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Accent Reduction – The History & Backstory to English’s Wonderful Triplets and Doublets

Accent Reduction – The History & Backstory to English’s Wonderful Triplets and Doublets

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Have you ever wondered why English has so many words that come from other languages?

Have you ever wondered why English has words – often two or three- for the same thing.  These triplets and doublets allow us to express ideas with different degrees of formality.  For example “help” is English root, “aid” comes from French, “assist” is Latin.

Here’s a brief back story for these important characteristics of English vocabulary:

Over centuries, English has been constructed with words from other lands and peoples.  It started out as essentially a kind of German.  Importantly, when the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes (and also Frisians) brought Germanic speech to English, the island was already inhabited by people who spoke Celtic languages – today represented by Welsh and Irish, and Breton across the Channel in France.

In the 9th century invaders were speaking another Germanic offshoot, Old Norse.  Instead of imposing their language, they married local women and switched to English.  However, since they were adults, who don’t pick up new languages easily (no schools and no media, and an oral society), they spoke “bad” Old English.  Their children heard as much of the modified English as “Old English” and the language changed accordingly.

After the Norse came the French.  The Normans – descended from the Vikings—conquered England and ruled for several centuries.  That meant English picked up 10,000 new words.

Starting in the 16th century, educated Anglophones (or people who speak English in a country with more than one language) began to develop English as a vehicle for complex and sophisticated writing.  At that time, it became popular to pick words from Latin to lend the language more prestige, to make it more high class, so to speak.

At this time English acquired such words as crucified, fundamental, definition, and conclusion.

And from this time, English had thousands of new words competing with native English words for the same things.  As mentioned in the beginning of this article, one result was triplets which allowed us to express ideas with different degrees of formality.  “Help” is English, “aid” is French, “assist” is Latin.

In like manner, “kingly” is English, “royal” is French, “regal” is Latin.

At the same time, doublets appeared.  “Begin” is English, “commence” is French.

“Want” is English, “desire” is French.

This double vocabulary is especially common for culinary/food vocabulary.

For example, we kill a “cow” or a “pig” (English).  From that we cook “beef” or “pork” (French).

Why?  The answer lies in the division of labor in Norman English.   That is, English-speaking laborers did the slaughtering or killing for the wealthier French speakers.

Thus, the different ways of referring to meat depended on one’s place in the society or broad community.   These distinctions come to us in the English vocabulary today.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our new advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com

 
Rerun from April 20, 2016

When to Use a Microphone

When to Use a Microphone

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If in a large room where you are forced to be 15 to 20 feet from the audience, use a lavalier mic – the kind that tacks to your lapel or collar and leaves your hands free.

 

 

 

 

 

Rerun from May 9, 2016

English Communication- Magic Phrases for Moving Among People

English Communication- Magic Phrases for Moving Among People

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There are magic phrases that everyone uses to make moving among people in daily life a pleasure and which endear you to others.

Gracious politeness.  Smile when you say these phrases. Smile so that your eyes are also smiling.

  1. Good morning.  Good afternoon.  Good evening.

These are the words you are most likely to hear and which you are most likely to say.  Make your voice strong, so people easily hear your gracious greeting. Smile and nod.

Nod with one head gesture downward in the USA fashion for “yes.”

By the way, the USA nod for “yes” is two head gestures “up and down.”

Your culture may have a different head gesture or gestures for a “yes” gesture.

  1. Please and thank you.

Politeness, especially with eye contact, will endear you to those around you.  Use these often.  You may be trying to figure out unfamiliar customs or vocabulary.  These words trigger patience in the other person, and you.

When in new circumstances, it is good to know how to ask for assistance.

Do be sure to recognize this word when you hear it around you because Americans do like to help people.  Well….truth be known lots of people in the USA and other people all over our world do like to help, but not all.

  1. Excuse me.

Many public areas are tight with lots of people, such as airplanes, buses, hallways, crowded rooms.   In English, “excuse me” can act to help you move through people, a greeting, or an apology.

  1. Where is ___?

Trying to find new places and locations is difficult for all people.  Ask for help.

You may not be able to understand the complex answer.  That is true for native-born persons, also.  Your helper is likely to start pointing to help you understand the direction to go.

Keep asking people at each street intersection for directions, and eventually you will reach your destination.

  1. Where is the bathroom?

This will help you in public places to find these facilities in quick time instead of wandering and getting lost.

  1. I need ___.

We all have lots of needs.  For example, we need to eat.  Perhaps you need an item, a pencil or a chair.  Perhaps you need medical assistance.

  1. Check, please.

Sometimes servers get so busy that you need to ask for the check/bill for restaurant food.   You might need to catch your server’s attention by politely raising a hand and catching his or her eye, and with a smile on your lips.

  1. I’m allergic to___.

Sometimes we all need medical attention. This phrase is essential for good medical treatment because many people have an allergy or bad body/physical reaction to new or old medications

You might need this phrase during meals for foods hazardous to your health and well being.

  1. Have a fine day.

This phrase with your spoken “good-bye,” spoken sincerely,  and with a smile will brighten the other person’s day.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our new advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com

 

 

Rerun from April 13, 2016

The Power of Standing for Presentations

The Power of Standing for Presentations

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Why standing for presentations is awesome:

  • There is more of you to see so you and presentation are more visually stimulating and memorable.
  • You will speak louder. Louder is better. Three of four presenters speak too softly. When volume is down, excitement is down and the presentation is less interesting… and more forgettable!

 

 

Rerun from 05/02/2016

English Communication- Do These for that Important Interview

English Communication- Do These for that Important Interview

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What are your critical actions during job interviews?  What are critical behaviors?

These critical behaviors also apply to interviews which look like meetings where your  supervisor is determining whether to promote you to a higher position (with more or different responsibility and perhaps greater salary/fee).

Here are some tips for walking away with a great first impression:

  • Do look interested, ask questions and maintain eye contact with your interviewer.
  • Project an air of confidence and friendliness. Use this body language– open body with arms relaxed, attentive posture, and relaxed face with genuine smile that extends to your eyes.
  • To demonstrate interest in the company, ask informed questions about the job and responsibilities.
  • If you feel uncertain about the impression you give in an interview, practice before a mirror before the appointment.
  • Reach for the goal of feeling comfortable in the interview because that is a signal that you are knowledgeable about the company, the position, yourself, and stand poised and ready to get to work.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our new advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com

 

 

Rerun from 04/06/2016