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How To Improve My Spoken English?

How Can I Improve/Brush Up My English

I am a graduate. I am in Nigeria but i have a very bad spoken english.

I always feel ashamed when I cannot communicate freely in the midst of my colleague.

Please advice me.is there any school I can go? Or any material i can lay my hands on to improve my English?

Please help me. One of my goals in year 2008 is to improve my spoken English to error free level.

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86 answers

cant belive this,a GRADUATE AND U CANT SPEAK ENGLISH

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Improving spoken english is not about only reading

okay before i start chating poo

"Is it your English or Accent"

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The basic/foundation of English language is parts of speech.Out of the parts of speech,the basic of it is the VERB that talks about the present tense,past tense,past participle.I am going to Lagos

I will go to Lagos tommorrow

I went to Lagos Yesterday.

Use simple English in your conversation,read good novels,listen to good english speakers,don't be shy always ask the person that u know will not make a jest of u questions how he changes his/her verb at a point in time like those examples I cited above.Then practice by speaking, u can speak those new words to urself at the corner of ur room as if u are preaching that will give u boldness to want to speak in the public.

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1. stop watching  nigerian  movies

2. stop all forms of brokenn english

3.  read foreign novels

4. listen to  foreign radio programs , eg bbc world  service,voa, o'  reilly factor

5 watch  foreign  tv shows,, cnn,fox,sky news

and above all , speak  in english, i'll give u an exaample

During my  first senior year in secondary schooll in nigeria, I had  a  classmate  , DEmi. Demi was terrible at  putting sentences together. He couldnt even speak for 10 seconds without eliciting laughter from people, Guess what he did?

He  started  askingg  questions  duringg  lectures,fellowships,student  meetings  wiithout minding or fearing whatt people  had  to say  about him.People laughed  at  him sometimes but it just didnt  not bother him a bit.Teachers aand fellow students corrected him and he always  took to correction

DEmi  begged his waay  into rep. the class during iinter-class debates(other class members didntt want to facce the whole school, 4000 folks looking u, ,thats scary for a typical ss1 student).ss1C student could hardly watch Demii speak, iu ever had your heart beat so fast when someone uu know is giving a speak on stage?

Demi improved and RIGHT there before our very eyes , started representing the school by the  time he got too  ss2.His english improved so  much to the extent that other students felt inferor when speaking  to him.His confidence grew more and  more as he won more prices  for  the school(literary and debating society, folks that finished from the public schooll sys in ng understand). He  was  made a prefect in his final year. He just changed in every  aspect.His grades  changed, his attitude changed, hope my little storyy motivates u

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on a more serious note, try watching movies (particulary) British movies with sub titles on them. I'm not sure if cable tv i.e. multi choice has subtitle options but sub titles do help you understand English language.

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I work in a 'technology' industry and we make presentations of our designs from time to time, believe me we do not make these presentations in any Native/Nigerian language, they are done in English, so you can imagine what would happen to a brilliant Engineer who has done a good job but cannot stand before his boss and colleagues to

show them how the design would work!

I admire the poster's determination, that is a good start, but please do not take the grammer expressed on this thread so far as good, just stick to the advice. I have lost count of how many grammatical errors i have observed from responses to your post, and I am not even an expert,

I must also say that you do not go to the University to learn English, if you cannot speak good English before you get there you will likely not be able to do so when you leave except you mix up with the right crowd and that is difficult for someone who cannot speak well, because that 'right' crowd may not want to mix with you. It is sad but that is how it is.

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It's alright dear. I'll give two pieces of advice coz I used to boe like you until I decided to do something about it and now, you'll think I'm a born and bred British! One, ask God in prayer to increase your proficiency in spoken English. And two, try repeating after any good English you hear which you may like. Watch " the James Bond Series ". They are real British. Believe me, you may look or sound silly but also trust me, you'll be amazed at your testimony. Bye.

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@ the poster:

Faith is the source of EVERYTHING in life, digest my words and get wisdom

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watch soap operas, that is american soap operas

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romeo

that is not wat u been asked.

just advice the poster thats all

to poster

use the procedure u ve been given,dont allow inferiority complex to affect u.

just a twinkling of an eye ur spoken english will be superb when u use it(advice)

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@Poster

Read As many English literature as you can lay your hands on. Then just open your mouth and speak, you'll be suprise by how much you have improved. Good luck.

