Common Errors in Conversation

A huge number of non-native English speakers make frequent English slip-ups during conversations. Instead, they are supposed to have awareness of where their weak spots are during the initial period of learning. By this, they can be close to understanding themselves and how they can progress from that point.

Stressing on Words in Speech

Many non-native speakers tend to forget that reading a text doesn’t explain intonation in speech. In English, it is possible to put the main stress on (more or less) any word in a sentence. For instance, the speaker can stress on reflecting the meaning they intend the listeners to understand.

Example

  • Here is your Indian friend. (= the friend is standing near the speaker)
  • Here is your Indian friend. (= the friend has not left yet)
  • Here is your Indian friend. (= he is your friend; not his nor mine)
  • Here is your Indian friend. (= not French)
  • Here is your Indian friend. (= not enemy)

Many errors in speech would be corrected if the right words were properly pronounced at the right time. The following activity is designed to slow down your rate of speech so that you can focus on pronunciation and clarity.

Tongue-twisters

Read out the following sentences as loud as you possibly can −

  • She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.

    The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure

    For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore

    Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.

  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers

    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.

    If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,

    Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

  • Shep Schwab shopped at Scott’s Schnapps shop

    One shot of Scott’s Schnapps stopped Schwab’s watch

Strategy to Avoid Errors While Speaking

You can record sample pieces of your speech and play them to find out the areas where you can improve further. It will help you in reviewing and understanding your strengths and weaknesses better.

Secondly, ask your friends to give constructive feedback and suggest areas of improvement. It helps in getting more insights and uncover more details which were missed by you.

Play the recorded audio several times and try to rectify the errors until you have mastered the technique. It is a time-tested strategy used even by experienced speakers.