How can you learn and practise spoken English on the Internet? How can you have real conversations and improve your fluency?
Some possible answers are:
- Online lessons or conversation with a teacher
- Language exchange with a native speaker (Free!)
- English conversation clubs
- Apps with speech recognition technology
Online English lessons & conversation
Online English lessons or conversations with a qualified teacher, on Skype or Zoom for example, have big advantages. You can choose your teacher. You can have 1-to-1 lessons any time, any place, or join small group classes. The cost is low. And the first lesson is free or very cheap, so you can try before you buy.
How to find the best teacher for you
Websites on the list below offer a big choice of teachers. It’s important to choose one that’s right for you. Think about:
- Do you want a native speaker of English? A non-native speaker may be cheaper but still good.
- Do you need a teacher who also speaks your language?
- Which variety of English do you want: British, American, Australian etc? Or doesn’t it matter?
- What kind of English are you looking for? General English or English for business, for example?
- Do you have any other special requirements?
Some places to look
italki.com offers one-to-one English lessons from experienced teachers. There’s a very wide choice of teachers. Also, there’s helpful information about each teacher + a video introduction. Costs are very low. The first lesson is even cheaper, so you can make sure the teacher is right for you.
lingoda.com provides cheap small group classes at all levels and private 1-1 lessons. Book a class any day any time. Lingoda gets very good reviews, and there’s a 7-day free trial. Choose ‘English’ or ‘Business English’.
live-english.net offers both personal and small group lessons. Choose conversational or business English, with a free trial lesson. Do you need to prepare for a job interview in English? There’s a special course for that too.
EnglishTutorOnline.com – one-to-one or group classes with qualified and experienced UK and US teachers. Free trial lesson, free ebooks and other extras.
fiverr.com is a source of many cheap independent services. On the search page, type English teacher or English conversation. Or find other inexpensive services that you need, such as translation.
Language exchange online (Free!)
This is a popular way to practise your spoken English with a native English speaker – at no cost. Websites like tandem.net and ConversationExchange.com match you with English speakers who want to learn your language. Choose someone with similar interests to yours. Then have conversations in each other’s language. It can be an interesting cultural experience too. Another popular option is Lingoglobe.com.
Language Exchange works with video calling apps like Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp. Or you can start with voice messaging before moving on to live face-to-face video chat.
One of the most popular language exchange communities, hellotalk.com, has 30,000,000 members around the world. Use it on the web or download the app to your phone. Join informal group chats and/or find an English-speaking partner. You can chat via text, voice messages, voice calls and video calls. HelloTalk also has useful tools to help you learn from the conversations. The tools include translation and a correction feature.
Online English Conversation Clubs
On websites like SpeakingClub.com and Speak-peak.club, you can meet other English learners around the world. Choose people at your level with similar interests. Then have conversations via voice messaging or face-to-face video calls. This method is good for practising your English speaking skills. You’ll improve your fluency in a relaxed way. It’s fun too!
Apps with speech recognition
Learn and practise English on your own, in your own time, on your mobile device or computer. The courses below are interactive. When you speak, these apps can ‘listen’ and correct you. So they are good for improving pronunciation.
Rosetta Stone provides language learning software for all levels from low to advanced. It aims to teach you to speak English in the real world. And the TruAccent® speech engine aims to perfect your pronunciation. Rosetta Stone also provides opportunities to chat with other learners and real teachers.
Duolingo can be used for free, but is only American English. It’s good for basic vocabulary and pronunciation, but not so good for conversational English.
Rocket Languages is also U.S. English only, but otherwise a good choice for improving your speech. There’s a 60-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.
Babbel – If your language is German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese or Swedish, you can learn English with Babbel. There’s a free 7-day trial, then a small monthly cost. Babbel is good for intermediate-level conversational English. To make further progress online, you may need more advanced level courses and/or an online teacher.