Lingua East

People should hear your ideas, not your accent.

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 3)

Practicing Speech with Written Materials

Reading more is always a good thing, but such is not necessarily the case when it comes to speech practice.

At Lingua East, the practice materials for speech training are in written form. That is because it is easier to mimic something you hear than to produce it without a model. If the practice materials were presented in audio form, the person doing the speech practice would hear a model. This isn’t mimicry training, it’s speech training.

The production of spontaneous speech relies on the deeply ingrained motor patterns associated with language. Spontaneous speech is the speech that we normally produce: conversational speech, everyday speech, speech that is not rehearsed, repeated, or read. In the mind, this comes from a deep place: a place of original thought.

Spontaneous speech is produced in a neural circuit that is distinct from the combination of neurons in the brain that we use to repeat something we’ve just heard, or to read words we see. When we repeat or read out loud, it’s almost as if our mouths are providing a mirror image of the words that went in our ears or eyes, respectively. Thus, when we repeat what we’ve heard or seen somewhere else, we are not necessarily processing the ideas at a deeper level, we’re just mimicking someone else’s message.

The goal in speech training is to connect the motor patterns we use for clear pronunciation and expression of language with the neural circuitry that produces speech from that deep place in the mind where our thoughts come from. Therefore, although written materials and audio recordings may be used for speech practice, quality practice is not simple reading or repeating.

Quality practice involves a pause for your brain to absorb what you see written on the paper, enough time for you to ensure the correct word or sentence is in your working memory, then producing the word or sentence without looking at its written form. Doing this over and over and over again, you may find you memorize the words or sentences on your practice list, and perhaps you even picture them in your head when you’re practicing.

Being able to read a language and being able to speak a language are two different things. Reading requires the ability to process visual information about the language for comprehension, and speaking requires the ability to communicate your ideas in the language spontaneously, from that deep part of your mind where thinking happens.

When practicing your speech in a second language using written materials, be sure you are not just reading the words and sentences. Read a practice sentence to yourself, and think about it. Then, without looking at the paper or screen, produce the sentence using your best effort to get the speech sounds right. Practicing this way consistently, over time, you will find that your spontaneous speech changes, and you have an easier time producing clear sounds, words, and sentences.

When it comes to reading in a second language, read books. Don’t read your practice words, produce them. Don’t skim your practice sentences, say them. When it comes time to practice your speech sounds in conversation, you’ll have an easier time.


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Avoid Misunderstandings for Clear Communication

Understanding is shared meaning. Misunderstanding results from interaction between individuals with differing worldviews. A worldview is a person’s perspective, based on their experience in the world: the things they see, hear, and otherwise take in from their senses, and their subsequent processing of associations and relationships between those things which they experience. With so many different ways of thinking and so many different ways to communicate and interpret an idea, miscommunication happens frequently, threatening to derail a conversation and obliterate mutual understanding. Luckily, there are things anyone can do to better understand how and why misunderstanding occurs, and to work toward a common meaning.

Identify misunderstandings early, before they go too far.

The further out in an interaction a misunderstanding goes, the greater affect it can have on the result of the situation. Once the understanding of information in a conversation is no longer shared, misunderstanding begins. Neither person in the conversation may know that the misunderstanding has occurred, and the more the conversation moves ahead, the wider the gap grows between the understanding of the two people.

When identifying misunderstandings, time is of the essence. The goal is to prevent that gap in understanding from growing too wide. The wider it grows, the more difficult it will be to bridge. Therefore, the sooner you can identify that a miscommunication has occurred, the better.

Work quickly to clear up any misunderstanding.

If you suddenly realize your understanding of the conversation is different from that of the other person, stop what you’re doing, and start asking questions. Look backwards in the conversation and try to figure out where the miscommunication occurred so you and your conversation partner can return to the same page.

When clearing up a misunderstanding, you’re striving to restore the shared meaning. Once you and your conversation partner return to a mutual understanding, the conversation can move forward.

Focus on the information that has been communicated.

