Lingua East

People should hear your ideas, not your accent.

Rules for Conversation: Taking Turns & Interrupting

In the latest uprising of people fighting for women’s rights, there are calls for equal pay in the workplace, a stop to gender-based harassment, and interestingly, a call for a change in communication behaviors including conversational turn taking.

In a conversation, each speaker has a turn. When there are more than a couple people involved, the ratio of turns to talk becomes less distributed. However, just as in a card game, each person has roughly the same ratio of turns to talk.

There is strong evidence for different degrees of uncivil speech behaviors. This is easily available from academic, journalistic, and anecdotal resources. You probably see it in conversations with the people among you. Maybe you have noticed you are an interrupter.

 

Unless the situation is serious, the consequences dire, don’t interrupt. When you interrupt, despite how great your point may be, it makes you look like a jerk. Your point can wait until it is your turn to speak, and if you listen, your ideas may tie in nicely with the point your conversational partner is making.

If you must interrupt, admit that you’re interrupting (either by apologizing or acknowledging). “Sorry to interrupt, but…” or “I’m going to have to interrupt you…”

Otherwise, wait your turn.

While you wait, listen to what the person is saying, while keeping in mind the comment you wanted to respond to. Here are some phrases that you can use to make a smooth transition between conversation turns:

To refer to something mentioned previously

Going back to what you said about [topic]…

You said [phrase or sentence]…

I want to return to [previous topic]

 When it comes to rules for behavior in conversations (i.e. turn-taking and eye contact), like other rules, you should follow them. Or break them in a way that you can own up to, hopefully with good intentions. The key here is being aware of your behavior in a conversation and its effect on others. In a conversation, it’s not worth it to interrupt. When someone is interrupted, they can become upset, feeling that their voice is not heard. If they’re upset, they’re likely to pay less attention to what the interrupter is saying. If we can all practice a little patience and use the right words to orient our listeners to the points we want to address, we can have successful conversations without upsetting the people we speak with.

Cambiar un acento es difícil (pero no es imposible)

Es muy fácil para los niños aprender idiomas – el idioma natal y otros idiomas. El cerebro de un niño esta en desarrollo, y en esa época puede absorber todos los sonidos, palabras, y estructuras de cualquier idioma.

A los cuatro años, el cerebro y la boca se han formado conexiones fuertes para los patrones del hablar. Son conexiones que tendremos por toda la vida, si se mantiene saludable el cerebro.

En la adolescencia los patrones del hablar se han vuelto tan arraigados que si aprendemos un segundo lenguaje, es más probable que hablaremos el segundo idioma con un acento. Además, es por esta edad que se Vuelve más difícil aprender otro idioma; se requiere muchas horas de estudio. Hasta si se puede ganar dominio sobre la gramática y el vocabulario del inglés a los 16 años, aun hablaras el idioma con un acento.

Acento abarca los sonidos, ritmos, y entonación de un idioma hablado por un grupo de gente. Puede ser confinado por un idioma, como el idioma estonio, o por región, como el Panhandle de Texas. Aunque todos hablamos con algún acento, normalmente no pensamos en tener un acento en nuestro primer idioma.

Los investigadores que estudian cómo responden los bebes al lenguaje han descubierto que a una cierta edad, los bebes prefieren el acento de su propio grupo. En otras palabras, un bebe jamaiquino demostraría una preferencia por el ingles jamaiquino sobre un acento de Minnesota, y un bebe de St. Louis preferiría el lenguaje arrastrado sobre un acento de Australia. Sabemos que los bebes reconocen la diferencia. ¿Y los adultos?

Cuando un adulto típico escucha a un acento, su cerebro tiene mas labor por hacer antes de que entienda el mensaje comunicado por el hablante. El cerebro adulto procesa a un acento como un escultor quitando poco a poco la superficie para entender el mensaje abajo. El procesar del acento ocurre en un nivel subconsciente, a menos que sea muy fuerte el acento.

Los acentos pueden venir con mucho equipaje en la forma de como los escuchadores perciben a alguien quien habla con un acento diferente. La gente quien habla con cierto acento puede ser vistos como más inteligente, sofisticado, o educado. La gente quien habla con otro acento puede ser vistos con más tendencias a ser no honesto. ¡Y nada de esto tiene que ver con la persona, sino solo acento!

While I have discussed before how as a listener, the only way to overcome any subconscious biases you may have is to increase your exposure to those accents or dialects that might be seen in a negative light, many wonder, what can a speaker do about her own accent?

Petra aprendió el inglés cuando ya era adulta. Habla inglés con acento. Tiene acento por los patrones de hablar que aprendió como niñita en la Hungría. Petra, quien trabaja en las oficinas corporativas de una compañía de químicos en los EEUU, quiere cambiar su acento.

Ella siempre tenía algo de aprensión sobre comunicar con su equipo y los vendedores de afuera, pero cuando avanzó de puesto en la compañía, su acento se volvió más y más de un problema. Petra sabe que es instruida, tiene experiencia, e industriosa, pero a veces se siente que sus interacciones con sus colegas y con los vendedores no son tan nítidas como pudieran ser, y es por su acento.

