Lingua East

People should hear your ideas, not your accent.

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Resolutions

Every year, at the beginning of January, people make New Year’s resolutions. These are promises that we make to ourselves to be better. To eat better, to exercise more often, to have better relationships with the people around us, and to get better at skills that interest us. To successfully commit to a resolution, you must be motivated to improve and have the patience to stick with your plan, even when it feels difficult.

At Lingua East, our resolution is to provide every person who comes to us for in-person or web-based speech training with the best possible service. We resolve to help you get better at speaking and understanding English.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

Let’s have a great 2019. Make Lingua East a part of your plan for the new year.

Is speech training right for you? Click here to schedule a free consultation.

16 Common Acronyms in English

Ever read an email and come across a series of capital letters that made absolutely no sense? In English we like to make phrases shorter by creating these abbreviations from the first letter of each word. As typed language grew increasingly commonplace over the last twenty years, this list has grown.

Many of these acronyms are used in spoken language. While some of the items on this list (marked with *) are generally used and understood in spoken language, some of the acronyms – especially the ones created since the technological revolution – are only used in a stylized form of English by a subset of the population.

As you already know, internet language parallels spoken language in the real world, so there are levels of politeness on the internet. Therefore, some of the newer acronyms have versions with more profanity. (Stronger versions are noted in parentheses.) However, use of some acronyms containing swear words is considered more polite than actually saying the swear words, and use of these acronyms (especially those marked with ꙳) is allowed in moderately polite speech.

There are many more acronyms in English, and there are several other types of acronyms, including the following:

  • The acronym is pronounced as a single word (GIF, FOMO)
  • The acronym contains numbers, either
    • In its pronunciation only (NCAACP = N-C-double A-C-P) or
    • In the written acronym and its pronunciation (3M)
  • Letters or numbers used in the written acronym sound like words (BBQ = barbecue, IOU = I owe you, B2B = business to business)

Are any of these acronyms new to you? You can learn how to use them by listening for them, doing an internet search for examples, and asking native English speakers.

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BTW (by the way)… did you know that Lingua East offers web-based speech training? Improve your pronunciation of American English from anywhere with a stable internet connection. Visit our Services Page to learn more about our methods and to sign up for a free web-based consultation to talk to a speech trainer about getting started.

Web-Based Speech Training Available Now!

Now you can experience the Lingua East method from ANYWHERE with web-based speech training services!

These services work just like in-person speech training. We use a videoconferencing platform for weekly sessions, and clients can access valuable notes from their sessions, along with practice materials and other resources from their personal speech training website.

With web-based services, you don’t have to worry about getting through traffic to make it to your appointment on time. All you need is an internet connection and the desire to take your English skills to the next level.

Now that geography isn’t an obstacle to speech training with Lingua East, are you ready to take your English to the next level?

 

Click here to learn more about our speech-training services.

 

Sign up for a web-based consultation below. During this conversation, we can determine if speech training is right for you while you learn more about the Lingua East method.

 

Everyone Should Be Heard

Think about how you felt the last time you were told not to say something. It feels like a punch in the gut:

Don’t say that word.

You shouldn’t say that.

Many of us have been there, in conversation with one person or maybe in a group. Perhaps you know the person well, perhaps not. But either way, hearing those words has a way of sitting bitterly in the mind. It is the sort of thing you remember.

When we tell others that they shouldn’t communicate, it is a way of telling them that their ideas have no worth. And that simply is not true. Every individual on this planet has ideas, thoughts, and experiences that are worth sharing, however eloquently or crudely they may communicate them.

Stripping the power of language from another human being is an act of abuse. It has a way of demeaning a person and making them feel less than human, while revealing – to those paying attention – just how small the person doing the silencing really is.

It’s like the old advice about bullies: they are mean to others because they are broken inside. The policing of language is a way of projecting one’s own emotional shortcomings onto another human being. If you ever have the urge to tell somebody not to use a particular word or phrase, don’t do it. Instead, reflect on that broken piece within yourself that would make you want to be a bully.

Then work to change it.

If somebody tries to silence your words, don’t let them. Say it again, but louder. Speak up. Speak out. And let them hear your ideas.

 

Everyone should be heard.


Note: I do not condone language that is intended to cause harm to others. To use language in this way is an abuse, not only to the target of the harmful words, but of language itself. Sometimes people use harmful language ignorantly, with no intent to cause harm. In these cases, education about how their words hurt others can put a salve on their linguistic blunder.

Use Language to Make a Difference

Around the United States and the world, there is discontent. This discontent is particularly strong in the immigrant community. It takes a lot to leave everything you know to move to a new country and culture. For that reason, I have an immense respect for immigrants. They are powerful people.

That discontent, when harnessed, has the power to significantly change the status quo for the better. Whether that be related to policy or cultural ideals doesn’t matter. What I’m talking about is the sheer power of that discontent. However, in order to make a change, some organization is needed.