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@Poster,

I hope you are not more confused now than you initially were before all these loads of suggestion and advice. What I did in my secondary education days was studying dictionary. Each word in there after it's meaning, has different standard expressions that are commonly used in every day life. I'm not saying that I speak better english language now, I'm still learning as you can tell by the way I write but it helped me a great deal. Another thing I did was that I read a lot of foreign novels, like Chase Hardley Chase, Nick Carter as I can remember. Of course I had friends that were well versed in english as well. I haven't earned a degree yet I hope to accomplish that in the very near future by God's grace.

On the other hand what I think you should be concentrating on is not how perfectly u can speak english, but how well you can be productive in your area of study now that you out of college. I wish you well.

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My apologies for the late antiphon to your rejoinder on the discourse between me and Piriton.  An oxymoron is a synonym of sarcasm. I hope that settles it.

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Practice makes perfect….mix up wit literates ….and stop speaking vernacular or broken english, i actually know people who aint graduates and their english is perfect…. Depends on the folks you flock wit

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@poster, This may be belated, but I hope you find it useful. I'm an EFL teacher and I suggest you enroll in a language school or engage the service of a private conversation teacher. If you don't have access to any of these, you can join online courses, where you'll be tutored by native speakers. Most of these programs are free and you can listen to conversations and download free of charge. If you choose to download, you can listen at your convenience and repeat the words in order to improve on your pronunciation. You can try this site: http://www.world-english.org/onlineschool_free.htm, it's a good place to start.

Try to strike up conversation with people, practice online.

You can also try listening to international news, watch documentaries, movies (not the best place to learn but equally useful)

Read novels and answer comprehension questions (good way to improve on your reading skill)

The good news is; writing doesn't seem to be much of a problem for you.

Best of luck.

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@seabiotics

I have really enjoyed your logical presentation of your case and use of English. I guess its a case of if you don't have, you do not know how useful it is. I had my first degree in English Language - Uniben. My greatest transferable skill is my written and verbal communication and yes speaking good English does put food on the table. It has for me. In UK lots of people with good degrees will not get jobs because they can not express themselves properly. I rest my case. It would appear that people who can not express themselves usually resort to aggression and sarcasm ? I wonder why ,

@ Poster

Its all been said. I will reecho BBC radio. Please go for the news and documentaries. Please leave out the BBC regional programs so you pick up the right Received Pronunciation (RP) the standard for proper English speaking. I would recommend that you leave out VOA, primarily because Americans pronounce lots of words differently and nothing is more annoying than someone speaking and fluctuates between different accents. Good luck.

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MY BROTHER FOR YOU TO IMPROVE ON YOUR ENGLISH LANGUAGE, IT'S JUST SIMPLY. I BELIEVED THAT AS FAR AS YOU CAN READ AND WRITE THEN YOU NEED NOT TO GO TO ANY SCHOOL LONGER. JUST TRY AND ADOPT THE HABIT OF READING AND UNDERSTANDING, ALWAYS GO FOR GOOD ENGLISH TEXT BOOKS, PEOMS AND NEWS PAPERS. AFTER READING THEM, THEN TRY AND WRITE SOMETING DOWN ON YOUR OWN. DO THAT CONSTANLY BEFORE YOU KNOW IT THEN YOU WILL BE THERE.

THANK GOD, YOU ARE A GRADUATE. DON'T BE AFREAT WHILE SPEAKING IN PUBLIC SOMEBODY WHO CARES WILL CARRECT YOU WHEN YOU MAKE A MISTAKE. I ALSO RECOMENT THAT YOU SHOULD TRY AND GET THIS TEXT BOOK "ENGLISH WITHOUT TEARS AND A1 ENGLISH" THOUGH I HAVE FORGOTTEN THE NAME OF THE AUTHORS BUT THEY ARE VERY POPULAR ENGLISH TEXT BOOKS. MOVE TO ANY BOOKSHOP IN YOUR AREA AND ASK FOR IT. IN THAT A1 ENGLISH TEXT BOOK YOU WILL GET TEN COMMANMENT OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE, OF WHICH IT WILL GUARD YOUR IN YOUR PUBLIC CAMMUNICATION.

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Purist and Mrpataki

Bravo to you two!!! It was a pleasure reading your posts. It’s always nice to see people debate their points without resorting to under the bridge name callings.  I just have one question for mrpataki…and please forgive me, if it seems like I’m bringing up issue many would love laid to rest, but I must ask:

How is the sentence “If my arrogance (which every human being has) annoys your inanity, accept my apologies an oxymoron? You see, from what I recall in my English courses, albeit the last was 5 yrs ago … the oxymoron had to do with the use of contradictory words, for instance saying someone is intelligently silly or being agreeably argumentative but from your sentence above, I just don’t get it.

A) Is the arrogance contradicting the inanity?

