Pronunciation: Get Better In Another Language

Pronunciation can affect how we communicate. Many people, who have had a go at learning a foreign language, have experienced that sinking feeling when they try a well-constructed sentence in another language only to be met with a blank face.

Why is this?

Languages are built on sounds. If I speak English and live in an English-speaking country I expect a speaker to say sounds in a particular way. In French or Spanish I would expect to hear different sounds. When we can’t recognise the sound we try and adjust how we are listening, a bit like tuning a radio, but if we can’t guess the sound, the chances are we won’t understand what is being said.

The Blocks of Pronunciation

Pronunciation has two main aspects to it, physically producing it and the sound that is produced from it, the hearing of the sound. As we get older the ability to do both of these, i.e. physically work out how to make the sound and recognise it, can diminish. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn new languages but we need some extra tricks to help us.

Let’s look at some ideas on what we can do when we learn a new language.

How am I saying it?

Try saying the letters. Notice how your mouth is working. If you don’t know how a sound is physically made you may find it harder to say it.

What sounds are the same?

English has many more sounds than other languages but it also has a lot of sounds in common with other languages. Good dictionaries in a new language will usually offer an English sound or word to compare with. Use it to check what sounds are similar.

Which sounds are hard to say?

Go through the alphabet of the new language and mark out the ones you find hard to say. Give them some attention. Try and physically make the sound and see how your mouth works. Say the alphabet. Look at how children use the alphabet song in English to help them remember the alphabet, doing the same in a new language will also help memorise the letters and sounds.

Read out loud.

Find some reading form your course book or any other book. There are two advantages here. One you get to say the letters and words. Secondly you get to practise sounds that you expect to hear and you become accustomed to the sounds of the language.

How good do I need to be?

There is much discussion on this. For many of us the ability to get by in other languages is good enough. If we can say what we want, simply, slowly and the person we are speaking to, can understand us, then our pronunciation is probably good enough. After that it is a matter of choice. Some people become very good at other languages and get to very good levels of pronunciation. Not many of us are such gifted linguists but there’s no reason why we can’t make the words so that people can understand us.

Getting Over Someone

Basic question here: how can I tell when I’m over someone and ready to be with someone else?

- C.G., Boston, MA

That is a basic question, but not a simple one. I’m not sure I can even answer it.

Sometimes hearing someone else’s experiences put things in perspective. Here is a situation concerning a person I dated, how I personally view it, and how I make it work for me. Maybe this example will help clear things up a little bit for you too.

In my life, I’ve seen a lot of relationships and been envious of very few. I see a lot of phoniness, relationships of convenience, and people together for all the wrong reasons.

But I knew that my relationship with her was something incredibly, incredibly special. I’d never felt anything like that; it was something totally different than all the rest I’d ever been in. It was comparing apples to oranges, as the saying goes.

In every way, I found her to be the most beautiful thing that I’d ever seen. We showed each other our best and our worst and remained together because we believed in each other as individuals and believed in us as a couple.

It’s interesting to think of all the things we are taught and all we are not. People are taught a million things growing up: how to read, how to use a stove without burning their hands, how to fold a towel, how to drive, and so on.

But we’re never taught some of the things that are imperative in relationships; we’re somehow expected to learn them as we go and by trial and error. I, like many others, never learned how to trust someone to give them all of my feelings, so I’d always held something back, which isn’t fair.

I also never learned how to forgive someone that I loved when they hurt me. And I certainly never learned what to do when you find someone who is perfect for you. It sounds like such a great thing, but it can be one of the most overwhelming feelings you ever experience because you want it to work out more than you want anything else in your life.

And sometimes, by the time you start to realize these things, it’s too late to make everything right.

Making her cry was the worst thing I’ve ever done and just thinking about it hurts me more than anything I’ve ever lost, never achieved, failed at, or I could really explain here.

And now she’s gone. We had talked about “forever” but this isn’t the kind of “forever” I thought we meant.

Who we were at the time we made our memories, we’ll always be – that man will always love that woman and that woman will always love him just as much. I still miss so many things about her, namely counting on – and believing in – us.

I still think about her every day and wonder, wonder, and wonder. I made her an enormous part of my life and now that she’s gone, that life as I knew it is too.

The pain is normal. But don’t think that because you feel pain you can’t move on. What happened between the two of you obviously affected you, so the hurting is expected. Truthfully, and unfortunately, it may be felt for a long, long time.

If you think about it, you probably still don’t feel great about the moment you found out you didn’t get that job you really wanted or a pet that died when you were a kid. You may never feel perfectly fine about this situation either.

What I realized, and what you must too, is that you have to move on. They have. They have their own life going, and whether it’s them being alone or them being with someone else – it’s still them being without you.

There is no other option; you can’t stay closed off and emotionally unavailable forever in hopes they will change their mind about you or that it will work out somehow. Knowing when to let go and move forward it is the hard part.

You don’t want to do it when you’re emotionally unavailable, angry at life, or will be anything but the best person you can be to whomever it is you end up with next. I don’t know if you’re there. Maybe you don’t even know if you’re there.

Teenage Gambling Addiction Education Needed At Local Schools

For the past few years teenage gambling has been increasing at an exponential rate. The increase in gambling can be contributed to family members who gamble, multiple television programs like poker tournaments and skillful advertising from the gambling establishments. It’s becoming an epidemic among our teenagers with no real solution being presented to the educators of our schools systems.

The new stream of commercials related to stop gambling has had very little affect. The commercials are geared towards helping people stop gambling but are not geared towards the individuals who have not experienced gambling at this point in time. The stop gambling commercials have not been able to reach the teenager with a compulsive gambling addiction. They however may reach the parents who may realize their child has a problem.

The only way to help our youth is to educate them in the classroom and at home. I remember years ago in health class they educated us on smoking and drinking. This was very effective on those individuals who never started. But the ones that were already addicted the educational programs were unable to reach them.

There following educational curriculums are needed for today’s students:

a)Helpful Resources for identifying teenagers who may have a compulsive gambling addiction.

b)Helping Teenagers identify their compulsive gambling addiction

c)Educating teenagers on compulsive gambling addiction. This one is my favorite because this has the best opportunity to prevent a teenager from gambling, helping teenagers identify the signs of compulsive gambling addiction and if the teenager has a problem with gambling.

d)Giving Teenagers the tools to identify others who may have a gambling addiction like their parents. This one has to be handled sensitively. I have received numerous emails from teenagers who did not know where to go, who to talk to in order to help a family member.

e)Educating Teenagers on the resources available to get help by giving them the local stop gambling telephone numbers and helpful stop gambling websites.

f)Understanding Compulsive Gambling Addiction

g)Practical exercises for teenagers with addictions to learn about self esteem, trust and more.

The above educational curriculums are needed to help educate the teenage population.

As each year passes the amount of teenager’s addicted to gambling increases. This increase is due to the increased exposure. This exposure is due to the increase in the number of cable and television gambling programs, advetising by local gambling establishements, retailers jumping on poker craze selling poker chips, the increase in the number of state lotto drawings per day and the state advertising for their scratch off tickets.