The BBC has just released their findings from the world's largest loneliness study. 55,000 people took part in the BBC's Loneliness Experiment in collaboration with the Wellcome Collection. The people who took the survey were asked how they would define the feeling of ‘loneliness’. The results were surprising. In fact, being around people or not has no bearing on loneliness. Instead, it’s a more complex notion. In the top five responses, for example, was that people felt loneliness was simply not feeling understood.
The English language is a peculiar beast. In what other language would you pronounce 'law', 'caught', 'sure', and 'poor' with the same vowel sound? Or pronounce all these words with different sounding 'o' sounds? ‘Stop', 'hope', 'London', 'now’?
Accents are important. They are an intrinsic part of who we are. They are part of our heritage. They tell the story of our background and our culture. So, why would we want to get rid of them? Well, as much as they are an asset to us, accents can be a double-edged sword, and for many they represent a conflict. For, while on the one hand, our accents are an integral part of our identity; on the other hand, for a non-native English speaker living and working in the UK, an accent can feel like it gets in the way of effective communication in English. And that can be a problem.
Your English is Already Great
Before we begin, it’s important to establish something really important: your English is great.
I mean it.
You are speaking a language that is not your mother tongue, and functioning very well. On a day-to-day basis you’re ordering food, getting from A to B, socializing and forging friendships. So, before we go any further, pat yourself on the back for your achievements. Functioning in a second language is more than many people will ever achieve. Well done.
We are delighted to be kicking off the new year with the release of a new eBook, in which our founder Emma Serlin shares her top 5 tools for making sure your accent doesn’t get in the way of your effective communication.
Elocution is an antiquated term, usually associated with clichéd phrases such as ‘how now brown cow’, or Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins. We think it is a path to speaking properly, and it associated with received pronunciation, or a neutral non accented English.
When looking into accent softening, it is at first important to understand that it's no mean feat!
The delivery of what you say can make all the difference in how your audience remembers you - for both the right and wrong reasons!
Remember that lacklustre speech you endured that almost sent you sleep? Believe it or not, it could have all been down to the vowels...
Before I set up London Speech Workshop I had never heard of Accent Softening. So I was even more surprised when I realised that for many non-native speakers, the experience of having an accent can be really challenging.
Words are the great facilitator of our communication. When we use words sloppily therefore, we are undermining our position as communicators.