Welcome to the course book 'How to Communicate' in 8 chapters. Write engaging documents and have enjoyable interactions with people in the kitchen, office or on stage.

Good communication can resolve any problem even among the cacophony of today's interactions. Conversations between people are at the root of all problems and also integral to solving them.

Please read the foreword first and then we wish you a fun journey in the art of communication.

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on May 21

This post draws attention to EMPHASIS on syllables and on words in a sentence in order to make yourself properly understandable.

One of the most important things in speaking understandable (good) English is to care for making yourself properly understood. (the 5th point out of the perfect 8 points).

In England we are concerned with the different sounds that a single word can make. An example lies in the word INTERESTING. This can sound ‘INteresting’ [emphasis on syllable 1of 3] or ‘intrsting’ [emphasis on all syllables equally of 3] or even less conventional or slang pronounciations such as ‘intrESTing’ [emphasis on syllable 2of 3] or even ‘intrusTING’ [emphasis on syllable 3of 3]. They all mean different things inherent in the word interesting.

The last two examples could also be mistakes carried from the foreign accent of the speaker.

Correct emphasis on syllables is also important for other languages in Europe and Russia and Africa. However in these countries they are also so concerned with the emphasis on the syllable of a word being correct that it is marked up in accents, caps and dots in the grammar. Such as French for interesting is intéressant ([emphasis on syllable 2 of 4 ] incorrect grammer) and ‘interéssant’ ([emphasis on syllable 3 of 4] correct grammer). They are both correctly spelt.

The way people pronounce a word can be the minor flaw in a good sentence that marks a speaker as a ‘foreigner’ – which includes Americans who pronounce words any which way they want depending on their location in the US.

In general they pronounce interest as ‘INtrust’ [emphasis on syllable 1of 2]. They like to shorten syllable count in words as in the example of aluMINium [emphasis on syllable 4 of 4] to ‘alOOmnum’. [emphasis on syllable 2 of 3] or even ‘LOOmnum’ [emphasis on syllable 1 of 2].

The importance of emphasis is extrapolated in how words are emphasised in longer sentences. An example could be:

‘That’s a really interesting point’. [emphasis on all words equally of 5]
That’s a really interesting point’
‘That’s a really interesting point’
‘That’s a really interesting point’
‘That’s a really interesting point

They all mean different things inherent in the words of the sentence.
The way an Englishman says a sentence can mean a world of difference between cultural dialect or class use of words. In England the northern or Western accents sound funny to Southerners – especially Londoners who have an amusing accent of their own. Cockney, complete with Rhyming slang, West Country and ‘oop north’ have been the bedrock of comedy and music hall humour for centuries.

Most people can hear an interesting message through any strong or ‘thick’ accent. Others can’t twig it. (That’s rhyming slang. Twig rhymes with earwig and that means to ‘ear – to hear. ‘Earwigging’ is listening). When you can’t hear through a rendering of English with a strong dialect it’s as likely as not that you don’t have any real interest in what is being said. It’s double Dutch.

Perfectly constructed grammar and vocabulary, sounded with wrong emphasis is a dead givaway and especially on how you say slang. Even the Royal Family have their slang and only those who speak ‘U’ (upperclass) know the correct pronunciation of Ma’am for example.

There are no written rules because English is in itself a highly sophisticated language in both written and spoken form.

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