3 Ways to Improve Your Speaking and Listening Skills in English

with Dialogue Frog Conversations

How to use Dialogue Frog

There are many different ways you could use Dialogue Frog’s podcast episodes to improve your listening and speaking skills. Here are three ways to use short conversations:

Pick one goal when you listen to a short conversation. Listen to the conversation as many times as it takes until you feel you have reached your goal. If you want to improve in multiple skills, try listening to a conversation three times but focus on a different goal each time. 

Listening for understanding

When you listen for understanding, your goal is simply to understand the conversation. As you listen, ask yourself these questions:

What is this conversation about?

Are they talking about opinions or facts?

What do I think about this topic? 

What would I say if I talked about this topic in English, too?

If you can answer these questions easily, that is great! If you need a little help, start by reviewing the vocabulary list at the bottom of every episode. Translate the words you don’t know, and try listening again. 

Pronunciation and Intonation

Pronunciation and intonation are important parts of being understood when you speak to others. The standard pronunciation of English words may depend on who you talk to or where you are in the world. All Dialogue Frog conversations are in the Standard American accent unless otherwise noted in the episode description. 

Pronunciation: Pronunciation is how words sound when they are spoken. It is important to learn the sounds of words. This will help you recognize words as they are spoken to you and so you can be understood when you are speaking.

To practice your English pronunciation, listen carefully and slowly to an episode of Dialogue Frog. Stop and start the audio to listen carefully to how the words are pronounced. Repeat them out loud, trying to say words exactly as you hear them.

Intonation: Intonation is the rise and fall of your voice as you speak a sentence. Intonation is very important. For example, you probably know that rising intonation at the end of a sentence is used to ask a question. Intonation can also be used to express emotions such as surprise, anger, and happiness.

To practice intonation, listen to whole sentences to hear where the speaker’s voice rises or falls. Try to repeat the whole sentence, matching the intonation as it rises and falls.

Speaking while listening

Your goal here is speed and accuracy. It is okay if you don’t understand the whole conversation. Just try to talk along with the conversation, matching the pronunciation and speed as closely as you can. First, try talking as Emma, then try talking as Luke. For an extra challenge, try talking as both Emma and Luke. Check your:

Speed: Can you talk at the same time as Emma and Luke?

Accuracy: Are you able to use the same pronunciation and intonation?

This can be difficult. If you need a little help, try reading the transcript out loud while playing the audio.

Okay, I'm ready to try this!

Awesome! Click on 'See All Conversations' to pick a topic that is interesting to you. You can also start with episode 1.