Importance of words of commendation

A wife giving commendation to her husband.

Word are of little value when deeds are needed. But it would be a mistake to conclude that fine words are useless. By no means!

The value of fine words can be illustrated by the experience of a hardworking mother of five children.

Diligently she labored to keep her house and the clothes of her family neat and clean and, what is more, she cooked very good meals.

But did her family ever think of giving her a compliment because of how clean she kept their home and for the tasty meals she prepared day after day?

No. When she once brought this to their attention, they replied: “O Ma, you should know that so long as we don’t complain, everything is just fine!”

How typical of many, many families! Yet how thoughtless, how unwise and how unloving! Life is so full of things that tend to depress or discourage.

Disappointments and personal failings have a tendency to produce negative thinking.

How much appreciated, then, is the word of commendation whenever it can be given! So, look for opportunities to commend instead of harping on weaknesses and shortcomings.

Encourage by words of commendation

Are you an employer or foreman?

Do you think of giving encouraging commendation when an employee works diligently and conscientiously, perhaps putting forth special efforts because of unusual circumstances?

Or are you an employee that has been favored with more than usual understanding and consideration on the part of your employer or foreman? If so, have you made some expression of appreciation there for?

Or, you parents, when your children show themselves dutiful, resisting temptations to follow the selfish, wayward course of others and, instead, bring home from school good reports as to their studies and conduct, do you bestow encouraging commendation?

What about you youths? Did you ever think of going out of your way to express appreciation to your father and mother for all they do for you?

After all, your mother might have left you as a babe at some foundling home or your father might have deserted his family, as so many thousands of fathers and mothers have done.

Did you ever think of surprising them by a “thank you” card or message in the mail? A pair of daughters did that to their widowed mother, and what happiness it brought her!

How wise it would be for all who have the responsibility of oversight or who have others in their care, such as parents, schoolteachers, overseers, foremen and employers to commend those under their oversight.

Keep up the good work” is encouraging in two ways. 

The adjective “good” shows appreciation for what has been accomplished and telling one to “keep up” what he is doing serves as an incentive or admonition to do more of the same. 

Truly, fine words, encouraging words of commendation, do have their place in the lives of all of us.

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How to survive an earthquake?

A boy shows how he survived an earthquake.

In reality, few people know what to do in an earthquake. 

Nevertheless, the spate of disastrous earthquakes in this century has led to increased research about earthquake protection. 

So what can one do before or during an earthquake?

Advance earthquake preparedness

First, sit down with your family and select some potential places of refuge in your neighborhood.

Arrange where to meet in case you are separated, and establish which routes each can take to get there. 

Discuss dangerous places that should be avoided, such as gasoline stands (stations), which could explode. 

Because of the danger of fire, teach your family how to turn off the gas and electricity where they enter your home. 

Make sure everyone knows how to put out fires. If you will need help with old or sick people, arrange this with your neighbors.

Do you live in an earthquake zone? Then it may be practical to secure heavy furniture that is likely to topple over. 

Heavy and dangerous objects, including containers of flammable liquids, should be stored down low or at least at the back of shelves. 

Also, anchor any propane-gas cylinders that may be on hand.

Prepare earthquake kit for an earthquake

Following a disaster, one must often wait two or three days for help.

So it is recommended that families living in earthquake zones always keep on hand a three-day supply of water and food. (Canned or dried food is recommended.) 

If it is necessary for you to evacuate your home, authorities recommend taking along a ‘emergency kit’ consisting of the following:

1. A three-day supply of water.

2. A first-aid kit.

3. A flashlight.

4. A transistor radio, in order to receive accurate information and instructions.

5. Clothing, strong shoes, blankets, underclothing, towel, and tissues.

What to do when an earthquake strikes

Above all, do not panic! The first quake is usually the most severe and seldom lasts more than a minute. If you are able to move around, though, get busy. 

Extinguish all sources of fire. Gas leaking from broken pipes means danger, as do exposed wires and appliances left on. 

Therefore, turn off the gas and electricity at their sources as quickly as you can. Open a door or a large window—which could get jammed shut—so that you will have an escape route. 

