sábado, 30 de abril de 2011

LESS IS MORE


Há uma pergunta muito comum dos meus estudantes, principalmente quando começam a fazer um curso comigo: “o que mais posso estudar para melhorar o meu inglês?”

Sempre sorrio e respondo: “você!”

Eles estranham, afinal, estão acostumados a receber uma lista de livros, sites, dicionários como atividades extras. Nunca ouviram de nenhum professor que eles deveriam estudar a si mesmos. Daí, explico: “Revise o que você já aprendeu, crie mais exemplos relacionados a você. Não tente criar frases malucas ou complexas demais, apenas use a estrutura da gramática do que você já aprendeu e brinque com os exemplos que tem a ver com você.”

Eles dizem que sim, mas não acredito que eles façam isso (sei disso, pois já fui assim). A maioria deles vai buscar websites ou livros mais avançados que o nível que eles estão estudando, numa tentativa frustrante de querer se tornar um estudante avançado, sem usar bem o que ele já sabe.

Por isso que em minhas palestras e cursos, sempre lembro a todos os meus ouvintes que a melhor forma de aprender inglês é estudar a si mesmo. Revisar, revisar e revisar o que se aprendeu na aula anterior, e a partir daí, criar, ousar e exemplificar em frases, o cotidiano ao seu redor. Se ele fizer isso, perceberá, em pouco tempo que começará a se apropriar da língua, brincando com descrições e expressões, que não estão na apostila, nem no livro didático, mas que eles jamais se esquecerão.

Como evitar o esquecimento é a segunda pergunta mais comum que eu ouço, e a resposta é a mesma: para não esquecer, revise você!

Eles me olham novamente como se eu estivesse dizendo que a roda deveria ser quadrada. Porém, se esquecem completamente que a razão pela qual eles esquecem o que aprendem é porque estão tão preocupados em aprender o que vem em seguida, que descartam o que foi aprendido, não revisam, não reciclam, não brincam com as palavras, e com isso, sua memória, naturalmente irá descartar essas informações novas que são enviadas para a pasta de lixo mental.

Embora possa parecer um pouco cientifico demais, preciso falar sobre como o nosso cérebro recebe e armazena novas informações, afinal, a maioria dos estudantes ( o que inclui você) sempre buscará mais, mais e mais vocabulário, tentando cada vez mais encher suas cabeças de informação, sem saber que quanto mais informação extra, o cérebro recebe, menos se fixa; afinal, o cérebro precisa somente lembrar daquilo que a gente realmente precisa.

Sendo o computador maravilhoso que é, o nosso cérebro precisa processar tudo o que recebe de forma cada vez mais efetiva, rápida e seletiva, e ao receber uma enxurrada de informação; nada mais natural, que selecionar aquilo que interessa e descartar aquilo que não é necessário para nós. Ele compreende que aquilo que se repete é informação preciosa e precisa ser arquivada, e todo o resto, que só é visto uma vez, pode ficar de molho, em observação; ou se não for usado (revisado, no caso do inglês), será descartado para desocupar espaço. Quase tudo o que aprendemos em inglês fica de molho, esperando ser usado uma vez mais ( ou revisado), se não fizermos isso, o nosso querido e eficiente cérebro vai descartar essas informações na próxima faxina. Por isso, é preciso prestar atenção naquele pouco que você acha que aprendeu e fazer dele algo mais.

Less is more! Menos é mais! O nosso cérebro sabe disso, a gente não. Por isso é que entupimos a nossa cabeça de informação, sem organizar aquilo que deveria ser revisado para nos dar uma estrutura inicial sólida e eficiente.

Menos é mais quando o assunto é começar a aprender uma língua, se soubermos aprender a revisar bem aquilo que já aprendemos (antes de passarmos para a próxima unidade), perceberemos que esse “pouco” pode ser transformado em muito mais do que imaginávamos e nos tornaremos fluentes do que já sabemos.

sexta-feira, 29 de abril de 2011

The Royal Kiss


Prince William and Kate Middleton have kissed twice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding service in Westminster Abbey.

They were cheered by 500,000 well-wishers who gathered outside the palace, as RAF planes flew past in honour of the new royal couple.

Police estimate a million people lined the procession route from the abbey to the palace.

The bride will now be known as the Duchess of Cambridge.

The Queen is hosting a buffet reception at the palace for 650 guests.

Street parties


Following a long tradition, the ring has been fashioned from Welsh gold given to Prince William by the Queen.The church service, watched by 1,900 guests, ran smoothly but the prince did struggle to place the wedding ring on the duchess's finger.

After the couple said their vows, in which she did not promise to obey William, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, declared: "I pronounce that they be man and wife together, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

They spent a private moment together with their families, as they signed the marriage register.

Prince William has been given the title of the Duke of Cambridge by the Queen, and Miss Middleton has become Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge on their marriage.

The duchess, who managed to keep her wedding dress a secret, is wearing an ivory and lace gown by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The prince is wearing the red tunic of an Irish Guards colonel - his most senior honorary appointment.


Well-known faces spotted at Westminster Abbey included singer-songwriter Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish, former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward, and former England football captain David Beckham and his wife Victoria.

Actor Rowan Atkinson, a close friend of Prince Charles, Prince Harry's friend Chelsy Davy and film director Guy Ritchie were also there.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, former British PM Sir John Major, and Home Secretary Theresa May were among the politicians present.

