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Vocal Practice

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on January 19, 2021, 7:43 pm
Quote from Matthew Whitewood on January 18, 2021, 6:34 pm

I am following this person's course for pronunciation

What do you think about his voice?

I think it's great.

Warm, grounded, sounds confident, and great enunciation.

From a global and power dynamics perspective, I'd personally look more into American pronunciation / accent, and even more so now that UK has gone at it alone outside of the EU.
The USA is the current English-speaking center of power, so it might be better to power-align with that :).

The discussion on Peter Thiel's interview made me want to drop a short note on the pronunciation course, ETJ English.
The breakdown of the different parts of pronunciation is easy to follow.

He also throws in a year of giving feedback over WhatsApp.
So you get to send audio recordings to him, and he gives feedback on pronunciation.

I didn't realise that stresses and intonation were critical in sounding "clear".
For the past month, I have been focusing on sentence stress.

His advice on practising one aspect of voice/pronunciation at a time has been very helpful to me.
It makes the objective of my practice sessions very clear and easy.

The course supplements Roger Love's Speaking Pro course very well.
Roger Love focuses on improving your voice so it's language agnostic.
ETJ English focuses on how you can make use of stresses, intonations, phrase grouping, pronunciation to sound better when speaking English.

One nice side-benefit I found of voice to text:

It helps you to self-correct your pronunciation.

For example, some people had given me feedback that I miss the "h" in front of words -"hotel", for example-.

But people understand anyway, so you don't really have a need to correct.
It sticks much more instead when an app fails to understand what you're saying and you need to correct it in order to communicate.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Quite a few Londoners don't pronounce the "h" too.
The Cockney accent.

Maybe I should use voice to text more often.

One nice side-benefit I found of voice to text:

It helps you to self-correct your pronunciation.

I'm not sure which phone you are using or voice-to-text you are using.
I think the AI model is probably trained on samples of the American accent.
Hence, the model is biased and cannot generalise to other accents.

For me, it's the stressing, intonation and vowels.
I've been speaking English since young.
Also, my country has an English-based education.

But the accent makes it hard to communicate with foreigners sometimes.

This is my 6-month roadmap by my coach.
It is 10-minute long audio.

https://vocaroo.com/19JI1c5vpS52

He advised focused practice for 2 weeks for any individual sound.
For example, 2 weeks for the "h" sound only.

But, for me, the biggest change is shifting from syllabus-timed to stress-timed.
That's what I've been focusing on primarily.

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Lucio Buffalmano
Quote from Matthew Whitewood on August 3, 2021, 3:51 am

I think the AI model is probably trained on samples of the American accent.
Hence, the model is biased and cannot generalise to other accents.

True.

And that's a plus to me.

To me, American English is the one to conform to.

When Latin was the lingua franca in Europe, you didn't want to speak Latin with the accent of the provinces. You want to speak like the Romans.
Same today, you want to speak the lingua franca like the power driver behind the language (of course that's a simplification because there are different accents within the US as well).

But I'm biased: I may over-apply power dynamics everywhere 😀

Thank you for sharing your roadmap Matthew, going to check it!

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Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on August 3, 2021, 5:22 am

And that's a plus to me.

To me, American English is the one to conform to.

One thing I wanted to add:

There is a risk for "cultural subordination" here.

If you try too hard, if "conforming" means "I need to be like X to be high quality", or if you end up seeing anyone as above you for some reason, then it's unhealthy from a personal power point of view.

I personally think that an American accent is better for you because of the power-aligning concept. The US is the current (it's time-constrained) global engine of economic growth, and entrepreneurship.
And even then, there are local exceptions: if you are, say, in Macau, then conforming to Chinese Mandarin is best for you.

But at the same time, I don't consider anything inherently "better" of a US passport over me or anyone else (as a matter of fact, my personal experience suggests that many Europeans are more open-minded, probably because the EU block allows for more travel and cultural exchange).

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Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I see what you mean. I haven't really considered the American environment.

I chose the UK accent because it's more relevant to my current circumstance. I get immediate benefit from having a more UK accent.

I think it's something for me to consider since fundraising and hiring would be excellent in the USA.

I also haven't considered in detail which countries have more favourable impressions of the American accent vs the British accent.

Example of Getting the Basics of Speaking/Pronunciation Well

  • Stressing the right words in a sentence very well
  • Breaking up the sentences into thought groups (essentially logical phrases with pauses in between)
  • Good intonation going together with the stresses
  • Falling tone at the end of sentences convey authority
    (Start at a note higher than your baseline frequency and go down from there -----\)
  • He speaks at the maximum resonance frequency as the baseline.
    His intonation centres around this frequency.
  • Confident posture and body language

Stress is the most important, followed by intonation.
From what I have learnt, it's more important than pronouncing vowels and consonants well.

Note the difference in stress between the stressed words and the non-stressed words when he speaks.

Here is Joe Rogan's speech as a contrast:

Joe Rogan is pretty good here but not as good in terms of stressing the right words in the sentences.


Obama is also excellent in terms of stress and intonation:

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