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Oral fluency is a measure of how well and how easily you can communicate your ideas clearly and accurately in speech.
Of course, correct pronunciation of individual sounds and words is very important for fluency, for your listener has to be able to hear and distinguish the words you are saying. However, stress, rhythm, and intonation can be even more important, for they help make both single words and combinations of words, like phrases, clauses, and whole sentences, understandable to your listener.
Grammar is the structure of the language and vocabulary holds the individual building blocks, so both are also essential to fluency.
In conversation, you also have to be able to understand what the other person is saying, so good listening skills are also needed in oral fluency.
Combining listening and reading with oral skills is a great way to improve your fluency. Read a newspaper or magazine article and then talk about it with friends. Watch a TV show or a movie or watch or listen to the news, and talk about it. Writing about a topic first is useful way to get ready for talking or for discussion.
Keep track of how your fluency is improving in your Oral Fluency Journal. (Print extra pages.) Note how your pronunciation practice is going, and how your conversation skills are improving. Writing down what you need to work on, whether it's pronunciation, a grammar point, vocabulary, or reading about a subject so you can think of what to say -- or just that more practice is needed in this area.
All these things are important in building oral fluency, but none are as important as taking the time to practice speaking. Practice and sharpen your oral fluency skills every day.
You can record your speech and listen to yourself to analyse how well you are doing and what you need to work on to improve your oral fluency. Click the Voice Recorder link to display the Voice Recorder stand-alone window. You can record your voice and compare with the models online on this web site or on any web site. You can practice reading out loud or practice fluency by speaking about various subjects, or telling a story, and recording yourself and listening to to how well you did. You can also save your recordings to your computer.
Size and move your windows to one side of the screen, and keep Voice Recorder on the other side.
Use CTRL + TAB to return Voice Recorder (or any hidden window) to the top.
Any computer using Windows has the audio recording program Sound Recorder, but it's much better to use the free, easy-to-use audio recording program called WavePad. It records in WAV format, but it is better to save in MP3 so that the audio file sizes are not so large. When you download and install WavePad and then first try to save in MP3 format, the program should automatically access the "component" you need. If it doesn't, you can find it at the Components page -- download mp3el.exe. The free demo version of WavePad comes with all the bells and whistles, and after two weeks you'll see a notice that they will no longer be available until you purchase the Master's Version. There's really no need to get it as all the basic features you need for voice recording will still be available.
The following settings are best for recording your voice. In Tools >> WavePad Options, set default sample rate to 22050 and and channels to mono. You don't need to set WavePad to open any wav or mp3 files by default; let your media player continue to do that for you. Save your audio files in a convenient folder on your computer.
For those more technically savy, Audacity is another great free recording program.
I'll be adding more and more fluency resources, including "gambits" to this section of the web site.