By Barbara Perone
Interviewing is stressful, especially if English is your second language.
Rules for pronouncing certain words in English, which are second nature to native English-speakers, can be especially challenging for non-native speakers. For example, words like: bough, cough, rough, plough, though, and through are all pronounced differently even though they all have the same ough-ending.
But for non-native English speakers, a rule like that can be difficult to remember—especially if he or she has to use one of those words during a job interview.
Easy English NEWS
Fortunately, there is a newspaper available for those want to master English language skills and ace their interviews. Elizabeth Claire’s Easy English NEWS, based in Virginia, is geared toward helping anyone who wants to write and speak more like an American. In a recent issue, the newspaper provided subscribers with information about voiceless versus voiced consonants.
Consonants are sounds people make when the flow of air in their mouths is either slowed or stopped by their: lips, teeth, tongues, or the roofs of their mouths, thus causing their vocal cords to vibrate.
Examples of voiceless consonants are the letters: b, d, g, j, l, m, n, r, th, v, y, and z. By contrast, voiced consonants do not cause a human’s vocal cords to vibrate, they include the letters: f, h, k, p, qu, s, t, x, ch, sh, and th.
By practicing using both kinds of consonants one can improve one’s English pronunciation, according to the newspaper, which also provides explanations of American idioms.
Idioms are groups of commonly used words whose meanings cannot be derived literally from the words themselves, e.g., the idioms struck a blow for or to strike a blow for do not have anything to do with hitting anyone or anything, they simply mean to have an effect upon.
To learn the meanings of the hundreds of idioms, used in everyday English, and understand the definitions of words that sometimes have multiple meanings, or learn tips on how to pronounce words correctly, you can subscribe to the Easy English NEWS by visiting their website www.Elizabethclaire.com, sending an email to ESL@Elizabethclaire.com, or calling 757-430-4308.
Before going on that all-important job interview, if you want real-life practice speaking English there is a free, English as a Second Language (ESL) software program you can use at the Somerville Workforce Learning Link, located at 27 Warren Street in Somerville.
Besides offering assistance to those interested in ESL, the Learning Link open, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., also provides free help for job seekers who want to improve basic skills in: math, reading, writing, using a computer, and learning how to take the General Education Development (GED) exam, equivalent to a high school diploma in the United States.
For more details about the Link’s ESL software program & courses, call 908-541-5781.
English Language Learning Center in Basking Ridge
To borrow DVDs, tapes, and books about ESL, patrons can visit the English Language Learning Center section of the Bernards Township Library, located at 32 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge.
For more information about the library’s ESL materials, call at 908-204-3031.
The Princeton Public Library, located at 65 Witherspoon Street in Princeton, also has ESL resources on hand. To find out more about them visit the library’s website www.princetonlibrary.org or call 609-924-9529.
Listening to broadcasters on television, or the radio, is another way to learn how to pronounce words correctly in English. Tune in to any talk radio station or TV news channel and you’ll notice that the announcers, news anchors, and television reporters often speak slowly, with a deliberate cadence in their speech, forcing them to pronounce words clearly and concisely.
One of the most eloquent news anchors in U.S. history was the late, Walter Cronkite, labeled the most trusted man in America, who was also the managing editor of the CBS Evening News for 20 years before retiring in 1981. As a veteran broadcaster, Cronkite made it a point to always try to pronounce words exactly as they are spelled, e.g., he always correctly pronounced the second month of the year as February instead of Febuary, a word that is often mispronounced and misspelled by many.
Factoid: More people speak English in India than in the United States.