For those lining the route, large speakers broadcast the wedding service, and hundreds of millions of people were expected to watch the proceedings worldwide on television.

  • According to a lip-reading expert, Prince William told his bride she looked "beautiful" as she joined him at the altar. Tina Lannin, of O'Malley Communications, also said he joked to his father-in-law Michael: "We're supposed to have just a small family affair"
  • The fly-past involved Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
  • The busy schedule began when guests start arriving at the Abbey from 0815 BST. Many had been queuing before the Great North Door opened
  • A Rolls-Royce picked up Miss Middleton at the Goring Hotel, where the Middleton family were staying, at 1050 BST, and the ceremony got under way just after 1100 BST. Prince William travelled to the Abbey with his brother and best man in a Bentley
  • Out of the 1,900 guests at the Abbey, 1,000 were friends and family, who had been given some of the best seats in the house. The others included overseas royals, politicians from home and abroad, military personnel and representatives from various faiths and charities
  • After the service, the newly-weds travelled in an open-topped carriage for the 15-minute journey from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, past some of London's most famous landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Horse Guards Parade
  • More than 1,000 military personnel and musicians lined the procession route
  • Thousands of street parties are being held around the UK, and big screens have been put up in many towns and cities. The BBC has been bringing viewers and listeners comprehensive coverageacross TV, radio and online, both in the UK and around the world
  • 5,000 officers were on duty, with more than 900 along the wedding route
  • Police have made 43 arrests in and outside the security zone and questioned masked protesters in central London.
  • About two square miles of central London have been closed to traffic.

Royal officials said the couple were involved in planning their wedding day, from the music at the ceremony to the flowers and the cake.

Inside Westminster Abbey, an avenue of trees lined the red carpet leading up to the altar.

The bride walked up the aisle to coronation anthem I Was Glad, by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, from Psalm 122. Her brother James Middleton gave the Lesson, reading Romans 12: 1-2, 9-18.

But the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will leave for a weekend away after hosting the lunchtime reception and will miss Prince Harry's best man speech and Michael Middleton's father of the bride address.

Despite predictions of showers, it stayed dry for the royal couple. Temperatures in London were expected to reach a high of 19C (66F) in the afternoon.

Fonte: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13229961

quinta-feira, 28 de abril de 2011

Three biggest challenges facing an English learner




by Tomasz P. Szynalski


1. Developing a passion for learning English
All English learners would like to speak English well. They are excited at the idea of being able to communicate in English fluently. However, they usually don't care about the learning process itself. For most learners, learning English is a duty — something that they have to, but don't want to do. They don't see pleasure in learning English.

In short, most learners would like to speak English well but don't like to be learning English. This is the first and biggest problem facing an English learner, because a person who doesn't like to learn English will not learn it well. If you don't love English, English won't love you back!

If you want to become a successful learner, you need to like the learning process itself. You need to treat time spent on English as time for pleasure and relaxation. For example, you need to enjoy:

reading English sentences and thinking about their structure
learning new words from a dictionary
writing a correct English sentence by consulting dictionaries, grammar guides, and the Web
practicing the pronunciation of English sounds and words
Ideally, learning English should be your hobby. You should think of yourself as an English Learner — a person who has chosen learning English as one of their favorite activities.

2. Making the first change to one's life
The decision to learn English requires changes in your life. For example, deciding that one will read a book in English for 30 minutes every day and keeping to that decision. It's very difficult to make a small, but permanent change to your life, especially if learning English doesn't seem "fun". However, learners should remember that studying English for 15 minutes every day gives you much better results than studying for a whole day once a month.

3. Making further changes to one's life
While the first change is the most difficult, each subsequent one is hard, too. A lot of learners take the first step (e.g. they start reading a book in English every day) and stop there. They do not engage in other English-building activities.

A good learner will have a set of activities (reading, watching TV, practicing pronunciation, listening to recordings, etc.) and choose from that set according to his or her mood. One activity is not good enough, because (1) you get bored more quickly, and (2) it gives you a range of language skills that is typically too narrow. For example, reading in English can't improve your pronunciation, although it can improve your grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing skills.)

Source: http://www.antimoon.com/other/challenges.htm

quarta-feira, 27 de abril de 2011

English makes you feel good


By Tomasz P. Szynalski

If you have read our article "Why learn English", you already know that English can improve your life. It can let you get smarter, meet people, earn more money, etc. But have you ever wondered how it would feel to know English well?

Imagine...
You're at an English class. Everybody is doing an exercise. People are all talking about the exercise; there is a lot of noise. You finished two minutes ago, and now there are people around you asking questions. "What does extemporaneous mean?", "What's the answer in point 2?". You know the correct answers and you help them. You know why they asked your help — because they know you are good. You feel respected and admired. The teacher has noticed your skills, too. He looks at you with admiration.

You're flying on a plane, coming back from your vacation. You see the person next to you reading an American newspaper. Since the flight is going to take a long time, you decide to have a conversation. "The engines are awfully loud, aren't they?", you say. "Yeah. It looks like the airplane may break into pieces at any moment", he laughs. The conversation goes on. You speak easily and you enjoy it. A moment before touchdown, your neighbor says: "You speak just like an American. Your pronunciation, your grammar — it's amazing!" You get off the plane smiling. What a great day!

