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.

Understanding Your Current Personal Finance Situation

It is important: understanding your current personal finance situation is something that every person needs to do. By understanding what is going on with your personal finances you will be able to better control them. This can be one of the best ways to avoid money problems and debt.

Getting started is the hardest part. It can seem almost impossible to figure out where to begin when tackling finance issues. The best place to start is to simply look at expenses and income.

As the staples of a good budget, something every person should have, expenses and income are the main financial issues a person needs to understand. To begin you should gather all the relevant information. You may want to get bills, pay stubs and anything else that could help you list out your expenses and income.

The first thing to do is to track your daily expenses. This includes eating out, shopping and gasoline. You want to include these on your expenses list. You may need to gather receipts or actually keep a log for a week to be able to come up with an accurate account of your daily expenses.

Write out a list of expenses and then write out your list of income. At this point you should concern yourself with ensuring everything is listed. If your expenses or income vary then try to get a good average. You should have expenses separated into daily expenses and monthly expenses so you can see where your money is really going. Plus this will help when you go to budget your money.

Now you can begin to look at your debt. You should make out a list of your creditors. Your list should include the creditors contact information, the balance of your debt and the interest rate.

Now you should look at your personal finance accounts. This includes things like checking, savings and stocks. You want to list them all, including their current value or balance.

After going through your expenses, income, debt and personal finance accounts you should have a fairly good idea of where your personal finance matters stand. This should be a great platform for you to build upon to get your personal finances in good order. From this information you should be able to create a budget, get debt under control and best manage your personal finance accounts. You should be able to get the big picture about your personal finance situation and to understand it completely.

Home Improvement Tips To Help Sell Your Home

If you are a total layperson as far as home improvement is concerned, then you should hire help or enlist friends if you’re tackling areas where it does make a difference how you get the job done. Simple home improvement projects like painting can be attempted by everyone as the worst you can do is a patchy job that can be painted over.

Have Realistic Time, Money and Expertise Expectations – If you want to replicate a room that you have seen on Trading Spaces or Design on a Dime, get the inspiration but keep your expectations in check.

The people behind the work in such shows are experts; professionals in their field with years of experience. They can do things faster and better than an average person and if things go wrong, they also know how to make them right. When planning home improvement projects, keep your expectations real as far as budget and time considerations go as well.

The designers on the show often get great discounts from others in the business as they need the promotion on popular television shows. Plus, they often accessorize rooms with flea market finds and things picked up at garage sales. You could strike gold too, but it doesn’t happen very often.

Home improvement shows boast of the latest faux paint techniques and the hottest colors for the season. However, the green you like for your master bedroom may not appeal to prospective homeowners. If you do have hot pink bedroom walls for your daughter, tone them down or make them neutral as well. This is because new owners may not have a daughter who will use that room and they may want to move in to something that requires minimum effort.

The designers on the show are experts themselves plus they have a lot of help from back up crew and the like so they can delegate tasks and get more done in less time.

What You Can Do On Your Own – There are things shown on home improvement shows that you can easily replicate like rearranging your furniture, de-cluttering and even painting so don’t give up a home improvement project just because you can’t compete with the pros. However, assess your strengths and keep a plan B in mind. For instance, while you are redoing your kitchen, factor in the cost of eating out for all the days that the floor is ripped out and the appliances unusable.

Go through the entire home and toss, donate or store anything you do not need immediately. This will free up walking space, wall space, counter space and the like and prospective owners will feel they are getting more footage for their dollar. If there are pieces you can not part with, hold them in a separate storage area not your garage or basement. Then if you still feel they are important, bring them back in your new home.