(Introduction to the Sounds of English- Vowels, Diphthongs & Consonants)
Introduction: Phonetics is the scientific study of speech sounds. It is a fundamental branch of Linguistics and itself has three different aspects: Articulatory Phonetics – describes how vowels and consonants are produced or “articulated” in various parts of the mouth and throat; Acoustic Phonetics – a study of how speech sounds are transmitted: when sound travels through the air from the speaker’s mouth to the hearer’s ear it does so in the form of vibrations in the air; Auditory Phonetics – a study of how speech sounds are perceived: looks at the way in which the hearer’s brain decodes the sound waves back into the vowels and consonants originally intended by the speaker. Received Pronunciation (RP) is a form of pronunciation of the English language which has traditionally been the prestige British accent. RP is a form of English English.
The Sounds of English and Their Representation: In English, there is no one-to-one relation between the system of writing and the system of pronunciation. The alphabet which we use to write English has 26 letters but in English there are approximately 44 speech sounds. To represent the basic sound of spoken languages linguists use a set of phonetic symbols called the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The chart below contains all of the IPA symbols used to represent the sounds of the English language. This is the standard set of phonemic symbols for English (RP). Speech can be seen as controlled breathing. An utterance begins with a breath. As we exhale, we modify the flow of air in a variety of ways to produce the various sounds of speech.
We can define a consonant by reference to three characteristics:
- The point of articulation -where in the vocal tract it is made
- The type of articulation – how we make it
- Whether the sound is voiced or unvoiced
One way of making a consonant is to block the flow of air so that pressure builds up, and then suddenly release it. Consonants formed in this way are referred to as plosives or stops.
Point of articulation
|The two lips
|Tongue tip and tooth-ridge
|Back of tongue and soft palate or velum
Some consonants are produced when air is forced through a narrow opening. These are known as fricatives.
Point of articulation
|Lip and teeth
|Tongue-tip and teeth
|Tongue and tooth-ridge
|Tongue and hard palate
|The glottis is partially
A plosive and a fricative are pronounced together.
Point of articulation
|Palate and tooth-ridge||dʒ||tʃ||judge/church|
The air exits through the nose rather than the mouth. All nasals are voiced.
|Point of articulation||
|The two lips
|Tongue tip and tooth ridge
|Tongue and soft palate
Approximants: The remaining four consonants of English are less clear-cut. Some may be realised in a number of ways. There are several quite distinct /l/ and /r/ sounds.
Point of articulation
Two consonants are similar to vowels in that there is no real contact between vocal organs. These two are known as glides.
Point of articulation
|The two lips
|Tongue and hard palate
Phoneticians also identify vowels by their point of articulation. Vowels are classified into three groups: short, long and diphthong.
Long vowels Diphthongs
II – STRESS & INTONATION
Stress is defined as using more muscular energy while articulating the words. When a word or a syllable in word is produced louder, lengthier, with higher pitch or with more quality, it will be perceived as stressed. The prominence makes some syllables be perceived as stressed. Words including long vowels and diphthongs or ending with more than 1 consonant are stronger, heavier and stressed. English words have one or more syllables. A syllable is a complete sound unit. In words containing more than one syllable, one or sometimes two syllables prominent, that is , they receive the stress or accent. The more prominent of the syllable receives the primary accent and the other receives the secondary accent. While the primary accent mark comes above the syllable the secondary accent mark comes below the syllable. The accentual pattern of English words does not rigidly conform to any set of rules and one should learn to speak with the right accent by being exposed to the right models of speech. A few conventions for accent patterns are given below.
To have good pronunciation means 1) to pronounce correctly all the individual speech sounds in English; 2) to pronounce correctly the speech sounds in their combinations in isolated words as well as in sentences; 3) to speak fluently with correct rhythm, including the correct placement of stresses and pauses and the transition of sounds according to the context; and 4) to speak with appropriate intonation according to the context.
In words of more than one syllable, one of them will receive more stress than the others. Stressed syllables are those that are marked in the dictionary as stressed. Stressed syllables are usually longer, louder, and higher in pitch.
In English, stressed syllables are usually long syllables with clear vowel sounds. The word “banana”, for example, has 3 syllables. Syllable 1 is not stressed and so is short. Syllable 2 is stressed and so is long with a clear vowel sound. Syllable 3 is not stressed and so is also short.
Stressed syllables are strong syllables and unstressed syllables are weak syllables. Stressed syllables are usually long, have a pitch change and have full vowel sounds while unstressed syllables are short and often have a reduced vowel sound.
In an English utterance, stressed words give information to the listener and unstressed words join the information words together. Correct pronunciation of stressed and unstressed words is thus extremely important for effective communication in English.
Information words in a sentence are usually nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. They give information about who, what, when, where, why, and how. They express the main idea or content of the phrase or sentence. They carry the message and therefore usually stressed. Unstressed words are usually function words like articles, pronouns, possessives, prepositions, auxiliary verbs, and conjunctions. These words connect the information words to form grammatical sentences.
If you stress all the words in an utterance, you may sound unpleasant or even cause misunderstanding because you are giving too much information, and English speakers usually stress all words only when they are impatient or angry.
Words that are often Stressed
2. Main Verbs
4. Possessive Pronouns – mine, yours, etc.
5. Demonstative Pronouns – this, that, these, those*
6. Interrogatives – who, what, when, where
7. Not / negative contractions – can’t, isn’t, etc.
8. Adverbs – always, very, almost, etc.
9. Adverbial particles – take off; do away with
Words that are usually Unstressed
1. Articles – a, an, the, etc.
2. Auxiliary (Helping) Verbs – be, do, have, etc.
3. Personal Pronouns – I, we, you, he, she, it, they.
4. Possessive adjectives – my, your, his, her, its, etc.
5. Demonstative adjectives – this, that, these, those
6. Prepositions – to, for, with, etc.
7. Conjunctions – and, or, but, etc.
English intonation: structures, functions and use
We call the melody of language intonation. Intonation refers to the total pattern of pitch changes, i.e., the rising and falling of the voice when a person is speaking, within an utterance. Intonation is another important element of spoken English. It is the English intonation which makes English sound really English.
Intonation makes speech meaningful. English intonation adds the meaning of an utterance in two ways:
It shows the relationship of words within and between sentences;
It tells something about the feeling of the speaker.
