Learning British UK Accent (RP): 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010

'Tweethearts' and 'simples' make it into the dictionary

BBC News - Home
New words from celebrities, politics, and TV enter the latest edition of Collins English Dictionary.
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Hard-to-read fonts 'aid learning'

BBC News - Home
US scientists find that students can boost recall and learning when given material in harder-to-read fonts.
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British Accent Training Presentations

In answer to Ben and the other readers who have asked about the training presentations:
Head over to : http://www.learningbritishaccent.com/british_accent_video.html where you can find all the presentations currently available.

Thank you!
Alison

Membership Site

I just wanted to test the waters before I go any further with my idea -but I was wondering whether any or all of you fine Learning British Accent followers would be interested in joining a British Accent membership site? I was thinking of a small monthly fee to have access to audio and video content, direct contact with myself once a week to ask questions and get specific help with whatever words, phrases, sentances, sounds you need. Weekly updated content to help your improve your british accent.

I'm not sure about the structure yet - it may be a 3 month/6 month plan or could be open-ended in terms of time. I would have to figure out whether I could create enough content to keep you all interested and wanting to learn more. I know several of you have asked for Videos of myself speaking to help learn the correct use of the facial/mouth muscles. I think this would definately be included within the membership site. If you have any thoughts as to what content you think would be useful do please let me know.

AS always I would love to get your feedback on this idea. Both positive and negative thoughts are both welcome. If you think its a terrible idea than please do let me know!

If I do go ahead, and you know anything about setting up membership sites I would be most grateful for any advice you may have

Again thanks so much for your continued support.

alison

Discrimination in the Workplace because of an Accent - Accent Reduction Online

Claro Accent Reduction by Judy Tobe


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.eeoc.gov) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. The EEOC includes accent bias in its definition of employment discrimination on the basis of national origin. An employment decision based on a foreign accent violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 unless it "materially interferes" with that person's ability to perform the duties of the job.

Because linguistic characteristics are a component of national origin, employers should carefully scrutinize employment decisions that are based on an accent to ensure that they do not violate Title VII.

An employment decision based on a foreign accent does not violate Title VII if an individual's accent materially interferes with the ability to perform job duties. This assessment depends on the specific duties of the person in question and the extent to which the individual's accent affects his or her ability to perform job duties. Employers must distinguish between a merely discernible foreign accent and one that interferes with communication skills necessary to perform the job.

Do you feel that you have ever been discriminated against because of your accent?  

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Fears for 'bit of Britain' in India

BBC News - Home
There is concern in India that a historic stretch of Shimla, a former British hill station, could be unstable owing to unplanned building work.
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Short vs. Long Vowel Sounds: The Purchasing Power of Words

Accent Reduction Blog | Accent Neutralization Blog

A word’s meaning is often shaped by the way it sounds.  A few examples will make this obvious.  Take, for example, the exclamations “Wow”, “Cool”, and “Yuck”.  But did you know that the way words sound can actually influence our buying decisions?

This phenomenon was described, as an aside, in an Op-Ed article by Daniel Gilbert in Sunday’s New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/opinion/17gilbert.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper.  Mr. Gilbert talked about the link between what linguists call ‘short’ and ‘long’ vowels and how we subconsciously associate words with ‘smallness’ and ‘bigness’.  Short vowels (like the ‘i’ in “thin”) tend to make us think of smallness and words with long vowels (like the ‘uw’ in “hoop”) connect us with a feeling of  bigness.  Here’s how it works in terms of how we choose what to purchase.  According to Mr. Gilbert, prices that end with a short vowel will seem less expensive than prices that end with long vowels…even if their numerical value is larger.  That’s phenomenal.

vowel sounds

Gilbert describes a study where “one group was shown an ad for an ice-cream scoop that was priced at $7.66, while another was shown an ad for a $7.22 scoop. The lower price is the better deal, of course, but…shoppers who were offered the scoop at the higher price of $7.66 were more likely to buy it than those offered the price of $7.22 — but only if they’d been asked to say the price aloud.

