Saturday, January 26, 2013

Voice & Accent

Voice and Accent Overview 

In layman manner- accent is what you and i speak. It is often outlined as the divisional and social background of speakers. Know basic grammar and have the neutral accent and concentrate on Pace, Pauses, Clarity, Intonation, and escalation of sounds.

Example: Intonation
Pace, we need to be medium paced not to fast, ought to be under your control. Pauses, Maintain pauses at required intervals at punctuation and for emphasis and dramatic effects. Clarity, be loud when you speak, also speech and your thought should match. Intonation, it is rise and fall of pitch or, rise and fall of the voice in speech with jump up, step up pattern example:     
                                                                                                                                                                                         Articulation: Articulation of voice is admittedly important while producing sounds. Sounds produced from our mouth are called estimators eg.  jaw, lips, teeth, upper palate, lower palate, tongue and your nose.
There are two kinds of sounds - Consonant sounds and Vowel sounds. Consonant sounds: Voiced sounds - sounds that we produce from our vocal track eg. th, w, l, r j...) and Unvoiced - sounds that come from our vocal chord th, kh, sh, ch.... ). Vowel Sounds: Monophthong (classified into long and short vowel sounds) and Diphthong (combination of long and short vowel sounds) eg. Monophthong & Diphthong æ: man & æɪ main; ɪ bit & ɑɪ bite; ɔ lot & əʉ low; o: tall oɪ toy etc.

There are 3 levels of English pronunciation:

Level A: People often don't understand what you want to say. You use the wrong sounds in English words.
Level B: People understand what you want to say, but it is unpleasant to listen to you.
Level C: People understand you, and your English is pleasant to listen to

Can I reduce my Accent?
Anybody with the desire to reduce their accent can reduce their accent.
Change begins with the desire to change. When we combine our desire with proper instruction and practice, we achieve success!

The key to learning to speak English clearly and correctly is training and practice. The clear and accurate speech comes from "doing."

Reducing your accent is different than other skills such as grammar and vocabulary. Studying accent reduction is more like studying dance, music, sports or martial arts. It involves the training of muscle groups. Everybody is born with these muscle groups located in our tongue, lips, and jaw.
All that you need is the desire to change, proper instruction and most of all practice and training! Accent reduction is about "doing."
Simply observing or knowing how to, is not enough. Awareness and knowledge are important but you have to try it in order to be able to actually do it.

What is an "Accent?"

We often hear people say, " I want to reduce my accent," or "He has an accent, ". But what exactly is an accent?
Essentially, an accent is the process by which a speaker substitutes a sound from their native language for a sound from English. This “transference” occurs mainly for two reasons.

The first reason is that the speaker is not aware that a specific sound exists in English. Hence, they use the closest sound from their native language instead.
For example, many students are unaware of the sound /I/ as in the word chip or big. As a result, when saying the word chip, they substitute a similar sound which exists in their native language. Usually, they choose /i/ as in the word he or meet.
So a word like chip ends up sounding like cheap and there it is, an accent -not to mention some confusion in mid-conversation.

The second reason a speaker substitutes the wrong sound is that he or she may simply find it too difficult to pronounce the correct sound.

For example, many students are aware of the sound /th/ as in think or that. However the articulation of the sound is just too difficult or feels unnatural The result is that /th/ is pronounced like /s/, /z,/ /d/ or /t/.
The word that may sound like “zat” or “ dat” The student chooses /z/ or /d/ because it's easier and “close enough.”

Another element of an accent is incorrect intonation. English has a melody. You have to become aware of the melody of English. Don't worry. It's a very simple melody and you don't have to have musical training or a musical ear to learn it. It doesn't involve specific pitches – just knowing when to raise your pitch and when to lower it.

Finally, some people have accents because they put the stress in the wrong places of words and sentences.

For example instead of saying convince
They might say: convince
This can be confusing for a listener. But there are simple rules to guide you when you're not sure. Once you learn the rules, it gets easier and the stress patterns start to become second nature. 

In order to lose your accent, you must first become aware of all the sounds of English. For example, there are five vowels in the Latin alphabet-A, E, I, O and U.

However, there are fifteen vowels sounds in English! You are probably already aware of most of them.
Losing your accent involves learning how to properly articulate the vowels and consonant sounds and finally, using them habitually in your everyday speech.

MORE COMING SOON................. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

English Communication Tips

Here are few tips to communicate effectively and properly, I hope this will help you:

  • Asking for information

Excuse me. Could you tell me where ... is?
Excuse me. Can you tell me...?
Do you know...?
You wouldn't know..., would you?
Do you happen to know...?
I'd like to know..., please.
And there's another thing I'd like to know...
I would be interested to know...
Please could you tell me...
Could you please tell me...
Could you please let me know....

  • Asking for directions 

Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to ... (place), please?
Which way is the ... (place), please?
Could you tell me where ... is, please?
Do you know where ... is?

  • Asking someone to repeat 

Could you say that again, please?
Would you mind repeating that, please?
Could you repeat that, please?
I'm sorry I didn't catch that.
I'm sorry, what was ... again?
I'm sorry?
I beg your pardon?
I'm sorry, what was that?                                        Click Here for more English Communication Tips

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Improving English Speaking

English speaking is not so tough as you think, just you need to work on it constantly and this language is individually very important in today's globalizing world.  So as to assist you speak more easily and effectively here i mention few points below, please have a look:                            Voice Modulation

  • Naturalilty: While speaking we need to sound natural, which means you know what you are trying to speak. Essentially you speak by knowing it. 
  • Fluency/Flow: In order to be fluent first thing first you have take care of the unnecessary PAUSES. Pauses should be given only at punctuation like comma, colon, parentheses, ellipses, full stop etc.
  • Emphasis: This is to provide contrast to your words to bring out their desired meaning and making it natural.
  • Pace: You need to maintain your speaking speed and keep it at that level where the next person can understand you properly and feel comfortable.  
  • Clarity: Clarity comes with fluency, emphasis, pace and the volume of your voice or loudness of your voice. And of-course the proper pronunciation of the words which you can keep on practicing by getting help from online dictionaries where you can listen to the pronunciation or any of your teachers, friends, relatives having good pronunciation.
  • Confidence: Confidence is needed not only in English speaking, any language you speak. Feel comfortable while talking. Try to use normal and simple sentences, use fillers if you get stuck but not forever slowly you have to avoid fillers. And after all being loud while speaking that generates confidence inside you. Get your words across, speak English the way you speak your native language, Enjoy Talking!