Grammar Gandhi

Crazy Funny English

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English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index, two indices? Doesn’t is seem crazy that you can make amends, but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And finally, why doesn’t ‘buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’? 🙂

English is crazy, and it takes a lot to learn; Join Opentalk network today.

Grammar Gandhi

Quick English Learning Hacks

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Hack #1:

Don’t concentrate on understanding every word when you read something. Read it first to understand the general concept. Then, go back and concentrate on the specific words that you don’t understand.

Hack #2:

Build your vocabulary by learning prefixes and suffixes. These parts of speech change the meaning of root words.

Examples:

Root word – happy

Root word + prefix – unhappy

Root word + suffix – happiest

Hack #3:

Create word lists of words you have learned. Practice using these words every day when you write and try to use them at least four times a day when you are speaking.

Hack #4:

Be sure to use the correct punctuation mark. Using the wrong punctuation can drastically change the meaning of your sentence.

Example:

As a statement: The dog was caught in the fence.

As a question: The dog was caught in the fence?

Hack #5:

Watch DVDs, instead of live television, to hear American English speakers. Reason: With a DVD you can replay dialog over and over.

Hack #6:

Be aware of the differences in American English versus British English…and then use the appropriate word. Sometimes the difference is just in the spelling. Sometimes the entire word is different.

Examples of American vs. British English:

Color vs. Colour

Football vs. Soccer

Flavor vs. Flavour

Honor vs. Honour

Hack #7:

Practice, practice, practice. The more you speak, the more comfortable you will become speaking English. Encourage people to correct your mistakes.

No one available to listen? Then, record your voice or practice in front of a mirror.

The goal is to speak English as much as possible so that you get used to hearing your own voice speaking English.

 

Grammar Gandhi

Characteristics of Efficient Communicators

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Confident body language. Look others in the eye, call others by their name, generally smile or have a non-threatening look on their face, have good posture and an open stance. They appear at ease and are ready to talk to anyone. This comes across just by looking at them.

Avoid sarcasm. They know that it makes others feel disrespected, not to mention they appear insecure and defensive. Sarcasm tells others you can’t tolerate them or the conversation. While you may feel it diffuses uncomfortable feelings, in reality, it makes others frustrated, often wanting to avoid future interactions.

Keep their cool. No matter how heated the situation, they are able to stick to the facts and express their feelings with words rather than behaviors. No yelling, door slamming, threatening, or emotionally unregulated outbursts. They compartmentalize in hopes that they can be heard.

Listen and validate. They let the other person know they are being heard, giving them the same respect they hope to receive. Validation doesn’t mean you have to agree with the person; rather you are attempting to understand where they are coming from. I may not be able to understand what it feels like to have something happen, but I can be empathic with my words: “That must have been terrible. I’m sorry that happened.” It shows I am listening to them.

Grammar Gandhi

5 English Speaking Hacks

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Learning a language can be frustrating. Difficult. Even boring. Most people think they need to spend hours plowing through stacks of flashcards and memorizing sentences. And while there’s certainly no substitute for diligent study, there are some ways you can speed up the learning process and even have fun along the way. Learning a language shouldn’t be a grind, it should be a joy. In this post, we’re going to give you nine hacks for speeding up your language learning and having some fun along the way.

1. Know The Power Of Silence

Whenever you hear people speak, you hear the music. Language is sound. And if you’ve ever heard a beautiful piano sonata or a violin concerto, a bad note in the middle of a stirring melody can really ruin the mood. The same goes for someone who says “uhhh, uhmmmm” before and after every sentence. These are people who are, in some sense, afraid of there being silence in the conversation.

The people who speak eloquently know the power of silence, and if forced to pause, use that silence to their advantage. Silence creates suspense, and can either be seen as “uncomfortable” or as an opportunity to make the next statement that much more poignant. There is power here, and the greatest speakers know how to use it to their advantage.

2. Eliminate uhm, uhh, etc. Replace with “Well; you see; now…”

Going off the above, people tend to stutter and fill silence when they are nervous, uncomfortable, don’t know what they’re talking about, etc. We all learned this in middle school. The fastest way to make your teacher believe you didn’t do the work was to stand there with your hands in your pockets saying “Uhhh….”

