Perfecting Your English Pronunciation 2nd Edition

Perfecting Your English Pronunciation 2nd Edition PDF

Author: Susan Cameron

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education


Publish Date: March 14, 2018

ISBN-10: 1260117022

Pages: 304

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

I would like to thank the many people who have made this book, video recording, and audio recording set a reality. I am indebted to McGraw-Hill Education, and especially to my wonderful editors Holly McGuire (original edition) and Christopher Brown (revised edition) for guiding me through the process of publication. I am eternally grateful to my colleagues, who have taught me so much and who continue to inspire me daily, especially Patricia Fletcher and Deborah Hecht.
For the text of the book, I thank Patricia Fletcher and Nick Cian-frogna for their editing suggestions and input. Thanks, too, to those who helped me in the early writing, especially Sara Wolski, literary consultant extraordinaire; my sister Meg MacDonald, for editing support; Keith Buhl, for lending me his IPA font; Diego Galan, for assistance with the business text in Part Four; and Theodora P. Loukas, for compiling and typing the numerous word lists.
I am grateful to the talented people who helped create the video and audio recordings: Nick Cianfrogna for lending his terrific voice to the extensive word lists, and Mariah Cruz of Dubway Recording Studios for her impeccable sound engineering skills; Theodora P. Loukas, producer and director; Maggie Mei Lin, filmographer and editor; and Carlos Cano, Chih Hua Yeh, Wayne Liu, Dimitri Letsios, and Angelo Niakas. Special thanks to Anne Goulet, for the “Fred” artwork; Aaron Jodion, for the video music; and Eric Maltz, for editing and mixing the example sentence recordings. I am especially indebted to Theodora P. Loukas and Maggie Mei Lin for making the videos a reality.

I also thank my wonderful students who appear on the video and audio recordings: Nandita Chandra, Juan Carlos Infante, Vin Kridakorn, Yuki Akashi, Martina Potratz, and Vaishnavi Sharma.
Finally, thanks to all of my past students. You have been my inspiration and my greatest teachers.

Sound familiar? If you have picked up this book, it probably does.
Every day, millions of business professionals like you report to jobs dreading the possibility of not being understood. This has nothing to do with talent, skill, or advanced knowledge of the subject; it is because you must speak in the international language of English, and as a nonnative speaker, you have never learned precise pronunciation. This is understandable: When learning English as a second language, most students are taught primarily through reading and writing. What many ESOL classes do not emphasize, however, is that English is a nonphonetic language—its spelling patterns often seem to have little resemblance to its pronunciation. At best, this is puzzling; at worst, it can cost talented individuals their jobs.
Consider the words stop, go, and other ; all three are spelled with the letter o, but each is pronounced with a different vowel sound. Thus, while you may be fluent in English—even a master of vocabulary—speaking English clearly and naturally may be difficult. You may also have been influenced by your own ESOL teachers’ less-than-perfect pronunciation skills.
Compounding this difficulty is the fact that most languages do not have some of the sounds used in English. You may approximate these sounds, substituting a similar one from your native language, or you may pronounce a word according to the spelling patterns of your native tongue. Even among those speakers of languages that use the Latin alphabet, there is confusion: English has 24 vowel sounds, while most languages of Latin origin have far fewer. In addition, the anatomical placement of English sounds can be especially difficult for natives of Asian cultures, since many vowel and consonant sounds of English are realized much farther forward in the mouth and involve tongue positions not used in Asian languages.
Many Asian ESOL speakers have found success with the Perfecting Your English Pronunciation method. In September 1993, I received a telephone call from a diplomat with the Japanese consulate, asking if I might help Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa with his English pronunciation: He wanted to be the first Japanese prime minister ever to address the General Assembly of the United Nations in English. Of course, I agreed, and had the honor both to meet and work with the prime minister on his pronunciation and intonation. His English was excellent, and his attention to the nuances of pronunciation exceptional. His address before the General Assembly was, indeed, quite impressive.
Although few of us have to perform on such a public platform, excellent pronunciation is a valuable asset—indeed, a necessity—in any career.

