Is a Perfect "English Accent" Even Possible?
English is now spoken in over 100 countries around the globe and for the approximately 1.5 billion who speak it there exists an endless array of vernaculars-to be expected when you consider that for more than half that number, English is a second or learned language. But for the remaining 328-plus million people worldwide for whom English is the actual mother tongue, you will find an equally broad range of dialects and accents. If English is your first language, you should have no problem distinguishing an Australian accent from a South African one, or differentiating between an Irishman and a Scot. Neither, will you fail to miss the astonishing dissimilarity between a Newfoundlander from Canada and a Texan from the Southwestern United States-and the comparisons go on and on! Mind you, this holds true for almost all of the other major language groups of the world such as Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, etc., each of whom possess their own dizzying collections of syntax and pronunciations. Speaking of which, let's consider for a moment the single most widely spoken language in the world today, which happens to be Mandarin. It is the official language of China but it's by no means a simple affair encompassing about 7 dialects and 42 sub-dialects; and, here's the clincher, Mandarin is not the only language spoken in China! If you have future plans to trek across The Middle Kingdom, prepare yourself for encounters with Cantonese, Gan, Hakka, Huainan, Jin, Min, Wu, and Xiang, not to mention all their associated dialects and sub-dialects. And if that's still not enough, you might want to brace yourself for an additional 1500 or so dialects if you decide to wander into the tens of thousands of villages scattered throughout that vast nation. After those kinds of breathtaking numbers, the English language might seem a little tame in comparison. Actually, you would be somewhat remiss because English is not, shall we say, without its challenges. Simply peruse the Ethnologue, 16th Edition, M. Paul Lewis, Editor (an encyclopedic reference cataloging the world's nearly 7,000 known living languages), and you will soon discover some highly telling statistics where English dialects are concerned. For instance, in the United Kingdom alone you will find something in the order of 34 distinct dialects!
So what then is the "correct" way to speak English? Is there one ideal to which we must all aspire? Some would hastily bestow that crown upon the birthplace of the English language-the British Isles. The thing is, even on those densely populated pieces of real estate you're going to find a spectacular number of dialects (as already mentioned), due in large part to hundreds of years of linguistic evolution. Nevertheless, there is a lingering notion that the "superior" English accent is and always will be "Received Pronunciation" (RP), also known as the Queen's (or King's) English. And why not-let's face it, it just sounds so bloody good! Just listen to some of the better-known Brit actors like Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and Helen Mirren and I rest my case! But, is that reason enough to laud it shamelessly as many still do? The famous British playwright George Bernard Shaw, in his literary tour de force Pygmalion (1913), explored that very notion as he sought to make a critical statement on the superficiality of class, social status and language (with special focus on the "proper English accent"). In the story, we observe how phonetics professor Henry Higgins makes a wager with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can transform a thick-accented Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into an eloquent duchess within three months. Professor Higgins readily accepts the bet because he prides himself on being able to determine where a person comes from by simply identifying their accent. Of course, the Professor recognizes that Eliza's linguistic transformation will require some doing, but he feels completely up to the task because he comes armed with several pronunciation tricks designed to help the poor girl pronounce her vowels, diphthongs and consonants "in the way that she should." For example, to help improve her elocution he has her put marbles in her mouth and repeat the sentence, "The shallow depression in the west of these islands is likely to move in a more easterly direction." To help her pronounce her /h/, he has her say over and over again, "But in Hampshire, Hereford and Hartford hurricanes hardly ever happen." After endless days of strenuous work, Eliza's transformation from "draggle-tailed guttersnipe" into a refined, well-spoken lady is complete. When she utters the words, "How kind of you to let me come," at the Embassy Ball, everyone is dazzled by her flawless speech and impeccable pronunciation.
