Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The importance of rhythm

What is the most important aspect to speaking clear English? The individual sounds? or the rhythm? I think the answer depends on how intelligible you are when you begin. Some people have a natural talent for languages, similar to that of music. In fact people who are musical do tend to have an easier time with second language acquisition. It may be that they are tuned into rhythm and aural nuances.

Though I wold have to say, that in my experience it is really the features of English that affect rhythm that has the greater impact. What features are these?

It is intonation, alternation between stressed and unstressed syllables, pausing, word stress and vowel reduction.

These features of spoken English affect the listeners ability to understand your message both the implied meaning and the spoken meaning. The other advantage is that when you use a standard rhythm, with standard reduction there is less chance of dropping information loaded word endings.

In my future posts we will take a closer look at each feature I mentioned and how to incorporate them into your speech.

If you would like to see some videos related to these topics visit my site

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Accent reduction?

To begin, I would like to address the whole controversy about accent reduction. I believe that everyone does indeed have an accent. That the term accent reduction is incorrect. I only use the term accent reduction because it is now a cultural reference to the more accurate term of American English pronunciation, or learning an American accent.

Recent studies have found that 97% of those surveyed would prefer to speak English like a native. I am sure that if I were to move to a foreign country, and was looking to compete in their marketplace, I too would want to speak the language of the country to the best of my ability.

I began Accent Master hoping to help those who are looking to do just this. We grew from marketing our line of software programs that are customized to specific language's to that plus offering a whole array of services. We offer classes to individuals, that are 1:1, meaning that the student has private class. We are able to serve the global community thanks to the internet. The clients take their class from their home or office and work live with an instructor. This always works out so well. You end up with the same dynamics as an in-person class, without the hassle of going back out in the evening or right after work. It is also ideal for those that travel a lot. I have a client who takes his weekly class from a different city nearly every week!
For those that don't want to shell out the money for the intensive time with an instructor their are several choices. The most intensive is to take the class with a couple of friends. This holds down costs, and again thanks to technology you don't even need to have all the friends in the same room, city or even country! You just have to pick a time that works with everyone.
Next we offer guided self study. This option is affordable and effective. You get a full evaluation and report outlining your strengths and weaknesses, a study guide, pre-recorded video lessons and audio recordings.
Another option is our presentation program. This is a minimum of 3 meetings, where you provide the material that you will be presenting and the instructor goes through pronunciation and delivery.
These options don't even include our customized programs or our corporate programs. Accent Master has really grown and now offer options for everyone. We even have free video lessons on our site! So come and see what we are about.