Then get under a desk or a table. A desk’s drawers serve as reinforcement. Thus, desks are often able to support several tons of weight without being crushed. 

Wooden desks are usually stronger than metal ones. Dr. Yuji Ishiyama of the Building Research Institute of Japan advice's :

I firmly believe that telling people to take refuge under a desk far surpasses any other advice one could give.”

If no desk is available, crouch or lie by the side of a sofa, bed, or some other strong piece of furniture that will not topple over. Do not crawl under, as the legs can easily snap. 

Try to protect your head. Because of having so many walls in a small area, the bathroom may very well be your safest room.

Buildings react differently to different frequency waves. 

Besides not knowing when an earthquake will hit you, you may not know what kind of building you will be in or which buildings will be most affected. 

This makes it difficult to lay down universal rules for safety.

However, standing in the doorway in countries where door frames and lintels are built strong enough to support the weight of the building above and around may help you to survive. 

Please note that the above instructions will not apply if you are in a house that is very old or not reinforced. 

Experts say that if an earthquake finds you in such a fragile building, it is best to get out immediately!

Put a big cushion or chair over your head for protection from falling tiles, etc., and move out quickly. 

What if a fire breaks out

Obviously, you should deal with it as soon as possible, perhaps calling your neighbors for assistance. 

Remember that however bad the fire, there is usually breathable air just above the floor.

Suppose, though, that a quake finds you in a location other than your home?

Large buildings: 

Do not attempt to rush outside, as elevators and stairs can be death traps during earthquakes.

If you cannot get under a desk, get near pillars or other main supports of the building. 

Stay away from objects that could fall on you, and avoid glass, which might break. 

Oftentimes, the managers of schools, department stores, and theaters have set procedures to follow in case of an emergency. 

So follow instructions and do not act independently.

City streets: 

Get away from telephone poles, hanging signs, and signboards. 

Watch out for falling roof tiles and breaking glass. 

If there are no parks or other open spaces nearby, seek refuge in a well-constructed building.

Underground Railway Passages and Stations: 

These have held up well in quakes in Mexico, Japan, and Greece. The greatest danger is fire. 

People, though, often panic at the thought of being trapped and make a mad dash for the stairs and exits. 

It is best, however, to remain underground until the initial earthquake is over and wait for instructions.


Roads must be left open for fire engines, ambulances, and emergency services. 

In some places the roads are narrow, and so it is advisable to pull over to the side of the road, stop, turn on the radio, and wait for instructions.


Get to high ground as fast as possible. There may be tsunamis, or seismic sea waves, up to a hundred feet [30 m] high and traveling at hundreds of miles per hour! 

Usually, the second and third tsunamis are even stronger than the first.'


Of course, it is hoped that you will never experience an earthquake’s horror. But with adequate preparation, many people have survived major disasters. 

So be prepared! Stay calm and obey warnings and instructions issued by the proper authorities. You will increase your chances of surviving an earthquake!

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Secrets of advertisers manipulating techniques

An electronic billboard advert using celebrities.

Advertising can be helpful. However, there are pitfalls, chief of which are attempts to manipulate consumers minds.

But many ask: “Why is this so? Why not just present the facts about products and let people decide for themselves?” There are several reasons.

Why the Manipulation?

One reason is that facts do not sell well. An Advertiser Paul Stevens explains:

You take a sincere, honest effort, and you put it up against a rock-’em sock-’em commercial that tries to gloss over the real truth, and generally the rock-’em sock-’em will get the attention.”

The proved success of advertising geared to this mentality proves that advertisers have the general public sized up correctly.

Another reason for manipulation is that businesses often give advertisers the job of selling things that people do not need. 

So they have to create a desire for them strong enough to overcome our practical side. 

Erich Fromm, a psychologist, observes:

advertising tends to create a person who wants more and more, instead of trying to improve this person more and more." 

This is particularly true of unnecessary luxury items such as tobacco, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, cosmetics, candy and expensive cars.

A further problem for advertising is the competition among nearly identical products. 

Time magazine notes:

when a blindfolded customer can scarcely distinguish between competing brands, it is the advertiser’s task to find and exploit any slight difference, real or imagined, in his client’s product.”