I have had the honor to work with many professionals like you, who, while mastering the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their fields, do not have a clear understanding of the natural sounds and rhythms of English. For example, a brilliant Chinese corporate executive for Ameri-can Express had been repeatedly overlooked for promotion because his English pronunciation was unclear, and he was often misunderstood in meetings and on conference calls. After we worked with the Perfecting Your English Pronunciation method, he understood exactly which sounds were difficult for him and how to correct them—and was able to conduct meetings with ease. Shortly thereafter, he received the promotion he deserved.
I am a strong advocate of diversity in the workplace, and the last thing I want to do is to make all people “sound alike.” Many clients have expressed the fear that, in working on accent modification, they will lose their sense of identity, since their speech is a reflection of who they are as individuals and as representatives of their own particular cultures. I completely understand this concern, and I would never advocate nor attempt a homogenization of a global business community. Rather, I am pursuing the opposite result: The goal of the Perfecting Your English Pronunciation method is not to reduce the appearance of ethnicity, but to offer individuals the option of speaking clearer Global English (or “Business English,” that is, English without the idioms of native speakers). This showcases each person’s unique identity and allows expertise to shine through.
I have coached thousands of clients from all over the world—from geographical areas and cultures as diverse as Asia ( Japan, India, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam); South American (Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador); Hispanic cultures, such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico; Europe (France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Netherlands, all countries in the British Isles, Russia, and other Eastern European countries, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Albania, Estonia, Turkey, Armenia, Serbia, and Croatia); Middle Eastern countries, including Israel, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran; and Africa (Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa) From this large cross section of students, I have identified the 14 difficult sounds and groups of sounds of English pronunciation for all nonnative speakers. And with Perfecting Your English Pronunciation, I have never seen the Cameron Method of Accent Modification® fail.
Part One introduces the physical placement of sound and the musculature used in articulation. Many other languages rely heavily on the back of the tongue to articulate sounds; by contrast, most sounds in English are formed at the front of the mouth, using the tip of the tongue and the musculature of the lips for consonant placement. You may have trouble with English pronunciation because of excessive tension in the back of your tongue, as well as lack of muscle development in the tip of your tongue and lips. The good news is that this problem is easily overcome by using the exercises described in Chapter One. Think of it as your mouth going to the gym for 10 minutes every day. These exercises are also demonstrated on the accompanying videos.
Also in Part One, we introduce the system of phonetics, the International Phonetic Alphabet, and provide an overview of the 48 sounds, or phonemes, of the English language.
Part Two forms the core of this book, with one chapter devoted to each of the 14 phonemes and groups of phonemes that you may find diffi-cult to pronounce. Each sound’s precise anatomical placement is described in the text, then demonstrated on the videos. You will need a hand mirror to check for the correct physical placement of sounds; a freestanding mirror is best, since it allows free use of your hands to practice the exercises. The text contains tricks to perfect sound placement, such as putting a finger to your lips to discourage excessive tightening of a vowel.
Audio recordings are provided to train your ears in the differentiation of difficult sounds, within words, phrases, and sentences. You have the option of recording your practice sessions within the app to compare them with those on the audio recordings.
A huge asset of this book is that it can serve as a mini pronunciation dictionary: Each chapter contains word lists—in all, 8,400 of the most commonly used and mispronounced words in En glish, grouped by sound pattern. New for this revised edition, all of these words have been recorded and can be practiced by following the word list recordings via the app.
Part Three of Perfecting Your English Pronunciation has the “goodies.” It addresses the issues of stress, intonation, and operative vs. inoperative words, which collectively create the rhythm of English speech. I say goodies,” because this rhythm often seems to be the most elusive aspect for those struggling with English pronunciation. We focus on stress within words, as well as stress within sentences (also called intonation). Stress within words is often dictated by suffix patterns, which explains the shifting stress in the words démonstrate, demónstrative, and demon-strátion. The precise rules for syllable stress within words as determined by suffix patterns are explained. Operative and inoperative words are ana-lyzed—those that carry the information in a sentence, as opposed to those that merely provide grammatical structure. Understanding this concept allows you to determine which words are stressed within phrases, clauses, and sentences.
In Part Four, instructions are provided on how to mark and score all your presentations for clearer pronunciation. Sample business presentations are marked for intonation and flagged for difficult sounds. Included are three case studies featuring clients of the Cameron Method®; these clients dramatically improved their pronunciation using this technique, and the case studies include “before” and “after” recordings of their presentations via the app.
Welcome to Perfecting Your English Pronunciation. Let’s get started!

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