Learning the English Language from Speeches

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Speech is simply the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words. But, delivering a speech implies one person speaking to an audience in a formal manner. The aim of a formal speech is to convince, inspire, or inform the audience, as many great speeches, delivered at key moments in history have done. Some of these speeches have even gone on to change the world. Good English Language skills are required for delivering good speeches, and listening to speeches can help you learn how to speak English fluently.

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Listening to Speeches Can Help You Learn How to Speak English Fluently

There’s so much we can learn from just listening to good speakers – from using the right words, to pace and volume and confidence when speaking in public, to sharing inspiration through words. We’ve put together a list of five such speeches from famous moments in history that still have the power to generate emotional responses in listeners. Listening to these speeches will help you learn how to speak English fluently.

But first, let’s take a look at some tips and rules to remember when preparing to make a speech.

Keep It Short and Simple

Remember, your audience will consist of different types of people – with different contexts and levels of understanding. To be effective for most of them, it is best to keep your sentences short and simple. This will help you hold your audience’s attention and they will also be able to understand what you are saying.

Use Imagery and Storytelling

Imagery in a speech means using metaphors and descriptions that can help your audience relate to what you are saying. The right examples, analogies, and stories at the right time when you’re trying to make a point can persuade your audience very effectively. Imagery and storytelling also adds interest and variety to the speech and helps keep your audience engaged.

Refine Your English Language and English Grammar Skills

Improving your English language skills can help you present your thoughts with clarity and efficiency. Good conversational skills are required for delivering great speeches. There must be no grammatical errors in your speech. Do not underestimate the power of pronouns. The pronoun, “we” can create a sense of unity amongst your audience and make them feel like you are one of them. The pronoun, “you” in your speech can make it more personal, and give your audience the sense that your words are directed specifically at them.

Use Poetry, Repetition, and Rhyme

Using these language tools can make parts of your speeches stand out, which will make them memorable. It is a good way to keep your audience engaged with your words as their attention might drift if you only talk in a monotonous manner. Of course, you can use these methods only once in a while and at the right place in your speech. Their effectiveness will also depend on the topic of your speech.

Use Humor

Humor is another influential language tool that can be used in speeches. It can be used to lift the spirits of your audience. It can be used to persuade people to listen to and understand you because laughter can be drawn from shared, common experiences that allow people to relate to one another.

Now, as promised, here is a list of our 5 favorite speeches and what we can learn from them.

Martin Luther King – I have a dream

No list of famous speeches could ever be complete without this iconic speech delivered by Martin Luther king Jr., a famous social activist from the United States of America.

What can we learn from this speech?

  • – This speech uses the word dream repetitively. This helps makes the speech emotional and relates to the frustrations and desire for freedom that his audience shared. Dreams are intimate in nature, and because he shared his dream with his audience, it allowed for an instant connection to be formed.
  • – This is a genuine, simple, sincere speech. Martin Luther King didn’t need to use big words or flowery language to connect with his audience.
  • – He uses future tense such as “will be able” and “shall” be which gives his audience hope, and inspires them to strive for a better future.
John F. Kennedy – The Decision to go to the moon

This speech signified a great moment in human history. It gave Kennedy’s audience a sense of wonder at what could be achieved advanced, American of science and technology.

What can we learn from this speech?

  • – Kennedy kept his speech simple so it could be fully absorbed by his audience. Simple yet inspiring sentences like, “We choose to go to the moon,” helped give the audience a sense of wonder of what man could achieve with technology.
  • – Kennedy uses pronouns to keep his audience engaged. The pronouns he chooses to use create a sense of urgency and excitement. For example, when he says “This decade.”
Winston Churchill – We shall fight them on the beaches

Winston Churchill will always be remembered as one of the most famous orators in the world. This speech that he delivered in 1940 is one of the most inspiring speeches that has ever been delivered.

What can we learn from this speech?

  • – He consistently uses the phrase, “we shall.” This is use of structural repetition helped rally his audience and gave them the hope that England as a nation would persevere no matter what.
  • – He also uses active verbs such as “defend” and “fight” to motivate his audience and make them believe that England would win.
King George IV – Radio address to England

King George IV delivered a significant historical speech. It was recently made famous by the Oscar winning movie, “The King’s Speech.”

What can we learn from this speech?

  • – This speech is famous for being extremely short and economical with language. Every word used was significant and served a purpose. It kept the audience engaged.
  • – The speaker used pronouns to makes his speech extremely personal and persuasive.
Ronald Reagan – Tear down this wall

This speech by President Ronald Reagan to the people of West Berlin contains one of the most memorable lines spoken during his presidency, “tear down this wall”, and called for the unification of Germany to end people’s suffering.

What can we learn from this speech?

  • – This speech did a great job in giving a voice to emotion that people felt that time of the cold war. People were desperate for peace and Reagan’s iconic line “tear down this wall,” perfectly captured the sentiment at the time.
  • – He spoke very passionately and had the entire audience engaged throughout his speech.

As you prepare for your next speaking engagements, think back to these points and examples. While you may not be delivering a speech, you can look to incorporate these speakers’ clarity and confidence into your daily communications. It will go a long way in improving your English language skills.

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