Ever heard the term chatterbug?
It is someone who can talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk…
Maybe you are a chatterbug in your native language—but when speaking English, all the words leave your mouth.
Or maybe you are just a quiet person, but you would love to be able to have an English conversation whenever you want!
English speaking is one of the hardest elements for language learners to master.
For many, the problem is that there are no native English chatterbugs around to practice with.
Well, that is not a problem anymore.
As long as you have a smartphone and a great English speaking practice app, you can improve your pronunciation and conversation skills no matter where you live.
You will become a fluent English chatterbug before you know it!
Can You Really Learn How to Speak English from an App?
Of course, in-person speaking practice with an English partner is a great way to learn. But that does not mean you cannot also practice on your own! English speaking apps are convenient and effective tools. Here is why.
- You are free to make mistakes, which is crucial to successfully learning any language. You will not experience the dreaded performance anxiety that many people suffer from when learning a language. Whenever you have free time and headphones, you can get some great practice on your own!
- You will improve your “active” vocabulary, not just “passive.” I know what you might be thinking. I only thought there was one kind of vocabulary I had to learn—now there are two?!
Don’t worry. Active vocabulary refers to the words you know and can use without thinking too much. Passive vocabulary refers to the words you can understand when you hear them, but do not use in your spoken English.
For flawless English speaking abilities, you need to expand your active vocabulary as much as possible. Speaking practice apps do this because they force you to actually use new English words over and over.
In fact, as seen in the following video from FluentU’s YouTube channel, being able to speak English with a native speaker is one of the best ways to reinforce what you’ve learned. Alongside watching and listening to native English media and reading a lot, having a conversation in English—even a short one!—can take your English a long way.
Check out many more videos about learning English on FluentU’s YouTube channel.
- There are many opportunities for extra learning. An app is a flexible tool and there is no reason you cannot try what you have learned in other ways.
For example, try to imitate what you are hearing in the app by speaking out loud. Then try to speak those words and phrases at some other point in your day to make sure you know how to use them. You can also write down important or confusing words for review later.
Become a Chatterbug! 7 Top English Speaking Practice Apps for Conversational Confidence
We have done some digging to find the best apps with English speaking courses, practice exercises and more to step up your spoken English skills!
FluentU is one of the best tools to learn native-sounding English, even if you do not live near any native speakers.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Each video comes with interactive subtitles. Tap any word and FluentU will give you an instant definition and native pronunciation. The video automatically pauses, too, making speaking practice super easy. You can imitate the pronunciation of the word or try to say the whole phrase, without losing track of the video.
There is also a “repeat” feature that will play a phrase over again so you can completely learn how to say it.
Once you are done watching a video, check out the fun quizzes and exercises to help you remember everything!
The videos are organized by genre and level so it is easy to find ones that matter to you. FluentU will even suggest new videos based on what you already learned.
SpeakingPal is one of the most straightforward (not complicated) English speaking course apps—and it is free!
The lessons begin with a recording of a person talking to you over video. While they speak, you can read the words as they are saying them. Then, under that text, you will see a response for you to say into your phone.
The app then evaluates your speaking ability. It tells you how clearly you are speaking and points out the words that you are having trouble with. Its dialogue focuses on real-life topics and situations that you would encounter.
It is great for beginners and will help you to speak English with confidence.
English Talk takes a hands-on approach to English language learning. You actually speak to other real people in live audio chatrooms to improve your conversation skills.
You can easily find a random speaking partner and practice talking. Practice with this app and the listening and speaking part of the TOEFL exam will be a breeze!
For privacy, the app only has audio chat (no video). If you are worried about the conversation not being advanced enough, there is a live English debate and discussion section that you can participate in. There is also a vocabulary and grammar course where you can apply your knowledge.
You get the best of both worlds—English speaking practice and a new friend!
This is another convenient app for live speaking practice with a partner. You can do an audio call with someone else to practice your speaking—for bonus learning, there is a text message feature for writing and audio clips for listening practice.
Another cool feature is that you can choose speaking partners based on their level, including verified (proven) English speakers.
You can keep your identity completely hidden while you practice your English. Speaklar has a feature where if you are ever uncomfortable with your speaking partner, you can report them.
VOA Learning English
Although this app is designed for listening practice, it is great for practicing natural English speech, too.
VOA Learning English provides stories, lessons and news in English for non-native speakers. The app uses easy vocabulary, and the speakers talk slowly so you can understand everything.
For speaking practice, there are two important features: you can adjust the speed of the audio and easily repeat difficult sections. Use those to listen carefully and imitate what you are hearing. Try to get your pronunciation to match the audio.
The app covers business, news, history, the environment and much more. You will be learning your English while becoming informed about what is happening in the U.S.
TalkEnglish Speaking Practice (Android, iOS)
If you prefer to be quizzed, this TalkEnglish app has hundreds of interactive English speaking practice exercises.
It has listening excises to improve your comprehension and a recording tool to help you see your progress and improvement. You can record yourself having a conversation while you read the dialogue.
Your English conversation skills will be better than ever! You can choose from different categories and once you learn the lesson, you can apply it in a quiz afterward. Quizzes are great because they can make sure you actually understood what you learned.
With Supiki you can have a conversation at any time without having to speak to strangers. Instead, you can chat with the app itself!
The app suggests a topic for you and when you are ready it starts a conversation based on that topic. Supiki has the amazing ability to listen to what you say and to ask follow-up questions. It is just like having a real conversation with a friend!
It also comes with easy-to-understand animated videos where you follow some characters’ daily adventures and learn new language along the way.
Learning how to speak English does not have to be difficult, no matter where you live! With these helpful English speaking apps, you’ll be a chatterbug in no time.
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.