miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2011

When You Love Someone

by Bryan Adams

When you love someone,
You'll do anything.
You'll do all the crazy things
That you can't explain.
You'll shoot the moon,
Put out the sun,
When you love someone.

You'll deny the truth,
Believe a lie.
There'll be times
That you'll believe you can really fly.
But your lonely nights
Have just begun,
When you love someone.

When you love someone,
You'll feel it deep inside
And nothing else
Can ever change your mind.
When you want someone,
When you need someone,
When you need someone...

When you love someone,
You'll sacrifice.
You'd give everything you got
And you won't think it twice.
You'd risk it all,
No matter what my come,
When you love someone.
You'll shoot the moon,
Put out the sun,
When you love someone.
por Bryan Adams

Cuando ames a alguien,
Harás cualquier cosa.
Harás todas las cosas locas
Que no puedes explicar.
Dispararás a la luna,
Apagarás el sol,
Cuando ames a alguien.

Negarás la verdad,
Creerás una mentira.
Habrá veces que creerás
Que realmente puedes volar.
Pero tus noches solitarias
Recién han comenzado,
Cuando ames a alguien.

Cuando ames a alguien,
Lo sentirás muy adentro
Y ninguna otra cosa
Puede cambiar tu mente.
Cuando quieres a alguien,
Cuando necesitas a alguien,
Cuando necesitas a alguien...

Cuando ames a alguien,
Te sacrificarás.
Darías todo lo que tienes
Y no lo pensarás dos veces.
Lo arriesgarías todo,
Sin importar lo que pueda suceder,
Cuando ames a alguien.
Dispararás a la luna,
Apagarás el sol,
Cuando ames a alguien.

viernes, 23 de septiembre de 2011

The oo sound

the "'oo" spelling of the words "foot" and "soon"

Hi again, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy's American English pronunciation podcast. My name is Mandy, and this is our 140th episode.

I talked a bit about the other u sound in our last podcast about the word sure. The other u sounds like (other u) and is the vowel sound in the word put. Can you hear it? (Other u), put.

The other u is tricky because it doesn't have any vowel spelling of its own. It can obviously be spelled u, as in the word put, but it can also be spelled oo as in the word foot. Can you hear the rhyme between put and foot, put, foot.

The more common pronunciation for the oo spelling is the oo sound, as in the word soon. The word shoot (s-h-o-o-t) is also pronounced with the oo sound. Notice that the word shoot does not rhyme with the word foot, shoot, foot.

Let's talk a little bit about how these two sounds are different. The oo sound is usually easier to start with because it is a more common sound. Listen to the sound: (oo sound). The major characteristic of this sound is that my lips are brought into a small circle. In addition, the back of the tongue raised to a high position and sides of the tongue touch the top teeth at the back of the mouth. Listen to the sound again: (oo sound).

The other u sound, (other u), has relaxed lips. The inside of the mouth is similar to the oo sound. My tongue relaxes a little more and the back of the tongue drops some, but those details are really minor compared with the drastically different shape of my lips. Most of my students learn to create a perfect other u sound simply by staring with the oo sound, and then relaxing the lips.

Listen to both sounds, I'll say the oo sound first, then the other u sound (oo sound, other u, oo sound, other u).

So, let's get back to the oo spelling for these sounds. Between these two pronunciations (other u) and (oo sound), the oo sound is much more common.

I'm going to say a word spelled oo, and I want you to try to tell if it's the oo sound or the other u sound. Ready?


Those were:

tooth, oo sound
cook, other u
good, other u
food, oo sound
school, oo sound

How did you do? Pretty good?

Here's a little more practice. I'm going to say the five most frequently used words spelled oo for each pronunciation. I am going to say the words pronounced with the oo sound first:


And here are the top five other u words:


If you would like to see more high-frequency words, I've added an exercise to the lessons for those sounds to help you out. The lessons are free to everyone, and have all the common spellings for each sound of English as well as common non-phonetic words. The exercises provide additional practice for each sound. Only people who subscribe to Pronuncian.com have access to the exercises. That's how we pay our bills and are able to keep creating more content like these free podcasts, so please consider joining. Go to www.pronuncian.com/join.

If you just want to look at the free lessons, we link to those from each of our podcast transcripts pages. Go to www.pronuncian.com/podcast to find this episode's transcripts and related lessons.

You can also practice hearing the details of English by listening to an audio book. You can get a free audio book by signing up for a free 14-day trial of Audible.com. Use our special web address: www.audiblepodcast.com/pronuncian as a way to help us support this show and to get your free audio book to keep. If you cancel your subscription with Audible before 14 days, you are charged nothing, but you get to keep your free book.

That's all for today everyone. This has been a Seattle Learning Academy digital publication. SLA is where the world comes to learn.

miércoles, 21 de septiembre de 2011

Raise vs. Rise

Raise vs. Rise
Paulo P Sanchez | September 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm | URL: http://wp.me/pMRGn-1pX
When used as a verb they both have the same general meaning of "to move upwards", the main difference is that rise is an intransitive verb (it does not take an object), while raise is a transitive verb (it requires an object):

As you can see from these examples, (nobody is pushing up the sun!), whereas (Mary moved her hand upwards/The government make laws to increase taxes).

rise (v) Something rises by itself

For example:-
The sun rises in the east.
The chairman always rises to the occasion.
I will rise tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. to walk the dog.
Rise is an irregular verb: rise / rose / risen

raise (v) Something else is needed to raise something.