You're on a bus to school, just like every day. You decide to spend the time reading a few pages out of a book. You take it out. The book is in English. As you start reading, the person sitting next to you looks at the book's cover and notices the English title. The person gives you a long look of admiration and envy. A moment later, some other people in the bus start staring at you. They would like to be able to read an English book, but they can't. You feel satisfaction. You're glad you've spent time on learning English.

You're at an international airport. You walk quickly, and you look confident. You understand all the signs around you, you understand the announcements. You know that if there were any problems you could easily communicate with the airport's staff in their own language. You walk to your gate, thinking how much more difficult it would be if you didn't know English.

You're having a great moment with your girlfriend. You're sitting close to each other, your hand is around her back. The radio is playing a beautiful song. You can understand every word of it. Your girlfriend asks: "What's the song about?". "It's about love, honey", you reply. "You're so smart. I wish I knew English like you do", she says. You feel loved and admired.

Source: http://www.antimoon.com/other/feelgood.htm

terça-feira, 26 de abril de 2011

Why learn English?



ByTomasz P. Szynalski

That's right. Do you think it would be fun to have access to information that other people can't get? Talk and write letters to interesting people that others can't communicate with? Impress people around you whenever you opened your mouth? Make big jumps in your career, leaving others miles behind?

You can get all this if you speak English well.

Get access to knowledge
What are you interested in? Is it science? Music? Computers? Health? Business? Sports? Today's media — such as the Internet, television, and the press — give you almost unlimited access to knowledge about your favorite subjects. After all, we live in the information age, don't we?

There's only one problem. Most of this knowledge is in English.

Here are some examples of knowledge you can use if you know English:

Most pages on the Web. That's over a billion (1,000,000,000) pages of information! It's amazing that learning just one language gives you access to almost all knowledge on the Internet.
Books — on any subject, from all over the world. Read books by British or American authors, and books translated from other languages. Whatever you're interested in, you can read about it in English!
The press. Only English-language magazines and newspapers can be bought in every part of the world. You don't have to search for Time, Newsweek, or the International Herald Tribune!
Science. English is the key to the world of science. In 1997, 95% of the articles in the Science Citation Index were written in English. Only about 50% of them were from English-speaking countries like the USA or Britain. (source)
News reports. Watch international television networks, such as CNN International and NBC. They broadcast news much faster, and more professionally, than smaller, national networks. And you can watch them everywhere in the world.
Communicate with people
We like to call English "the language of communication". Why? Because it seems all the people in the world have agreed to use English to talk to each other.

About 1,500,000,000 people in the world speak English. Another 1,000,000,000 are learning it. (source)
75% of the world's letters and postcards are written in English. (source)
Almost all international conferences and competitions are conducted in English. For example, the Olympics and the Miss World contest.
Diplomats and politicians from different countries use English to communicate with each other. English is the main language of organizations like the United Nations, NATO, and the European Free Trade Association.
If you can communicate in English, you can:

Contact people from all over the world. Talk about your ideas and opinions on Internet discussion groups. Send e-mail to interesting people. Learn about their life and culture.
Travel more easily. Communicate with people wherever you go — English is spoken in more than 100 countries (source). Ask directions, have a conversation, or... ask for help. Who knows, maybe English will save your life someday!
Push your career forward
If you want a good job in business, technology, or science, get out of that armchair and start learning English now! (If you already have a good job, start learning before you lose it!)

Knowing English will let you:

Put "excellent knowledge of English" on your CV. Get your dream job, and earn more money.
Gain technical knowledge. English is the language of technology, especially high technology like computer science, genetics, and medicine. If you're going to read about technology, you'll probably have to do it in English.
Learn computer science. Read technical articles without difficulty. Or write your own articles!
Be a world-class businessman (or -woman). It's simple. International business is done in English. And all business today is international. So if you want to play, you have to know English — to contact other businesspeople, go to conferences, read international business newspapers and magazines, etc.
Become a better scientist. Contact scientists from other countries, go to international conferences, visit academic centers abroad. Learn about new scientific discoveries by reading papers, books, and magazines.
Use your computer more effectively. Most computer applications are in English, so you will understand them better — and become a better employee.
Learn new skills for your job. The section "Get access to knowledge" explains how English helps you learn.
Enjoy art like never before
English lets you feel the culture of the world like no other language. With a good knowledge of the English language, you can do wonderful things:

Watch American and British films in the original. Once you try it, you'll never go back to dubbed versions!
Read great books. Every famous book was written in English or it was translated into English. There is an amazing number of titles — from classic plays like Hamlet to modern thrillers like Jurassic Park.
Enjoy English-language music more. Believe us: music is much better if you can understand the words.
English is easy to learn
English is not only the most useful language in the world. It is also one of the easiest languages to learn and to use:

Simple alphabet — no special symbols such as é or ä. Type in sweet, part, film on your computer. Now try süß (German), (Polish), (Russian). Which is easier?
Easy plurals — simply add s to a word. One car, five cars; one telephone, two telephones... There are very few exceptions.
Words are easy to learn. In French, it's la fille and le chien. In German, it's das Mädchen and der Hund. In English, they're just a girl and a dog. And that's all you need to know.
Short words. Most of the basic words are short: run, work, big, go, man. Long words are often shortened: sitcom = situational comedy, fridge = refrigerator, OS = operating system. Speaking English saves you time. :-)
Words don't change. But in many languages, one word has many forms:
English: The man is blind.
German: Der Mann ist blind.

