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August 28, 2019

Hi friends! Every week, I generate a quick brief about 5 interests for the week relating to accent mo
August 28, 2019
By Kristopher Wan • Issue #21 • View online
Hi friends! Every week, I generate a quick brief about 5 interests for the week relating to accent modification and English learning. If you have a few minutes on your commute to work or lunch break and want to consume some interesting content in the world of English learning, enjoy!

🧠 Journal Club
Levis, J. (2018). What Should and Should Not Be Taught: An Intelligibility-Based Approach. In Intelligibility, Oral Communication, and the Teaching of Pronunciation (Cambridge Applied Linguistics, pp. 239-264). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108241564.013
The important thing is figuring out what you, as a language learner, should NOT be focusing your attention to. Here a few things to consider.
  1. Useful words, potential taboo words, professional vocabulary words and personal names are important. You will use them regularly and frequently. They will give you the bigger bang for buck in terms of effort spent.
  2. Words you are unlikely to use, and learning vocabulary pronunciations just because you want to improve your vocabulary are not going to be useful in the grand scheme of pronunciation practice. Because of how infrequently you use these words, you may forget the correct pronunciation first.
  3. Working on general speaking skills so that production is comfortable is a more important goal than linking and connected speech in order to appear more fluent speech. Is your goal to appear more fluent or is your goal to be understood correctly. Fluent speech may be a dream goal but if you only had the ability to focus on one aspect, it would be far more useful to be comfortable in your speech and able to convey your ideas correctly than to be seen as fluent.
💬 Thoughtful Quote
Shower Thoughts
Accents are mouth fonts.
8:33 AM - 25 Dec 2018
I’m not going to pretend it’s the most poetic thought, but it is an interesting thought nevertheless. Fonts can equally communicate the same idea but in certain contexts, may fit better with a specific audience or mood.
Interestingly, even just within the English language, the way you speak to a parent, to a professor, to a friend is very different and we tailor our vocabulary, manner of speech and intonation very differently for each.
Accents may be an extensive of that concept.
📖 Vocabulary Word
Burnout - “fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.”
Several times a week, I am confronted with this word in the halls of the hospital. Whether it relates to staff feeling burnout or caregivers feeling burnout with the responsibilities and duties involved in caring for a loved one, burnout is an increasingly common word in the medical field.
Make sure to take care of yourselves, each other and seek the necessary resources to feel supported and appreciated at work!!!
💎 Tech Finds
Pomodoro apps
If you don’t know what pomodoro is, it is essentially a glorified timer productivity protocol. Typically 25 minutes of focus followed by 5 minutes of rest. Rinse and repeat. After 4 sets, you get a longer break. There’s nothing special about it, but it is helpful to hold you accountable and responsible for consciously managing your time.
I’m getting back into the habit of using one and I think it can be helpful for focusing your attention on specific words and sound production.
Trying doing a pomodoro set on the following:
1) Pick one sound that you are working on. Work on it for 25 minutes. Practice it at the word-level, sentence-level and spontaneous sentence-level.
2) Practice alternating your loudness. Try being very loud and then very quiet. Think about the intentionality that is associated with a loud voice and a quiet voice. Why would you be quieter? Why would you be louder? Why would you have some words be quiet and some words be loud in a single sentence?
3) Practice changing your pitch. Start with a low pitch. Go to a high pitch. How does it feel in your throat when you are doing that? Can you make your voice higher pitch for a specific word. What impact does that have to your sentence.
❌ Message Mishap
Words are an important part of communication – there is no doubt about that. However, silence is also a crucial aspect of the communicative dance that two people have. Silence, the duration of silence and the placement of silence in an interaction can communicate subtle ideas about a speaker’s confidence, access to information, friendliness and in a North American context is typically avoided.
In some countries, like Japan, silences are considered to be positively meaningful and are subsequently socio-culturally accepted to a much higher degree.
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Kristopher Wan

Hey friends, I'm Kris, a speech-language pathologist interested in and pursuing a side-hustle in accent modification. Every Wednesday I send out a "5-bullet brief" email newsletter with some thoughts, research and internet treasures relating to accent modification and English language learning.

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