For example:-
Lynne raised her hand.
The government is going to raise taxes.
They can't raise the Titanic.
Raise is a regular verb: raise / raised / raised

martes, 20 de septiembre de 2011

Furniture | Learn English | Vocabulary and Pronunciation

Weaponry | Learn English | Vocabulary and Pronunciation

English Pronunciation - 4 Common Mistakes

Confused Words - LIVE & LIVE

How to pronounce words that end with NG (English Pronunciation)

Basic English Pronunciation - Simple vowel sounds

English Pronunciation - J & Y

lunes, 19 de septiembre de 2011


What are heteronyms?

Heteronyms are words that are spelled identically but have different meanings when pronounced differently. For example:

Lead, pronounced LEED, means to guide. However, lead, pronounced LED, means a metallic element.

Compare heteronyms to homographs, homophones, and homonyms.

Homographs are words that are spelled the same but differ in meaning, derivation, or pronunciation. Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, derivation, or spelling. Homonyms are words that are spelled and pronounced the same but have different meanings. There is overlap among these categories.

Heteronyms are specific types of homographs in which the different pronunciations are associated with different meanings. Many heteronyms are the result of one pronunciation being a verb and another being a noun.

Well, let's see what we have!

Our lists of heteronyms are shown below. We are limiting ourselves to words commonly used in the English language. Some of our heteronyms have completely different meanings while others have somewhat related meanings. (We also list words that have nearly the same meanings.) We also are including heteronyms in which at least one of the words is a foreign word (as long as it is commonly used in English).

Not every meaning of every word is given. The numbers after the definitions indicate the source of the heteronym; see the Acknowledgments.

As of 1/1/99, we have begun listing words only, without pronunciations and meanings, and the acknowledgment immediately follows.


Affect ehFEKT- to change; AFFekt- a person's feelings or emotion (1)

Alternate ALternit- the next choice; ALternait- switch back and forth (9)

Are AHR- plural present tense of "to be"; AIR- 100 square meters (1/100th of a hectare) [although may also be pronounced AHR] (15)

Ares AIRS- 100 square meter units [plural]; AIReez- Greek god of war [capitalized] (15)

Attribute ahTRIByoot- to consider resulting from; AHtribyoot- a characteristic of someone (12)

August AUgust- month [capitalized]; auGUST- important, eminent (9)

Axes AKsiz- more than one ax or axe; AKseez- the plural of axis (13)

Bass BASE- a string instrument; (rhymes with mass)- a fish (1)

Bow BAU- to lower one's head or the front of a ship; BOH- used to shoot arrows (7)

Bowed BAU-d- to bend over; BOH-d- bent (12)

Buffet BUFFet- to pound or bump; booFAY- place where you serve yourself (9)

Close CLOZE- to shut; CLOS- near (9)

Combine komBYNE- put together; KOMbyne- a threshing machine (1)

Conduct KONduckt- behavior; kunDUCKT- to lead (see this heteronym below) (12)

Conflict kunFLIKT- to act against; KAHNflict- a fight or disagreement (1)

Console KAHNsole- an upright case; kunSOLE- to comfort (2)

Content KAHNtent- meaning; kunTENT- satisfied (1)

Contest kunTEST- to argue; KAHNtest- a match of skill (1)

Contract CONtract- an agreement; conTRACT- to shrink or to agree on a project (2)

Convert conVERT- to change one's belief; CONvert- one whose belief was changed (11)

Converse KAHNvers- the opposite; kunVERS- to talk (1c)

Convict kunVIKT- to find guilty; KAHNvikt- a prisoner (1)

Crooked KROOKt- to bend your neck; KROOK-ed- having a curve (3)

Deliberate diLIBerit- carefully considered; diLIBerATE- to consider (12)

Desert dihZURT- to leave ; DEZert- arid region (18, and below)

Digest DYEjest- collection of published material; dieJEST- absorb nutrients (6)

Do DOO- to accomplish; DOE- a musical note (1)

Does DUZ- performs; DOZE- more than one female deer (1)

Dove DUV- a bird; DOEV- jumped off (1)

Drawer DROR- the compartment you pull out from the dresser; DRAWer- one who draws (1j)

Excuse EKskyooz- to let someone off; EKskyoos- a reason or explanation (17)

House HAUS- a building that serves as living quarters; HOWZ- to provide with living quarters (10)

Incense INsens- burnt aromatic; inSENS- to make angry (9)

Intern INtern- a physician in training; inTERN- confine to prescribed area (14)

Invalid inVALLid- not valid; INvallid- an ill person (1)

Laminate LAMinate- to construct by adding layers; LAMinit [although both pronunciations are listed]- the cover itself (1)

Lather (rhymes with rather)- foam or suds; (rhymes with bath fur)- a worker who installs lath (lattice work) (15)

Lead LEED- to guide; LED- a metallic element (1)

Minute MINNit- 60 seconds; myNOOT- tiny (1)

Moderate MODerit- keeping within reason; MODerATE- to preside over (1)

Mow MOH- to cut grass; MAU- a pile of hay (17)

Multiply MULLtihPLIE- multiply two numbers; MULLtihplee- in a multiple manner (15)

