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Monday, October 27, 2014

EwR Speaking - The Musical Sounds of the English Language

What is the MUSIC of the English language?

What are the components of the musical sounds of English
that help second language learners to learn better?

The music of the English language is very rhythmic and depends on how it is spoken by a native person. It depends on how words are pronounced together in a sentence or a question, and which words are stressed and which ones are not stressed. Intonation is the rise and fall of a person’s pitch of voice which manifests the rhythm in which someone speaks, and this is what defines the “music of a language”.

One of the most surprising ways a second language learner of English can improve his/her pronunciation is to understand what the rhythmic nature (the music of the language) is. For example, a new student of the English language is usually cautious to pronounce each word in a sentence very carefully in order to sound correct. However, this way of speaking is artificial and unnatural sounding to a native speaker.

The reason for this is that not all words are spoken in English with the same amount of stress or accent. Some words are stressed more than others, and other words are not stressed at all. This is the secret behind the authentic rhythmical sound of the English language. For this reason, a second language learner of English should practice listening to the music of the language and recognize which words are more important to stress. Words that are stressed are known as Content Words and non-stressed words are called Function Words.

Words that “can” be stressed are called Content Words. Their content and emphasis are very important in understanding the underlining meaning of what someone is saying. Content words include nouns (e.g., names of people, places, things and ideas), most main verbs (e.g., words that express existence, action, or occurrence), negative auxiliaries (e.g., negative verbs that go before a main verb), adjectives (e.g., words that describe people, places and things), and adverbs (e.g., words that answer “how”, “when”, “where” and “how much”).

Words that are generally “not” stressed are called Function Words. These words have the function of connecting content words in a sentence (or question) together in a meaningful way. Function words include determiners (e.g., word(s) that introduce a noun including articles, demonstratives, and subjective/objective/possessive pronouns), auxiliary verbs (e.g., modal and non-modal helping verbs), interrogatives (e.g, question words), prepositions (e.g., words that show the relationship between a noun (or pronoun) and other words in a sentence), conjunctions (e.g., words used to connect phrases, clauses, or sentences), and pronouns (e.g., words that replace nouns)."

When someone makes a verbal statement in English, and places special emphasis on a particular word, the underlying meaning of the sentence can change depending on which word is stressed. Look at the following example: I have a new red truck. This simple sentence can have many different levels of meaning depending on which word is stressed in the sentence.

Consider the meaning of the following sentences with the stressed word in quotation marks. Read each sentence out loud and place more emphasis when pronouncing the stressed word. You should be able to detect a change in meaning for each of the following sentences by simply stressing the different words in quotation marks.

"I" have a new red truck.
Meaning: I - not you, not my brother, not my friend, etc.

I "have" a new red truck.
Meaning: have - possess, not rent, not borrow, etc.

I have a "new" red truck.
Meaning: new - not an old one, not a secondhand one, etc.

I have a new "red" truck.
Meaning: red - not a green one, not a black one, not a white one, etc.

I have a new red "truck".
Meaning: truck – not a car, not a motorcycle, not a van, etc.

From the examples above, it is easy to see that there are many different ways a statement in English can be understood when someone is talking. The important point to remember is that the true meaning of a spoken sentence is not only expressed through the words that are used by the speaker, but also by the particular word that the speaker chooses to stress within the sentence.

It is evident that a second language learner of the English language can benefit greatly from the general understanding of sentences and questions, by increasing his/her awareness of the musical rhythm and phrasing of the English language.

The meaning of what one says, is not only included in the words that one uses, but also in how you say them and phrase them together. Stress on a single word in an English sentence can completely change the meaning of what one wants to communicate to someone else. This happens in the English language, but not in many other languages.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

EwR News - EwR's Official Business Page in Google+

English with Raymond (EwR)

ya tiene una página oficial de empresa en Google+



EwR now has an official company page in Google+

Friday, October 24, 2014

EwR Speaking - Master Conversation Skills in English (Step 2 of 4)

English with Raymond's
Second of Four Steps
to Master Conversation Skills in English

Many students, who are learning English as a second language, feel that their greatest deficiency in using the language is with conversation skills.  Here is the second of four fundamental characteristics of good conversation skills that can help you be a better listener, as well as a better speaker, during a conversation with someone else.

STEP TWO:

Use honest signals of communication and find similarity in what someone else says to you.

When you have a conversation with someone else, you are using two different channels of communication. The first one is obviously that of verbal language, but you also use non-verbal communication in the form of facial expressions and body gestures which act like unconscious signals. This second channel of communication is in the form of social signals which balance with our conscious verbal language usage. For example, sometimes you can detect when someone is trying to deceive you by paying attention to his/her social behavior; as indicated by specific facial expressions, body gestures, or other unconscious signals. Words alone are not always sufficient to determine if someone is really lieing to you, or not. These social signals don’t revolve around words alone, but rather around social interactions and behavior as detected by facial and body language. You can learn to read the meaning of what someone says by paying attention to his/her two different channels of communication. This will help you to become a better communicator during a conversation with someone else.

