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Speaking Skills

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Accent features and examples of an Estuary English accent, which is one of the London accents.

  • sing-song rhythm, but not as exaggerated as the Cockney accent
  • using lots of glottal stops
  • /h/ is usually pronounced in content words, e.g. ‘house’ is /haʊs/
  • /h/ might be dropped in function words like ‘have’, e.g. /æv/
  • The ‘th’ sound /θ/ may be replaced with /f/
  • The ‘th’ sound /ð/ may be replaced with /v/ or /d/
  • Fool / fall sound the same

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That “you should always pronounce your t’s” is commonly given advice, as regards speaking with a ‘posh’ accent. Not pronouncing your t’s inside words is a pronunciation feature that is called the ‘glottal stop’. In traditional accent training work, students are taught to always pronounce their t’s inside words and to avoid using glottal stops. 

Not pronouncing the /t/ sound in the middle or final position of words is a pronunciation feature that is widely known to be associated with London accents. However, what most people aren’t aware of is that the glottal stop has spread far beyond London. These days, the glottal stop is even heard in some Scottish (Glaswegian) and Welsh regional accents!

Clear Speech Versus ‘Sloppy Speech’ in British English

When native speakers of British English work to improve their speech by taking elocution lessons, the main focus of such training is often learning the ‘correct’ pronunciation of /t/. This is because not pronouncing /t/ is regarded as being sloppy, by some some people. 

Learning how to pronounce /t/ in the standard way is a central part of the speech training that actors undertake at the top British drama schools, like RADA. This is because actors must learn to speak ‘properly’ in order to act in the theatre or to get roles in television period dramas.

Listen to Greg Hicks, an actor from the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing as King Lear. Notice that he always pronounces his t’s…

‘Posh English’ and the Pronunciation of /t/

Pronouncing /t/ in all positions of a word, as in the above video, creates a refined impression. Since ‘t’ is present in the spelling of words, most people agree that it is ‘correct’ to pronounce words with a /t/  sound instead of using glottal stops.

Always pronouncing /t/ is the ideal form of the English language. However, most people do not speak this carefully in everyday life because it requires extra effort.

I take care to pronounce my t’s when giving poetry or literary readings. I  also make an effort to pronounce my t’s in formal situations. The rest of the time, it is more natural for me to pronounce words using glottal stops.

“Always Pronounce Your t’s”: Is This Outdated Advice?

Non-native English speakers should always aim to pronounce /t/ inside words. There is no point learning to speak with glottal stops because they are a regional accent feature. Furthermore, most people would agree that it’s better for your pronunciation to sound refined, rather than sloppy!

The situation regarding the pronunciation of ‘t’ is different for native Britons. In the below video, I discuss why in relaxed speech (informal situations), I no longer make an effort to pronounce my t’s:

To conclude, whether or not you should always pronounce your t’s  depends on your social milieu (the social circles that you move in) and whether you want to be perceived as posh, or not. It also depends on which part of the country you are from.

  • To create a ‘posh impression’ you should always pronounce your t’s.
  • To create an informal impression, some glottal stops are perfectly acceptable.
  • Not pronouncing your t’s isn’t socially frowned upon, as it was in the past. 

That being said, most people agree that pronouncing /t in words sounds much better.

Finally, I’ll leave you with some food for thought (something to think about). Prince Harry often uses glottal stops in his speech. What does that suggest about him?

“Always Pronounce Your t’s” : Prince Harry Doesn’t Agree

Recent studies (Milroy, Milroy & Walshaw 1994, Fabricius 2000) have suggested that t-glottalization is increasing in RP speech.  Prince Harry frequently glottalizes his t’s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-glottalization


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Hello students!

In this lesson, we cover four commonly used words in the English language and learn how to pronounce them in their weak form.

The weak form is the natural way that native speakers use these words, so you will need to practise using these pronunciations in your conversations to really enhance your English-speaking skills.

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Today’s lesson: How to pronounce: ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’, and ‘some’

In today’s lesson we’re going to learn how to pronounce: ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ and ‘some’. These four words are among the most frequently used words in the English language.

