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Archive for the ‘Web links’ Category

Interesting Resources to Study at Home

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

SKILLS

It is important to get into the habit of practising your English skills at home  for a short while everyday. Just remember 

Categories: Web links

Culture

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

NEWS

http://www.typicallyspanish.com/ A website with news about Spain in English, you can click in the map and get the information from your favourite region

BBC World news The very up-to-date world service with news from all round the world

http://www.time.com/time/ A good magazine with features on current affairs

MOVIES

http://www.futuremovies.co.uk/ An independent website with news, reviews and trailers on the latest movie reviews

GOSSIP

http://www.hellomagazine.com/ Glossy pics of celebrities, perfect when you want to give your brain a rest.

http://www.instyle.com/instyle/ Get the right look for every occasion. Little brain activity

http://www.people.com/people/ Everything you never knew you wanted to know. Strictly for idle brains

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/ Great pictures and articles on nature

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE

www.ted.com/themes TED is a series of talks given by world experts on a variety of topics. Their success formula lies on their short duration of the talks (apparently our concentration span lasts around 20 minutes) and the amazing speakers that they use that make their topic accessible to the common spectator.So from Nobel and Pulitzer winners to celebrities like Bill Gates or Bill Clinton they bring us their message in clear words and in short. Also the fact that they offer subtitles helps with concentration

Categories: Culture

Speaking

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Do you want to speak English clearly and confidently?

Everybody wants to be able to speak English like a native speaker, but English pronunciation is always a big problem to ESL learners.

Bad English pronunciation may confuse people even if you used advanced English grammar. We can use simple words and simple grammar structures that make people understand you but we cannot use “simple pronunciation”.

On the other hand, good English pronunciation will make people understand you easily and be willing to listen to you!

So, how to speak English clearly and confidently? There are three ways: practice, practice and practice! First, practice speaking each word cleary, then, practice speaking each sentence clearly.

And here you are some tools:

PRONUNCIATION

http://www.acapela-group.com/text-to-speech-interactive-demo.html This is a fabulous resource to help you with pronunciation . Choose your voice, type the text and you will get a perfectly enunciated version. Repeat and learn. Great help for preparing your speeches. Good luck!

http://esl.about.com/cs/pronunciation/a/a_wordstress.htm In this website, you will find some helpful comments on how stress and intonation can change the meaning of a sentence.

SPEAKING PRACTICE

As for your speaking practice, you have it easy in the language school: 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!

Apart from the language school, you should try and find the opportunity to speak to other people different from your teachers and other students. When you go home, you can still practise listening, reading and writing, but you probably can’t practise speaking. Here you have some options:

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. The school has one: http://blogeoielche.blogspot.com/2010/02/circulo-de-conversacion-ingles.html

Shopping

If you are living in an English-speaking area (remember you are very close to English-speaking communities: San Fulgencio, Gran Alacant, etc), you have a wonderful opportunity. Practise speaking to the local people such as shop assistants. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, you can ask questions about products that interest you in a shop. Often you can start a real conversation – and it costs you nothing!

Pubs and Bars

In all Spanish towns, there are often American, British, Irish and Australian pubs. If you can find one of these pubs, you’ll probably meet many people speaking English as a first or second language.

Songs and Video

Listen to the lyrics 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. You can visit http://www.lyrics.com/ to start trying. 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.

Categories: Speaking

Writing

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Imagine this situation:

A colleague has just sent you an email relating to a meeting you’re having in one hour’s time. The email is supposed to contain key information that you need to present, as part of the business case for an important project.

But there’s a problem: the email is so badly written that you can’t find the data you need. There are misspellings and incomplete sentences, and the paragraphs are so long and confusing that it takes you three times more than it should to find the information you want.

As a result, you’re under-prepared for the meeting, and it doesn’t go as well as you want it to.

Have you ever faced a situation similar to this? In today’s information overload world, it’s vital to communicate clearly, concisely and effectively.

The better your writing skills are, the better the impression you’ll make on the people around you – including your boss, your colleagues, and your clients. You never know how far these good impressions will take you!

Find below some web pages to find examples of good practice and exercises for you to improve:

http://www.eslgold.com/writing.html A nice advanced writing in English website full of good tips!

http://www.rong-chang.com/writing/index a series of different levels exercises ranging from scrambled sentences to constructing questions. It comes with answers and it is well worth exploring.

Categories: Writing

Grammar & Vocabulary

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Grammar is central to the teaching and learning of languages. It is also one of the most difficult aspects of language to master.

