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⭐ Bobby Brown.
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Leap into our exciting world of English language learning. This unique lesson explores the impact of accents and ageing voices on your English fluency and professional success. Enhance your vocabulary and listening skills, and unlock new opportunities.
To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.
⭐ Chinese Proverb
Things you will learn in today's English pronunciation lesson:
- Pronunciation of uncommon words like 'larynx', 'cartilage'.
- Explanation of voice ageing process and factors.
- Use of various idioms and phrases e.g., 'still got it'.
- Insights on the impact of voice and accent on professional success.
- Introduction of new vocabulary e.g., 'snobbery', 'prejudice'.
- Analysis of fast and slow speech patterns.
- Listening to accents of famous personalities like Elton John.
- Exposure to British culture through mention of Glastonbury Festival.
- Listening to the speaker's soothing voice for pronunciation practice.
- Use of anecdotes and current events for engaging storytelling.
- Exposure to different English accents.
- Explanation of the term 'candidate'.
- Emphasis on the importance of intonation in speech.
- Use of humour, e.g., Ozzy Osbourne's 'No more tours II'.
- Encouragement to repeat listening for language improvement.
- Improve your Understanding: Discover the living elements of the English language, understand accents, and learn how voices change with age.
- Boost Your Vocabulary: Expand your English vocabulary through engaging and unique topics.
- Professional Success: Enhance your professional communication, opening up new opportunities for success.
- Deepen your Connection: Connect with the English language on a deeper level, understanding it as a tool for communication, empathy, and cultural insight.
Language is the roadmap of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.
⭐ Rita Mae Brown
- The melody of ageing voices and the unique tone of different accents are essential parts of the English language.
- These elements can impact your professional success, influencing how others perceive you and the opportunities you attract.
- By understanding these, you can navigate different professional and cultural situations confidently.
- The English language, including British English, is diverse with many accents and dialects. Understanding this diversity can enhance your learning.
Embark on this enriching journey to understand the intricacies of the English language. Subscribe now to unlock the secrets of English accents, boost your vocabulary, and climb the ladder of professional success. Take a giant leap in your English journey with our #BritishAccent bootcamp! Unearth celebrities' secrets today.
Imagine speaking English with such depth that you draw admiration in every professional circle. It’s not about fancy vocabulary but decoding the secret language of voices and accents. Our lesson takes you beyond conventional learning, exploring the intrigue of ageing voices and regional accents.
- What will I learn from this British English lesson? You will explore the intriguing world of ageing voices and accents, enhancing your vocabulary. You'll understand the impact of accents on your professional success and improve your listening skills.
- Can beginners benefit from this lesson? Absolutely! This lesson is designed to be engaging for both beginners and advanced learners. It's a unique way to dive into the depths of British English.
- How does understanding accents impact my professional success? By understanding accents, you become more adaptable in communication. This versatility can significantly improve your interpersonal skills, vital for professional success.
- How can this lesson improve my listening skills? Through exploring ageing voices and accents, your ears get trained to understand various speech patterns, hence improving your listening skills.
- Will I become fluent in British English after this lesson? Fluency is a journey. This lesson is a crucial step, but continual practice is necessary. Keep tuning into lessons like this to steadily enhance your English.
- Larynx: Your voice box, the part of your body that allows you to speak.
- Cartilage: A type of soft but strong tissue in your body.
- Jubilee: A special anniversary of an event, especially a monarch's reign.
- Prejudice: Unfair feelings of dislike for a person or group based on something such as race or religion.
- Commodores: A popular American music group known for soul music, especially in the 70s and 80s.
- Glastonbury: A famous music festival in the UK.
- Snobbery: Behaviour in which someone regards themselves as better than others because they think their tastes or ideas are superior.
- Posh: Typical of the upper class, especially in the UK.
- Calming: Making you feel relaxed and less stressed.
- Soothing: Providing a feeling of comfort; reducing pain or discomfort.
Hi there. Welcome to a unique and exciting English language lesson today, where we explore the world of famous singers like Elton John, we ask what makes our voices age? But also what makes ordinary voices pleasant to the ears - or not!
This podcast is highly beneficial for you as an English language learner. You'll learn new vocabulary, improve your listening skills. But also delve into the intriguing world of voices, accents and accent prejudice. Keep listening right to the end to gain some insight into what makes a pleasant voice.
