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Fluentzy.com > English > Fluency Facts > Speech delivery practice is not fluency training
  Back to index of questions   Fluency Facts >> 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15    
  Answer to Q2.
Speech delivery practice is not fluency training

  Q2. I know English fairly well, but I can't speak it fluently. Some people say that a few months of speech-delivery practice would make me fluent. Do you think this is possible?
  Speech-delivery practice can't train you in speech-generation 

No, that's not possible. Mind you, by itself, speech-delivery practice can't make you fluent in speech. No.

The reason is this: Fluency skill is something quite different from the skill of speech-delivery. If you're serious about achieving a high degree of fluency in English, you should understand this difference. This is very important.

You see, many people are under a wrong impression. They think that all they need to do to achieve fluency is to attend classroom sessions and get practice in speech-delivery.

Mind you, their impression is wrong. Speech-delivery practice is not the key to fluency in speech. No. Adults cannot achieve fluency in speech through sessions of speech-delivery practice - in which they try hard to say something or other fluently. No. You can't become fluent in producing long stretches of continuous speech that way. Nobody can. If speech-delivery practice could make you fluent in speech, how easy it would have been to pick up fluency!

Of course, children (not adults, but children) pick up fluency in their first language that way. But even that kind of fluency is not general fluency, but fluency in every-day, one-line or two-line, language. And even to achieve this limited degree of fluency, children take a few years of listening and speaking - and not just a short period of 3 months or even a year.

But the method that children have to follow is not a practical route or the wisest route for adults.

You see, the secret of fluency is the mastery of fluency techniques, and not speech-delivery practice. And fluency techniques are techniques that native speakers of English pick up unconsciously as children. As adults, non-native speakers of English will have to master them through deliberate learning and practice.

So understand this: If you want to achieve a high level of fluency in English, it's these fluency techniques that you must get practice in, and not in speech-delivery.

Speech-delivery practice can't train you in speech-generation

You see, generally speaking, spoken English fluency happens in two stages: First, there's the generation or 'encoding' of speech inside your mind. Then, there's the delivery of the speech so generated or 'encoded'.

The first stage is essentially an internal process that happens inside the speaker's mind, and so hearers can't notice it happening. But the second stage is, to some extent, an external process, and so all hearers notice it.

So the delivery stage is the only point of contact that hearers have with a speaker's fluency skill. And so, many hearers think that fluency skill is nothing but the delivery skill. But the point of delivery is simply the last point in the fluency process. Yet many people mistake this last point for the whole fluency process itself. And under this illusion, they keep trying to develop fluency through the wrong method.

For example, some people keep on listening to audio cassettes containing readymade sentences, and some people keep on taking part in classroom speech-practice sessions. Do you think that efforts like these are going to make anybody fluent in speech? Mind you, these methods can't make them fluent, because these methods concentrate on speech-delivery, and not on speech generation inside your mind.

And mind you, fluency in speech depends not on your delivery skill, but on how readily the thing that has to be delivered keeps getting generated inside your mind and keeps coming up for delivery. Yes. It's very important that you understand this.

So you see, what is more fundamental than the delivery stage is the generation or 'encoding' stage - the stage when the thing to be delivered gets generated for delivery. Once you clearly understand this, you can see that fluency is actually the smooth and ready generation of speech, and not just the delivery. It's this smooth, ready generation of speech that gets reflected on the outside as smooth, hesitation-free, delivery. The more readily speech gets generated inside you, the more readily speech gets delivered.

So if you want to speak English fluently, the skill you should pick up first is the skill of speech generation. Once you've picked up the skill of speech generation, the delivery of speech happens automatically.

Remember that you're someone who already knows English reasonably well and has reasonable experience in handling it and in 'delivering' it.

Of course, if you find it necessary, the style and quality of delivery can certainly be improved later through specialized practice. (For example, if you're going to be an actor or actress, or a TV or radio announcer or broadcaster, or if you want to acquire a particular regional accent for some reason, you may need specialized training in speech delivery). But remember this: If you're not fluent now, speech-delivery practice alone is not going to make you fluent. You know, speech-delivery practice can't give you the skill and flexibility of generating newer and newer speech units and combinations of newer and newer speech units off-hand - in newer and newer situations that you come across from moment to moment in real life.

In fact, the speech-delivery stage is just an "addendum" or extension of the speech generation stage. And it's not the other way round. (That is, the speech-generation stage is not an extension of the speech-delivery stage). So the training you get in speech generation would sharpen your skill in delivery too. But training in speech-delivery wouldn't help you get the skill of speech generation. You know, in spontaneous speech, the two stages are normally so closely interlinked that, for all practical purposes, we can say that speech generation itself often happens directly as speech-delivery. But it's never the other way round.

You can find more details on this point in the answer to Q3, answer to Q4, and answer to Q7.

Next Q&A

  Answer to Q3.
Broken English can't lead you to fluent English

Q3. So if 5 or 6 people who aren't fluent in English get together and practice speaking by having conversations in English, won't they be able to achieve fluency in a few months?


No, they won't be able to. Just consider these two points:
  • How can someone who only speaks broken (or non-fluent) English start practising speech by speaking in a group at all? What kind of English will he or she be able to carry out the speech practice in?
  • If 5 or 6 people who can only speak broken (or non-fluent) English keep on "speaking" among themselves in that kind of English for a few months, is the cumulative effect going to be better or worse?

Mind you, if a few people who speak broken English get together and try to do speech practice, they can do this only in broken English, and not in fluent English - because they can't speak fluent English. And if they keep on doing this kind of speech practice for a few months, broken English becomes their habit. And not fluent English. This is so even if they're people who know English very well.

Understand this: Non-fluent people can't force fluency out of themselves, so long as they're not fluent - no matter how hard or how long they try.

(For more details on this point, see answer to Q4).


Next Q&A


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