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“… My team improved their speaking abilities significantly.”

Vice President DC Bars, Moscow, Russia

“…This program added me confidence in speaking.”

President of Brazil & Argentina Region Valeant

“…greatly exceeded expectations. I didn’t anticipate to learn so many new things.”

Head of the US office, a special reporter in the US 1+1 channel, Washington, USA

“…boosted my confidence in speaking on public.”

Managing Director, Senior Vice President GlobalLogic, Kiev, Ukraine

“…Very useful, this program is the best use of my time.”

Eastern Europe Managing Director LUXOFT, Eastern Europe

“…clients mentioned that my pronunciation improved. My benefit is obvious..”

Principal The Boston Consulting Group, Boston, USA

the course structure
RUSSIAN
SPANISH
GERMAN
PORTUGUESE
TURKISH
HINDI
OTHER

TYPICAL PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS

  • 1Mispronouncing American /r/ in road; mother; weather; rare.
  • 2Confusing /i/ with /I/. /i/: need; read; treat; etc./I/: knit; rid; tit; etc.
  • 3Mispronouncing /th/ as /θ/ and /ð/ sounds. /θ/: thing; nothing; /ð/: this; that; brother.
  • 4Confusing /v/ and /w/. /v/: vine; vest; divine. /w/: with; waste; west.
  • 5Misuse /ŋ/. /ŋ/: thing; doing; nothing.
  • 6Mispronouncing /ɔ/ sound and words spelled with o
  • 7Mispronouncing /æ/. /æ/: man, /e/: men, /eɪ/: late, /e/: let.
  • 8Confusing /u:/ with /ʊ/. /u:/: room; tooth; food. /ʊ/: book; put; could; would etc.
  • 9Replace /ɑː/ with /ɔ/ or /ʌ/ in robot; caught; call; mall; stop.
  • 10Pronounce /o/ instead of /oʊ/ in wrote; old; boat; coat; mode.
  • 11Misuse of hard and soft consonants
  • 12Changing the final voiced consonant into a voiceless one, often at the ends of words: back – bag, bet – bed, price-prize.

GRAMMAR ISSUES

  • Russian language has no articles. This causes significant problems because the whole concept of article use is alien to Russian learners of English, and the English article system itself is complex.

    Also Russian nouns are one of three genders. This results in problems such as: Have you seen my book? I put her on the table. (should be: “I put it on the table”).

    There are aspects of the Russian language which, if directly transferred into English conversation, may sound abrupt or impolite to English native speakers: Would you like to play tennis tomorrow? – No, I wouldn’t or Tell me where is the railway station, please. or Can you play the piano? – Yes, of course.

TYPICAL PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS

  • 1Mispronouncing American /r/ in road; mother; weather; rare.
  • 2Confusing /d/ with /t/. /d/: date; confide; inside, etc. /t/: better; fertility; until; material etc.
  • 3Confusing /I/ with /i/. /i/: need; read; treat; etc. /ɪ/: knit; rid; tit; etc.
  • 4Mispronounce /l/. The Spanish /l/ is not the same as that in English as the bottom and body of the tongue are quite elevated compared to English.
  • 5Pronounce /t/ instead of /θ/ and /d/ instead of /ð/. /θ/: thin; wrath; moth; /ð/: weather; loathe; then.
  • 6Confusing /m/ with /n/ at the end of a word: rhyme; fame; sitcom; some etc.
  • 7Substitute vowel /æ/ for /a/ or /ɑː/
  • 8Spanish has five pure vowels sounds— /ah/, /ee/, /ooh/, /eh/, /oh/—and Spanish speakers consider it a point of pride that words are clearly pronounced the way they are written.
  • 9When producing /v/, the result is /b/.
  • 10When /w/ precedes vowel /ʊ/ as in "would" Spanish learners involuntarily insert a /g/ before /w/ which makes "would" sound like "good".
  • 11Confusing /u:/ with /ʊ/. /u:/: room; tooth; food. /ʊ/: book; put; could; would etc.
  • 12Mispronounce // and //. //: Name; date; wait; train; //: right; fight; side; light.

GRAMMAR ISSUES

  • In Spanish, the verb tenses change with the subject, so actually saying “I” or “he” or “it” isn’t necessary.

    Native Spanish speakers often get confused when it comes to words like him, her, because the Spanish pronoun su represents both the masculine and the feminine.

    In Spanish, an adjective often comes after the noun.

TYPICAL PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS

  • 1Confusing /s/ with /z/. /z/: rise, /s/: rice.
  • 2Confusing /d/ with /t/. /d/: made, /t/: mate
  • 3Confusing /i/ with /I/. /i/: need; read; treat; etc./I/: knit; rid; tit; etc.
  • 4Pronouncing /d/ or /s/ instead of /θ/and /d/ or/z/ instead of /ð/. /θ/: thin, /d/: din, /s/: sin, /ð/: they, /d/: day, /ð/: clothe,/z/: close
  • 5Confusing /b/ with /p/. /b/: bill, /p/: pill.
  • 6Mispronouncing /æ/, which doesn’t exists in German. /æ/: man, /e/: men, //: late, /e/: let.
  • 7Confusing /v/ with /f/ and with /w/. /v/: vet, vest. /w/: wet, west.
  • 8Confusing /u:/ with /ʊ/. /u:/: room; tooth; food. /ʊ/: book; put; could; would etc.
  • 9Replace /ɑː/ with /ɔ/ or /ʌ/ in robot; caught; call; mall; stop.
  • 10Pronounce /o/ instead of // in wrote; old; boat; coat; mode.
  • 11Misuse /ŋ/. /ŋk/: think, /ŋ/: thing.
  • 12Confusing /ʧ/ with /ʃ/, with /ʤ/ and with /ʃ/. /ʧ/: cherry, /ʃ/ sherry, /ʧ/: chin, /ʤ/: gin, /ʒ/: confusion, /ʃ/: Confucian.

