Check out this Super Bowl ad from last night’s game. Listen for the verb “to skyrocket” – meaning to go way, way up! Sales of Wonderful brand pistachios are sure to skyrocket this week!
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Check out this Super Bowl ad from last night’s game. Listen for the verb “to skyrocket” – meaning to go way, way up! Sales of Wonderful brand pistachios are sure to skyrocket this week!
Language Wars can divide global companies. What happens when English becomes the mandated language at a global company? Troubles can follow, if the employees are not prepared. One tip is to: “Encourage practice of the new language. Provide nonthreatening environments where the new language can be studied and practiced.” Fortunately, there are books like Speak Business English Like an American and Speak Better Business English and Make More Money that can help non-native speakers become more fluent in business English!
For more on the challenges of implementing English as the language of business in a global company, read this Harvard Business School article:
LinkedIn recommends that you avoid using buzzwords when marketing yourself. Their advice: “Demonstrate your skills and experience by providing examples of your talent rather than using buzzwords.” Drawing on the English-language profiles of LinkedIn users around the world, the company put together a list of the most frequently used buzzwords. And here they are:
There were some differences in buzzword usage by country:
* Interesting to note that Americans pride themselves on their patience!
We all know that visuals help with learning. So we decided to do something really special for our new iPad app, Speak English Around Town: we integrated short 3D movies into them! Learning English has never been so entertaining. And we’ve added subtitles to these mini-movies so learners can read along. Target expressions are even highlighted. So grab a bucket of popcorn, turn on your iPad, go to iTunes, and download the new Speak English Around Town app.
Through lively and realistic dialogs, Speak English Around Town teaches the expressions you need for everyday life. You’ll use these expressions when shopping, dining out, traveling, and during a dozen other daily activities. Recommended for intermediate & advanced students of English.
The new ESL app features lessons on:
We are pleased to announce the release of the Business English Power Idioms app.
The innovative new app for iPhone & iPad teaches over 100 American English idioms useful for business. The Business English Power Idioms app is available on iTunes here.
The app is the perfect tool for those who need to improve their business English. Users will learn to use the business English idioms and expressions that are most popular today. Idioms include: “aha” moment, stay the course, hit a sweet spot, gain mindshare, and sweat equity. Two usage examples are given for each expression. Usage examples are taken from real situations in today’s business world and feature companies such as Amazon, LinkedIn, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, and Pandora.
The app features native speakers reading the idioms and usage examples aloud. Interactive quizzes give immediate feedback with reward icons.
It’s available on iTunes for $3.99. It’s the latest release in our growing line of ESL apps. Our other mobile apps for learning English include Business English Power Verbs, Speak English Like an American, Speak Business English I & II, and Say it Better in English. Please visit our apps page for more details.
The new app release was featured in the Houston Chronicle. Read the coverage here.
As it says in the introduction of our ESL book Speak English Like an American, the English language is very dynamic, always changing to let in new words and expressions. ESL students are challenged to “stay on top” of emerging new slang and expressions (many native speakers are similarly challenged!).
Believe it or not, a lot of people spend a lot of time trying to decide what the English Word of the Year is each year. In fact, hundreds of people went to Boston last week to cast their votes for the English World of the Year at the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting.
And the 2012 Word of the Year is … hashtag. That’s right, the written out version of this symbol #. Twitter users will recognize that as the symbol put before a word to make searching posts for that word easier, like: #ESL. This usage started in 2007. In 2012, its popularity apparently exploded. Says Ben Zimmer of the American Dialect Society:
“This was the year when the hashtag became a ubiquitous phenomenon in online talk. In the Twittersphere and elsewhere, hashtags have created instant social trends, spreading bite-sized viral messages on topics ranging from politics to pop culture.”
Thus, the little hashtag got cast into the spotlight. It got its fifteen minutes of fame as we say in English when talking about something or someone that gets a lot of media publicity (often for a short period of time — hence the reference to “fifteen minutes”).
Many people thought the expression “fiscal cliff” would win the Word of the Year (threat of spending cuts and tax increases hanging over the end-of-year budget negotiations). We certainly heard a lot about that from the media!
In addition to the word of the year prize, new expressions and words can win in a variety of other categories. In the most creative category, the new American English expression gate lice was one of the runners up. Gate lice are those annoying airline passengers who rush to the gates waiting to get on board the plane. How nice to now have a simple way to describe these people. Instead of having to say, “Look at all of those silly people rushing to get on the plane when boarding hasn’t even started” we can now simply say, “Look at the gate lice!”
