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, via 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 a very wide choice of experienced teachers. 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.
live-english.net offers both personal and small group lessons for conversational and 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.
lingoda.com provides small group classes at all levels (cheaper than one-to one lessons). Book a class any day any time. Lingoda gets very good reviews.
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 any other inexpensive service that you need, such as translation.
Language exchange online (Free!)
This is a popular no-cost way to practise your spoken English with a native English speaker. Websites like tandem.net and ConversationExchange.com can match you with English speakers who want to learn your language. Choose someone with similar interests to yours and 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 calls.
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 and have conversations via voice messaging or face-to-face video calls. This method is good for practising your English speaking skills and improving 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.
Babbel has 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.
Rosetta Stone‘s language learning software caters for low and advanced levels. 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.