quinta-feira, 27 de março de 2014

Gonna and Wanna - Informal American English Pronunciation

By Kenneth Beare

Wanna and gonna are two examples of informal spoken American English. Wanna means 'want to', and gonna means 'going to'. You can hear these phrases in movies, pop music and other forms of entertainment. However, you will not hear these forms in more formal shows such as the news.

These two expressions are not generally used in written English, but in spoken English.Wanna and gonna are examples of reductions. Reductions are short, commonly used phrases that are spoken quickly. These reductions tend to be used for function words such as auxiliary verbs and questions words. It is important to remember that there are important differences in American English and British English pronunciation. British English also has its own exceptions in pronunciation. This page focuses only on American English pronunciation and reductions such as wannaand gonna.

There are different views on whether students should use this type of pronunciation. In my opinion, students who live in North America should at least be familiar with these forms as they will hear them everyday. If students decide to use this pronunciation, they should remember that it is appropriate only for informal spoken English and should not be used (except for texting, perhaps) in written English.

Reductions in Questions

The most common reductions are found at the beginning of questions. Here's a list of important reductions with the pronunciation written out to help you learn to recognize them in everyday American English. To begin with, listen to this reduction pronunciation sound file of the most common questions.

Are you ...? = arya
Can you ...? = kinya
Could you ...? = kudja
Would you ...? = wudja
Did you ...? = didja
Do you ...? = doja
Don't you ...? = doncha
Will you ...? = wilja

Do you want to ...? = doyawanna
Are you going to ...? = aryagonna
Do you have to ...? = dijahafta

Focus on the Main Verb

If you choose to use reductions in your use of American English, it is important to focus on the main verb in the question to correctly pronounce using reductions. In other words, we quickly speak over the reduced forms (are you, could you, etc.) and stress the main verb. Listen to these example reduced questions to hear the how the main verb is stressed.

Are you ...? = arya

Are you enjoying yourself?
Are you going to help me tonight?

Can you ...? = kinya

Can you say that again?
Can you understand me?

Could you ...? = kudja

Could you help me?
Could you visit next month?

Would you ...? = wudja

Would you like to have dinner?
Would you answer my question?

Did you ...? = didja

Did you see him?
Did you buy it?

Do you ...? = dija

Do you play tennis?
Do you eat fish?

Don't you ...? = doncha

Don't you love it?
Don't you understand?

Will you ...? = wilja

Will you come with me?
Will you finish tonight?

Do you want to ...? = diyawanna

Do you want to have fun?
Do you want to eat out?

Are you going to ...? = aryagonna

Are you going to leave?
Are you going to have lunch?

Do you have to ...? = dijahafta

Do you have to stay?
Do you have to work today?

Gotta and Wanna

Two of the most common reductions are gotta and wanna. Gotta is the reduction of got to. It's rather strange because its use means have to. In other words, in informal American English "I got to get up early." means "I have to get up early." This is then further reduced to "I gotta get up early." Wanna means want to and is used to indicate the desire to do something. For example, "I wanna go home." means "I want to go home." A synonymous expression is also "I would like to go home." However, this form is much more formal.


quinta-feira, 20 de março de 2014

How to Be Assertive Without Being Arrogant

Assertiveness is a very important means for communicating your needs in a way that is fair to both yourself and to others. Unfortunately, for some insecure people, assertive people are sometimes threatening and it is easier to label them as arrogant, selfish, or unhelpful when they receive the answer "no" or when boundaries are made clear by the assertive person. In particular, those with manipulation, neediness, and trust problems can see assertive responses as undermining their own agendas and will seek to respond with negative critiques of an assertive person's behavior. This is where it can get a little tricky for the newly assertive convert but it's no reason to suddenly start worrying that you are arrogant!

1- Check that you are using assertive communication appropriately. If you are new to assertiveness, or you're not feeling your usual self because of illness or stress, etc., you might be resorting to techniques that are more aggressive, passive aggressive, or making assumptions where there are none to be made, rather than being assertive. A quick check you can do is to think back through your comments and stance with the person in question and write down what you said. Read it back: Does it sound to you as if you were being assertive, or otherwise? Be honest - it's about you!

2- Check the context. Sometimes factors come into the equation that shouldn't. Race, gender, married status, age, disabilities, illness, and so on can sometimes cause a person to assume that you have an "attitude", rather than an assertive style of communication. If you suspect that this is the situation, continue with your assertive communication and consider whether it is worth raising your concern that your status might be causing negative responses from the person accusing you of being arrogant, or whether this might even be something actionable in your workplace, school, etc. environment.

