New Research Supports Benefits of Reducing One’s Foreign Accent

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

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Talk Turkey on Thanksgiving: an ESL ebook

In honor of Thanksgiving, here’s a brand new lesson teaching American English idioms and expressions related to Thanksgiving. It’s the Johnson family celebrating Thanksgiving. You’ll remember the Johnson family from our book Speak English Like an American. The target idioms and expressions in the dialogue are highlighted and defined below. You can download an eBook edition of Talk Turkey on Thanksgiving here: Thanksgiving eBook. The eBook also includes a quiz. We hope you’ll enjoy this English language learning material!

A THANKSGIVING DAY FEAST

The Johnson family is celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional Thanksgiving day feast. As usual, Ted and his sister Nicole are having trouble getting along. Fortunately, Ted’s girlfriend Amber is with the family and helps break up the tension.

Amber: She’s got a carving knife, she knows how to use it!

Susan: Amber, what a pretty song!

Amber: I’m killing two birds with one stone. I’m coming up with new songs while helping you get Thanksgiving dinner ready.

(ten minutes later)

Susan: Everything’s on the table. We’re ready to eat.

Bob: Before we dig in, I think we should count our blessings.

Susan: I agree. We have so much to be grateful for. For starters, we have our whole family together with us today.

Bob: I’m grateful to the National Cookie Company for buying Susan’s Scrumptious Cookies. That helped us buy our new house.

Ted: I’m grateful to Amber. With her beautiful singing voice, she helped us land a recording contract with Big Deal Records.

Susan: Yes, Amber is certainly blessed with a lovely voice.

Amber: I’m grateful that Ted was able to quit smoking this year, cold turkey!

Susan: What? Ted smoked?

Amber: Oh, not that much.

Nicole: Not much at all. Only about a pack a day!

Ted: It’s a mixed blessing being here today. On the one hand, I get to see Mom and Dad. On the other hand, I have to put up with my sister!

 (Everyone is eating)

Susan: Amber, you’re eating like a bird. Everything okay?

Amber: I stuffed myself on turkey while I was cutting it in the kitchen.

Nicole: I thought I noticed a leg missing. I though it walked away by itself!

Ted: Everything was delicious. I’m stuffed!

Susan: I hope you saved room for dessert. We have pecan pie and pumpkin cookies for dessert.

Nicole: Pumpkin cookies?

Susan: Yes. Now’s a good time to break the news. The National Cookie Company* has hired me as a recipe consultant. I’m having all of you test out my new recipe tonight.

Amber: Talk about killing two birds with one stone!

* In the book Speak English Like an American, Susan and Bob sell their cookie business to the National Cookie Company for a “small fortune.”

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IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS

(to) kill two birds with one stone – to get two things done at the same time; to solve two problems with one action

Example: Susan killed two birds with one stone by listening to the new Stephen King novel on audiobook while cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

(to) dig in – to start eating

Example: Dig in! Everything will get cold if you don’t start eating.

(to) count one’s blessings – to think about the good things in one’s life; to express gratitude for all that one has (and not focus on what one does not have)

Example: We need to count our blessings. Many houses in town were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, but ours was hardly touched.

for starters – as a first step; to begin with

Example: We need to clean the house before our company comes. For starters, let’s vacuum downstairs.

(to) land a contract  – to get a contract; to finalize a contract (note: land in this context means to gain or secure; you can also land a deal, a job, a contract)

Example: The National Cookie Company landed a contract to distribute its cookies in the largest supermarket chain in California.

blessed with – lucky to have a special quality or character

Example: Nicole finds her chemistry and physics classes very easy. She’s blessed with a scientific mind.

cold turkey –  immediately, not gradually (when you quit a habit cold turkey, you stop doing it immediately instead of gradually stopping it)

Example: I drink five cups of coffee a day. If I quit cold turkey, I’m sure I’d start getting headaches.

mixed blessing –  a situation or event with both good and bad aspects

Example: Having house guests over Thanksgiving is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, we need to prepare rooms for them. On the other hand, we have people to help us eat all that leftover turkey!

(to) put up with – to endure without complaint

Example: Tina’s husband always complains about her cooking. I don’t know how she puts up with him.

(to) eat like a bird – to not eat much; to have a small appetite

Example:That’s all your having? A turkey wing and a small blob of mashed potatoes? You eat like a bird!

(to) stuff oneself / to be stuffed – to overeat; to eat too much / to feel very full

Example: Unfortunately, the dinner was so delicious, I stuffed myself. I don’t think I’ll be able to eat dessert.

(to) save room for dessert – to not eat too much so that one can still eat dessert

Example: “May I have seconds?” – “Sure, but be sure to save room for dessert. We’ve got pumpkin pie.”

(to) break the news – to make something known

Example: Ted said, “Now’s a good time to break the news: Amber and I are getting married!”

Talk about … – That’s an example of; we were talking before about … (often used when a topic has recently mentioned and another example has come up, or to add emphasis to a point you are making)

Example: Talk about overeating. Ted just ate two turkey legs, a big pile of stuffing, and half a green bean casserole!

Popular Apps for Learning Business English Get an Upgrade – New Versions Now Available on iTunes

We’re pleased to announce upgraded versions of our popular apps for learning Business English: Speak Business English I and Speak Business English II.  You can watch a video review of the apps here: Speak Business English app review

Please read below our press release on the upgrades, or click here to view the coverage on Yahoo News.

Ann Arbor, MI (PRWEB) November 07, 2012.
Two popular English learning apps – Speak Business English I and Speak Business English II –– are now available for download from iTunes. The apps help English language learners and ESL students improve their Business English.

Based on customer feedback, a new feature has been added that lets users record themselves reading the dialogues aloud, name and save their recordings, and delete their recordings. The record and playback feature lets users compare their recordings with those of native speakers so they can hear the difference. According to Tanya Peterson, Marketing Director at Language Success Press, this is a very useful accent reduction feature. “Hearing the sound differences between the way the learner is currently pronouncing words and sentences and the way a native English speaker pronounces them is an important step in improving one’s pronunciation,” says Ms. Peterson.

The apps have also been upgraded to include social media integration, allowing users to share information about the apps with their contacts on Facebook and Twitter. The apps are fully compatible with Apple’s latest iOS 6.0.1 operating system.

Each app features 15 lessons with realistic business dialogues, with lesson titles such as: Talking about Company Strategy, Running a Meeting, Discussing a Difficult Request, Conducting a Performance Review, and Politely Disagreeing with Someone. Each lesson teaches a dozen or more American English idioms and expressions that learners will find useful when doing business with native English speakers. They include: rally the troops, generate lots of buzz, keep an open mind, come up with a winner, bells and whistles, and cover a lot of ground.

The lessons are based on the bestselling Business English book and audio CD “Speak Business English Like an American” which the Midwest Book Review calls “the ultimate instructive guide to the hundreds of expressions and idioms heard at the workplace daily.”

To borrow an idiom from one of the apps, Language Success Press has “come up with a winner” with these apps. Earlier versions of the Business English apps have been downloaded by English language learners in 35 countries, according to Ms. Peterson of Language Success Press. She says that many people download both apps at the same time, while others start with Speak Business English I and then move on to Speak Business English II.

In addition to Speak Business English I and II, Language Success Press offers two other apps for learning English: the Business English Power Verbs app and the Speak English Like an American app. All of the apps are featured on the company’s ESL mobile app store. Speak Business English I for iPad is available for download here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speak-business-english-i-for/id459687165?mt=8

Speak Business English I for iPhone and iPod touch is available for download here:
https://itunes.apple.com/app/speak-business-english-i/id459684683?mt=8