Ella ha tratado de usar apps en su celular, tratando de practicar diario. No funcionó. Ha tratado de copiar las voces en la tele. No funcionó tampoco. Al fin, Petra se dio cuenta de lo que faltaba: feedback profesional de un hablante nativo de inglés.

Petra fue a Recursos Humanos y pregunto del speech coaching. La directora de entrenamiento en su compañía le hizo una cita para ver a un speech coach. Petra eligió hacer el entrenamiento por la computadora, porque era más conveniente para ella.

Trabajando con el speech coach, Petra recibió mas que solo el feedback que necesitaba para mejorar su hablar. El coach le dio a Petra ejercicios especiales para practicar que fueron especializados para sus necesidades, basados en la ciencia, y recomendados por un profesional. A Petra les gustaron las sesiones, y aprendió algo nuevo cada semana.

Después de trabajar con el speech coach por tres meses, Petra todavía habla con acento. Pero, puede hablar el inglés mucho más claro que antes, y algunos de sus colegas han comentado en cómo se ha mejorado su hablar. Ella se siente más confianza en su posición, y sus sentimientos de aprehensión sobre comunicar con los colegas y vendedores se ha bajado significantemente.

Si usted o un miembro de su equipo le gustaría más información sobre los servicios de acento, contáctanos. Nos alegrara contarle más de nuestro programa. Si está listo para cambiar su acento usando un programa de speech coaching que funciona, haga nuestro screening en línea para empezar. La gente debería de escuchar sus ideas, no el acento.

Talking About Emotions

Learning new vocabulary to describe emotions can be a tricky task in a second language. Use this guide to increase your vocabulary and to let others know exactly how you feel.

Happiness/Excitement

blissful (blɪs fǝl) full of, marked by, or causing complete happiness
bubbly (bᴧ bli) full of or showing good spirits
delirious (dǝ liɚ i ǝs) of, relating to, or characteristic of a frenzied excitement or an acute mental disturbance characterized by confused thinking and disrupted attention
ebullient (ɪ bʊl jǝnt) lively and enthusiastic
effervescent (e fɚ sǝnt) excited or lively
elated (ɪ leɪ tɪd) very happy and excited
enthusiastic (en θu zi æ stɪk) filled with or marked by a strong excitement of feeling or something inspiring zeal or fervor
euphoric (ju foɚ ɪk) marked by a feeling of great happiness or excitement
excited (ek saɪ tɪd) having, showing, or characterized by a heightened state of energy, enthusiasm, eagerness, etc.
exhilarated (ek zɪl ɚ eɪ dɪd) cheerful and excited, refreshed and stimulated
exultant (ek zǝl tǝnt) filled with or expressing great joy or triumph
happy ( pi) feeling of pleasure and enjoyment
jubilant (ʤu bǝ lɪnt) feeling or expressing great joy
pleased (plizd) with pleasure or satisfaction
satisfied ( tǝs faɪd) having a happy or pleased feeling because of something that you did or something that happened to you

Sad/Negative Feelings

depressed (dǝ prɛst) low in spirits
despair (dǝ speɚ) utter loss of hope, a cause of hopelessness
disappointed (dɪs ǝ poɪn tɪd) defeated in expectation or hope
dismal (dɪz mǝl) showing or causing gloom or depression
dissatisfied (dɪ tɪs feɪd) expressing or showing lack of satisfaction
distressed (dɪs trɛst) feeling or showing extreme unhappiness or pain
glum (glᴧm) sad
grief (grif) deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death; a cause of deep sadness; trouble or annoyance
humiliated (hju mɪl i eɪ tɪd) feelings of shame and embarrassment due to being reduced to a lower position in one’s own eyes or others’ eyes
hurt (hɝt) feeling of physical or emotional pain or anguish
lugubrious (lǝ gu bri ᴧs) mournful; exaggeratedly or affectedly mournful; dismal
morose (mǝ ros) having a sullen and gloomy disposition; marked by or expressive of gloom
mournful (moɚn fᴧl) expressing, causing, or full of sorrow
regretful (ri grɛt fᴧl) feeling or showing regret; sad or disappointed
sad (sæd) affected with or expressive of grief or unhappiness; depressing
somber (sam bɚ) very sad and serious
sullen (sᴧ lɪn) gloomily or resentfully silent or repressed, suggesting a sullen state
wounded (wun dɪd) feeling emotional pain

Anxiety/Worry

anxious (æŋk ʃǝs) worried, characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency, characterized by/resulting from/causing anxiety, ardently or earnestly wishing
concerned (kᴧn sɝnd) anxious, worried
desperate (dɛs prɪt) having lost hope, moved by despair, suffering extreme need or anxiety
nervous ( vǝs) timid, apprehensive, uneasy, agitated
uneasy (ᴧn i zi) apprehensive, worried, physical or mental discomfort

Surprise/Wonder

amazed (ǝ meɪzd) feeling or showing great surprise or wonder
amused (ǝ mjuzt) pleasantly entertained
astonished (ǝ sta nɪʃt) feeling or showing great surprise or wonder
astounded (ǝ staʊn dɪd) feeling or showing great surprise or wonder
blown away (blon ǝ weɪ) impressed very strongly and usually favorably
dazzled ( zǝld) impressed, overpowered, or confounded with brilliance
flabbergasted (flæ bɚ gæ stɪd) overwhelmed with shock, surprise, or wonder
impressed (ɪm prɛst) characterized by a feeling of admiration or interest
in awe (ɪn ɔ) a strong feeling of fear or respect and also wonder
shocked (ʃɔkt) very confused, upset, or exhausted because of something that has happened
surprised (sɚ praɪzd) having or showing the feeling that people get when something unexpected or unusual happens

