Recently, it seems like a majority of our accent modification clients are jet-setting around the world for a little time with family in far-a-way destinations, or to fulfill work obligations. They have been asking for suggestions as to how to practice during these hectic times when attendance at their accent modification classes is not possible and they do not have time to schedule distance training sessions.
Here are some practical tasks:
- For clients who will be speaking Business English on their trips, they can audio/video record presentations or their end of telephone calls, and we can share/critique upon their return. They can also evaluate the recordings on their own to develop a self-awareness of their newly learned strategies.
- If they are traveling in English-speaking countries, they can try to find the stress and intonation rules of North American English on all written materials, including restaurant menus, hotel brochures, business cards, etc. When they practice reading aloud using the correct pronunciation of proper nouns, compound nouns, acronyms, etc., they are learning to carry over these skills into daily situations.
- We suggest that they take a copy of the RULES personal introductory script and tape it to a mirror so they can practice it numerous times during the day/evening.
- They can review the words from their personal pronunciation notebook and put 10 challenging words with the same target sound on separate index cards. They rotate the cards every week, depending upon how long they are traveling.
- If they have internet access, they can sign into the RULES BY THE SOUND online platform and continue the exercises they have worked on at home.
Of course, it is very difficult to maintain the same discipline for practice that they have while actively attending accent modification sessions at home. However, practicing new speech habits for several, brief “mindful” periods of time during a trip, makes the transition back home less frustrating in the long run. This is particularly important if they are communicating in their native language for an extended period of time.
Lynda Katz Wilner and Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker formed ESL RULES, LLC in 2006. Through this joint business venture they provide workshops and produce and distribute their unique training materials for accent modification and communication training. Their line of products address critical and frequently confused English grammatical, semantic, and syntactic rules of speech and pronunciation for nonnative English speakers in the financial/business, scientific/medical, information technology, hospitality, and religious/spiritual settings.
For more on the ESL RULES line of products, please visit www.eslrules.com.