Think about the brain like a computer, taking in and spitting out bits of information. Misunderstandings and glitches occur frequently, because there are a lot of different operating systems in the world, and compatibility issues abound. Likewise, different individuals have different brains that operate differently from yours.

There are a few different types of information that are helpful for a shared understanding and clear communication. This information might be considered background information, but it is crucial to guide your listener toward sharing your views on the subject at hand. This information is easy to provide and without it, your listener could be in the dark.

The right information. In any conversation, there are certain expectations. The person doing the talking expects the listener to understand the message, taking in new information and incorporating it with what they already know. That being said, when you’re doing the talking, your expectations of the listener should be based on what you know that they know, and not on what you think they know.

All relevant information should be presented in order for your listener to get the full picture. Try not to confuse the situation by distracting your listeners with extra, unneeded information.

Information related to time. When discussing actions and events, orient the listener to when the event occurred or may occur. Use dates and times, with the most specific language possible. If something must happen by the end of the work week, saying this Friday by 5pm is more specific than saying by the end of the week. Be clear to your listener about when the event:

  • Took place (perfect),
  • Has taken place (past perfect),
  • Was taking place (imperfect),
  • Would have taken place (conditional perfect),
  • Takes place (present),
  • Is taking place (present progressive),
  • Will take place (future),
  • Will have taken place (future perfect), or
  • Would take place (future conditional)

As you can see in the list above, the verb tense is the best indicator of the when. If you’re asking for something, be clear about the deadline. When you talk about events or things that happened, choose your verb tense carefully. Different situations call for different levels of specificity other than the general past-present-future tenses.

Information about the people involved. This could be as specific as individuals mentioned by name and groups that people are in, or as vague as a number or other measurement of people (i.e., one, a couple, a few, several, many, etc.). It is never safe to assume that everyone in the room knows what you know, so sometimes, stating what you believe to be the obvious may actually be quite informative to others. The benefit of being clear about who is involved and who knows what is that if at some point in the future your listener needs to communicate information to others, they’ll have a better grasp on knowing what the other person knows.

Information about the direction of the action. Every action has a direction. When a report is filed, there is a person doing the filing, and the report is the object of that action. When a phone call is made, there is a person making the call and a person receiving the call. This information ties in with the people involved. When two people or groups of people are involved in the action, like in a phone call, then things can get confusing. Be clear about who initiates the action and who else is involved, and make sure those people are aware of their roles.

There is a purpose behind every communication. If you can make your listener understand why you are talking with them then they can be ready to understand the content of your message. Many people, especially those in positions of power, fall into the habit of explaining what they want others to do, without explaining the why behind them. If you are on the receiving end of these orders, it can get tiresome rather quickly.  When your listener understands the reason behind your conversation – that is, why you are asking them to do something, or what you are hoping to get out of the conversation and how it relates to them – then they feel united with you by a common purpose. This can increase their motivation to work with you and when that happens, things get done.

Like many other mishaps in life, the best way to prevent miscommunication is to be aware of the potential for it to happen, and to prepared when it does occur. Learn to troubleshoot misunderstandings the moment they happen by analyzing the information presented and thinking about who knows what, so you can provide the missing information, bridge the gap in understanding, and clarify the confusion. The result is better communication, and everyone is on the same page.

PRONUNCIATION GUIDE – US Immigration Forms

The immigration process for entering the United States can be complicated. Knowing what form to file and when to file it can mean the difference between a case being accepted or rejected. Practice your pronunciation of the names of US immigration forms to smooth some of the bumps on the journey to citizenship.

