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Speaking skill

 

Introduction
 

Speaking is the productive skill in the oral mode. It, like the other skills, is more complicated than it seems at first and involves more than just pronouncing words.

Listening Situations
 

There are three kinds of speaking situations in which we find ourselves:

 
  • interactive,
  • partially interactive, and
  • non-interactive.
 

Interactive speaking situations include face-to-face conversations and telephone calls, in which we are alternately listening and speaking, and in which we have a chance to ask for clarification, repetition, or slower speech from our conversation partner. Some speaking situations are partially interactive, such as when giving a speech to a live audience, where the convention is that the audience does not interrupt the speech. The speaker nevertheless can see the audience and judge from the expressions on their faces and body language whether or not he or she is being understood.

 

Some few speaking situations may be totally non-interactive, such as when recording a speech for a radio broadcast .

Micro-skills
 

Here are some of the micro-skills involved in speaking. The speaker has to:

 
  • pronounce the distinctive sounds of a language clearly enough so that people can distinguish them. This includes making tonal distinctions.
  • use stress and rhythmic patterns, and intonation patterns of the language clearly enough so that people can understand what is said.
  • use the correct forms of words. This may mean, for example, changes in the tense, case, or gender.
  • put words together in correct word order.
  • use vocabulary appropriately.
  • use the register or language variety that is appropriate to the situation and the relationship to the conversation partner.
  • make clear to the listener the main sentence constituents, such as subject, verb, object, by whatever means the language uses.
  • make the main ideas stand out from supporting ideas or information.
  • make the discourse hang together so that people can follow what you are saying.

Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 23 October 1998

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