Archive for the ‘spoken english’ Category

How to Pronounce?

After writ­ing a cou­ple of arti­cles on stressed pro­nun­ci­a­tion and silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion, I got a lot of requests to write a note on pro­nun­ci­a­tion in gen­eral. To start with please not that it is pro­nun­ci­a­tion not pro­noun­ci­a­tion. Before jump­ing into deep waters, let us look at the basics of speech. Once you learn to strike the key note prop­erly then you would have no prob­lems in pronouncing.

Eng­lish is not Phonetic

Before start­ing the exer­cise we should under­stand that Eng­lish is not pho­netic i.e. the words are not pro­nounced as they are spelt. To make mat­ters worse, there is stressed/silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion also homo­phones (words hav­ing dif­fer­ent mean­ing but same pro­nun­ci­a­tion) are to be taken care of. To start with we should there­fore get a grasp of the syl­la­bles and their pro­nun­ci­a­tion. You can lis­ten to the syl­la­ble pro­nun­ci­a­tion in many of the sites avail­able over the inter­net. Make sure you prac­tice as you lis­ten to them.

Learn­ing Phonemes:

Learning Phonemes

Learn­ing Phonemes

Phonemes help in get­ting the basics for pro­nun­ci­a­tion cor­rectly. You may need to check few of the freely avail­able soft­ware to get you phonemes cor­rectly. Once your phonemes are in place, we can look to explore other things. The below table would help you to infer the phonemes and their usage.

Pronunciation - Sounds

Pro­nun­ci­a­tion — Sounds

After phonemes, we should look at their usage from the per­spec­tive of Eng­lish usage. Remem­ber Eng­lish is not pho­netic? So we need to take care of homo­phones, stressed pro­nun­ci­a­tion, silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion and likes. Remem­ber this list is not exhaus­tive, but one may move to oth­ers once these are mastered.

Symbols sounds and examples

Sym­bols sounds and examples

Phonetics Symbols sounds and examples

Pho­net­ics Sym­bols sounds and examples

I hope this would suf­fi­ciently excite you to unravel the puz­zle of pro­nun­ci­a­tion and set you apart in Eng­lish speak­ing community.

Easy way to speak in American accent

We know that Eng­lish is spo­ken mostly in the west­ern coun­tries like USA, Canada, UK etc. Eng­lish is the mother tongue of the peo­ple who live here. Eng­lish became one of the most impor­tant lan­guages because of the glob­al­iza­tion. If you are deal­ing with busi­ness then speak­ing in Eng­lish is very impor­tant to deal with the for­eign issues. Peo­ple in coun­tries like India also speak in Eng­lish but the accent is dif­fer­ent from the west­ern­ers. So peo­ple try to improve their accent and try to speak in Amer­i­can accent but this is not pos­si­ble if you just watch the Eng­lish movies or read Eng­lish news papers.

Pho­net­ics is the basics for the west­ern accent. If you are really moti­vated to speak in Amer­i­can accent or west­ern accent then it can be done very eas­ily by learn­ing the pho­net­ics. I too tried to speak in Amer­i­can accent many times by mim­ic­k­ing the dia­logues of Eng­lish movies but I never able to speak in real world in that way. There are sev­eral soft­ware which will train you to speak in Amer­i­can accent very eas­ily. Recently I tried the soft­ware “Sephonic”. I want to say that, this is a won­der­ful soft­ware which helps in learn­ing Amer­i­can accent. Through this soft­ware I learned all the basics of pho­net­ics and with in less period of time I was able to speak in that slang.

This soft­ware starts with very basics of pho­net­ics like pho­netic alpha­bets then match­ing sound and pho­netic sign then speak­ing the cor­rect pho­netic word (word in pho­netic alpha­bets), spelling the cor­rect pho­netic sound, cor­rect spelling and sev­eral other kinds of prac­tice ses­sions which really helps us to speak in Amer­i­can slang. This is very easy to use, sim­ple, small soft­ware but very much use­ful. Let’s see each fea­ture separately.

phonetic learning software

The pho­netic alphabet:

This intro­duces the pho­netic alpha­bet. If you click the pho­netic signs you will hear which sound they rep­re­sent. You can also see a word that includes the rep­re­sented sound and a tran­scrip­tion of the word will be shown on the screen.

Match sound and pho­netic sign:

In this you will hear a sound that you are to match with the pho­netic sign that rep­re­sents it. The sound is repeated three times so that you will have enough time to hear which one it is.

Which spelling is correct?

Here you will see a tran­scrip­tion of a word along with three alter­na­tive ways to write the word with ordi­nary let­ters. The assign­ment is to choose which one of the alter­na­tives is cor­rect by click­ing on it. If the clicked alter­na­tive is the cor­rect way to spell the word the box will turn green or yel­low based on the num­ber of times you have tried. A cor­rect answer on the first try gen­er­ates a green box, the sec­ond or third tries gen­er­ate a yel­low box.

Which sound can you hear?

In this you will see a word and four pho­netic rep­re­sen­ta­tions of dif­fer­ent sounds. Your task is to decide which of the four sounds that is pro­nounced in the given word. It is also pos­si­ble to hear how the word and the alter­na­tive sounds are pro­nounced. To pro­vide con­text a sen­tence that includes the given word is dis­played on the screen.

How is the word spelled?

This gives you an oppor­tu­nity to prac­tice how to read tran­scribed text. You will see a tran­scribed word and when you know which word it is you type it in the box using the key board.

How is the word transcribed?

Here you get to tran­scribe text your­self. You will see a word spelled with ordi­nary let­ters that you are to tran­scribe using the signs in the charts to the left f the screen.

This is free soft­ware which you can down­load from the fol­low­ing URL: This soft­ware is really help­ful to learn Amer­i­can accent and to speak with­out any shy­ness in your office. It gives you the much needed boost in your com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

What topics we have to prepare for group discussion (GD)?

The top­ics that are gen­er­ally con­cen­trated in GDs are knowl­edge based and abstract types.

Knowl­edge based topics:

These top­ics are such that you need to have some knowl­edge about the topic to be able to speak on the topic. Here unless you know some­thing about the topic you will not be speak effec­tively and even if you speak with­out knowl­edge it will cre­ate neg­a­tive impres­sion on you. Knowl­edge based top­ics cover all the cur­rent affairs related to eco­nomic and non-economic issues. While issues that are not cur­rent are also given some­times. The main focus is usu­ally on issues that are of cur­rent relevance.

Knowl­edge based top­ics fall into dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories like eco­nomic, social, polit­i­cal, sports or related to the pro­fes­sion. Let’s see some basic issues that can be asked in each category.

group dis­cus­sion

Eco­nomic issues:

A sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of the top­ics given by a num­ber com­pa­nies or insti­tutes are based on these top­ics. Rel­e­vant to the country’s or inter­na­tional eco­nomic con­di­tions the top­ics can be given. In top­ics of this type you should have very strong con­tent. In order to exhibit good con­tent, you should be through with facts and fig­ures about the national econ­omy. You should be famil­iar with the crit­i­cal eco­nomic allo­ca­tions from the bud­get, trade, GDP, the plan out­lay, sec­toral allo­ca­tions, fis­cal poli­cies, inter­est rate, stocks etc. you should have knowl­edge about eco­nomic devel­op­ments nation­ally and globally.

Social top­ics:

These include another large chunk of top­ics and these include top­ics on poverty, edu­ca­tion, reser­va­tions etc. these have a greater national con­tent based. Some amount of con­tent will be regional spe­cific related to social con­di­tions of the region. So you should be famil­iar with this nature of top­ics also. Clar­ity of the top­ics is very impor­tant in these types of topics.

Polit­i­cal topics:

Top­ics related to these top­ics can eas­ily drag the not very care­ful par­tic­i­pant into a trap of emo­tional expres­sions. Dis­cussing pol­i­tics is a dif­fi­cult thing for many. Not only do we require the knowl­edge of the topic and polit­i­cal con­di­tions but also eco­nomic fall out of the politics.

Sports top­ics:

Top­ics con­cern­ing to these are also com­mon in num­ber of GDs. Top­ics may be related to the recent sports events or on recent Olympics or any other kind of games that were con­ducted nation­ally or inter­na­tion­ally. The top­ics may not be directly about the sports but top­ics related to some deci­sive situations.

Tech­nol­ogy based topics:

These are also some of the most com­mon types of top­ics that are asked in GDs. These may be related to the devel­op­ments or advance­ments in the tech­nol­ogy and do you sup­port or not type top­ics. They may also ask about the future devel­op­ments or draw­backs or any kind of con­tro­ver­sies regard­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy advance­ments. Most of the ques­tions will be related to computers.

Abstract type of topics:

These are that top­ics that you do not really need any kind of knowl­edge about the topic to speak. Your knowl­edge to speak can help very much in speak­ing about these kinds of top­ics. Dis­cus­sions on these types of top­ics may be neb­u­lous. At the begin­ning we may feel dif­fi­cult to talk on these types of top­ics but it will pro­ceed smoothly. These can be best done through explain­ing with some examples.

Types of Clauses

Clauses are used in Eng­lish gram­mar very often. A clause is noth­ing but a pair of words that has a sub­ject and a pred­i­cate. If you take a basic state­ment in Eng­lish it con­sists of sin­gle clause and a com­pli­cated sen­tence may con­tain more than one clause. There are dif­fer­ent kinds of clauses that we use in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. So let’s know about them.

There are two kinds of clauses: prin­ci­pal (or main) clauses, and sub­or­di­nate (or depen­dent) clauses.

Types of Clauses

Types of Clauses

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