Anger/Frustration

aggravated (æ grǝ veɪ dɪd) annoyed or bothered
aggrieved (ǝ grivd) troubled or distressed in spirit
agitated (æ ʤǝ teɪ dɪd) troubled in mind; disturbed and upset
angry (æŋ gri) feeling or showing anger
anguished (æŋ gwɪʃt) tormented; feeling of extreme pain, distress, or anxiety
annoyed (ǝ noɪd) feeling or showing angry irritation
cross (kras) annoyed or angry
exasperated (ek spɚ eɪ tɪd) very angry or annoyed
frustrated (frᴧ streɪ tɪd) very angry, discouraged, or upset because of being unable to do or complete something
furious (fju ri ǝs) very angry; very active or fast
grumpy (grᴧm pi) moodily cross, surly
ill (ɪl) angry (Southern)
livid ( vɪd) very angry
outraged (aʊt reɪʤd) characterized by anger and resentment aroused by injury or insult

Annoyed/A bee in your bonnet

bilious ( li ǝs) of or indicative of a peevish ill-natured disposition
bothered (ba ðɚd) feeling troubled, woried or concerned; annoyed; concerned with or about something
irked (ɝkt) weary, irritated
irritable ( ɪt ǝ bᴧl) easily exasperated or excited, responsive to stimuli
irritated ( ɪ teɪ tɪd) subjected to irritation
miffed (mɪft) in a bad mood, offended
peeved (pivd) resentful

Confusion

baffled (fǝld) confused, frustrated
confounded (kᴧn faʊn dɪd) confused, perplexed
confused (kᴧn fjuzd) being perplexed or disconcerted; disoriented with regard to one’s sense of time, place, or identity; being disordered or mixed up
discombobulated (dɪs kǝm ba bju leɪ tɪd) upset, confused
disconcerted (dɪs kǝn tɪd) thrown into confusion
flummoxed (flᴧ mǝkst) completely unable to understand
perplexed (pɚ plɛkst) filled with uncertainty
stumped (stᴧmpt) perplexed, baffled
stymied (staɪ mid) presented with an obstacle or something standing in the way of
vexed (vɛkst) annoyed or worried

Fear

afraid (ǝ freɪd) filled with fear or apprehension
apprehensive (æp ri hɛn sɪv) afraid that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen; feeling or showing fear or nervousness about the future
fearful (fiɚ fᴧl) full of or inclined to fear
horrified (hoɚ ɪ faɪd) shocked; full of a painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay
scared (skeɚd) afraid of something; nervous or frightened
terrified ( ɪ feɪd) extremely afraid

Interest (or Lack Thereof)

bored (boɚd) filled with or characterized by boredom
curious (kjɝ i ǝs) marked by desire to investigate and learn
fascinated ( sɪ neɪ tɪd) transfixed and held spellbound by an irresistible power, interested in
interested (ɪn trɪ stɪd) wanting to learn more about something or to become involved in something; having the desire to do or have something

The Gravity of the Situation

flippant (flɪp ǝnt) lacking proper respect or seriousness
grave (greɪv) very serious, requiring or causing serious thought or concern
serious (sir i jǝs) not joking or funny; giving a lot of attention or energy to something
sober (soʊ bɚ) having or showing a very serious attitude or quality; not drunk

Making Decisions and Getting Things Done

ambivalent (æm vǝ lɪnt) having or showing simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings toward something or someone
confident (kan fɪ dɛnt) full of conviction, certain, having or showing assurance and self-reliance
determined (dɪ mɪnd) characterized by a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end
discouraged (dɪs ɪʤd) feeling less determined, hopeful, or confident
steadfast (stɛd fæst) firm in belief, determination, or adherence
timid ( mɪd) lacking in courage or self-confidence; lacking in boldness or determination

Energy

effusive (ɪ fju sɪv) expressing a lot of emotion
ennui (an wi) a lack of spirit, enthusiasm, or interest
exhausted (ek stɪd) completely or almost completely depleted or energy, extremely tired
fervid ( vɪd) marked by extreme intensity of feeling or expression
invigorated (ɪn goɚ eɪ tɪd) given life and energy
lethargic (lǝ θar ʤɪk) feeling a lack of energy or a lack of interest in doing things
overexerted (oʊ vɚ ek dɪd) tired out due to great or sustained effort
overwhelmed (oʊ vɚ wɛlmd) affected very strongly, a feeling of having too many things to deal with
pooped (pupt) tired out, exhausted (slang)
refreshed (rǝ frɛʃt) with restored strength and animation
tired (taɪ jɚd) feeling a need to rest or sleep; bored or annoyed by something because you have heard it, seen it, done it, etc. for a long time

Attitude

grateful (greɪt fᴧl) feeling or showing thanks
hopeful (hop fᴧl) full of hope
impatient (ɪm peɪ ʃǝnt) not willing to wait for something or someone; wanting or eager to do something without waiting
optimistic (ap tǝ mɪs tɪk) feeling or showing hope for the future
patient (peɪ ʃǝnt) not hasty or impetuous; steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity; bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
pessimistic (pɛ sǝ mɪs tɪk) of, relating to, or characterized by an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worse possible outcome
proud (praʊd) having or displaying excessive self-esteem, pleased, or having proper self-respect
staid (steɪd) marked by settled sedateness and often prim self-restraint
stubborn (stᴧ bɚn) unreasonably or perfersely unyielding
thankful (θænk fᴧl) glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, etc.