No matter what you are doing, no matter the size of your organization, it is important to clearly define what you want. When you do this, other people can get behind the thing you’re pushing for, adding power and momentum to your cause. That is how to make a difference.

Define What You Want

There are two approaches to defining what you want. The first is specific. For example, “I want my tap water to be 99.99% free of heavy metals, inorganic compounds, and bacteria.” There is no question here about what you want.

The other approach to definitions uses language that is not so clear, language that is vague. The benefit of vague language is that it has the power to appeal to more people. Compare the specific example above to this: “Clean water.” This does not specify where the water comes from (maybe out of your tap, maybe not), nor does it make clear what “clean” actually means. However, while the people across town may or may not be okay with the water coming out of your tap containing a little bit of this or a trace of that, they are likely to agree across the board that “clean water” is a desirable goal.

Spread Your Message

Once you have defined what it is that you want, telling others about it can help you gain momentum, forward progress toward achieving your goal. Now there are more ways than ever to share your ideas with the world. Social media and messaging platforms, email campaigns, and the traditional low-tech communication mediums (i.e., printed flyers, articles and books, billboards and signs, and talking to people face-to-face) are all effective ways to spread your message.

Even if what you want is to achieve a personal goal, telling someone else about it can increase your accountability and improve your chances of achieving that goal.

Act

Even the most clearly-defined message does not make things happen. People have to hear the message and act on it. As much as I love language, I still agree with the old saying that actions speak louder than words. Once you have defined your message and gotten it out there, it’s up to you to do the things you need to do in order to create the positive change you have already envisioned.

How come I don’t hear a difference between sounds in English?

This is a question I am asked a lot. It seems strange that native English-speakers would be able to hear a difference between two sounds that seem exactly the same to someone speaking English as a second language. The answer goes back to early childhood, when we were learning our native language.

When babies are born, they can identify all the sounds of all the languages of the world. This is pretty remarkable, when you consider the wide range of languages there are, each with its own distinct pattern of sounds. But this ability does not last long.

As the baby grows and is exposed to just one or two languages in their home environment, their ability to hear and distinguish sounds is honed, so that instead of recognizing a wide array of sounds, they become experts at identifying the sounds of their native language(s).

In this process, similar sounds from foreign languages can become one individual sound, in what is often called category collapse. Therefore, a baby growing up in a Spanish-speaking household in Mexico may be able to identify the difference between the English words hot – hut – haute, but that distinction is not so clear for an adult monolingual Spanish speaker.

Do you hear the difference?

Words that are identical except for one sound are called minimal pairs. Can you hear the difference between these minimal pairs?

Share what you hear in the comments!

Persist (v), Persistence (n), Persistent (adj)

Yesterday I rode my bicycle past a vehicle with a sticker on its bumper emblazoned with one word, followed by a period:

PERSIST.

As I pedaled, I ruminated on the word’s meaning. To persist is to continue to do something, or try to do something, even though it may be difficult or challenging. To persist is to keep going when you’re tired, when a terrible thing has happened, and when you’ve been thrown off course.

We are all persistent, in some area of our lives. If you have developed a special skill, you have persisted in getting over the hurdles of learning that skill. If you have children, you are persistent in caring for them and providing them with the best life you can. If you have ever faced an obstacle and you overcame that obstacle, it took some persistence on your part to get through it.

Learning a language takes persistence. It is not as simple as reading a book and listening to a recording. There are many challenges in learning to communicate in a second language that can get in your way:

  • Languages are complex systems of communication, with different patterns of grammar, speech sounds, intonation, and rules for interacting with other people
  • With a new language comes an entirely new set of vocabulary to learn. Sure, there will be some cognates, but the most common words will be unique to that language.
  • Fear of making mistakes.
  • It takes time out of our busy schedules.

These challenges are all things that you can get through. Millions of people all over the world learn to communicate in a second language, and you can, too. You just need to be persistent.

Learning to communicate in a second language takes persistent patience and practice. A LOT of practice. At Lingua East, we’re here to help guide you through that practice if you’re ready to take your English skills to the next level. You’ve already persisted in many areas of your life, and all that persistence has made you the person you are today. What will you persist in today?

There is always room to try.

What activities do you wish you did more?

Reading?

Running?

Painting?

Juggling?

And how often do you actually do those activities?

Once a week?

Once a month?

Once a year?

Never?

Chances are, there are a lot of things that you wish you did more of. If not for an end result, then only to improve your skills. Our lives get busy and we become convinced we have no time, no room in our day to practice the things that we really want to do.

But I am here to tell you, there is always room to try.

Think: what were you doing before you read this? Maybe you were on this site, reading about the mechanics of speech. Or perhaps you were on a social media site, poring over the version of your friends’ lives that they share with the world. There is value in both those activities, but how much closer will they bring you to finishing that book you’re reading, or to working your way through that list of irregular verbs?