But let's chow down on some reality cookies right about here and fast-forward to the real world of today where no English teacher in their right mind would pull a 'Professor Higgins' on a group of students. First of all, the 21st century has adopted certain pet mantras not the least of which is being "politically" and "socially correct" at all costs. This new mindset has seen today's language teachers place far greater importance on developing a student's ability to communicate well rather than pronounce meticulously. After all, sounding 100% like a native speaker is of little or no value if the comprehension and communication skills are sub par. Nowhere is this more evident than with today's technology. It has allowed the world to mingle more, so to speak, and most notably on the Internet where English largely rules the bandwidth waves. The reason for this is that English is the language of big business, and as we all know money doesn't make the distinction on whether somebody speaks English like Jackie Chan or Sir John Gielgud. In fact, when contrasting the careers of those two gentlemen, both of them actors, it's Jackie Chan who comes out on top in sheer English film box office receipts while Mr. Gielgud had his British knighthood as well as his "Companion of Honour" and "Order of Merit" awards to keep him warm during his lifetime. But, there's still a far broader-reaching question that begs asking and that is what's wrong with having an accent anyway? To cite from one of my own personal teaching experiences, the greatest majority of my students have come from a French background. Invariably, the very first thing I always tell my newbies is that there's absolutely nothing wrong with speaking English with their "delightful" French accents! In fact, we should all be so lucky to speak like that!
So does this mean that striving for the perfect English accent and pronunciation is as dead as the Dodo? Well, actually let's just remove the word "perfect" out of the equation. Students should by all means still try to attain good pronunciation and a pleasant accent. How can they achieve that? It involves five factors that will absolutely make the difference, and they are as follows: a) Voicing, b) Mouth, Tongue, andLip Position, c) Stress and Rhythm, d) Intonation, and e) Word Parts. Let's take a brief look at each of them, starting with Voicing. In English, some sounds are 'voiced,' (the voice box is used) while others are 'voiceless' (the voice box is not used). This can be illustrated with 'plurals' ending in "s". When the plural word is 'voiced,' the "s" is pronounced /z/; unvoiced and the "s" is pronounced /s/. Secondly, we must consider the position of the Mouth, Tongue and Lips. Here, you could draw simple diagrams of tongue and lip positions, or have students imitate you as you model sounds for them-all while having a clear view of your mouth, lip, and tongue movements. After that, comes Stress and Rhythm. In English, the distinction between stressed and unstressed syllables is that stressed syllables are louder, longer and more clearly articulated, while unstressed ones are shorter, compressed, and said very quickly. The way ESL students will learn them is through lots of practice and examples. Intonation is also very important because it indicates the speaker's intentions. So learning to understand the different pitch/variations in English is critical. Finally, we have Word Parts, close cousins of 'voicing.' Basically, the Past Participle of regular verbs (ending in -Ed) has three possible pronunciations-[t]; [d]; [id].
In conclusion, although the foregoing are all necessary elements for achieving good pronunciation, it should again be stressed that students of English should not have the slightest sense of feeling inadequate if speaking like a native is not achieved. It is of far greater importance to have nice, natural phrasing. Besides, as we've already discussed, having a 'foreign accent' is not always a negative thing. Take celebrated French Chef Jacques Pépin for example. He was Charles de Gaulle's personal chef before immigrating to the United States in 1959 and is credited for almost single handedly bringing the French cooking craze to North America. He is a bona fide star, and I'm willing to wager that it probably has something to do with that charming French accent he has when he speaks English!…
Why Knitting is a Good Hobby
Everyone has an opinion on why their favorite hobby is the best. But for those who are looking for a new pastime, knitting may be just the ticket. There are some great reasons to give knitting a try.
Knitting is Easy to Learn
Anyone from young children to the elderly can learn to knit. You can have a knitting friend or family member teach you, get a book out of the library, or watch learn to knit tutorials online. Whatever learning style works best for you, there is a way to learn knitting.
Knitting only requires two basic stitches, knit and purl. Once you have mastered those, you can make anything you want. Cables, lace and color patterns are all variations on the simple knit and purl stitches.
Knitting can be Inexpensive
If you have extra spending money and a taste for fine materials like cashmere, you can spend a good deal on yarn, but even those with limited funds can afford to knit.
Yarn stores, craft stores and many department stores sell yarn. Often, huge balls of inexpensive acrylic yarn can be had for only a few dollars. If you like fine yarns but are on a tight budget, yarn stores often have discount bins where you can find unpopular colors or discontinued yarns for a cheap price.
Other than yarn, you don't need many supplies to get started knitting. A pair or two of inexpensive needles and you are ready to knit!
Knitting is a Portable Hobby
In addition to being able to find knitting supplies in many places, knitting can also go many places. My knitting has accompanied me in countless waiting rooms, meetings and even to the hospital when I had my children. Small knitting projects, like hats, scarfs and mittens are easy to tuck into a purse or backpack and take along wherever you go.
I generally take easy projects that don't require any counting or concentration when I'm knitting in public or while watching television, and save complicated cables for when my children are sleeping and I can give my knitting all of my focus.
Make Things for Yourself and Others
Nothing shows love in quite the same way as a handmade gift. People generally love knowing that a garment or accessory was made just for them. You can also make items exactly to your own specifications, which is one of my favorite things about knitting. For example, I love fingerless gloves. However, I'm fussy about just how I like them. I like neutral colors, washable yarn, and for gloves to be long in the arm and short on the hand. It's very difficult to find these type of gloves in stores, but I can easily make my own in a night or two.
Knitting allows you to customize items in exactly the way you want, which can be a big plus, especially if you are a hard to fit size or have particular standards in mind for clothes or accessories.
There are many benefits to choosing knitting as a hobby. If you're looking for a versatile hobby that is portable, inexpensive and easy to learn, give knitting a try.…
5 Ways to Make Money On Instagram
There are several ways to make money on Instagram, but it’s important that you only use methods that don’t violate the terms of service agreement of the site.
This includes anything that asks you to buy, sell, or try to alter the way that the site works in any way.
While a lot of people have made some quick and easy money through ads on the right side of the page, there are limits to what can be done, so you should only dabble.
The best strategy is still to build your followers and turn them into buyers by promoting the products that they want or love.
You can get a better feel for how to do this by reading the rest of this article.
Some companies will pay you to promote their product on your page.
You don’t have to do all of the work, but some companies will throw in an extra post for free if you do.
For example, if you like pizza, they might send you a sponsored post on a monthly or quarterly basis.
You can also make money through sponsored stories, which allows you to write about someone who uses their product and give an honest review.
Photos and videos:
This is the bread and butter of Instagram marketing, you can read more at SMM World.
People enjoy visual content, especially on a site like Facebook where there is so much content already there for you to look at.
Take a lot of pictures from different places and post them to your account.
If you are into videos, make sure to post some to your page as well.
People love watching videos, so you’ll definitely have people following your updates if you can provide them with something interesting to watch.
The trick is to provide content that people will want to see on a regular basis, so keep your page updated all the time.
You can set up a business feed that shows customers the latest products and deals that you’ve found on the web.
Most of the time, these feeds are updated manually by Instagram staff, but you can help them do this by adding links to your products on your page.
Business feeds can turn into huge profits for you, especially during the holiday season.
With so many people shopping on Black Friday and Christmas, make sure that you are one of the first people to show up with deals on these holidays.
You can make money through private messages on Instagram.
You can send other Instagram users messages that will only be seen by them.
You can sell anything that you want on your page, and you can even put coupon codes so that people can save money when they buy products off of your shelf.
Make sure that you read the guidelines carefully before you start sending messages so that you don’t get in trouble.
When you follow people on Instagram, you’ll increase your chances of them following you back as well.
The best way to attract followers is to make sure that your page is fun and engaging.
People love interacting on social media, so if you want to make money, make sure that you keep your page updated at all times.
If you constantly stay away from updates, then you’ll only have a handful of followers.
There are also many tips that you can find on the internet to help you make money.
One of the most popular ones is using coupon codes.
Coupons are great because they can save you some money on whatever you’re purchasing.
Make sure that you research each code thoroughly before you try it out on your page.
Instagram may seem like a gimmick at first, but you can make real money on it.
There are many different ways that you can go about making it work for you, though it helps to have a clear plan in mind before you get started.
Follow the above-mentioned tips and you should be able to make a lot of money off of your page in no time at all.
It’s a great way to share your pictures and let everyone know what you’re up to.…
Is test and tag a profitable business?
We’ve all seen the commercials and ads for test and tag businesses.
In this blog post, we’ll explore whether or not these companies are a viable option for business owners.
First, let’s look at what these types of companies do: they’re in charge of testing homes’ plumbing systems to ensure that there is no leakage from pipes or fixtures.
Next, we’ll examine the pros and cons of starting a test and tag company so you can determine if it would be a good fit for your own personal goals.
Finally, we will discuss how much money you could expect to make with this type of company once it has been up-and-running for five years based on different factors such as location, number of employees, etc.
In Australia, when we talk about the testing and tagging industry, we could be talking about a $100 million business or one that earns around $5 million to $10 million – depending on who you ask.
It’s difficult to define exactly how much revenue is brought in by companies involved with this sector because there could be many not-for-profit organizations running testing and tagging programs for schools, sporting clubs, and other groups barely turning over any profit.
However, there are certainly plenty of commercial operators making a tidy sum from their businesses.
For example, Brisbane-based company Toxguard runs tagging programs for thousands of children each week and has various outlets spread throughout the country.
This type of business is also supported by businesses such as Service First, which supplies equipment to firms in this sector, including cash registers and point of sale systems.
Mark Hewitt is one individual who has worked hard to carve out his own business in test and tag.
His company’s official name is National Electrical Safety (NES) Services, but he recognizes that these sorts of companies need an edge over their competition to ensure they can survive.
Mark tells us more about how he set up the business below:
“When I first started my electrical tester training course I had no idea there were so many opportunities out there for people with the right skills.
I had always worked in construction so I never really considered being a tester or testing company as an option, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“I was able to use my electrical skills along with my qualifications to get my business off the ground.
Once you know what the industry is about and how it works, then opportunities will start to become apparent through your own research into the specific test and tag companies.
Being a sole trader didn’t seem appealing at first because of the lack of security.
But when you find something you love doing it’s all worthwhile.”
“My advice to anyone thinking about setting up a test and tag business would be not to rush into things too quickly, if you decide to start a test and tag business in Australia, call your service something like “Testing and Tagging Melbourne“.
No matter what your market segment maybe, the whole idea of electrical safety compliance is pretty simple: make sure equipment used by others has been safely tested and indicate that it meets Australian Standards.
In manufacturing, there are two types of testing, Factory Mutual (FM) and Heavy Industries Science And Technology Association (HISTA).
With FM you are required to test or check that all installations comply with Australian Standards at least once every six months.
Has varied depending on the type of equipment being used in your business – whether it’s power tools, forklifts, or other plant equipment.
The main advantage of hiring an electrical tester is that you don’t have to buy your own test and tag equipment.
However, if you do decide to set up your own business as a testing company then there are various forms of equipment needed such as lockout gear, plug testers, and earth fault loop impedance testers.
You can get all the necessary equipment from Service First Electrical.
Mark Hewitt says it’s important to stay close with customers so they know exactly where their maintenance funds are being spent.
This also provides the opportunity for businesses to create good relationships with clients so they can be given higher priority in any emergency situation.
“It’s really important to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to industry trends because this way you will always be the first to hear about market opportunities.
For example, if you’re in the area of power tools then it would be wise to know what other types of equipment companies are using.”
“All information is good info when it comes to this business, so I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned it’s you shouldn’t try and tackle all your problems by yourself.
Sooner or later these things will come back and bite you if not resolved properly.”
“You’ve got to stay ahead of the game even though the basic idea might seem simple enough.”…
What Car Should I Buy: A Beginner Guide!
What car should I buy for a beginner?
There are several cars you can start with, starting with an economical small car towing a light trailer behind a truck.
It is best to find at least two cars that are affordable and will get you on the road.
Once you know how safe a car is to drive, you can work your way up to a more powerful sports car.
The type of car you should buy depends on your style of driving, safety concerns, your wallet, and your needs as a driver.
When you consider what cars to buy for a beginner, the first thing you need to consider is the safety rating of the vehicle.
Is it worth buying or should you stay away?
How safe is it?
This question is most important when it comes to four-door sedans.
If the car has a low rating, it may not be worth buying, especially if the car will be used for transporting children.
A safe driver can get good grades in school, but that doesn’t mean you can take your car out on the highway without knowing how to drive it.
In fact, some people who are involved in an accident don’t even know how to fix their cars.
That is why it is so important to purchase a safe car.
There are so many different makes and models available on the market today that finding one that has been well maintained can help you avoid any costly repairs in the future.
Before you even begin thinking about what car to buy for a beginner, you want to think about what level of driving you plan to do.
Are you just learning to drive for pleasure or do you have a goal of becoming a safe, dependable driver?
Even if you want to become a safe driver, you can start by selecting a safe car from the beginning.
This is a great way to begin learning how to drive because you won’t have to worry about losing money if you get into an accident or have an accident that costs you lots of money.
The first and best thing you need to do is find out how safe the car you want to purchase is before you even begin looking.
You should first try to find out how much damage each vehicle has been through.
In most cases, vehicles that are sold for cheap are known to be unsafe because they have been abused.
Ask friends or family members if they can recommend any reliable dealers who sell cars for cheap.
If you don’t have anyone who can give you advice [click here] you can always check online to see what other people have said about various dealers.
Another way to find out about the safety of a particular car is to ask around your community.
People living around you will be able to tell you if a car is safe to drive or not.
Of course, you have to take their word for it, but it’s a good idea to ask around.
What car should I buy for a beginner to help them become a safe driver?
It would also be a great idea to find out from your local police force if they know of any reliable dealers in your area.
Ask them for advice.
What car should I buy for a beginner to help them become a safe driver?
If you are new to driving, you should get a vehicle that has a high safety ranking.
High-ranking cars are known to have a reduced chance of having accidents, which means that they are less likely to cost you a lot of money in repairs.
Now that you have found out what car should I buy for a beginner, you should make sure that you are ready to go out and drive it.
You never know when you might have an accident, and it would be horrible if you had an accident while on your first trip with your new car.
You never know when something may happen that could have unforeseen consequences.
That is why it is important to make sure that you are insured because if you get into an accident without insurance, you could owe a lot of money and be unable to get any money to fix the car.…
Zipper Fashion Rosettes
You might have been saving zippers to sew into other garments, if those zippers go bad, but sewing zippers into clothing isn’t the only way to reuse them. Cut zippers up and use them in an unusual way to make embellishments for fashions and home decorating projects, rosettes for crafting, and other fanciful items. If you already have zippers, you won’t pay a penny for the rosettes, which can be used in many different ways.
Unzip a zipper and cut it, straight across, to remove the zipper pull, and to separate the two sides of the zipper. Since each piece has fabric stitched to it, it’s necessary to remove the cloth. Cut the stitches to remove the biggest part of it; use a lighter to burn off the rest. Remember to hold the zipper with a potholder because the zipper will get hot as you burn the fabric off.
When all of the cloth is off of the zipper it’s the easiest thing to turn it into a rosette. Simply lay it flat on a table and begin winding it around itself. Hold one end down, and wrap the other end around and around the stationary end. You’ll make a flat circle of zipper teeth, which is metallic and lovely. If you want the rosette to be larger than it is when you finish wrapping, use a dot of hot glue to hold the end in place, and start wrapping another zipper-half around it.
The rosette you make is a flat one but you can give it dimension by making another one on top of it. The top rosette should be a bit smaller than the bottom one. Add another rosette, and another, to create the depth that you want; make each rosette smaller than the previous one.
The zipper rosette will be easiest to attach if you glue a piece of cloth or felt to the bottom of it. Glue the finished flower to a purse, a garment, a lampshade, a mirror or picture frame corner, or even a hat. Attach it to a piece of fabric to make a curtain tie-back, or make a large zipper rosette, and turn it into a coaster.
Don’t like the metallic color of the rosette? Paint it! You can easily spray paint the zipper before you start, or paint the rosette when you’re finished. That gives you many options for coordinating colors on your fashions, or for your home decorating.
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