3- Be an active listener. Letting people know your boundaries and feelings while at the same time allowing them space to talk, discuss, and open up about their feelings is important. Assertiveness is about give and take; you take a little of their time to clarify your feelings and you give a lot of your time to hear about theirs. Remember that a good listener is also a flatterer and it's hard to find arrogance in that!

4- Be humble and modest. Assertiveness and humility make a fine combination. An assertive person doesn't need to shout "Me, me, me, look what I did!" from the rooftops. Assertive people are remembered because they stand firm, their needs and interests are clear to others, and because they are reliable; they also frequently become a form of role model for others seeking to assert themselves effectively. Take this role to heart but don't boast, big note yourself or become pushy, no matter how clever, popular, or successful you might be.

5- Reflect over your communications with others and your purpose. While assertiveness is about ensuring that others respect you and what you want in life, it ceases to be assertive communication when you use assertiveness techniques to confuse or outwit someone where you're more knowledgeable, cashed up, or better off than another person. Assertive communication is not about "getting your own way". That's turning assertiveness into aggressive techniques of communication and that's when you'll be accused of being arrogant. Always think about the purpose of your communications - will it make you better understood, will it ensure that your needs are fully communicated, and will it still respect the other person's need to be clearly understood and well informed? For example, which of these examples do you prefer:

Hi, I'm "Arrogant". I bought this iPhone here last week. It's a lemon. It scrambles my messages, it chewed up my hard drive, and it emits this high, piercing sound that makes my dog go insane. Now I just know an iPhone isn't supposed to behave this way but I suspect that your store is removing the X factor that makes it work well when the software download from Herod's site is added to the overall structure. I mean, you guys think you're so smart but I'm one ahead of you and this really stinks. I mean, back in '89 I practically invented the whole concept but it was stolen from me, so nothing gets past me ever again. This is so serious a breach of your store's customer care that I want the manager, not just a retail rep!"

Hi, I'm "Assertive". Oh I see you're Thomasina - Hi Thomasina! I don't think we've met yet - I think I was served by Jay before. Anyway, I bought this iPhone last week and it's a lemon. It scrambles my messages, it chewed up my hard drive, and it emits this high, piercing sound that made my dog go insane. Now I just know an iPhone isn't supposed to behave this way and I was hoping you might be able to look into it getting fixed, or perhaps, even better, give me a new one? I'd really like a new one because then I wouldn't have to worry it might fail on me again. I've always bought my gadgets from this store and I have always really appreciated your customer service. So Thomasina, do you think you might be able to help me out?"

In the first example, Arrogant starts off OK and then starts meandering, and ends up being aggressive. In the second example, Assertive keeps it light, considerate but still remains focused on the point, only he asks for buy-in from the retail assistant and doesn't disrespect her station. Note how he also named her at the start - establishing rapport with someone for who they are, not just their role, really matters. And that is one incredible key to warding off people finding you arrogant when you practice assertive communications – you treat the other person like they matter (because you feel they do).

6- Remember that assertiveness techniques take time to learn and nobody gets it right all the time. Apologizing is a good response to a failure to communicate assertively though and there is always space to reopen that door to better communications. See How to Apologize.

7- Don't take negative comebacks to heart. When you are faced with one of life's more challenging personalities, the best thing to do is to not take it personally. Sometimes it is your self-assurance that is a cause of irritation for less secure people and their response is to try and weevil their way in through criticism. This is never a reason to fall back into old patterns of unhealthy communication styles. Simply reassert whatever your point is and choose to leave it there. It is something they can work on with the full enlightenment on where you stand. 

8- Seek the middle way. Sometimes if you're placed in a position of having to choose between differing viewpoints in a group, there might be accusations of arrogance against one division by the other. Always consider the possibility of being able to acknowledge both sides of the argument and finding the middle way to draw the concerns together. You don't necessarily have to solve the situation but you can be a powerful facilitator to the group finding an answer to its division through your assertive communications. In such situations, inform everyone that the situation is not one for blame, not one for recriminations, and not one for finding fault. Instead, help people to see that there is a chance for compromise by showing them where each has made assumptions about the other or the facts of the situation, while still upholding your own belief or opinion. And suggest that they have another look at things to reach a compromise.