Illustrating this point, a Consumer Affairs Commissioner notes that advertising has convinced millions that [a name brand of a bleach] is somehow better than the same stuff in any other bottle.

The brand is priced well above that of competitors, yet sells far better. 

Did you know, as she points out, that bleach “is one of those products that must be identical among brands”? “It is chemically defined.”

But why is this kind of advertising manipulation so successful?

Why Manipulation Succeeds?

As you may be aware, most advertising principles are based on a scientific analysis of what makes people act the way they do. It is called “motivational research.” 

Even children are analyzed with the goal of moving them to influence parents, while their own purchasing habits are molded for later years. 

Thus advertising appeals to basic motivations—love, family, success, pleasure, security, and so forth. 

Artfully framing these appeals is usually the key to successful advertising.

Not only “every word” but also the settings of most advertising are “weighted” heavily in favor of the product. 

Some ads can leave people with an idea that is only half true, or possibly not true at all. 

Yet likely nothing said is actually false, as that would be illegal. How is this done? 

“Weighting” the Words

Each word in an advertisement is carefully selected for maximum thrust, yet minimum fact if proof is lacking. 

Advertisers themselves call these “weasel words.” See if you can pick them out in this television soap commercial:

A winsome young woman tells you that the soap she uses ‘helps my skin keep healthy looking.’

Are you not left with the idea that this particular soap “keeps skin healthy”? But did you notice the weighted words? 

(1) “Helps” is a word often used to avoid saying that a product actually does something. 

(2) “Looking” changes the word “healthy” from a fact to an opinion—that of the soap-maker. 

Almost any soap can make the same claim, but the sponsor is counting on you to think of his brand when shopping.

Now see if you can find any manipulation in this one: An expensive headache remedy is said to contain ‘twice as much of the pain reliever doctors recommend most.’ 

You are led to believe that this pill has a double portion of a unique doctor-prescribed pain reliever. But ask yourself a few questions. 

What is the nonprescription pain reliever that doctors recommend most? 

Is it not the only one legally sold over the counter—just plain aspirin—any brand? 

Twice as much’ . . . as what? 

Much is implied, but little is really supplied. The wording of the claim as a whole is designed to manipulate.

Words such as introducing, different, special, exclusive sound forceful, do they not? 

But the reality is that they usually play up very minor variations among products that are basically the same. 

Or they highlight differences that have nothing to do with function, such as an added lemon scent. 

Listen for facts about why the product is superior. Usually such facts are often missing. 

This air of mystery and exclusiveness sells, but mystery additives and exotic names are less informative than telling a small child that it rains because the sky contains H2O. 

Natural, lemon-fresh, clear, pure and similar words are riding the crest of a recent trend back to “nature.” 

They get massive exposure to advertise almost anything. 

Ironically, a magazine cigarette ad claims: ‘ . . . refreshes naturally! Rich natural tobacco taste.’ 

Can you think of anything remotely natural about swallowing smoke? 

Firemen wear masks to avoid it, and unaddicted people often wish they had such protection around smokers.

The foregoing examples illustrate just a few methods at the disposal of advertising to manipulate with words. 

Advertiser Stevens says: 

That’s the key to judging advertising. There is a direct, inverse proportion between the number of adjectives and the number of facts. To put it succinctly, the more adjectives we use, the less we have to say.”

To discover advertising manipulation “you must strip away the innuendos and try to ascertain the facts, if any. . . . ask questions such as: How? Why? How many? How much?” 

But there is still another secret weapon in the advertising arsenal.

The “Weighted” Setting

Imagine yourself driving onto a highway during rush-hour traffic. Your car falters as you start to accelerate—this is a setting used by a  gasoline commercial. 

Do you see how it is weighted to influence you? There are two factors—YOU and a SCARE. How real is the problem?

 If you forget the setting and use what we learned about weighted words, the commercial itself tells you. They call the problem “hesitation.” 

It ‘can happen [not “will happen”] when gasoline doesn’t get to all the cylinders properly.’ 

Their gasoline ‘can help cure THAT KIND of hesitation.’