AR-11

eɪ ar  ǝ vɪn

Change of Address

ʧeɪn ʤ   ʌv   æ drɛs

DS-3025

di ɛs ðɝ di twǝ ni faɪv

Vaccination Documentation Worksheet

væk ʃǝn   dɔ kju mɛn teɪ ʃǝn   wɝk ʃit

DS-160

di ɛs  wan sɪks ti

Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application

an laɪn   nan ɪ mɪ grɪnt   vi za   æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn

G-28

ʤi twǝ ni eit

Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative

no dɪs   ʌv   ɛn tri   ʌv   ʌ piɚ ɪns   æz   ǝ ni   oɚ   rɛp rɪ zen tʌ tɪv

G-325

ʤi θri twǝ ni faɪv

Biographic Information

baɪ ɔ græ fɪk   ɪn fɚ ʃǝn

G-639

ʤi sɪks  ðɝ di naɪn

Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request

fri dʌm   ʌv   ɪn fɚ ʃǝn praɪ vǝ si   ækt   rǝ kwɛst

G-845

ʤi eit foɚ di faɪv

Verification Request

veɚ ɪ fɪ keɪ ʃǝn   rǝ kwɛst

G-884

ʤi eit eɪ di foɚ

Return of Original Documents

tɝn   ʌv   ǝ ʤɪ nǝl   kju mɛnts

G-1020

ʤi tɛn twǝ ni

H-1B Specialty Occupation Data Collection

eɪʧ wan bi   spe ʃʌl ti   a kju ʃǝn   deɪ dǝ   kǝ lek ʃǝn

G-1041

ʤi tɛn foɚ di wan

Genealogy Index Search Request

ʤi ni a lǝ ʤi   ɪn dɛk sɝʧ   rǝ kwɛst

G-1041A

ʤi tɛn foɚ di wan eɪ

Genealogy Records Request

ʤi ni a lǝ ʤi   kɚdz   rǝ kwɛst

G-1145

ʤi ǝ vɪn foɚ di faɪv

E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance

i   no dɪ fɪ keɪ ʃǝn   ʌv   æ plɪ ʃǝn pǝ ʃǝn   æk sɛp tǝns

I-9

naɪn

Employment Eligibility Verification

em ploi mɪnt   ɛl ɪ ʤǝ bɪl ɪ di   veɚ ɪ fɪ ʃǝn

I-90

naɪn di

Application to Replace a Green Card

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   tu   ri pleɪs   ǝ   grin   kard

I-94

naɪn di foɚ

Arrival-Departure Record

ǝ raɪ vʌl   dǝ par ʧɚ   kɚd

I-94W

naɪn di foɚ bǝl ju

Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival-Departure Record

nan ɪ mɪ grɪnt   vi za   weɪ vɚ   ǝ raɪ vʌl   dǝ par ʧɚ   kɚd

I-102

wan oʊ tu

Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   rǝ pleɪs mɪnt ɪ ʃʌl   nan ɪ mɪ grɪnt   ǝ raɪ vʌl   dǝ par ʧɚ   kju mɛnt

I-129F

wan twǝ ni naɪn ɛf

Petition for Alien Fiance

ʃǝn   fɝ   e li ǝn   fi an seɪ

I-130

wan ðɝ di

Petition for Alien Relative

ʃǝn   fɝ   e li ǝn   lʌ tɪv

I-131

wan ðɝ di wan

Application for Travel Document

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   træ vǝl da kju mɪnt

I-134

wan ðɝ di foɚ

Affidavit of Support

æ fɪ deɪ vɪt   ʌv   sʌ poɚt

I-140

wan foɚ di

Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

ɪ mɪ grɪnt   pǝ ʃǝn   fɝ   eɪ li ǝn

I-175

wan vɪn di faɪv

Application for Nonresident Alien’s Canadian Border Crossing Card

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   nan zɪ dɪn teɪ li ǝnz   kǝ neɪ di ǝn   boɚ dɚ   kra sɪŋ   kard

I-190

wan naɪn di

Application for Nonresident Alien Mexican Border Crossing Card

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   nan rɛ zɪ dɪn teɪ li ǝn   mɛk sɪ kǝn   boɚ dɚ   kra sɪŋ   kard

I-191

wan naɪn di wan

Application for Permission to Return to an Unrelinquished Domicile

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   pɚ ʃǝn   tǝ   ri tɝn tu ǝn   ʌnlɪŋ kwɪʃt   dasaɪ ǝl

