We have started working on our new video course where we show you how English sounds are created in the mouth. Many of our students asked for it and we enjoy doing it. It will be ready in 2-3 months time. Email email@example.com to receive the link to our new video course.
21 March 2019
By Olga Smith
Can you afford to wait for the society to change?
Superprof (an online tutoring database, has 2,868 online elocution tutors offering one-to-one lessons), reported that, inquiries for elocution lessons increased by more than 23.5%, compared with the same period in 2015.
Here are some of the reasons to change one's accent which various people stated:
"Since I moved from Manchester to London two years ago, I have been mocked about my accent, which made me think about softening some of my rougher edges. Regional accents not only indicate where we are from, but can reveal our social class, while a recent study found that broad regional accents can be a barrier to social mobility."
“I always thought, when I was going for certain parts, that having a northern accent might hinder my chances. When I was 19 or 20, I tried to change my accent a little. I just felt like people would take me more seriously if I spoke better.”
“It was something I was really self-conscious about because people think that people with a Birmingham accent are quite stupid,”
“Outside of parliament, people definitely will use it as a tool to have a go at you,” she says. “They’ll say you sound thick and you’re common and you don’t speak properly.”
Here are the research data about accent change:
1. "The associations between intelligence and forms of middle-class and elite speech and accent are deeply woven into British class structures."
2." A broad regional accent might hold you in good stead in some jobs, but can be a drawback in more upwardly mobile careers. “There may be some kind of expectation that, if you’ve secured a good degree and aced teacher training, then why didn’t you modify your accent as a linguistic means to signal that you are moving up in the world.”
3."An employer might send somebody for accent softening, and actually what they mean is that the employee’s voice doesn’t quite sound formal. The difference between sounding formal and informal, lies in speaking too quickly, mumbling or reductions in speech such as the glottal stop – an abrupt silence that replaces T and, occasionally, other consonants at the end of words."
4. Other differences, such as TH-fronting, which is pronouncing “th” as “f” or “v”, can affect your employability. “The more somebody says ‘munf’ rather than month, ‘fru’ rather than through, we will consider that to be a marker that they are less employable. Because it is perceived to be a measure of socioeconomic status.”
The Guardian writer who came up with all these facts asked at the end: "Can we change society, so that people aren’t told they have to change themselves?" I think if someone has passion, money and time to change the society they can go ahead and do it. It is a question of how long this change will take and whether it will ever change. I prefer to speak with RP now and be successful now. I cannot afford to wait for the society to change. Can you?
I am learning two things now: how to dance beautifully and speak Italian. I have a private dance tutor who is an incredible dancer. As a publisher of Get Rid of your Accent apps and books and RP (Received Pronunciation, in the past known as Queen's English or BBC English) I always strive to learn what works and what doesn't for students who are trying to learn new skills. In this blog I want to share with you my knowledge about teaching and learning processes.
Learning to dance is very similar to learning to speak with a different accent. When I learn to dance I learn how to move my body the way I want. This is exactly what you learn during accent reduction: the first thing you learn is how to move your speech organs in the correct way. In our apps and books, the number one thing is to make it very clear how to place your speech organs correctly, secondly you pronounce the sound on its own, then in words, sentences and verses. It is a process, in which we break it up into small parts and our students learn very fast, because it s simple and clear.
On the contrary, my dance tutor tends to show me a very difficult routine and asks me to repeat it. I cannot do it and then she shows it to me again in a very fast way, and I that doesn't help at all. When I asked her to show me little moves slowly I succeeded. I conclude: the number one thing in learning is to break the thing you learn into small parts and master each part separately. If you rush, you are likely to make a mistakes.
I've just came back from Italy where I did a 3 weeks course in Italian. During my course we were studying grammar and hardly had very little practice. By the middle of my course in Italy I realised that I speak worse than before. Prior to this course, I practiced a lot of speaking, listening and repeating and may-be my grammar was not as good, but I was more fluent. In my opinion, the number two thing in learning a new skill is 10% of theory and 90% of practice. Unfortunately, many tutors do it the other way around, 90% of theory which makes them speak most of the time, and 10% of practice for students. That is probably why our accent apps and books are very popular, because we follow these two rules and our students get the results instantly.
