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In many teaching exams including CTET and other State TETs etc. English section is an integral part of the exams. These exams will have questions based on reading comprehension, sentence formation, synonyms & antonyms, grammatical errors and other aspects of the English language. Candidates have to answer 15 questions of English content and 15 questions of English Pedagogy in each paper of CTET and other State TET Exams. In the following article, candidates will find insight into one of the most important topics from English pedagogy- The Role of Speaking as a Function of Language.

Role Of Speaking- Function Of Language

The role of speaking is central to the function of language. Language is a powerful tool used by humans to communicate, express ideas, share information, and establish social connections. Speaking, also known as oral communication or speech, is one of the primary ways in which language is transmitted between individuals and within societies.

Speaking Skill Features 
• Speaking is a productive or expressive skill in oral mode and a crucial part of learning.
• Speech is normally produced by manipulating the air stream coming out of the lungs, speaking is an act of conversing or expressing one’s thoughts and feelings in spoken language.
• Speaking often implies conveying information. It may be from an informal remark to a scholarly presentation to a formal address.

Types of Speaking Situations

There are three kinds of speaking situations in which we find ourselves:
1. Interactive: It includes face-to-face conversations and telephone calls in which we alternate between listening and speaking.
2. Partially Interactive: A speaking situation can be a public speech where the convention is that the audience does not interrupt the speech.
3. Non – Interactive: Few speaking situations can be totally non – interactive such as when recording a speech for a radio broadcast.
It has been found that although fear of speaking is common, studies show that ability to speak can be enhanced by improving speaking skills.

Essential Conditions of Speaking Skills

• Effective speaking concerns about being able to speak in a public context with confidence and clarity.
• Some aspects of effective speaking are as follows
• Accent.
• Finding one’s voice.
• The effect of breath on voice and speech.
Vocal production In this three core elements of vocal production are volume, clarity and variety
• Appropriate gestures while speaking also make it effective.

Aims of Speaking Skills

• Develop the habit of speaking sentences clearly and comprehensibly.
• Be able to express feelings and emotions in speech or statements.
• Be able to critically evaluate the ideas and beliefs of others and to draw logical conclusions.
• Enable the use of correct words, spellings, stress, rhyme, fluency, pause and appropriate phonetic transcription.
• Make the learner a good and confident speaker.

Strategies for Developing Speaking Skills

• Speaking is a crucial part of the language learning process. Effective instructors teach students speaking strategies which can help them to expand their knowledge of the language and their confidence in using it.
• Sometimes learners are asked to build up a stock of minimal responses to be used in different types of exchanges.
• These minimal responses are predictable and useful for beginners.
• Students can be made aware of different scripts for different situations like greetings or compliments or apologies.
• Through interactive activities instructors can give students practice in managing and varying the language that different scripts contain. . Speaking skills can also be developed by creating an authentic practice environment within the classroom.
• Such a type of language environment arouses confidence in even shy students.
• Such practice helps students even outside the classroom where communication is required.

Using Minimal Responses

• Sometimes to encourage learners, who lack the ability to participate in oral interaction, is to help them build up a stock of minimal responses that they can use in different types of exchanges.
• This situation enables a learner to focus on what the other participant is saying, without having to simultaneously plan a response.

Recognizing Scripts

• Some communication situations are associated with a predictable set of spoken exchanges, a script, greetings, apologies, compliments, invitations and other functions that are influenced by social and cultural norms that often follow patterns or scripts.
• The transactional exchanges involved in activities such as obtaining information and making a purchase. In these scripts, the relationship between a speaker’s turn and the one that follows it can often be anticipated.
• Instructors can help students develop speaking ability by making them aware of the scripts for different situations so that they can predict what they will hear and what they will need to say in response.
• Through interactive activities, instructors can give students practice in managing and varying the language that different scripts contain.

Using Language to Talk about Language

• Language learners are often too embarrassed or shy to say anything when they do not understand another speaker or when they realize that a conversation partner has not understood them.
• Instructors can help students overcome this reticence by assuring them that misunderstandings and the need for clarification can occur in any type of interaction.
• Clarification phrases help the students to respond positively. Instructors can create an authentic practice environment within the classroom itself through such strategies. Such situations arouse confidence in students to manage various communication situations that they may encounter outside the classroom.

Suggestions for Developing Speaking and Listening Skills

• The class should be divided into small groups.
• Instructors/teachers serve as good models for the learners. Learners generally imitate their teachers. Thus, pronunciation stress, rhythm and intonation of the teacher should be good.
• At the primary level, speaking activities should include greetings, informal requests, asking for personal information, and sharing stories, experiences and interests.
• Language skills can be learnt activities through or based on situations.
• Individual attention must be given to learners.
• One or two periods per section be allotted for oral conversation exclusively.
• The teachers should have a sympathetic outlook towards the listening and speaking shortcomings of learners.
• Language is the ultimate means of communication.
• An agreed code exists in all languages according to the culture of its country.

Various Uses of Listening and Speaking Skills

I. Children Use their Listening skills to:
• Understand concepts, facts, ideas, feelings etc.
• Understand particular sounds that are intimately connected with certain objects.
• Focus on and try to comprehend the speaker’s meaning,
• Understand the characteristics of English speech and sounds, including stress and intonation patterns.
• Understand the correct pronunciation of words.

II. Children Use their Speaking Skills to:
• Develop and enhance their vocabulary.
• Express their feelings or views.
• Get fluency and proficiency in the language.
• Improve their diction and learn from mistakes.
• Non-verbal actions such as facial expressions and gestures that accompany speech help to make children understand the feelings of others.

III. Functions of a Language:
The functions of a Language are:
• Develops four skills (LSRW – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing)
• Verbal interaction.
• The expressive function.
• Social function and Cultural function.
Communicative approach helps in understanding phonemes (pronunciation) and morphemes (spellings) and grammar.

How Children Use it as a Tool?

• Children use a form of language to communicate their thoughts, needs, and desires and express their feelings.
• They maintain their relationship with society and share their culture by interacting with the help of their language.
• Children apply the words and sentences listened at places to communicate with others. They come across their aesthetic values in the form of written records in terms of stories or poems.
• Children use words as tools by which they store information.
• Children develop their thinking abilities with the use of language which helps in generating new ideas.

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What is the role of speaking in language?

Speaking is central to the function of language as it allows humans to communicate, express ideas, share information, and establish social connections.

What are the types of speaking situations?

There are three types of speaking situations: interactive (face-to-face conversations), partially interactive (public speeches), and non-interactive (e.g., recording for radio broadcast).

What are the essential conditions of speaking skills?

Effective speaking involves confidence, clarity, accent, breath control, vocal production, and appropriate gestures.

What are the aims of speaking skills?

The aims of speaking skills include clear expression of sentences, the ability to convey feelings and ideas, critical evaluation of others' beliefs, and becoming a confident speaker.

How can speaking skills be developed?

Speaking skills can be developed through strategies like using minimal responses, recognizing scripts for different situations, and creating an authentic practice environment in the classroom.

How can instructors help students overcome reticence in speaking?

Instructors can encourage students to use clarification phrases when they don't understand or need to clarify, creating a safe and supportive learning environment.