In the least likely to succeed category, the expression YOLO was the winner (tied for first place with phablet — which is an electronic device sized between the smartphone and the tablet). As just about any American under 30 probably knows, that is an acronym for “You only live once.” It is often used sarcastically (“Go ahead and take the last cookie, YOLO!”). It was popularized by the rapper Drake, who sang about YOLO in one of his songs. YOLO nearly also won for the category of “most useful” — clearly the expression has its supporters, despite being judged “least likely to succeed.” Perhaps it became too popular, too quickly and it’s time has already passed (in other words, maybe it’s no longer cool or trendy to use the word YOLO. I plan to keep using it for another few months, YOLO!).
Since we publish books for learning business English, we are always looking for new business English expressions. We were pleased to see the word disruptive as a runner-up in the “most euphemistic” category. Disruptive in its new sense means “destroying existing business models.” This concept was introduced into business vocabulary by Professor Clay Christensen of Harvard University (who writes a lot about disruptive innovation, meaning innovations that create new markets, as the automobile disrupting railroad transport and the GPS navigation system disrupted the navigational map).
For a complete list of all the words nominated for prizes in 2012, visit the American Dialect Society’s website.
Ho ho ho, it’s holiday time and we at Language Success Press are celebrating with the release of Speak English on Christmas Day. This new lesson teaches 14 American English idioms and expressions related to the upcoming holiday. It’s the Johnson family celebrating Christmas. You’ll remember them from our book Speak English Like an American. The target idioms and expressions in the dialogue are highlighted and defined below. You can also download an eBook edition of Speak English on Christmas here: Christmas English eBook. The eBook also includes a quiz. We hope you will enjoy this English language learning material. If so, print out the ebook, wrap it up, and give it as a holiday gift. It makes a great stocking stuffer! (A stocking stuffer is a small gift given at Christmas).
CHRISTMAS MORNING WITH THE JOHNSONS
The Johnson family is celebrating Christmas. The kids, Ted and Nicole, are home from college for the holidays. Ted’s girlfriend Amber is also with them. Now it’s time to gather around the tree and open the presents.
Susan: Merry Christmas, everyone!
Bob: It’s wonderful to have the family here for the holiday. Now that Mom and I are empty nesters, the house is usually so quiet.
Nicole: I’m sure you miss Ted’s loud rock music at 2 a.m.!
Susan: Who would like to start out the day with one of my fresh-baked gingerbread cookies?
Nicole: Mom, it’s 10 o’clock in the morning. Who eats cookies so early?
Ted: Get in the holiday spirit! I’ll take a cookie, Mom.
Amber: Mind if I take one too?
Susan: Be my guest.
Bob: Let’s get started with the presents.
(everyone sits by the Christmas tree)
Bob: Here’s one for Amber from Ted.
Amber: (opens box) A beautiful silver nose ring! Just what I wanted. How did you know?
Ted: You dropped a few hints!
Bob: This big box is for Mom from Ted.
(Susan unwraps present and takes out a sweater)
Nicole: Oh, it’s an ugly Christmas sweater!
Bob: Nicole, it’s the thought that counts. Besides, that sweater is quite a conversation piece.
Susan: Thanks, Ted. I love it. Look at all the smiling snowmen on the sweater. Looking at their happy faces would help anyone beat the holiday blues!
Bob: And this present is for Ted from Nicole.
Ted: (unwraps present) It’s a book. Chemistry for Dummies. Just what I wanted. Did you save the receipt?*
Nicole: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!
Bob: And here’s a present for Ted from Mom and me.
Ted: (unwraps present) A new iPad. Great! Thanks a lot.
Nicole: Now Ted can spend even more time playing video games.
Ted: Mind your own business!
Susan: That’s enough, guys. I hope you two won’t be at each other’s throats for the entire holiday.
Bob: Right. Don’t forget what Bing Crosby* said: “Christmas has a way of bringing out the best in everyone.”
Ted: Bing Crosby never met Nicole!
* Ted is asking for the sales receipt so he can return the book.
* Bing Crosby was an American singer and actor (1903-1977). His most popular song was his 1941 recording of “White Christmas,” written by Irving Berlin.
IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS
at each other’s throats – arguing with each other; fighting
Example: Gina and Jim are always at each other’s throats. I can’t believe they’re still married!
be my guest – help yourself; go ahead and do something
Example: “Do you mind if I slice the apple pie?” — “Be my guest.”
(to) beat the holiday blues – to do something so that one does not feel stressed and depressed during the holidays
Example: Susan always says that helping others is a great way to beat the holiday blues.
(to) bring out the best in someone – to cause someone to behave in the best way; to bring out their best qualities
Example: With her great sense of humor and positive attitude, Amber always brings out the best in people.
conversation piece – something unusual that attracts attention or makes people talk
Example: My boss gave me a sparkling angel pin for Christmas. It’s a real conversation piece!