What can you do to excel at it?

  • Be aware of grammar. Think about grammar. Notice the aspects of English grammar that are the same as or very similar to those in your language.  If you notice grammar similarities and differences, you will probably learn the rules more quickly.
  • Read a lot of English books. It will help you when you express your ideas and when you come to check your work. By doing this you would say to yourself from time to time: Ah, so that’s how you do this in English!
  • Concentrate on the aspects of grammar you personally find most difficult.  Particularly in your writing, you can focus on these aspects for special care and attention when editing your work.
  • There are thousands of grammar pages on the web. Check below to go to two websites you will find a great array of quizzes to test you knowledge of grammar. Choose you level, your topic and GO!

http://www.englishlearner.com/tests/index.shtml

http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/

VOCABULARY GAMES

http://www.mattelscrabble.com/en/adults/games/index.html Some classic games like Scrabble and hang man in English

http://www.learnenglishfeelgood.com/vocabulary/ Some advanced vocabulary quizzes

http://www.eflnet.com/vocab/index.php Here you will find some advanced vocabulary lists plus pronunciation and examples

Categories: Grammar&Vocabulary

Reading

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Traditionally, the purpose of learning to read in a foreign language has been to have access to the literature written in that language. In language instruction, reading materials have traditionally been chosen from literary texts that represent “higher” forms of culture. However, everyday materials such as train schedules, newspaper articles, and common web sites are appropriate  materials too, as they will help develop your communicative competence.

READING ACTIVITIES

http://www.readingenglish.net/ In this website you can read texts and just by clicking in the word you will access the Spanish dictionary! You need to register and choose the dictionary you would like to have available to help with your reading to access a series of texts with exercises. Happy reading!

http://www.readprint.com/ A free online library in English

http://www.repeatafterus.com/index.php A website with a miscellanea of texts and quotes you can listen to as well

Categories: Reading

Listening

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Listening is the language modality that is used most frequently. It has been estimated that adults spend almost half their communication time listening, and students may receive as much as 90% of their in-school information through listening to instructors and to one another.

Given the importance of listening in everyday life, it is essential for us to help you become effective listeners and, for that, the aim of this post is to provide listening practice in authentic situations, those that you are likely to encounter when you use the language outside the classroom.

Audio webpages with exercises

http://www.elllo.org/ Here you can access over 100 video clips and you can choose whether to show or hide the transcript. We recommend you hide it the first time you listen to the clip and try to do the exercises on the right , check your score and listen again with the text. Try to read it aloud at the same time as you hear it.

http://www.listenaminute.com/ In this webpage, you will find 1 minute audio clips arranged by topic with a variety of exercises

http://dictationsonline.com/ Why not have a go at dictation? here you will find a good graded selection. Listen to the whole passage first, then it is read slowly to allow time for writing, finally, you will be able to listen to the whole thing before you check.

http://www.agendaweb.org/listening/dictations.html In this webpage with dictations, you write in the box the words you hear and when you click CHECK the words will get written in the right place in the text

http://www.esl-lab.com/ A wonderful page with  many excerpts graded by difficulty and topic and some vocabulary tips. They come with pre- listening exercises which we recommend you do to focus well on the listening task, you can check your answers on line and if you feeling industrious you can do the follow up exercises too

http://esl.about.com/library/quiz/bllisteningquiz.htm Some nice quizzes with questions and answers

www.ted.com/themes TED is a series of talks given by world experts on a variety of topics. Their success formula I feel lies on their short duration of the talks (apparently our concentration span lasts around 20 minutes) and the amazing speakers that they use that make their topic accessible to the common spectator.So from Nobel and Pulitzer winners to celebrities like Bill Gates or Bill Clinton they bring us their message in clear words and in short. Also the fact that they offer subtitles helps with concentration

Audio pages with transcripts

http://www1.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/ A very nice site with loads of news and stories in American English. No exercises but you can download into your MP3 and read the scripts.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/general/sixminute/ This a great podcast service from the BBC on a good variety of topics. There is only one question, however it comes with some vocabulary explanations and you can download the script to follow the audio.

http://freeclassicaudiobooks.com/ Some classic literature in downloadable version

http://www.learnoutloud.com/Free-Audio-Video#directory A directory of downloadable videos and books

http://www.roalddahlfans.com/audiobooks.php A great website for fans of Roal Dalh with great audio versions of his works

Categories: Listening