But ask: Does my car hesitate? If so, is THAT KIND of hesitation MY KIND

Or is it a more common cause of such problems—faulty fuel pump, dirty carburetor or need of a tune-up?

Instead, the ad says a mystery additive ‘can help cure’ only ‘THAT KIND of hesitation.’ It is added to ‘help gasoline flow more evenly.’ 

The weighted setting gives many viewers more confidence in the product than the advertiser evidently has!

Another TV commercial shows a majestic tiger walking around, over and through a new car model while the announcer says it is ‘in a class by itself’ and ‘like nobody else’s car.’ 

Do you see the weighted setting in this one? 

In addition to (1) the obvious appeal to your pride, (2) what does a tiger have to do with a car, or, for that matter, the well-known ‘tiger in your tank’ with gasoline?

Only what the products can “borrow” from the natural appeal of these creatures.

Sex is the most of such “borrowed” appeals used nowadays. Alluring figures provide the setting for advertising everything from candy to concrete. 

Substituting a prominent athlete or film star serves a similar purpose—to tie in the product with one’s enjoyment of the setting.

Remember, the cats and koala bears, the beautiful girls and handsome men, the mothers and babies are all there to get your attention and stir your emotions. 

Appeals to pride, patriotism and family loyalty are all “borrowed” for the same purpose.

Thus it is helpful to understand how advertising tries to manipulate your mind.

It helps you to distinguish between straightforward information and the kind that exaggerates product differences or creates desire for unnecessary items at your expense.

Yes, advertising can rule you—or serve you. It is up to you.

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Are children safe with your dog?

A child together with the family dog on the couch.

Because more people use dogs for protection, there are increasing reports of dog attacks on children.

Some dogs that have been known to bite children are Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, bullmastiffs, Alsatians (German shepherds), and bullterriers.

A survey conducted in South Africa revealed that of the cases examined, the majority of children bitten were attacked by dogs they knew.

Nearly half of those were victims of neighbors’ dogs, and one quarter were bitten by their own dogs. Stray dogs accounted for only 10 percent of the attacks.

Often the victim, perhaps without realizing it, had provoked the dog in some way.

Evidently, many dog attacks can be avoided if dog owners and parents take some basic precautions.

Training your children to avoid dog bites

Many dog trainers stress that small children and dogs should not be left alone without adult supervision.

Small children do not know how to treat animals. They must be taught.

Thus, many people apply the rule that if a responsible adult cannot be present, dogs and small children are kept in separate areas.

Trainer Brian Kilcommons observes in the book Childproofing Your Dog

From the stories we hear, the majority of problems occur when adult eyes are elsewhere.”

Sometimes even animals need protection from children!

Kilcommons was called for help when one family’s dog snapped at a child.

The distraught father explained that his two-and-a-half-year-old son ran up to the sleeping dog and gave it a sound kick.

The dog, obviously in pain, responded by snapping at the child.

In this situation the dog showed commendable restraint in not biting the child. This trainer advises parents:

Do not allow your child to do to a dog what you would not allow done to another child.”

Teach your child how to treat animals kindly. Teach him never to tease a dog.

Parents need to be alert to spot any possible dangers when children and dogs are together.

If you notice the dog trying to get away or hide from a child, stop the child from pursuing it.

If the child follows and corners the dog, its only defense is to bark, growl, or even bite.

Parents should discipline consistently, so that both dog and child know that the parent means what he says.

Do not treat the dog as an outcast. When a married couple with a dog have their first baby, the tendency may be to ignore the dog and banish it to the backyard.

While it is sensible to take precautions, trainer Richard Stubbs advises:

The dog should not be treated as an outcast. Rather, maintain the dog’s routine as far as possible, and give it a reasonable amount of attention.”

Consider how your child will respond to strange dogs. If he sees a stranger walking a dog in the street, what will he do? Run up compulsively to pet the dog? Teach him not to do this.

He must first ask the owner’s permission. Then, if the owner agrees, he can move toward the dog slowly, so as not to frighten it.

He should introduce himself by standing a little distance away and speaking calmly to the dog. 