Stay with us until the end of this podcast because you'll hear about how voice may be affecting your professional success. And how job companies may be judging you on your voice without you even realising it.
And right at the end, I talk about your feedback on my voice! Let's have a look today at the subject of voices.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
A quick reminder, first of all, if you like this podcast, there are literally hundreds more podcasts on our website at adeptenglish.com. For a small payment, you can download hundreds of podcasts onto your mobile phone and have them with you at all times. Do your English language learning on the train, in the car, at the beach, wherever you like! You know, it makes sense for improving your English.
Did you know that Elton John's performance at Glastonbury this year was the most watched headline act in the festival's history? In the whole history of Glastonbury! Even though the singer is now 76 years old, despite his age, his voice still sounds as good as ever. He may not be as nimble on his feet as he once was, but his voice still sounds great. And he's still the showman. It's worth watching that performance at Glastonbury, Elton John, if you can!
Amongst the well-known UK and US singers that are 'still alive, but of a certain age', let's say - there seem to be two categories. Those who can still sing, who've kept their voice and those who can't and haven't.
One of my friends who's living in Switzerland at the moment, went recently to the Montreux Jazz Festival and saw Lionel Ritchie perform. Apparently he's one of the ones that's 'still got it'! Great Commodores songs from the 1980s and some good old Lionel Ritchie songs from later on as well. My friend really enjoyed it and his voice still sounds great.
Another notable icon who sang at the Queen's Jubilee in 2022, sang for Queen Elizabeth - Diana Ross was the finale act. And it wasn't just her singing that was great. Diana Ross moved around on stage a fair bit for someone who turned 78 last year.
Some singers, some voices remain great with age, but for others, their voices deteriorate.
Your larynx, L A R Y N X, or 'voice box'. It becomes 'stiffer' with age. It becomes more like bone, B O N E rather than soft cartilage. That's C A R T I L A G E. 'Cartilage' is softer than bone, but firm tissue in your body. And this is what your larynx is made of. Not only that, but the muscles controlling your voice box, they reduce or 'waste' slightly with age.
And your 'lungs', L U N G S also affect your voice. Lung capacity and lung power become less with age. And clearly that's pretty important if you're a singer. Obviously voices age at a different rate, and people like Lionel Richie, Elton John, and Diana Ross clearly look after theirs.
What lifestyle factors cause a voice to age? Well, pretty much the things that cause the rest of your body to age. Alcohol and tobacco mainly - they're the worst for your voice. No surprise then that many well-known singer's voices have deteriorated, given these lifestyle factors.
Ozzy Osbourne, for instance. Ex-Black Sabbath singer - a lovable character perhaps, but by his own admission, an example of someone who really has 'abused their body' over the years.
He announced recently. that he was cancelling his upcoming tour, called amusingly 'No more tours II'! but he cancelled due to his health not being up to touring as he put it. I'm not sure that his voice is either.
So how do we judge people on their voice? Obviously, if you're considering buying concert tickets to see an aging singer, it's understandable if you only want to see someone who can still sing.
But most of us who aren't called upon to give big singing performances probably don't think too much about our voices. It's 'part of the furniture', as we say.
But does our voice, how we sound affect our chances in life? Does our voice determine our success? And do our voices attract judgements from other people?
Have you ever thought that having a foreign accent when you speak English could be a barrier to professional success? Well, I've got news for you. It could actually be an advantage in today's globalised world.
I was shocked in the last couple of years when I watched a documentary, a TV programme, made by the BBC's Amol Rajan about how people's voices and accents in the UK determine in part whether or not they're successful in getting jobs in certain sectors of the UK job market.
It was clear from this documentary that in the City of London and places like Canary Wharf, where those big financial services companies operate their headquarters - the banks, the big consultancies - they don't tolerate UK regional accents or working class accents. If you've got one of those, you just don't get the job!
So they might not employ me, for instance, because I have a slight northern accent on certain words. Crazy, isn't it?
But if you're British, you're much more likely to be employed by these companies if you went to private, fee-paying school in the UK because that means effectively you sound 'posh', P O S H. These companies are not keen to give jobs to graduates who don't sound 'posh'! Because they think this won't play well with their clients, their customers in other words.
