* For more advanced students, intensive accent reduction classes are available. Many people who speak very clear and intelligible English wish to improve their pronunciation even further. Some of the finer points of the English language and diction concern the following:
* FORMAL AND RELAXED ENGLISH: What are the differences between formal and relaxed English?
* PAUSES AND JOINING OF WORDS: Have you ever wondered why Americans say things like “whacha got there?” instead of “what do you have there?” Why do we pronounce “law and order” as “lawrendorder?” Where did that “R” come from, and what happened to the pauses between the words? Spoken English has its own ways of inserting or eliminating pauses as well as combining and eliminating syllables within words and doing the same to words that are combined into phrases and groups of words. I can teach you how to do this.
* STRESS AND INTONATION: English is an unusual language in that the way it uses stress. The stress patterns of the English differ from those of most other European and Asian languages, and these differences manifest themselves in the unique rhythms of spoken English. When coupled with the shifts in pitch or intonation and the variations in length that accompany the increased or decreased loudness of the stressed or unstressed syllables, the English language makes a music that differs greatly from the music of other languages.
* ALL THE SOUNDS: Did you know that there are two distinct “L” sounds in the English language? Refine your pronunciation of the 44 main sounds of English and learn how to make the subtler sounds that are not included in most dictionaries. I can demonstrate how to make these sounds and teach you to perfect them.
* If you are more technically inclined, I can provide you with a rigorous understanding of the various sounds of the English language including its vowels and diphthongs as well as the different stops, fricatives, affricates, nasals, glides, and liquids that make up our consonants and semivowels. Some people find this information very helpful in accent reduction.
* COURSE MATERIALS PROVIDED AT NO ADDITIONAL FEE
* I have handouts and other resources to help you with everything described above as well as with slang, informal, and colloquial speech.
* I will make written and recorded study material available to you in the form of PDF (acrobat) text documents and MP3 files (audio files for Ipods, MP3 players, computers, etc.) so you can practice at home, on the bus, etc. When listening to these files at home, I encourage you to record yourself with a tape or voice recorder, so you can check yourself against the MP3 files
* ORAL PRESENTATION ASSISTANCE
* I encourage you to bring a tape recorder to class so you can record my voice for practice at home. Some of my grad students and PhDs have me help them with their preparations for oral presentations and speeches. First we sit down together and correct the vocabulary and grammar. Next we go over the pronunciation of difficult words. I recommend that you record my pronunciation of these words for future practice. Finally, I record the whole presentation for my clients so they can take it home and practice pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, stress, etc.
As an undergraduate, I studied Greek, Latin, Old English, Middle English and German and received a degree in Classics Summa cum Laude. I earned a PhD in Comparative Literature at U. C. Berkeley, and I taught English there for 5 years as a GSI (Graduate Student Instructor.) I was awarded the university’s Outstanding GSI Award, and on the strength of my teaching, I was an adjunct professor there for three years after receiving my PhD. As an adjunct professor, I taught writing, literature, philosophy, mythology, Greek drama, and Latin in the Departments of Rhetoric, Comparative Literature, and Classics.
I have also taught at an ESL school in downtown Berkeley and served as an English and writing tutor to students of all levels, from junior and senior high school, through undergraduate and graduate students, to professionals including businesspeople, lawyers, psychologists, engineers, physicists, PhDs, and visiting Cal professors.
I have worked as a professional editor, speaking and presentation coach, copywriter, grant writer, web site content provider, and general manager for a dot-com specializing in literacy issues. Additionally, I worked for Educational Testing Services (ETS) for seven years scoring GMAT, TOEFL, and GRE essays and in test development.