Good luck with your study,
A couple of days ago I've taught one of my students. He is a barrister and presents his speeches in Courts. He is highly intelligent and eloquent. English is his native language. When we started working on one of his speeches, we had to cut some words, put stresses and liaisons. My student was surprised how simple rules that I taught him changed the quality of his speech. He said he never heard of these rules. He encouraged me to write a blog about rules of speech writing and presenting.
Bellow is the list of main rules of speech writing and presenting:
1. Never start a sentence with a preposition "and".
2. Stress the most important words that contain the meaning and the essence of a sentence. As a rule we stress numbers, names, strong words like "never", "not".
3. Write short sentences and use short punchy words. There is a difference between a written and a spoken word. It' is fine to use long sentences if you write a PhD thesis or a scientific article for a magazine because readers can read it several times if needed. But if you speak in long sentences, then your listeners might feel lost in words and lose the plot. Thus you might fail to deliver your message. Very often when I help to prepare speeches I often cut 30% of words. I would like to give you an exercise:
a) Write your speech, then record it.
b) Read your speech again and delete unimportant words. Record this speech again using pauses and stresses correctly.
c) Compare these two speeches.
You will find rules and practical exercises for speech in our apps "4Ps, Power, Pitch, Pace, Pause" and "Fluent English Speech". They will help you to make your speeches impressive, powerful and interesting.
23 January 2019
By Olga Smith
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend who works as a recruiter in Silicon Valley.
He conducts phone interviews, and if the interviewee is successful, he conducts a personal interview with a job applicant, many of whom are non-native English speakers. He said, “It’s harder to understand someone with an accent, especially on the phone. I feel frustrated because I can’t understand what they are saying.” He further added that regretfully, many job applicants do not have a second interview because of their strong accent.
On average, it takes between one and three months to neutralise a strong accent and make one's speech clear and easy to understand. People start with a speech analysis, then book a few lessons and practice at home. This process of accent reduction costs around £500-£1,000 on average.
My recruiter friend also told me an interesting fact, "We have many people already working in Silicon Valley who have strong Chinese or Indian accents. Many of them make $150k per year, however if they spoke more clearly, they would find it easier to be promoted and could earn up to $500k per year."
If you are looking for a new job or a promotion, why wouldn't you invest in improving the clarity of your speech?
Our company, which has helped hundreds of people with strong accents to start a new job or get a promotion, has recently published an easy to use and powerful app, built specifically for business people: Business English Speech.
This app will give you four benefits to boost your career. It will:
1. Prepare you for a job interview
2. Improve your business emails writing skills
3. Enrich your business vocabulary
4. Improve your listening skills
Download the app today.
When you find it useful and if you write a review, you will receive a FREE thirty minutes speech analysis with a written report that will speed up neutralising your accent (usually it costs £120).
Tuesday, January 1st, 2019
Here at BATCS, we work hard to bring you the latest and greatest books and apps for accent reduction. So we’re very proud to announce the availability of our newest app, Business English Speech. It’s the best single tool on the market to help you get a job and perform well in your current job and throughout your career.
The thing that makes BATCS stand out the most is our full line of apps, which complement our books. In some cases, we even have several apps to go with a single book.
It took us longer than usual to get this new app, Business English Speech, ready. Why? Because it’s one of our most ambitious apps.
The business book and app both use the speech style and vocabulary of leading business professionals, as you see in leading publications such as the Financial Times (also called “the FT”), The Economist, and the Times of London. And it’s the same speech style and vocabulary that you hear on the BBC and Sky News. The book and app include interviews with top UK professionals in areas such as finance - still the leading business in London - marketing, politics, diplomacy, and the law.
As you use this app, your speech will increasingly resemble what British people see and hear every day on TV and the radio, and read in the British press. This is the style of English that’s historically been called the King’s English or the Queen’s English, depending on whom was regnant at the time, and more recently called BBC English.
The improvement in your speech makes people more open to and interested in the ideas you are expressing. You become more influential and more effective. As you use the app, it becomes much easier to get a new position and to advance in the role that you already have.
