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Change page to: dialogue with weak syllables (instances of "schwa") indicated____________Common Mistakes
Read aloud in pairs, making syllables with /ə/ very weak, and syllables with // non-existent:
A:___What do you think is the problem between the English and the Americ/ə/ns?
B:___That's a very interesting question, because both nationalities share a common language and are usually on the same side in war-time, yet they rarely speak well of one another on a personal level.
A:___Are we talking about a struggle for superiority?
B:___Yes, but we measure our superiority in different ways. Ours is cultural and historical. We believe we're more civilized. We're the country of Shakespeare and the industrial revolution. Americans visit England in search of culture and history.
A:___So in what ways are they superior?
B:___Well, obviously in size. Everything's bigger - their country, their salaries, their roads, their companies. Theirs is the land of MacDonald's, Coca Cola, Microsoft and IBM. They enjoy telling us that they're the best.
A:___And are they right?
B:___Yes, if you measure success purely in dollars, but there're two points here. Firstly, many English people actually believe that "Small is Beautiful". They prefer countries where you don't get mugged in parks and subways.
A:___What's the other point?
B:___I was coming to that. It's the difference in character. Maybe you think you're the best in the world, but you don't go shouting about it from the rooftops. Americans lack our modesty and reserve. They're probably warmer and more friendly, but they're often very loud and extrovert to go with it.
A:___So you prefer the British character?
B:___Not entirely. We tend to be rather oblique in our conversation. When Americans speak, you can take them literally, but when English people speak you have to read between the lines.
A:___We say one thing and mean another?