B) Is the inanity contradicting the apology?

C) Is the arrogance contradicting the apology? 

At first, I thought it could be C but then I thought nah that sounds more like sarcasm because you are apologizing for something you claim everyone has (That’s like saying…I apologize for being human. Why apologize for that? If it’s not to be sarcastic).  So now I’ve found myself back at square one.  Please feel free to explain this me like you would a 5, no a 3yrs yrs old, I don’t mind. Hey,  I’ve never claimed to have the English language down pat. Thanks in advance.

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Practise actually speaking the language. You can even go online and speak with people in the UK, using a voip application like the one I found on http://naijaconnects.com/?action=internetphone

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Prepare your mind and make sure you are seriously ready to improve your spoken English

Don't listing to your own mistake, you will only learn from it and improve

Wish you success

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Listen to the BBC and any international radio stations that are transmitted in English. Spend hours of your day, infact all day listening to the BBC while you work. It helps. You do not have to use the Big words but once you get around organizing your words right, you will sound even as good as people who have a huge vocab.

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ladykay is a nice person to follow her ideas but i would like to add more contribution to

her instructions that you should check this link www.easyschooloflanguages.org

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You are so right, Pidgin english is kinda fun but it messes up your english, the only time I use pidgin english is when I type, I can't even speak it.

The only way to get better is if you talk more, if u're so scared of making mistakes and you keep quiet in public, u won't get better

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@ seabiotics

My dear friend!! my point is that Nigerians value English speaking ability more than qualifications, a lot of people will prefer a sweet English speaking doctor to a "cut and join" English speaking Doctor because the general consensus is that if you can speak good English then you are learned but that notion is deceptive because a lot of good Engineers, Doctors, Technicians etc. are without work all because of the way we glorify English and if we don't put a stop to this then we are doomed

I was like that until i left the shores of Nigeria and came to a place where my English language doesn't matter, You can be so good in English language but if you don't know what you went to school for you are a dead man in Europe because nobody will give a hoot about your fluency in spoken or written English. It might be a plus in your CV but not a guarantee at all

We should be encouraging our people to dedicate more time to learn their careers instead of learning English to impress

Yes there are many Nigerian professionals out there making impacts in the world with the education they acquired from our country but they are not of our generation and that's a shame

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its very bold of u to come openly to say this and i commend u for it, honestly if u wrote poster urself i think u are well above average.

Well my only advice is to avoid our local movies(home video) and watch more foreign film and read good novel, the skys ur limit

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all  said and done  with the reading, another key thing you'll need is the confidence to speak, last thing you want after all that studyin and listeningo the news on TVs to

wind up sounding like a rehearsed stage play, so careful my ffriend)

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Go and read good text books to learn more about fundamentals and also speak the language regularly with your immediate family.

You will appreciate the language only when you understand how to use it correctly

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You are the one that should do so next time and don't jump into conclusions, did you read my first post on this issue? then go and read it before giving quack advice

that line of argument is baseless because English language can not give them wider exposure but their knowledge of their profession will give them, all they need English language for is just to communicate and the poster sincerely speaking can communicate in English language because his post suggests so

Only in Nigeria!!

We attribute so much importance on the usage of English language and we value the language more than qualifications

Take your Nigerian university certificate anywhere in the world to look for work and come back to tell me what happened

I wanted to take it one after the other but duty is calling me

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Quote from Romeo:

Please endeavour to fully analyse and comprehend the context of an argument before making a contribution. It will serve you well in all you do. The context of this discourse centers on the poster's inability to converse in perfect English amongst his friends.

True the Japanese, Russsians and Asians may have been adequately skilled in Science and Technology without learning English. But that was not the point I was maintaining.

In fact, these scientists are more likely to gain a wider exposure and respect in their field if they are able to present their research papers to an audience in English language. Aside from this, they will also be able to field questions from the audience that may include science reporters and other knowledgeable experts in their field and other related fields.

Similarly, the ability to demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field by expressing your self in perfect English at dinner parties, business meetings and networking events, gives you a presence money itself cannot buy. And since English remains our lingua franca in Nigeria, the emphasis on expressing oneself in English at formal occasions is important. Even some folks converse in perfect english at informal occasions as well. It just depends on whom you hang out with.

With regards to the "ghost education" you alluded to, you will inadvertently be opening a can of worms that you probably aren't aware of.

Except those students who studied English at the University, I do not know of anyone else who studiously focused on learning to be very good with the usage of English language whilst neglecting their chosen careers. If there is a dearth of professionals in the Nigerian market today, this has absolutely nothing to do with your point.