English: This is a blind man.
German: Das ist ein blinder Mann.

English: I see a blind man.
German: Ich sehe einen blinden Mann.

Call everybody "you". You can say "Do you speak English?" to your friend or to your teacher. In other languages, you have to use the right word for the right person. In English, everybody is equal. :-)
English is everywhere. You can easily access English-language television, music, websites, magazines, etc. You don't have to learn from boring textbooks. You can learn and use your English at the same time. Using your English is especially important because it increases your desire to learn.
Get satisfaction
English is not only useful — it gives you a lot of satisfaction:

Making progress feels great. We'll never forget the moment we discovered we could speak with Americans or watch TV in English.
You will enjoy learning English, if you remember that every hour you spend gets you closer to perfection.
Using English is fun, too, because every sentence you speak or write reminds you of your success.
English makes you a more powerful, happier person. It is not difficult to imagine some situations where knowing English gives you a great feeling.

We hope that, with our help, your progress in English will soon give you a lot of satisfaction, too. Many people have followed our methods and watched their "English power" grow very quickly. You can read about these people in the Successful English learners section of Antimoon.com.

Source: http://www.antimoon.com/other/whylearn.htm

segunda-feira, 25 de abril de 2011

Your Biggest Challenge in Learning English


Author: Amber;

Do you remember all of the people who told you that English is one of the hardest languages to learn? Well, they were right. This does not mean you can’t learn it. It only means that there are some challenges you will have to overcome.. One of the biggest challenges is learning that English speakers don’t always pronounce words the way they’re spelled.

In fact, there are many words in English that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently, depending on the meaning of the sentence. For instance. I might tell you, “Please read the book,” or I might say “I read the book yesterday.” The word “read” is pronounced differently in each sentence; the first pronunciation means to do it now. The “read” in the second sentence means you did it in the past.

Some words bear the same spelling, but need to be pronounced differently. There are also words the spells differently but they can be pronounced in the same manner. For example, the word “read” is mouthed off differently in these two sentences:

· Read the paper from yesterday.

· I have read yesterday’s paper.

There are also some words that are spelled differently but sound the same. For example, “weigh” means to tell how heavy something is. “Way” means a path. But they both sound the same.

To make things more confusing, there are some words which sound completely unlike how you would think the letters should sound. For instance, in “lamb,” you never hear the “b” sound and in “night,” you never hear the “g” or “h.”

So how do you learn these words? In English, we have something called “sight words.” These are words that you cannot learn to pronounce just by reading the letters. Instead, as you learn to read and speak English, your teacher or textbook will show you these words and tell you how to say them. You must then memorize the word and learn to recognize its sound as soon as you see it.

There are 26 letters in the English language, but 52 different sounds. Each letter and each sound, you’ll encounter as you attempt to learn the language. It’s up to you to overcome the challenges and learn these difficult sounds and words.

Source: http://www.learning-english.ca/your-biggest-challenge-in-learning-english/

quarta-feira, 20 de abril de 2011

Study Abroad English Language Holidays


by Josef Essberger

A language holiday is a combination of "holiday" and study abroad to learn or improve a foreign language. English language holidays are taken in English-speaking countries like England, the USA or Australia. While there, you study in a language school with students from many different countries. You live with local people, often staying with a host family (homestay).

A language holiday can be of any length - from one week to one year - but most are two or three weeks.

What are the Benefits of a Language Holiday?

Language holidays have become a very popular method of learning English because they have many advantages:

•Total Immersion
Because you are in an English-speaking country, you are constantly exposed to English - from the time you wake up and have breakfast with your host family until late evening and your last drink in a local pub. You have little or no opportunity to escape the English language. This is how you learned your own language - constant exposure.


•Mixed Classes
When you study in your own country, all the other students in your class speak your language, so you are not obliged to use English. On a language holiday, students come from countries all over the world. It is possible that nobody in your class will speak your language, so you will just have to speak English!


•Freedom From Pressure
On a language holiday you are away from home and can forget the everyday pressures of school or business. Your mind is more relaxed and you can learn more easily.


•Cultural Understanding
Learning a language is not only about learning words. Different nations have different cultures. People think and behave differently. Their language is closely associated with their culture. By visiting and living in a foreign country, you learn to understand the culture and the people - and so better understand the language.
You'll find schools offering language holidays at EnglishClub.com ESL World.

© 2000 Josef Essberger

Source: http://www.englishclub.com

terça-feira, 19 de abril de 2011

Improve your English through Reading






by Josef Essberger

Right now you are reading English. That means that you are using your brain in a very active way. Reading is a very active process. It is true that the writer does a lot of work, but the reader also has to work hard. When you read a text, you have to do some or all of these:

•imagine a scene in your head
•understand clearly what the writer is trying to say
•agree or disagree with the writer
Advantages of Reading
When you learn a language, listening, speaking and writing are important, but reading can also be very helpful. There are many advantages associated with reading, including:

Learning Vocabulary In Context
You will usually encounter new words when you read. If there are too many new words for you, then the level is too high and you should read something simpler. But if there are, say, a maximum of five new words per page, you will learn this vocabulary easily. You may not even need to use a dictionary because you can guess the meaning from the rest of the text (from the context). Not only do you learn new words, but you see them being used naturally.