A successful communicator is one who uses honest signals of communication during a conversation. For example, you can choose to use positive unconscious social signals in order to show your geninune interest in what the other person is saying. A smile or a slight nod of the head demonstrates that you are honestly interested in what your listener is saying. This unconscious channel of communication is as powerful as if you were to say the following words out loud, “I’m interested in what you are saying”. Other positive and honest unconscious signals include paying attention (e.g., maintain good eye contact with the speaker); showing a strong desire to share (e.g., half-open your mouth with the idea of wanting to say something before the speaker finishes); selecting a way to change the subject (e.g., raise your eyebrows to demonstrate that you have something new to say); and finding a way to end the conversation without being disrespectful (e.g., tilt your head and smile when you explain that you have to end the conversation).

Most people would agree that they are more comfortable talking with others who are similar to them to some extent. There is a wide-range of research that demonstrates that people like others who are similar to themselves. This evidence can be carried one step further in order to address the effect that it has on your conversation with someone else who is somewhat similar to you. Social relations improve by emphasizing similarity, thus making conversation more positive and succesful. Therefore, if you want to have a conversation with someone else in order to achieve some positive results, find similarities in what the other person is “saying” and “doing”. 

Listen to what your listening partner “says”. In other words, listen to the speaker’s word usage, intonation, pauses, voice inflections, phrasing and other audible clues in order to find similar ways to communicate back with your listening partner. Subconsciously, people find you more friendly, interesting, honest and believable when you imitate their own conduct during a conversation. These clues will help make your conversation more successful and honest by showing that you are genuinely interested. For example, this is a proven advantage for business communicators like salespeople. Similarity is the key to being agreeable and more influential.

Pay attention to what your listening partner “does”. Remember that social behavior during a conversation is indicated by specific facial expressions, body gestures, or other unconscious social signals. Pay attention to these non-verbal forms of communication in order to approximate your listener, and demonstrate that you both have something in common by using social signals similar to those of your listening partner. If the speaker smiles at you while explaining something, you are not going to frown at him/her if you want to demonstrate that you are interested in the conversation. Instead, you will imitate the same behavior and smile back at him/her. Remember, similarity is the key to an honest and successful conversation.


Written by Raymond Bevilacqua, ENGLISH with RAYMOND©, October 2014



EwR News - "English with Raymond" has a New Look in Google+

is now in
Come join us for more information !


Friday, October 17, 2014

EwR Public Relations - Presentation to Thank Spain's NPR Radio Station for an Interview


.... wants to thank the "Nomads" Program on Spain's National Public Radio (NPR) Station for inviting Raymond to speak about Seattle.  Raymond was born there.

.... quiere dar las gracias al programa "Nómadas" en la Radio Nacional de España (RNE) por invitar a Raymond para hablar sobre su ciudad natal Seattle.  Raymond nació allí.

In order to show his appreciation, Raymond has made a Prezi Interactive Presentation for NPR in Spain.

Para demostrar su agradecimiento, Raymond ha hecho una presentación interactiva Prezi para RNE de España.


Thanks Nomads at NPR SPAIN!!!
Gracias a Nómadas en RNE!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

EwR Speaking - Master Conversation Skills in English (Step 1 of 4)

English with Raymond's
First of Four Steps
to Master Conversation Skills in English


Many students, who are learning English as a second language, feel that their greatest deficiency in using the language is with conversation skills.  Here is the first of four fundamental characteristics of good conversation skills that can help you be a better listener, as well as a better speaker, during a conversation with someone else.

STEP ONE:

Present yourself in a positive manner, but give accurate impressions of your true self.

In other words, be yourself, and don’t try to be someone else that you are not.  Give honest answers to questions without going into too many details.  If you present your ideas in a positive way, people want to listen to you.  However, if you are always negative, or give evasive answers to questions or make untrue statements, people will not have an accurate impression of you. 

Show your best side when you can.  Noone is the same person from one moment to the next.  We all have moods, but try to discipline yourself and behave in a more positive way.  Don’t fake how you feel; but on the other hand, don’t pretend that you are feeling 100% perfect and that everything is okay. 

Observe your listening partner’s behavior to determine when you should stop talking about something too much.  If the other person wants to change the subject, or finish the one that you are talking about, be mature enough to recognize that and put an end to this part of the conversation.  This is a display of self-discipline and respect for others.  In this way, you are creating a positive setting for the conversation, and the listener maintains interest in what you have to say.  Maybe you would like to say more, but by doing this, you have to accept the fact that you might lose your listening partner’s interest at the same time.  This will probably kill the conversation, as well.

In conclusion, the first step in order to master conversation skills in English is to be positive, but honest about your feelings and ideas.  Show the other person that you are a participant in the conversation, and that you are not trying to dominate or control the situation.  Be respectful and sincere at the same time in order to make your conversation with someone else flow smoothly.

Written by Raymond Bevilacqua, ENGLISH with RAYMOND©, October 2014


Sunday, October 12, 2014

EwR Public Relations - Raymond´s Radio Broadcast on Spain's National Public Radio Station


Raymond participaba en el programa Nómadas en la Radio Nacional de España sobre el tema de Seattle. Se emitiró el domingo 12 de octubre de las 7 a las 8 horas por Radio 1 y Radio 5.



Escucha el programa emitido de una hora aquí:



Raymond participated in the radio program called "Nomads" on NPR in Spain. It was broadcasted on Sunday, the 12th October, here in Spain.

Listen here to the one-hour program:  http://tinyurl.com/Seattle-Nomadas-RNE


Friday, October 3, 2014

EwR Grammar - Difference Between "to me" and "for me"