The friendly dog will approach your child. Dogs walking the streets unattended are best left alone

Train the dog to be friendly to kids

Always praise your dog and be positive. Punishment or harsh words do not speed up learning but rather have the opposite effect.

It is good for a dog to learn to come when it is called and also to obey basic commands like “sit!”

The dog learns submission to its master, and this gives the owner better control in tricky situations.

Simple words and phrases work best. Stick to the same ones. When your dog performs the desired action, give a reward immediately in the form of praise, a pat, or a tidbit.

To have the desired reinforcing effect, the reward must be given immediately after the act. The next important element is repetition until the behavior is firmly fixed.

If you acquire a dog, either a puppy or an older dog, it may need assistance to get used to children. Children react differently from adults.

They are noisier and more impulsive and are likely to rush at a dog, which may give it a fright. It is good to get your pet used to such erratic behavior.

When the children are not around, get the dog accustomed to sudden noise. Make the training into a game. Shout a command at the dog, and rush toward it.

Then, immediately reward your dog. Make your shouts progressively louder. Make a fuss over your pet. Soon it will enjoy this game.

Small children like to hug dogs, but they should be taught not to do this, since some dogs feel threatened by such close contact.

In case children do hug your dog, you can train it to accept this. Give your dog a hug for a brief period, then a tidbit and praise.

Gradually make your hugs longer. If your dog growls or snarls, get help from a qualified trainer.

Dealing with an aggressive dog

Some dogs seem to be aggressive by nature and may be a danger to members of the household. Male dogs are more likely to manifest these aggressive characteristics.

The dominant dog does not like to be handled, especially around sensitive areas like the face and neck.

At other times, though, the dog may approach you, nudge you, or even put its paws on your lap, “asking” for attention.

It may guard strategic areas of the home, not even allowing family members access to them.

It is often possessive of objects like toys and may growl or stop chewing when approached while it is busy with them.

To reinforce their leadership, such dogs will ignore known commands deliberately.

They may bump into children or expect to go through a doorway first. They may also be inclined to mount people.

This, states Brian Kilcommons, is “an act of dominance” and is “not about sex.”

He warns:

This is always a sign that the dog thinks he is in chargeTrouble is most definitely on its way.” 

The dog may also develop the habit of taking its owner’s hand in its mouth to demand attention.

These signs of aggression should not be ignored. The aggression will not simply go away; it is more likely to increase, and children in the home may be in danger.

Many trainers recommend having such a dog neutered, irrespective of its sex, as this generally helps reduce aggression.

It is not advisable to challenge an aggressive dog to show it who is boss.

Aggressive confrontation and harsh discipline could, in fact, be dangerous. In more subtle ways, the dog can be shown who is in charge.

Every time an aggressive dog approaches you for attention and you give it, you reinforce the dog’s belief that it is in charge.

So when such a dog demands attention, ignore it. The whole family must cooperate in this treatment.

The dog will be bewildered at first and may even bark and look at you winsomely, but resist the temptation to give in.

When it has backed off and perhaps goes to lie down in its corner, then is the time to give it a little attention.

In this way your dog learns that you are the leader and you decide when attention is given.

Aggressive games like tug-of-war and wrestling can foster the dog’s domineering tendencies and should be avoided. Rather, substitute nonaggressive games.

It is better for the dog not to sleep in the bedroom. The bedroom is a privileged area, and sleeping there may elevate the dog’s perceived status above the children in the house.

Rather, put the dog’s bed in the kitchen or in an outside kennel. It is often in their bedrooms that owners are first bitten by an aggressive dog.

If your dog does not respond to your efforts, or if while training it, or at any time, you feel threatened, get the help of a competent dog trainer.

Your veterinarian may be able to recommend one. Talk to him first about his training methods, and ensure that you are happy about his abilities before you hire him.

Trainer Richard Stubbs cautions: 

While an aggressive dog may respond to a professional trainer, this is no guarantee that he will be the same with his owner.”

The dog owner must be sure that he can maintain control of his dog in critical situations.

A few dogs will remain aggressive even after the best training, and keeping them puts the family at risk.

