1000 Word Challenge - Week 16

Do you want to improve your English speaking skills? This week Dr. Heidi explains why speaking is so important, and gives you tips on how to build your confidence to speak!

Watch this week’s video on YouTube below.

This week’s text!

Read the text of this week’s video to check your understanding and practice your new words!

Speaking in a language you don’t know very well can be very hard, but it’s extremely important. When you learn a word from listening or reading, it’s still a little fuzzy in you mind. But when you use that word in speaking or writing, your knowledge for the word gets much, much stronger. Today I’m going to talk about gaining confidence for speaking and improving your fluency in English. I’ll give you some vocabulary words that are used more for speaking than reading and writing. Finally, I’ll give you some challenges to practice what you’ve learned.

Many people who are learning a new language are afraid to speak. Why do you think this is? I think there are two possible reasons.

  1. They are afraid they are going to make a mistake.
  2. They don’t have confidence, that is, they are not sure if they can do it.

So, let me talk about the first reason, and this is pretty easy: If you are afraid to speak English because you are are worried you will make a mistake, let me tell you something: Yes, 100%, you will make a mistake. Of course you will! It is impossible to learn to speak a new language without making mistakes! In fact, making mistakes is how we learn!

You will say something, and sometimes you will immediately hear what you just said and realize it had an error of grammar or maybe you used the wrong word. If you are speaking to your teacher, he or she may correct the error. But many times, the person you are talking to will notice the error and not say anything. (Or, if they are also a learner, they might not notice the error.) But that’s okay, because the main goal of speaking is not to speak perfectly, but rather, to express yourself, to communicate your thoughts and feelings. Speaking helps us connect with other people, and that is true even if you make a few mistakes.

Being afraid to make a mistake is not a good reason not to speak. Why? Because the more you practice, the fewer mistakes you will make!

The next thing I want to talk to you about is confidence, which is the belief that you can do something. Again, the best way to build confidence is to practice! If I think I can’t do something, but I do it anyway, there is a good chance I will succeed. If I do, that will give me confidence for next time. So, I want you to be brave. Being brave, or having courage, does not mean you are not afraid. It means you do something even though you are afraid. Don’t let fear stop you!

There are some things you can do to improve your chances for success, and the biggest thing you can do is to think about what you are going to say ahead of time, that is, before you say it, and even practice to yourself what you are going to say. So, for example, if there is a person in your class that you think is interesting, and who you would like to get to know better, it might be hard to just go up and talk to them. So before you leave your house, think about what you will say to get the conversation started, and maybe even say it out loud to yourself at home. For example, Hi, I’m Heidi. What’s your name? How do you like this class? Where are you from? and so forth. If you have these ready, it will be easier to get started.

If you want to talk about something more specific, look up the vocabulary words ahead of time for what you want to say, and practice using them in a sentence. Using the same example from last week, if your class went to a museum, you could say to your new friend, how did you like the sculpture?

Every time your practice, you will get more confidence. And having more confidence will make it easier to practice! So sometimes the hardest thing is to be brave and take that first step.

Here are some phrases that you can use in your speech to help you speak more fluently, or smoothly:

  • I mean
  • you know
  • you see
  • as you know
  • kind of
  • sort of
  • anyway
  • however
  • now
  • so
  • don’t worry
  • never mind

Here are some good words and phrases to use to respond to the other person:

  • ah
  • fine
  • good
  • uhuh
  • OK
  • quite
  • really
  • right
  • sure
  • all right
  • I see
  • that’s right

This week I want to give you a challenge to practice speaking:

  1. Talk to somebody new. Maybe someone in your class or neighborhood. Try to make a new friend! Or,
  2. Make a video in English and share it on social media. If you are using Instagram or Facebook you can make a “story” video which will be very short and it will only be online for one day. It can be about anything you are interested in! Again, practice to yourself and look up words you might need. Start the video, “Today I’m going to practice my English!” Be sure to tag vocabvictor so I can check it out!

Words for Week 16

Here are the 20 words for week 16. You may know some of these words already. However, it’s very important with vocabulary that you practice the words that you already know in addition to learning new words. This is all good practice and will help your language skills. All these definitions are from the Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, which is highly recommended for English language learners.

Word Definition
respond to say or write something as an answer to a question or request; reply
brave feeling or showing no fear; not afraid
neighborhood the people who live near each other
anyway used to add something to a previous statement
connect to have or share a feeling of affection and understanding
really used in speech to show surprise, doubt, or interest
confidence a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
afraid nervous about doing something
notice attention that people give to someone or something
practice to do something again and again in order to become better at it
belief a feeling of trust in the worth or ability of someone
express to talk or write about (something that you are thinking or feeling)
communicate to get someone to understand your thoughts or feelings
however used when you are saying something that is different from or contrasts with a previous statement
reason a statement or fact that explains why something is the way it is, why someone does, thinks, or says something, or why someone behaves a certain way
gain to gradually get (something) or more of (something) as time passes
immediately without any delay
challenge to test the ability, skill, or strength of (someone or something); to be difficult enough to be interesting to (someone)
step one of a series of actions that are done to achieve something
mistake something that is not correct; a wrong action, statement, or judgment; error

Use your words!

This week, practice speaking by making a new friend or by posting a “story” video in English! Be sure to tag vocabvictor so we can admire your efforts!

Download Vocab Victor

Finally, download our app Vocab Victor which is available for Apple and Android phones. This vocabulary learning software will help you build and strengthen your vocabulary. What does that mean? Build and strengthen. Build vocabulary means it will teach you new words. Strengthen means it will improve the knowledge of the words you already know. Play Vocab Victor for a few minutes every day to help improve your English! Read more about Vocab Victor at our page for students, Vocab Victor - Students.

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