Have Fun! Improve Your Spoken English by Playing Games

Once you’ve completed an accent reduction course and learned some new sounds, you need to practice those sounds to improve your spoken English and make it a habit in everyday conversation.

Of course, you can plan get-togethers with your English speaking friends, and a fun activity to get everyone talking is to play a board game. Many board games will encourage interaction, and they are all great for practicing conversation, but there are a few that are particularly good for building your English pronunciation and vocabulary skills.

The harder you have to think about what you are going to say, the harder it is to remember to use the correct English pronunciation. That is what makes these games such great practice. And, they’re lots of fun!

One of my personal favorites is Taboo. The object of the game is to get your teammates to guess a word written on your card, but you can’t use the most common words to describe it. You have to find another way to tell what it is so your teammates can guess. For example, you may have the word “ladder”, but you can’t use the words “rungs, steps, paint, or high” to describe it. So you might say “an object you lean against your house when you need to get on the roof.” Get the idea?

Another great game is Balderdash. You are given a card with a word on it and several definitions, but only one is the correct one. You also make up a definition for the word and ask the other players which one they think is correct. You get points for bluffing, or fooling, them when they choose your definition.

A third great game to build your vocabulary, descriptive skills, and knowledge of American culture, is Apples to Apples. In this game, each person gets noun cards with a person, place, or thing listed on them. An adjective card is placed in the middle and each person selects the noun card that they think goes best with the adjective. Here’s the fun part: each person has to explain why they think their card is the best, and the person selected as the judge gets to decide whose is the best.

While these games are readily available and not too expensive, you could make up your own version of each of them with a good dictionary and some paper. To make a game similar to Taboo, you can choose some common words and list the words used in the definitions as the ” not allowed ” words.

A home version of Balderdash can be played with just a dictionary. You choose a word from the dictionary, read its definition, a definition of another word on the same page, and one you make up on your own.

For a comparison game like Apples to Apples, you need a stack of index cards and a list of nouns and adjectives. Write one word on each card, keeping the nouns and adjectives separate. Pass out five noun cards to each player, put an adjective card in the middle, and you’re ready to go.

So, whether you choose the convenience of purchasing ready-made games or you decide to spend the time to make them up yourself, language games are a fun way to enjoy time with friends and to improve spoken English.

Not sure how to improve your English pronunciation? Why don’t you take my free online speech and accent screening at http://www.losemyaccent.com It only takes a few minutes, and you will get free tips on exactly which sounds to work on.

  • 7/9/2010 8:11 PM Jeff Brunson wrote:
    Apples to Apples is one of the most fun boxed games I’ve ever played. Played it only once with some life-long friends at our annual reunion. I’m amazed at the possibilities of such games to help one with communication and connection thru improving language skills.
  • 7/10/2010 2:05 PM Melanie McGhee wrote:
    I have to agree with Jeff here. I love your out of the box approach.