Number NUMber- one, two, three …; NUMMER- more numb [many dictionaries do not list this use, which suggests that "more numb" is preferred; however, the listed use is given in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, Electronic version.] (18)

Nun NUN- women in religious order; NOON- 14th letter in Hebrew alphabet (9)

Object ubJEKT- to complain; AHBjekt- a thing (1c)

Pasty PAstee- like glue; PASStee- a meat pie (1)

Pate PAIT- a bald head; paTAY- a minced food; PAHT- a porcelain paste [diacritics in pâté and pâte don't count!](1)

Perfect PERfekt- exactly correct; perFEKT- to make correct (17)

Periodic PEEReeODDik- occasional; PUREeyeODDik- an iodine compound (15)

Permit perMIT- to allow some event to occur; PERmit [although both pronunciations are listed]- a document giving permission (8)

Polish POElish- from Poland; PAHLish- shine [capitalization doesn't count!](4)

Present PREZent- a gift; preeSENT- to give a talk (9)

Primer PRIHMer- an elementary book; PRYmer- the preparatory coat of paint (1c, 12)

Produce PROdoos- vegetables; proDOOS- bring forth (1)

Project proJEKT- to show a movie; PRAHjekt- a task (1)

Pussy PUHSee- having pus; POOHSee; a kitten (18)

Raven RAYven- black bird; RAVen- hungry (9)

Rebel REBBell- a resister; rihBELL- to resist (2)

Record RECKord- a list; reKORD- to write down (1)

Recreation rek-ree-Ashun- pastime; REEcreeAshun- remake (also, recreate) (12)

Refuse reFUSE- to deny; REFFyoos- garbage (1)

Relay reeLAY- to put it down again, such as a carpet; REElay- a race by teams; rihLAY- to pass along, such as information [One of our dictionaries gives these pronunciations, but does not distinguish meanings among the latter two. The pronunciation may vary among individuals.] (12)

Rerun reRUN- to race again or to repeat a show on television; RErun- a repeated TV show (12)

Reside: reZIDE- to stay put; RE-SYD- [Slang] to change places (change teams) [usu. hyphenated as re-side] (20) [N.B.: This is also a antagonym!] {X}

Resign reZYN- to quit; reSYN- to sign again (e.g., a contract) [usu. hyphenated as re-sign] (20) [N.B.: This word is also an antagonym!]

Resume reeZOOM- to restart; REHZoomay- a document of experience [also résumé; diacritics don't count!] (1)

Row ROH- a line; ROUW- a fight (1)

Sake SAHkey- alcoholic drink; SAYK- a purpose (5)

Secrete seeKREET- to discharge; sehKRET- an armored skullcap [secrète, diacritics don't count!]

Secreted seeKREETed- having put out; SEEkrehted- placed out of sight (9) [N.B.: This word is also an antagonym!]

Separate SEPerATE- to divide into groups; SEPret- not joined together (17)

Sewer SOwer- one who sews; SOOwer- place for human waste (9)

Slough SLUFF- the outer layer of skin of a snake; [rhymes with OW!]- a hole of deep mud or mire; SLOO- a marshy pond (19)

Sow SOUW- a pig; SO- to plant seed (1)

Subject SUBjekt- the theme; subJEKT- to force upon someone (12)

Tear TARE- to rip; TEER- fluid in eye (1)

Wind WHINEd- to coil up; WINd- the blowing air (1)

Wound WOOND- to injure; WOWND- coiled up (1)

viernes, 16 de septiembre de 2011

Near / Close by Vaughan radio madrid

Near / Close

"Cerca de" lleva preposición en español. Pero su equivalente en inglés "near" no la lleva así que no quiero volver a escuchar "near of" ni "near to".

¡Con un poco de práctica eliminaremos este hábito tan poco recomendable!.

Hay un quiosco cerca de la estación. There's a newsagent's near the station.
¿Hay un buzón de correos cerca de aquí? Is there a post box near here?
Mi tío vive cerca de la catedral. My uncle lives near the cathedral.
¿Hay un banco cerca de este banco? Is there a bank near this bench?
¿Birmingham está cerca de Manchester? Is Birmingham near Manchester?

Sin embargo, existe un sinónimo de "near" que sí lleva preposición. Estamos hablando de "close to", un adverbio de uso menos frecuente que "near" en el sentido físico. En cambio se usa más con verbos. Estos van siempre en gerundio (-ing) después de "close to".

Estoy buscando un sitio para vivir cerca del centro de la ciudad. I'm looking for somewhere to live close to the city centre.
Mi oficina está cerca del estadio. My office is close to the football ground.
¡Ten cuidado! Tienes una cucaracha cerca de la mano. Be careful; there's a cockroach close to your hand!
Estáis muy cerca de resolver el problema. You're very close to solving the problem.
Él está muy cerca de ser despedido. He's very close to being fired.