Our lead app developer, Yury Kravchenko, has made this deep and interesting content available within the same app framework used across all of our Get Rid of your Accent apps, as shown in our app video.
In the app, you can easily find the most troublesome sounds for your national language of origin. Then, you drill on those sounds, using business-oriented and professional-level vocabulary. The app will record you and help you compare your own pronunciation to pronunciation in a crisp and clear British English accent.
For the book, we have been told again and again by customers that it immediately helps them to improve their performance at work. The app is exactly what you need as a professional who would like to succeed in this competitive world.
Note: We also recommend that you use our other apps and books to complement your work with the Business English Speech app. Why? Because you will get more complete training. In particular, we recommend two topics. The first is our Beginner book and app, because they have the most-used vocabulary that will help in all of your conversations. The other is the advanced level, specialty app, Power, Pitch, Pace, Pause. This app will improve your speaking skills in meetings and presentations.
We are delighted to announce that our new book "Get Rid of your Accent for Beginners" by Linda James and Olga Smith became an instant bestseller.
This new book is a total solution for accent reduction, and helps you to:
Ger rid of insecurities when speaking English
Break the barrier to speak English
Become confident and competent speaker of English
Enhance your image, get a better job prospects and improve your social opportunities.
Join our success story today! Find out more on www.batcsglobal.com
Guest blog post
There is a phenomenon called "immigrant energy" that makes some immigrants to English-speaking countries very successful. However, mastering English - which increases people's success - often takes several generations:
The first generation has either no English skills, or limited English skills, with a strong or very strong accent.
The second generation speaks their parents' language at home and English at school, which leaves them with less English skill and either a strong or a mild accent.
The third generation speaks English at home and at school, giving them full English skills and a mild accent or no accent.
International business people often follow a similar trajectory.
Our Get Rid of your Accent products accelerate this process. We help first-generation immigrants and international business people graduate quickly to a mild accent. That way, people have the energy of new immigrants, but the language skills of the second or third generation.
By reducing your accent and speaking in clear, understandable English, you change the subject. It's no longer, "What country are you from?" Instead, you talk about work, education, fun, family - whatever you want to talk about.
As a typical Russian I was rubbish at "small talk". I found it boring and useless. I want an instant connection on a deep level. For me, small talk was a waste of my time. A typical small talk is usually about the weather, current events or immediate surroundings, so superficial and meaningless, I thought.
I was wrong. Small talk does have a purpose. It is a great opportunity to size up the other person. We see their gestures, hear their accent and make an eye contact. It helps us decide whether we want to carry the conversation any further. Recently I was talking to a friend, a CEO of a consultancy company, he says that it's enough for him to say hello and shake hands with a person in order to understand if he can work with them.
In the UK, your accent speaks louder than words, it is a sign of your cultural background, education and social status. Once people hear your accent, to coin a phrase, they put you in a box. People make judgments immediately.
This fact explains why RP (Received Pronunciation, which in the past was called Queens English, Oxford English or BBC English is still an accent people want to learn. This accent is simply a shortcut to sound neutral and educated. Elocution, articulation and other vocal techniques help you to enhance your powers of communication further and cultivates strong presence. Once you have strong presence doors open people want to be around you, have business with you, you get a better job and a higher salary , and we can continue this list.
With our accent apps, books and lessons, it usually takes only 1-3 months to learn RP, and the benefits are priceless and will last you a lifetime. To listen to free lessons from our audio accent books visit: http://www.batcsglobal.com/products/
Many people are coming to us to fix their English, because they learned it with bad pronunciation and as a result their social and professional lives suffered. We had people with degrees in English Language, but their speech was too quiet and unintelligible, because they didn't know how to project their voice, how to pronounce English sounds correctly, etc. When we asked how it happened they told us that the main focus in their study was on English grammar, reading silently and writing.
We think, that the best way to master English speech is to listen to native speakers who have Received Pronunciation (RP or Oxford English), repeat after them and memorise phrases rather than separate words. But it is not always easy to find someone for that. Nowadays many native Brits speak with regional accents and their speech is not the best example to follow if you want to be understood globally.
