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September 11, 2019

Hi friends! Every week, I generate a quick brief about 5 interests for the week relating to accent mo
September 11, 2019
By Kristopher Wan • Issue #23 • 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
Demircioğlu (2013) provides a perspective on the pronunciation challenges for English language learners. Here’s the Coles Notes version.
  1. Native Turkish speakers have trouble with voiced and voiceless th- sounds as well as diphthongs.
  2. English taught in schools is not emphasizing pronunciation as a core skill needing direct teaching. The primary focus is on English grammar.
  3. If sounds in English are non-existent in Turkish but are not explicitly taught in classroom settings, how will Turkish English learners accurately acquire the skill.
  4. Turkish English learners have a harder time with backed final vowel diphthongs.
The way that you can practice diphthongs is starting with the “shhhh” face.
Shhh face. Finger in front of your lips as your lips protrude outward
Shhh face. Finger in front of your lips as your lips protrude outward
Now when you say words like “go”, “home”, “road”, “toe”, “pose”, pay attention to whether you feel your lips push your finger forward. If they don’t, then you are not achieving the diphthong.
💬 Thoughtful Quote
Don’t be afraid to look silly.     
Tara Strong
Silliness is a word that I struggle with a lot. Growing up, silliness, immaturity and irresponsibility were all hand-in-hand negative things. Being silly was not encouraged or tolerated, especially as I got older. But looking back, silliness is courage to try something different with the humility to recognize it isn’t for everyone. Silliness is experimentation. Silliness is pushing boundaries of the norm.
To me, silliness is the gateway to creativity. It was probably silliness that led the pop singer to dance and sing before they knew how. It was probably silliness that led the professional comedian to entertaining.
Silliness isn’t a bad thing. Maybe silliness lets you unlock that foreign mouth position that gets you the accurate pronunciation you were looking for.

📖 Vocabulary Word
secessionism (n.) - the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance.
I didn’t think I would talk about this but it’s something that has slowly crept up in my life. I was born in Toronto, Canada but my parents are from Hong Kong. Right now, Hong Kong democratic activists are protesting against China’s communist government. It started as an anti-extradiction bill protest but recent protests at the US Consulate requesting President Trump’s help suggest i
💎 Tech Finds
Good ole podcast on accents by the Stuff You Should Know peeps. Have a listen. They do an amazing job as non-experts in deconstructing and explaining accents in laymen terms. Sometimes, it’s that difference in perspective that makes things click or makes things more relatable compared with an expert perspective that is too immersed.

❌ Message Mishap
Miscommunications happen all the time – it’s pretty normal and largely what makes us individuals with individual interpretations and beliefs based on subjective perceptions. What doesn’t necessarily happen all the time is self-reflection and honest introspection on what occurred and your responsibilities in the miscommunication.
A practice that I’ve slowly realized happens to me on a fairly regular basis is something erroneous happens. I immediately begin worrying if and what I did wrong. Many times, I am just being nosy and it has nothing to do with my work and I made no errors but my mind goes there regardless.
Maybe it’s the Canadian in me.
Either way, here’s your chance to reflect. You’re alone. You don’t have to actually admit fault to anyone. The point is you can practice brainstorming all the things you could’ve done better. It lets you take ownership and have control for your actions to maximize your communicative success.
Did you enjoy this issue?
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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