quinta-feira, 13 de março de 2014

Understanding and Using Tag Questions

by Dennis Oliver
Tag Questions #3

Tag questions are something like negative questions. They
are used when someone
 thinks he or she knows an answer
and wants confirmation. There are two very commonly used
types of tag questions--one made from
 affirmative ( + )
sentences, the other made from
 negative ( - ) sentences:
He's from Italy, isn't he? /
He isn't from Italy, is he?
She's living in London, isn't she? /
She isn't living in London, is she?
There were at the party, weren't they? /
They weren't at the party, were they?
She speaks Estonian, doesn't she? /
She doesn't speak Estonian, does she?
He had a good time, didn't he? /
He didn't have a good time, did he?
She's lived here a long time, hasn't she? /
She hasn't lived here a long time, has she?
They'd left when you arrived, hadn't they? /
They hadn't left when you arrived, had they?
He can help us, can't he? /
He can't help us, can he?


Tag Questions:

Statements are normally said with falling intonation. Yes / No
questions are normally said with rising intonation. The intonation
of tag endings is different from both of these.
In tag questions, the tag endings (for example, isn't he?, is he?,
hadn't they?,
 can he? ) have two different intonations:

falling intonation


rising intonation
The intonation (falling / rising) of the tag endings is in addition
to the intonation of the statement to which the tag ending is attached.
This means that after the normal intonation (falling) of the statement,
there will be the intonation of the tag ending (falling or rising):
Question 4 is difficult,http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gifisn't it?http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gif
Question 4 is difficult, http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gifisn't it? http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/up-intonation.gif

The falling or rising intonation of the tag endings communicates

different information.

Tag Endings
Falling Intonation

When someone asks a tag question and the question tag has falling
intonation, the person who asks the questions is fairly sure that

the statement before the tag ending is correct. Because the person
asking the question is not
 100% sure, however, he or she still
wants confirmation.
I think a question is difficult and want to know if you feel the
same way, so I say
Q: Question 4 is difficult,http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gif isn't it?http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gif
A: Yes, it's difficult. / No, it isn't difficult. / I don't know.
Q: Question 4 isn't difficult,http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gif is it?http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gif
A: Yes, it's difficult. / No, it isn't difficult. / I don't know.

Tag Endings
Rising Intonation

When someone asks a tag question and the tag has rising
intonation, the person who asks the question is much less sure
that the statement before the tag ending is correct. However,
he or she still wants confirmation:
I think I have the answer for question 4 but am not very sure.
I want to see if
 you agree with me (or if you will tell me what
the answer is), so I say
Q: Question 4 is difficult,http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gif isn't it?http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/up-intonation.gif
A: Yes, it's difficult. / No, it isn't difficult. / I don't know.
Q: Question 4 isn't difficult,http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/down-intonation.gif is it?http://www.eslcafe.com/webhints/up-intonation.gif
A: Yes, it's difficult. / No, it isn't difficult. / I don't know.


The answers for tag questions are the true answers. They may
or may not
 be the expected answers.
Q: Dave Sperling isn't married, is he?
A: Yes, he's married. His wife's name is Dao.
Q: Dave Sperling has two sons, doesn't he?
A: No. He has one son and one daughter.

Source: http://www.eslcafe.com/grammar/tag_questions03.html

quinta-feira, 6 de março de 2014

I Don't Want to Speak Like a Native, I Want to Speak As Me

Título longo, sempre engano.

Não aprendemos inglês para os outros, aprendemos inglês para gente. Aprendemos de um jeito só gente, tentando achar a nossa voz, tentando agarrar a língua como quem segura água. I don't want to speak like a native, eu quero falar que nem eu, que nem você, quem nem quem fala e que nem quem sente.

I want to speak as me, tipo assim, gente daqui, inglês tupiniquim, cheio de defeito, mas falado de um jeito sem-vergonha de quem sabe que ganha, toda vez que abre a boca e se expõe. Inglês brasileiro, Brazilian English.

Eu quero que meus alunos aprendam o "como" LIKE quem se diverte e não AS a professional speaker falando um perfeitamente não-natural que as escolas tanto tentam empurrar " fluência" abaixo. Não quero escutar os meus alunos falando LIKE americanos, LIKE britânicos - quero os meus alunos LIKE speakers do mundo, falando Global English. Pois, esse é o inglês falado no mundo.

Aprender HOW falar bem é brincar de errar e saber HOW concertar, recast, refrasear e tornar a falar até ouvir o outro escutar. É brincando com a língua que a dominamos. Portanto, não tentem falar LIKE os outros, solte a voz AS You.