Isn’t it interesting that $7.66 ends with the ‘i’ sound associated with smallness and $7.22 ends with the ‘uw’ sound associated with bigness?  We’ve known for sometime that colors, facial expressions, and ‘subliminals’ influence our purchasing decisions.  But the fact that short and long vowels had a connection to the PayPal process?  This was news to me.  As a phonetician, here’s my advice: Read the price, silently, before hitting ‘submit’.

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Oct 15, Micheal's List of English Learning Aids

Learning Pronunciation has never been easier!
Hello, I have found information that may be valuable for all English language learners. I am a former English as a Foreign Language teacher. I have done
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Jump Start Your Creativity: 10 Steps to Thinking Outside the Box

How to Develop a British Accent if You Are American - wikiHow
Thinking outside of the box can get you places

Thinking outside of the box can get you places
No doubt you've heard the term to "think outside the box". Perhaps you've wondered what that meant in actual fact, or you know what it means but you're so firmly "inside the box" that you don't even notice that you're in the box. This article will attempt to show you some ways to do to escape the box and do some creative new thinking.

Steps

  1. Be prepared for a big change. To re-educate yourself and the way you think is almost a "lifestyle" change. Basically, you're re-inventing the wheel and you are the wheel. Indications that it might be time to change your way of thinking include:
    • You're in a rut, you know you're in a rut, and no matter what you try, you fall back into the rut.
    • You can't come up with a solution to a nagging problem. Finally, someone else does and the answer was an incredibly obvious one; it happens a lot.
  2. Learn the terms. If you're familiar with the terms, you'll be in a great position to do some research into out-of-the-box thinking. Some of the terminology for modes of "thinking outside of the box" are:
  3. Understand that, for a given problem, some people tend to come up with the more "creative" solutions. The inability to do so does not reflect a person's intelligence.[1] What it does indicate is that people with such solutions are the ones who are more willing, or need, to push themselves out of their comfort zone to get the answers they seek. The principal characteristics for those who think outside of the box are usually:
    • A willingness to take new perspectives toward day-to-day work.
    • Capable of thinking differently with an open mind, think about the substance of issues, and be receptive to doing things differently.
    • Focused on the value of finding new ideas and acting on them.
    • Ready to strive to create value in newer ways.
    • Capable of listening to, supporting, nurturing and respecting others when they come up with new ideas.[1]
      • The driving force behind a lot of people who consistently think outside of the box is frustration. They don't feel that "enough" is being done, and that the "normal" way of thinking just isn't getting it done.
  4. Learn what inhibits your ability to change.[2] The following characteristics lessen your ability to make a positive change in your thinking methods:
    • Negative attitude.
    • Fear of failure, perfectionism.
    • Executive stress, or other stress.
    • Following rules, hidebound to black and white thinking (not flexible, unable to perceive the value in gray areas).
    • Making assumptions – about others, about the world, about the expectations you feel weighing on you, about your own abilities.
    • Over-reliance on logic, along with assuming you have an accurate grasp of what is logical.
  5. It's not just a box...

    It's not just a box...
    Challenge assumptions. Just because it has always been that way, doesn't mean that it has to continue to be that way. In fact, by expecting things to never change, you're setting yourself up for a lot of pain and unhappiness when things – and people – do change around you, without taking you along. Ways to challenge assumptions include:
    • Ask questions. Don't ignore your questions; give them free rein.
    • Stop jumping to hasty conclusions. Haste makes waste and can leave you in hot water. Reflect over things until the better answer arrives.
    • Look at something a different way, literally. Perhaps you've been hammering out a new design for something at work. You've been looking at this design for weeks, always in the same position. Try shifting it. Turn the design upside down, or take it out into the sunshine under the trees, or project it into the ceiling and have all of your co-workers lie in the floor to observe it. You'll be amazed at what a position change can do for assumptions and perspective.
  6. Stop pushing that rock uphill