GRAMMAR ISSUES

  • German does not have a continuous tense form, so it is common to hear sentences such as I can’t come now; I eat my dinner; or conversely He is riding his bike to school every day.

    German uses  the present simple where English uses the future with will. This leads to mistakes such as: I tell him when I see him.

    Typically spoken German uses the present perfect to talk about past events: Dann habe ich ein Bier getrunken. The same tense is used in English produces the incorrect: Then I have drunk a beer.

TYPICAL PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS

  • 1The Final /L/ - The Portuguese final /L/ sounds almost like the English /w/ or /ou/.
  • 2The /s/ sound - The Portuguese language has no word that begins with an s followed by another consonant.
  • 3The /th/ sound is also absent in Portuguese language.
  • 4Consonant Clusters - they tend to pronounce only the first consonant of the group.
  • 5Nasalization of the final /m/ or /n/, so ran, for example, becomes rang
  • 6Confusing /æ/ and /ɛ/ - The sounds /æ/ (as in bad) with /ɛ/ (as in bed) are often confused by native Portuguese speakers.
  • 7The /ɔ/ Sound - Brazilians tend to use the very different British version of this sound instead of American.
  • 8Confusing /I/ vs /i
  • 9Problems with diphthongs - such as in hear/hair
  • 10Confusing /ʊ/ vs /u/ - Portuguese speakers make the common error of confusing /ʊ/ as in good, with /u/ as in food.
  • 11Silent B’s – In Portuguese, you pronounce words the way you spell them.
  • 12/R/ pronunciation as /H/ – The letter R is very difficult for people learning English. Portuguese pronounce the letter R like the letter H. Right – Height , Rate – hate

GRAMMAR ISSUES

  • Portuguese often don’t use a proper English structure in questions: You like me?

    He came to school yesterday?

    Usage of double, or sometimes even triple negative in Portuguese, which may lead to such errors as I don’t know nothing.

    Common difficulty lies in the choice of the appropriate present tense. Mistakes in this area include: He has a bath .. (= he’s having a bath ..)

TYPICAL PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS

  • 1Phonemes /ei/, /æ/, /θ/, /ð/, /ŋ/, /w/ do not exist in the Turkish language. The students found them rather difficult to pronounce.
  • 2 Words pronounced differently after derivation: analyse/analysis, resign/resignation sign/signature
  • 3 Confusing /th/ vs /t/ : tank instead of thank.
  • 4 Confusing /th/ vs /d/: dose, not those, mudder not mother.
  • 5 Difficulties pronouncing two words that share the same spelling: face/surface, mine/determine, table/ comfortable, mate/climate
  • 6 Problems with the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds in the words such as then, think and clothes.
  • 7 Incorrect pronunciation of the borrowed words with French, Latin or Greek origin: mosque, technique, vague.
  • 8 Confusing words or syllables beginning with the /w/ and /v/ sounds, pronouncing vine as wine, or vice versa.
  • 9 Turkish speakers tend to pronounce /ei/ (as in take) as /ɛ/ or /æ/, so the word same ends up sounding like Sam, paper like pepper, taste like test.
  • 10 Pronouncing silent letters in words like: answer, building, calm, chalk, dumb, half, sword, talk, walk
  • 11Confusing /I/ (as in sit, fill) and /i/ (as in seat, feel).
  • 12 The /ʊ/ Sound. The common error of confusing /ʊ/ as in full, Luke with /u/ as in fool, look.

GRAMMAR ISSUES

  • The absence of a separate verb to be leads to mistakes such as His sister teacher.

    Learners often misuse the continuous tense when in English the simple form is required:

    I am believing him

    Turkish is an agglutinative language. So an English verb phrase such as You should not have to go would be expressed in Turkish as a single word with go as the root.

TYPICAL PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS

  • 1Confusing the /v/ and /w/ sounds: have sounds as "hawe", vest as "west".
  • 2 Dropping the /v/ in the middle or at the end of a word is also a common mistake: involved sounds as “involed”, government as “goment”.
  • 3 Rolling the /r/ with the tip of your tongue, as this creates a harsh sounding Indian /r/: program, friend, right.
  • 4 Indian speakers tend not to pronounce the /r/ sound at the end of the word, as in far and computer, or before another consonant, as in dark and concert.
  • 5 /th/: a common mistake is to substitute a /t/ or a /d/ for the /th/: mother as “mudder”, those as “dose”.
  • 6 Indian speakers tend to pronounce /eI/ (as in take) as /ɛ/ or /æ/, so the word same ends up sounding like Sam.
  • 7 Confusing /ɛ/ and /æ/ as in send and as in sand.
  • 8 Confusing /ɔ/ and /oʊ/ as in boat and bought, low and law.
  • 9 The phoneme /z/ as exemplified by the /s/ in pleasure is missing in Hindi and so pronunciation of such words is difficult.
  • 10 Stressing the wrong syllable. The common mistake is to stress the first syllable: information, technique, understand.
  • 11 Consonants clusters at the beginning or end of words are more common in English than Hindi. This leads to errors in the pronunciation of words such as straight (istraight), fly (faly), film (filam).

GRAMMAR ISSUES

  • Common overuse by Hindi learners of the present continuous when in English the present simple is required: I am always playing golf on Sundays. / I am not knowing the answer.

    Since Hindi does not have the auxiliary do, learners are prone to asking questions by means of intonation alone: She has a brother? and to making mistakes such as When you got married?

    In Hindi the future tense is required in the dependent clause of conditional 1 sentences. This leads to interference mistakes such as: If you will help me, I will help you.

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