21st CENTURY SKILLS WITH P21 09/16 by EduTalk | Blog Talk Radio

21st CENTURY SKILLS WITH P21 09/16 by EduTalk | Blog Talk Radio

Kevin Myers: We must say au revoir to French imposters - Kevin Myers, Columnists - Independent.ie

Kevin Myers: We must say au revoir to French imposters - Kevin Myers, Columnists - Independent.ie

jueves, 15 de septiembre de 2011

The Great Wall of China

he Great Wall of China

Walls and wall building have played a very important role in Chinese culture. These people, from the dim mists of prehistory have been wall-conscious; from the Neolithic period – when ramparts of pounded earth were used - to the Communist Revolution, walls were an essential part of any village. Not only towns and villages; the houses and the temples within them were somehow walled, and the houses also had no windows overlooking the street, thus giving the feeling of wandering around a huge maze. The name for “city” in Chinese (ch’eng) means wall, and over these walled cities, villages, houses and temples presides the god of walls and mounts, whose duties were, and still are, to protect and be responsible for the welfare of the inhabitants. Thus a great and extremely laborious task such as constructing a wall, which was supposed to run throughout the country, must not have seemed such an absurdity.

However, it is indeed a common mistake to perceive the Great Wall as a single architectural structure, and it would also be erroneous to assume that it was built during a single dynasty. For the building of the wall spanned the various dynasties, and each of these dynasties somehow contributed to the refurbishing and the construction of a wall, whose foundations had been laid many centuries ago. It was during the fourth and third century B.C. that each warring state started building walls to protect their kingdoms, both against one another and against the northern nomads. Especially three of these states: the Ch’in, the Chao and the Yen, corresponding respectively to the modern provinces of Shensi, Shanzi and Hopei, over and above building walls that surrounded their kingdoms, also laid the foundations on which Ch’in Shih Huang Di would build his first continuous Great Wall.

The role that the Great Wall played in the growth of Chinese economy was an important one. Throughout the centuries many settlements were established along the new border. The garrison troops were instructed to reclaim wasteland and to plant crops on it, roads and canals were built, to mention just a few of the works carried out. All these undertakings greatly helped to increase the country’s trade and cultural exchanges with many remote areas and also with the southern, central and western parts of Asia – the formation of the Silk Route. Builders, garrisons, artisans, farmers and peasants left behind a trail of objects, including inscribed tablets, household articles, and written work, which have become extremely valuable archaeological evidence to the study of defence institutions of the Great Wall and the everyday life of these people who lived and died along the wall.

Q1 - Chinese cities resembled a maze

because they were walled.

because the houses has no external windows.

because the name for cities means 'wall'.

because walls have always been important there.

Q2 - Constructing a wall that ran the length of the country
honoured the god of walls and mounts.

was an absurdly laborious task.

may have made sense within Chinese culture.

made the country look like a huge maze.

Q3 - The Great Wall of China

was built in a single dynasty.

was refurbished in the fourth and third centuries BC.

used existing foundations.

was built by the Ch’in, the Chao and the Yen.

Q4 - Crops were planted

on wasteland.

to reclaim wasteland.

on reclaimed wasteland.

along the canals.

Q5 - The Great Wall

helped build trade only inside China.

helped build trade in China and abroad.

helped build trade only abroad.

helped build trade only to remote areas.

martes, 13 de septiembre de 2011

Formal Greetings

Formal Greetings

Hello !
How are you?
I’m fine thank you. And you?
I’m very well thank you. And you?
How are you doing?
I’m fine. Thank you. And you?
I’m doing fine. Thanks a lot. And you?
How is everything?
Everything is fine. Thank’s a lot.
Everything is okay. Thank you.
How’s everything going?
Everything is fine. Thank you.
Everything is okay. Thanks a lot.
How have you been keeping?
I have been doing well. Thank you.
I have been doing fine. Thanks a lot.
I trust that everything is well.
Yes. Everything is fine. Thank’s a lot.

Informal Greetings

What’s up?
How’s life?
How’s everything?
Good to see you.
Good to see you again.
Good to see again in this place.
Great to see you again.
Great to see you again in this town.
Great to see you again in this occasion.
What a coincidence. I’m happy to see you again.
How are things (with you)?
How’s it going?

How’s life been treating you?

Formal Greeting to a person you haven’t seen for a long time.

It has been a long time.
It’s been too long.
What have you been up to all these years?
It’s always a pleasure to see you.
How long has it been?
I’m so happy to see you again.

Informal Greeting to a person you haven’t seen for a long time.

How come I never see you?
I haven’t seen you for ages. Where have you been?
It’s been such a long time.
Long time no see.
Where have you been hiding?
It’s been ages since we last met.

Copyright: Martin Trang. All Rights Reserved.

sábado, 10 de septiembre de 2011

Learning English needs a lot of stamina!

Learning English needs a lot of stamina!
rliberni | September 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Tags: Advanced English language learners, Business English, English for work, enhancing your English, How to practice English effectively, improving English language skills, Making progress with your English | Categories: Business English/English for work | URL: http://wp.me/ptGdh-Ys
Taking your English language skills to great heights requires strength!

Strength of character
Strength of mind
Strength of body

Learning ANY language is not for the faint-hearted, it takes time and dedication. There are ups, downs and plateaux, there's despair and frustration and seemingly endless lists to learn! As soon as you reach one peak you see others looming in the distance and you just know that you have to pick up your grammar book and dictionary, put your best foot forward, grit your teeth and plod on.


So why bother?

Why put yourself through all that work? You can muddle through with the English level you have already or you can use an interpreter or a translator, people who are clearly experts in this area and can do a better job than you can.

Or can they?

