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.

Board Games Aimed At Teenagers

While there are board games made for every age range possible, there is a special market made for games which are geared toward teenagers. Many times, these games will be themed according to different forms of media which may be popular with teenagers of the day. The teenage years can be a time during which many children are trying to find themselves and often, they will express little interest in traditional board games. However, when there are games built around something that they are interested in, they might be more inclined to play one.

The popular High School Musical franchise has given board games a number of opportunities to base games off of the idea. It has produced a game based on a “Mystery Date,” where players must race around the board, getting ready for a mystery blind date with one of the boys from High School Musical. Not only is the person of the date in question, but whether the player can even be ready for the date in time is one of the driving forces of the game. Whichever player can race around the board and complete all of their tasks in time will be the winner.

Another High School Musical game is one in which players have to prepare and be ready for the audition. Trying out for the school play was the major theme in the High School Musical movie and in this game, players can feel the same rush of emotions as the characters of the movie did, trying to perform well and land the part. These games give teenagers a chance to experience some of the fun of one of their favorite movies while still giving them the opportunity to interact with each other in a safe manner.

Other, popular action movies can also provide the chance for some fun games to be produced. Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers have both given their images to a number of games. You could find a Pirates of the Caribbean edition of Life or a Transformers edition of Risk. These games take the excitement of the movies they are based on and allow different teenagers to feel the same thrill they might have found in the theaters in the comfort of their own home. Again, they allow teenagers the chance to interact with each other in an environment which is safe and might keep them out of trouble which they may otherwise get themselves into.

This isn’t to say that traditional games aren’t popular with teenagers as well. Monopoly and Clue can both provide a fun night for any number of people. Teenagers aren’t exempt from this; they only sometimes need an extra little push into feeling like they are allowed to simply enjoy a board game. There is a lot of pressure on teenagers to conform to certain ideas and peer pressure can be high. Playing board games isn’t usually one of those things that teenagers can be pressured into by their friends. However, when the game is something that all of the teenagers will enjoy, it is much easier to convince them to play the games.

Teenage Gambling Addiction Education Needed At Local Schools

For the past few years teenage gambling has been increasing at an exponential rate. The increase in gambling can be contributed to family members who gamble, multiple television programs like poker tournaments and skillful advertising from the gambling establishments. It’s becoming an epidemic among our teenagers with no real solution being presented to the educators of our schools systems.

The new stream of commercials related to stop gambling has had very little affect. The commercials are geared towards helping people stop gambling but are not geared towards the individuals who have not experienced gambling at this point in time. The stop gambling commercials have not been able to reach the teenager with a compulsive gambling addiction. They however may reach the parents who may realize their child has a problem.

The only way to help our youth is to educate them in the classroom and at home. I remember years ago in health class they educated us on smoking and drinking. This was very effective on those individuals who never started. But the ones that were already addicted the educational programs were unable to reach them.

There following educational curriculums are needed for today’s students:

a)Helpful Resources for identifying teenagers who may have a compulsive gambling addiction.

b)Helping Teenagers identify their compulsive gambling addiction

c)Educating teenagers on compulsive gambling addiction. This one is my favorite because this has the best opportunity to prevent a teenager from gambling, helping teenagers identify the signs of compulsive gambling addiction and if the teenager has a problem with gambling.

d)Giving Teenagers the tools to identify others who may have a gambling addiction like their parents. This one has to be handled sensitively. I have received numerous emails from teenagers who did not know where to go, who to talk to in order to help a family member.

e)Educating Teenagers on the resources available to get help by giving them the local stop gambling telephone numbers and helpful stop gambling websites.

f)Understanding Compulsive Gambling Addiction

g)Practical exercises for teenagers with addictions to learn about self esteem, trust and more.

The above educational curriculums are needed to help educate the teenage population.

As each year passes the amount of teenager’s addicted to gambling increases. This increase is due to the increased exposure. This exposure is due to the increase in the number of cable and television gambling programs, advetising by local gambling establishements, retailers jumping on poker craze selling poker chips, the increase in the number of state lotto drawings per day and the state advertising for their scratch off tickets.