Posts Tagged ‘phonetics’

How to be good at English (31-40 tips)

4 July 2020

twitter: @eugenio_fouz


-seen on @Tumblr-


How to be good at English (31-40 points)
Eugenio Fouz

31.Learn about phonetics (look for the phonetic transcription of words, stress, etcetera).

32.Work your orthography. Check spelling and meanings in dictionaries.

33.Use connectors in a personal way, that is, do not overuse “and”, “but” all the time. Try using other connectors such as “nevertheless”, “however”, “above all”, “what´s more”. Or else, use commas for juxtaposition as in “Get ball pens, pencils close too

34.Content: have something interesting to say or write. If not, Depeche Mode´s permitting; “enjoy the silence”.

35.Watch TV series rather than films. Good stories create addiction. Use original audios. Use subtitles as well.

36.Borrow, copy, get, buy manuals of grammar, dictionaries, literature, phonetics, culture, stories, tweets, proverbs, comics, newspapers.

37.Keep blocs or moleskins close. Get ball pens, pencils close too. Write, write.

38.Travel to the UK or any other country where English is spoken.

39.Avoid repetition. Read what you write afterwards. This is called proofreading. Get used to it!

40.Style: you write the way you are.


7 musts in the learning of a foreign language

27 July 2019

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

Which are the things you should learn in a foreign language?


First, I think I should learn the alphabet and vocabulary, that is to say, words from the new language and of course, their meanings. I should know how to say every word, how to pronounce them. This part has to do with phonetics. Whenever I learn a new word I feel the urgency to know how to write it (spelling, written language)

Second,grammar. What are the rules in that language. Why do we say or write “I do not like her” instead of saying  **“”I not like her”, for example. Being able to create my own messages following the rules of grammar. These rules include exceptions.

Third, I would like to learn functional language as well, I mean, practical and formulaic sentences to ask someone his name or his age as in “What is your name?” or “How old are you?”. There are plenty of singular expressions which belong to formulaic language such as idioms, slang, abbreviations or false friends, among many others.

Fourth, I would appreciate to know about syntax (order and relationships of elements in the discourse).

Fifth, I´d love to be an independent reader of literature and a good radio listener as well to work fluency in the foreign language besides the pleasure of reading inherent to a man of letters like me.

Sixth, being curious about culture (tradition, customs, people, geography, etcetera)

Seventh, practise language through the well-know four basic skills: reading, listening, writing, reading




Eugenio Fouz.-





#PDF G-Drive

“Basic Segments of Speech Vowels I” (Jürgen Handke)

23 February 2019

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

Jürgen Handke, German teacher


Sometimes we need a foreigner to learn things from a strange issue

as, for example, a foreign language.

Voiced and voiceless consonants in English language (Phonetics)

12 October 2018

twitter: @eugenio_fouz


Extract from

The difference between voiced and voiceless consonants

Kenneth Beare

“Phoneticists, who study the sound of the human voice, divide consonants into two types: voiced and voiceless. Voiced consonants require the use of the vocal cords to produce their signature sounds; voiceless consonants do not. Both types use the breath, lips, teeth, and upper palate to further modify speech. This guide presents the differences between voiced and voiceless consonants and gives you some tips for using them.” (…)

Read the whole text below:


“Look at those lovely little yellow flowers”

25 November 2016


twitter: @eugenio_fouz


These days I am reading and learning a lot of things from a self-study book on phonetics. This book -a handbook, in fact- provides a pack of audios which I listen as I read. The author is Jonathan Marks. There are plenty of examples, exercises and pair words to distinguish specific pronunciation of sounds.

Besides, one enjoys little pieces of poetry, stories or witty examples inside the book. The title of the post has been copied from an exercise in the book. The sentence works out the sound /l/ through the wonderful literary device of alliteration, “look at those lovely little yellow flowers”.

The variety of exercises offer the student of phonetics the chance to listen and mark the odd word out of a series of similar word sounds, phonetic transcriptions, drawings of the mouth, lips, tongue to show how a sound is pronounced, typical spellings where the sound is produced, etcetera.

As I said before, the book has got some stories. I would like to save this one:

Too many twos

Tom and Tim were twins

Tom said to Tim, “Can I talk to you?”

Tim said to Tom, “Shh, wait a minute…

One two is two

Two twos are four

Three twos are six

Four twos are eight

Five twos are ten…”

Tom said to Tim, “And what are two fives?”