Notice the word - interpret - this gives room for paraphrase, for interpretation would this still be YOUR message? Interpreters are certainly experts in what is a very difficult job requiring lots of training but if you are presenting YOUR product or service, or conducting YOUR meeting with a potential client or looking to move higher in YOUR career, it is YOUR message that is important. Remember, people buy from and relate to YOU, not someone else trying to deliver you!

So is it worth the effort? Yes, of course it is - just as you would spend time on other aspects of your work and career your English has to be part of that mix. If you have a dream for your work and your future and English is a part of that dream then you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to get the English you really want and this will take stamina and dedication!
How to get English that really shines!

1. Decide on where you want to be with your English - imagine how it would be if you had really fantastic English skills, make this your ultimate goal.

2. Decide how far you are away from that goal now and what you need to do to get there - you will probably need to do an assessment for this or find a teacher who can help you.

3. Decide how much time you can dedicate to improving your skills daily, weekly etc.. and formulate a plan (see my post Setting SMART goals for your English).

4. Be realistic, if you only have 1 hour a week then it might take some time - doing a bit each day may work better.

5. Get as much exposure as possible, use the 'dead' time during your day to practice (travel time, waiting at the station, before a meeting, in the doctor's surgery - my Gapfillers site is designed to do exactly that (Gapfillers Latest offers 10/15 minute exercises every day) or read the newspaper, listen to songs, the radio - whatever you are interested in.

6. Find things that interest you - dedication and graft don't have to be boring - there is so much English out there and available that you really should choose what is engaging for you.

Doing this alone will not be easy there will be times when you feel like giving up or when you just can't be bothered or when you feel you can't make any more progress. It is easier if you have some support from a group of learners with a similar goal or from a mentor or coach. This will spur you on and encourage you to keep moving forwards. A really good coach won't let you give up even when you feel you want to.

Whether you use a language coach, join a study group or soldier on alone, remember that it is not going to be an easy ride but the rewards are great - keep focused on that mountain top - you can do it!

We have a range of Gapfillers programmes

Total immersion, short, residential courses are held at Fleetham Lodge in Yorkshire in the UK (from a weekend to a month)

Find out more about English language coaching with English Language Mastery

jueves, 8 de septiembre de 2011

Patricia Ryan: Don't insist on English! | Video on TED.com

Business English Expressions

Business English Expressions

Business English Expressions

Business English Expressions

by ESL on September 6, 2011

The following discourse markers are common in a formal style. Note that a discourse marker usually comes at the beginning of a clause.

With reference to
Talking of / speaking of
Talking about / speaking about
As regards
As far as … is concerned
As for

With reference to is a very formal expression. It is mainly used at the beginning of business letters.

With reference to your letter of 19 August, we are pleased to inform you that…

Regarding can come at the beginning of a piece of discourse.

Regarding these sales figures, I don’t think they are worth bragging about.

As regards and as far as…is concerned is used to announce a change of subject by the speaker or writer.

There are no problems about production. Now as regards marketing, I think we need to be more aggressive.
As far as marketing is concerned, I think the best approach is …

People sometimes leave out is concerned after as far as… This is usually considered incorrect.

As far as the implementation of this plan is considered, I think we ought to be more careful. (NOT As far as the implementation of this plan, I think we ought to be more careful.)

As for can often suggest a lack of interest.

First Impressions Are Everything

First Impressions Are Everything

You could have the world’s most expensive suit, looks like Brad Pitt and a smile whiter than white, but if you say the wrong things and miss your opportunity to make a good first impression when you first meet somebody in a business situation, then you can say goodbye to all of your hopes of ever achieving anything…. Ok, that’s going a bit far, but the fact remains that “First Impressions Are Everything”, which is so much more important in business situations than in others.

So, what things can you do to make sure your first impressions are indeed everything? Here are a few tips to help you out:

Stand tall and retain a good posture, which shows confidence.
Smile, which shows friendliness and openness.
If you have an appointment to meet somebody, NEVER arrive late! I repeat – NEVER!
Don’t arrive chewing gum or talking on your mobile/cell phone!
Try not to stand too close to the person, as this can be seen as invading “personal space”.
Try to spend as little time as possible talking about yourself.
Do your best to avoid interrupting the other person, even if they are boring you to tears.
Avoid making jokes the first time you meet somebody.
Dress to impress.

Let’s look at a few more points in a bit more detail:

Speaking clearly

There is nothing more off-putting than speaking to somebody for the first time that you can hardly understand. Try speaking at a medium pace and make sure, as a non-native speaker of English, that you are well rehearsed in the appropriate phrases to use when meeting somebody for the first time (see the video below).

It is often helpful to practise introducing yourself in front of the mirror and/or record your voice and listen to it afterwards, to get an idea of how clear you sound.

Use the other person’s name as often as you can

This is so vitally important. If you use the other person’s name often whilst speaking, you will instantly establish more of a person relationship between the two of you and show your interest in his/her life.

I am a great fan of quotes and no quote is as true as:

“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”
— Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends & Influence People)

Show that you are a good listener

When the person you are meeting is speaking, don’t just stare into the distance and nod your head whilst thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner tonight and what time the football starts. LISTEN very carefully to what is being said and use expressions such as “I understand” and “Oh, really, that’s fascinating”. Retain eye contact and use facial expressions which are genuine and show your interest in the person speaking.