If a student neglected their chosen career, did it occur to you that they may not have a passion for that career? Or they did, but didn't face their studies squarely. In this regards, how has learning English affected their chosen career? Instead of affecting it, it should boost it.

Let me say this, and trust me on this, because I know it works. There is power in the usage of words (I am referring to the English language), both orally and in writing. It can get you anywhere you want to go or want to be.

You said spoken English doesn't put food on the table, well it won't if you can't express yourself perfectly when you are about to submit a business proposal or asked to justify its rationale. It won't get anyone a good job as well, if you can't express yourself better on an application form or at an interview.

Do you want to know why some people have “ghost education”? It has nothing to do with their supposed ability to converse in English language. Perhaps, it may be due to a number of reasons. You may lay the blame the govt. door for not investing heavily in education. You may blame some of the lecturers for not teaching students “properly”? You may blame the students for swapping quality educating for sex for grades, cultism, and rioting. But to suggest that the learning and expression of good English in Universities contributed to students neglecting their chosen careers has to be the biggest joke of the century.

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Dear Poster,

As a graduate, I believe you must have done more than enough of English reading and writing. What you should concentrate on now is speaking and listening. Watch and listen to any program in English, pay attention to what you hear and relate it to how what you learnt in school. Try to get a book on English grammar to learn English Grammar Structure. Be very conscious of the use of PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE TENSES, a lot of mistakes come from the wrong of tenses. Try mingling with people who always speak English, pay attention to how they speak.  Don’t bug yourself about making mistakes, if you fall, rise and move on and you get stronger. Always THINK in English. Most importantly, BE CONFIDENT in yourself and don’t be shy to speak. Start walking the path to correcting your English and don’t see it as your English is bad because that might weigh you down and get you discourages. But see is it as you want to improve on your English, that is, concentrate on the solution which is the way forward.

Goodluck!

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How about the Asian wiz kids? Russians, Germans, French, Italians, Spanish? did they learn their science and technology with English language? It is nothing but another important language to know!! English language can not put food on your table or pay your rent, Nigeria has a lot of un-employed graduates roaming the streets without work or hope of getting one very soon.

REASON:

They spent their time in the university learning to be very good in English language and thus neglecting their chosen careers. We could've been benefitting from "out sourcing" if our youths had dedicated more time to learn their chosen careers instead of English language to show off their "ghost education"

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Very simple.

RULES

1.BUY A GOOD ENGLISH TEXT BOOK LIKE COMMON MISTAKES IN ENGLISH

2.TRY TO ALWAYS SPEAK ENGLISH EVEN WHEN U ARE MAKING MISTAKES

3.STOP SPEAKING PIDGIN ENGLISH

4. MISS UP WITH PEOPLE THAT ALWAYS SPEAK GOOD ENGLISH

5. MAKE SURE YOU CORRECT EVERY MISTAKE U MAKE BY ASKING SOMEONE THAT KNOWS.

If u follow this rules for 1month you will achieve your aim.

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I disagree on your point about English language not being important in the field of Science and Technology. Indeed, the ability to express oneself effectively in English (oral and written)is considered an important transferable skill in every field.

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@Ola.

Speak English all the time.

Also be creative. At your leisure engage yourself in reading Papers and be close to your dictionary.

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@tkb417

What's ur ID? I'm online now.

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Since you said you are graduate, you should simply pay attention to conversations.

Get some tutorial pronouciation Disc & CD player (mobile): People from non English speaking countries learn using this device.

Listing to news broadcast always; but some of the newscasters make mistakes sometimes.

Note: It depends on your line duty. If you are into sciences & Engineering, I am damn sure you will know how to use the terms in those areas perfectly. Little English is requried in that area.

Note: Check yourself may be you are fluent but you have difficulty of talking in the midst of people. I also have the same problem. You feel people might crucify you if you make mistake.

Secret: Talk more in the presence of your friends, people who will take their time to correct you.

Lastly, reveal your secret to a younger person. If you associate with kids of may be primaries trust me before you know it you are going to change and feel different about yourself.

The only disadvantage of the line that comes before this; your way of conversion might turn childish. You can mend it before it gets out of hand.

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Na wa for this People and their one page replies. . . lol, instead of debating with each other, plz advice the poster instead. thanks

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try speaking amongst your friend who you know can correct you,ask them to help,then you take correction,you will do well reading but even better when you speak more,you will achieve your goal for the year,coming out to ask is one major step you have taken.get a dictionary and read through that will help your vocabs,for your phonetic you will have to learn to pronounce words correctly in your private time.good luck

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Kemjisuper,

I heard a comment recently that the screen set is the last dictatorship in the civilised world. It came from a movie diector. So you are right the guy might come out with more than better spoken english. Like you said a brain wash. On the flip side he may have more than one opiniuon on any issue. At least he gets to see the world from two different sets of eyes.