I-192

wan naɪn di tu

Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant

æ plɪ keɪ ʃʌn   fɝ   ǝd væns   pɚ ʃʌn   tu   ɛn tɚ   æz   nan ɪ mɪ grɪnt

I-193

wan naɪn di θri

Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   weɪ vɚ   ʌv   pæs poɚd   ænd   oɚ   vi za

I-212

tu twelv

Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission Into the United States after Deportation or Removal

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   pɚ ʃʌn   tu   ri ǝ plaɪ   fɝ   ʌd ʃʌn   ɪn tu   ðǝ   ju naɪ dɪd   steɪts   æf tɚ   di poɚ teɪ ʃǝn   oɚ   ri mu vǝl

I-290B

tu naɪn di bi

Notice to Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Unit

no dɪs   tu   ǝ pil   tu   ði   ǝd streɪ dɪv   ǝ pilz   ju nɪt

I-360

θri sɪks ti

Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant

ʃǝn   fɝ   a mɝ ʤǝn,   doʊ (ɚ),   oɚ   spɛ ʃǝl   ɪm ɪ grɪnt

I-361

θri sɪks ti wan

Affidavit of Financial Support and Intent to Petition for Legal Custody

æ fɪ deɪ vɪt   ʌv   faɪ nen ʧǝl   sǝ poɚt   æn   dɪn tenʔ   tǝ   pǝ ʃǝn   foɚ   li gᴧl   kᴧs tǝ di

I-407

foɚ vɪn

Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status – Surrender Green Card

ǝ bæn dǝn mɪn   tᴧf   laʊ fǝl   mǝ nɪnt   zɪ dɪnt   stæ  dɪs   sɚ ɛn dɚ   grin   kard

I-468

foɚ sɪks ti eɪt

Medical Examination and Immigration Interview

dɪ kǝl   ek zem ɪ neɪ ʃǝn   æn dɪm ɪ greɪ ʃǝn   ɪn tɚ vju

I-485

foɚ eɪ di faɪv

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   tu   ʤɪ stɚ   mǝ nɪnt   zɪ dens   oɚ   ǝ ʤᴧst   stæ dɪs

I-508

faɪv eit

Waiver of Rights, Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities

weɪ vɚ   ǝf   raɪts   prɪ vlǝ ʤǝz   ɛk zemp ʃǝnz   ænd   ɪ mju nɪ tiz

I-526

faɪv twǝ ni sɪks

Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur

ɪm ɪ grɪnt   pǝ ʃʌn   baɪ   e li ǝn   an trǝ prǝ nu ɚ

 
I-538

faɪv ðɝ di eɪt

Certification by Designated School Official

sɝ tɪ fǝ keɪ ʃǝn   baɪ   zɪg neɪ tɪd   skul   ǝ ʃǝl

 
I-539

faɪv ðɝ di naɪn

Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   tu   ɛk stend ʧeɪnʤ   nan ɪgrɪnt   stæ dɪs

I-551

faɪv fɪf ti wan

Green Card

grin kard

I-566

faɪv sɪks ti sɪks

Interagency Record of Individual Requesting Change/Adjustment to or from A or G Status

ɪn tɚ ʤɛn ci   kɚ  dǝ vɪn ʤu ǝl   rɪ kwɛs tɪŋ   ʧeɪnʤ   ǝ ʤǝst mɪnt   tu   oɚ   frᴧm      oɚ   ʤi   stæ dɪs

I-589

faɪv eɪ di naɪn

Application for Asylum

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   ǝ saɪ lǝm

I-600

sɪks hʌn drɪd

Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative

ʃǝn   tu   klæ sɪ faɪ   oɚ fɪn   æ zǝn   ɪ mi di et   rɛl ǝ tɪv

I-600A

sɪks hʌn drɪd eɪ

Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition

æ plɪ keɪ ʃʌn   fɝ   æd væns   prɔ sɛ sɪŋ   ᴧv fɪn   pǝ ʃʌn

I-601

sɪkswan

Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   weɪ vɚ   ᴧf   graʊndz   ᴧ vɪn ǝd mɪs ǝ bɪl ǝ ti