Attitudes Towards Others

arrogant (er ǝ gɪnt) exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner, showing an offensive attitude of superiority
betrayed (bǝ treɪd) treacherously abandoned, deserted, or mistreated
churlish (ʧɝ lɪʃ) marked by a lack of civility or graciousness, difficult to work with or deal with
condescend (kan dǝ sɛnd) to assume an air of superiority, to descent to a less formal or dignified level
contemptuous (kᴧn tɛm ʧu ǝs) manifesting, feeling, or expressing deep hatred or disapproval
disdainful (dɪs deɪn fᴧl) full of or expressing contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior
embarrassed (ɪm ber ǝst) feelings of confusion and foolishness in front of other people
empathy (em pǝ θt) a feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions
envious (en vi ǝs) feeling or showing painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another with a desire to possess the same advantage
gracious (greɪ ʃǝs) very polite in a way that shows respect
haughty ( ti) blatantly and disdainfully proud, having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior
jealous (ʤɛl ǝs) hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage; intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness; vigilant in guarding a possession
offended (ǝ fɛn dɪd) feeling hurt, angry, or upset by something said or done
resentful (re zɛnt fᴧl) full of a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury
scorn (skoɚn) open dislike and disrespect or derision often mixed with indignation; an object of extreme disdain, contempt, or derision
scornful (skoɚn fǝl) full of scorn; contemptuous
smug (smǝg) highly self-satisfied
supercilious (su pɚ li ǝs) coolly and patronizingly haughty
surly ( li) irritably sullen and churlish in mood or manner
sympathetic (sɪm pǝ θɛ tɪk) feeling or showing concern about someone who is in a bad situation

When People Do Bad Things

ashamed (ǝ ʃeɪmd) feeling shame, guilt, or disgrace; reluctant or unwilling to do something because of shame or embarrassment
culpable (kᴧl pǝ bǝl) guilty, meriting condemnation or blame especially as wrong or harmful
guilty (gɪl ti) feeling bad because you have done something bad or wrong or because you believe you have done something bad or wrong
suspicious (sǝ spɪ ʃǝs) having or showing a feeling that something is wrong or that someone is behaving wrongly

Sexual

horny (hoɚ ni) excited sexually
lecherous ( ʧɚ ǝs) having or showing an excessive or disgusting interest in sex
salacious (sǝ leɪ ʃᴧs) arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination; lecherous
titillated ( tǝ leɪ dɪd) interested or excited in an enjoyable and often sexual way

Sound Serious in Email

Older professionals frequently complain of the email etiquette practiced by their younger counterparts.

Well over a decade ago, we moved away from writing lengthy letters with pen, paper, and the postal service, ditching snail mail for the computerized alternative: email.

Along with the switch to email came a shift in communication. With the click of the send button, your message can [almost] instantaneously appear in the recipient’s inbox. With faster communication came setting aside cursory language (i.e., I hope this message finds you well…) and small talk for more urgent matters. The brevity of the message speaks to the immediacy of the topic.

A good email is effective. It informs the recipient of the purpose for the message, providing or requesting information, with an appropriate level of interaction between the participants in an email thread. Here are some tips for writing effective emails:

Do not use unnecessary exclamation points.

If you are using an exclamation point, you probably only need one. An exclamation point is used to show that were you speaking, you would use increased volume for that word or series of words. Using multiple exclamation points can intensify your statement, but the more you use, the less credibility you have.

Never write in all capital letters.

In written communication, particularly on social media, in email, and in text messages, when someone writes in all capital letters, IT IS READ AS IF THEY WERE YELLING. Just as you probably don’t typically yell at people in person, you should never yell in an email. If you feel the need to write in all capital letters, then take a break from the message to calm yourself down before you send something you’ll regret later.

If you accidentally had the caps lock function in your keyboard turned on when you wrote something, then go back and edit it to be in lowercase. It is worth the extra effort.

Use semicolons.

The semicolon is used in two main instances. The first is when you have already used a comma in an item in a list.

Together they include such things as that the speaker and hearer both know how to speak the language; both are conscious of what they are doing; they have no physical impediments to communication, such as deafness, aphasia, or laryngitis; and they are not acting in a play or telling jokes, etc.

-John R. Searle, The Structure of illocutionary Acts

The second instance of semicolons is when you want to join independent clauses together in a sentence.

In such cases it is important to emphasize that the utterance is meant as a request; that is, the speaker intends to produce in the hearer the knowledge that a request has been made to him, and he intends to produce this knowledge by means of getting the hearer to recognize his intention to produce it.

-John R. Searle, Indirect Speech Acts

Consider the context and address the recipient properly.

