We help you speak English clearly.
1.800.399.9517
Free Speech Lesson

Blog

Make Conversations and Presentations Pop with Analogies

Make conversations and presentations pop like a balloon with analogies

People remember vivid mental images, like an exploding sun, longer than they remember words. Analogies, like the best Swiss or Italian or Peruvian chocoate, make your case or argument memorable.

shutterstock_176222933

Best Body Language for Virtual/Zoom etc & In-Person Meetings & Interviews

Best Body Language for Virtual/Zoom/Skype/Teams & In-Person Meetings & Interviews

shutterstock_99162239

What’s the most important body language during virtual and in-person meetings and job interviews?

  1. Once you have entered the virtual meeting or physical room, do not adjust your clothes which can be interpreted as lack of self-confidence.  Check your clothes before the appointment. 
  2. Good posture means square shoulders and straight back. Slouching makes you seem disinterested, bored, and unprepared.
  3. Keep your arms in an open position, and don’t fold your arms across your chest. You can be interpreted as not flexible, or stubborn or belligerent (i.e., warlike).
  4. Do not rub your neck or back of your head. That can be interpreted as distracted or uninterested.
  5. If in person, do not overdo perfume or cologne. Consensus is to not wear any. A great fragrance to one may be abhorrent or allergenic to another. 

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

Low budget but want to level-up your English speech? Check out $19.95 per month subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com. You get a new lessons each week with videos, different audios and written lessons. Do one month, then cancel if you want. Or do the subscription the next month. This subscription launched April 2, 2015. Tested and proven effectiveness

Blog March 27, 2021 copyright 2021 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc and Dr. Antonia Lawrence Johnson

5 Things to Say When Reaching Out to a Friend Right Now

BLOG #194 FOR FRI. FEB 26, 2021    

 — 5 Things to Say When Reaching Out to A Friend Right Now

  1. Start simple with a note with invitation to chat:
    •  “Haven’t talked in a while. Do you have a few minutes for a phone call?”
    • “A month has gone by.  Too long.  Do you have a few minutes for a phone call?”
    • “Thinking about you a lot.  Do you have a few minutes when you might be available?”
    • “We haven’t spoken for awhile.  Do you have time for a phone call in the next few days?”                     
  2. Nice reaching-out is to make sure there’s enough time for both of you to share the good and bad.
    • You can ask, “Is this still a good time to talk?”  The person might tell you about how much time they have to talk, for example, by saying, “I’ve got another appointment in 20 minutes.”
    • When you are close to the time you must leave the phone call, you could say:  “I’m so sorry, I’ve got another appointment in five minutes.”    That allows the situation for a change of topic or prompts the other to ask how things are going for you.
    • Satisfying communication for both people often happens when both people communicate meaningfully.  Sharing about what you have been working on lately,  family, or hobby build connectedness and rapport.
  3. Consider the greeting “How’s it going?”
    • This question focuses on circumstances.  The question “How are you” in the North American culture is most often answered as if it were a greeting and most often answered with “Fine”.  In contrast, “how’s it going” allows the other person to share event details, both bad and good.
    • When a person, perhaps you, has ongoing difficulties, “I’m hanging in there” is a brief colloquial or casual talk response.
  4. Mirror their emotions.  Ask questions.
    • Mirroring is the behavior of one person unconsciously imitating the gesture, manner of speech or attitude of another.  It seems to establish a sense of empathy.
    •   Use what the other person is saying as the natural guide in giving ideas and cues about what you might say or ask.
  5. Allow yourself to be accessible, to reveal some things about yourself, including the not-so-good.

 Copyright 2021 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc.

Impress Your Friends and Colleagues and the Best Reason to Master the “N”

Date: Feb. 4, 2021 Title: Impress Your Friends and Colleagues and the Best Reason to Master the “N”

In the preceding blog in Dec. 2020, you learned “How to impress your friends and the best reason to master the “Th”.

Now get this “Impress your friends and colleagues and the best reason to master the “N”.

Why master the “N”?   “N” is the most used consonant in English.   In OEC, the Oxford English Corpus’s list of the 100 most frequently written English words, N occurs in twenty (20) words, or one-fifth.  Here are those 20 words:

 #5 and

 #7 in

 # 13 not

 #14 on

 #32 an

 # 51 when

 #53 can

 #56 no

 #59 know

 #62 into

 #71 than

 #72 then

 #73 now

 #75 only

 #79 think

 #91 even

 #92 new

 #93 want

 #95 any

     Notice that  eight (8), almost half of these 20 words, end with the consonant N  —   in, on, an, when. can, than, then, even.  N at the ends of words and syllables are more difficult to pronounce than at the beginning of words or syllables.

      Notably N is also the most frequently spoken English consonant because of  prefixes and suffixes:

     Prefixes include ano-, ana-, in-, en-, on-, -non-, -mon-, non-, anti-, down-, hind-, mini-, under-, anglo-, ante-, con-, contro-, counter-, Franco-, Indo-, infra-, inter-, intra-,  neo-, non-, omni-, pan-, syn, trans-, uni-

     Suffixes include -en, -in, -on, -tion,  -tian, -cion, -ment, -mint, -mont, -mount, -ain ain, -ation, -ana, -nic, -nik, -onym, -senior, -junior, -yllion.