In other words, different pitches may indicate different meanings for the same utterance. Different pitches help us express our feelings: happiness, sadness, surprise, annoyance, anger, and so on. In listening to the meaning of an utterance, therefore, we listen to how speakers talk as well as to what they say. The HOW and WHAT together give us the meaning of an English utterance.
We now see the importance to use the appropriate intonation patterns when we speak. Otherwise, we may be sending messages using intonations that contradict what we want words to say. Intonation patterns that disagree with the content of the utterance may indicate doubt, sarcasm, or confusion.
English has two basic intonation patterns: rising and falling. When they go together, they can make a falling-rising tone.
Intonation units are also called intonation-groups, tone groups or tone-units. An intonation unit usually corresponds to a sense group (or word group). An intonation unit may contain several syllables, some of them stressed and some unstressed. The last stressed syllable is usually a marker of the highest importance and has the focus stress. On this syllable, there takes place a change of pitch, either an upward or downward movement, or a combination of the two.
A nucleus refers to the syllable in an intonation unit which carries maximal prominence. For example, this is the normal way of saying the following sentence:
I am WRIting a LETter to him NOW.
There are ten syllables in this sentence among which three are stressed syllables. The last stressed syllable is NOW. So we say that NOW has the focus stress, and is the tonic syllable and therefore is the nucleus of the intonation unit. The nucleus is the essential part of the intonation unit. It is still present even if the unit consists of a single syllable, as is the case with many sentence words like yes, no, why, etc.
Tail, Head & Pre-head of an intonation unit:
Any syllable or syllables that may follow the nucleus in an intonation unit are called the “tail”. In the sentence “I am WRIting a LETter to him”, the nucleus of this intonation unit is on the tonic syllable “LET”. There are three unstressed syllables after the nucleus. These syllables are called the “tail” of this intonation unit.
The part of an intonation unit that extends from the first stressed syllable up to the nucleus ia called the “head” of the intonation unit. In the sentence “I am WRIting a LETter to him”, the “head” of this intonation unit is made up of three syllables: “writing a”.
Any unstressed syllable or syllables that may precede the “head”, or the “nucleus” if there is no head, are called the “pre-head”. In the sentence “I am WRIting a LETter to him”, “I am” comprises the “pre-head” of this intonation unit.
So if you analyze the following sentence, we will come up with the structure of an intonation unit like this:
I am WRIting a LET ter to him.
P H N T
P = Pre-head
H = Head
N = Nucleus
T = Tail
Following are the important functions of English intonation:
A. The attitudinal function
Intonation is used to convey our feelings and attitudes. For instance, the same sentence can be said in different ways, which might be labeled “happy”, “grateful”, “angry”, “bored”, and so on. Usually, intonation units with high heads sound more lively, interesting than those with low heads. A few generalisations are often made here: the falling intonation is said to be more often associated with completeness and definiteness; the rising intonation is more often associated with incompleteness and uncertainty or questioning; The falling-rising is said to have feelings of hesitation, contrast, reservation or doubt.
B. The accentual function
The location of the tonic syllable is of considerable linguistic importance. The most common position for this is on the last information word of the intonation unit. For contrastive purpose, however, any word may bear the tonic syllable.
C. The grammatical function
Some sentence may be ambiguous when written, but this can be removed by the use of intonation. An often cited example is the sentence “Those who sold quickly made a profit”. This sentence can be said in at least two different ways:
a. A profit was made by those who sold quickly.
b. A profit was quickly made by those who sold.
Another example is the use of rising tone in statements. The sentence “They’re going to have a picnic” is usually said as a statement like this:
The sentence serves as a question here.
The intonation used in question-tags can have a rising tone or a falling tone:
When it has a falling tone, as in (a), the speaker is comparatively certain that the information is correct, and simply asking for conformation, while the rising tone in (b) is said to indicate a lesser degree of certainty, so the speaker is asking for information.
D. The discourse function of intonation
In speech, people often use intonation to focus the listener’s attention on aspects of the message that are most important. So the placement of nucleus or tonic stress depends on the “information content”: the more predictable a word’s occurrence is in a given context, the lower its information content is. For example, people would say:
The (telephone’s ringing.
The (kettle’s boiling.
In speech, people often use the falling tone to indicate new information and rising tone (including falling-rising) to indicate “shared” of “given” information.
People also use intonation to indicate to others that they have finished speaking and that another person is expected to speak.
Placement of word accent:
In a number of disyllabic words, the stress depends upon whether the word is used as a noun or adjective or a verb. The accent is on the first syllable if the word is a noun or adjective and on the second syllable if it is a verb.
‘absent – ab’sent ‘accent – ac’cent ‘conduct – con’duct ‘content – con’tent
‘contrast – con’trast ‘contract – con’tract ‘convert – con’vert ‘abstract – ab’stract
‘compress – com’press ‘conflict – con’flict ‘contact – con’tact ‘defect – de’fect
‘desert – de’sert ‘dictate – dic’tate ‘export – ex’port ‘frequent – fre’quent
‘impress – im’press ‘progress – pro’gress ‘object – ob’ject ‘produce – pro’duce
Disyllabice words – Accent on the first syllable
‘able ‘agent ‘army ‘artist ‘beauty ‘body ‘butter ‘any ‘beggar ‘color
Disyllabice words – Accent on the second syllable
a’bout a’dmit a’dvance a’go al’though a’gree be’gin
be’tween con’firm de’ceive pos’ses re’ceive de’fend
Trisyllabice words – Accent on the first syllable
‘beautiful ‘customer ‘nobody ‘company ‘agency ‘article
Trisyllabice words – Accent on the second syllable
Ag’reement a’ppointment at’tention con’nection des’tructive di’rector
Trisyllabice words – Accent on the third syllable
After’noon ciga’rette decom’pose repre’sent under’stand
Words having four syllables
A’blilty a’pologise de’velopment ‘popularity pho’tography sim’plicity diplo’matic unim’portant circu’lation in’tentional
Words having more than four syllables
Affili’ation au’thoritative identifi’cation exami’nation oppor’tuny
Observe : ‘January ‘February March ‘April May June Ju’ly ‘August Sep’tember Oc’tober No’vember De’cember
III. ROLE PLAY (Situational Dialogues)
Introduction: Role playing games, exercises and activities help build teams, develop employee motivation, improve communications and are – for corporate organizations, groups of all sorts, and even children’s development. Role playing games, exercises and activities improve training, learning development, and liven up conferences and workshops. Role playing games, exercises and activities can also enhance business projects, giving specific business outputs and organizational benefits.
