Ursula co-built an organised system for documentation for a large engineering department. She created conventions and coached engineers to write better documentation. Her love for clear and simple language is infectious. Ursula helped me become a more effective writer and everyone I communicate with benefits from that.
— Duana Stanley, a software engineer
Ursula showed me that it takes special care to produce material that is free of ambiguity and understandable by the intended audience. I’ve carried over her expertise into my own documentation work, which has received praise, in no small part due to Ursula.
— Denis [dəˈni], a software engineer
I really enjoyed working with Ursula on my accent and would recommend her to anyone who wants guidance in improving their accent. I came to US many years ago, when I was 12. Most people who came here that young can quickly pick up the language and speak it fluently, like a native. However, I never got over my Chinese accent, and had no idea where to start.
Before the first session, Ursula was able to evaluate my accent and grammar by hearing me speak and having me finish a grammar quiz. From there, she tailored the sessions to improve my accent incrementally. Initially, I was unable to clearly differentiate between different vowels, Ursula taught me to experiment with exaggerated versions of the sounds, record them, and listen back. The exercises she taught me are very effective and dramatically improved my ability to both listen and speak the right sounds. When there are things I do not get, Ursula quickly improvised creative activities for me to try. In her sessions, I have made animal noises to relax my jaws, bend down and stood up to breath from my abdomen, read a sentence with exaggerated gestures pretending to teach to a class of students.
The sessions are very fun and entertaining. It opened my mind to so many aspects of the verbal language I never knew existed. In the sessions I took with Ursula, we went from practicing sounds, words, grammar, to breathing, linking and abbreviating words, intonation, and speak with rhythm. Each week after the session, I felt stimulated by the new awareness of sounds like a new color never seen before.
— Sara Lin from Beijing, China
I highly recommend Ursula’s services - I learned a lot and I had a good time doing it. I went to see Ursula for some help with the past (preterite) tense in Spanish and for some Spanish pronunciation help.
Here’s what we did do: We went over the regular -ar, -er, and -ir verbs and focused on pronunciation. She used some unique approaches to do this. Instead of reading the full past tense verb by itself, she had me isolate the vowels in each verb. For example, when I was dealing with “ellos prefirieron,” I just had to say “e i i e o”. This helped me focus on proper pronunciation of the vowels and helped me not be overwhelmed by a long word. With the vowels mastered, saying the whole word was easy.
We also played a game with dice that allowed me to practice various iterations of past tense sentences. She would use one die for the subject of the sentence (yo, tú, etc.) and one for the indirect object pronoun (me, te, le, etc.). We would make sentences like “You gave me” “I gave them,” etc. It was a great way to add spontaneity to verb practice.
Along with some handouts I took home, Ursula also gave me some great reference sites that I could use after our lesson was over.
— Alex(andra) Kenin, Founder of Urban Hiker SF from San Francisco, USA
You need to do more of this [accent reduction]; you’re very good!
— Carlo from Italy