   Also, Wikipedia lists 66 Latin stems in English which begin with the letter n.

    Importantly, high pronunciation error is n, especially for “N” at the ends of words.

    Top error for pronunciation of “N” is  making it loud enough, again, especially at the ends of words.  The physiological reason for this error is that the mouth is closed for this sound and air is directed through the nose; such a small area muffles the sound.

      The second reason for error for English “N” is positioning of the tongue is different for other languages.

Below is a brief description of pronouncing “N” in American English:

Positioning of the tongue is the critical and super important feature: Push the tip of your tongue up to the roof of your mouth, right behind your front teeth.

 Minimum duration of  “N” is to hold the tip of your tongue again the roof of your mouth long enough to force the air through your nose and long enough and loud enough to hear a clear “N” sound.

Maximum—there is no maximum duration of the “N” pronunciation  for work-out practice.  Do work-out practice for home practice.  Push the tip of the tongue hard and stiff to the roof of the mouth, right behind the front teeth, and hold.  This work-out practice will make the muscles strong that push the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth. These are slow- twitch muscles.

This technique gets a loud enough “N” every time– go up in pitch on the speech sound, like singing.

Why does this technique work? Closing the mouth and the flow of air through the nose changes the air pressure above and below the vocal folds which stops the vocal fold vibration.  By going up in pitch, the speaker is stretching or lengthening the vocal folds which automatically pushes them together and voicing can occur more easily for a greater duration.

Seeing pronunciation of “N” is often better than written words. YouTube.com/ClearTalkMastery –  Accent Reduction Tips #23  “N” for “environmental”.

Copyright 2021 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc

Impress Your Friends and The Best Reason to Master a Perfect “Th”

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

This is Blog #192: Impress Your Friends and The Best Reason To Master a Perfect “Th”

In the preceding Blog #191 on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 I listed the 100 most frequently written words in English from the Oxford English Corpus (OEC)  from 2013 from counting from 2 billion words from texts and similar to the Brown Corpus 1967.

So what does a list like that tell you?  For one, it answers the question– How important is it to pronunce the “th” accurately?

Get this—the most frequently written word and Number 1 in 2 billion words in English texts is  “the”.

Here  are the nine (9)  words with “th” in the top 100 words in English with the numbered rank:

1. the

8.  that

15. with  (American English, “th” has no voice)

21. this

26. they

38. there

39. their

79. think

96. these

Count them – nine (9) or about one tenth of  the 100 most frequently written words in English have a “th”.   Seven (7) of  those nine (9) have a “th” with a voice.

Not only that,  seven (7) of the nine words with a “th” are ranked for children’s reading books as pre-primer, primer and grade 2.    So, when children  in North America and Great Britain are learning to read, they are reading these words frequently.  Just so you know, children learning to read are speaking the words aloud.

Also, a super frequently asked question from people who are speaking English as a second or other language (ESL /ESOL) is this:
How do you know whether the “th” has a voice or no voice?

A BIG part of the answer is this: the little words with “th” and which you see frequently are mostly “th” with a voice: the,  that, this, they, there, their, and these.

There is more.  When children are learning to read English in school, their teachers use the strategy of boot-strapping.  An example of a teacher using boot-strapping is this:  The teacher says to the student:  “You already recognize “the”  and can say that word accurately. Every time you see  these next “th” words which begin with “th”,  do or pronounce the same sound.  So, do the same “th” pronunciation as you do for “th”  for  these words:  “that”, “this”, “they”,“there”, “their”, “these”.

Also, teachers tell children, “You know  the word “with”.  This “th” is pronounced only with air and has no voice.  So you pronounce the same “th” sound you use for “with” for  “think”. And “thank”.  And “through” and “throw.”

The take home message for this blog is this:   If you wonder whether it is worth the effort and work to fully master the “th” sound with a voice and with no voice– do it.  The number of times you will speak words with the English “th” is downright huge.

Below is a brief description of pronouncing “th”:

Positioning of the tongue is the critical and super important feature of “th”.  Push your tongue forward. Minimum  is to push your tongue forward so that it rests between your top front teeth and your bottom front teeth.

Maximum—there is no maximum for work-out practice.  Do work-out practice for home practice.  Push the tongue  out over your lower lip and make the tip of your tongue go down and not up.  This will make the muscles strong that push the tongue forward and down and are slow-twitch muscles.

Make the “th” sound slowly and loudly.   When the “th” has a voice, make the sound from your throat loudly and it is like a hum.   When the “th” has no voice, be especially  sure to use a lot of energy to push a lot of air quickly out of your mouth.

Seeing pronunciation of “th” is often more helpful than reading a written description.   In YouTube.com/ClearTalkMastery  has  several Accent Reduction Tips for “th”:

These are ClearTalkMastery Accent Reduction Tip #63, #46, and # 9 .  All of these Accent Reduction Tips are for “th”, both with no voice and with a voice.

#63 is no voice “th”, “authentic”

#46 voiced “th”  “that”

#9 no voice th “through”, “throw” and voiced “th” though

Do you want a quick, easy way to get lots of practice of the “th”—- say those 9 words 3 to 10 times each day for 21 days. Perfectly. Work-out practice to make your tongue muscles strong. The muscles that push the tongue forward and the tip down. Slow twitch muscles.

Remember, it is not practice makes perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect.

Happy practicing perfect!