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – don’t be ungrateful when you receive a gift
Example: “These earrings Jane gave me are so ugly!” — “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
(to) drop a hint – to give a small hint or clue about something
Example: I don’t know what you want for Christmas. I wish you’d drop some hints!
empty nester – a parent whose child has grown up and left the house
Example: Now that Tina and Carl are empty nesters, they’re planning to travel around the world.
(to) get in the holiday spirit – to start having good feelings about the holidays
Example: Anna put on a Bing Crosy Christmas CD to try to get in the holiday spirit.
How did you know? – asked when someone gives you just the gift that you wanted
Example: Great, a new Hermès tie! How did you know?
it’s the thought that counts – it doesn’t matter what the gift is, at least the giver was kind enough to give something
Example: “Look at these bunny rabbit slippers my friend gave me. They’re ridiculous!” — “It’s the thought that counts.”
mind your own business – don’t interfere in matters that you are not a part of
Example: “Nicole, who was that guy you were talking to on the phone?” — “Mind your own business, Ted.”
(to) start out the day with – to begin the day with
Example: Nicole always starts out the day with a jog around the block.
ugly Christmas sweater – a tacky sweater with holiday themes like Christmas trees, reindeer, or snowmen and bold colors
Example: Mike always wears his ugly Christmas sweater to his office holiday party.
Note: Ugly Christmas sweaters became a trend about 10 years ago. They are often worn with irony (the wearer knows they look a little silly, but they enjoy it). There are even ugly Chistmas sweater parties.
Here’s our latest press release, which you can also read here.
Language Success Press, a leading provider of accent reduction and business English materials, says new research from the University of Chicago underscores the benefits of reducing one’s foreign accent.
Ann Arbor, MI (PRWEB) November 27, 2012
Language Success Press, a publisher of accent reduction and business English materials, has said for the past decade that reducing one’s foreign accent and speaking more fluent English helps build career success. Now a study from the University of Chicago lays out a key support for this case: speaking with a foreign accent actually makes the speaker seem less truthful. The research summary states that, “Such reduction of credibility may have an insidious impact on millions of people, who routinely communicate in a language which is not their native tongue.”
The research shows that non-native speech is more difficult for the listener’s brain to process. This difficulty causes the listener to doubt the accuracy of what they’re hearing. For example, people who hear a statement such as “Ants don’t sleep” as less true when spoken by someone with a foreign accent.
Language Success Press offers four accent reductionsystems, including Master the American Accent, Lose Your Accent in 28 Days, as well as a specialized system for native Spanish speakers. “Many of our customers have told us that they feel held back in their careers because of their accent,” says Tanya Peterson, Marketing Director at Language Success Press. “The subtle bias they are experiencing is borne out in this research.”
Ms. Peterson says Language Success Press’ customers include business people, health care professionals, college professors and graduate students. Many are fluent in English but still retain some trace of a foreign accent. Pronunciation is generally considered the most difficult part of a language to master.
Ms. Peterson says that dozens of customers have written to Language Sucess Press after using one of the company’s accent reduction systems to say that they feel more confident, more effective, and less self-conscious.
Non-native speakers have trouble conceptualizing the sounds of English. They have trouble hearing the difference between various sounds, organizing them in their brains, and using them as needed. For example, many Asian speakers confuse the ‘r’ and ‘l’ sounds. The problem is not that Asian speakers are not able to produce an ‘r’ or an ‘l’ sound. They can produce both. The problem is in the conceptualization. They have difficulty keeping the sounds distinct from another and determining when to use each. So the first step is in learning the sound differences between the way one is currently pronouncing sounds, words, and sentences, and the correct way. Accent reduction systems help, in part, by helping learners differentiate sounds and teaching the techniques necessary to produce the sounds differently.
Lose Your Accent in 28 Days and Master the American Accent both use video clips to show how to make American English vowel and consonant sounds. The systems also include sections on the other key aspects of pronunciation: rhythm, stress, and intonation.
The research article cited in this release is entitled,” Why don’t we believe non-native speakers? The inﬂuence of accent on credibility” by S. Lev-Ari and B. Keyser. It appeared in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
About Language Success Press
Language Success Press is a leading publisher of business English and accent reduction books, CDs, and mobile apps. In addition, the company also publishes books and CDs for learning American English idioms and expressions, including the bestselling Speak English Like an American series. The company also has a line of apps for learning English. Founded in 2002, Language Success Press has customers in 40 countries around the world. For more information, please visit the company’s website at: http://www.languagesuccesspress.com or contact Tanya Peterson at Language Success Press: Tanya(at)languagesuccesspress(dot)com