Pronunciation: Get Better In Another Language

Pronunciation can affect how we communicate. Many people, who have had a go at learning a foreign language, have experienced that sinking feeling when they try a well-constructed sentence in another language only to be met with a blank face.

Why is this?

Languages are built on sounds. If I speak English and live in an English-speaking country I expect a speaker to say sounds in a particular way. In French or Spanish I would expect to hear different sounds. When we can’t recognise the sound we try and adjust how we are listening, a bit like tuning a radio, but if we can’t guess the sound, the chances are we won’t understand what is being said.

The Blocks of Pronunciation

Pronunciation has two main aspects to it, physically producing it and the sound that is produced from it, the hearing of the sound. As we get older the ability to do both of these, i.e. physically work out how to make the sound and recognise it, can diminish. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn new languages but we need some extra tricks to help us.

Let’s look at some ideas on what we can do when we learn a new language.

How am I saying it?

Try saying the letters. Notice how your mouth is working. If you don’t know how a sound is physically made you may find it harder to say it.

What sounds are the same?

English has many more sounds than other languages but it also has a lot of sounds in common with other languages. Good dictionaries in a new language will usually offer an English sound or word to compare with. Use it to check what sounds are similar.

Which sounds are hard to say?

Go through the alphabet of the new language and mark out the ones you find hard to say. Give them some attention. Try and physically make the sound and see how your mouth works. Say the alphabet. Look at how children use the alphabet song in English to help them remember the alphabet, doing the same in a new language will also help memorise the letters and sounds.

Read out loud.

Find some reading form your course book or any other book. There are two advantages here. One you get to say the letters and words. Secondly you get to practise sounds that you expect to hear and you become accustomed to the sounds of the language.

How good do I need to be?

There is much discussion on this. For many of us the ability to get by in other languages is good enough. If we can say what we want, simply, slowly and the person we are speaking to, can understand us, then our pronunciation is probably good enough. After that it is a matter of choice. Some people become very good at other languages and get to very good levels of pronunciation. Not many of us are such gifted linguists but there’s no reason why we can’t make the words so that people can understand us.

Easy Card Games To Entertain

My own experience makes me feel that every child will benefit from playing card games.

It is a healthy experience for a child to play with grownups as an equal; and to play with other children without noticing difference in age.

It is good for the child’s character to get practice in losing without squawking and in winning without crowing. (Many adults could use some of this practice too!)

A young child can learn about numbers and easy arithmetic from a simple card game. A child of any age can exercise his brain by the logical thinking that is needed in the more advanced games.

Moreover, card games are fun. And this is the best of all reasons for teaching them to children.

These games are for children who are too young to think… and for grownups who would rather not think! Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the children or the grownups laugh harder!

PIG

This is a very hilarious game for children or for adults to play with children. Anybody can learn the game in two or three minutes, and one extra minute makes you an expert!

Number of Players: 3 to 13. Five or 6 make the best game.

Cards: Four of a kind for each player in the game. For example, 5 players would use 20 cards: 4 Aces, 4 Kings, 4 Queens, 4 Jacks, and 4 10′s. For 6 players you would add the four 9′s.

The Deal: Any player shuffles and deals 4 cards to each player.

Object: To get 4 of a kind in your own hand, or to be quick to notice it when somebody else gets 4 of a kind.

The Play: Each player looks at his hand to see if he was dealt 4 of a kind. If nobody has 4 of a kind, each player puts some unwanted card face down on the table and passes it to the player at his left, receiving a card at the same time from the player at his right.

Each player looks at his hand as it appears with the newly-received card. If, still, nobody has 4 of a kind, each player once again passes a card to the left and gets a new card from the right.

The play is continued in this way until some player has 4 of a kind in his hand. That player stops passing or receiving cards since he is satisfied with his hand as it is. Instead of playing on, he puts his finger to his nose.

The other players must be quick to notice this, and each of them must stop passing in order to put a finger to his nose. The last player to put a finger to his nose is the Pig.

DONKEY

This is the same game as Pig, except that when a player gets 4 of a kind he puts his hand face down on the table quietly instead of putting his finger to his nose. He still gets a card from his right and just passes that along to the left, leaving his 4 of a kind untouched on the table.

As each player sees what has happened, he likewise puts his hand down quietly. The idea is to keep up the passing and the conversation while some player plays on without realizing that the hand has really ended.

The last player to put his cards down loses the hand. This makes him a D. The next time he loses, he becomes a D-O. The third time, he becomes a D-O-N. This keeps on, until finally some player becomes a D-O-N-K-E-Y.

Why Real Estate Investing Will Always Be Very Profitable

In recent months there has been a lot of talk about a crash in the real estate market.

Analysts predict a housing bust. News reports indicate that home sales are declining in several markets all over the country. This paints the picture that real estate investing is no longer a lucrative business. Investors all over the country are advised to get out of the game as quickly as possible to avoid losses.

What analysts and news reports don’t tell you is that every decade for the past forty years there has been some kind of warning about a crash in the real estate market. Each time these warning come out, people begin to mistrust real estate investing.

They turn their sights to other forms of investing. Analysts to preach this gloom and doom on the real estate market also do not understand that real estate investing is much different than stock investing. The same rules and trends do not apply.

Every decade when analysts state their predictions for a real estate market crash there are some real estate investors who heed this advice. These investors eventually regret doing so once they realize that there was no cause for alarm in real estate investing. Smart investors, on the other hand, realize that there is always money to be made in real estate investing and they know exactly why.

Humans have only a few basic needs. These basic needs never change, they never go away. These needs include food, clothing, and shelter.

The constant need for shelter lies at the root of the reason that real estate investing will remain profitable. Of course, there are some other key elements, but the least you need to know is that humans will always need real estate.

Even if real estate somehow dwindles from a structure with walls and a roof to a measly hole in the ground, it is still considered shelter. Someone has to provide these holes in the ground. Some holes will end up being better than other holes. Some people will have the means to buy and sell multiple holes. Real estate investing will continue to exist.

The real estate market alone will never experience a crash. In all the years that real estate has been around, the market has never crashed. The only time you will see a negative impact on the entire real estate market is when the general market experiences a downfall as well. However, when this happens, the value of all other commodities will decrease at the same time. Even in this case, real estate investing can still prove to be profitable.

You might see a local real estate market decline as a result of another catastrophe, such as New Orleans in the case of Hurricane Katrina. Because of a natural disaster, the majority of the real estate in the area was lost. There were no properties for homeowners to purchase. A key thing to know in real estate investing is that local markets always correct themselves. The disastrous loss in the New Orleans area created a huge opportunity for real estate investing.

Although the real estate markets in various cities might fluctuate from time to time, the real estate market as a whole will never experience a serious decline. This is the reason that real estate investing will remain a lucrative form of investing.