Striking the right balance between formal and casual is an important factor in how your listener will understand you. Acting too comfortable can give your listener the impression that you do not care about the interaction, and acting more formal than is needed can come off as disrespectful or demanding – hopefully, not the response you want from your email recipient.

At the beginning of your message, address the person you’re writing to by name. It is politer to precede their name with a greeting (e.g., Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, Hello). Use the person’s first name, unless you don’t know them or they have already addressed you by your last name. If you use a person’s last name, use one of the following:

Ms.           Mrs.         Miss         Mr.           Dr.

Unless the other person asks you to, do not use one of the above honorifics if you are using the person’s first name. With an honorific, the tone of the message is more formal. The less you include a greeting, the less formal your email will be. Using a greeting with an honorific too often can make the writer sound smarmy, decreasing credibility.

Do not use the person’s first and last names. Use either their first name or their last name with an honorific.

Write a concise subject.

The subject line should contain the essence of the message. Many people decide which emails to open based on what the subject is. The best subject to give your email is a brief summary of the email. If you are asking for something, put what you’re asking for in the subject line. Provide just enough detail to inform the recipient of the reason you’re email them and the contents of the email, but do not put everything in the subject line, either.

Make your email threads flow.

Just as there’s a beginning, middle, and end of a conversation, there is also a flow to email threads. Email threads are multiple emails exchanged between two people regarding the same topic, usually with the same subject line.

The text of the first email may begin with a greeting and a quick sentence wishing the person well. Something along the lines of I hope your summer is going well. If you want to engage the recipient on a more personal level, put this line in the form of a question (i.e., How is your summer going?).

Then, in the next paragraph, get to the point. The best emails are concise. However, if you feel you need to provide details, then provide them after you get to the point of the email – in this way, the details explain the point – then restate your point before the closing of the email.

The ending of the email (the close) should include a quick sentence, ideally with a positive tone, such as Have a great afternoon! However, if the content of your email is not so positive, then ending your message in this way is not a good idea. Just as the quick sentence at the beginning of the message set the tone of the message, the few words at the end of the text serve to close the email conversation appropriately. When being genial, it is okay to use an exclamation point. It indicates friendliness and shows that were the sentence spoken out loud, there would be some upward rising intonation towards the end.

After the initial email exchange, subsequent emails can be less formal. The opening and closing friendly lines may be omitted, and you may choose to omit your greeting at the beginning as well. If you use the same sign-off (for example, Regards, [your name]), it is a good idea to automate your emails to end with this text. That will save you the time it takes to type out your name each time you write an email.

Put it together for good email communication

The next time you find yourself frustrated about an email communication, think about how your own emailing could be improved. Even in email communications, there is always room for improvement. Consider how you start the conversation, what you include in your messages, and who you’re talking to. Then, make them better. Before you click send, let them hear your ideas!

PRONUNCIATION GUIDE: US Immigration – Processes

Immigrating to the United States can be a daunting task, for many reasons. Talking about the process doesn’t have to be one of them. Practice your pronunciation of the names of US immigration processes.

Immigration Processes
AOS ɛs Affidavit of Support æ fɪ deɪ vɪt   ʌv   sʌ poɚt
AOS ɛs Adjustment of Status ǝ ʤǝs mɪnʔ   ʌv   stæ dɪs
CPR si pi ar Conditional Permanent Resident kʌn ʃǝ nǝl   mʌ nɪnt   rɛ zɪ dɪnt
EAD i jeɪ di Employment Authorization Document ɛm ploɪ mɪn   ta θɝ ɪ zeɪ ʃʌn    kju mɛnt
(L)PR (ɛl) pi ar (Legal) Permanent Resident (li gǝl)   mǝ nɪnʔ   rɛ zɪ dɪnt
SSN ɛs ɛs ɛn Social Security Number so ʃǝl   sɛ kjɝ ɪ di   nǝm
TPS ti pi ɛs Temporary Protected Status tɛme ri   prʌ tɛk tɪd   stæ dɪs
NOA ɛn     or     noʊ ǝ Notice of Action no dɪs   ʌv   æk ʃǝn

Handwriting Matters

When you want people to hear your ideas, the more modes of communication you have, the better. Just like speech, writing is a mode of communication; it is a way to transmit information to other people. Effective and efficient handwriting is easy to produce (especially with practice) and clear to the reader. Good communication is clear communication, so it can pay to work on your handwriting.

There are many options to get around writing by hand, thanks to the technological communication devices. Some people find tapping out notes on a cell phone or a keyboard to be faster. However, due to the minimal requirements of something to write with and something to write on, rather than having to find and wake up some agreeable electronic device and call up the right program to type in, handwritten notes are often not only faster, but more reliable and more personal than sending a text or typing and printing a document. Your handwriting is your mark: that piece of your identity that you impart on a piece of paper, a blackboard, a white board, a tablet, any surface, really, provided you have a writing implement.

The most important requirement of handwriting is that it can be read by the people who need to read it. If one letter is illegible, there can be big consequences. When an interviewer is unable to read a job seeker’s completed application, despite their qualifications, they could be denied employment. If someone does not clearly write their name or contact information on a sign-up form, they might not get what they signed up for. Failed opportunities and failed expectations can result from having poor handwriting.

