The sound of popcorn. Pop. Corn. The P and K stop sounds. Make sure to release the air as you articulate them. And don’t forget, they are both voiceless. In the word pop, move the stressed syllable’s vowel sound “/ɑ/” forward as you release the initial /p/sound. Lengthen the /ɑ/ sound and incorporate a small pitch change. Make sure to articulate the final /p/ sound. Again, release the air. Link this /p/ sound to the next word if it begins with a vowel sound.
Like with any language sound system, there’s a lot going on at any given moment when one speaks in English. That’s why popcorn practice (HT to Lita Johnson. She referred to our group activities this summer as popcorn activities)… As I was saying, that’s why popcorn practice is absolutely critical for steadily applying what you learn in an English pronunciation skills (or accent modification/reduction) program to automatic, spontaneous speech. Don’t underestimate this. (It’s easy to do!)
What do you think of when you hear the word, popcorn? I think of pop pop—pop movement. Spontaneous and unplanned movement.
The planned is the thinking through of how one is using the language or some specific aspect of it. The popcorn is the spontaneity of using it with no time to think about accuracy. It’s simply a jumpstart for steadily improving one’s English language use. One speech clarity, fluency, vocabulary range, etc.
What’s your 2017 plan?
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My 2017 plan
I’m pretty excited about expanding the range of tech tools that I’ve been using to help the people I serve improve their spoken English. This isn’t a shiny new object type of excitement. It’s about using these tech tools to help my speakers-in-training engage with and practice even more–both actively and passively–what we cover, in 15-20 minute blocks of time. I truly believe that it’s better to actively think, listen/absorb and practice a little everyday than to sit down with a copy and repeat book or program two hours here, 1 hour there, etc.
A little of what I’m talking about includes:
- Sending out weekly newslettery emails to talk about what I talk about often. True, my area of expertise is that of English pronunciation or accent modification (or simply global-English speaking skills), but these newslettery emails include:
- Idioms—it’s a conversational type of newsletter
- Practical tips for specific uses of language (e.g., presentations, interviews, panel discussions, etc.).
- specific speech features to be mindful of. If you’ve worked with me, you’ll see a few reminders on some of the speech features we’ve talked about in my programs.
- Online resources to illustrate a specific point
- Conducting webinars. I ran my first in late November and see great training potential in this. Want to learn more about what I’m thinking and how this could help you improve your spoken English? Email me and I will respond. Think popcorn. Don’t hesitate.
- Social messaging apps: I love WhatsApp and WeChat for having folks send me (or their peers) a 1-2 minute speech recording and getting immediate feedback. I see SO much popcorn potential on a bigger scale for this! Go ahead and say hi. My WeChat id is sarahgallant. My WhatsApp phone number is +1 (312) 561-5065.
I’ll be writing more about such topics. I just wanted to give you a short preview.