I-602

sɪkstu

Application By Refugee For Waiver of Grounds of Excludability

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   baɪ   fju ʤi   fɚ   weɪ vɚ   ᴧv  graʊndz   ᴧ vɪks klu lǝ di

I-612

sɪks twelv

Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   weɪ vɚ   ᴧv   ði   foɚ ɪn   zɪ dǝns   rɪ kwaɪ ɚ mɪnt

I-643

sɪks foɚ di θri

Health and Human Services Statistical Data for Refugee/Asylee Adjusting Status

hɛlθ   ænd   hju mǝn   sɝ vɪ sɪz   stǝ stǝ kǝl   deɪ dǝ   foɚ   rɛ fju ʤi   ǝ seɪ li   ǝ ʤᴧ stɪŋ stæ dɪs

I-687

sɪks eɪ divɪn

Application for Status as a Temporary Resident Under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   stæ dɪs   æ zǝ   tɛme ri   zǝ dɪn tᴧn dɚ   sɛk ʃǝn   tu  foɚ di  feɪv  eɪ   ᴧv   ði   ɪm ɪ greɪ ʃǝn   ænd   næ ʃǝ næl ɪ di   ækt

I-688

sɪks eɪ di eɪt

Employment Authorization Document

em ploi mɪn   θɚ ɪ zeɪ ʃǝn   kju mɛnt

I-690

sɪks naɪn di

Application for Waiver of Excludability

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   weɪ vɚ   ᴧv   ɛks klu lǝ ti

 
I-693

sɪks naɪn di θri

Civil Surgeon’s Medical Report

vǝl   ʤǝnz   dɪ kǝl   rǝ poɚt

I-694

sɪks naɪn di foɚ

Notice of Appeal of Decision

no dɪs   ᴧv   ǝ pil   ᴧv   æk ʃǝn

 
I-698

sɪks naɪn di eɪt

Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   tu   ǝ ʤᴧst   stæ dɪs   frᴧm   tɛme ri   tu   mǝ nɪnt   zǝ dɪnt

I-730

aɪ sɛ vɪn ðɝ di

Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition

fju ʤi   ǝ seɪ li   rɛl ǝ tɪv   pǝ ʃǝn

I-751

vɪn fɪf di wan

Petition to Remove Conditions

ʃǝn   tu   rǝ muv   kᴧn ʃǝnz

I-765

vɪn sɪks ti faɪv

Application for Employment Authorization Document

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   em ploi mɪn   tɔ θɚ ɪ zeɪ ʃǝn  kju mɛnt

I-797

vɪn naɪn di vɪn

Notice of Action

no dɪs   ᴧv   æk ʃǝn

I-800

aɪ eɪt han drɪd

Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative

ʃǝn   tu   klæ sǝ faɪ   kᴧn vɛn ʧǝn   ǝ dap ti   æz   ǝn   ɪ mi di ǝt   rɛl ǝ tɪv

I-800A

aɪ eɪt han drɪd

Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   dɪ tɝ mɪ neɪ ʃǝn   ᴧf   su dǝ bɪl ǝ di   tu   ǝ dapt   ǝ   ʧaɪ ǝld   frᴧm   ǝ   kᴧn vɛn ʧǝn   kᴧn tri

I-817

aɪ eɪt vɪn tin

Application for Family Unity Benefits

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   fæm li   ju nɪ di   nɪ fɪts

I-821

eɪt twǝ ni wan

Application for Temporary Protected Status

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   tɛm pɚ e ri   prǝ tɛk tɪd stæ dɪs

I-824

eɪt twǝ ni foɚ

Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   æk ʃʌn   an   ǝn   ǝ pruv   dæpkeɪ ʃʌn   oɚ   pǝ ʃǝn

