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.

Tips And Ideas For Better Home Improvement

The time often comes in your life when it is necessary to attempt a home improvement job. You may have purchased a new house and it needs a little facelift or it could be that niggling house job you keep putting off. Follow some simple rules and the task can become a little easier, even enjoyable.

Always take time to prepare. Have a plan of action in the form of a manual or instruction leaflet and do the necessary preparations for the job. Do not forget to protect or shield any expensive items, furniture and flooring that might get damaged or accidentally stained in the home improvement process.

Always make sure that you have good ventilation when doing any home improvement project especially when using paints and some glues. Use your electrical devices with adequate safety protection and keep your tools away from children. If you plan to do any outside home improvements like varnishing or painting check the weather forecast to make sure it is not going to rain.

Although all the previous suggestions are extremely relevant the most important measure for you to take before starting a job is to make sure you have the right tools, and the best quality of tool you can afford. This suggestion should not be ignored. Reference your manuals to get the necessary tools for the job beforehand.

If you just fancy having a go at a home improvement activity begin with a renovation type job. Take a room, for instance the living room, and see what could be done to enhance the beauty or functionality of the room. It may need wallpapering or you may want to change the floor from carpet to wooden floorboards. The furniture may need to be reupholstered or a stray crack in the wall may need to be filled in. In the kitchen a table may need re-varnishing or a cupboard handle replacing. But a word of warning, if you are unsure ask the advice of a trained contractor. Also when you are deciding what home improvement to do think carefully if the alterations would fit into the theme or color scheme of your house.

After you have attempted some minor renovations and repairs this should give you more confidence to try a bigger project, for instance an outdoor patio or decking job. Remember to plan and prepare your home improvement jobs, use the right tools and give yourself plenty of time to get the job done.

Home Theater Furniture Buying Tips

No home theater would be truly complete without home theater furniture. It is usually the last element that homeowners consider in setting up a home theater but having the right pieces of furniture is essential to the entire viewing experience. Below are some pointers on what home theater furniture you will need and how to pick them.

An entertainment stand should be first on your list of home theater furniture. This is very useful for those who have limited space because it provides a single space where you can put your television, sound system and DVD player. If you do have the space, then you can opt for separate cabinets for the stereo or for the television, for instance. However, just make sure to pick out home theater furniture that go well together and that fits with the look of your home.

The next essential home theater furniture that you should consider has to do with seating.
There are so many options when it comes to couches and chairs so you should be able to find one that will suit your taste and that will fit certain requirements such as space, the number of people you want to accommodate and, of course, comfort. An important thing to consider when choosing the seats is whether the room is a dedicated home theater or not, in which case you would need to choose seats or home theater furniture, in general, that will fit the other purpose of the room.

If you are fortunate to have a separate room just for a home theater, then you are free to choose seats much like you would see in regular movie theaters with beverage holders even, only more comfortable. There are loungers with spacious armrests and gliding footrests, too. If your budget allows it, you can consider other home theater furniture aside from cabinets and seating to enhance your home movie watching experience further such as a popcorn machine or a snack bar. These add-ons will surely make your viewing more pleasurable.

Home theaters are growing in popularity and so manufacturers are coming out with so many options for the customer, which also means that prices of home theater furniture have become more affordable. Just remember to shop around compare before making a purchase. Try to survey as many furniture stores as possible, including online stores, so you can compare prices of different home theater furniture and get the best deal.