Monday, August 29, 2016

Labor Day! The Official End of Summer in the US!

Well, folks, this weekend is Labor Day, the official "end of summer", the end of the summer season in  the United States.   Although the "end of summer" and beginning of fall doesn't really happen until September 23rd (the vernal equinox, when night and day are of equal length), most folks in the United States consider Labor Day the end of summer---the kids go back to school, students go back to college, work starts up again in earnest, people stop going swimming and to the beach.

On "Labor Day Weekend", a long weekend, which this summer is Saturday September 3rd *through* and including Monday September 5th, Americans get the last of the summer out of our systems.   We have a last party or barbecue before we cover the grill for the summer, we turn on the American football game on TV and sit down with a couple of beers and root for our favorite teams (popular teams in the NY/NJ area where I am are the NY Giants, the NY/NJ Jets (perpetual underdogs), and the Philadelphia Eagles for those further South.

Interestingly enough, understanding American football is a huge part of understanding American culture, and I will consult on a football game or two--watch it with you, explain the rules, finer points of the game, how to tailgate, what "season tickets" are, and so on.   I've had students who felt completely left out because they didn't understand football and needed to understand it to make small talk where they worked.   If that's of interest to you, give me a buzz, we'll talk about it.  My number is (732) 807-5424 or you can reach me on Skype at (my Skype ID).  I don't charge my regular in person rate for that; there's a transportation charge and a lower fee to do football/sports consulting.

I also do American cultural consulting as part of my normal ESL/accent reduction work.  Let me know what your needs are and we'll work it out.

In any case, here is a video for you.   It teaches you how to pronounce the  tʃ  sound as in the word "chair" or "chairman".  Basically, you make  /ʃ/ (/sh/) sound as in shy or shell, but before you make that sound you make a /t/ sound as in touch or tear and blend it into the / ʃ/ sound.   And what you get is  /tʃ/--chair, cheese, and so on.

All right?  All right.    Also you can check out my American Idiom of the Day Twitter Feed and my David Berlin's ESL and Accent Reduction Training website.  Or you can check out my YouTube Channel for more tips, tricks, and help on American culture, accent reduction, and American English.

All right?  All right.  Or you can just give me a buzz at (732) 807-5424, or shoot me an email at  Or buzz me on Skype.  All right?  All right.  Take it easy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

End of Summer, Beginning of Fall: TIME FOR LESSONS!

Well, summer is ending, and that awful heat seems to be going with it, thank G-d.   The temperature here by the coast in New Jersey is much, much nicer now although I'm sure we'll have a couple more hot days before Autumn  comes in and the leaves start falling!

Now I know many of you sometimes hold back--you see my videos, you see my phone number and you think to yourself, "I'd like to speak clearly and naturally so Americans understand me, and I'd like to learn better English and American culture--but really, what is this guy really like?  Could I work with him?"

I am a very, very kind teacher and my style is firm but progress oriented.  What that means is that I'm non-judgemental and I never laugh at or make fun of my students.    I understand the problems that come with being a new American and not understanding the culture here and the language and the way we live.  Its okay!  We can talk about that, I can explain it to you--and along the way I can help you to learn and pronounce American English better.

I've been doing this for almost twenty years now, since 1998.     I understand your issues.  And I know how to help.    Why don't you give me a call today, we'll talk about it.  My number is (732) 807-5424.

Now, onwards to a video.    Check this one out.   There is an expression in American English:  to "shoot down" an idea or to "put the kibosh" on an idea--what it basically means it to say that someone can't do what they want to do.  So for instance if Charlie wants to have the company party at a local bar, Prabash, his supervisor might "shoot down" the idea or "put the kibosh" on it by telling Charlie its a no-go, he can't do that.   Its pretty simple.    Another example might be if Joe wants to book big name entertainment for the Christmas party, for instance Third Eye Blind, Kiran his supervisor might "put the kibosh" on that idea.   It just means that Kiran will tell him he can't do it.

All right?  All right.    If you are interested in further American idioms, check out my American Idiom of the Day Twitter Feed and if you are interested in ESL/accent/American cultural understanding lessons, check out the David Berlin's ESL and Accent Reduction Training website or you can check out David Berlin's ESL and Accent Reduction Training YouTube Channel for more tips and tricks on reducing your accent and pronouncing American English properly, and for more American cultural tips.

Or just call me at (732) 807-5424 or hit me up on Skype at  all right?  All right!

'til next time...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hot Enough For Ya?

WOW!  It has been hot, too hot, really to go outside and do anything.   During the day at its hottest it has been 115° F with the heat index (the "heat index" or "RealFeel" is how hot it "feels" to a person, not what the temperature outside actually is.   The "heat index" includes factors like humidity, air pressure, wind/breezes, precipitation, and things like that.)  

115° F is too hot to do much of anything outdoors, and many people are simply staying inside where there is air conditioning.   One thing you may find unusual about America that may be different, for instance, if your native land is India or Indonesia is that most indoor spaces in the US are air conditioned--we have machines that fit in windows or on roofs that use compressors to draw moisture out of the air and blow cold air into a room.

(My understanding is that depending on where in India you are, air conditioning may not be common.   In the US it is everywhere--even the poorest people generally have air conditioning of some type.)

Anyhow.   I managed to get a new video up--this one is for all of my Chinese language speakers who always ask me how to pronounce the /ng/ digraph at the end of a word like sing or ring or singing.

 (A digraph is a two letter pair that represents one sound.)

This video:

May help you do that correctly.  Essentially the "g" at the end is not a hard g like at the beginning of the word "gold" or "good"--it is lightly--very lightly articulated if at all.   You touch the back of your tongue to the back of the roof of your mouth like the /g/ sound but you don't finish the sound, or if you do, you do it very lightly.

All right?  All right.   Remember, if you're interested in American idioms, check out my American Idiom of the Day Twitter Feed and if you're interested in taking English as a Second Language or accent reduction lessons head on over to David Berlin's ESL and Accent Reduction Training Website.

Also, for more tips and tricks related to the American accent and American English, as well as American cultural tips, check out my ESL and Accent Reduction YouTube Channel.  

All right?  All right.  'Til next time, this is David Berlin, your friendly neighborhood ESL/accent reduction tutor SIGNING OFF...goodbye!