I-829

eɪt twǝ ni naɪn

Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions

ʃǝn   baɪ   an trǝ prǝ nu ɚ   tu   ri muv   kʌn ʃʌnz

I-854

eɪt fɪf ti foɚ

Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record

ɪn ʤǝn si   e li ǝn   wɪt nɪs   ænd   ɪn foɚ mǝnt   kɚd

I-864

eɪt sɪks ti foɚ

Affidavit of Support

æ fɪ deɪ vɪt   ʌv   sʌ poɚt

I-864EZ

eɪt sɪks ti foɚ i zi

Affidavit of Support

æ fɪ deɪ vɪt   ʌv   sʌ poɚt

I-865

eɪt sɪks ti faɪv

Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address

span sɚz   no dɪs   ᴧv   ʧeɪnʤ   ᴧv   æ drɛs

I-905

naɪnfaɪv

Application for Authorization to Issue Certification for Health Care Workers

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   ɔ θɚ ɪ zeɪ ʃǝn   tu   ɪʃ ju   tɪ fɪ keɪʃǝn   fɝ   hɛlθ   keɚ   kɚz

I-907

naɪn vɪn

Request for Premium Processing Service

kwɛst   fɝ   pri mi ǝm   prɔ sɛ sɪŋ   vɪs

I-914

naɪn foɚ tin

Application for T Nonimmigrant Status

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   ti   na mɪ grɪnt   stæ dɪs

I-918

naɪn tin

Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status

ʃǝn   fɝ   ju   na mɪ grɪnt   stæ dɪs

N-4

en foɚ

Monthly Report Naturalization Papers

mᴧnθ li   rǝ poɚt   næ trǝ lɪ zeɪ ʃǝn   peɪ pɚz

N-300

en θri hʌn drɪd

Application to File Declaration of Intention

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   tu   faɪ ǝl   dɛk lɝ ʃǝn   ᴧv   ɪn tɛnt

N-336

en θri ðɝ di sɪks

Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings Under Section 336 of the INA

kwɛst   foɚ   hiɚr ɪŋ   an   ǝ   dǝ ʣǝn   ɪn   næt rǝ lɪ zeɪ ʃǝn   prǝ si dɪŋz   ᴧn dɚ   sɛk ʃǝn   θri θɝ di sɪks   ᴧv   ði   en

N-400

en foɚ hʌn drɪd

Application for Naturalization

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   trǝ lɪ zeɪ ʃǝn

N-426

en foɚ twa ni sɪks

Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service

kwɛst   foɚ   sɝ tɪ fǝ keɪ ʃǝn   ǝf   mɪl ɪ te ri   oɚ   neɪ vǝl   vɪs

N-470

en foɚ vɪn di

Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   tu   prǝ zɝv   zǝ dɪns   foɚ   næt rǝ lɪ zeɪ ʃǝn   ǝ sɪz

N-565

en faɪv sɪks ti faɪv

Application for Replacement Naturalization Citizenship Document

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   rɪ pleɪs mǝnt   næ trǝ lɪ zeɪ ʃǝn   dɪ sǝn ʃɪp   kju mɛnt

N-600

en sɪks hʌn drɪd

Application for Certificate of Citizenship

æ plɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   sɝ fɪ kɪt   sɛn ʃɪp

N-644

en sɪks foɚ ti foɚ

Application for Posthumous Citizenship

æ plɪ keɪ ʃǝn   fɝ   pɔs tju mǝ sɛn ʃɪp

N-648

en sɪks foɚ ti eɪt

Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions

dɪ kǝl   sɝ tɪ fǝ keɪ ʃǝn   foɚ   dɪ sǝ lǝ di   ɛk sɛp ʃǝnz

WR-702, WR-703

bǝl ju ar sɛ vɪn oʊ tu

bǝl ju ar vɪn oʊ θri

Data Collection for Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunications Systems

deɪ dǝ   kǝ lɛk ʃǝn   foɚ   eɪ li ǝn   dɔ kju mɛn teɪ ʃǝn   eɪ dɛn tɪ fǝ keɪ ʃǝn   ænd   lǝ kǝ mjukeɪ ʃǝn   sɪs tǝmz

Use this playlist to hear the pronunciation of the form you need to talk about.

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.


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Accent Modification Services at Lingua East

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

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

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.

