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Speaking of New Year’s…

In English, we use the expression “speaking of” to introduce a new thought on the same topic as a previous one. For example, I recently encouraged you all to wish each other a Happy New Year on our Facebook page. Now I could say, speaking of New Year’s… what is your New Year’s resolution?

English learners often complain that they do not get enough speaking practice. Perhaps some of you have made this your New Year’s resolution. It is easy to find reading, writing, and listening practice online. But what about speaking practice? While there was once a shortage in speaking practice for online learners, this gap is slowly being filled through video and voice chat technology. The Internet is becoming more interactive and you can be a part of it.

To benefit from these changes, you need to equip yourself with the necessary technology. Do you have a microphone or headset? What about a webcam? These tools are very useful if you are learning English online and want to practise your speaking skills.

Here are some reasons to give yourself the gift of a microphone, headset, and webcam this New Year:

  • You can practise speaking and upload audio files to your MyEC sound player.
  • You can speak to other learners on EnglishClub’s Facebook Voice Chat channel.
  • You can Skype with other learners online.
  • You can practise TOEIC and TOEFL speaking questions.
  • You can listen to audio files in a library or common room without bothering others.
  • You can put a voice to a name by talking to people from your online social network.
  • You can listen to your own voice and work on improving your pronunciation.

Just sayin’…*

*This is an English expression that has grown in popularity over the past few years. Just sayin’ is something you say or write after the fact. It is a very casual or informal way of saying, “Just thought you might want to know”.

headset: a combination of microphone and earphones
webcam: a camera that allows you to see and interact with others who are online
interactive: two-way communication
new year’s resolution: a plan to change or improve something at the beginning of a year
common room: a place people are welcome to use at the same time

Share your recording tips:
Which audio recorder do you use?
Which microphone, headset, or webcam do you recommend?
How did you find a Skype partner?

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | January 2010
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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