This will take you a very long way!

Master Business English and become a better speaker

Business English 03

English Pronunciation for Spanish Speakers

English Pronunciation for Spanish Speakers
The Simple Vowels

The following remarks deal with the problems which native speakers of Spanish are likely to experience with the English vowels. The type of English referred to is the General British pronunciation (“GB”) and not the General American variety from which it has a small number of notable differences.

1. The GB vowel / i: / as in seat should give no qualitative problems but it may sometimes be made in forms inappropriately brief and yet occasionally excessively stretched. It is usually, but by no means always, a fairly long vowel so that, given the typically short value of the qualitatively comparable Spanish vowel, it may sound markedly brisk or clipped and possibly uncomfortably like the more regularly short English vowel phoneme / ɪ /, as when eg seat may sound too much like sit. The context in which it is desirable to give / i: / its minimum length is in a syllable which is closed by one or more of the eight “sharp” (aka 'voiceless' or 'fortis') English consonants /p, t, k, ʧ, f, θ, s / and / ʃ /.

1b. The weak vowel / i /, the final vowel in city and easy, should give no problems if it is not made strong (and thereby long). In America very widely and in Australasia universally there is extensive use of / i: / instead of / i / in such final syllables.

2. The GB vowel / ɪ / as in sit has no precise equivalent in Spanish and is therefore very likely to be attempted in a form too much like /i:/, making eg sit sound too much like seat. As diagrams show, it's as near (in position and therefore in quality) to /ə / as to /i:/.

Diagrams for GB vowels and diphthongs may be seen at §3.1.46 and for Spanish vowels at §9.2 on this website.

3. The GB vowel /e/, as in leg , should give little or no trouble.

4. The GB vowel / ӕ / as in hat is today for most British speakers about the same sort of vowel as is represented in the spelling of Spanish by the letter a. A small minority of older British speakers and many Americans and Australians etc have values of / ӕ / much nearer to / e /. Spanish speakers will have to be careful not to produce it without sufficient differentiation from / ᴧ / from which it now differs so little that British native English speakers sometimes mistake each other’s intentions in regard to it.

5. The GB vowel / ɑː / as in arm or calm is likely to be attempted with a quality that too much suggests a drawled / ӕ / because the tongue has not been drawn back far enough in its production. It is usually a fairly long vowel except before sharp (aka voiceless etc) consonants.

6. The GB vowel / ɒ / as in got sometimes tends to be attempted with too much rounding of the lips and with such a high tongue position that it is not sufficiently differentiated from the vowel / ɔː /.

7. The GB vowel / ɔː / as in saw should give no difficulty so long as it is made fairly long without submitting it to any degree of diphthongisation which would cause it to sound too much like / ˈɔːu / or / əʊ /.

8. The GB vowel / ʊ / as in put has no precise equivalent in Spanish and is therefore very likely to be attempted in a form too much like / u: / but, as diagrams show, it's as near (in position and therefore in quality) to /ə/ as to / u: /. Saying / ə / with rounded lips should help to produce a satisfactory / ʊ /.

9. The GB vowel / u: / as in too should give no qualitative problems but it may sometimes be uttered in inappropriately brief (or very occasionally excessively stretched) forms. It is usually a fairly long vowel so that, given the typically short value of the qualitatively comparable Spanish vowel, it may sound markedly brisk or clipped and uncomfortably like the more regularly short English vowel phoneme / ʊ /, as when eg soot may sound too much like suit. It has its minimum length in syllables closed by one or more of the sharp consonants.

9b. The weak vowel /u/, the final vowel in eg cuckoo, w and Zulu, should give no problems if it is not made strong (and thereby long). It is commonly replaced by the corresponding strong vowel in various other forms of English.

10. The GB vowel / ᴧ / as in cup has a higher and more back tongue posture than Spanish / a /.

11. The GB vowel / ɜː / as in fur is never very short or it would be indistinguishable from / ə / with which it shares its very neutral “obscure” or indeterminate quality. Spanish speakers may make this vowel too forward and therefore too much like / e / or / eə /.

12. The GB vowel / ə / is often wrongly described as never occurring in stressed syllables though it is quite true that only a very few words have it stressed and none of those invariably so. It is often stressed in the adverb just (but not in the adjective) and in the first syllable of threepenny etc. Students are best advised never to stress it.
The General British Diphthongs

13. The GB diphthong / eɪ / as in page has a Spanish equivalent so that it should give no trouble if sufficiently short notably before sharp consonants.

14. The GB diphthong / əʊ / as in go is rather different from the Spanish diphthong ou. If not begun fairly centrally it may sound abnormal and too like / ˈɔːu /.

15. The GB diphthong / aɪ / as in five, if not begun fairly front, may sound abnormal or too like / ˈɑːi /.

16. The GB diphthong / aʊ / as in now, if not begun front enough may sound abnormal or too like / ˈɑːu /.

When either of the last two diphthongs is followed by a schwa to give / aɪə, aʊə / in such words as fire and hour, the result is often a single syllable with weakening of the middle sound which usually disappears altogether in unstressed syllables as in empire or rushhour.

17. The GB diphthong / ɔɪ / as in join is rarely problematical.

All the above diphthongs are usually fairly long but care must be taken to reduce them when they are followed by sharp consonants or enclitic syllables (ones which are, or behave as if they were, further unstressed syllables of the same word). Failure to do so will produce the effect of making inappropriate word divisions eg instead of joking saying Joe King.

