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Fail-Safe Questions

Fail-Safe Questions
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For this week’s accent reduction advice, we have a speech tip video below. Also, whether you are a student meeting new people or an adult who knows no one at a work gathering, you can use fail-safe questions with particular themes to open and start conversations.  Today, here are three:
  • The journey theme: “Are you from here or did you move here? When? Why?”
  • The recent past: “What have you been working on lately?”
  • The situation you are engaged in now: “How do you know the host?  What did you think of that presentation?”

Rerun from 11/4/2013 and 01/30/2017

English communication and American Slang: Nouns and Adjectives

English communication and American Slang: Nouns and Adjectives

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American slang is a casual vocabulary.  These words are some of the most popular and can be used by all.  Here are noun and adjective slang words.

American Slang Nouns

brain: a very intelligent person

Bill Gates must be a brain.

munchies: snacks like pretzels, popcorn, potato chips, crackers

Let’s get some munchies at the soccer game.

penny pincher: a super thrifty person who rarely spends money.

Don never goes to restaurants because he is such a penny pincher.

stuff:  things (but used as a singular, non-count noun.)

Sarah has to buy some stuff at the grocery store so she can cook for dinner.

American Slang Adjectives

awesome:  amazing

That was an awesome performance.

beat: tired

Robert is beat today because he was up late last night.

down: sad, depressed

Sue is down because her dog died.

broke: having no money

Mary spent all her money on supplies for school so now she’s broke.

on cloud nine: very, very happy

Ken just won five thousand dollars in a lottery so he is on cloud nine!

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

Rerun from 11/13/2013 and 12/21/2020

Polish Your Conversational Skills

Polish Your Conversational Skills
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For this week’s accent reduction advice, we have a speech tip video below.
Also, an important aspect of English speech training is polishing conversational skills. If you avoid brief social interactions, try making pleasant connections with neighbors, co-workers or other people you see regularly.
  • Smile at the woman serving you at the coffee-shop counter
  • At the next gathering of friends or family, talk with someone you don’t know so you can make connections within the larger group
  • Ask a co-worker how his or her day is going

Rerun from 10/28/2013 and 01/23/2017

English speech communication and American Slang: Greetings and Verbs

English speech communication and American Slang:  Greetings and Verbs

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American English has its own casual variety of the English language and vocabulary.  Historically, it has been influenced by sports, the cowboys, the building of the railroad, the card game of poker, African-American culture, immigrants, native and so forth.

Here are some words which are common American slang words that are acceptable in any conversation.

Greetings for “How are you?”:  “How’s it going? ,” “What’s new?”

Leavetaking and Goodbye:  See you.  See you later.  Or on the phone, “Talk to you later.”

I’m leaving:  “I’m heading out now.”

Instead of “very, very,” you can use “totally.”

“The show was totally awesome.”

American Slang Verbs

ace : to finish something successfully and easily

Jenny aced her science test!

check-out: to look at, examine, watch

We’re going to check out that new grocery store after work.

grab a bite to eat: to get something to eat, perhaps at a restaurant.

I am very, very hungry. Let’s grab a bite to eat at a restaurant nearby.

lift: to steal

While Bill was on the bus, someone lifted her wallet.

Take off: to leave

Janette took off before the meeting was announced

Next time, I’ll share some of the most popular slang nouns and adjectives.

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

Rerun from 11/06/2013 and 12/14/2016

Tips to Perfect the Fine Art of Dialogue

Tips to Perfect the Fine Art of Dialogue

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For this week’s clear English speech coaching, here are a couple of tips to perfect the fine art of dialogue.

  • Good, engaging conversation is like a Frisbee that you catch, spin and toss to the next person. Marylynne Pitz
  • March launches spring, spring break, and socializing outdoors. So now is an excellent time to brush up on your skill to speak with sincerity and style.
  • Biggest error: Many people who meet for the first time or are beginning to develop a friendship often violate one of the important rules governing civilized conversation, according to Margaret Shepherd.
  • She calls it “real-time blogging.” People are face-to-face, but they are still thinking out loud. They are just streaming or rambling about what interests them.
  • What to do? Learn to dialogue. Catch that Frisbee of topic, look around and throw the Frisbee to the next person.
  • Stay tuned for new approaches to gracious conversation and five fail-safe questions to open communication.

Rerun from Oct 21, 2013 and Jan 16, 2017