Four very important words in English: ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’, ‘some’

I am going to teach you to pronounce them in their weak form, which is the natural way that native speakers use these words.

Many of my students know the weak pronunciations of these words in theory, but I often find that they’re not applying it practically. So even if you know this, I want you to practise this again with me in this lesson.

I would also like to set you an exercise. This week, when you’re speaking English, make sure you apply what we’re going to learn in this lesson. It is important that you take your knowledge from a theoretical level to a practical level.

How to pronounce ‘a’

Strong: /eɪ/

Pronunciation of ‘a’ strong form

Weak: /ə/ – Sounds like “uh”

Pronunciation of ‘a’ weak form

It doesn’t get simpler than “a.” Native speakers can use both the strong and weak form of “a”, but most of the time when we’re speaking in a natural flow, we use the weak form.

You’ve got to train your ear to be able to hear it, because it’s such a quick sound, it is easy to miss.

Examples phrases:

He drives a car.

I gave him a present.

She told me a joke.

How to pronounce ‘an’

Strong: /æn/

Pronunciation of ‘an’ strong form

Weak: /ən/ – Sounds like “uhn”

Pronunciation of ‘an’ weak form

The strong form of this word uses the same vowel that is in the word, “cat.”

But again, the weak form is more commonly used by native speakers. The weak form is pronounced like “uhn.”

Example phrases:

He drives an old car.

She’s an actor.

Do you want an apple.

How to pronounce ‘the’

Strong: /ðiː/ – Sounds like “thee”

Pronunciation of ‘the’ strong form

Weak: /ðə/

Pronunciation of ‘the’ weak form

“The” is actually the most common word in the English language. It’s ranked number one. The strong form sounds like “thee.” But we don’t really use it that much. The example that always comes to mind is the old-fashioned ending of a black and white film when it says, “The End.” It is using the strong form because it sounds more final.

Example phrases:

Go to the bank.

Talk to the doctor.

The children were laughing.

How to pronounce ‘some’

Strong: /sʌm/

Pronunciation of ‘some’ strong form

Weak: /səm/

Pronunciation of ‘some’ weak form

Our last word is “some”.

For the strong form, the vowel we have is /ʌ/ like in the word “up.”

Native speakers can use both the strong and weak form of this word, but again, when said in day-to-day conversation we usually pronounce the word “some” in its weak form.

In my accent, the /ʌ/ and /ə/ (schwa) vowels are very close together. The main difference between these vowel sounds is that the weak form with schwa will sound quieter and faster inside a word or sentence.

Example phrases:

Have some water.

Do you want some cake?

Can you lend me some money?

THE END!
The stressed pronunciation of ‘The End’, like the one we hear at the end of an old film.

Thank you for joining me for this lesson.

Please remember the exercise I want you to do this week. When you are speaking English, try to pronounce these common words in their weak form because this is the way that native speakers speak English.

If you start using these weak forms, it’s going to elevate your English and give you a much better rhythm. They’re small words, but they’re very important for the overall music of your English.

Thank you again for joining this lesson. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email newsletter (see the box below) to be informed of my latest Clear Accent lessons.

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Hello Students!

I am going to teach you how to give constructive criticism without causing offence or hurting people’s feelings.

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Today’s communication skills lesson: how to give somebody constructive criticism

In today’s lesson, we will learn how to give somebody constructive criticism and feedback. We’re going to learn the magic formula, which will enable you to give your opinion about somebody else’s creative work– their writing, their poetry, their drawing, their photography– without the person to whom you are speaking taking it personally or being offended.

While it can often be necessary to offer an opinion on someone’s work, most people do not like being criticised. This is important to understand. We need to deliver what we want to say in a way that’s not going to cause a problem.

The word ‘criticism’

The word ‘criticism’ and related words, like ‘critic’ and ‘critical’, derives from an ancient Greek word ‘krino‘, which means “I judge”.

People do not like being judged. When you offer your criticism, people feel like they are being judged; and this is why some of us are able to take it, and others just can’t take criticism at all.

Before you criticise… Stop and think!