18. The GB diphthong / ɪə /as in near if not begun with a sufficiently central quality may strike many British speakers as abnormal and too like / i:ə / though that's not very likely to cause any misunderstanding.

19. The GB diphthong / eə / as in hair may be begun too high producing the effect of / eɪə / as in player though that's not very likely to cause any misunderstanding. By a high proportion of GB speakers it's regularly made as a long simple vowel [ɛː] so students may aim for this value if they prefer. This latter smoothed value is used by almost all speakers unless stressed and immediately before a break in rhythm.

20. The GB diphthong / ʊə /as in cure, if not begun with a sufficiently central quality, may strike many British speakers as too much like / ˈu:ə / as in queuer, sewer, fewer or doer though that's not very likely to cause any misunderstanding. Like / eə / it has most often its smoothed version [ʊː] unless it's stressed and comes immediately before a break in rhythm.
English Consonants for Spanish Speakers

1. Although vowel values may be strikingly different in one part of the English-speaking world from what they are in another, the same system of consonants will be found among virtually all educated native speakers of English worldwide. Millions of unsophisticated speakers in eg London, New York and Dublin have no / θ / or / ð / but this is strictly limited to low-prestige varieties of English. On the other hand, inhabitants of the Celtic countries (ie Wales, Scotland and Ireland) usually employ a [x], ie the same sound as a Spanish jota, in various regional names and terms. Compare the Scottish English version of loch which ends with /x/. The usual GB form of the word has as final consonant /k/.

2. The English inventory of consonants consists of 24 units (phonemes) which can usefully be considered in three sets of eight items each. Two of the sets are very closely parallel because each item in them differs from its corresponding member of the other set essentially only by whether its articulation is (ordinarily relatively) sharp or soft. The remaining set of eight is more miscellaneous.

Sharp p t k ʧ f θ s ʃ
Soft b d g ʤ
v ð z ʒ
Other m n ŋ l r[ɹ] j w h

3. Some eight of these, viz / f, θ, s, ʧ, m, n, j / and /w/, correspond very closely to phonemes occurring in the Spanish language. Others can be said not to exist in Spanish, at least in Castilian, eg /ʃ/ and /ʤ/; but as regards most of the remaining items, the contrasts between the two languages are more complex.

4. The 20 Spanish consonantal phonemes include five types /x, ɲ, ʎ, rr/ and /ɾ/ not found in English.
Voiceless p t k ʧ f θ s x
Voiced b d g
Other m n ɲ l ʎ rr ɾ j w

5. English /p/ differs from Spanish /p/ in quality chiefly by virtue of being subject to what is known as “aspiration” ie it is always followed by a marked short burst of air (of /h/ quality) whenever it begins a stressed syllable and sometimes less noticeably by a slighter puff in other situations. This is important because it is what keeps /p/ & /b/, /t/ & /d/ and k/ & /g/ apart in English. Hearing the Spanish word pacharan for the first time I wrote it as bacharan which is a fact that should warn students that if they fail to aspirate stressed syllable-initial /p/ etc, a native English speaker will be very likely to interpret that attempt at /p/ etc as the correspnding soft (voiced) consonant. By contrast, it is mainly because Spanish /b/ has voicing (accompanying vibration of the vocal folds) that it is distinct from Spanish /p/. The same pattern of aspiration versus non aspiration applies less obviously to English / ʧ / and / ʤ /, the sounds respectively at the beginnings and the ends of church and judge.

6. The letters b and v in English ordinarily represent quite distinct sound units of the language. On the contrary, for Spanish they are merely variant spellings for the same phoneme. In English /b/ is regularly a bilabial plosive while /v/ is typically a labiodental fricative. The Spanish phoneme on the other hand is variously a bilabial plosive or fricative or approximant sound.

7. The approximant allophone (variant) of the Spanish b/v sound differs from English /w/ only by lacking lip-rounding. Such a sound may be heard from English speakers when, as is quite often the case in rather hurried articulation, the word able is pronounced as [eɪβl]. The utterance-initial plosive sometimes substituted by Spanish speakers for an English fricative (or approximant or rarely plosive) /v/ can disguise a word eg make the word very sound like beret.

8. The English consonant /ð/ corresponds in sound quality exactly to the Spanish d at the ends of words or within them but adjacent to an /n/ or /l/ the Spanish phoneme takes a plosive form like English /d/. So Spanish speakers have to be particularly careful not to substitute /d/ for initial th - when saying eg in that, on the, when they, although, tell them etc.

9. The sound quality of the English /s/ as attempted by some Spanish speakers is rather too similar to the English sh sound /ʃ/. Such a value is very occasionally heard as an idiosyncrasy from some British and some American speakers (eg the American James Stewart and the British Lord William Deedes) but it should certainly be avoided by Spanish-speaking learners.

10. The buzzing sound quality of the English /z/ is only heard in (Castilian) Spanish as an allophonic variant value of the letter s in a word like mismo. It sounds totally abnormal to produce a /z/ instead of an /s/ at the beginnings of English words like slow, small, snap etc.