We have the solution for you: we have published a new accent app on the AppStore: "English Accent for Beginners”. It contains essential English words, phrases and short snappy sentences, amusing verses, rhythmic and articulation exercises and passages, all of them so useful and easy to repeat.
With this accent app you can:
· Listen to the same phrase/ sentence/verse to master the English sounds of RP a few times;
· Repeat and record yourself, imitating the actor’s pronunciation, intonation and the stresses;
· Compare your speech with actors on the app.
In the past week I had met with two new students separately (one was French the other one Turkish), but they've said the same thing, and I quote: "My life would've been different if I met you ten years ago". They complained how their career and social life had suffered as a result of their strong foreign accent.
I knew exactly what they meant as I were there myself. I completed an MBA, passed Proficiency in English Cambridge exam, but I felt something was missing. I lacked confidence, I felt not accepted, because I spoke with a very strong and harsh Russian accent. People could not always understand me. To tell the truth I felt like a second class citizen despite of my great life achievements. I decided to get rid of my accent.
I started looking for help and a friend advised me to book a few elocution lessons and learn Received pronunciation or RP. In the past it was also called Queens English, Oxford English or BBC English. I met Linda James and we first started working on English sounds and articulation, later on my intonation and some vocal techniques.
I joined Toastmasters, a public speaking club and my work on accent reduction paid off! Not only people could understand me, but I felt respected, because I sounded educated. I felt empowered and I realised that there are so many people like me in the UK, educated high achievers, but their foreign accent is weighing them down, it doesn't allow them to enter certain doors.
I said to Linda:"We must write a book together and we call it "Get Rid of your Accent". This book became an international bestseller and was translated into Chinese, Russian and adopted for American pronunciation. We did not stop at one book and also published "Get Rid of your Accent Part 2" with lessons on fluent English speech. Later our high profile clients inspired us to write "Get Rid of your Accent for Business". For this book I interviewed CEO of large corporation, Masters of British Empire. This book is a short cut to a very high level English.
With advances in technology we converted our elocution books into interactive accent apps and public speaking apps. Students can listen to actors, repeat and copy pronunciation, liaisons and intonation; they can also record themselves and compare their pronunciation with actors. With the help of our accent apps you can neutralize or modify accent within a month, provided to practice daily for 30-45 minutes.
Our latest book is for people to just started learning English, it is called "Get Rid of your Accent for Beginners". We think it is better to start learning English with good pronunciation, rather than fixing it several years later when you already developed so many bad pronunciation habits. "Old habits die hard" as the saying goes.
Do not wait ten years and hope your accent will disappear. It takes some effort. It is worth investing now then regretting and struggling in the future!
A few days ago I met with a new student and she said that she feels a bit skeptical that she can get rid of her accent. She said:" I know I will study English sounds and intonation, but I doubt I can speak without an accent. Indeed, many students practice with accent apps and books regularly, but when it comes to their everyday speech they still speak with an accent.
Where is the catch? I tell you. Every person has their own individual vocabulary. For example a doctor talks about patients, a lawyer about his clients, a housewife about kids, organising the house and so on. Each uses certain words in certain situations.
We give our students a task right from the start: we ask them to write down mini passages and mini dialogues from their everyday speech and bring them to each lesson. Each lesson we study English sounds, intonation and articulation, and each time I ask students to identify English sounds in their passages and dialogues.
Performing this task has huge benefits for accent softening:
· Your accent reduction is laser focused on your individual vocabulary.
· Your work on accent is practical and relevant.
· You are very motivated because you see the desired results fast.
Do not rely on material from accent apps and books alone, take your accent reduction work in your own hands and bring it to the next level today! Write down mini passages and dialogues on essential topics: your education, work, where you live, where are you from, shopping etc. and use them during your accent reduction lessons. To book your lesson email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you fun with this work!
The most fun and useful part about learning English is to communicate well: to understand others and to be understood.
The best way to get there is to listen, repeat and then record yourself. We created a new Kindle and Audible pronunciation course for beginners called “Get Rid of your Accent for Beginners”, by Linda James and Olga Smith. It is quick and easy. You will overcome your fear to speak English, learn many useful phrases and much more! Within just 3-4 weeks you will understand most of what others say and speak in a way so that others understand you!
