10 tips to improve the way you speak English

Many deserving candidates lose out on job opportunities because of their vernacular accent.

Can I ‘neutralise’ my accent?

Yes, you can. All you need to do is train yourself to speak English as comfortably and perfectly as you speak your mother tongue.

How do you train yourself? By inculcating certain practices in your daily lifestyle. These will get you closer to sounding like a native English speaker and equip you with a global accent — and you will speak not American or British English, but correct English.

This is the first step to learn any other accent, be it American or British or Australian.

Lisa Mojsin, head trainer, director and founder of the Accurate English Training Company in Los Angeles, offers these tips to help ‘neutralise’ your accent or rather do away with the local twang, as you speak.

i. Observe the mouth movements of those who speak English well and try to imitate them.

When you are watching television, observe the mouth movements of the speakers. Repeat what they are saying, while imitating the intonation and rhythm of their speech.

ii. Until you learn the correct intonation and rhythm of English, slow your speech down.

If you speak too quickly, and with the wrong intonation and rhythm, native speakers will have a hard time understanding you. 

Don’t worry about your listener getting impatient with your slow speech — it is more important that everything you say be understood.

iii. Listen to the ‘music’ of English.

Do not use the ‘music’ of your native language when you speak English. Each language has its own way of ‘singing’. 

iv. Use the dictionary.

Try and familiarise yourself with the phonetic symbols of your dictionary. Look up the correct pronunciation of words that are hard for you to say.

v. Make a list of frequently used words that you find difficult to pronounce and ask someone who speaks the language well to pronounce them for you.

Record these words, listen to them and practice saying them. Listen and read at the same time.   

vi. Buy books on tape.

Record yourself reading some sections of the book. Compare the sound of your English with that of the person reading the book on the tape.

vii. Pronounce the ending of each word.

Pay special attention to ‘S’ and ‘ED’ endings. This will help you strengthen the mouth muscles that you use when you speak English.

viii. Read aloud in English for 15-20 minutes every day. 

Research has shown it takes about three months of daily practice to develop strong mouth muscles for speaking a new language.

ix. Record your own voice and listen for pronunciation mistakes.

Many people hate to hear the sound of their voice and avoid listening to themselves speak. However, this is a very important exercise because doing it will help you become conscious of the mistakes you are making.

x. Be patient.

You can change the way you speak but it won’t happen overnight. People often expect instant results and give up too soon. You can change the way you sound if you are willing to put some effort into it.

Quick tips

Various versions of the English language exist. Begin by identifying the category you fall into and start by improving the clarity of your speech.

~ Focus on removing the mother tongue influence and the ‘Indianisms’ that creep into your English conversations.

~ Watch the English news on television channels like Star World, CNN, BBC and English movies on Star Movies and HBO.

~ Listen to and sing English songs. We’d recommend Westlife, Robbie Williams, Abba, Skeeter Davis and Connie Francis among others.

Books to help you improve your English

  • Essential English Grammar by Murphy (Cambridge)
  • Spoken English by R K Bansal and J B Harrison 
  • Pronounce It Perfectly In English (book and three audio cassettes) by Jean Yates, Barrons Educational Series
  • English Pronunciation For International Students by Paulette Wainless Dale, Lillian Poms
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A Very Interesting Conversation (with MP3 Record)

 

An Atheist Professor of Philosophy was speaking to his Class on the Problem Science has with GOD, the ALMIGHTY.  He asked one of his New Christian Students to stand and . . .

Professor :   You are Christian, aren’t you, son ?

Student    :   Yes, sir.

Professor :    So, you Believe in GOD ?

Student    :   Absolutely, sir.

Professor :    Is GOD Good ?

Student    :    Sure.

Professor :    Is GOD ALL – POWERFUL ?

Student    :    Yes.

Professor :    My Brother died of Cancer even though he Prayed to  GOD to Heal him.   Most of us would                    attempt to help others who are ill.   But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Student was silent )

Professor :   You can’t answer, can you ?  Let’s start again, Young Fella.  Is GOD Good?

Student    :   Yes.

Professor :   Is Satan good ?

Student    :   No.

Professor :   Where does Satan come from ?

