How to Learn american English accent

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NathanBenett,Germany,Researcher
Published Date:11-07-2017
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Everyday Conversations: Learning American EnglishDialogue 1-1: FormalGreetings JAMES:     Goodmorning, Professor Austin, how are you doing? PROFESSOR AUSTIN: Good morning, James. I am doing well. And you? JAMES: I’m great, thank you. This is my friend Emma. She is thinking about applying to this college. She has a few questions. Would you mind telling us about the process, please? PROFESSOR AUSTIN: Hello, Emma It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m more than happy to speak with you. Please stop by my ofc fi e next week. EMMA: I t’s a pleasure to meet you, professor. Thank you so much for helping us. PROFESSOR AUSTIN: D on’tmentionit H . opefully, I will be able to answer your questions 5 4 LANGUAGE NOTES • The greetings good morning/good afternoon/good evening are used at different times • “Don’tmentionit” is another way of saying “You’re welcome.” The phrase “You are of the day to greet people. “Good evening” is often used after 6 p.m. or generally when welcome” is more formal. However, responses such as Don’t mention it./No problem./ the sun has set. Happy to help. are informal ways of responding to a thank you. • “Good night” is not a greeting: It is used when leaving a place or group of people. Thank you and good night/Good night, and see you tomorrow. • When people meet in the United States, it is customary for them to shake hands. A handshake should be firm and usually lasts for about two to three seconds — which allows enough time to say “Nice to meet you.” 5 4Dialogue 1-2: InformalGreetingsandFarewells 7 6JANE: Hi, Helen How’sitgoing? HELEN: Fine,thanks—andyou? JANE: Just fine. Whereareyouoffto? HELEN:   Tothelibrary I.’ve got a history exam next week and need to start studying. Ugh. JANE: Oh,no. Well, I’ll see you later then. Good luck HELEN: Thanks. Seeyoulater. LANGUAGE NOTES • “Hi” is an informal way of saying “hello.” Notice that the “i” sound in “hi” is extended, to • “Tothelibrary.” Notice that Helen does not say “I’m going” here because that show that Jane is very pleased to see Helen. information was already established in the question “Where are you off to?” •  “How’sitgoing?” is an informal way of saying “How are you?” • “Oh,no” is a way of saying “I sympathize with you” or “I understand you are not happy.” • “Fine,thanks—andyou?” Notice the rising intonation on “and you?” This shows that • “Seeyoulater” is an informal way of saying “goodbye.” Helen is interested in what Jane has to say. • “Whereareyouoffto?” is an informal way of saying “Where are you going?” Notice the falling intonation since this is an information question, not a “yes/no” question. 7 6Dialogue 1-3: FormalIntroductions MARGARET: M r.Wilson,I’dlikeyo t u o meet Dr. Edward Smith. MR. WILSON: It’s nice to meet you, Dr. Smith. DR. SMITH: Pleasure to meet you, too. MARGARET: Dr .Smithisaneconomist.Hejustn fi ished writing a book on international trade. MR. WILSON: O h? That’s my field, too. I work for the United Nations. DR. SMITH: In theDevelopmentProgram, byanychance? MR. WILSON: Yes. How did you guess? DR. SMITH: I ’ve read your articles on technical assistance. They’re excellent. 9 8LANGUAGE NOTES • Mr.Wilson,I’dlikeyou Notice the rising intonation on “Mr … . Wilson,” which is used • Developmentprogram. Since these two words make a compound noun, the main to address someone. Listen for the “d” in “I’d like.” This means I would like, which is stress falls on “development.” very different from I like. (“I’d like” means the same as “I would like” or “I want.”) • Byanychance? Means the same as “possibly.” Notice the rising intonation, which is • Dr.Smithisaneconomist Notice the stress on “economist. . ” This content word has used in yes/no questions to confirm that something is true. new information, so it is emphasized. There are four syllables in “economist,” with the stress on the second syllable (e-CON-o-mist). • Hejustfinishedwriting… “just” means the very recent past. “Just” is usually used with a simple past verb because the action is complete. However, it can also be used with the present perfect (He’s just finished writing …). 