4 tips to start speaking English fast:
1.Listen to the same phrase/ sentence/verse to master the English sounds a few times;
2. Repeat by imitating the actor’s pronunciation, intonation and the stresses;
3. Record yourself, play back your recording and note down your mistakes;
4. Listen, repeat and record again words with mistakes until you get rid of them.
Best of luck to start speaking good English!
Here is the link to the Audible version:
Here is the link to the Kindle version:
We conducted research among native English people who work with non-native English speakers. We asked them what they thought about colleagues with a foreign accent that is difficult to understand. These were their replies:
· Doubt if they are being understood;
· Accent distracting them from what is being said.
We run courses for diplomats and professionals in London. We have had people on our courses who have been living in England for many years, but because they never learned how to pronounce English sounds correctly, they sounded as if they had only just arrived in this country. They told us they felt inadequate because they were being asked to repeat themselves because of their bad pronunciation. In fact only a few days ago, on 24 September 2017 there was a BBC program about a Polish lady who decided to get rid of her accent. Here is the link:
You probably heard how sometimes English people call foreign accents sexy and charming. Why do you think people want to get rid of them? I will tell you why in this article.
We have been running accent reduction courses for diplomats and professionals for the last 12 years. We help people make their English clear and precise and they are no longer being asked to repeat themselves.
Moreover, if you speak with the right accent, namely Received Pronunciation (RP) it also open doors to high society, respect associated with it, and last but not least much more money. Let me present a few examples given to us by our students:
"I work as an IT consultant, but because I speak with a strong Spanish accent and not all what I say is being understood, I am not invited to meetings. I know if I don't start speak more clearly, I will be starring at the PC screen and have the same salary for many years to come..."
"After your accent reduction course I got promoted to an area manager, and now I want to master my speech even more as it became absolutely clear to me that communication is power."
"I am a dietician in Chelsea and all my clients have posh accent (RP). In order to be trusted by my clients I need to improve my accent".
Our Turkish student working as Stock Exchange trader in London told us what her manager said to her: "If you don't lose you accent you lose your job". On the trading floor people are so stressed and have no time to understand thick foreign accents.
My business partner from Silicon valley told me that there are many Chinese and Indian IT specialists working there earning peanuts because it's difficult to understand their English. He further specified: they are making $100k now, but if they changed their accent they would make $400.
All I can say the choice is yours - you are either stay sexy and charming earning peanuts, or you sort out your speech and make serious money.
We start our next Accent Reduction course on 22 May, all details are on www.batcsglobal.com
I wish you all prosperity!
For the last two months I have been travelling to Thailand, Spain and Israel. I tried to speak with local people in English and realised that the conversation didn't go beyond twenty words of a very basic vocabulary. People told me that they learned English for five to seven years in schools, but according to their level of speech it felt they learned it for two days maximum. How come? It turned out they learned spelling and grammar for those seven years, but rarely spoke .
Also, I met many people who have been living in the UK for thirty years and they still speak in pidgin English. Some of them were PhDs and they complained to me that people treated them like morons because of their primitive English. Well, the reason for their poor English was that they made a choice to stick to their native community (Iranian, Russian, Spanish etc.) and to not pursue English. Interestingly enough, their passive vocabulary was often very good as they could write well, read books and papers, but they didn't dare to use this vocabulary in their speech, because they were not sure how to pronounce it and it made them shy to use it.
One of my friends is a Chinese lady who has been living in London for seven years and has an English boyfriend. She is still hesitant to speak English , she constantly repeats: "I learn English, but it's very difficult... I am not good, it's very hard". No wonder, she learns English for an hour twice a week, but then she speaks in Chinese for the rest of the time.
I decided to do a little experiment with my Chinese friend. Firstly, I told her to say to herself and others that English is easy and that she speaks good English, because when she was constantly repeating that her English was bad, to me it sounded like a self-programming for having bad English. Secondly, I gave her three new short phrases a day and asked her to repeat them five times several times a day. Thirdly, I asked her to reduce the time she speaks in Chinese and gradually increased the time she speaks in English and use the new phrases. After just a week her confidence to speak was so much higher and she felt powerful as a person.