Whether or not you actually are nervous or if you have no idea what you’re talking about is besides the point. It’s what your audience BELIEVES that matters, and these things can be easily concealed with words like “Well; you see; now…”. Instead of saying “Uhm, I was thinking…” you say, “Well, I was thinking…” Very different sounding, yes? These little words, especially “Now” is a filler word that can help you extend silence if you need time to think. Take a moment to pause, say “Now…” pause again, and then move on with what you were going to say. That’s 2 whole seconds you get to formulate your next thoughts.

3. Jargon Isn’t Impressive

The best talkers leave the jargon at home. Want to know the difference between a new salesman and a seasoned salesman? The new salesman leaves you confused, the seasoned salesman makes you feel like you are more educated than you think.

Jargon is pointless. It’s meant for people at your office, people you work with, to get more done faster. It’s not intended to be flashed around to make people feel impressed. It usually doesn’t impress them. It just makes them confused and feel left out of what the conversation really should be about, which is how to provide value, or an emotional component that is easier to relate to. Think more poetry, less endless prose.

4. Eliminate Curses

The sophisticated don’t use words like fuck, shit, ass, bitch, etc. They just don’t. I myself have a sailer’s mouth, but I also know there’s a time and place for it. The fastest way to earning the trust and respect of those around you is to speak well, and that means eliminating the “gutter” words.

5. Be Descriptive and To The Point

Somewhat in line with jargon usage, get to the point and don’t talk around it. There’s no point. Nobody wants to sit through your stream of consciousness. Say what you mean to say in the least amount of words, and then when you get to the meat of what you’re saying, describe it in such detail that the person you’re talking to can envision it with perfect clarity.

Details are everything. They’re what wet our senses and are ultimately what draw us in. It’s the reason why some people are terrific storytellers and others put you to sleep. This is not to be confused with saying “a lot.” It’s not about length. It’s about saying what you mean to say, and saying it well

Conclusion

Learning a language certainly involves work, but there are ways you can shortcut the process and incorporate lots of fun. You probably already watch movies, listen to music, read books, and chat on social media. Why not tap into the power of those habits and use them to speed up your learning process?

Talking Stories

Let’s Begin Again

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Last night I was talking to someone on Opentalk, and I mentioned falling in love with the movie ‘Begin Again.’ Guy said Begin Again is one of his favorite movies and we ended up talking about it for hours and he finally said,

 

“I grew up in a very musical family, I’ve played in bands all my life (not for the sake of having a “career,” just because it’s one of my passions), and both my parents worked in the music industry. It’s a hard world. It’s filled to the brim with substance abuse and self-destruction, not to mention, the whole collapse of the primary mode of music distribution has made it nearly impossible to find a stable gig.

 

Bottom line, this movie very accurately depicts the life of a songwriter in today’s world, but most importantly, it captures the process and – not to sound cheesy – the magic of songwriting better than any other movie in recent memory. The dominant theme in Begin Again for me is the idea that anybody today, in any setting, can create and publish something that has the potential to captivate masses of people. And, without spoiling anything, I would argue that the movie’s main point is that to create a “hit,” regarding songwriting, the origins of the track have to come from a genuine place. It can’t be a product micro-managed by execs looking to squeeze the song for a buck.

 

Yes, the movie has its minor share of cringe-worthy cheese, but I can overlook those flaws because never before have I seen the chemistry of music creation/performance so accurately depicted outside of actual performance. Begin Again works so well because it introduces these characters to us and gives us a context for their actions. We watch these characters develop, and the growth of their relationships with one another peaks when they are writing music together.

 

Some of these scenes brought me to tears. The star is Mark Ruffalo. Keira Knightly does her job well, and her ability to perform these songs herself is undoubtedly impressive, but this movie isn’t necessarily about the star. Ruffalo’s character is way too accurate a depiction of people in the music biz; he represents the culmination of the hit-or-miss and relentless nature of the industry. His redemption may be too good to be true, but the movie portrays it in a fashion that could indeed take place in our modern world. I can’t imagine how many interviews with producers/videos from recording sessions he must have watched to hone his role.”
I was surprised to see how he observed the entire movie and made so much sense. Thanks to Opentalk, I met an amazing person.