How do you really sound to others? The way you speak English can make a big difference when making that vital first impression. Your listener decides within a few seconds your likely background, your level of education and whether they trust you and want to listen. To help people discover more about their spoken English, this month the largest provider of online speech training is offering free speech assessments where you can get an indication in 48 hours just how you sound.
For a number of years, SpeechSchool.TV has been providing award winning online video programs in speech lessons, comprising their English accent program where students can learn to speak clearly with a Standard English accent and the Master Communicator program which teaches presentation skills and techniques of effective communication.
The purpose of the free speech assessments are to offer a quick impression on a prospective student’s speech over about 60 seconds of communication and recommend the best course for them. While the free assessment report is brief, it does score the level of clarity (compared to a Standard English accent), make some observations on the impression the speech gives and recommend the right course.
Usually when people look for English speech lessons it is because they are experiencing a problem with their speech or are not getting the feedback and results they desire from others. Studies have shown that poor speech clarity can lead to reduced job prospects and lower levels of confidence. The free speech assessment service hopes to be able to help people identify initial problems that they can then correct with one of the Speech School’s courses.
While English is the global language of business, for many international students one of the few ways to learn a clear and neutral mode of speaking English has been to travel and live in English speaking countries such as the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Indeed the US and Australia alone take almost 50% of the world’s international students.
However many students are now embracing a full online television and personal assessment program offered by SpeechSchool.TV. The Master Speaker English Accent program is described as the next best thing to living and studying in an English speaking environment for students who already have a basic grasp of the language.
The award winning online program now has students from more than 60 different countries learning to speak English clearly and fluently. Not only are the results reported to be as effective as one to one tuition with a speech teacher but the costs are very economical and students may study in their own country at a time convenient to them.
“The results I’ve seen from doing SpeechSchool.TV have been great. My pronunciation is clearer and I have gained a deeper understanding of my own pronunciation. I am now able to communicate with others using English more fluently and am finding it more enjoyable,” says Wendy Wang from China.
Mention any fashion accessory and leading brand names come to mind: A Louis Vuitton bag or Gucci watch for instance. However, personal image is much more than the bag you carry or the watch you wear. In fact research shows us that the greatest impression made on others is actually caused by the way you speak.
SpeechSchool.TV (www.speechschool.tv) is the market leader in a new trend for professional people around the world wanting to ‘upgrade’ their spoken English. After offering a number of programs over the years, the online school based at the ecentre at Massey University and in central London as found two main courses are the most popular.
The first is the School’s award winning ‘Master Speaker, English Accent’ program. This teaches students from all around the world, through online video learning, how to acquire a clear and neutral Standard English accent. It is extremely popular with people who come from a language background other than English and for native speakers who want to improve the clarity of their speech.
According to SpeechSchool.TV, the School has also previously offered a dedicated American accent program but this wasn’t popular. “At the end of the day,” the School’s Course Director reports, “people around the world want to learn the clearest and purest form of English as their base. They want to sound like Kate Winslet or James Bond, as their accent will blend to some degree depending on where they are based anyway. Even the many Amercian students doing our courses seemed to by far prefer this Standard English accent.”
The second program offered by the School is the ‘Master Communicator’ course. While the English Accent program deals with ‘how you say it’, this course deals with ‘what you say’ and is based on the instructor’s own experience as a Creative Director in a top ad agency. The training in communication technique, public speaking and persuasive speaking has proven very popular with business people and for professional development programs in organizations.
However, while the only obstacle to getting that beautiful hand bag is the sticker price, an ideal spoken voice can take a little longer. SpeechSchool.TV reports that noticeable results are generally seen within 3 months on the course and the real improvements in confidence and finesse take place while continuing the lessons over a longer term basis. Either way, in this increasingly globalizing world, speech will remain the most critical part of the overall impression anyone creates when they speak the English language.
By Jake Davy, Research Assistant, SpeechSchool.TV. e-centre, Massey University
Two businessman, an Indian and a Norwegian, stumble into a bar; the Indian doesn’t speak Norwegian, the Norwegian doesn’t speak Hindu. Despite their linguistic differences a conversation erupts.
“Where from?” The Indian slurs as he pulls out a stool and carefully sits down.
“Norway. You?” Replies the Norwegian as he slumps down next to him.
“Ahhh! Norway! I plan Norway trip next year but feel struggle with work. I’m from India.” Proclaims the Indian excitedly.
“Real? You must come. Norway much fun, many ladies.” Grins the Norwegian as he beckons the waitress over.
Despite the obviously comic nature of this conversation Global English, or Globish, is no joke. This over simplified and grammatically incorrect version of English is fast becoming a standard method of international communication. Its prominence and use is a growing trend that has followed the emergence of English as the global language of business. In order to truly understand its significance however, one must first understand the factors behind its creation.
The key determinant in all of this has been the materialization of a singular global market. As far back as 1983, academics like Theodore Levitt, the head of marketing at the Harvard Business School, were examining the ways in which key technological developments were driving the world towards a unified global marketplace. These emerging technologies were beginning to proletarianize communication, transport and travel and in doing so were creating a society where people all over the world, from all walks of life had access to the same standardised consumer products. Today this shift towards a global marketplace has earned the title of globalisation; a term that has become common place in the vast majority of boardrooms around the world. And as technological innovations such as the internet continue to eat away at the space between nations and continents the concept of globalisation is beginning to affect more and more aspects of our everyday lives.
One of the by-products of globalisation and another of the key influencers in the creation of Globish has been the increase in immigration levels. Between 1960 and 2000, the total number of international migrants doubled to 175 million, which was around 3% of the world’s population at that time. A study in 2000 also found that children in London schools combined to speak over 300 languages. This staggering rise in immigration levels illustrates just how dramatically the linguistic mix of many countries has changed, and the extent to which other languages are beginning to influence how English is being used.
These changes to the linguistic mix of many countries coupled with the drastic rise of globalisation have lead to the emergence of English as the standard language in the global business arena. Some estimates even suggest that there will be up to 3 billion functional users of English by the year 2040, or about 40% of the world’s projected population. There is however, a world of difference between English and Globish, and the reality is, that a huge portion of these so called “functional users of English” will be speaking varying degrees of Globish. So what does this mean for the future of English and its prevalence on the global stage?
That is something that we will leave for you to determine. But in all honesty, what would you rather speak? Or should I say; what speech you like?