For all who learn English I want to recommend three things:
1. Stop learning English, and start speaking it by repeating three new useful phrases several times a day. Your speech organ muscles will get used to English, you will enlarge your vocabulary and gain confidence to speak. Repeating, repeating and repeating, like parrots!
2. Reduce the time of speaking in your native language and increase the time you speak in English.
3. Listen to English TV and Radio channels, make a note of phrases you hear and repeat them five times several times a day. In the past I met Greeks, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and their English was advanced. Guess what these countries have in common: English TV channels that are not translated into their native language.
If you have been struggling with your English and want to improve it write to email@example.com to get a free guidance, get our paper-back books with CDs from Amazon, audio books in series Get Rid of your Accent from Audible, or download our apps: get rid of your accent uk1 from Google Play and AppStore , and Fluent English Speech from the AppStore.
All our products have audio tracks recorded by trained actors, just listen and repeat after them.
I wish you to be empowered by your outstanding English!
Today I would to talk about how to achieve fluency in English.
Once you have sorted out your English sounds, yournext step would be to work on fluency.
What does this work involve:
1. Using schwa, or neutral vowel in prepositions (for, from, to, etc) and articles (a, an, the), thus "throwing away unimportant words", an expression used by actors.
2. Liaise prepositions with words (eg: in common, at home, etc.) , do not make pauses between words and prepositions they belong to.
3. Speak in phrases or "word blocks", rather than in separate words, connecting words in a phrase.
For example in a phrase "I'd like a cup of tea", we have two blocks: 1. I'd like , and 2. a cup of tea.
In our book Get Rid of your Accent, Advanced level, ISBN 09553300017 we give you many practice for your fluency.
More on our web site: www.batcsglobal.com
Very often many of our clients ask us:
How many lessons do they need with a teacher?
How often and for how long do they need to do exercises from our elocution books and apps to neutralise their foreign or regional accent?
Our answer is this:
- Have elocution lessons once or twice a week with a qualified speech tutor. Many of our students told us that when they practice on their own they do not always know their starting point, what exactly they are doing wrong and what is the best way to improve. The teacher with save you time to achieve your goal.
- Practice daily. 15 min in the morning, 15 min after lunch and 15 min in the evening. Incremental progress is the key to success. It’s better to do it regularly for a short period of time, rather than once a week for a couple of hours.
- Focus on one sound for 3 days. It is believed that to eliminate a mistake you have to repeat it in the correct way for 292 times.
Ambassador of the Russian Federation
to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
"I was very surprised to attend so interesting class which as I’ve noticed everybody enjoyed. I’ve spoken to my colleagues and all of them have found it very productive.
As I learned French phonetics I could say that your method is very useful because you start from the base matters (how to move a tongue in a right way). From my point of view it is quite difficult to learn any matter and especially phonetics with no attending any classes. Because the teacher gives much more than a book. And your proved it 100%."
Thank you once again for your course.
Head of the Ambassador’s Office
During their visit to the Bell Language School in London Iraqi teachers had the opportunity to receive a workshop from Olga Smith, centered around the series of best-selling pronunciation books "Get Rid of Your Accent". They are visiting London to improve their English teaching skills and the workshop was great fun for them. The part they liked the most were the short tips that are easy to follow, so we want to share them with you here.
Tips to master pronunciation rapidly
Teachers can give the following tips to their students:
1. Avoid speaking in your native language. Speaking in your native language will prevent you from memorising the correct placement of the speech organs and developing the speech organ muscles for the English sounds.
2. Avoid speaking too fast, pronounce every syllable. Many people are not able to make clear sounds when speaking rapidly and these lead to indistinct or ‘woolly’ speech”.
3. Read newspapers, magazines and books out loud. Audio books are fantastic to listen to and to imitate the correct pronunciation.
4. Do regular weekly recording exercises:
• Record yourself reading,
• Listen to your tape,
• Make a note of sounds where you made a mistake in pronunciation,
• Practice the sounds where you made a mistake with this book.
5. Learn poems and read them expressively; modulate your voice; go to the theatre and join Toastmaster club in your area.