Before you criticise, I want you to stop and think.

1. Is what you’ve got to say tactful? meaning, are you delivering it in a sensitive way?

2. Are you demonstrating that you have emotional intelligence, which means an understanding of how that person might react when you criticise their work? When you have emotional intelligence, you’re able to make a judgment about what kind of criticism you can give to that person.

3. Have you considered whether you should be giving any feedback at all? We must consider the boundaries between people. Maybe it is not your place to criticise that person’s work. I can think about my own personal experience when I was a university student. When my lecturers criticised my work and gave me suggestions for improvement, it was welcomed. However, when my peers, the other students on the course, did the same thing, I usually did not welcome that.

4. Is the feedback going to be helpful to them? Is your criticism really needed? Will it make a difference to the current work or future work? If not, it may be better to keep it to yourself.

5. Is the feedback going to be achievable? Is the feedback is too advanced or beyond their level of skill?

I want you to think about all of these points before you apply the magic formula, because the magic formula can’t work if you’re trying to give criticism where it is not appropriate.

The magic formula when delivering criticism and feedback

The magic formula is sometimes called a compliment sandwich. You give someone a compliment, but you follow it with an observation which is negative.

“I really like how you did ‘X’ (Put your positive observation here), but I think ‘Y’ (Put your criticism here) needs a little more attention”

It’s a way of softening your criticism, because you’re giving them something motivating, but then, after that, you’re just saying, oh, there’s this small issue over here that you should maybe have a look at.

Giving Constructive Feedback with a Compliment Sandwich

Let’s make this real by giving an example. Imagine I am talking about your painting:

I really like how you did the background, but I think your subject needs a little more attention.

You may need to change the verb “did”. For example, you may say: I really like how you ‘depicted’, how you ‘demonstrated’, how you ‘illustrated’, how you ‘evoked’. We can use all kinds of descriptive verbs there.

Different phrases you can use to give criticism

“It was unclear in parts”
A softer way of suggesting the work is not particularly good in some parts. The use of “it” keeps the criticism focused on the work itself and does not feel like a personal attack on the creator of the work.

X could be developed further”
A way of suggesting the person can add more to a specific part. They can make it longer or redo that part of the work. This type of criticism is a little bit vague and you are leaving it up to the other person to decide what you mean and whether they should amend their work.

“You might rework the X a touch”
“Rework” means do again and “a touch” means a little bit. For example, “You might rework the conclusion a touch”.

“It might be worth rethinking that part” 
This is a softer way of suggesting that somebody makes a change.

Now we can soften it one step further, which is we can use expressions such as “in the future”, “if you have time”, or “next time”.

For example:

In the future, you might consider making the introduction a bit longer.

Using hedging language

Hedging language makes your opinion softer and more tactful. It may not be good to use this language when you want to sound assertive or confident. However, when we are giving someone criticism, it can be kinder to express criticism using hedging language.

List of Hedging Phrases Used in English

We can say:

a bit, a little, somewhat, slightly, maybe, perhaps, sometimes, a touch, could be, might be.

You can place these in the phrases I demonstarted earlier on. Then, when you are giving someone criticism, they’ll be able to take what you’re saying without getting upset or offended.

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Thank you for joining me for this lesson. You should now know how to deliver constructive criticism in a way that expresses your feedback without causing any offence or conflicts. Don’t forget to like the video, comment and subscribe if you haven’t done so already.

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Hello Students!

I am going to teach you the correct pronunciation of the number three (3) along with its many other forms such as amounts, positions and telling the time.

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Clear accent lesson: how to pronounce the number three (3)

In today’s lesson, we are going to learn the correct pronunciation of the number three (3) and many of its associated forms.

We start with a variety of ordinal numbers (forms of a number that that tell us an amount) ranging between 3 and 3 billion. Later on, we will also cover cardinal numbers (forms of a number that tell us the position) such as third (3rd) and thirteenth (13th).

We will also look at different uses of the number three when telling the time along with related words that will help you expand your general vocabulary.

Finally, I have some really useful repeat-after-me sentences that contain the vocabulary in this lesson which you can use to practice.