Role Play is a fast way to improve speaking and listening for real life situations.
Role Play uses scripts that you read with your partner, like actors in a movie.
Role Play gives you information about your role. You can then talk with your partner using this information.
Role Play to Practice English:
Role Play helps you speak English in full sentences.
Role Play makes you think about what you are saying, so you remember the language.
Role Play gives you many things to think and talk about.
Types of Role Play
1. Situation Role Plays
Situation Role Plays give you practice speaking English with correct sentences and pronunciation.
Examples: At the Markets, Clothes Shopping, Airport Check-in, Job Interview 2, PRACTICE: Got
2. Story Role Plays : In Story Role Plays, you and your partner are characters in a story.
3. Short Discussions : Short Discussions give you practice in asking and answering questions about a topic.
Examples – Introduction, Talk about Food, Talk about America, NEWS! Global Warming
4. Long Discussions: Long Discussions give you practice in asking and answering questions about a topic, as well as discussing the opinions of other people.
Examples: Environment, Movies.
The Role Play Situations:
1. The parents of a student are called to the college to talk about his/her poor marks.
2. You are in Khammam City bus and someone is playing a songs very loudly. You are in a big hurry and want the player turned off. Other passengers think that it is freedom of speech to play songs.
3. You are strolling in a department store. Walking around, you see a person who seems familiar, but you’re not sure. On a whim, you decide to stop the person and find out of s/he knows you. It turns out, after some questioning, that the two of you went to the same high school, but at the time the other person weighed 25 kilos more. That’s why you couldn’t recognize him/her.
4. Interruptions. A couple are trying to watch a film on TV, but are interrupted by a series of unwanted visitors: a talkative friend, the gas man, a neighbour who’s lost his/her keys, a stranger who’s mysteriously convinced that this is his house …
5. Hotel reception: a rich foreign guest and his/her secretary are arguing with the receptionist about the bill. Various random guests approach the desk and join in the argument, for instance: a bridegroom, a family with lots of small kids, a film star, photographers etc.
6. On the bus: Each student gets on the “bus” as a different character until crash – and they have to react appropriately.
7. The salesperson: Assign ridiculous objects or concepts for them to sell
8. The tour guide can be made a lot funnier if some students “play” the sites that s/he is describing.
Right Body Language:
1. Eye contact
Eye contact is one of the most important aspects of dealing with others, especially people we’ve just met. Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest in what they have to say. We tend to keep eye contact around 60-70% of the time. (However, there are wide cultural differences, so be careful in other countries) By doing this you won’t make the other people feel self conscious. Instead, it will give them a feeling of comfort and genuine warmth in your company, any more eye contact than this and you can be too intense, any less and you give off a signal that you are lacking interest in them or their conversation.
Posture is the next thing to master, get your posture right and you’ll automatically start feeling better, as it makes you feel good almost instantly. Next time you notice you’re feeling a bit down, take a look at how your standing or sitting. Chances are you’ll be slouched over with your shoulders drooping down and inward. This collapses the chest and inhibits good breathing, which in turn can help make you feel nervous or uncomfortable.
Head position is a great one to play around with, with yourself and others. When you want to feel confident and self assured keep your head level both horizontally and vertically. You can also use this straight head position when you want to be authoritative and what you’re saying to be taken seriously. Conversely, when you want to be friendly and in the listening, receptive mode, tilt your head just a little to one side or other. You can shift the tilt from left to right at different points in the conversation.
Arms give away the clues as to how open and receptive we are to everyone we meet and interact with, so keep your arms out to the side of your body or behind your back. This shows you are not scared to take on whatever comes your way and you meet things “full frontal”. In general terms the more outgoing you are as a person, the more you tend to use your arms with big movements. The quieter you are the less you move your arms away from your body. So, try to strike a natural balance and keep your arm movements midway. When you want to come across in the best possible light, crossing the arms is a no, no in front of others. Obviously if someone says something that gets your goat, then by all means show your disapproval by crossing them !
Legs are the furthest point away from the brain; consequently they’re the hardest bits of our bodies to consciously control. They tend move around a lot more than normal when we are nervous, stressed or being deceptive. So best to keep them as still as possible in most situations, especially at interviews or work meetings. Be careful too in the way you cross your legs. Do you cross at the knees, ankles or bring your leg up to rest on the knee of the other? This is more a question of comfort than anything else. Just be aware that the last position mentioned is known as the “Figure Four” and is generally perceived as the most defensive leg cross, especially if it happens as someone tells a you something that might be of a slightly dubious nature, or moments after. (As always, look for a sequence)
6. Angle of the Body
Angle of the body in relation to others gives an indication of our attitudes and feelings towards them. We angle toward people we find attractive, friendly and interesting and angle ourselves away from those we don’t, it’s that simple! Angles includes leaning in or away from people, as we often just tilt from the pelvis and lean sideways to someone to share a bit of conversation. For example, we are not in complete control of our angle at the cinema because of the seating nor at a concert when we stand shoulder to shoulder and are packed in like sardines. In these situations we tend to lean over towards the other person.
7. Hand Gestures
Hand gestures are so numerous it’s hard to give a brief guide but here goes. Palms slightly up and outward is seen as open and friendly. Palm down gestures are generally seen as dominant, emphasizing and possibly aggressive, especially when there is no movement or bending between the wrist and the forearm. This palm up, palm down is very important when it comes to handshaking and where appropriate we suggest you always offer a handshake upright and vertical, which should convey equality.
8. Distance from others
Distance from others is crucial if you want to give off the right signals. Stand too close and you’ll be marked as “Pushy” or “In your face”. Stand or sit too far away and you’ll be “Keeping your distance” or “Stand offish”. Neither are what we want, so observe if in a group situation how close are all the other people to each other. Also notice if you move closer to someone and they back away, you’re probably just a tiny bit too much in their personal space, their comfort zone. “You’ve overstepped the mark” and should pull back a little.
Ears, yes your ears play a vital role in communication with others, even though general terms most people can’t move them much, if at all. However, you’ve got two ears and only one mouth, so try to use them in that order. If you listen twice as much as you talk you come across as a good communicator who knows how to strike up a balanced a conversation without being me, me, me or the wallflower.
