Alameda English Conversation Meet-up
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are looking to practice your English conversation skills, come join the Meetup hosted by Well Said Coaching! We meet at The Local Cafe in Alameda, California (see map below) on the first Sunday evening of each month.
Our Meetup is not a formal class, though we do use some games, conversation starters and other fun activities. Most of all, it's a chance for non-native speakers to practice speaking English without any pressure. Plus, you can enjoy a delicious snack and beverage from The Local while you're at it!
Our next meet-up is this coming Sunday, December 3rd at 6:30 p.m.
A Funny Take on Accents and Job Interviews
For most job-seekers, interviews are no laughing matter. They can make or break your chances of getting hired. If the interview is not conducted in your native language, there is even less to find funny.
The Université Paris-Saclay begs to differ. The university has created a series of comedy skits for English learners entitled "Crazy Grammar". This first in the series takes a humorous look at how a job candidate's foreign accent, in this case French, can overshadow his skills and experience. Take a look and see how mispronunciations can lead to missed opportunities -- and have a good laugh while you're at it!
Is Your Aunt an Ant?
Sometimes my clients will ask me how to pronounce a particular English word and I have no choice but to respond with the dreaded: "It depends."
It depends on the country. Or the region. Or even the city. Take a word like "Aunt", as in "My Aunt Alison is awesome." Seems simple enough, right? It's pronounced like "ant", that pesky little bugger which invades picnics.
Not so fast. "Ant" is one way to pronounce "Aunt" and a very popular one at that, at least in the United States. However, in some places "Aunt" rhymes with "want" or "font". In this case, my Aunt Alison is no longer my Ant Alison, she is my Ahnt Alison. That's the pronunciation you'll hear in England, for example, and a few parts of the U.S., including the Northeastern seaboard (think Boston) and parts of the upper Midwest (Minnesota, in particular.)
Data lovers: Check out this dialect splatter chart on the pronunciation of "aunt" across the U.S.
If you grew up in the U.S. and are a native speaker, take this quick dialect quiz and see if the way you talk matches where you're from. Even though I moved far away from the New York area decades ago and have long lost my accent (well, mostly), my results below prove it: You can take the girl out of New York, but you can't take the New York out of the girl. Her aunt will always be an ant.
Tips and tidbits about speaking English well from Karen Schiff, founder of Well Said Coaching.