A Model For Writing
When you read, it gives you a good example for writing. Texts that you read show you structures and expressions that you can use when you write.

Seeing "Correctly Structured" English
When people write, they usually use "correct" English with a proper grammatical structure. This is not always true when people speak. So, by reading you see and learn grammatical English naturally.

Working At Your Own Speed
You can read as fast or as slowly as you like. You can read ten pages in 30 minutes, or take one hour to explore just one page. It doesn't matter. The choice is yours. You cannot easily do this when speaking or listening. This is one of the big advantages of reading because different people work at different speeds.

Personal Interest
If you choose something to read that you like, it can actually be interesting and enjoyable. For example, if you like to read about football in your own language, why not read about football in English? You will get information about football and improve your English at the same time.

Five Tips for Reading
Tip #1
Try to read at the right level. Read something that you can (more or less) understand. If you need to stop every three words to look in a dictionary, it is not interesting for you and you will soon be discouraged.

Tip #2
Make a note of new vocabulary. If there are four or five new words on a page, write them in your vocabulary book. But you don't have to write them while you read. Instead, try to guess their meaning as you read; mark them with a pen; then come back when you have finished reading to check in a dictionary and add them to your vocabulary book.

Tip #3
Try to read regularly. For example, read for a short time once a day. Fifteen minutes every day is better than two hours every Sunday. Fix a time to read and keep to it. For example, you could read for fifteen minutes when you go to bed, or when you get up, or at lunchtime.

Tip #4
Be organised. Have everything ready:

•something to read
•a marker to highlight difficult words
•a dictionary
•your vocabulary book
•a pen to write down the new words
Tip #5

Read what interests YOU. Choose a magazine or book about a subject that you like.

Things to Read
Newspapers
You can find English-language newspapers in all large cities around the world. Newspapers are interesting because they are about real life and the news. BUT they are not easy to read. Try reading newspapers if your level is intermediate or above.

Some British newspapers:

•The Telegraph
•The Times
•The Independent
•The Guardian
•The Financial Times (business)
•The Sunday Times
Some American newspapers:

•The International Herald Tribune
•The New York Times
•The Wall Street Journal (business)
Magazines
Some magazines are published weekly, some monthly. You can find English-language magazines in many large cities around the world. If you cannot find the magazine you want in your town, you may be able to order it for delivery. Many magazines have pictures which can help your understanding. You will need an intermediate level for most magazines, but a pre-intermediate level may be ok for some magazines.

There are magazines on every subject:

•Politics
•Sport
•The House
•Cars
•Music
•Romance
•Travel
•Language
•etc
Books
Books are divided mainly into:

•Non-fiction (history, biography, travel, cooking etc)
•Fiction (stories and novels)
Some books are easier to read than others. It often depends on the author. Agatha Christie, for example, wrote in an easier style and with simpler vocabulary than Stephen King. You can buy books in specialised English-language bookshops in large cities around the world. You may also be able to find some English-language books in libraries. And if you have a British Council in your city, you can borrow many English-language books from their library.

Short Stories
Short stories can be a good choice when learning a language because they are...short. It's like reading a whole book in a few pages. You have all the excitement of a story in a book, but you only have to read 5,000 or 10,000 words. So you can quite quickly finish the story and feel that you have achieved something. Short stories are published in magazines, in books of short stories, and on the Internet. You can also find short stories at EnglishClub.com English Reading.

Readers
Readers are books that are specially published to be easy to read. They are short and with simple vocabulary. They are usually available at different levels, so you should be able to find the right level for you. Many readers are stories by famous authors in simple form. This is an excellent way for you to start practising reading.

Cornflakes Packets
By "Cornflakes Packets", we mean any product you can buy that has English writing on or with it. If you buy a box of chocolates, or a new camera, why not read the description or instructions in English? There are many such examples, and they all give you an opportunity to read real English:

•airline tickets
•cans or packets of food
•bottles of drink
•tapes and CDs
•user guides for videos, computers...
•etc
Poetry
If you like poetry, try reading some English-language poems. They may not be easy to understand because of the style and vocabulary, but if you work at it you can usually get an idea - or a feeling - of what the poet is trying to say. You'll find some classic poems, with explanations of vocabulary, at EnglishClub.com English Reading.

Good luck with your reading. It will help you make a lot of Progress!

© 2000 Josef Essberger
Source: http://www.englishclub.com

segunda-feira, 18 de abril de 2011

Speaking to Yourself can be Dangerous!


by Josef Essberger

There are 4 key skills when you learn a language:

•listening
•speaking
•reading
•writing
Which one of these is the "Odd-Man-Out"? Which one of these is different from the other three? The answer is speaking. The other three you can do alone, on your own, without anyone else. You can listen to the radio alone. You can read a book alone. You can write a letter alone. But you can't really speak alone! Speaking to yourself can be 'dangerous' because men in white coats may come and take you away!!!

That is why you should make every effort possible to find somebody to speak with. Where can you find people who can speak English with you? And how can you practise speaking when you are alone?