Mouth movements can give away all sorts of clues. We purse our lips and sometimes twist them to the side when we’re thinking. Another occasion we might use this movement is to hold back an angry comment we don’t wish to reveal. Nevertheless, it will probably be spotted by other people and although they may not know the comment, they will get a feeling you were not to pleased. There are also different types of smiles and each gives off a corresponding feeling to its recipient.
Dialogues for Practice:
– Hello. My name’s Prince Sundar. What’s yours?
– Nice name. I like it very much.
– Thank you. You name’s good, too.
– It was nice meeting you.
– Thanks. It was nice meeting you.
– What’s the date today, I wonder?
– Sunday, the 8th of March.
– What is it famous for?
– Don’t you know? It’s International Women’s Day.
– Are lessons over?
– Yes, they are.
– Where’re you going? Home?
– No, to the pictures. My friend’s waiting for me there.
– Good luck, then. Good bye.
– Well, I’m off. See you later.
– Have you got any hobbies? I have. I like English.
– So do I.
– Do you read much?
– Yes, because I want to know English well.
– Oh, let’s talk English for a bit.
– No objections to it.
– Oh, dear, hurry up!
– I’m trying to.
– Well, come on. It’s your first day at school.
– Do you want to be late?
– I’m ready now.
– Off we go!
– I don’t think English is easy.
– Why do you think so?
– Because I have to work hard learning a lot by heart.
– I’m going to be an English language teacher.
– For a number of reasons.
– What reasons, I wonder?
– The main one is I like English.
– What do you think the best sort of job is?
– Engineering, I think.
– I like medicine.
– To my mind the best one is the one you like the most.
– I say, where’re you going?
– To school, as you see.
– Why so early, I wonder? It’s only 12 o’clock now.
– That’s right, but I’m on duty, you know.
– I see.
– Where’re you going?
– To a friend of mine to play chess. Bye-bye.
– Please give me that book.
– What for?
– To have a look at it.
– Here you are.
– Thank you.
– Not at all.
– Have you had a good day at school?
– Wonderful! I’ve got three really good marks!
– Jolly good. Congratulations!
– Thank you.
– You’re far too lazy. Look at your English. Is this the best you can do?
– You know I’m no good at English.
– And what about Physics?
– I’m ashamed of myself.
– You could easily come top of the class.
– I’ll work harder, I promise.
– Well, hurry up.
– I’m trying to. But look, isn’t there half an hour before school starts?
– Is that the right time?
– I’m sure it is.
– School’s almost over.
– Yes, I know.
– How many more days?
– When do the holidays start?
– Next week.
– How did you enjoy your summer holidays?
– Oh, yes, very much. I spent them at a youth camp.
– On the south coast as usual with your elder sister?
– Yes, but this time I was alone.
– How lucky you were!
– That’s right.
– Look here, this has got to stop. You’ve come bottom in nearly every subject.
– Except Geography.
– Yes, indeed. You came second to bottom in that.
– It wasn’t really my fault. I was ill for some time, wasn’t I?
– That’s no excuse.
– I’ll improve.
– I doubt it.
– My bag, please.
– Which one is it?
– It’s one of those, there.
– This one?
– No, not that one.
– What colour?
– It’s brown… Yes. That’s it. Thank you.
– Not at all.
– So you’ve passed your exams.
– It wasn’t all that difficult.
– It’s because you worked hard, I think.
– Well, I was all right in History, but I didn’t do so well in Literature.
– And how about your English?
– Not so good, only so-so.
– Hello, glad to see you!
– Hello, so am I.
– Today’s your birthday, isn’t it?
– That’s right. It’s kind of you to remember.
– Well, many happy returns of the day. Here’s a present for you.
– Oh, thank you. What beautiful flowers! I don’t know how to thank you.
– Is painting your hobby?
– Why do you think so?
– Because there’re a lot of pictures in this room.
– It’s my elder brother’s hobby.
– I see, but what about you?
– I prefer books.
IV – ORAL PRESENTATIONS (Prepared and Extempore)
Successful presentations are designed to meet the needs and expectations of the audience. The information and delivery should be relevant and presented in a way so that the audience will listen and keep listening.
Many presenters get caught up in the details of the topic and what they want to say, and lose sight of the audience and what they need to gain. The emphasis should be on the listener, not the presenter. Analyzing your audience will help you decide what to include in the presentation and how to best present the information. You will have determined what information will appeal to them and this will increase your persuasiveness.
There is no question about the importance of content. A presentation without good content will always fall flat. However there are many skills that must be applied to bring good content to life.
Even with solid research, subject expertise, good planning and excellent facilities, some presentations fail. If a presenter does not have a confident, enthusiastic delivery style, the audience quickly loses interest and becomes bored.
Research has shown that an audience’s opinion of a presentation is based 7% from the presentation content, 38% from voice and 55% from facial expressions and gestures.
Presenters need to use their own personality while focusing on their delivery skills to project the professional and confident style needed to create a successful presentation.
Utilizing an interactive and lively presentation style uses nervous energy in a positive way instead of as an inhibitor.
Delivery skills are comprised of effective eye contact, volume, pacing, tone, body language, word choice, and appearance.
¬Focus their attention
¬Start with a clear, relevant purpose statement that shows the benefit to them
¬Use language that is clear and easily understood
¬Start with the familiar
¬Use examples and analogies
¬Stay focused on your main objective(s)
¬Use concrete examples
¬Make it memorable
¬Keep room temperature on the cooler side
¬Give them a break if they have been sitting more than 1 hour
¬If a break isn’t possible, ask them to stand up and stretch
¬Eliminate unnecessary noise distractions
¬Lighting should be bright
¬Visuals should be easily viewed by all audience members
¬Create an attention-getting introduction
¬Make a positive first impression
¬Use your voice, gestures, and facial expressions for emphasis to increase retention
The sound of your voice can be a major detractor from the content of your presentation, or it can be one of your most effective tools. The pitch, tone and volume of your voice is crucial for effective delivery. In our culture, we expect good, direct eye contact. In many presentations, speakers look at the walls, floor, their notes, anywhere but at the audience members! We need to look at individuals. Eye contact opens the channel of communication between people.
When you prepare for a presentation, you organize your thoughts and prepare your words. When the moment arrives to present, your adrenaline starts pumping and produces extra energy. Mastering key techniques allows you to channel your nervous energy in a way that brings life to your presentation. Using your body language properly will help your presentation become interesting and engaging. Keep your weight balanced equally over both feet. Stand facing the audience. Gestures add visual emphasis to your words and help your listeners remember the content. When possible, check your physical appearance in a full-length mirror prior to your presentation. Your appearance affects the audience’s perception of you. Everyone experiences nervousness before presentations. The trick is to make your excess energy work for you by fueling it into your presentation. Good visuals help support and organize a presentation.
The best way to come across as sincere and interested is to be yourself.
How do you let your own personality shine through without compromising the structure and content of the presentation?
Share personal experiences
Use humor (appropriately), tell stories not jokes
Speak in a natural, conversational style – Avoid reading from a script
Use your visual aids as your notes rather than reading from them or a script
Become involved and committed to your topic.
Tips for Overcoming Nervousness:
Prepare. Research has shown that 50% of nervousness is caused by lack of preparation. Knowing your topic and that your presentation is well organized gives you confidence. (Section 5 provides a guide for organizing your presentation.)
Practice. Stand up and practice your presentation. Ask a few friends or family members to serve as your audience. Practice answers to questions you anticipate from the audience. Videotape yourself if possible or stand in front of a full-length mirror while practicing.
Visualize. Think positively. Mentally rehearse the entire presentation in vivid detail. See yourself as a dynamic, knowledgeable speaker, it will also help you focus on what you need to do to be successful.
Eat and drink right. Eat a light meal beforehand. Drink fluids the previous day. Stay away from sugar, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol.
Breathe: Breathing from your abdomen releases stress-producing toxins. The first thing to do is sit up, erect but relaxed, and inhale deeply a number of times.
Stretch: To relax, you need to release tension by allowing your muscles to flex.
Visual Aids: People depend on what they see visually as their primary source of information. Adding visual aids to your presentation has a dramatic impact on how much your audience takes away. In one study, a presentation that only delivered information verbally achieved a 7% comprehension rate; the addition of visuals raised comprehension to 87%. This shows that information seen and heard has a much better chance of being remembered than information just heard. Good visuals help support and organize a presentation. They focus the audience’s attention and clarify and augment ideas. Visuals enable you to get more content across in a shorter period of time, simplify complex information, and eliminate misunderstanding.
Impromptu or Extempore Presentation:
There comes a time in any person’s life when he’ll have to give an impromptu presentation or speech. It may be for anything –a teacher trying to get you to speak up in class, or even in a casual debate. It happens more often than most people would think. Feel free to acknowledge that you have not prepared for a speech. Do this in a professional way! This should not be an attempt to garner pity, but rather a way to put yourself and your audience at ease. Then, excuse yourself for a moment and take time to jot down a quick outline. Zone out the audience. Jot down interesting or significant points about your topic, which will be related in some way to the event you’re attending.
If it is a homework assignment you are addressing, for instance, write down your impression of the assignment or anecdotes about your time spent on it. Begin with your introductory sentence, elaborate, then start working your way to your ending sentence. Fill in the middle space with as many points as you can, elaborating on each one as you go. Just concentrate on the zinger you’ve reserved for the end. As you deliver your speech, concentrate on diction and tone. If you are thinking about this, you are not thinking about the eyes watching you. This really works! Your mind can’t think about too many things at once, so think about enunciating your words and controlling your tone, and you’ll maintain more control.
V – ‘Just A Minute’ Sessions (JAM).
Just a Minute Sessions are conducted to check the communication skills of the students
i.e, construction of sentences, sequencing of thoughts , putting forth ideas , knowledge
etc., in a stipulated time frame.
A Topic is put forth to the student , the student is expected to make an oral
presentation in a short period of time and speak within the stipulated time.
VI – Describing Objects / People/Situations
A paragraph to describe objects consists of 5 parts as follows:
1. Function/ Use
2. Components/ Parts
3. Characteristics (material/shape/ figure /dimensions /property /colour)
5. Connection between parts
Language Focus: Function/Use
v.to be + used to + V1
v.to be + used for + Ving
A drum is used for making music.
A drum is used to make music.
1.1 A hammer consists of a handle and a head.
is made up of
is composed of
1.2 A hammer includes a handle and a head.
1.3 A hammer has two parts: a handle and a head.
sections: one is a handle, the other is a head.
components: one is a handle, the other is a head.
A chair is made of wood.
Bread is made from wheat.
This kind of car is made by a big company in Japan.
is shaped like + n.
A coin is shaped like a circle.
is + Adj. + in shape.
A coin is circular in shape.
is + Adj.
|A coin is circular. Noun||Adjective|
He is tall. He is short. He is normal height.
+ He is very tall. He is quite short. He is relatively normal height.
She is skinny. (negative) She is fat. (negative)
She is underweight. (negative) She is overweight. (negative)
She is thin. (negative) She is plump. (neutral)
She is slim. (positive) She is stocky. (neutral)
She is slender. (positive) She is bonny. (positive)
if a man is fat (especially round the waist) we often say he has a beer belly.
blonde/fair hair brown hair red hair black hair grey hair
blonde brunette redhead – –
grey eyes green eyes blue eyes brown eyes dark eyes
Type of hair
She has long hair.
She has short hair. He has no hair. = He is bald. She has medium length hair. She has short hair.
+ She has long, black hair. She has short, black hair. – She has medium length , blonde hair. She has medium length, red hair. She has short, blonde hair.
++ She has long, straight, black hair. She has short, straight, black hair. – She has medium length, straight, blonde hair. She has medium length, wavy, red hair. She has short, curly, blonde hair.
or Her hair is long, straight and black. Her hair is short, straight and black. – Her hair is medium length, straight and blonde. Her hair is medium length, wavy and red. Her hair is short, curly and blonde.
+ She wears glasses.
Type of complexion
He is asian. He has light-brown skin.
She is black. She has dark skin. He is white. He has fair skin. She is white. She has lightly tanned skin. She is white. She has very pale skin.
moustache beard chin forehead nostrils
eyebrows cheeks lips teeth
bald, black, blonde, blue, brown, curly, fat, grey, long , medium,
overweight, pale, plump, red, short, skinny, slim, stocky, straight, tall, tanned,
thin, wavy and white are all adjectives – they describe things
very, quite and slightly are all modifiers – they change (modify) the adjectives
People are built in all shapes and sizes. There are those who are fat and overweight. Some people are extremely overweight and are obese. Other people are naturally slim, but others look have absolutely no fat on them and are thin, or skinny.