    Stop pushing that rock uphill
    Break free of dull routine. Doing the same thing, day in and day out, will dull even the smartest person's mind. Find ways of minimizing routine in your life, while still embracing ritual – the two approaches are very different in result. Ritual is about daily or regular activities that center you, keep you well (such as exercise or yoga), and give you a sense of place and identity. Routine is about the things that cause you to fall into a rut, respond without thinking, and that often feel imposed upon you from elsewhere.
    • Change it up, occasionally. Do things differently. Instead of photocopying all the documents first thing in the morning, email them around to everyone and tell them the copier's broken. Next morning, email everything again, telling everyone how well yesterday went and that you've decided to do it like this from now on.
    • Change your appearance and clothes. Many a rut is given a swift kick when you treat yourself to a new look. It's a start, and a really fun one at that.
    • Walk a different way to work, catch a bus instead of driving, bring your lunch in instead of eating out (or vice versa), go home early for a change.
  7. Brainstorm. Brainstorming can do amazing things to help you think outside-the-box. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
    • Think of vague keywords like "coffee" and follow whatever this leads to next in your mind, and take it as far as you can go; this can lead to interesting ideas. For example: "Coffee" -> "Milk" -> "Spilled" -> "Unspillable milk and coffee container".
    • Do brain teasers, puzzles, psychometric tests, etc., and challenge your brain to new ways of doing and seeing things.
    • If you hated math, English or science, try it again; this time make yourself do it well. Force your mind to think down different pathways.
    • Learn a new language, a new way of keeping inventory, a new way to be a great boss or lover.
    • Write poems. Poems can spark your creative thinking.
    • Visualize work or home solutions through drawing pictures rather than writing things down.
  8. Think laterally. It can be really beneficial to learn about how people do it in other walks of life. Whether you're a CEO, an engineer, a stay-at-home mom, or a teacher, there are ways of thinking laterally that can benefit what you're doing.
    • Read about processes and solutions in industries different from the one you're working in. Chances are there are some amazing answers for you to uncover and apply to your situation.
    • The same goes for cross-disciplinary studies. Instead of staying within your own expertise, branch out and investigate what other disciplines are doing in areas or topics that interest you. There may be some surprising connections worth uncovering and adapting.
    • Sit down and talk with others who know nothing about what you're doing but are willing listeners. Explain your situation and challenges and ask for their thoughts on solutions.
  9. Bring your child to work. There is nothing quite so re-energizing as the fresh, unwearied viewpoint of a child. It's not that your child is cleverer than you; it's just that your child is less worn down, more open to speaking their mind in a forthright manner, and usually unafraid to use what creativity they possess. Why not give your child a look at the situation or problem before you? Ask them what they'd do. And listen to their answer very carefully; take it to heart and use the freshness of perspective they bring to your thinking to help re-energize your outlook.
  10. Regular vacations drive off boxed-in thinking

    Regular vacations drive off boxed-in thinking
    Take your vacations. They're not given to you for collecting and wearing around your neck like a martyr's cross. They're given to you so that you can go away and refresh your thinking, your body, your mind, your soul. The refreshed you is worth infinitely more to the company than the worn-out and irritable, frazzled, in-a-rut you. So if you must sell your soul to the company, at least see vacations as benefiting the company as much as you.

Video

Tips

  • Explore faiths beyond your own. Try to find the similarities and connections. And aim to accept each for what it is.
  • Read something that isn't your usual genre. For example, if you think you hate crime fiction, why not try reading one? You might be pleasantly surprised; even if not, you've challenged your thinking processes. Be sure to read to the end!
  • Read biographies to see how other people overcame ruts in their lives. Adapt their thinking solutions to your current situation.

Warnings

  • Learning to change your style of thinking is not an easy process, or a quick one. Be patient. Enjoy the journey.

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    It's Dictionary Day! How to Properly Use an English Dictionary

    How to Develop a British Accent if You Are American - wikiHow

    With approximately 1 million words in the English language and the average English speaker knowing 60,000 of those words,[1] a dictionary can be a very handy tool. Besides helping with spelling and word meanings, being able to use a dictionary effectively and regularly is a perfect way to improve your English language skills through the dictionary's range of other helpful information on everyday language usage and grammar. This article will explain how to make the most of using your dictionary.

    Steps

    1. Keep a good dictionary near where you study, work, or read

      Keep a good dictionary near where you study, work, or read
      Purchase a quality dictionary. If you don't already own a good dictionary, consider purchasing one during sale time. It's also a good idea to upgrade your dictionary every now and then so that you have access to the latest new words that are added to the dictionary every year.
      • Consider purchasing specialist dictionaries if they'd be useful in your study or career. Some examples of specialist dictionaries include language dictionaries, technical dictionaries, rhymes, crossword, subject dictionaries (for example, for math, chemistry, biology, horticulture, etc.), illustrated dictionaries (excellent for learning another language or for technical knowledge), slang and idioms, etc.
      • Note that many countries have their own native dictionaries that might be more helpful than sourcing a dictionary from just anywhere, such as the Macquarie dictionary in Australia, Oxford dictionary in England, Webster's dictionary in the United States, etc.
      • Some schools, universities and workplaces prefer the use of one particular dictionary. This is for reasons of maintain a consistent style and understanding among everyone using them; make sure you use the right one for your assignments, editing, and reports.
    2. Familiarize yourself with your dictionary. Dictionaries vary in approach. The best way to learn how to use your particular dictionary effectively is to read its introductory section where you'll find out how the entries are arranged. The introductory section of your dictionary will explain important information such as the abbreviations and pronunciation symbols used throughout the entries. There may also be information on pronunciation of words with similar spellings; this can be helpful if you have only heard a word and you're not sure of its spelling. For example, if you hear "not", it might also be "knot" but the "k" is silent, and this list can help you with suggestions.
    3. Know how to look up a word. When you come across a word you don't recognize or know the meaning of, keep a note of it. When you get around to looking it up, here is the sequence to follow:
      • Proceed to the letter of the alphabet that your word begins with. For example, "dog" begins with "d". Don't forget the possible spellings for trickier words, such as "gnome" begins with a "g", or "psychology" begins with a "p", or "knock" begins with a "k", etc.
      • Check for the guide words. These are located in the upper corner of each page and give you an indication of how close you are to locating your word, speeding up the process of going through the pages.
      • Once close, use the second letter of your word to run down the page and locate your word. For example, if you were looking for the word "futile", "u" is the second letter. Perhaps you will see "furrow/futtock" in the upper left corner of the left page and "futtock plate/gaberlunzie" in the upper right corner of the right page. Now you know that "futile" is going to be located on one of these two pages.
      • Scan down the list of entry words moving past "Furry" and "Fuse" and "Fuss". Since the example word begins with "Fut", go past all the "Fur" and all the "Fus" words alphabetically until you reach the "FUT" area of the page. In this example, move right down through "Fut" and "Futhark" and this is at last, where you will find "futile".
    4. Know how to make the most of your find. Once you've located the word, there are several useful elements that you can discover about the word from the dictionary entry. Read the information given about this entry, and depending on your dictionary, you might find many things:
      • A definition of the word.
      • One or more pronunciations. Look for a pronunciation key near the beginning of the dictionary to help you interpret the written pronunciation. Learn how to use the stress marks, as these will aid your pronunciation. The stress mark ' is place just prior to the syllable where the stress is placed.[2]
      • Capitalization, where relevant.
      • Prepositions, such as "in", "on", etc. and their use with the word in question.
      • Irregular endings for verbs.
      • Synonyms and antonyms. You can use these in your writing, or as further clues towards the word's meaning.
      • An etymology, derivation, or history of the word. Even if you don't know Latin or Ancient Greek, you may find that this information helps you to remember or understand the word.
      • Examples or citations of how the word is used. Use these to add context to the meaning of the word.
      • Derived terms and inflections (I am, you are, etc).
      • Phrases or idioms associated with the word, and slang usage. In addition, the dictionary may explain whether a word is formal or informal.
      • Plurals of nouns.
      • Near neighbor words that might be related, such as "futility".
      • Spellings in other English (US English, British English, Australian English, etc.)
    5. Think about how the information you've found relates to the word as you encountered it. If there are multiple definitions, decide which one matches your source or context for the word and notice how the different definitions are related to one another. In an English dictionary, the most common meaning is usually placed first where there are multiple meanings.
      • Try using your new word in a sentence. If it's difficult to spell, write it a few times to help yourself remember it.
    6. Use a picture dictionary to broaden your technical or specific knowledge

      Use a picture dictionary to broaden your technical or specific knowledge
      Use your dictionary for other purposes than looking up a word. Many dictionaries come with an array of other useful information. Some of the information that you might find in your dictionary includes:
      • Standard letters for jobs, RSVPs, filing complaints, official writing, etc.
      • Maps and geographical information.
      • Statistics on population.
      • Weights, volume and measurements.
      • Lists of countries, cities, capitals, etc.
      • Flags of countries, states, provinces, regions, etc.
      • Lists of famous or historical people.
      • Lists of facts.
    7. Learn how to use an online dictionary. Online dictionaries are easy. Choose a suitable free online dictionary, or a subscription one if your place of work or study subscribes, and simply type in the word you're looking for. The search engine will return the word to you and the definition section should contain most of the elements discussed above. Note that free services may not be as comprehensive as a subscription or book dictionary, so keep this in mind when you're not sure that you've found the right answer.
      • Make use of the audio content provided with online dictionaries. This can help considerably when you're unsure how to pronounce the word.
      • To use Google to find online definitions, type: "define: futile". The search engine will only look for definitions.
    8. Have fun using a dictionary. The last step is the most fun – simply browse a dictionary to enlighten yourself about new words now and then. Just open the dictionary up to any page and scan the page for words that are unfamiliar or seem interesting. Pinpoint them, read the definition and try to add the new word to your thinking or talking during the next few days until it becomes a remembered part of your natural vocabulary.
      • Play the dictionary game with friends. This consists of getting some friends together and a dictionary. The first player looks up a challenging word and uses it in a sentence. The other players have to guess if the use of the word is accurate or an outright fabrication. If a player guesses correctly, it's their turn next.

    Video

    Tips

    • If you can't seem to locate your word, make sure you're spelling the word correctly. For example, you won't find "isotope" if you're looking in the A section, which you might be tempted to do if, for example, your chemistry teacher speaks with a bit of a southern accent!
    • If you're having trouble spelling a word, try the spell-checker in a word processor and see what it suggests.
    • Old dictionaries make excellent door stops or hollow books.
    • Even though it's easy to check words using an online dictionary, the free ones don't always provide enough information, so it pays to always have a hard copy dictionary on your bookshelf to call upon whenever needed.
    • Don't be afraid to study the etymology of a word. Since much of our language is derived from Greek or Latin, you'll often find yourself learning root words from them, but after you have, you'll find that it can be easier to understand words that are new to you simply by looking at the structure of the word.
    • Language is defined to a large degree by usage. You can help keep our language alive by using more of it. Try to occasionally use words that are "getting dusty" either in written or verbal communication. English is the closest thing to a universal language on Earth, and it deserves a chance to thrive. Using words like "dude" a little bit less can help to keep our language healthy.

    Warnings

    • Printed dictionaries may go out of date as the language changes, so check the copyright date of yours. Another way to gauge the currency of a dictionary is to look for relatively new words, such as "chick flick"[3] or "metrosexual"[4].
    • Dictionaries vary in content, and some are very specific. Look at the title to find out what you have. If you have a dictionary of rhymes, slang, idioms, synonyms, a foreign language, or a specific interest, such as woodworking terms, seek a more general dictionary.

    Things You'll Need

    • Dictionary
    • Internet access

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