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Can you share your experiences with me?
  • I have a problem when I try to speak English. I prefer to learn whole sentences rather than words. I think that is better. Well, my problem is that I cannot speak fast. I speak slowly because I need to think and form sentences in my head before I speak or respond. I know that I have to practice a lot, but I want to know if you have some suggestions for me. What do you think?

  • Thank you!

  • Jul 10, 2016 2:50 AM
    Comments · 24

    While there’s not one magic bullet that will work for everyone all the time, describable in under 1000 words, I can make a suggestion based on the information you’ve provided.

    Substitution exercises:
    Take one of the sentences that you’ve learned, and practice switching out various elements, one at a time. For example
    I like French fries with mayonnaise.
    I like French fries with ketchup.
    I like Hamburgers with ketchup and mustard.
    My friend likes Hamburgers with ketchup and mustard.
    My other friend doesn’t like Hamburgers with ketchup and mustard.

    Note: I recommend doing this exercise out loud, *not* in writing. The idea is for you to increase the speed at which you can form sentences while speaking in a conversation. Practice slowly for accuracy, and slowly build up speed as you feel more and more comfortable. Have fun!

    July 10, 2016

    One of the nice things about English is it is pretty much universally spoken at a much slower speed than Spanish is, so while you might feel like you are speaking slowly, it's probably not significantly slower than an average native speaker.  The reason for this is because English has more information per syllable than Spanish does, so English is able to convey the same amount of information with fewer words in the same amount of time which in turn makes it slower.  For some concrete statistics about this, English has a high information density of .91 and is spoken at an average rate of 6.19 syllables per second. Spanish, on the other hand, has a low-density of .63, and speeds along with an average velocity of 7.82 syllable per second.  While most native Spanish speakers don't even notice it, this is a primary reason why native English speakers generally have a difficult time understanding spoken Spanish.  For them, it is extremely fast -- slightly over 25% faster!

    Anyways, to specifically answer you question, I have a couple of suggestions:

    1) Practice tongue twisters.  These are phrases that specifically target increasing your rate of speech while still retaining clear enunciation.

    2) Read out loud whenever you read anything and practice reading at different speeds.  For example, read a sentence out loud at a normal speed and then read it again a little faster.  Repeat this while increasing the speed several times until you reach your desired goal speed.

    July 10, 2016
    Hi Fernanda!  You are absolutely right, practicing is the way to go!  One thing I would recommend is listening to native speakers talk, and then trying to imitate the way they speak.  Listen to the rhythm of their speech and the words they emphasize.  While you do this, take note of what phrases they use over and over, and practice those too.  The little phrases will eventually make speaking more natural, and help the words flow better.  Good luck to you on your journey!
    July 10, 2016
    The speed at which you speak in English will increase with time and practice but speaking slowly doesn't sound bad.  In the USA there are huge differences in the rate at which people talk between different parts of the country.
    July 11, 2016
    Thank you so much Olivia! Have a great time :)
    July 10, 2016
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    Language Skills
    English, Spanish
    Learning Language