Often, we don’t even try to practice the things we want because of the thought that we won’t have enough time to do it completely. But here’s the thing: not everything we do has to be complete or finished.

In language, there are two types of actions. The first is the sort of action that has a set endpoint. When this action is produced – either by speaking or writing – it means that something has been completed. For example, “I ate the sandwich” doesn’t mean that I still have half the sandwich left. It means I ate the whole sandwich.

Once you have eaten the sandwich, you’ll never get it back.

The second type of action is the more common of the two. It does not have a set endpoint, it simply communicates that the action was performed for some period of time, without necessarily finishing anything. “We swim in the lake” is an example of this. If you have ever enjoyed swimming in a lake, then you know that there is no end. You can always come back and swim more.

But once you’ve eaten that sandwich, you’ll never get it back.

The reason why I took the time to describe the two types of actions is because the things we practice fall into the second category. They are activities we can repeat, or do partially. In fact, just about any activity can be broken down into smaller components that can be practiced individually. This is one of the features of focused practice.

So the next time you’re staring at a screen, thinking about how much you would like to do something more, go ahead and do it. Do a part of it. Do five minutes of it. You don’t have to complete a finished painting to become a better painter, but practice of related skills, over time, can add up to something so much bigger.

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

Learning to communicate well in a second language is a skill that opens you up to amazing opportunities, giving your life more quality, richness, and excitement. But getting to that point in a second language is not easy. I often tell clients, “If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.”

But more often than not, when we have the opportunity to learn, our fear gets the best of us. Maybe we know what we want to say, but we are unsure of how to say it. Our fear of saying it wrong pushes us into silence.

You have the marvelous opportunity to raise your voice in a second language, one that can reach more people in the world. Don’t you want to take advantage of that? Everyone has a multitude of stories to tell, and the world is a much better place when you communicate your story, however imperfect it may be when it comes out in words.

The most important part of communication is listening, and no one can listen to you if you don’t say anything.

You can improve your communication in a second language. To do that, you have to practice your second language. Take advantage of speaking opportunities when they arise. Find a speech trainer who can give you the help you need with the language. Read books and websites in that language to learn new vocabulary words. And try not to let the fear of what your listeners think keep you from raising your voice.

The most important part of communication is listening, and no one can listen to you if you don’t say anything. Good listeners will pay more attention to the message you are trying to communicate than to the way you say it. But they’ll never hear it if you don’t try. Open your mouth, raise your voice, and tell your story.

¿Qué distingue a Lingua East?

En Lingua East creemos que cualquier persona que desea aprender debería de poder hablar inglés con fluidez y sin miedo. Lingua East brinda servicios de modificación de acento y entrenamiento del hablar a individuos en Charlotte, NC y sus alrededores. Nuestra entrenadora del hablar es logopeda licenciada y certificada. Nativa de los Estados Unidos, ella es fluida en español, así que entiende la lucha del comunicar y vivir en un segundo lenguaje, y también entiende los retos de ser comprendida por hablantes nativos de ese idioma. Es posible lograr una comunicación efectiva en un segundo lenguaje con un buen entrenamiento y práctica. Pero es difícil hacerlo solo.

En Lingua East, estamos comprometidos a proveer a nuestros clientes servicios de entrenamiento del hablar de alta calidad. Diseñamos nuestros servicios con un enfoque de trabajo en los sonidos y los aspectos del inglés que necesita cada cliente; justo como nuestros clientes son muy diversos, nuestros métodos también son diversos. Con atención individual y planes de entrenamiento personalizados, cada cliente recibe un plan único y adecuado para su horario. Nuestro objetivo es maximizar el beneficio de cada sesión de entrenamiento, para lograr una mejor comunicación en inglés, en una variedad de escenarios con una variedad de personas.

Nuestros servicios de entrenamiento del hablar son basados en el programa Compton Pronunciation of English as a Second Language (P-ESL), pero hemos modernizados los anticuados materiales para ajustarlos a las necesidades de las personas que quieren aprender un inglés útil para el mundo de hoy. Usamos también tecnología espectrográfica, para tener una representación gráfica que nos permita ver el habla en una pantalla. Con frecuencia, esta forma de trabajar ayuda mucho más comparado a sólo hablar de lo que se escucha, lo cual es importante debido a que la manera en que percibimos los sonidos es influenciada por el historial del lenguaje de cada persona. En Lingua East, nuestra experta entrenadora del hablar trabaja con cada cliente en una manera individualizada, seleccionando los métodos que producirán mayor éxito en el entrenamiento del hablar.

Aprender un segundo idioma, especialmente el inglés, no es fácil. Se necesita coraje para hablar, particularmente en las situaciones incomodas. En Lingua East queremos guiarte a una comunicación con confianza en inglés, para que te entiendan en una variedad de situaciones diferentes. Creemos que todos tenemos algo valioso por comunicar. ¡Pierde el miedo de comunicar con nativos hablantes en inglés y deja que escuchen tus ideas!

 

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