At School
If you go to a language school, you should use the opportunity to speak to your teachers and other students. When you go home, you can still practise listening, reading and writing, but you probably can't practise speaking. If your teacher asks you a question, take the opportunity to answer. Try to say as much as possible. If your teacher asks you to speak in pairs or groups with other students, try to say as much as possible. Don't worry about your mistakes. Just speak!

Conversation Clubs
Many cities around the world have conversation clubs where people can exchange one language for another. Look in your local newspaper to find a conversation club near you. They are usually free although some may charge a small entrance fee.

Shopping
If you are living in an English-speaking country, you have a wonderful opportunity. Practise speaking to the local people such as shop assistants or taxi drivers. Even if you don't want to buy anything, you can ask questions about products that interest you in a shop. "How much does this cost?" "Can I pay by cheque?" "Which do you recommend?" Often you can start a real conversation - and it costs you nothing!

Anglo-Saxon Pubs and Bars
Even if you don't live in an English-speaking country, there are often American, British, Irish and Australian pubs in many large cities. If you can find one of these pubs, you'll probably meet many people speaking English as a first or second language.

Language is all around You
Everywhere you go you find language. Shop names, street names, advertisements, notices on buses and trains... Even if you are not in an English-speaking country, there are often a lot of English words you can see when walking in the street, especially in big cities. And there are always numbers. Car numbers, telephone numbers, house numbers... How can this help you? When you walk down the street, practise reading the words and numbers that you see. Say them to yourself. It's not exactly a conversation, but it will help you to "think" in English. For example, if you walk along aline of parked cars, say the number on each car quickly as you pass it. Test yourself, to see how fast you can walk and still say each number. But don't speak too loud!

Songs and Video
Listen to the words of an English-language song that you like. Then repeat them to yourself and try to sing with the music. Repeat the words as many times as possible until they become automatic. Soon you'll be singing the whole song. Or listen to one of your favourite actors on video and repeat one or two sentences that you like. Do it until it becomes automatic. It's good practice for your memory and for the mouth muscles that you need for English.

Above all, don't be afraid to speak. You must try to speak, even if you make mistakes. You cannot learn without mistakes. There is a saying: "The person who never made a mistake never made anything." So think of your mistakes as something positive and useful.

Speak as much as possible! Make as many mistakes as possible! When you know that you have made a mistake, you know that you have made Progress!

© 2000 Josef Essberger
Source: http://www.englishclub.com

quarta-feira, 13 de abril de 2011

O MOTIVO DO MEU BLOQUEIO EM INGLÊS


Comunicação é acima de tudo ação, vontade de expressão, desejo de comunicar uma idéia, seja essa qual for.

Essa idéia poderá ser completa ou fragmentada.

Se completa, ela nasce de um domínio da linguagem, cuja articulação permitiu que a idéia fosse passada adiante, transmitida; porém, por mais articulada que uma idéia seja; não há garantias de completo entendimento pelo receptor, que poderá ter certas barreiras, tão ou mais difíceis que o que o comunicador enfrenta.

Já, a idéia fragmentada (a razão desse artigo), pode ter muitas causas, talvez falta de domínio da linguagem, ou quem sabe, problemas de articulação ou dicção inadequada. E por ser de mais difícil compreensão, a comunicação fragmentada causa frustração e angustia, principalmente, nos estudantes de uma segunda língua, que se mostram, muitas vezes, perfeccionistas demais para aceitar que toda comunicação completa começa, de certa forma, com uma fragmentação.

Essa frustração acaba causando um bloqueio linguístico que comprometerá a comunicação desses estudantes, mesmo após a conclusão dos seus cursos. O estudante percebe, para seu desespero, que anos e anos de estudos não possibilitaram que ele conseguisse a confiança necessária para sequer se apresentar em inglês.

Há dois vídeos na internet sobre dois astros do futebol em gramados estrangeiros, o jogador Anderson e o técnico Joel Santana. Em seus respectivos vídeos, que figuram entre os mais vistos no You Tube brasileiro, eles tentam se expressar em inglês, usando todos os tipos de artifícios possíveis e “impossíveis”. Com um mistura de português e inglês, eles, confiantemente, respondem perguntas em inglês de algum jornalista local. O esforço rendeu piada em todo o território brasileiro e sendo a nossa nação, uma nação do sarcasmo, onde tudo é motivo de riso, ironia, ridículo; cria-se na cabeça de um estudante de língua estrangeira, uma preocupação exagerada em buscar uma perfeição na fala, que não vem do desejo de alcançar a tão sonhada fluência; não, nada mais longe disso, essa busca pela perfeição nasce do medo do ridículo, o temor excessivo de não alcançar a aceitação, o elogio; e se tornar um alvo de chacota, piada e riso.

Ora, é melhor se comunicar fragmentadamente ou não se comunicar de forma alguma?

Poucos possuem a coragem de um Anderson ou Joel Santana de se expor, muitos preferem o refugio da falsa segurança do “eu falo quando tiver aprendido tudo”. E são esses últimos que enriquecem os donos de curso de inglês, que contam com os seus bloqueios para continuar ganhando um rio de dinheiro, ao invés de ensinar aos seus alunos que é preciso ter confiança para falar muito com o pouco que eles já conhecem e sabem com segurança.

