Why are people still trying to lose their accents?

Why do people want to reduce their accents? We’re talking both about non-native speakers of English (ESL speakers) and those with, say, Southern accents.

For starters, there is something called ‘accent bias’ — research shows that people, including employers, discriminate against those with a foreign accent. So having what others consider “an accent” can hold people back in their careers. They can mean a job interview which leads to no offer or a promotion deserved but not received.

Those who pursue accent reduction are seeking to remove the friction from everyday conversation, according to this PRI podcast.

Many schools and individual consultants around the country offer classes in accent reduction. Language Success Press offers some systems in use by these folks — these can also be used by those interested in self-study. Check out:
Master the American Accent
Lose Your Accent in 28 Days
Say Goodbye to Your Southern Accent

Those who pursue accent reduction are seeking to remove the friction from everyday conversation, according to this excellent podcast from PRI:


Pronunciation Lesson: how to pronounce ‘and’ in phrases

When the word ‘and’ is between two words in a phrase, it is pronounced ‘n.’ That is because it is unstressed and what we called “reduced.”

Here’s a lesson from the book and CD set “Lose Your Accent in 28 Days,” a helpful book & audio CD guide to American English pronunciation.

Read along with the lesson and listen to the audio. Repeat after the native speaker during the pauses in the audio.

Lesson from Lose Your Accent in 28 Days

Improve your American English pronunciation with this useful lesson from Lose Your Accent in 28 Days™

Enrich Your English through Ads

Advertisements are rich sources of idioms and they’re often fun to watch.  Take a look at this funny new Smirnoff advertisement starring actor Ted Danson and listen for these two idioms:

  • What’s that supposed to mean? – What are you saying?; I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying (note: sometimes said when you’re offended by what the person is saying)
  • regular Joe – an average person (note: also sometimes known as an ordinary Joe, Joe Sixpack or for women: an ordinary Jane, an average Jane)

Improve your Business English: Reading the Business News

Reading business newspapers is a fantastic way for you to improve your Business English. Here’s a lesson that will teach you new vocabulary words useful for business (and everyday life!). It also features some pronunciation practice and grammar. An answer key is included at the end. Teachers will find a Lesson Plan after the student lesson.

Business English Lesson 1: Procter & Gamble’s New Product Launch

Improve your English with American Slang!

Learn slang and idioms with our new ebook, American College Slang! Check it out if you’re at an international student at an American or English-speaking university — or if you’re just curious about current American slang.

Lessons in this guide include:
– Making Plans for the Evening
– Asking Someone Out
– Making Friends
– Going Out to Eat
– Ordering Take-out

Expressions taught in this book include: crunch time, stay woke, buzzkill, chillax, cram for, freak out, freshman fifteen, go ghost on … and hundreds more!

Get a free preview of American College Slang here!

Emoticons in Business English Communications :-) & Some Business English Idioms

Let’s look at extracts from this Wall Street Journal article on emoticons in the workplace
and then study five idioms in the story.

As emoticons pop up in workplace email, experts weigh in

In the span of a few years, emoji—the smiley faces, hearts, flags and other smemoticonall pictures installed in most smartphone, email and chat programs—have become ubiquitous in digital communication …

More than half of workers say they have used emoji to communicate at work, according to a recent survey … More managers than workers approved of emoji at work, a finding that reflects research showing that small, playful icons serve a surprisingly serious purpose in managing the emotional tone at work.

Jacqueline Whitmore, the author of a book on business etiquette, advises gauging the tone of office communications before sending an emoji to a colleague. Allowing higher-ups to send the first smiley and only using them with familiar colleagues are both good practices.

Ms. Whitmore says it is also important to consider the recipient. A small picture of a winking ghost may build fellow-feeling among colleagues, but may fall flat among clients.

To play it safe, the best emoji to send is a variation of the smiley face. To be avoided, in Ms Whitmore’s view: anything denoting anger or romance.  “Learn to communicate without them, and use them only as an enhancement,” said Ms. Whitmore. “When it doubt, leave it out.”

(The above is excerpted from a story from the Wall Street Journal with the headline Emoji at Work: Managing With a Wink and a 🙂, written by Dahlia Bazzaz)

The idioms

to pop up – to appear suddenly or unexpectedly

to weigh in – to give an opinion

higher-ups – those in senior positions in a company; the bosses

to fall flat – to fail; to not get the desired response

to play it safe – to be safe; to avoid risks

English Word of the Year Announced!


And it’s the “Face With Tears of Joy” emoji – named by Oxford Dictionaries as the word of the year because it best reflects the “ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.”

It beat out competition like lumbersexual, on fleek, and the pronoun “they.” Don’t you love the evolving English language?!

The Face With Tears of Joy was the most used emoji in the world this year, accounting for 17% of emoji use in the U.S. and 20% in the UK. Move over plain old smiley face — there’s a new emoji in town ;-)!