9 8Dialogue 1-4: InformalIntroductions JIM: Who’s the tall woman next to Barbara? CHARLES: T hat’s her friend Mary. Didn’tyoumeether at Steve’s party? JIM: No, Iwasn’tatSteve’sparty. CHARLES: O h Then let me introduce you to her now. Mary,thisis  myfriendJim. MARY: Hi, Jim. Nicetomeetyou. JIM: You, too. Would you like a drink? MARY: Sure, let’s go get one. 11 10 LANGUAGE NOTES • “Who’s” is the contracted form of who is. It is pronounced the same way as “whose” (/ • Mary,thisismyfriendJim. This is a friendly way to introduce two people. It’s huwz/), but the meaning is different. common to follow this with “Jim, this is Mary.” In this case, Mary says “Hi, Jim” first. • Didn’tyoumeether…? Notice that this is a negative question. Charles thought that Jim • Nicetomeetyou. This is a typical response after you’ve been introduced to someone. had met Mary before. He is now surprised that Jim does not know Mary, and so he uses a • “Sure” is often used in informal conversation to mean “yes.” negative question to show his surprise. • Iwasn’tatSteve’sparty Notice that the emphasis here is on “ . at” although prepositions normally have weak stress. In this case, “at” means “there” (I wasn’t there). 11 10Dialogue 1.5: WhatTimeIsIt?NATASHA: What time is it? We’re going to be late TONY: It’sa quarterafterseven. We’re on time. Don’t panic. NATASHA: B ut I thought we had to be at the restaurant by 7:30for the surprise party. We’ll never make it there with all this evening trafc fi . TONY: S ure we will. Rushhour is almost over. Anyway, the party starts at 8:00. But I do need help with directions. Can you call the restaurant and ask them where we park our car? LANGUAGE NOTES • It’saquarterafterseven. This phrase is one of the most common ways of stating • Natasha thinks the surprise party begins at 7:30.There are two different ways to this time. It means: “It’s 15 minutes past 7:00.” Another possibility here is to simply express this time. You may say simply “seven thirty” or “half past seven.” say: “It’s seven fifteen.” In general you can say: “It’s a quarter past the hour.” How do • Rushhour is the time of day—usually in the morning and evening—when traffic is we know the time of day? Look for context clues: “evening traffic.” heavy because of people commuting to and from their workplace by bus, by car, by • In the dialog, Natasha and Tony are going to a surprise party. They need to be on time. subway, on foot, etc. Therefore there is an element of stress and urgency. When someone is stressed for time you can use expressions like: Don’t worry. / Don’t stress. / We’re fine. / We will be on time. 13Dialogue 1-6: ATelephoneCall JOHN: Hi,Alice,it’sJohn H . ow are you? ALICE: Oh,hi,John I w as just thinking about you. JOHN: That’s nice. Iwaswonderingifyou’dlikeg to o t  o a movie tonight. ALICE: Sure,I’dlovetoWh  at’s playing? JOHN: I wasthinkingabout th at new comedy Lights Out. Whatdo youthink? ALICE: Soundsgreat JOHN: OK, I’llpickyouu a pround 7:30. The movie starts at 8:00. ALICE: See you then. Bye 15 14LANGUAGE NOTES • Hi,Alice,it’sJohn: Hi, ____, it’s ____ is a casual and friendly way to say hello on the • SureI’dloveto means “Y  es, I would love to.” Notice that Alice is very enthusiastic phone. Although “it’s” means “it is,” it is used to mean “I am” here. and friendly. She wants John to feel comfortable about asking her out on a date. • Oh,hi,John Notice the rising intonation here. Alice is excited to hear from John and is • Iwasthinkingabout…/Whatdoyouthink? Again, John does not want to appear very pleased that he called her. too bold. He wants to give Alice a chance to suggest a movie. • Iwaswonderingifyou’dliketo T... his is a polite and indirect w  ay of asking “Do you • Soundsgreat Is an informal way of saying “That is a good plan.” want to …?” John is nervous and does not want to appear too direct or bold. Notice •  I’llpickyouupis an inf  ormal way of saying “I’ll come to your house so that we can how the question goes up at the end, which shows that he is not overly confident. go together.” 15 14LUKE: Hello? Hi, Stephanie, how are things at the ofc fi e? STEPHANIE: H i, Luke How are you? Can you please stop and pick up extra paper for the computer printer? LUKE: Wh at did you say? Can you repeat that, please? Did you say to pick up ink for the printer? Sorry, the phone is cuttingout. STEPHANIE: Can you hear me now? No, I need more computer paper. Listen, I’ll text you exactly what I need. Thanks, Luke. Talktoyoulater. LUKE: T hanks, Stephanie. Sorry, my phone has really bad reception here. LANGUAGE NOTES • There are a few ways to express a lack of understanding and to request additional • Talktoyoulater is the equivalent in a phone conversation of “See you later” in a information. The most common ones are stated, but you can also say “Excuse me” or regular, face-to-face conversation. simply “I can’t hear you.” In a more formal situation, try saying “I’m sorry?” or “I beg • Reception here means the availability of cellular service, the possibility to receive and your pardon?” (with a rising intonation). give calls on a cellphone. Cellphone reception can be limited in remote areas, inside • When asking someone to clarify information try saying Can you please repeat that? / large buildings or underground (in the subway, for instance). Can you spell that for me? / Can you please write down the address for me? •Cuttingout describes a difficulty in understanding a caller due to poor cellphone reception. If you are having trouble understanding the caller, you can also say The line is breaking up / I am losing you. If the phone call is disconnected because of poor reception, you can say The call dropped. 