Definition of speaking
- the action of conveying information or expressing one’s feelings in speech: clear thinking aids clear speaking
- the activity of delivering speeches: public speaking
- used for or engaged in speech: you have a clear speaking voice
- [in combination] able to communicate in a specified language: an English-speaking guide
- conveying meaning as though in words: she gave him a speaking look
- (of a portrait) so lifelike as to seem to be capable of speech: a speaking likeness
Teaching SpeakingMany language learners regard speaking ability as the measure of knowing a language. These learners define fluency as the ability to converse with others, much more than the ability to read, write, or comprehend oral language. They regard speaking as the most important skill they can acquire, and they assess their progress in terms of their accomplishments in spoken communication.
Language learners need to recognize that speaking involves three areas of knowledge:
- Mechanics (pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary): Using the right words in the right order with the correct pronunciation
- Functions (transaction and interaction): Knowing when clarity of message is essential (transaction/information exchange) and when precise understanding is not required (interaction/relationship building)
- Social and cultural rules and norms (turn-taking, rate of speech, length of pauses between speakers, relative roles of participants): Understanding how to take into account who is speaking to whom, in what circumstances, about what, and for what reason.