But of course that's less about the quality of your voice itself and more about your upbringing, how you grew up, your accent and 'snobbery'. That's S N O B B E R Y. And the 'class system' being very much 'alive and well' in Britain in 2023. Class and accent prejudice!
If you'd like me to talk more about social class in the UK in a future podcast, then do let me know. I'm happy to do that.
But if you speak English with a foreign accent, as long as your English is up to a high standard, then recruiters, job advertisers for Canary Wharf and the City of London - your accent won't be a problem for them. If you come from somewhere else in the world, and this is obvious from the way that you speak English, English spoken with a foreign accent is very welcome in the big financial services companies in London.
But if, you come from Yorkshire, Essex or Lancashire like me, it remains a disadvantage!
That's encouraging in one way. I'm glad foreign accent means you have equality of opportunity. But I find it rather crazy that British native accents are cut out of that job race. I do think that's unfair.
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But voice is more than accent. And where you're from.
Recruiters, recruitment companies or job companies, you know the ones who advertise jobs and recruit candidates? A 'candidate', by the way, C A N D I D A T E. That's a person who's applied for a job.
Well, these recruitment companies, some of them have started to use technology to analyse people's voices, and by that, whether or not they're 'suitable' for certain job roles.
They say ' This is in order to help companies identify job candidates who will better connect with customers'. They offer to 'Identify the voice that's right for you and save time by getting to know your candidate before the first meeting'. What I imagine this actually means is that they take a sample of your voice, run it through their software, And if the software says no, they don't even offer you an interview!
Bizarre, but perhaps gives an idea of how important your voice is.
Jobalign software, for instance, to identify candidates whose voices are calming or soothing' for customer service jobs. Or voices, which will 'Create positive engagement for sales and frontline employees'. I would be really interested in getting my hands on a copy of that software. But they're obviously not going to give that away for free!
The company claim that this voice analyser software 'minimises prejudice and discrimination' because it's objective', a computer does it, it's a machine-driven assessment of someone's voice.
I'm not sure that's true or correct. Surely it depends on what measures, what criteria the voice analyser software uses. Just because a judgement is automated doesn't mean it isn't a judgement. And perhaps a 'prejudiced judgement' at that!
Prejudice. P R E J U D I C E. That means 'an automatic and unfair judgement, which doesn't change'. And perhaps, which is based on something like the colour of someone's skin, for instance. That's 'prejudice'.
But apparently Jobalign arrived at its measures for voice analysis through getting thousands of Americans to listen to voices, and record how those voices made them feel.
So their software is based on the fact that most people found certain types of voice 'soothing and calming'.
We'll never know the secrets of that voice analyser, but just drawing on psychology more generally, what type of voices do we like to listen to?
This is from a 2015 article in the UK newspaper, The Guardian.
Obviously, our voice communicates our emotion, but assuming emotion is level, what do we like to listen to voice-wise?
Well, a steady pace of speaking is apparently 'calming' and 'friendly'. Apparently too slow speaking, and you risk seeming 'unintelligent'. People associate faster speaking with greater intelligence and perhaps competence. But if it's too fast, you sound nervous and agitated maybe.
And clearly the amount of expression in your voice matters. That's different from emotion. If I talk like this, it's much less engaging than if I give my voice lots of intonation and go up and down a lot like this!
I think there's clearly a lot going on at the unconscious level with voices too.
Consider the fact that as human beings, most of us are able to recognise people just from their voice - people we know, or famous people's voices. And we do it instantaneously.
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How do we do that? I'm not sure we even know the answer to that question.
And one of the things that Adept English listeners say to me is that they like my voice, that I'm calming and soothing to listen to. Well, thank you for that feedback - much appreciated! I think that probably I've learned to make my voice soothing and calming through years of giving people therapy.
I hope so anyway, but whatever helps your English language learning and makes our podcast good to listen to, it's fine by me!
Anyway, that was a broad ranging topic today, wasn't it? Lots of different issues, areas of controversy, and I hope interest too. And don't forget to listen to this podcast a number of times so that your English language understanding just gets better and better!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com
- Why our voices change with age
- Elton John Glastonbury 2023
- Ozzy Osbourne to retire
- Keith Richards on Facing Down Death
- How to Crack the Class Ceiling
- Jobalign Voice Analyzer
- Exclusionary Algorithms
- Is your voice trustworthy
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