The legibility of your handwriting (how easily it can be read) depends on how good your reader’s visual system is. Simultaneously, we see collections and their discrete elements. The brain’s visual system recognizes objects both as individual items [such as a letter on a page or a flower on a piece of fabric], and as a collection of items [i.e., a word in a sentence or a floral pattern on a shirt]. When it comes to the legibility of your handwriting, the person reading your note will look at each word and see both the word and its individual letters at once.

All letters in the English alphabet are a series of lines and/or curves. The visual system recognizes lines as either horizontal or vertical or a combination of the two (e.g., diagonal lines or curved lines). If the reader can anticipate a word in the sentence, then the brain identifies the letters in that as either matching the word’s spelling or not. If the letters don’t match the spelling of the expected word, there is a little extra processing involved and the word will be harder to read. (That’s why we notice spelling errors.) Try to spell everything correctly.

Just as a word can be anticipated in a sentence, a word can be anticipated from just some of its letters; specifically, the first letters. When you read something, your brain recognizes the word as a whole object and as a collection of its letters. From the first letters of a written word, the brain anticipates the rest of the word. Try to write the first letters of key words in your message, so that they are especially clear to the reader.

Some letters are more similar than others. Letters that are round, like C, O, and Q are more similar to each other than they are to H, T, and V. Lowercase d and l can resemble ol and uppercase I, respectively. Readers are more likely to confuse letters with similar shapes, so if you want people to be able to read your handwriting, give some thought to writing similar letters so that they are distinct and different.

When writing by hand, we can use the way people see the whole word to our advantage. Contrary to what your first-grade teacher might have told you, the size, position, and spacing of your letters is not crucial for legibility, unless there are many letters and they’re all different sizes and all over the place. In a given note, work on writing letters that are the same size and evenly spaced, without any overlapping letters. This makes for nice-looking handwriting all around, and it is a bit easier to read when it is an appropriate size and evenly spaced.

If you are looking for tips for handwriting practice, this site has some exercises that can help you develop handwriting that is easy to read.

Communication via handwriting is a powerful tool that should be practiced every day. Whether you are writing your to-do list for the day, a letter or note to someone special, or you write in a journal, handwriting is a valuable mode of self-expression. There is something about handwriting that is much more directly human than typing words on a screen (and the practice of sending hand-written Thank You notes tends to make a good impression on others and is always well-received). I encourage you to take the time to think about your handwriting and how it could be improved. Then, pick up a pen and let them hear your ideas!

La mecánica del hablar

Te acuerdas de las máquinas de Rube Goldberg? Estas máquinas emplean una serie de procesos mecánicos, los cuales eventualmente resultan en una acción. La producción del hablar es similar a una máquina de Rube Goldberg. Después de que el cerebro decida lo que quiere decir (lo cual se logra por medios eléctricos y químicos), el resto del hablar es sorprendentemente mecánico.

La producción de la voz

El fuelle

Quizá hayas usado un fuelle para darle vida a un fuego. Tal vez te notaste del sonido del aire saliendo del fuelle y como se cambiaba, dependiendo en que tan rápido movías las manijas. O quizás hayas creado un sonido chirriante con estirar la abertura de un globo inflado y luego dejar que escapara el aire por la abertura estrecha pero no bloqueada. Con un poco de fuerza y en un espacio chico, aire moviendo puede producir sonido.

Image: Lisa Ann Yount

En la producción del hablar, el aire moviendo viene de los pulmones. Usamos músculos, incluso diafragma, para hacer mover el aire. Viaja por arriba fuera de los pulmones y entra la garganta, donde se encuentra con la laringe.

El cojín Whoopee

Los cojines Whoopee son extremadamente entretenidos. No es porque es muy fácil hacer que alguien piense que se ha salido algo de flatulencia, sino porque el cojín Whoopee crea su sonido tan cómico con aire fluyendo por una abertura floja. Las cuerdas vocales son como la abertura del cojín Whoopee. Justo como puedes cambiar la abertura de un globo o cojín Whoopee para alterar el tono de sonido que se crea cuando sale el aire, ajustamos la laringe para cambiar el tono y calidad de la voz. Estos ajustes se hacen usando músculos que mueven las estructuras cartilaginosas conectadas a las cuerdas vocales.

Image: Jason Meredith

La voz se produce cuando el aire pasa por la abertura en las cuerdas vocales en su viaje desde los pulmones. Las cuerdas vocales son hechas de musculo cubierto con una membrana que es flexible y floja, que se estira como el caucho de un cojín Whoopee. El sonido que sale de la abertura en las cuerdas vocales es la voz.

El embotellamiento

¿Has soplado aire por la boca de una botella para producir un sonido? Se puede cambiar el sonido un poco por cambiar la posición de los labios, pero la índole del sonido que se hace con una botella depende más en el volumen de aire dentro de la botella. Con más liquido (en otras palabras, menos aire), lo más alto será el tono del sonido. Una botella vacía hace un sonido con un tono bajo.

Image: Dean Hochman

El aire resuena dentro de una botella como la voz resuena en las cámaras de aire en la cabeza y el cuello (el sistema vocal). Las olas de sonido de la voz explotan de las cuerdas vocales y brincan por la garganta, en la boca, y arriba en la nariz. El hablante puede afectar la calidad del sonido de su voz usando los músculos en la garganta y boca para posicionar la laringe y las superficies del sistema vocal.

