Ultimate List of Funny British Place Names | Anglotopia.net

Ultimate List of Funny British Place Names | Anglotopia.net.

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Improve your IELTS speaking skills – 10 tips | Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog

Improve your IELTS speaking skills – 10 tips | Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog.

Some great ideas to help you get through one of the most difficult parts of ANY English exam

Day 15 – Crazy Japanese Game Show

Sometimes when non-native people speak in English, it can sound quite funny! However, it’s really uncommon that you will ever be laughed at like the poor guy in this video is. Most native speakers are very understanding – we hear many people from many different countries speaking English, so it’s not a novetly for us. Just go for it!

 

Day 14 – Crazy English

Firstly, sorry for the delay in posting again – we’ve both been a bit busy!

Secondly, we’re going to start introducing some more trivia to the blog, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, let us know.

Hmm! what a confusing sign! I guess it’s easy to see how this word got so mixed up – male and female, and man and woman, a simple combination of female and woman and hey! We have FEMAN.

For more pictures like this, check out Engrish, a site dedicated to providing the world with weird, wacky, and downright strange uses of the English language.

Day 13 – Quick Reading Tip

When you read in your own language, do you read every word? Of course not! You can read quickly and understand what you read without focussing in on every word. The same is true with English. Change your reading style – try reading quickly, and when you have finished, look back to see what you have understood. Read the same article in the same way a couple of times. You will find that you understand the subject of the article much better!

Lady Gaga Quote To Improve Your Confidence When Speaking English

Don’t be afraid.

“All that ever holds somebody back, I think, is fear. For a minute I had fear. [Then] I went into the [dressing] room and shot my fear in the face…” 

Quite a dramatic statement! But it’s true. You have to overcome your fears if you want to succeed at anything in life, and the same applies to learning English. I have taught so many students who were afraid to speak in class. Why were they afraid? Maybe because they didn’t want to make a mistake, or because they were shy, or because they didn’t want to be laughed at. Whatever the reason, their fear held them back. Their English didn’t improve, especially compared to the more talkative people in class. How can you overcome your fear? Only by doing the very thing you were afraid of! I used to be sooo shy. I hated to speak in classes at school. I became an easy target for bullies. I was so concerned with what people thought of me. And now, I’m a teacher! Every day, I stand up in front of people, and talk. It used to be terrifying, but not any more. I’m more confident, I don’t care so much about what people think of me, and I’m more relaxed. How did this happen? I forced myself to to do things that need confidence, like teaching, and do them confidently. People say, ‘practice makes perfect’. Practice may not make you perfect, but it takes away the feeling of fear, until you find there’s nothing left to be afraid of!

Day 12 – Tips To Help You Prepare To Give Presentations In English

Do you give presentations for your job or studies? Maybe you haven’t before, but need to soon. Here we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you prepare so that you can communicate effectively in English.

It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people don’t prepare properly for their presentations.

  • The best way to give a presentation is with media such as Powerpoint, but there are other methods, such as using a projector with slides, or a board. ALWAYS make sure that the room is equipped with whatever technology you plan on using, and that it works. There is nothing more embarrassing than realising the computer is broken at the last minute, or that your laptop won’t connect with the overhead projector!
  • This leads us on to another point. Your visual presentation should be a summary of what you say. It should be short points or phrases. Don’t put everything you plan to say on your presentation, or there is no point in you talking!
  • Think about the setting. Is it large or small? Are people going to be sitting for a long time through your presentation, or will it be quick? Will you have to raise your voice to be heard, or will there be a microphone? Will everyone be able to see your presentation?
  • Who is your presentation for? Colleagues? Students? Customers? Are you explaining, persuading, summarising, informing? Make sure you use the right language for the right group of people.
  • Spend time rehearsing. Practice saying your presentation aloud to yourself. Do you feel comfortable saying it? Ask a friend or family member whether your presentation is understandable. Make sure you get someone else’s opinion before your presentation.
  • What visual aids will you use? Does your presentation include pictures? Will you communicate information using charts or graphs? If so, make sure they are easy-to-understand. You do not want to waste time explaining images that nobody but you can understand!
  • Always try to give the audience a handout, so that they can remember the main points of your presentation. Again, try to make this simple, so that when they look at it after your presentation, they remember and understand.
  • Make sure your presentation has a clear beginning, middle and ending! State what your purpose is in the beginning, and what you will talk about. Refer to questions – do you want your audience to wait until the end to ask questions, or are you happy to be asked at any time? The middle should contain all the information you want to convey, in clear, easy-to-manage sections. Finish with one point before you move on to another. Don’t mix up your information. The ending should be a summary. DON’T include any new information here!
  • Finally, try to use some ‘signpost’ language. Signposts on the road tell you where you are. Signpost language tells your audience where in the presentation you are. Phrases such as ‘firstly’, ‘next’, ‘moving on’, ‘as I will explain later’, ‘ as I have already mentioned’, ‘to summarise’, ‘any questions?’, and ‘my next point is’ are helpful to you and your audience because they make your information clearer.