Student    :   From . . . GOD . . .

Professor :   That’s right.  Tell me son, is there evil in this World?

Student    :   Yes.

Professor :    Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student    :   Yes.

Professor :   So who created evil ?

(Student did not answer)

Professor :   Is there Sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness?    All these terrible things exist in the World, don’t they?

Student    :  Yes, sir.

Professor :   So, who Created them ?

(Student had no answer)

Professor :  Science says you have 5 Senses you use to Identify and Observe the World around you.            Tell me, son . . . Have you ever Seen GOD?

Student    :  No, sir.

Professor   :  Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

Student    :  No , sir.

Professor :   Have you ever Felt your GOD, Tasted your GOD, Smelt your GOD?    Have you ever had any Sensory Perception of GOD for that matter?

Student    :   No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

Professor :   Yet you still Believe in HIM?

Student    :  Yes.

Professor :   According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol,  Science says your GOD doesn’t exist.  What do you say to that, son?

Student    :  Nothing.  I only have my Faith.

Professor :  Yes, Faith.  And that is the Problem Science has.

Student    :   Professor, is there such a thing as Heat?

Professor :   Yes.

Student    :   And is there such a thing as Cold?

Professor :   Yes.

Student   :   No, sir. There isn’t.

(The Lecture Theatre became very quiet with this turn of events )

Student    :   Sir, you can have Lots of Heat, even More Heat, Superheat, Mega Heat, White Heat,               a Little Heat or No Heat.   But we don’t have anything called Cold.  We can hit 458 Degrees below Zero which is No Heat, but we can’t go any further after that.   There is no such thing as Cold.   Cold is only a Word we use to describe the Absence of Heat.   We cannot Measure Cold.    Heat is Energy.   Cold is Not the Opposite of Heat, sir, just the Absence of it.

(There was Pin-Drop Silence in the Lecture Theatre )

Student    :  What about Darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as Darkness?

Professor :  Yes. What is Night if there isn’t Darkness?

Student    :  You’re wrong again, sir.  Darkness is the Absence of Something  You can have Low Light,  Normal Light, Bright Light, Flashing Light . . .But if you have No Light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called Darkness, isn’t it?  In reality, Darkness isn’t.  If it is, were you would be able to make Darkness Darker, wouldn’t you?

Professor :   So what is the point you are making, Young Man ?

Student   :   Sir, my point is your Philosophical Premise is flawed.

Professor :   Flawed ? Can you explain how?

Student    :   Sir, you are working on the Premise of Duality.  You argue there is Life and then there is Death, a Good GOD and a Bad GOD.  You are viewing the Concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure.  Sir, Science can’t even explain a Thought.  It uses Electricity and Magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view Death as the Opposite of Life is to be ignorant of the fact that Death cannot exist as a Substantive Thing. Death is Not the Opposite of Life: just the Absence of it.  Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your Students that they evolved from a Monkey?

Professor :   If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process, yes, of course, I do.

Student    :   Have you ever observed Evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shook his head with a Smile, beginning to realize where the Argument was going )

Student    :   Since no one has ever observed the Process of Evolution at work and Cannot even prove that this Process is an On-Going Endeavour,   Are you not teaching your Opinion, sir?  Are you not a Scientist but a Preacher?

(The Class was in Uproar )

Student    :  Is there anyone in the Class who has ever seen the Professor’s Brain?

(The Class broke out into Laughter )

Student    :  Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s Brain, Felt it, touched or Smelt it? .                 No one appears to have done so. So, according to the Established Rules of Empirical, Stable, monstrable Protocol,  Science says that You have No Brain, sir.   With all due respect, sir, how do we then Trust your Lectures, sir?

(The Room was Silent. The Professor stared at the Student, his face unfathomable)

Professor :   I guess you’ll have to take them on Faith, son.

Student    :  That is it sir . . .  Exactly ! The Link between Man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that Keeps Things Alive and Moving.

NB:I believe you have enjoyed the Conversation . . . and if so . . . You’ll probably want your Friends / Colleagues to enjoy the same . . . won’t you?

That student was Albert Einstein!

God Bless You

Fr Eugene Lobo SJ

Source: [click this]