17 16Dialogue 1-8: Coincidences MEG: Well,hellothere J , ulia Longtimenosee JULIA: M eg Hi Whata coincidence I haven’t seen you in ages What are you doing here? MEG: I j ust got a new job in the city, so I’m shopping for some clothes. Hey, what do you think of this shirt? JULIA: H mmm … well, you know how much I love blue. See? I’ve got the same shirt MEG: You alwaysdidhavegoodtasteWhatasmallworld. 19 18LANGUAGE NOTES • Well,hellothere… Notice the emphasis on “hello,” which shows that Meg did not • Youalwaysdidhavegoodtaste Notice the stress on “did,” which Meg uses to expect to see Julia. emphasize the fact that Julia DOES have good taste Meg says it in a joking way because Julia likes the same thing that she does. • Longtime,nosee This is a common expression used to say hello to someone you haven’t seen in a long time. • Whatasmallworld is a common expression used to describe a chance meeting or other such coincidence. • Whata___T his exclamation shows a great degree of surprise, joy, disappointment, etc. (What a surprise to see you here What a joy to have you with us What a shame that you have to leave so soon What a wonderful idea that is) 19 18JENNIFER: It’s freezing outside What happened to the weather report? I thought this coldfront was supposedto pass. GABRIELA: Ye ah, I thought so too. That’swhatIreadonline  thismorning. JENNIFER: I guess the windchill is really drivingdown the temperature. GABRIELA: Can we go inside? I feel like my toes are starting to go numb. LANGUAGE NOTES • A “coldfront” means a large mass of cold air. It can be plural: There were multiple cold •  Chill / freezing / cold: These words describe cold weather. I feel the wind chill. / I feel fronts this January. the chill. / I am freezing. / I am cold. • Here “supposedto” refers to something that is intended or expected to happen: I • Windchill is the effect of the wind making the temperature feel colder on a person’s thought it was supposed to rain today. This phrase can be used for many situations: I skin. This is an uncountable noun. The temperature is 4 degrees, but with the wind chill thought the train was supposed to arrive at 9:00 a.m. sharp. it feels like -8. These phrases are used in weather reports as well. • Yeah / Yup / Uh huh are informal conversational cues used by native speakers in • The phrase “drivingdown” means “forcing to be lower” and can be used in many conversation. Each of these responses could be used here for “yes.” Gabriela affirms situations. An oversupply of new houses is driving down sales prices in the area. what Jennifer is saying. The most polite way to affirm a response is to say “yes.” • Listen for the emphasis on “That’swhatIreadonlinethismorning. T ”his useful phrase can be used with other verbs to convey information: That’s what I heard on the radio. / That’s what I saw on TV. / That’s what I read online. 21 20Dialogue 2-1: OrderingaMeal WAITER: H ello, I’ll be your waiter today. CanIstartyouoffwi th somethingtodrink? RALPH: Yes. I’ll have iced tea, please. ANNA: AndI’llhavelemonade. WAITER: O K. Areyoureadytoorder,ordoyouneedafewminutes? RALPH: I th ink we’re ready. I’llhavethetomatosouptostart,and the roastbeefwithmashedpotatoesandpeas. WAITER: How do you want the beef — rare, medium, or well done? RALPH: Welldone,please. ANNA: And I’lljusthavethes fi h , with potatoes and a salad. 25 24LANGUAGE NOTES • CanIstartyouoffwithsomethingtodrink? Notice how the question starts with • I’llhavethetomatosouptostart,andtheroastbeefwithmashedpotatoes and “Can.” Since this is a yes/no question, the intonation rises at the end. peas. Notice that “tomato soup,” “roast beef,” “mashed potatoes” and “peas” are stressed because the food order is the important information here. Notice also that • AndI’llhavelemonade . Notice how Anna stresses “I’ll” and “lemonade” to “tomato soup,” “roast beef” and “mashed potatoes” are compound words. The stress emphasize her choice. falls on the second word in each phrase. • Areyoureadytoorder,ordoyouneedafewminutes? The w  ord “or” signals • Welldone,please. Notice that the subject and verb are omitted in the response; only a choice here. Notice the rising intonation on order, and the falling intonation on the necessary information is given. minutes (the first choice is “Are you ready to order?” and the second choice is “Do you need a few minutes?”). • I’lljusthavethefish. Anna says “just” here to mean that she does not want a starter. 25 24Dialogue 2-2: AttheDoctor’sOfce fi 27 26

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