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September 18, 2019

Hi friends! Every week, I generate a quick brief about 5 interests for the week relating to accent mo
September 18, 2019
By Kristopher Wan • Issue #24 • 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
Visual feedback and technological programs to facilitate English language learning are important, emerging as a new white space, and on track as being a fundamental means of English learning. Whether it is a program, online course, Youtube video or phone app, technology is trying to be leveraged to help learning.
For tonal languages such as Mandarin, pitch changes equate to lexical differences rather than discourse differences. That would be like saying:
ENGLISH ≠ english
In tonal languages, the pitch you say a certain part of the word at changes the word, similar to the idea that uppercase and lowercase change the produced written word.
When it comes to pitch, teaching it is hard because mimicry is not the same as genuine mastery. Matching or imitation is already challenging for English language learners; but also reflects a speaker’s attitude or regional dialect as well. Simply copying a teacher model does not prepare a learner to flexibly manipulate their pitch variation to suit their own needs.
This article proposes a simpler visual cue to promote pitch variation. Yellow equals normal amount of pitch variation. Green equals increased amount of pitch variation. Aim for green.

💬 Thoughtful Quote
There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits.
- Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps is a retired competitive swimmer and the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, having a total of 28 medals. There is no doubt that the man can swim.
One story of overcoming adversity came from Phelps’ idol - Ian Thorpe, who said it would be highly unlikely for Phelps to win 8 gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Phelps USED the comment as motivation to fuel his determination to succeed – and the rest was history.
Can you imagine your idol telling you that you can’t do something? You can either listen and agree or listen and prove them wrong.
📖 Vocabulary Word
Resilience (n.)
the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
I’ve recently started listening to the audiobook by Brené Brown “Daring Greatly”. She discussing the concept of shame resilience and well-being. In my life, I’ve been grateful that shame isn’t a particularly charged word and thus far, listening to the audiobook has not yet had to have revolutionary effects on me but I felt like it was a good word to acknowledge and recognize.
Resilience to any form of discomfort or adversity is truly a remarkable feat!
💎 Tech Finds
Voice Tools
This iOS app provides information about sound pitch and loudness. Although the app is a little finicky, you can use it to practice your multiple-syllable word production.
Using such an app gives you real-time feedback about which part of a word you are stressing and which word in a sentence you are stressing.
Pitch reading
Pitch reading
Sometimes, this may not be obvious or evident to English language learners because pitch or loudness are not important features in their native language, but they are necessary skills to develop when speaking in English. Hincks, Rebecca & Edlund, Jens. (2009). Promoting Increased Pitch Variation in Oral Presentations with Transient Visual Feedback. Language Learning and Technology. 13.
❌ Message Mishap
Communication is sometimes a vulnerable experience. It is a necessary experience to accurately express your thoughts and feelings to other people and requires you to be authentic and reveal your thoughts and feelings to others.
Clear communication requires you to be comfortable with your thoughts and feelings to share them. If you aren’t comfortable with your own thoughts, then it can muddle your communicated ideas or inaccurately reflect your emotions. If you haven’t come to terms with how you feel, then you may still be figuring out your own thoughts and emotions for yourself – so how can you expect someone else to get it when you can’t even get it.
This SAME thing can happen if you don’t have the words or vocabulary to accurately communicate your thoughts and feelings exactly. You might know a related word or similar word, but vocabulary is such a huge component of accurately describing or labeling your thoughts and feelings.
Why use sad when you can use devastated, distraught, heart-broken, melancholy, or sorrowful. Each of these words can better communicate a nuance of sad and having the power to choose the correct reflection of your thoughts and emotions gives you more power to communicate.


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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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