É preciso se comunicar, e o primeiro passo começa com a sua atitude em tentar se expressar...

segunda-feira, 11 de abril de 2011

Grammar is Your Friend




by
Josef Essberger

Grammar is the system of a language. People sometimes describe grammar as the "rules" of a language; but in fact no language has rules*. If we use the word "rules", we suggest that somebody created the rules first and then spoke the language, like a new game. But languages did not start like that. Languages started by people making sounds which evolved into words, phrases and sentences. No commonly-spoken language is fixed. All languages change over time. What we call "grammar" is simply a reflection of a language at a particular time.

Do we need to study grammar to learn a language? The short answer is "no". Very many people in the world speak their own, native language without having studied its grammar. Children start to speak before they even know the word "grammar". But if you are serious about learning a foreign language (as opposed to your native language), the long answer is "yes, grammar can help you to learn a language more quickly and more efficiently." It's important to think of grammar as something that can help you, like a friend. When you understand the grammar (or system) of a language, you can understand many things yourself, without having to ask a teacher or look in a book.

So think of grammar as something good, something positive, something that you can use to find your way like a signpost or a map.

*Except invented languages like Esperanto. And if Esperanto were widely spoken, its rules would soon be very different.

© 2000 Josef Essberger

EnglishClub.com English Grammar

quarta-feira, 6 de abril de 2011

Word Stress and Sentence Stress





The Golden Key to English Pronunciation





by
Josef Essberger




Normally when we say "I feel stressed" it means "I feel anxious". Stress is a kind of worried feeling about life or work. But there is another kind of stress that actually helps us understand. This other kind of stress is an accent that we make on certain syllables and words when speaking English.

In some languages, for example Japanese, people say each syllable with equal force. But in English, and some other languages, we put a big force (stress) on some syllables and no force on other syllables or words. This can make it difficult for speakers of other languages to understand English that is spoken quickly. Of course, for native speakers it is not difficult - in fact, stress actually helps native speakers understand each other. So it is very important.

We shall talk here about WORD STRESS (stress on a syllable inside a word) and SENTENCE STRESS (stress on words inside a sentence).

WORD STRESS
Word stress is like a golden key to speaking and understanding English.

If you do not already know about word stress, you can try to learn about it. This is one of the best ways for you to understand spoken English - especially English spoken fast.

What is word stress?

Take 3 words: photograph, photographer and photographic. Do they sound the same when spoken? No. Because ONE syllable in each word is STRESSED (stronger than the others).

•PHOtograph
•phoTOgrapher
•photoGRAPHic
This happens in ALL words with 2 or more syllables: TEACHer, JaPAN, CHINa, aBOVE, converSAtion, INteresting, imPORtant, deMAND, etCETera, etCETera, etCETera

The syllables that are not stressed are "weak" or "small" or "quiet". Native speakers of English listen for the STRESSED syllables, not the weak syllables. If you use word stress in your speech, you will instantly and automatically improve your pronunciation and your comprehension.

If you have an English teacher, you can ask her to help you understand word stress. Or you can try to hear the stress in individual words each time you listen to English - on the radio, or in films for example. Your first step is to HEAR and recognise it. After that, you can USE it.

Two important rules about word stress:

1.One word, one stress
2.The stress is always on a vowel
SENTENCE STRESS
Sentence stress is another golden key for speaking and understanding English. With sentence stress, some words in a sentence are STRESSED (loud) and other words are weak (quiet). Look at the following sentence:

We want to go.

Do we say every word with the same stress or force? No. We make the important words BIG and the unimportant words small. What are the important words in this sentence? Yes, that's right: WANT and GO.

•We WANT to GO.
•We WANT to GO to WORK.
•We DON'T WANT to GO to WORK.
•We DON'T WANT to GO to WORK at NIGHT.
Now that you know that word stress exists, you can try to learn more about it.

You should KNOW that SENtence and WORD STRESS are VERy imPORtant !!!

© 1998 Josef Essberger

Source: http://www.englishclub.com

terça-feira, 5 de abril de 2011

Speaking versus Writing


THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE Spoken WORD. OR IS IT?

Josef Essberger


The purpose of all language is to communicate - that is, to move thoughts or information from one person to another person.


There are always at least two people in any communication. To communicate, one person must put something "out" and another person must take something "in". We call this "output" (>>>) and "input" (<<<). •I speak to you (OUTPUT: my thoughts go OUT of my head). •You listen to me (INPUT: my thoughts go INto your head). •You write to me (OUTPUT: your thoughts go OUT of your head). •I read your words (INPUT: your thoughts go INto my head). So language consists of four "skills": two for output (speaking and writing); and two for input (listening and reading. We can say this another way - two of the skills are for "spoken" communication and two of the skills are for "written" communication: Spoken: >>> Speaking - mouth <<< Listening - ear Written: >>> Writing - hand <<< Reading - eye


What are the differences between Spoken and Written English? Are there advantages and disadvantages for each form of communication?


Status When we learn our own (native) language, learning to speak comes before learning to write. In fact, we learn to speak almost automatically. It is natural. But somebody must teach us to write. It is not natural. In one sense, speaking is the "real" language and writing is only a representation of speaking. However, for centuries, people have regarded writing as superior to speaking. It has a higher "status". This is perhaps because in the past almost everybody could speak but only a few people could write. But as we shall see, modern influences are changing the relative status of speaking and writing.


