He is really insane, isn’t he!⤵︎ This falling pitch captures the force of the exclamation mark. That is, it’s the way of ‘telling’.

And, pause including necessary and unnecessary should be taken into consideration. You should pause for approximately 0.5 seconds between a sentence and sentence. Within the sentence, there shouldn’t have any unnecessary pause unless you want to emphasise something important. I am not saying you can’t have, but if you want to boost your oral fluency, then you try to reduce unnecessary pauses and hesitations, which affect your listener’s understanding.

Phrasing is another quite important component of English speaking for boosting oral fluency, and making sure you understand word meanings

It’s a kind of testing your understanding of basic English sentence patterns. If you immediately catch the big picture of the meanings of sentences, then you should be good at phrasing, simply because you know where the main noun and verb are within the sentence. Critical, isn’t it? Conversely speaking, if you’re not quite sure where they are, then you’re going to be in trouble when it comes to speaking. Although it depends on nationality, Japanese and South Korean language, for instance, have the same sentence pattern like S(ubject), followed by O(bject) and finally V(erb). So, many of English learners who are beginner tend to make mistakes in formulating the order of words. Although many native speakers nowadays can stomach to understand this sort of dodgy mistakes, we should try to minimise any silly mistake. To overcome this, phrasing is the key to success! You read aloud good English articles everyday to get used to the sense of phrasing.

It should be understood that ‘tone language’ alters the meanings of words

A meaning of a word can be changed simply by the pitch level at which it is spoken. Every foreign language has the distinctive pitch level known as tones. For instance, in Japanese, if you say ‘hashi‘ with the first syllable accent, it means that you are saying a pair of chopsticks [hashi], whereas if you emphasise the last syllable, then you are probably saying a bridge or edge [hashi]. So, the meanings of what you wanted to say will be completely a different word. In English, there are so many similar cases. That’s why you’ve got to understand the pitch, accent or ‘tones’ to make people understood properly. In writing, you won’t have this sort of problem as you can type them up alphabetically, so people can easily understand graphically. In contrast, speaking hinges on a phonological performance like ‘tones’. It seems tricky, but I am sure you will get used to this as you read aloud everyday.

If you have any further information or query, please feel free to contact me via email or leave comments here. I am offering a personalised face-to-face Skype English program, so if you are interested in, please buzz me anytime.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!

Have a good one mate!

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: