Pronunciation: Get Better In Another Language

Pronunciation can affect how we communicate. Many people, who have had a go at learning a foreign language, have experienced that sinking feeling when they try a well-constructed sentence in another language only to be met with a blank face.

Why is this?

Languages are built on sounds. If I speak English and live in an English-speaking country I expect a speaker to say sounds in a particular way. In French or Spanish I would expect to hear different sounds. When we can’t recognise the sound we try and adjust how we are listening, a bit like tuning a radio, but if we can’t guess the sound, the chances are we won’t understand what is being said.

The Blocks of Pronunciation

Pronunciation has two main aspects to it, physically producing it and the sound that is produced from it, the hearing of the sound. As we get older the ability to do both of these, i.e. physically work out how to make the sound and recognise it, can diminish. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn new languages but we need some extra tricks to help us.

Let’s look at some ideas on what we can do when we learn a new language.

How am I saying it?

Try saying the letters. Notice how your mouth is working. If you don’t know how a sound is physically made you may find it harder to say it.

What sounds are the same?

English has many more sounds than other languages but it also has a lot of sounds in common with other languages. Good dictionaries in a new language will usually offer an English sound or word to compare with. Use it to check what sounds are similar.

Which sounds are hard to say?

Go through the alphabet of the new language and mark out the ones you find hard to say. Give them some attention. Try and physically make the sound and see how your mouth works. Say the alphabet. Look at how children use the alphabet song in English to help them remember the alphabet, doing the same in a new language will also help memorise the letters and sounds.

Read out loud.

Find some reading form your course book or any other book. There are two advantages here. One you get to say the letters and words. Secondly you get to practise sounds that you expect to hear and you become accustomed to the sounds of the language.

How good do I need to be?

There is much discussion on this. For many of us the ability to get by in other languages is good enough. If we can say what we want, simply, slowly and the person we are speaking to, can understand us, then our pronunciation is probably good enough. After that it is a matter of choice. Some people become very good at other languages and get to very good levels of pronunciation. Not many of us are such gifted linguists but there’s no reason why we can’t make the words so that people can understand us.

A Winning Roll For Board Games

With so many physical games, sports activities, computer games and interactive toys, it might be considered something of a surprise that traditional board games have remained so popular, and yet there is a greater variety of board games available today than ever before, and these cater for a much wider age group as well.

The definition of board games is quite difficult, since there are the traditional examples that really are played upon a board, such as Ludo, Chess, Monopoly and Scrabble, and then there are games which build upon a board, such as Mouse Trap, and then have parts of the game built within the board, such as Operation. There are even examples of games where the board becomes so big that the people become the playing pieces, such as Twister.

There are even some traditional board games that have been expanded to become playground games, such as Chess or Draughts, and the board is painted on the ground, sometimes as much as ten feet square, with the laying pieces a foot high, and then players can walk around the board, and play with friends watching, almost in teams. This helps to bring a quiet solo activity out into the fresh air and involving more people.

Involving people as a group is really what board games are all about, and it is a very good thing that today there are many families that are happy to all gather around a board game and use it as a focal point for the family chat and gossip, rather than all facing away from each other and focussing on the television, or disappearing off to their own rooms and places. Board games bring people together, quite apart from any other benefits they may have.

There are certainly challenging board games that rely on brainpower, deduction and good thinking, such as Monopoly and the various detective games available, or those that require careful dexterity, calm nerves and patience. Some games of course rely purely on luck, but actually fairly few.

There are many board games available today which traditionally have been adult games, or at least suitable only for older children, yet have been redesigned and produced as scaled down, or otherwise adjusted in some way to suit younger children. One example is junior versions of scrabble, with a smaller board, more score squares, a better range of letters and the ability to score well using a vocabulary more suited to a child.