Differences in Structure and Style We usually write with correct grammar and in a structured way. We organize what we write into sentences and paragraphs. We do not usually use contractions in writing (though if we want to appear very friendly, then we do sometimes use contractions in writing because this is more like speaking.) We use more formal vocabulary in writing (for example, we might write "the car exploded" but say "the car blew up") and we do not usually use slang. In writing, we must use punctuation marks like commas and question marks (as a symbolic way of representing things like pauses or tone of voice in speaking).


We usually speak in a much less formal, less structured way. We do not always use full sentences and correct grammar. The vocabulary that we use is more familiar and may include slang. We usually speak in a spontaneous way, without preparation, so we have to make up what we say as we go. This means that we often repeat ourselves or go off the subject. However, when we speak, other aspects are present that are not present in writing, such as facial expression or tone of voice. This means that we can communicate at several levels, not only with words.


Durability One important difference between speaking and writing is that writing is usually more durable or permanent. When we speak, our words live for a few moments. When we write, our words may live for years or even centuries. This is why writing is usually used to provide a record of events, for example a business agreement or transaction.


Speaker & Listener / Writer & Reader

When we speak, we usually need to be in the same place and time as the other person. Despite this restriction, speaking does have the advantage that the speaker receives instant feedback from the listener. The speaker can probably see immediately if the listener is bored or does not understand something, and can then modify what he or she is saying.


When we write, our words are usually read by another person in a different place and at a different time. Indeed, they can be read by many other people, anywhere and at any time. And the people reading our words, can do so at their leisure, slowly or fast. They can re-read what we write, too. But the writer cannot receive immediate feedback and cannot (easily) change what has been written.


How Speaking and Writing Influence Each Other

In the past, only a small number of people could write, but almost everybody could speak. Because their words were not widely recorded, there were many variations in the way they spoke, with different vocabulary and dialects in different regions. Today, almost everybody can speak and write. Because writing is recorded and more permanent, this has influenced the way that people speak, so that many regional dialects and words have disappeared. (It may seem that there are already too many differences that have to be learned, but without writing there would be far more differences, even between, for example, British and American English.) So writing has had an important influence on speaking. But speaking can also influence writing. For example, most new words enter a language through speaking. Some of them do not live long. If you begin to see these words in writing it usually means that they have become "real words" within the language and have a certain amount of permanence.


Influence of New Technology

Modern inventions such as sound recording, telephone, radio, television, fax or email have made or are making an important impact on both speaking and writing. To some extent, the divisions between speaking and writing are becoming blurred. Emails are often written in a much less formal way than is usual in writing. With voice recording, for example, it has for a long time been possible to speak to somebody who is not in the same place or time as you (even though this is a one-way communication: we can speak or listen, but not interact). With the telephone and radiotelephone, however, it became possible for two people to carry on a conversation while not being in the same place. Today, the distinctions are increasingly vague, so that we may have, for example, a live television broadcast with a mixture of recordings, telephone calls, incoming faxes and emails and so on. One effect of this new technology and the modern universality of writing has been to raise the status of speaking. Politicians who cannot organize their thoughts and speak well on television win very few votes.


English Checker

•aspect: a particular part or feature of something

•dialect: a form of a language used in a specific region

•formal: following a set of rules; structured; official

•status: level or rank in a society

•spontaneous: not planned; unprepared

•structured: organized; systematic Note: instead of "spoken", some people say "oral" (relating to the mouth) or "aural" (relating to the ear).


© 2001 Josef Essberger Source:


segunda-feira, 4 de abril de 2011

Learner vs Student

by Beth Knittle on October 3, 2010

I have been thinking a lot lately about what makes a good student as compared to a good learner. Are they the same? Can they be the same? Are they inherently different?

From personal experience I was a leaner but not a great student, in middle school and high school. I gave it my all in the classes I loved and read about those topics outside of school. I learned more then was expected or explained in class. I still read and learn about science and history. If it was a subject area I was not crazy about I barely did enough to get by. That may speak more about my motivation then my learning or student skill set but as I grew older I became much better at following directions and jumping through hoops. As an adolescent, not so much.

As a teacher I had students who were very good at school. They completed assignments, copied notes, passed tests, and ended up with good grades. But I am not sure they remembered much beyond the final exam. It all seemed superficial. Likewise I had students who hardly ever completed assignments, barely passed tests, could never find their notes and their grades reflected this. But these same students could hold a lengthy conversation about what we were learning or about things they were learning outside of school such as; computer programming, music, or a foreign language. They were learners but they were not students.

Now I work with adults. I support teachers as they adopt and adapt to new tools (software & hardware) in their classrooms. I find there are still learners and students. The learners search for information on how to use the tools, play around with them and experiment in the classroom. The students wait for a training session or workshop, attend them, complete assignments but there is not a significant change in the use of the tools. There are always exceptions to this as some get started in the workshop but once exposed to the tools they take off and continue learning on their own.

From a professional development stand point I do not need to worry about the learners. I need to expose them to the options and guide them to resources. It is with the students I must focus my attention. How do I motivate them to continue to use and explore the tools? Is motivation the difference or am I missing something else. How do we turn good students into learners?

Source: http://www.bethknittle.net/WP_Blog/?p=848