How to make the “th” sound: /θ/

The number three is the most difficult to pronounce and I find that most of my students struggle with the “th” sound. Some of my students pronounce the number “thirty-three” (33) as “dirty tree” which can often be amusing.

Don’t say ‘dirty tree’

Place your tongue lightly on the back of your front teeth. You need to leave a slight gap with your lower teeth; then, as your tongue rests lightly in that gap touching the teeth, you release and blow.

The difficult thing about this sound is it takes time to develop muscle holding your tongue in that place. So, it can feel a bit strange at first. This sound is difficult because it doesn’t exist in that many of the world’s languages

 

Cardinal numbers – how to pronounce numbers three, thirty-three and more…

It’s important to study the following numbers with the number three. You will notice from the IPA in the table below that some of these numbers have a different first syllable. Numbers such as thirty begin with a /θɜː/ “thur” sound, like in the first syllable of “Thursday”.

It is also good to know that the larger numbers; million and billion, are pronounced with just two syllables by native English speakers. The second syllable has a /jən/ sound. In interpreted spelling, this sounds like ‘yen’ to an English native speaker.

Please refer to the video for more information on how to pronounce the following cardinal numbers.

NumberWordPronunciation (IPA)
3three/θriː/
13thirteen/θɜːˈtiːn/
30thirty/ˈθɜː.ti/
33thirty-three/ˌθɜː.ti ˈθriː/
300three hundred/ˈθriː ˈhʌn.drəd/
3000three thousand/ˈθriː ˈθaʊ.zənd/
30,000thirty thousand/ˈθɜː.ti ˈθaʊ.zənd/
300,000three hundred thousand/ˈθriː ˈhʌn.drəd ˈθaʊ.zənd/
3,000,000three million/ˈθriː ˈmɪl.jən/
3,000,000,000three billion/ˈθriː ˈbɪl.jən/

Ordinal numbers – How to pronounce third, thirtieth and more

If you’re in a race, a running race, and you come third, that tells us your position. There were two people before you.

Please refer to the video for more information on how to pronounce the following ordinal numbers.

NumberWordPronunciation (IPA)Notes
3rdthird/θɜːd/Similar to 'word' or 'bird'
13ththirteenth/ˌθɜːˈtiːnθ/thur-teenth
*like turn, burn, surf
30ththirtieth/ˈθɜːti.əθ/thur-tee-əth
33rdthirty-third/ˌθɜː.ti θɜːd/thur-tee-thurd

Telling the time

When telling the time, it is important to know that you do not need to pronounce the “PM”. But if you do, then you simply say the letters P and M.

Please refer to the video for more information on how to pronounce the following ordinal numbers.

TimeWordPronunciation (IPA)
3:00pmthree p.m./θriː ˌpiːˈem/
3:30pmthree-thirty p.m./ˈθriː ˈθɜː.ti piːˈem/

Similar words

Here are some more words that are associated with the number three. These are handy to know and give you more words to use in your vocabulary.

triple (adj)
/ˈtrɪp.əl/
E.g. Please may I have a triple serving of chips.

treble (adv) 
/ˈtreb.əl/
This means 3 times the amount. E.g. We played 3 games of bowling, which is treble the cost of just one game.

trinity (n)
/ˈtrɪn.ə.ti/
E.g. The Holy Trinity from Christianity.

trio (n)
/ˈtri.əʊ/
E.g. A trio of musicians

threesome (n)
/ˈθriːsəm/
E.g. A group of three people is a threesome. *Be careful using this word as it can have a sexual connotation.

Words to do with the number three.

Repeat after me exercises

Practice these sentences to get better at pronouncing the words from this lesson. Please refer to the video to repeat after me.

The event is on the 3rd of April.

I’m not available on Friday the 13th.

I’ll see you at 3.30pm.

We break for lunch at 13.00 hours

The car is worth £3000.

I only ate 1/3 of the pizza.

I’m in my thirties.

I’ll have three free coffees please.

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Thank you for joining me for this lesson. You should now know how to correctly pronounce the number three in many different forms and have more words in your vocabulary. Don’t forget to like the video, comment and subscribe if you haven’t done so already.

