Triangle Speech Services Logo 600 dpi

Communication Matters

March/April 2015    Issue 81                    

Building Your Strongest Foundation:
      Lessons from the Biltmore Estate        
In This Issue
TELL US YOUR STORYFeatured Article
Business  Woman Lecturing

If you are a foreign born professional, we would like to hear from you. We are very interested in the story of how you are overcoming self-doubt and learning new skills.

We would be happy to feature your story in a future issue.
trOur Mission is to help our clients transform their accents from a communication barrier to a charming cultural flavor using "listener friendly" speech that is as close to Standard English as possible for them. 


Order Mastering Meaning from or today online. The price is  reduced from $19.99 to $10.00 + S & H and applicable sales taxes.   


Speaking English clearly is an important part of your "foundation" for career advancement.
Go to our Archive Home Page to read more fascinating newsletters.

  Triangle Speech Services is the private, professional practice of Judith L. Bergman, a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) who specializes in foreign accent and regional dialect modification and related communication skills. I offer customized, individual tutorials to corporate-sponsored and self-enrolled individuals who speak English fluently but with moderate to severe accents that create challenges and frustrations in the workplace.

  I celebrated my birthday last week by taking a midweek, mini-vacation with a friend who rings in my handbell group. She and I drove to Asheville in Western North Carolina for a much anticipated visit to the Biltmore Estate, the next day. This is more than a mansion; it is a "castle' built in the late 1800's by George Vanderbilt as a country retreat and "gentleman's farm" with its own town and dairy farm on property that originally spanned four North Carolina counties. Now, the property includes a vineyard and winery, greenhouses, a hotel and four restaurants all reached by nine miles of private roads. Biltmore appears to have well over one hundred staff from groundskeepers to tour guides to decorators and hotel, gift shop, cafe and restaurant staff.    


Elegance and Beauty Supported by a Massive Stone and Cement Foundation    


  This is a photo taken over one hundred years ago when the foundation was being constructed to support this building. The Biltmore House has 43 bathrooms, many many guest rooms, a solarium, rooms for many servants in the basement and a formal dining room that is over 70 feet long all originally custom decorated and beautifully restored with fine art, furniture, damask wall hangings, and statues.
    During our two hour walk-through of the main building, guided by velvet ropes and numbers to coordinate with our audio-tour, we enjoyed seeing their special exhibit, "Dressing Downton." This is a display, in the appropriate rooms, of the actual costumes  worn by the actors on Downton Abby, the British TV drama. With its fifth season just completed, the show is a chronicle of the changing times and fashions between the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and, so far, the  early 1920's and the "flapper" era
    What surprised us the most, however, after we saw all the classical opulence and fine art, were the massive stone and cement walls  lining the basement corridors.   These were part of the foundation of this castle, a foundation that is 14 feet wide and 23 feet deep. A special railway track had to be built to deliver the materials to the site.  

Building Your Own "Foundation" to Support the Life You Want
   Of course I am using the Biltmore Estate as a metaphor for the successful and prosperous life that my clients are in the process of creating for themselves and their families in the United States.
   They come with technical and advanced degrees, many are already considered experts in their fields and quite a few are mid-level managers.  They come with a history of learning to read and write and understand English, usually starting in  elementary or middle school. They are gifted and bilingual and have adequate fluency although there are gaps in grammar, word knowledge and understanding of idioms. BUT, they contact us because they know they need to reduce or minimize their accents. They all have had the experience of knowing exactly what they are trying to say in meeting and phone conferences, they can see the spelled word but their listeners don't understand them. Soon, they will learn as we work together that they often have no idea how the word should sound, how words are linked together, how stress and emphasis are critical. They were taught English backwards starting with the alphabet and not the spoken sound patterns that very young children hear. Conversation was never stressed.  Yet, in all languages, the sounds and sound patterns carry the meaning for the listener. 
   Our clients need to reinforce their foundation  for career and social success.  They need to improve the intelligibility of their spoken English well beyond the single word level. They need to fix and fine-tune the acoustic patterns of their speech so that native speakers can more easily understand the meaning. Stone by stone, brick by brick, each hour of recorded practice, each review of the instructor's daily recorded feedback, helps them to strengthen and reinforce their career foundation.  
   We invite you to click on Triangle Speech Services  to visit our informative website. Our goal is always to provide information, inspiration and encouragement since these are essential components of any successful learning experience.
  If you are seriously considering enrolling yourself or an employee in an individual tutorial with us or simply want to talk to us about our programs, please contact us through the contact page of our web site


Judith L. Bergman M.A. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist and Corporate Speech Trainer
Founder & Director of Triangle Speech Services