After you have tried your best, you may feel it is better to get rid of the dog rather than risk injury. It is good to consult a vet or a trainer for advice.

You may be able to find another home for your dog, but you are naturally obliged to tell the new owner of the problems you have had with the dog.

Trainer Peter Neville advises: 

Dominant dogs must only be treated under very careful guidelines and with careful assessment of who will continue to be at risk and by how much. If safety cannot be guaranteed for the person in the family who is most at risk, then the dog is better off rehomed to a carefully selected new owner, or put to sleep.”

Children can learn and benefit emotionally from having dogs as pets.

By providing responsible supervision, parents help to ensure that all their children’s memories of their pets are pleasant ones.

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What your voice says about you?

A woman with red lipstick projecting her voice.

By your appearance you give people a certain impression as to the sort of person you are. That impression, of course, is based only on what they see.

People also base their judgment on what they hear. In fact, far more revealing, far more indicative of your personality is your voice.

It can proclaim ever so many things, which may or may not be true.

Yes, the very sound of your voice can do good or harm to yourself and to others.

Have you not found it so, that how a person says a thing, the tone of voice in which one says it, inclines you either for or against them and what they say?

If ones voice is warm, friendly, kind, pleasant, is it not likely to win you far more than if one sounds cold, harsh or strident?

Yes, because we all are influenced by emotion, and the tone of voice in which something is said conveys either a favorable or an unfavorable emotion.

Not that how something is said is more important than what is said. Not at all!

Better to hear the truth told in a cold or unpleasant voice than to have falsehood spoken with a smooth voice.

But the truth said in a kind, friendly, winsome way without a doubt will be more effective than if spoken in a harsh or unpleasant tone of voice.

A marvelous gift

Well has it been observed that no musical instrument can compare with the human voice in the variations of tone it can produce. And man alone has the ability to use his voice to produce speech.

True, parrots can repeat the sounds they hear, but their bird brains do not know what they are saying. Speech expresses ideas. No ideas, no intelligent speech.

Not only do humans have the power of speech but practically all persons can improve the quality of their voices. The possibilities are there.

So, regardless of how your voice may sound, you can improve its quality, and it is to your advantage to have your voice sound as pleasing and effective as possible.

Just what does your voice sound like? It is difficult for you to determine this. Why?

Because it is natural for persons to be partial, and so inclined to think their voice is quite all right.

Then, too, you hear only sound waves coming through the air when others speak.

But when you speak you receive not only these sound waves but also the vibrations your voice makes through the bones of your skull.

This causes you to hear your voice with more resonance than it actually has. That is why most persons are disappointed when they hear their voice for the first time as recorded by a good tape recorder.

And even then it is necessary for you to hear your voice repeatedly before you will be able to hear it as it actually sounds to others, that is, be able to evaluate it objectively!

How physical factors affect your voice?

There are several basic factors that determine what your voice expresses. One is the way you use your vocal organs.

Take the matter of posture. A good, upright posture is essential to producing a good voice. Why?

Because your voice depends upon your breathing, and good posture is necessary for good breathing.

Proper breathing is diaphragmatic breathing. The tendency of many is to use merely the upper part of the lungs, but for a good strong voice, and one that does not tire easily, you need to get into the habit of diaphragmatic breathing, involving the lower, larger areas of the lungs.

Most persons do not speak loud enough, and faulty breathing may well be the reason.

Proper use of your voice also requires that you keep relaxed—your vocal mechanism, the throat, the jaws, and the entire body. Why so?

Because tenseness of one part of the body tends to make the rest of the body tense. When you are tense your voice is likely to be harsh or strident—not at all pleasing qualities.

Or it may merely be too high in pitch, thereby losing some of its power or effectiveness. Make an effort to be relaxed and most likely you will sound relaxed.

Ever so many persons speak with poor articulation or enunciation. This may be due to a structural defect in the mouth.

But, on the other hand, these weaknesses may be due to a careless or slovenly manner of speaking. By giving thought to the consonants these persons can improve their articulation.

Others may have poor articulation because of speaking too rapidly, such often going with a nervous temperament.