11. English /ʃ/ as in she, / ʒ / as in pleasure and /ʤ/ as in judge do not have equivalent phonemes in (Castilian) Spanish so care must be taken not to confuse /ʃ/and /ʧ/ as in washing versus watching etc and not to substitute /ʧ/ for any of them.

12. All four of / ʧ , ʤ , ʃ /and / ʒ / are markedly rounded in English: Spanish speakers occasionally fail to make them rounded enough especially in palatal contexts eg as in cheap, cheese and chin.

13. The English type of aspirate /h/ as in how does not occur in Castilian. English /h/ is normally a very weak sound and any attempt at it which resembles the Spanish speaker’s jota [x] will be likely to sound very harsh, as would any use of the typical strongly fricative Spanish value of non-initial g [ ɣ ].

14. English / m /as in mum corresponds exactly to Spanish /m/. However, although all three of the English nasal phonemes /m, n, ŋ/ may end syllables, only /n/ of the three Spanish nasal phonemes /m, n, ɲ / may do so. This is reflected in the fact that Biblical names such as Abraham, Adam, Bethlehem (Spanish Belén), Jerusalem etc end in n in their Spanish forms. It is also no doubt responsible for the to-English-ears-alarming way in which many Spanish speakers (perhaps especially in Andalucia) seem to have an any-nasal-will-do approach to English words ending with /n/ like in and on etc.

15. English / ŋ /as in sing does not occur as an independent sound in Spanish though it does occur as an “accidental” value (an allophone) of Spanish /n/ under the influence of a following /k/, /g/ or /x/. It is naturally quite difficult for Spanish speakers to produce an / ŋ /which is not in such a context, especially in fluent speech when it occurs, as it so often does, in the very frequent unstressed word ending -ing. However, it deserves careful attention because failure can sound quite odd. The expression huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ is well known in joking reference to an upper-class Victorian style of speech but is now associated either with persons of very little education or with elderly aristocrats.

16. English /l/ as produced by Spanish speakers is very unlikely to occasion failure to recognise words but it is noteworthy that English has variations in the precise quality of /l/ that are not parallelled in Castilian. (Catalan has some rather dark varieties though not with the English pattern of their distribution.) It is usual for GB speakers to produce a “darker” ie more back (meaning tongue-retracted ie velarised or pharyngalised) version above all when /l/ is syllabic but also when it occurs before consonants or word-finally. A minority have a neutral rather than a dark /l/ (centralised) but to have a really light (palatalised) value is to sound quite abnormal.

The English dark variety usually has a quality quite like that of the vowel / ʊ / so that eg eatable may sound from many native English speakers quite indistinguishable from `eat a bull. Some British speakers, chiefly those with a London tinge to their speech, tend to replace word-final syllabic /l/ with /ʊ/ so that eatable becomes /`i:təbʊ/. This is often not noticed by other British native speakers but students are best advised not to adopt it.

17. The English /r/ is typically an altogether weaker and softer sound than the Spanish values for the letter r. It is identified in phonetic terminology by the term 'postalveolar approximant'. The sound of a single Spanish r between vowels is completely regularly an alveolar tap. When word-initial or word-final, it may also be an alveolar trill, which is what is always the value of a Spanish rr.

A witness to the extreme weakness of the English /r/ is the fact that our traditional spelling has very numerous r's no longer pronounced by most speakers in Britain, about a third of US speakers and practically all South Africans and Australasians. Very large numbers of GB speakers omit eg the first /r/ from common words like prescription and program without anyone noticing the fact — not even pronunciation lexicographers. The retention of most of the r's of the traditional spelling by GA speakers is the biggest single difference between GB and GA.

18. Although Spanish has fairly exactly corresponding phonemes to English /j/ and /w/, there is hardly any tendency among English speakers to tighten their articulations of these phonemes in the way Spanish speakers often do when using English — making yes sound like Jess or "What whisky d’you want" sound like "Gwot gwisky do you gwont".

19. A well-known problem for Spanish speakers is occasioned by the fact that Spanish has no word-initial consonant clusters of the types /sl-, sm-, sn-, sp-, st-, sk-/. With these the tendency is to add an extra syllable to words containing them as with the Spanish borrowing from English of the word slogan which becomes [ez`logan] — in this case with an un-English assimilation [s → z] as well. Compare the treatments of other borrowings from English into Spanish eg Scotch, slip, slot, smoking, snob, sport, spot, stop, starter etc.

20. Various other cluster simplifications and elisions of consonants are also to be heard in Spanish speakers’ English at times eg as when one not too proficient speaker was reported as using an expression “Oss Forestry” which turned out to be an attempt at saying “Oxford Street”. It is important to remember that, although Spanish initial ex- can be reduced to /es-/ without causing consternation, to omit /k/ from English initial ex- tends to sound embarrassingly uneducated.

21. Speakers with a Catalan background should be always careful to avoid converting word-final soft consonants eg /b, d, g, v, z/ etc into the corresponding sharp ones /p, t, k, f, s/ etc.

Recommended further reading: A Course in English Phonetics for Spanish Speakers by D. F. Finch & H. Ortiz Lira. English Phonetics and Phonology for Spanish Speakers by Brian Mott.

Lesson 7a - THOUGHT GROUPS - English Pronunciation

Lesson 12 - Omission of /t/ - English Pronunciation

Lesson 11b - CAN/ CAN'T - English Pronunciation