Listening Between the Lines

If you have spent considerable time in a culture you didn’t grow up in, then you have likely found yourself in a situation where there was a misunderstanding, but it wasn’t due to the words that were spoken. What we refer to in English as reading between the lines indicates picking up on information that is not explicitly said, but rather, implied by context. The level to which we rely on our implicit understanding in a conversation is cultural, and this is an area of cultural communication where we often go wrong without even knowing it.

In her book The Culture Map, Erin Meyer describes a scale ranging from low-context, where one participant in a conversation makes no assumptions about what another participant knows, to high-context, where the information that is read between the lines can be much more important than what is explicitly said. The United States is the most low-context culture in the world. Latin American cultures, including Mexico, are considered high-context[1].

In the US, we value transparency and factual statements that are both explicit and specific. When it’s time to get down to business, we do not like to beat around the bush. In Mexico, such is not the case – as I have learned firsthand.

When I first started communicating with individuals from Mexico (friends, family of friends, businesspeople, etc.), I noticed that before [what I saw as] the actual conversation takes place, there is a ritual of politely saying “hello, good morning/afternoon/night,” and asking how the person is doing, sometimes followed by lengthier small talk. Being a low-context estadounidense, I tend to breeze past these pleasantries without realizing. Paulina, a friend of mine from Mexico, has confirmed that skipping this initial stage of the conversation can come off as brusque, unless both participants in the conversation know each other well.

Sometimes we have to alter the way we communicate with others in order to successfully get our message across. When I am consciously trying to have a positive interaction with someone from Mexico, I remind myself to greet them politely (with appropriate reference to the time of day) and to ask them how they are doing.

Usually, I am anxious to get to the real reason for the conversation. As a time-obsessed low-context communicator, the pleasantries feel like a waste of time. However, they are most certainly not. They serve as a small investment toward building a relationship of trust that is important for business, community, and culture.

Our patterns of cultural communication are ingrained from the moment we are born. Therefore, making an adjustment in order to effectively communicate with someone from a different culture can be difficult. Despite the difficulty, sharing your ideas with other people in a way they can easily understand is one of the most valuable things on Earth.

Whether you come from a low-context culture like the United States or a high-context culture like Mexico, make a conscious effort to accommodate your listener’s cultural communication style. Let them hear your ideas.

[1] …although not at the extreme end of the high-context cultures. Japan has the honor of being the most high-context culture in the world.

Why Gestures Matter in Communication

We communicate with a lot more than our mouths. Think of communication as an art. An artist has a number of tools they use to produce their art. A painter uses many different brushes, spatulas, and pigments to create a painting. A poet uses words and phrases with punctuation and page space to create a poem. A good communicator uses their mouth and upper airway as well as facial expression and gesture to share their ideas. Gestures enhance spoken communication.

Gestures are movements, usually of the hands, that enhance the meaning of spoken communication. You probably do not have to think very long to come up with an example of gestural communication, whether you happen to know American Sign Language or you’re trying to merge onto I-77 at midday.
Many gestures are fairly universal, such as the hand out, palm up gesture. Other gestures are culture-specific, such as the OK sign – whose meaning varies from the United States, where it means, “all okay,” to Argentina and Greece it is more offensive.

We can use our hands as an addition to spoken communication, to help our listeners understand us. In order for gestures to be understood, they should be produced within clear view of the listener, usually in front of the upper torso or face. Unless you are using a specific gesture that your listener is familiar with, keep it simple. The simpler the gesture, the more likely your listener will understand what you mean to say.

What are you saying with your hands?

The position of your hands has an impact on your message.

Hands open with the palms up is a more positive gesture, and is inviting – especially with outstretched arms.

When hands are in fists or face down, it tends to be received by the listener more negatively, and may serve to give you more time to speak during your turn in a conversation.

Hands up with the palms forward is a limit-setting gesture. It communicates to your listener to stop what they are doing.

Take a moment to think about how you use your hands when you speak. What is the message you’re communicating to others, beyond what comes out of your mouth?

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