Personally, I am stocky – small, but well-built. My father is tall and lean – with very little fat. My sister is short, but wiry – she is quite thin, but muscular. Both my brothers are athletic and well-proportioned. My mother looks like a 1940′s film star. She is curvaceous, with an hour-glass figure.My grandfather is fit for his age and takes plenty of exercise. He doesn’t want all his muscles to get flabby.
My sister – she has fair hair and fair skin. She doesn’t tan easily and has to be careful in the sun. My mother is blonde, also with a fair complexion. I am a red-head – with red hair. Like many other people with a pale complexion, I get freckles from the sun – small brown dots on my face and arms. In contrast, my father has dark-brown hair and he is quite dark-skinned. You are born with a colour – white or Caucasian, black or Asian. People whose parents are of different ethnic origin are mixed-race. Southern Europeans are sometimes described as Mediterranean.
Faces, like build, vary a lot. Some people have oval faces – their foreheads are much wider than their chins. Other people have heart-shaped, square or round faces.
Features also vary. My grandfather has bushy eyebrows (he has lots of hair!), a hooked nose and high cheekbones. His eyes are large and set quite far apart. My mother has a broad nose, which she hates, as she prefers narrow noses. But she is lucky to have even or regular teeth. My sister corrected her crooked teeth by wearing a brace which straightened them. She has rosy cheeks, small ears and a snub nose, which goes up at the end.
I have long, curly hair, though my sister is the opposite, with short, straight hair. Her hair is fine and doesn’t weigh very much, but mine is thick and heavy. My mother’s hair is wavy – in between straight and curly. My father is losing his hair – in fact he is going bald, which makes him very sad. My brother looks like he is going to lose his hair too.
There are hundreds of words that are used to describe or identify emotional states:
VII – INFORMATION TRANSFER
Information transfer or presenting verbal accounts of facts and processes in pictorial form body of material in different ways. It is an important skill that you will need at the college and university levels as well as in your professional and personal lives, both to explain a map, graph or table in speech or writing and to represent a verbal text in graphic form. Information transfer is used specifically in the contexts of narration, physical and process description, listing and classifying, comparison and contrast, showing cause and effect relationship, and generalizing from numerical data. Transferring information from verbal to graphic form, and vice versa is thus a very useful skill that will help you in study and at work.
Technology in every field of information means the macro information is being transferred as much as micro is being, which we have on our finger tips. The information can be shown through texts, tables, maps tree diagrams bar graphs, pie charts, flow charts and so on.
Information in verbal form can be made clearer and easier to understand by presenting it in graphic or pictorial form.
Pictorial representation has many advantages:
Allows quick and easy viewing of a large amount of data
Quicker to locate required information in a graphic than in a written text
Data relating to a long period of time or to large number of people can be effectively summarized
Convenient to use in making comparisons involving amounts of data:
The different types of graphic representation you could use to supplement your writing are: tables, bar charts, maps, graphs, pie charts, tree diagrams, flow charts and pictograms.
When you need to use a graphic form of communication, choose a form that will present your data clearly, accurately and in an interesting manner.
When information is personated graphically, you should be able to interpret or analyse it. Transferring information from textual to graphic form and, conversely, from pictorial to verbal form are both important and useful skills.
The above example makes the advantages of pictorial representation clear:
Quick viewing of a large amount of data possible
Finding information in a table or a map quicker than it is in a written text
Can efficiently summarize data pertaining to a long period of time or to a large number of people
Convenient in making comparisons involving large amounts of data
There are different kinds of graphic representation: maps and plans, tables, graphs, diagrams, bar charts, flow charts, pie charts, tree charts and pictograms. These have different uses. Thus bar charts make comparisons, pie chart show how something is divided, and line graphs show variations in data. When you use graphs to present your data, choose the kind that will serve your purpose best and depict your analysis clearly and accurately. For example, difference in quality or number cannot be shown on a flow chart, and a trend cannot be represented by a table.
A simple form of graphic representation is the table, in which data are arranged in horizontal rows and vertical columns that carry labels to identify what they represent.
A second kind of graphic representation is the bar chart, or bar graph. It is a very common kind of graph used to depict levels of a qualitative, independent variable using individual bars. It consists of an axis and a series of labeled horizontal or vertical bars with different values. The numbers along one side of the bar graph is the scale.
A line graph is a way of depicting graphically how two quantities are related, and how they vary in relation to one another.
Another kind of chart is the circle chart or pie chart. It consists of a circle divided into sections, each showing the size of some related piece of information.
Another form of representation that is widely used today is the flow chart, also known as a flow diagram. It is used to represent a process that takes place in successive stages, as in a production process from raw material to finished product.
Tree diagrams are two types: organization chart, which is used to show the structure and lines of responsibility within a company or an institution, and the genealogical tree or family tree, which is used to represent the structure of a major group such as mineral rocks or the structure of sentences in books on grammar or relationships within a large family.
A pictogram is another very interesting way of presenting data. It uses, as its name suggests, pictures in place of bars or figures. For example, the flowers growing in different places in a state or a country can be presented by tiny pictures.
MAPS AND PLANS
Maps are representations, usually on a plane surface, of a part of the earth-continents, countries, cities, villages, small areas and even buildings. They show outlines and boundaries, names or codes of areas within them and features such as roads, coastlines, rivers, buildings and rooms.
VIII – DEBATE
Debate or debating is a formal method of interactive and representational argument. In a formal debating contest, there are rules for people to discuss and decide on differences, within a framework defining how they will interact. Informal debate is a common occurrence, but the quality and depth of a debate improves with knowledge and skill of its participants as debaters. Deliberative bodies such as parliaments, legislative assemblies, and meetings of all sorts engage in debates. The outcome of a debate may be decided by audience vote or by judges.
A debate is a structured argument. It is one way of communication where our analytical and logical thinking comes into play. It is an art of knitting arguments and putting them forth in a constructive way. Debate makes us think about the two opposite sides of a subject and helps us decide as to which way to follow. As the topic of debate is already decided, sometimes you may find your self supporting a move which you normally oppose or vice-versa. Debate can be in argumentative through letters, debates & essays. We can put forth points for and points against a particular through direct debates as well as essay writing. Debates are conducted in colleges and University. Debates are in state legislative & parliament. Debate is a contest between two speakers or two groups of speakers to exhibit their capacity and dexterity in arguing, there should always be one or more speakers for proposition and oppositions. Usually, in a debate, a topic is thrown between two teams or two individuals. One team decides to go for the topics and the other, goes against it. The topics are suitable selected as to having both pros and cons as the debate begins; the teams declare their stand and get into arguments and counter-arguments. At the end, an evaluation is made on the basis of the arguments put forth by both the teams and decision is taken on who is the winner.
