Well, its almost fall. Its been a while since I updated this blog. I was working a lot and doing a lot of music--I'm also a musician--but now its getting on towards fall and people get to thinking about ways to improve themselves--accent reduction is a great way to improve yourself, if you are a nonnative English speaker, and people have difficulty understanding you.
Here's a little tip--in America, we discuss politics a LOT. We are very politically opinionated. People often say not to discuss religion or politics, but the reality is you shouldn't discuss politics with people you don't *know* well. But among friends, or close colleagues at work, we discuss politics all the time, even when we disagree. Also, you may find that Americans lampoon our politicians to an extreme degree (lampoon means "to make fun of" or to "satirize"--for instance in political cartoons in newspapers.) We do this with all kinds of people--politicians, CEOs of large corporations, all kinds of well known and wealthy people.
In America, we have the concept of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States--what it essentially means is that we have a virtually unlimited right to say whatever we want to say in public and the American government will not stop us from saying it. There ARE certain things we cannot say--we cannot engage in seditious speech (courts have generally put very narrow limits on what is considered 'seditious'--it has to be pretty bad.), nor can we do things like yell "FIRE" in crowded theatre (inciting to riot), or make threats against people, nor can we tell lies in public about private individuals (this has generally been interpreted narrowly by courts in terms of reputation destroying speech). Generally, that's the extent of it. Everything else is fair game. In America, we believe that people have a right to say whatever they like and the truth will float to the top.
If you have any questions about the American culture of free speech and what topics are good to make small talk with your colleagues about (and which ones are taboo) give me a call at (732) 807-5424 or check out my website at David Berlin's ESL and Accent Reduction Training. Also subscribe to my American Idiom of the Day Twitter Feed. I give lessons to help you reduce your accent, make American style small talk, improve your American English vocabulary and grammar and generally become more comfortable with the English language.