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Hello Students!

Today I am going to explore whether there is a standard correct pronunciation of a word and if you need to be concerned about incorrect pronunciations.

 

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Today’s clear accent lesson: Correct pronunciation of words

Today I will be delving into if there is a standard correct pronunciation of a word and whether we should be concerned with mispronunciations.

On the one hand we know there is a standard pronunciation for words because quite simply that is what you will see when you look in a dictionary.

However, on the other hand it may well depend on the dictionary that you are looking in. For example, we know there are differences between American English and British English. Additionally, if you check the same word in the British, Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries, in some cases, you will still find different pronunciations.

You may also find that you and those close around you pronounce words a certain way, only to discover this is not how either dictionary suggests the word should be pronounced. Does that mean it is incorrect?

Does mispronunciation matter?

Well, I believe it depends on the situation you are in and what your needs are regarding English. As a teacher, I do like the notion of there being a standard correct pronunciation of a word. We should strive towards an ideal form of a word.

But who decides on the ideal form? That is a different matter, but let’s say if a few dictionaries agree on the correct pronunciation of a word, nine times out of 10, I’m going to go with what they say. Depending on the situation I may even adapt my own pronunciation, but I don’t advise this for everyone.  I’m just a pronunciation geek!

You may adapt your pronunciation according to the context. So, if you’re in a posh, formal or business situation, you may want to use the ideal form of a word, the dictionary form. But, otherwise, in a relaxed context, where you are just being yourself, you may wish to knowingly pronounce a word in a different way, which is just normal for you in your accent.

What about your accent?

When you consider the variety of different accents, the question of “Is there a correct pronunciation of words?” becomes a bit of a hot potato. People have strong opinions on this because they will say there should not be an ideal form of how a word is pronounced due to the many different accents that exist. The way a person says a word is going to depend on their accent.

While this may be true, I believe there is such a thing as an ideal form of language. Knowing the rules and using the rules is a kind of discipline, so it takes a lot of training to get there. It is a skill and you have to work for it.

So, yes, there is what we can call a standard or correct form and usually that’s a good form for students to pronounce. But if for any other reason, such as you don’t have that accent or you are not interested in the specifics of pronunciation, it doesn’t really matter.

My view is, as a lover of language, reading, words, I like to say words in their ideal form.

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2 years + of mewing: my personal experience of working to improve my tongue posture. In this video I talk about the benefits I have received from mewing which are related to my appearance, posture and overall health. I will also show you some before and after pictures so that you can see my personal mewing transformation. In this video I also explain that breathing through your mouth is unhealthy, and that mewing can correct this overtime. Finally, I give you some tips and a demonstration about how you can mew too!

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Hello Students!

Together we are going to breakdown the four different English pronunciations of the word ‘garage’.

The way you pronounce this word says something about you in terms of your social class. You probably didn’t know that.

So based on your pronunciation of this word we’re going to find out whether you are posh, if you’re at the top of the social scale, or whether you are one of the common people, if your speech is like that of the common man.

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Today’s Clear Accent Lesson: ‘garage’

In English language, there are four different ways that you can pronounce the word ‘garage’. Each pronunciation will reveal whether you’re posh, common, somewhere in the middle, or perhaps even American.

Once we’ve discovered the four pronunciations, we’re going to learn similar words that end with this spelling pattern.

Pronunciation 1: garage is /ˈgær.ɑːʒ/

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[ /ˈgær.ɑːʒ/ ]

The last sound in here is a very French sounding phoneme /ʒ/. Note that it sounds slightly different at the end of ‘garage’ because it is positioned at the end of the word where it is devoiced. This means it doesn’t sound as ‘strong’.

[ /ʒ/ ]

A quick demonstration of how to pronounce it. Make a “dah” sound, and that spot where your tongue touches, leave a gap and let the air travel through as your vocal cords vibrate. /ʒ/ – It’s not a sound made with your tongue touching, but it’s in a similar place. You’ve got to leave a gap.

Now, if you pronounce the word like that, what social class does it reveal about you?

