Why can’t I speak English proficiently?

by | Mar 13, 2024 | FAQ about my programs

why can't I speak english proficiently


Why can’t I speak proficiently? I’ve been an English language learner for a long time.

Isn’t it enough to know the word meanings, grammar and sentence structures of English to speak it well?



Knowing a language and speaking it proficiently are not the same thing.



A language is made up of word meanings and rules.  These rules govern grammar and sentence structure.  Having a solid foundation in word meanings, grammar rules and sentence structure is critical.  It is the foundation for communication, whether it be in conversation or print.  Being able to understand written English and to produce it in writing are necessary skills to survive and succeed professionally.


Consider this

Speaking English proficiently involves much more.  One must know the sounds of the language and have an awareness of how they are produced.  Even better is having an understanding of how speaking those sounds is different from one’s first language.



Speaking English proficiently also involves having a command of intonation (i.e. pitch, stress, rate, and fluency).  Intonation is part of every language, but the patterns for each component may differ.  When speaking English, we vary our pitch both within a word and across our message. The highs and lows, starting points and ending points of our pitch convey subtle meaning to our listener about what we are saying.


There are somewhat predictable stress patterns to the words we say and the emphasis in our message.  Our speech clarity is directly related to whether or not we say a 3+ syllable word with the correct stress pattern.  If we don’t, our listener is left scrambling to understand us.


We emphasize the point of our message by stressing the ciritical word within it.  There are rules about how this is done that aren’t part of learning the language.



Our speech rate and fluency impact how natural we sound and how well we are understood.

Some non-native speakers of English speak quickly, running phrases together into clumps of unintelligible words.  Others speak haltingly, releasing all word endings and shortening the vowels within words making the overall message sound unnatural.


Speech rate and fluency can be learned and controlled as one speaks.  It is done by utilizing pausing at critical points within the message and by blending words together.  There are techniques to learn how to do this proficiently which may not be taught as part of learning the language.


In conclusion

Knowing the language is essential to communication.  It is the foundation.  Speaking proficiently and being undersood involves much more.


One can have an excellent command of the language and experience communication barriers because they haven’t learned the pronunciation of the language.


The good news is pronunciation can be achieved.  It can be mastered.

Find a good pronunciation coach and work towards speaking English proficiently.




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Explore Before Committing

Are you interested in trying speech training without committing to a program first?  Check out my FREE 7 day challenge “Introduction to Speaking North American English More Naturally”.  No obligation to purchase.  Get a taste of what it is like to work with me and make quick changes to your English speaking skills.

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