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@ Purist,

Well noted points and good debating skills as well. Kudos.

@ Poster,

The basic rule is to work hard on your shortcomings. I am not going to dwell exceedingly on how to overcome your English language deficiency, because many forumers here have made some invaluable contributions. However, I suggest the following:

1. Do not attempt to learn how to speak proper English from watching movies.

2. If you are privy to the Prime Minister's question time in England, that is a good programme to watch to learn and to polish off your skills.

3. Read good books. Not novels. May I suggest authors such as Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill and John Maxwell.

4. Get a book and write down phrases that you hear. Once in a while, learn practicing these phrases and repeat them often.

Best wishes.

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@OLA, from your post i think the only problem you are having is spoken english, my one advise goes thus:

1) watch lots of educative programmes

2) speak english often

3) challenge yourself by speaking in public not minding the fact that you might be mocked

4) get yourself a job that will make u speak english a lot at least for the main time not minding the remuneration

5) don't mind what comes out of your mouth, just speak, let it flow but be watchful (i.e. note people's correction not minding the source) because where  

   your are today is not necessarily where you will be for the rest of your life.

6) finally, go to conferences, seminars and always participate in any discusion you find yourself in with good speakers of english language, make

   contributions with these you become so bold to speak in public, above all be brave to express yourself.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago and the second best is now. best of luck sir.

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I grew up with a father that made us listen to BBc news and virtually all programmes they had to offer. Would I say I was pissed. The end result today is that I speak impeccable english and it has opened doors for me. It is not new to hear some of my clients who are white asking if ive lived in europe before.

The take is this . You tend to speak more of what you hear and the way you heard it. Spend time with people communicating instead of watching all the rubbish they call nollywood. Read far and wide so that you can have information that you will need to communicate. Finally have a dear friend who speaks better to put you in line when you are offbeat and also importantly to commend you as you progress.

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@ ola2006  and all others

You do not need another school or books or any media. The best you can learn a language is from native speakers.

at FIRST: stop being ashamed. even every native speaker of any language, could not speak it well, when he started to learn the language.

SECOND: You need to speak that language often and you need to hear that often. Just with regular practise you will become more professional in  whatever you are doing.

THIRD: Have faith in your self. My husband always says:"I belief, I can do everything." And you know what? He can. We human would still run around on four legs and live like animals, if we could not. As more you belief in yourself, as more secure you feel and as better you can be.

And when you do not understsand you collegues, ask them to explain that to you. On that way, you will learn more words, than you can find in any dictionary.

And when you have tried all this seriously and it has not been working, than you can ask me again.

Just by the way, you guys should not judge about each other. there is nobody, who is perfect among us.

regards Jeannette

Visit our Website:   http://www.donlaromotors.com

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That's the problem with some Nigerians!! Some think that knowledge of English language is everything

Why should anybody make fun of another because of grammatical erros? Nonsense!!

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Read newspapers and magazines steady, listen to news regularly.

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Easy does it mister . . . read, read, read and read. A lot of people mistake "reading" for "looking" . . . too many people gloss through books and newspapers, merely picking up the key points without thoroughly digesting how tenses are used, learning new words and the contexts of use.

Watch newsbroadcasts and practice as much as you can in private, surround urself with good english speakers and try as much as possible to restrict ur use of ur local language until you are sure ur english has sufficiently improved.

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I beg to disagree with the last two posters(Jaffarre and QC-1). How can on earth can his problem be confidence when he can't even COMMUNICATE without making a fool of himself?? There is nothing confident in opening your mouth and spewing gibberish just because you want to converse. He has said it plainly, he can't speak proper english, he didn't say he was shy!!

@poster- Read out loud to yourself and ask for correct pronounciation of new words you come across. Watch movies, lots of them, not the crap that comes out of Nolly-wood and please don't watch "Lockstock and Two smoking barrels" either. From good films, you'll learn intonation and sentence construction, and even pick up new words, not necessarily BIG words like most people like to bandy about.

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agreed w/ poster above, you have to get your confidence up, read aloud, speak with other english speakers you're comfortable with like friends and associates. Read and hear things in your language in english (like you read "nisisinyi emi aini ishura lo" and think to yourself "i need to go to the store now"). Observe their cadence and inflections, and try to pick up american and british dialects from TV and interactions to have better idea of oral syntax and inunciation so you don't sound awkward.

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