This is the posh pronunciation of the word.

Pronunciation 2: garage is /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/

[ /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/ ]

Hopefully you can pick up the sound difference.  If we study the IPA /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/, it’s very similar to the IPA in pronunciation one. The difference is the last phoneme; /ˈgær.ɑːʤ/

In this case there is a /ʤ/ like in my name, ‘Jade’ /ˈʤeɪd/.

[ /ʤ/ ]

But because it’s at the end of the word in this case, it’s not as strong as it sounds at the beginning because it is devoiced. If you have a look at the symbols you will notice it is made up of two symbols.

So it begins pretty much like a /d/, and it ends like a /ʒ/.

[ /d/ ]

[ /ʒ/ ]

Try to think of it as a combination of the two sounds.

[ /ɑːʤ/ ]

The social class of pronouncing this word in this manner, I would say places you somewhere in the middle.

Pronunciation 3: garage is /ˈgær.ɪʤ/

[ /ˈgær.ɪʤ/ ]

For the third pronunciation /ˈgær.ɪʤ/ we’re getting a little bit different now, because we’ve got a different vowel here /ˈgær.ɪʤ/. The last sound in the word is /ɪʤ/

This one is the pronunciation of the common folk, the everyday people.

Pronunciation 4: garage /gəˈrɑːʒ/

[ /gəˈrɑːʒ/ ]

Our last pronunciation is the American pronunciation, although you’ll probably find some British people pronounce it that way, because we are influenced by American media.

But we know as a general rule that this is an American pronunciation, because they tend to put the stress on the second syllable. Whereas the British pronunciations put the stress on the first syllable.

Words ending in ‘”A-G-E” with /ɑːʒ/ pronunciation

Let’s look at the spelling patterns and the pronunciation patterns for words ending in “A-G-E” pronounced /ɑːʒ/. This would be like the posh pronunciation of the word garage /ˈgær.ɑːʒ/.

massage (n) – where you go when your body is aching.

mirage (n) – something that you see in the desert. You think you see water there, but it’s not really there.

camouflage (n) – what people in the army wear to hide from the enemy.

sabotage (n) – what you do to an enemy. So you damage their equipment.

espionage (n) – the activity of spying.

Let’s bring it together, so it sticks in your mind a bit. The last three have a military association, as do many French words that have entered English.

Words ending in ‘”A-G-E” with /ɪʤ/ pronunciation

This time, “A-G-E” is pronounced /ɪʤ/. This is weird. We don’t expect words spelt “A-G-E” to have a /ɪʤ/sound. My students commonly mispronounce these words.

message (n) – Send a text message.

village (n) –  A sleepy village.

garbage (n)- The garbage bin is in the garden.

average (n)- I live on an average street.

damage (n) – There is damage caused to my car in the garage.

Words ending in ‘”A-G-E” with /eɪʤ/pronunciation

The last pronunciation is “A-G-E,” with a /ʤ/ sound and it’s a bit different. This is a good way to show you that the same spelling patterns isn’t always going to be pronounced in the same way. Look at these short words for example;

age (n)

page (n)

rage (n)

stage (n)

gauge (n)

cage (n)

All of them end in a /ʤ/ sound.

There’s one tricky word on here; ‘gauge’. This is a kind of measuring device, such as a fuel gauge in a car, which will tell you how much petrol you have got left.

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Saying “NO!” is a very simple way to refuse. However, native speakers of English say “no” in many different ways which you might not know yet. It’s important for you to learn all the ways in which we can say “no” in order to prevent misunderstandings. You should also learn to use these because in some situations, you need to use stronger language. I will teach you 25 ways to refuse in a strong and direct way. Depending on where you come from, this may not be usual in your home country or culture. But in English-speaking countries, being direct is very often the most appropriate behavior. You will learn expressions such as “No way, Jose”, “under no circumstance”, “out of the question”, “no chance”, “fat chance”, “not gonna happen”, and many more. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to say the simple and common word “no” with more variety than ever before.