Some of the most successful games are those which allow children and adults to play together, and that look colourful and interesting, with simple rules, and a combination of both luck and skill. The adults might be more skilful and play tactically, but are subject to bad luck in just the same way as children are able to benefit from good luck. This kind of game can develop with the child as they grow older, and give them worthwhile opportunities to be with adults in a relaxed but competitive environment. It is often over a board games that incidental chat can take place which reveals more about members of the family than would otherwise be revealed, and encourages easier communication. It also, to some extent, helps to teach the child about tactics, logic, planning and teamwork – all very worthwhile skills in themselves.

Ectopic Pregnancy – Defination, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which a fertilized egg settles and grows in any location other than the inner lining of the uterus . About 1% of pregnancies are in an ectopic location with implantation not occurring inside of the womb, and of these 98% occur in the Fallopian tubes. In a typical ectopic pregnancy, the embryo does not reach the uterus, but instead adheres to the lining of the Fallopian tube. The implanted embryo burrows actively into the tubal lining. Most commonly this invades vessels and will cause bleeding. This bleeding expels the implantation out of the tubal end as a tubal abortion. Some women thinking they are having a miscarriage are actually having a tubal abortion. There is no inflammation of the tube in ectopic pregnancy. The pain is caused by prostaglandins released at the implantation site, and by free blood in the peritoneal cavity, which is locally irritant. Sometimes the bleeding might be heavy enough to threaten the health or life of the woman. Usually this degree of bleeding is due to delay in diagnosis, but sometimes, especially if the implantation is in the proximal tube it may invade into Sampson artery , causing heavy bleeding earlier than usual. An ectopic pregnancy can’t proceed normally. The developing embryo can’t survive, and the growing placental tissue may destroy important maternal structures. Without treatment, life-threatening blood loss is possible. About one in every 40 to 100 pregnancies is ectopic. Thanks to earlier diagnosis and treatment, the chance for future healthy pregnancies is better than ever before.

Ectopic means “out of place.” An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy where the fetus is not growing in the usual location (the uterine cavity or the womb). Ectopic pregnancies can occur in a number of unusual locations, each with different characteristic growth patterns. Almost all ectopic pregnancies occur in fallopian tubes (tubes from uterus), so this is also known as “Tubal Pregnancy”. Since the fallopian tubes are not large enough to accommodate a growing embryo, the pregnancy cannot continue normally. If identified early, the embryo is removed. In some cases, the embryo grows until the fallopian tube is stretched so much that the tube ruptures. Rupture of the tube is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention because it can result in severe hemorrhaging. An ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life-threatening condition.

Causes of Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is caused by a disruption in a woman’s reproductive anatomy or the timing of specific reproductive events. Ectopic pregnancy is common in women age 20 to 29, but the cause is not always known. However, previous damage to one of the two fallopian tubes may obstruct the passage of the fertilized egg along the tube to the uterus. The egg then implants in the wall of the tube instead of in the uterus. This prior damage may have been caused by an unsuccessful or a reversed sterilization procedure or a fallopian tube infection. Ectopic pregnancies are more common in women using an intrauterine contraceptive device, partly because these devices increase the risk of a pelvic infection in women who exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.

Symptoms of Ectopic pregnancy

1. Nausea, vomiting.

2. Dizziness.

3. Low blood pressure.

4. Breast tenderness.

5. Frequent urination.

Treatment of Ectopic pregnancy

Medicine, surgery, or a combination of the two are usually used to end an ectopic pregnancy before it endangers the mother. In a few cases, very early ectopic pregnancies can be watched closely to see whether the pregnancy will miscarry on its own. Emergency medical help is needed if the area of the ectopic pregnancy ruptured. (Shock is an emergency condition.) Treatment for shock may include keeping the woman warm, raising her legs, and giving oxygen. Fluids by IV and a blood transfusion may be needed. Surgery (laparotomy) is done to stop blood loss (in the event of a rupture). This surgery is also done to confirm the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, remove the abnormal pregnancy, and repair any tissue damage. In some cases, removal of the fallopian tube may be necessary. A mini-laparotomy and laparoscopy are the most common surgical treatments for an ectopic pregnancy that has not ruptured.