La articulación

Por los anos, la gente ha creado llamadas de patos, un tipo de silbato desinado a – como el Sistema vocal de un pato – cortar por el ruido de agua para atraer a patos. Hay varios de estas llamadas que se puede comprar, cada una con un diseño único que ofrece un sonido diferente de pato. Características claves de los diseños de estos silbatos de pato incluyen el uso de lengüetas vibrantes que crean un sonido cuando alguien sopla, y las obstrucciones por los cuales viajan las olas de sonido antes de salir del silbato. La estructura de estos silbatos de pato puede variar mucho, con silbatos diferentes produciendo sonidos muy diferentes.

Image: www.patentswallart.com

El lenguaje hablado es una serie de sonidos que creamos usando el aire que movemos desde los pulmones fuera la boca (y nariz). Lo que lo hace tan complejo es nuestro poder de producir – y entender – una seria larga de estos sonidos a alta velocidad. Producimos los sonidos del lenguaje con los labios, lengua, y la solapa que separa el aire en la boca del aire en la nariz.

Sonidos diferentes se producen con cambiar el flujo de aire en el Sistema vocal en varias maneras. Hablantes pueden hacer eso con forzar el aire por un espacio más pequeño (como cuando un pirata se junta la lengua para decir “arrrr”), y con bloquear el aire (como cuando alguien comiendo forza el aire por la nariz para decir, “mmm” o un bebe mueve juntos y separados los labios para decir, “baba”).

Juntar todo: Cojín Whoopee a silbato de pato

Por todo el mundo, hay más de 100 sonidos del lenguaje diferentes, y todos son creados del aire[1]. Cuando hablamos, movemos el aire desde los pulmones por las cuerdas vocales, y lo manipulamos por cada sonido. Los hablantes combinan los sonidos del lenguaje en maneras infinitas para comunicar. El poder de un escuchador de procesar una serie de sonidos del lenguaje rápidamente depende de su comprensión del lenguaje hablado y su experiencia usando ese idioma, además de la precisión de producción de la persona que habla. Justo como un cambio pequeño en el diseño de un silbato de pato puede cambiar el sonido que produce, un cambio pequeño en la posición de la laringe o lengua puede cambiar significantemente el sonido que produce la persona quien habla.

Cuando sabes la palabras que quieres decir pero sientes que tu producción del lenguaje puede ser más precisa, por eso existen los entrenadores del hablar. En Lingua East Podemos ayudarte a convertir el aire en tus pulmones a lenguaje que entiende la gente. Comunícanos y te ayudaremos. ¡Deja que escuchan tus ideas!


[1] La mayoría de los sonidos del lenguaje (como en el inglés americano estándar) se crean usando aire de los pulmones; pero, algunos sonidos de lenguajes como algunos de la África se crea con la inspiración del aire.

Bored? Try These Language Learning Programs

I have found that when learning a second language, the best way to drill insane amounts of vocabulary and language usage is to repeatedly expose yourself to the material in reading, writing, speaking, and listening formats. And it’s even better if you get feedback about your accuracy so you can improve.

There have always been self-study programs on the market for second language learning, including books and recorded material. With modern web and app design, excellent programs with interactivity to make learning happen naturally are now so ubiquitous, you can now get a pretty decent language education for free.

Granted, these programs do not replace the inherent value of immersing yourself in a second language or culture, nor do they provide personalized pronunciation feedback from a certified speech instructor. If that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, then try one of our programs.

In just a few minutes a day, over time, you can significantly improve your language skills. Check out the programs below to easily improve your skills.

Sporcle offers a number of user-created quizzes that have users racing against the clock. Try this quiz where users are challenged to come up with the 100 most common words in English in a race against the clock. Can you name them all in time? You might be surprised by some of the words on the list.

Memrise has multiple lessons available, ranging from a single list of items, such as idioms or vocabulary, to entire courses with multiple units. What’s more, they have a helpful app for iOS so you can learn on-the-go.

And then there is Duolingo. Notably bankrolled by cook kids like Ashton Kutcher, Duolingo is now the go-to resource for language learning for users of all ages. Engineered to maximize learning while minimizing frustration (so users don’t lose their motivation and momentum), and with a well-designed app, users can challenge themselves to maintain week-long streaks of practice with the number of days practiced straight featured on the screen during every practice session. I know people in their sixties who have used Duolingo to go from knowing just a few words of a language to being able to speak fluently with native speakers.

Finally, there’s Rosetta Stone. I’ve never used the version for purchase of the yellow packaged language learning program you see in airport bookstores, but I did use a trial to learn enough Turkish to successfully navigate the markets and taxi rides in Istanbul. The difference between RS and Duolingo is price – RS is a product that you pay for. What you get, according to Rosetta Stone, is patented voice recognition software. Whether that is as good as an in-person session with a speech instructor, I don’t know.

Do you have experience with a language learning program, either online or an app? Share your experience in the comments section.

