English Communication Confidence Blog

American English Fluency: A Look Inside The Classroom

Jun 07, 2022

American English Fluency is the first step before becomingn skillful in your English communication? They're both equally important and in today's post, you'll have a look at one of my students as they go through this lesson.


Video Transcript:

Jill: Hello, Adam.

Adam: Hey,

Jill: How are you?

Adam: I'm doing well. How about you?

Jill: I'm doing really well, so great to meet you.

Adam: Yeah, you too. Yeah.

Jill: Now, are you still a counselor or are you still in this kind of work?

Adam: Uh, yes I am. Uh, but in office, I, take more of the, um, the managerial management role. So I, I spend more time on, on, on that. So I don't have as as many students as Karsten or Stephanie.

Jill: Lot of Speaker people who speak any language as a second language, tend to have the belief that showing your fluency means speaking quickly. And that's true in some respects. The fact that you can speak quickly and listen quickly is a sign of your fluency. However, when you talk about communication skills and you talk about presentation skills, there's a whole other level of communicating that we need to get to. And in your case, you speak so quickly that you're not giving you the opportunity to hear your thoughts.

Adam: Mm.

Jill: I hear them, but I have to work, I have to run after you to keep up with you, because so now the good news is I'm running after you. I'm not falling behind trying to understand the words or understand the sounds. Cause those things can happen. People who are less clear, uh, you know, who maybe don't have the linking and the connections of words that you have, maybe they don't have the rhythm of the language, which so far, it sounds like you have, uh, so people who, who speak so quickly, uh, I have to run after. People who miss the rhythm of the language I have to fall behind. Okay. But in both cases, I'm not able to grasp what you're trying to tell me as easily as I'd like. Okay. Mm. Does, does that make sense?

Adam: Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, uh, that, that's, that's really helpful. I, I, I, I kind of like realize this in my previous job, because before I was the, uh, um, actually it was the same time when I first started as an admission counselor. Uh, I was sent back to China to relocate, uh, to, to, to, to take the whole Chinese market and also the, the Asia market. Uh, and the same time I, I had another job, uh, which is a teaching job for, um, for the TOEFL, GRE, GMATS preparation. So that's, uh, I, I used to serve the, the biggest, uh, education group in the private education group in China. So the culture there is to speak fast because they, they, they, they were like, they they're trying to speak fast. So students can keep focusing on your, um, language. You're like talking, they need to catch up. They need to keep focusing because it, it is so fast. And that, that was, I, I know that that was kind of like a bad, that

Jill: Was the strategy.

Adam: Yeah. Yeah. That, that was the strategy, so. Okay. So I, yeah.

Jill: And then, and then here's the thing, speaking slowly is different from using thought chunking. Have you ever heard the term thought chunking?

Adam: Uh, no. I'm not familiar with that.

Jill: So , when I talk about, uh, slowing down your speech, I'm not talking about every word slowing down.

Adam: Hmm.

Jill: What I'm talking about is grouping your words together in a meaningful way that creates what we call a thought group or a thought unit or a thought chunk. Okay?

So, a group of words that creates a meaningful thought. That's what a thought group is. That's what a thought chunk is. And what happens is the pause happens at the end of each thought chunk.

So, I could speak as quickly as I want, as long as I pause and I emphasize a key word. Okay?

So, you could hear, if I say I could speak as quickly as I want. Yes. But I pause and I highlight the word "want." And, and really what we're talking about Adam is, uh, what I like to call punctuating your speech.

Adam: Punctuating the speech, just

Jill: like you do in a piece of writing. When you write, imagine if I gave you a piece of writing and you had to determine where's the comma, where's the period, where's the dash, where's the semicolon. That would be a lot of work. Wouldn't it?

Adam: Right. Yeah, exactly.

Jill: So if you are speaking so quickly and you're not using any punctuation in your voice, and you're not finding a place to gimme a period, and you're not putting in a comma and you're not breathing, and you're not doing a lot of things, then I, as the listener, have to find those punctuation marks. And that's not, that's not, that's not effective communication skills.

Adam: Mm.

Jill: It might mean that you're fluent in the language and that you could produce the language, but it doesn't mean that you're communicating as well as you can.



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