スピードと正確さ、英会話に大切なのは?

よく考えながら、時間をかけて正確な文法で英語を話す人と、多少の文法的な間違いはあれど、リズミカルに英語を話す人。

英語ネイティブスピーカーは、どちらを会話相手に選びたいでしょうか?(答えは文末に)

さて、今日も3分で英語ブログを流し読み。

Is it possible to be proficient in English grammar but lack oral communication skills? 

Not only is it possible, but it’s more common than you think.

Grammar skills are certainly helpful, and there are situations in which accuracy is important—when you’re writing an academic essay, for example. However, even learners who have perfect grammar can’t necessarily hold a conversation. 

The Problem with Accuracy

English is a complicated language with a lot of rules and exceptions. Learners know this and often worry about breaking those rules when they speak. 

Speakers who are too focused on correct grammar face a kind of speed-accuracy tradeoff: They speak slowly to produce more accurate sentences. This makes sense—a speaker who takes time to think before speaking will make fewer errors. Unfortunately, this isn’t a great conversation method.

Pace and flow are important parts of a conversation. When someone is only concerned with avoiding errors, the conversation can’t progress naturally; the speaker is too busy translating and perfecting each sentence in their head before saying anything. A speaker who chooses accuracy over speed will have difficulty managing real-life conversations, achieving natural-sounding speech, and expressing their ideas.

Focusing on Speed

The Speaker

The less a speaker worries about perfection in their sentences, the faster they’ll be able to respond to others. Fewer pauses and awkward silences will allow conversations to flow more naturally; their ideas will be conveyed more freely. 

Not only will conversations flow more naturally, but engaging in real-time conversations at a natural pace will strengthen a learner’s language skills, as seen in the fluency-oriented approach. And the stronger a learner becomes in oral communication, the less they’ll have to think about what they’re saying; eventually, they’ll achieve automaticity

The Listener 

An English learner might worry that they won’t be understood if they don’t have perfect grammar. But in a conversation, there are at least two people involved: the speaker and the listener. Yes, it’s the speaker’s job to communicate their thoughts, but the listener has an active role as well. With their own knowledge of English, they’re able to listen, fill in the blanks, and figure out what the speaker is saying. As a result, the speaker’s overall message can be understood even if they’ve misused a verb tense or forgotten a preposition. 

Conclusion

There’s no question that grammatical accuracy is important in reading and writing tasks— composing a business email or understanding a research paper, for example. But oral communication is different. By ignoring the urge to speak perfectly and trying instead to respond more quickly, an English learner can improve their communication skills and will have more effective conversations overall.

答えは、「多少の間違いはあれどリズミカルに英語を話す人」でした。

会話は、双方向のコミュニケーション。聞き手はロボットではないので、多少聞き取れない単語があっても、時制がずれていても、前後の脈絡から話者の意図を察してくれます。

パーフェクトでなくていいのです。気負わず英語を話してみましょう!