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Why Do You Need the Public Speaking Training?

August 14th, 2015 11:20 pm

If you want to make your speech impressive in front of audiences on a regular basis for your business or personal needs, public speaking training can come truly essential. No one can deny that public speaking is considered an art wherefore only the skillful of speakers are able to cast a spell on their audience leaving them thirsting for more. As for those who may not be as used to this, it can be a nightmare particularly when the would-be speaker is shy or extremely sensitive.

When you are nervous about speaking in public or unsure of your presentation skills, you will be in a constant state of anxiety in any situation where you may be called upon to speak. Toasts at weddings, an invitation to present at a conference, a meeting with a valued client or supplier – the prospect of these scenarios will make you shudder. If you can rely on your presentation training and coaching and know that you will make an effective speech, you can embrace these opportunities.

It’s the very fact that the majority of people are not accomplished public speakers that makes you stand out if you are able to do so. By volunteering to take on the dreaded and challenging job of speaking to a crowd, your superiors will be impressed and your co-workers will be beyond grateful that they will not have to do so. You immediately stand out from the crowd as a confident, assertive and team-oriented individual.

Even those who hate giving presentations and speaking in public will probably have to do so at some point. If you have prepared for this possibility by undergoing presentation training and coaching you will be able to do more than simply stammer through your notes. You will be able to concentrate on the meaning of what you are saying, focus on your audience and respond to their body language and questions. By being confident in your verbal communication you are free to concentrate on the non-verbal communication that is key to making a good impression.

The ability to make presentations and speak in public opens up a wealth of different career paths. Sales, marketing, management and more are all career directions which are much more easily accessed when you have confidence in your public speaking skills and are able to give clear, effective presentations. Your co-workers and subordinates are better able to understand and follow your plans and visions, while your clients and suppliers can follow your line of reasoning and know exactly what you are trying to communicate to them.

With the rapid advances in communications technology and the rise of video on the Internet, communication skills will only increase in importance as more meetings will take place face-to-face even if the participants are not in the same room. Both employers and your clients place a premium on the ability to speak confidently and persuasively. There is no better investment in yourself or your organization than public speaking training.

Public speaking skills, enhanced by presentation training and coaching, bring so many benefits that you will find it hard to understand why it took you so long to take the steps you need to stand out from the crowd.

The Great English Vowel Shift

April 16th, 2015 9:29 pm

People who are learning English often find it difficult to pronounce English vowels. Some English vowels can be pronounced in several different ways, depending on the spelling of the word, and sometimes they are even pronounced differently in words that have similar spellings. For example, the ‘ea’ in ‘bread’ is pronounced the same as the ‘e’ in ‘bred,’ and not the same as the ‘ea’ in ‘break.’

English pronunciations weren’t always so difficult. In the past, English vowels were pronounced the same as vowels in Spanish. There was only one way to pronounce each vowel. Over a period of 350 years, from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries, English pronunciations changed drastically. People who study languages refer to this as “The Great Vowel Shift.”

What Happened During The Great Vowel Shift?

Historians have identified eight different stages to the Great Vowel Shift. The earliest vowels that were affected were ‘i’ and ‘u.’ In Old English, these vowels were pronounced the same as the Spanish equivalents. ‘I’ was long, like the ‘ee’ in the modern English word ‘reed,’ and the ‘u’ was pronounced like the ‘oo’ in the modern English word ‘food.’ In the first stage of the Great Vowel Shift, the ‘i’ was changed and became similar to the ‘ai’ in ‘raid,’ and the ‘u’ was changed to become similar to the ‘ou’ in ‘mouse.’

The Great English Vowel Shift

In the second stage, the vowels ‘e’ and ‘o,’ were changed. Previously, the English ‘e’ had been pronounced like the ‘ay’ in ‘say,’ and the ‘o’ had been pronounced like the ‘oa’ in ‘road.’ These vowels were raised, so that the ‘e’ took the place of the Old English ‘i’ and the ‘o’ took the place of the Old English ‘u.’

In the third stage of the Great Vowel Shift, the vowel ‘a’ was changed. In Old English, the ‘a’ was always pronounced like the ‘a’ in the word ‘ham.’ During the Great Vowel Shift, the ‘a’ was changed to sound like ‘ae’ and then changed again to sound like the ‘a’ in ‘make.’ It became a long ‘a’ instead of a short ‘a.’

In the next stage, the vowel ‘o,’ changed once more. In words with the vowel combination ‘oa,’ the ‘o’ changed to become the same as the ‘o’ in the modern English word ‘oh.’ At the same time, the vowel ‘e’ was further standardised, and was pronounced even more distinctly like the modern ‘ee.’

The fifth stage of the Great Vowel Shift is referred to as the ‘meet/meat merger.’ Previously, the ‘ee’ in ‘meet’ and the ‘ea’ in ‘meat’ were pronounced differently. During this stage, people began to pronounce them in the same way. This is the reason words such as ‘sea’ and ‘see’ are pronounced the same today.

In the sixth stage, a new pronunciation for the vowel ‘e’ was introduced. In some words, ‘e’ was pronounced like the ‘e’ in the modern English word ‘check.’ After this, in the seventh and eighth stages, new pronunciations were introduced for the vowel combinations ‘ai,’ ‘au,’ and ‘ei.’

During all the stages of the Great Vowel Shift, there were exceptions. Many words kept their old pronunciations, while people began to pronounce other words with the same spelling in a different way. This is the reason that words such as ‘bear,’ ‘great’ and ‘head’ all have different pronunciations today.

Another interesting fact about the Great Vowel Shift is that it didn’t affect all dialects of English. If you listen to someone from Scotland, for example, it will sound like they got caught somewhere between the second and fourth stages of the great vowel shift! People with Irish and Northern English accents have also kept many of the older pronunciations.

The Great English Vowel Shift

What Caused The Great Vowel Shift?

There are different theories as to what caused the Great Vowel Shift. Some historians have pointed out that it took place at the same time as the Black Death, when many people died of the plague. After the Black Death, people from many different regions emigrated to the southeast of England, and it’s thought that their accents were combined to create new pronunciations. Other historians point out that at this time the nobility were beginning to speak English instead of French. They think that people began to pronounce words differently in order to distance their language from the French.

No one knows for certain what caused the Great Vowel Shift, but it’s because of the changes during this period that English has so many strange pronunciations. Students who have difficulty pronouncing English words today can blame people who lived in England in the Middle Ages!

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