Tim said to Tom, “Two fives? Don´t ask me!”


This is the handbook:

Jonathan Marks; English Pronunciation in Use.-Elementary; Cambridge University Press, (Cambridge, 2007)



Some vowel sounds via @YouTube

19 March 2015

twitter: @eugenio_fouz


Pronunciation is extremely important in language. The difference between the vowel sound in the word “cat” and “cut” seems to be a bit difficult sometimes. Here you are a YouTube video to see how this works.

NOTE: Just in case the video fails, try the following link:

Little points to consider in oral interviews

28 August 2014

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

 2013-11-20 12.45.30

First of all, when you are having a conversation you must be aware of your partner. Do not forget that your participation counts but your partner counts as well

Get used to listening.

When it´s your turn to speak try to be clear and concise. Do not make very long sentences. Long messages sometimes can be boring to others

Your intonation is important. Of course, nobody asks a question by doing an affirmative statement. Think where you put your stress in sentences.

Basics is a principal point in language. You need to make sure you use the precise words, that is to say, do not use “him” where you should use “her” or him. We are dealing basics when we deal with verbal tenses, personal pronouns of subject or object, cardinal numbers, demonstratives, possessive adjectives, adverbials, and so on.

In verbs as you should know there are three forms or elements in their presentation, namely, the infinitive, the past and the past participle. The pronunciation of the past form of an irregular verb is not usually the same as the pronunciation of the past participle form.

On the other hand, there are lots of useful expressions, linkers or even idioms which may help in a conversation. A good student, a good speaker must learn, know and use them (once more, let´s see, to sum up, unfortunalely, that is to say, the truth is that, actually, secondly, et cetera)

In English sometimes we use a future verbal tense with the meaning of a present. For example, we say “I´ll start by saying that…” meaning “empiezo diciendo que…” or “shall we open the door?” meaning “¿abrimos la puerta?”.

Phonetics and pronunciation are two pillars in the building of a good dialogue. If you pronounce well, you will always be clearly understood. Phonetics helps to pronunciation rules.

I wouldn´t like to forget probably the point number one in communication: words. Without words we speak nothing. Words, or rather, vocabulary is the most important thing in language. Learn new words and you will be able to communicate anything to anyone. Use a dictionary, take notes of new words, read texts (newspapers, readers), listen to podcasts, online radios, watch videos, talk to real English people.

When you make a sentence, remember that in English there is always an easy rule to follow which consists of subject, verb and complements in standard messages.

Therefore, if you mean “Entonces, sería …” you shouldn´ t forget the subject “it” as in “Then, it would be…”. On the other hand, when you have used a subject it is wrong to put it twice as in “ this song it is about…” and you should say “this song is about…”

Other points where one can make mistakes are confusing numbers as in “thirteen” (13) and “thirty” (30) or the ordinal numbers “twelfth” (duodécimo) ”, telling the time, men and women (the latest´s pronunciation is very peculiar).

Some speakers think that saying “and” many times will make the speech more fluent and that is wrong and boring. One has to take some other words as “however”, “nevertheless”, “but”, “on the one hand”. Try to avoid repetition which only means lack of vocabulary and style. Sometimes it will be better not to say anything and leaving a blank space in conversation, as if you were playing music. Whenever you use a verb take your time to consider if it wouldn´t be nicer to choose a more specific verb instead of the verb “to be” or “to have” [ “go”, “visit”, “walk”, “travel”]

There are lots of words that we don´t often check in the dictionary. We do not know their meaning. Sometimes we pronounce them wrong.

Never forget the idea that English grammar is not a cheese but “lots of cheese”. Be available to learn rules or new aspects of grammar. I have just remembered now the rule of the verbs of like and dislike which take the gerund after themselves: like/hate/love/prefer + Ving

She hates waiting for her brother every day after class

When you talk to someone, try to make short messages. Most of times you go further on you make a mistake, nevertheless the best way to learn is by making mistakes and talking.

If your partner asks a question starting with “do” as in “do you like eating hot dogs?” you will be expected to answer by using the same auxiliary verb, “yes, I do” / “No, I don´t” and then continue with your part of the conversation. If your partner starts with “have you ever driven a car?”, again you must give something like this “no, I haven´t”/ “yes, I have”.

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