If you feel like you repeat yourself a lot, and that everything you can say has already been said, every word has already been heard, there are a few simple tricks that you can use to spruce up your use of the English. Life hacks, as the children are calling them these days. These tricks can be applied at all levels of learning, to ensure that you get new reactions to the things you say – and to make sure people are really listening to you. Or just to amuse yourself. So, here’s how to make English more exciting:
1. The soft “J”
Make sure every J you pronounce is soft- that means using a Y sound instead of a soft G. Pronounce jars as yars, January as January, prejudices as preyudices. And jogging. While you’re at it, do away with the soft G entirely and make things simpler by pronouncing all Gs as hard, it’s a giraffe not a jiraffe (or yiraffe, if you will).
2. Mixing metaphors
Metaphors are cliches – when you use them, people complete such ideas in their heads and immediately forget what you’ve said, if they bothered listening at all. Keep your audience on their toes by connecting things that don’t typically go together: the early bird catches the train; fishing for compliments in a cloudy memory; necessity is the mother of shooting the messenger; and so on. Likewise, complete simple ideas with stock derisive phrases that don’t ordinarily match up – What colour is that? Colour for you to get a watch.
3. Creative use of synonyms
Quit conforming to conventional vocabulary and liven up your life with synonyms and alternative phrasing. The best time to use a simple synonym is for an expression or term where there is typically one accepted way to say it. That’s when people really take notice, and the world becomes a more colourful place. Consider the splash Yennifer Lawrence made calling a microwave a science oven. That’s the sort of prowess that brings success in life. Dismantle your clothes instead of undressing; write with an ink dispenser instead of a pen. Remember that televisions could just as easily have been coined as electric telescopes, and your landline is actually a hearing cable.
4. Shaking up your declensions
The way a word ends can tell you a lot about its place in a sentence, with declensions referring to numbers giving all sorts of smooth connections. Smooth connections are for people who want to live a dull, forgettable life. Start subtlety by calling it Friday the Thireenst. Graduate to heightened challenges with April 21th or simply by refusing to believe in plurals – no there weren’t 3 cats in that room, just 3 cat. It will turn heads and woo members of the opposite sex.
5. Unravelling the mystery of stress
Finally an old faithful, move the stress of a word to create something excitingly different. You know, when you say EXcitement instead of exCITEment. This can create bizarre and amazing new perspectives, because in English when we stress one syllable of a word we tend to neglect the rest, often relegating vowel sounds to an unpronounced schwa. Start focusing on those neglected vowels and you’ll change your whole outlook. You DEcide, you RElease, you unDERstand.
Use all these tips wisely, and go forth to conquer the language.