8 maneras de alzar la confianza para mejorar la comunicación

Las dificultades de la comunicación están al fondo de muchos de los problemas que enfrentamos en la vida cotidiana. ¿Cuántas veces has balbuceado por una conversación importante, sabiendo exactamente lo que querías decir, pero sintiéndote como si fallaras a comunicar tus ideas? Los problemas de la comunicación afectan a todos de vez en cuando, a algunos más que a otros. Si te encuentras frecuentemente avergonzado de como hablas, o si te apenas por comunicar tus ideas bien, eso puede afectar a tu confianza. Este problema puede prevenirte de compartir tus buenas ideas con la gente que necesita escucharlas.

Aqui son ocho cosas que puedes hacer para hablar con más confianza, para que puedes impresionar a la gente con tus ideas:

  1. Escribe lo que quieres decir. Si tu mensaje es complejo, trata de organizar tus ideas en su forma más simple, con transiciones que fluyen de una idea a la próxima. Tarjetas índices son excelentes para eso, porque se puede poner una idea en cada tarjeta, desplegarlas en una mesa, y moverlas hasta que haga sentido su orden. Cuando tienes la orden justa como la quieres, añade las transiciones entre las ideas. Otro bono de usar las tarjetas índices es que caben en el bolsillo en caso de que tienes que refrescarte la memoria en el estacionamiento o ascensor.
  2. Pon un mensaje clave en una piedra o un pedacito de papel y guardarlo en el bolsillo. Mientras hablas, desliza la mano en el bolsillo. A veces solo el sentido de la Piedra o el papel puede provocarte a acordar lo que querías decir. A la vez, puede ayudarte a mantener la calma.
  3. Practica lo que quieres decir. Practica por todos lados: en el espejo, en el coche, con tu gato, con una amiga. Lo más que practicas lo que quieres decir, lo más automático se volverá. Luego, puedes invertir la energía en…
  4. Lenguaje corporal – úsalo para añadir sentido a tu mensaje. Piensa en lo que te gustaría que hagan las manos. Si tienes los brazos cruzados en frente del pecho, mandas un mensaje negativo que comunica a los demás que estas cerrado a sus ideas. Pararse con las manos en las caderas es una posición que emana poder. Usa un espejo o pídele a un amigo a decirte que tipo de mensaje manda tu lenguaje corporal. Luego, trabaja para figurar la posición perfecta para tu mensaje. Similarmente…
  5. Párate en una posición de poder por unos minutos antes de tener la conversación. Una investigación publicada en la Journal of Applied Psychology en 2015 demostró que cuando se paraba en una “postura de poder” antes de una entrevista, se salió mejor en la entrevista comparado a gente que se puso en una posición tímida antes de la interacción.
  6. Haz algo antes de la conversación que te relaja. Dar un paseo afuera, dibujar, o simplemente para para oler las rosas. Si estas tranquilo entrando, es más probable que estarás tranquilo saliendo.
  7. Cuídate el cuerpo. Tienes mejor control de la mente cuando duermes suficiente, cuando comes comida de buena calidad, y cuando tomas bastante agua.
  8. Si te preocupas por el acento, practica lo que quieres decir, con el énfasis en las palabras correctas. Si es difícil para ti solito, o si te quedan algunas preocupaciones, busca ayuda de una logopeda o maestro de inglés como segundo lenguaje. La gente debe de escuchar tus ideas, no el acento.

Lost in a Crowd

It’s a strange feeling, to be completely lost, surrounded by people and conversation, struggling to keep up and follow along. Participating in the conversation is much more difficult, with an array of unpleasant emotions. If you find yourself in a place where your second language is the primary means of communication, it takes guts to learn the language to a level where you can use it every day. You probably know what it is like to think hard about a great response to something someone said in conversation, only to come out with it too late.

The moment has passed, and your insightful, witty comment isn’t insightful or witty anymore. Sometimes a thin smile spreads across your conversation partners’ faces as they nod slowly at you, pausing a respectful moment before continuing with a conversation that has progressed further than your ears were able to follow. Other times, after adding your comment, the other speakers keep the conversation going, as if you hadn’t spoken at all.

It’s a feeling of powerlessness, to be left standing there, wanting to be a part of the conversation, but grasping to keep up with what others have said and to come up with a response fast enough for it to add meaning to the exchange. Being able to understand and communicate with others evens the playing field. Even if two people don’t see eye to eye on some things, they can get their ideas across and begin to understand the point of view of others whose knowledge and experiences differ from theirs. But it’s not easy.

It takes patience.

It takes practice.


It takes guts to speak up, to chime in, to share your two cents, to let them hear your ideas. And if you really want them to understand your message, it takes some attention to the way you say it.


So take the time to work on understanding the things about the language that are different from the language you grew up speaking. Maybe pronouns were optional, and you have difficulty with he and she. Many people will brush off you talking about your sister as he, but others might get confused.

When you are giving a big presentation at work, trying to convince your superiors of something you know will be great for the company, the difference between in and on may not be relevant to your ideas, but knowing it will help you be more persuasive.

And in those nerve-racking circumstances when it’s late at night, your phone is dead, and you need to ask a stranger for help, being able to explain your situation with clear pronunciation can make a world of difference.

The more you interact with native speakers and work on your ability to produce the language, the easier it will be to understand others in that language. Life is not as much fun when you are lost in a crowd of people you can’t communicate with. At Lingua East, our certified instructor can give you a road map to better communication in English. Join the conversation. Let them hear your ideas.

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