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Quick Write 122811 “The third time’s the charm”

Do you know the saying “The third time’s the charm.”? It means something like the belief that the third time something is attempted is more likely to succeed than the previous two attempts. That’s MY I took the third Skype English lesson and I guess it just went as the saying goes. The instructor who I talked to is pursuing a master’s degree in linguistics and seems to be experienced in teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) learners, so I had a feeling that we share some interests. I was going to pick an article to discuss with him, but I sort of decided to go more spontaneously, and it seems to have worked. During the conversation, he shared the knowledge on how to neutralize his English accent influenced by the first language. He said there is an English class titled “Accent Neutralization” in the Philippines to help ESL speakers polish their pronunciation to the level that they will successfully be hired by companies based in English speaking countries who’d outsource call-center personnel, but never wish their customers to realize that they’re calling to the office outside the country. I told him it was kind of “English Imperialism” and he kind of agreed. It’s sad, but is a reality.

His pronunciation sees almost no L1 influence and the way he speaks sounds so natural to me. Then I asked him to share the knowledge to brush up on pronunciation. This is how he “neutralized” his English accent.

1. Watch CNN
2. Read a newspaper particle with looking at himself in the mirror, acting like he’s a news program anchor
3. Listen to his recorded production for self-assessment. Compare it with the model rendition if available.

What he did to his English accent was basically “copying”. We need to be reminded that he learned English from very early age and English education in his country must be more intensive as well as extensive than the one we’ve had, yet the effort he devoted to working on his pronunciation was admirable nonetheless.

I asked an additional question. An important question for me; which do you think is better, working on the same material for days or changing the material every day. What do you think his answer was? He recommended to change the material day by day because he values the spontaneity. He pointed out that if you keep practicing the same material for days and weeks, you’d sound robotic and mechanic. Well, I may have a different opinion on that, but depending on the current level and the objective, it could be better to try a new material every day. I recorded today’s lesson by IC recorder and self-assessed my oral production before I started writing this QW piece and identified areas that I’d need to work on. I think I’ll talk about them after some more lessons.

(40 minutes / 475 words)

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Aya

Author:Aya
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