Business English Tips for Non-native Speakers
Welcome to my mini-podcast series where I'll share useful tips to help you improve your Business English. If you have any questions or requests for topics, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transcript: Welcome to today’s mini-podcast on English pronunciation. My name is Kathy Czako. I’ve been an English trainer and consultant in Amsterdam for just about 20 years and I specialize in helping non-native speakers feel great about using English at work and school. So if you use English as a second language, or maybe even a third language, I’ve got some tips about improving your English pronunciation. We’ll take a closer look at five words that are often mispronounced. I should mention that improving pronunciation doesn’t mean you need to eliminate your accent altogether. Accents connect us to our culture and are part of our identity and often they can be quite charming. But, sometimes, mispronouncing words can get in the way of good business communication. It’s super important to speak clearly so other people can understand us. And ultimately, good pronunciation builds confidence and helps people feel more like themselves. Ok, so let me give you some examples of some commonly mispronounced words. The first word is the word pronunciation. Pronunciation. The verb form is to pronounce, and in the word pronounce, there's an OU. So, sometimes people end up saying pro NOUN ciation, which is incorrect. So, the verb is to pronounce and the noun is pronunciation. How do you pronounce that? What is the pronunciation? The second word we're going to look at is analysis. People often place the emphasis on the wrong syllable and it comes out a na LY sis. I sustpect my Dutch students place the emphasis on the third syllable in English because in Dutch you would say "analyse". Alright, let's take a look at our third word and that is idea. Sometimes Dutch speakers of English will say ID instead of idea. And they'll say thinkgs like I have no ID, which of course means something completely different. The fourth word we're going to look at is the word county. Country. Some Dutch speakers say COWn try, which is actually quite logical because we have words like count and county that look very similar. You see the OU in it and think ok why wouldn't we pronounce that way. But the correct pronunciation in English is country. The last word we're going to look at is the word purchase. Purchase. It looks like it should be pronounced PUR chase, which is what I hear from students pretty often. So it's not pur-chase, it's purchase. I'll talk about this more in other pronunciation podcasts. but we have something called a stressed syllable and an unstressed syllable and words like purchase, purpose, surface -- they have an unstressed syllable that sounds like an IH. So, purchase. So that's a quick overview of five commonly mispronounced words. Please remember to mimic what you hear. Don't rely on spelling when trying to decide how words should be pronounced. Thanks so much for listening. I look forward to sharing more information with you soon.
Hello everyone! Welcome back to my mini-podcast series on Business English for non-native speakers. My name is Kathy Czako. I’m an English trainer and consultant in Amsterdam and I specialize in helping non-native speakers feel great about using English at work and school. Today I’m going to be giving you three examples of Dunglish. Dunglish is what happens when a native Dutch speaker speaks English with a bit too much influence from Dutch. Sometimes Dunglish sounds funny, we smile about it, people write books about it. but in general if you’d like to improve the quality of your Business English, you’ll really want to learn to avoid mistakes like the ones I’m going to be talking about today. Okay, first let’s talk about Hereby. You probably have heard this one before, but let's review it. Hereby is a word that sounds the same in Dutch and in English but they are not used in the same way. In emails, Dutch speakers often literally translate from Dutch and write “hereby I send you the document…” etc etc. The word hereby is generally considered far too formal to use in an email when we're simply saying we are sending an attachment. Instead we say things like, attached you’ll find the document we discussed or attached please find the document we discussed or please find attached the document we discussed. In English we usually see hereby used in some legal context. For example “I hereby declare that all of the information provided above is correct” or “ I hereby authorize Joe Smith to act on my behalf. So rembember not to use hereby when you're attaching a file to an email. The second example is the difference between the simple past and present perfect verb tenses. This one is super tricky for Dutch speakers and takes some time and practice to master. I hear people say things like “I have met the new sales manager yesterday”, but this is not correct. It happened yesterday, a specified time in the past, so you’d have to say “I MET the new sales manager yesterday”. I met him. We talked about our goals. We reviewed our progress. We discussed hiring a new account executive. If the time period is unspecified OR recent with a current result, we usually use the present perfect verb tense and say… I have just met the sales manager. Have you met him yet? No, I haven’t. I haven’t been here all week so I haven’t had the chance. One way you can learn how to use these tenses is by paying really close attention to native speakers. So, next time you watch your favorite Netflix series, take a few minutes and listen for simple past and present perfect and pay attention to how those are being used. The third and last example is a really common mistake among Dutch speakers but from what I’ve read, also German and Danish speakers. It happens when someone says “how does it look like?” How does it look like? Hm. Let's break that down. This is actually a combination of HOW does it look? and …WHAT does it look LIKE? You can say either one but you can’t combine the two. How something looks usually implies a judgment about the appearance of something. Hey I bought this new hat, how does it look? What do you think? What something looks like usually implies a more general description of something. Oh no I’ve lost my earring, could you please you help me find it? Sure, what does it look like? Oh It’s a small, silver hoop. So, that’s a really quick look at three common mistakes to watch out for. If you have any questions or requests for podcast topics, feel free to let me know. Thanks for listening and see you next time!
Hello everyone! Welcome back to my mini-podcast series on Business English for non-native speakers. My name is Kathy Czako. I’m an English trainer and consultant in Amsterdam and I specialize in helping non-native speakers feel great about using English. Today I have one Dunglish tip for you and it’s about the translation of the Dutch sentence “Hoe laat is het?”I bet a lot of you already know where I’m going with this one. So let’s review it. So, this sentence is very often mistranslated into “How late is it?” or How late is the meeting? But usually in English we would just say “What time is it?” or What time is the meeting? [or we'd say "When is the meeting?"] Let me give you a few examples. Let’s say our team has a Zoom call scheduled for tomorrow but we’re not exactly sure when. A Dutch speaker might say… “How late is our Zoom call tomorrow?” but if we just want to know when the meeting is, we would say “What time is our Zoom call tomorrow?” What time .. okay.. But can we ever say “How late is our call tomorrow?” Well, yeah, we can! But then we are communicating a feeling of “lateness”. For example, “Hey, how late is our Zoom call tomorrow because I have to leave by 4:30.” How late is the meeting? That’s different than simply asking “what time is our meeting.” So, just remember that if there’s no feeling of lateness, just say “what time”. [or say When?] Thanks for listening! If you have any questions or requests, feel free to let me know. See you next time!