English Jade: Practice /b/

In this lesson, we will practice the pronunciation and spelling of the /b/ sound in English. As I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear, /b/ is quite an easy consonant to learn because there isn’t much variation in the spellings. 

If Spanish is your native language, also take care not to pronounce /b/ as a /v/ sound. This error occurs because in standard Spanish the letters ‘b’ and ‘v’ sound alike.

Practice /b/ Words and Phrases: Some Examples from the Lesson Recording

budge: budge up buddy

hobnob: hobnob a lot

bubble: bubble bath

knobbly: Dobby’s knobbly knees

gibberish: scribble some gibberish

English Jade: Practice /k/ Advanced Spellings

In this lesson, we will learn the pronunciation and spelling of the /k/ sound in English in words that have unusual spellings. This lesson is Part Four of Four on /k/.

In the previous lessons on /k/ you learnt:

  • /k/ is the most diverse consonant in terms of spelling patterns
  • /k/ is often spelt with the letter ‘c’
  • a letter /k/ in a word’s spelling is always pronounced /k/

Many of the example words in this lesson are foreign loan words.


Practice Unusual /k/ Words: Some Examples from the Lesson Recording

Iraq: In Iraq, women are clad in burqas and nicabs

qwerty: thirty dirty qwerty keyboards

quick: ask a squid a quick question

quiche: quiche recipe

equinox: spring equinox

Get the full lesson notes and recordings by becoming a subscriber to English Jade. CLICK HERE.

English Jade: Practice /k/

In this lesson, we will learn the pronunciation and spelling of the /k/ sound in English when it is spelt with the letter ‘k’. This lesson is Part Three of Four on the /k/ sound.

Let’s refresh how to make a /k/ sound…

Articulating the /k/ Sound

  • /k/ and /g/ are articulated in the same place.
  • /k/ is an unvoiced consonant: you hear the sound of air being released.
  • /k/ is a stop consonant: the flow of air is temporarily blocked before it is released.
  • /k/ is a velar consonant, which means the sound is made by making contact with the soft palate (the roof of the mouth towards the back).

Now let’s warm up the /k/ sound…

k = /kə kə kə/ 

kit kat = /ˈkɪt.kæt ˈkɪt.kæt ˈkɪt.kæt / 

tick-tock = /ˌtɪk ˈtɒk ˌtɪk ˈtɒk ˌtɪk ˈtɒk/


Practice /k/ Spelt ‘k’: Some Examples from the Lesson Recording:

kick: kick the bucket

kin: kith and kin are all invited

knickknack: granny’s knickknacks

outlook: the outlook is bleak

Get the full lesson notes and recordings by becoming a subscriber to English Jade. CLICK HERE.

English Jade: Practice /k/

In this lesson, we will continue learning the pronunciation and spelling of the /k/ sound in English when it is spelt with the letter ‘c’. This time we are focusing on consonant clusters, which occur when more than one consonant is pronounced in succession, such as when <scr> in a word’s spelling is pronounced /scr/. This lesson is Part Two of Four on the /k/ sound.

We will learn the following spelling and pronunciation patterns in this lesson:

  1. consonant cluster <scu> is usually pronounced with the /ʌ/ vowel:

scum               scuff              scurry                sculpt                   scuffle

  • consonant cluster <cl> is pronounced /kl/:

clap                 clasp                 clown                  clock                    clean

  • consonant cluster <cr> is pronounced /kr/:

crown                crow                  cream                create                   cry

  • consonant cluster /ct/ is pronounced /kt/

act                     direct                 fact                     object                  elect         

  • in <lc> medial words, the /l/ and /k/ are in separate syllables:

falcon             alcove                welcome             alcohol              volcano

  • in <rc> medial words, the /r/ and /k/ are in separate syllables:

Note: /r/ is not pronounced in Standard British English

circuit              circus                 Arctic                 narcotic              arcade    


Practice /k/ Spelt ‘c’: Some Examples from the Lesson Recording:

scuff: skidding scuffs your shoes

clean: clean clogs

cream: the cream of the crop

insect: infested with infectious insects

Get the full lesson notes and recordings by becoming a subscriber to English Jade. CLICK HERE.