What Americans Call Their Mothers
What do you call your mother? Here's what you might hear in the US:
Americans use indirect language in some social and business situations. We will be expanding on this topic as part of our soft skills video series, to help you understand what Americans mean when they use indirect language. This video is part of a talk by Harvard Linguist Stephen Pinker, animated by RSA.org.
In addition to working on improving your American Accent, you may want to work on other English language skills such as grammar, vocabulary building, listening skills and fluency. Here are some resources we recommend for English-Language learners:
Grammar topics (types of speech, verb tenses, free weekly lessons) http://www.englishpage.com/
English grammar lessons sorted by ability level: http://www.learn-english-online.org/
(This website is based in the UK, so some of the content will be different because they focus on British English.)
VOA: Leveled news articles with additional information for English learners: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/
Also from VOW: Let's Learn English is a new course for English learners. Certified American English teachers designed the course for beginners. The course continues for 52 weeks.
Each week, there will be a new lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. The lesson includes instruction in speaking, vocabulary and writing.
There are also printable worksheets, assessments and lesson plans for individual learners and English teachers.
Podcast with a variety of topics for advanced level English learners (idioms, grammar, word choice, etc,):
Vocabulary Building: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/vocabmania.htm
Fluency: Read more about ways to build fluency in this post.
Improve your Business English
Do you have a robust vocabulary when speaking English? Knowing the precise words you want to convey your meaning is both satisfying and effective, but beware of overuse of jargon. "Bizspeak," as Harvard Business Review writer Bryan A. Garner dubs it, is the tendency to use buzz words, catch phrases and sometimes meaningless babble rather than simple language. Expressing yourself plainly and clearly using real language is always preferable and will give you more success than overloading your language with unnecessary jargon.
For a humorous look at what not to use in your business communication, read his article here.
If you are looking to expand your vocabulary in English, one nice way to acquire new words is to use a word of the day website or app. One top-rated app is the Dictionary.com free app, which also has a thesaurus, offline dictionary and translation features. This app can be set to give you daily notifications so even if you forget to look for the day's word, it will appear and remind you.
Find this app and others here:
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