Debate is the ultimate mind exercise.
Four types of debate:
1.Parliamentary Debate. This is the debating that goes on in colleges and universities.
2.Value debate : In this debate two contestants will debate topics centered around moral issues or propositions of value or preference. Here are some examples of topics appropriate for value debate: capital punishment; abortion; etc.
3.Cross Examination Debate (also called policy debate or team debate). In this type of debate two teams , one representing the affirmative position and one representing the negative position, will debate topics of public or government policy.
4.Academic Debate. These are debates of a purely academic nature. An example of this type of debate would be creation/evolution debates.
There are two things you will have to study if you want to participate in debate:
The principles of debate—logic, evidence, case construction, proof, refuting arguments, rebuttal, the brief, etc. Observe as many debates as you can. This will be difficult for some, but you might look into attending some college debates. The more you observe and study the more familiar you will become with the procedures and terminology of debate.
Participants should follow these four steps:
Read for background information about the subject.
Prepare a comprehensive bibliography.
Collect as much material as you can find.
Read and study the material discovered.
Read and study the material discovered:
After you have secured all of the material available, you will then read and study carefully the books and articles you have found. Try to learn as much as you can about the subject and to get the points of view of as many different authorities as possible. Be on the lookout for new ideas and new suggestions for arguments, arguments on both sides of the topic. Look for specific items of evidence, which might be used as proof.
Topics for Debate
Here are a few topics to discuss with a friend or group. Practise agreeing and disagreeing even if you have to argue against something you actually believe in. One way to have fun with this is to make up a bunch of cards that say agree or disagree. Try to continue each discussion for at least five minutes. Use the expressions that you learned, including agreeing, disagreeing, asking for opinions, interrupting, etc.
Alcohol should be illegal.
Studying grammar is more important than practicing conversation skills.
Television is the leading cause of violence in today’s society.
Dogs make better companions.
Smoking should be permitted in public places.
Females are better students than males.
A parent shouldn’t pierce a baby’s ears.
Women should be empowered.
Everyone should plan their own funeral.
Reading English is more difficult than writing English.
Summer is the best season of the year.
Engineering students should wear uniforms.
21 should be the legal marriage age around the world.
The government should pay for post secondary education.
9- Telephoning Skills
Learning how to communicate well on the telephone is one of the top priorities for many students who need to use English at work. Learning the common phrases that are used on the telephone helps students know what to expect. However, what students often need most is practice, practice, and more practice. While helpful, practicing a role-play in the classroom is not always the best way to improve telephoning skills. Telephoning requires special skills as there are a number of difficulties that arise when telephoning that are specific to telephoning. The first and foremost difficulty is not being able to see the person you are communicating with. This lack of visual communication often makes students, who can communicate quite successfully in other situations, nervous and thereby hinders their communicative abilities. Add to this the typical hectic pace of business communication, and you have a particularly difficult situation.
Breathe: Before you pick up the phone, take a deep breath. Most of us are what they call “shallow breathers”. We take small breathes in and out and therefore, sound tired when we answer the phone. The goal is to sound like you like your job and you are glad they called. Practice taking a very big breath and answering the phone at the top of that breathe. You will continue speaking on the exhale of that breath and the caller will hear energy in your voice! You can also practice it when you are making a call and start your breath as the phone is ringing on the other end. You’ll be surprised how you feel when you use this technique.
Identify yourself: Give your full name and function and or the name of your company. Since they have taken the time to call you, you may answer the phone this way;
Be Sincere: If we are honest with ourselves, we are all “problem solvers” in some way. People call us on the phone to have a problem answered. Whether it is to get driving directions, or hours of operation or questions about our merchandise, they have a question and want it answered quickly, intelligently and politely.
Listen attentively: Put everything down when you answer the phone! Easier said than done, isn’t? How many times have you been in your office answering email, talking on the phone, listening to your ipod and sipping? Callers don’t like to be ignored and by multitasking, we are not focused on the caller’s wants and needs.
Visualize the person, even if you don’t know them so that you remind yourself you are engaged in a two-way conversation. If you still have trouble listening, start taking notes on what they are saying. Use a headset if possible, to keep your hands free. By taking notes you can verify with them as well as yourself, the important points of the conversation and the action items that needed attention.
Outcome. If the phone call has been successful, the first 30 seconds established a positive perception about you through voice, and tone and focus. The last 30 seconds will be when the caller finalizes their opinion about you. You can make that a positive experience by thanking them for calling, reviewing the problem you were able to solve and then most importantly, thanking them for their continued business.
These skills include:
Smiles and gestures can easily be heard over the phone, so keeping that smile on your face helps to create a positive engagement with caller every time you talk to them.
If you can’t put yourself in a caller’s shoes especially when you know they are wrong, how can you understand why they have the feelings they do about the issues they have called in about? If you cannot come to an understanding of why a caller is calling, it’s practically impossible to help them in any positive way.
Problem Solving Skills
Generally, the company you work for will offer the tools to solve any problem a caller may have, but it is your job to learn how to use them effectively.
Telephone English – The Phrases
This is Moses.
|Asking who is on the telephone
Excuse me, who is this?
Can I ask who is calling, please?
|Asking for Someone
Can I have extension 321? (extensions are internal numbers at a company)
Could I speak to…? (Can I – more informal / May I – more formal)
Is Jack in? (informal idiom meaning: Is Jack in the office?
I’ll put you through (put through – phrasal verb meaning ‘connect’)
Can you hold the line? Can you hold on a moment?
|How to reply when someone is not available
I’m afraid … is not available at the moment
The line is busy… (when the extension requested is being used)
Mr Jackson isn’t in… Mr Jackson is out at the moment…
|Taking a Message
Could (Can, May) I take a message?
Could (Can, May) I tell him who is calling?
Would you like to leave a message?