These can improve by deliberately slowing down and, in particular, dwelling more on the vowel sounds.

This at the same time will result in a more sonorous, pleasing and musical quality of voice.

How psychological factors affect you voice?

Of course, the physical factors governing voice quality which we have just considered represent but one side of the coin.

The other side, which might be equally if not more important, is the psychological and personality factors. These involve the mental, emotional and religious aspects of speaking.

In fact, so much is this the case that a textbook on voice training states that the training of the voice must go hand in hand with the training or improvement of the personality.

Granted, the improving of the personality is more difficult than the training of one’s voice, yet the fact cannot be overlooked that the improvement of the voice in some respects depends upon the improvement of the personality.

It therefore follows that if you are an outgoing, confident, cheerful, friendly person, your voice will reflect these favorable qualities.

On the other hand, should you be timid, morose, indifferent, or should you be arrogant, intolerant, critical, harsh or emotionally distraught, your voice will display it, even as it betrays your physical condition if you are weak or sick.

So if you do not want your voice to give others these impressions, then you must eradicate such qualities from your personality and replace them with optimistic, sympathetic, alert and confident characteristics.

You will find that, to the extent that you painstakingly make efforts to express such qualities, others will respond in kind, helping you in your efforts.

Match your voice to your message

Giving thought to what your voice expresses will help to make for better relations with all with whom you have to do.

In all our communications with others, we should want our voice to express accurately what is in our mind and heart.

When you speak to those in positions of authority, does your voice reflect a feeling of honor and respect for their position?

What does your voice reflect when you speak to your employer? That depends upon what is in your mind and heart.

Perhaps more than others, those who speak from the public platform should be concerned as to what their voices express.

If a public speaker is soft-spoken by nature he will need to give thought to strengthening the tone of his voice if the subject he is dealing with calls for a powerful delivery or the expressing of strong righteous indignation.

Another, whose natural delivery is loud and bold, will need to give thought to using a softer tone of voice when dealing with such subjects that need expressions of sympathy and sorrow.

No question about it, our voices are capable of great variety. Whenever we speak we have a message to give.

Make certain that your voice matches your message.

In this way you can best communicate with others, and will also derive the most satisfaction from using this marvelous gift.

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Learning to speak and write the chinese language

Instead of simply learning twenty-six letters as in the English alphabet, how would you like to memorize thousands of picture like characters? 

How would you like to write a letter, not by typing at speeds of fifty to eighty words per minute, but by laboriously drawing each character by hand? 

This is part of learning Chinese, both written and spoken.

Chinese is reputedly one of the oldest languages in the world, and perhaps the most difficult. 

The difficulty lies mainly in the fact that the Chinese language does not have an alphabet. Instead, it has thousands of different characters. 

While a standard dictionary for high school students may contain only about 10,000 characters, a comprehensive dictionary contains over 40,000. 

However, it is generally estimated that if a person knows from 3,000 to 4,000 characters, he should do reasonably well in reading publications of general interest.

Characters are the basic units or symbols of the written language and are all monosyllabic. 

While each has its own meaning, two or more characters may be combined to form new words. 

For example, the character “ren”  by itself means “a human”; when combined with the character “min” , the resulting word “ren min” means people of a country.

 “Ren” can also be combined with two other characters “jiann”  and “jeng” to form the word “jiann jeng ren” , meaning a witness. 

In the language spoken today, usually two or three separate characters are required to denote a single concept or term.

Most Chinese characters are made up of (1) the radical, which often provides a hint to the meaning, and (2) the phonetic, which gives a key to pronunciation. 

For example, the “heart” radical  or  is found in characters that express thoughts, emotions, personal characteristics and the like. 

There are 214 radicals listed in most dictionaries, while the number of phonetics varies according to the preference of the individual scholar. 

Though such phonetics originally were used to indicate the pronunciation of the word, owing to changes in pronunciation over the years, these are no longer reliable. 

Thus you may find that two characters with the same phonetic part have no similarity at all in their pronunciation nowadays.

Writing Chinese

You may very well have seen Chinese writings somewhere, perhaps on signs outside a Chinese shop or Chinese product.

A Chinese food restaurant sign.

