Speaking is the delivery of language through the mouth. To speak, we create sounds using many parts of our body, including the lungs, vocal tract, vocal chords, tongue, teeth and lips.
This vocalized form of language usually requires at least one listener. When two or more people speak or talk to each other, the conversation is called a “dialogue”. Speech can flow naturally from one person to another in the form of dialogue. It can also be planned and rehearsed, as in the delivery of a speech or presentation. Of course, some people talk to themselves! In fact, some English learners practise speaking standing alone in front of a mirror.
Speaking can be formal or informal:
- Informal speaking is typically used with family and friends, or people you know well.
- Formal speaking occurs in business or academic situations, or when meeting people for the first time.
Speaking is probably the language skill that most language learners wish to perfect as soon as possible. It used to be the only language skill that was difficult to practise online. This is no longer the case. English learners can practise speaking online using voice or video chat and services like Skype. They can also record and upload their voice for other people to listen to.