Exercises for Practicing Speaking on the Telephone
The most important thing about practicing telephone conversations is that you shouldn’t be able to see the person you are speaking to on the phone. You may ask, ‘How can I do that if I am practicing with a friend or another classmate?’ Here are a few suggestions for practicing phone calls without looking at your partner:
If you are in the same room – Put your chairs back to back and practice speaking on the phone, you will only hear the other person’s voice which will approximate a telephone situation.
Use the telephone – This is pretty obvious, but really not used that often. Give your friend a call and practice various conversations (role plays).
Use internal office phones at work – This is one of my favorites and great for business classes. If your class is on site (at the office) go to different offices and call one another practicing conversations. Another variation is for the students to go into another office and have the teacher telephone them pretending to be a native speaker in a hurry. It’s then up to the students to make sure they have communicated what they need, or understood what the caller wants. This exercise is always a lot of fun – depending on how good your teacher is at acting!
Tape yourself – If you are practicing alone, tape standard answers and then practice using the tape recorder stopping and starting to simulate a conversation.
Real life situations – Businesses are always interested in telling you about their products. Find a product you are interested in and research it over the telephone. You can …
– call a store to find out the prices and specifications.
– ring the company representative to find out details on how the product works.
– telephone a consumer agency to find out if the product has any defects.
– call customer service to find out about replacement parts, etc.
10 . Giving Directions
Introduction: Not everyone knows where they are going and may need help with directions from time to time. Directions may be needed to get to a nearby town, or directions to the newest mall in town or directions to the nearest rest room in a large building. Where ever you are going the expression below can be used when asking for directions.
Suggestions for giving directions
Giving street directions is really very easy when you remember to follow these points. When giving directions you are actually giving two sets of instructions.
In the first set- “Go To” – you are telling the listener what street to go to or how far to go.
In the second set- “Then”, you are telling the listener what to do when they get there. (turn right/left, go straight, on the left, etc.)
Giving even very complicated directions is just a repetition of these two basic steps.
Another good idea is to use easily identifiable landmarks; instead of the amount of time to get someplace (time is relative, after all). Easily identifiable landmarks are street lights, stop signs, parks, tall building standing alone, etc.
Prepositions of location most commonly used when giving directions:
go straight go to turn right turn left
cross on your right on your left beside
next to behind across from in front of
caddy corner on the corner of (to be very specific NE, SE, NW, SW corners)
Note the expressions used in the dialogue and the progression of the conversation:
Wally: Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to the city hospital?
Sally: Sure, the hospital is on Tenth Street, about 20 minutes away by foot. Go south on this street two blocks until you come to the stop light.
Wally: Go south two blocks to the stop light.
Sally: Correct, then, turn left and go three more blocks, until you come to the end of the road. A park will be in front of you.
Wally: Turn left and go for three blocks to the park.
Sally: Right, then turn right again and go seven blocks, to Lipton Avenue.
Wally: Turn right and go seven blocks to Lipton Avenue.
Sally: Next, turn left on Lipton Avenue and go two blocks. The hospital is on your left, across from the baseball stadium.
Wally: OK, let me see if I’ve got this straight. Go south on this street for two blocks to the stop light. Turn left at the light and go three blocks to the park. Turn right at the park and go seven blocks to Lipton Avenue. At Lipton Avenue turn right and…
Sally: No, turn left on Lipton Avenue.
Wally: OK, turn left on Lipton Avenue, the hospital is two blocks down, on my left.
Sally: You got it.
When Giving Directions in English, Giving directions usually consists of to sets of instructions.
In the first set: Say “Go to” and tell the listener what street, building, office number, etc – or – how far they need to go.
In the second set: Say “Then” and tell the listener what to do when they get there. (turn left, turn right, it’s on the left, etc.)
* Don’t forget to say “Thank you” after someone has given you assistance
Giving Directions for Locations:
The jewelry store (on First Avenue at the corner of Hill Avenue/next to the women’s wear/behind the Italian restaurant)
The bar (on Main Street, at the corner of Pine/across from the furniture store/across from the men’s store)
The police station (on Main/Memorial/First Avenue/next to the Fire Department/across from the book store)
The toy store (on Forest Street/Main Street/across from the Chinese restaurant)
The movie theater (on Oak Street across from the Book store)
The sporting goods store (on First Avenue/next to women’s wear)
Asking for Directions
Excuse me . . .
** This is always the most polite way to begin your request for directions**
Would/Could you tell me how to get to . . . Anderson Construction?
How do I find . . . suite 305?
What is the best way to get to . . . business office?
Would/Could you direct me to . . . Ms. Sumidata’s office?
Which way do I go to get to . . . the Nobunaga Building?
Go straight Make a U turn Turn left Turn right
Continue on (keep going) Follow this hall . . . road . . . path
Take the elevator It’s about 150 meters
It’s next to . . . across from . . . opposite . . . beside . . . between (two things)
Cross the . . . street . . . road . . . park . . . lobby . . . intersection . . .
Go past the . . .
It’s on . . . the left . . . the right . . . the third floor . . . the corner
Prepositions to use with Directions
Go straight Go to Right left
Cross On your right On your left beside
Next to Behind Across from In front of
On the corner of
Short Questions with Directions:
1. Excuse me. Is there a grocery store around here?
Yeah. There’s one right across the street
2. Can you tell me how to get to Phoenix?
Sorry. I don’t live around here.
3. Where’s Tanner’s Leather Shop?
It’s on the corner of Holly and Vine. Next to the library.
4. How do you get to the bank?
Go straight down this street for two blocks. Turn left when you get to Maple Street. Stay on Maple for half a block. It’s on the left hand side.
How do I get to …?
What’s the best way to …?
Where is …?
Go straight on (until you come to …).
Turn back./Go back.
Turn left/right (into …-street).
Go along …
Take the first/second road on the left/right
It’s on the left/right.
at the end (of)
on/at the corner
in front of
(just) around the corner
Directions I: Excuse me. Is there a bank near here?
Yes. There’s a bank on the corner.
Directions II Excuse me. Is there a supermarket near here?
Yes. There’s one near here.
How do I get there?
At the traffic lights, take the first left and go straight on. It’s on the left.
Is it far?
Don’t mention it.
Excuse me. Is there a supermarket near here?
Yes. There’s one near here.
How do I get there?
At the traffic lights, take the first left and go straight on. It’s on the left.
Is it far?
Don’t mention it.
Is there a _______ near here?
on the corner, on the left, on the right
straight on, straight ahead
Is it far?