To you, they may look like some weird drawings. As a matter of fact, a number of characters were originally drawings or pictographs of things they represent, although today the resemblance cannot be seen. 

For example, the word for sun  is a rectangle with a stroke across the middle [ ]. The majority of the characters are formed by combining a radical with a phonetic.

When you examine the Chinese characters, you may notice that they are made up of different strokes. 

According to W. Simon in his book How to Study and Write Chinese Characters, there are at least fifteen different strokes. 

The number of strokes in a character can be as few as one to as many as thirty-five or more.

Speaking Chinese

Foreigners learning to speak Chinese often have trouble with the so-called tones, which are inflections of the voice, serving the purpose of distinguishing one word from another.

In the national language of China, called Mandarin, there are four tones, namely, the upper even, lower even, rising, departing, though some authorities add a fifth, the entering. 

But in Cantonese, a dialect spoken in Canton and Hong Kong, there are nine tones. 

The difference between one tone and another is usually very small and difficult for foreign students to distinguish. 

However, the slight difference in pronunciation sometimes can mean a world of difference in meaning. 

For example, in Mandarin the word for “lord” is “chu3,” while the word for “pig” is “chu1.” 

So when a foreigner wants to say “tien chu3” (heavenly lord, the term Chinese Catholics use to refer to God), if he is not sure of the right tone, he can easily say “tien chu1” and refer to a heavenly pig instead, much to the puzzlement or amusement of the Chinese listener. 

Understandably, a foreigner learning the language must keep his sense of humor to avoid discouragement.

This peculiarity of the Chinese language—a great number of words having very similar or identical pronunciation—makes it very difficult for foreigners to master. 

For example, in Mandarin there are 69 words pronounced as i (short), 7 of which are in tone 1 (upper even), 17 in tone 2 (lower even), 7 in tone 3 (rising) and 38 in tone 4 (departing). 

While in English two different words with identical pronunciation, such as dear and deer, are exceptions, in Chinese they are extremely common. 

So when listening to Chinese being spoken, one has to rely heavily on the context to decide the meaning of the words used.

As expected in a big country like China, there are scores of dialects spoken by the people in different parts of the country. 

In some parts of the country, especially in the south, a traveler may come across different dialects in villages only a few miles apart. 

Sometimes even people of neighboring villages may have difficulty in understanding one another. 

Some dialects are similar to one another, such as the ones spoken in northern China, while others do not even sound remotely similar, such as the Cantonese dialect and the Shanghai dialect. 

These two dialects are completely different not only in their vocabulary, but also in the pronunciation of various characters used in the written language. 

Also, some dialect words are only spoken but have no written form. Indeed, but for the written language, people from different parts of China would have serious difficulty in understanding one another. 

Fortunately and amazingly, although the Chinese speak many widely different dialects, they all read one common language, the written Mandarin. 

With the exception of the Mandarin-speaking persons, all Chinese speak one way and write another way. 

But if two Chinese cannot speak with each other understandably, they can at least communicate in writing.

Learning Chinese

It would be easy to learn Chinese if it were merely a matter of acquiring a new set of words that could be used in the same manner as your mother tongue. 

But this is not the case. Often a person must learn a grammar and a way of thinking that are completely foreign to your native speech.

So to be conversant in the Chinese language requires even more than knowing sentence structure and being able to think in that language. 

Pronunciation, rhythm and intonation vary from language to language.

The person who wants to learn the Chinese language should, therefore, be willing to work hard at it.

If this is your desire, what can you do?

(1.) Find a good Chinese teacher in reputable intuition or through Chinese online lesson services.

(2.) Study the grammar. Read the language as often as you reasonably can.

(3.) Try to determine the meaning of what you read from its context. Check your conclusions against a Chinese dictionary.

(4.) Try as much as possible associate with people who know the Chinese language well, and use at every opportunity what you have learned.

Let those who really know the language correct you so that serious mispronunciations and grammatical errors do not become an ingrained part of your speech.

Although a difficult task, learning the Chinese language can be a rich and rewarding experience. It broadens one’s understanding of the Chinese people and their way of thinking.

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