Day 11 – YouTube Video To Help You Improve Your English Listening Skills

We think this guy is great. He has a selection of videos on different topics on YouTube. The speed may be a little to fast for beginners, but give it a try, he has some good tips.

Day 10 – Learn Phrases to Learn English Faster

Recently we’ve been giving you some tips to help you learn new words. Today we want to look at a different way to learn English faster – learn phrases, not just words. In a previous post, we mentioned learning words in context. Learn how to say the words, not just the words themselves. What other words do they often go with? Are there any expressions which contain the word?

Think of it this way. If you learn a phrase with 4-5 words in, the speed you learn English will be 4-5 times faster!

Day 9 – Three Free TOEFL IBT iTunes Apps Reviews

Today we’re going to provide you with a short review of three free iTunes apps aimed at helping students prepare for the TOEFL IBT. There are many more apps available that vary in cost, so we recommend that you browse through them all to find the ones that you like best. Here are three simple apps that have different functions.

1. ‘Prepare for Toefl’ by XuVi 

This app aims to help you improve your vocabulary in the main subject areas of the Toefl test. The test itself contains academic questions on a variety of subjects, from biology to sociology. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t actually need to know about these subjects; you need to be able to respond to the questions in English. All the academic information you need is provided in the reading or listening excerpts. Often you will be asked to compare or contrast, to make inferences, or to give opinions.

Back to the app! The app contains the most commonly-used words used in the Toefl test in each of the subject matters. Each word is explained clearly. The app also has a play mode, so you can listen to the words rather than read them. If you have read other articles on our blog you may know we value this! Lastly, the app contains tests in various modes and at various levels, so you can test yourself in different ways. We think this app is great for preparing you for some of the words you may encounter in the test.

The only downside we can see so far is that it is made specifically for Vietnamese and Korean users – the words are translated into both languages. We don’t see this as being too much of a problem, though.

2. ‘TOEFL Timer’ by Adiante Ventures

This is a very simple app that times you as you test yourself in the different sections of the Toefl IBT. The timing is one of the most difficult aspects for students preparing for the Toefl, but it’s critical to practice answering questions with the correct time limit. This is especially true for some of the speaking questions, where you have 15 seconds to prepare, and 45 minutes to speak. In Toefl preparation classes I have taught, my students would get so frustrated with the timing. They would spend too long explaining one point, then not have any time left to add anything else! It’s essential to get used to the timing. We think that, for preparing for the Toefl IBT on your own, this app is simple but great, and is so useful.

3. ‘Irregular Verbs For IELTS, TOEIC‘, by ANTA Entertainment

This app is technically not for the Toefl IBT, but it came up in our search. It’s basically an irregular verb dictionary, with some ‘songs’. It claims to contain over 489 different verbs, along with rarely used and antiquated ones. It shows the different forms of the verbs. Unfortunately, we don’t really see the point of this app. Grammar is not the focus of the Toefl IBT. Don’t get us wrong – grammar is important – but the main focus is on your ability to answer questions fluidly, demonstrating the your understanding of the questions, and the structure of your answers. Even for the IELTS or TOEIC we fail to see it’s usefulness. If you are planning on taking one of these tests, you should be confident with your verbs by then.

Day 8 – Experiment With How You Say Words In English

Often when we learn new languages, we find it difficult to express emotion with our words, so sometimes our conversation comes across as  a bit, well, boring. There are a few ways that we can overcome this. One way is to read, and focus on making the text more lively with your voice. Think of how a you would read in your own language. Another way is to experiment with how you say words. This could be something silly for you to do with your friends, or on your own if you feel to shy. Take a word, or a short phrase, and try different ways of saying it. For example, take the word ‘no’. Try saying it as a question, angrily, happily, sadly, annoyingly (like a little kid), confidently, shyly, etc.  Then, the next time you are speaking English, think of the feeling you are trying to convey with your words.

Day 7 – Listen To Improve Your Spoken English

Text books can be frustrating. We spend hours reading them, and afterwards we often feel that we remember very little! When I was at university, I spent a lot of time reading big books about history, and although I read the words, they didn’t stay in my brain very long…

Reading is a good skill, but listening is much, much more important if you want to speak well. Learn with your ears more than you learn with your eyes. Listening will show you how to say something a lot quicker and a lot more effectively than reading. Listen to understandable English frequently. Listen and repeat, pause and rewind, check pronunciation – listening can help you in so many ways that reading can’t.

Don’t be afraid to close your text book and listen to a podcast, or a radio show, or a CD instead.

Day 6 – English Language Verb Help

While browsing the internet today, I found site that has 2 really useful tools – the first was a free online English language test designed to measure knowledge and ability, and give you a ‘student level’. The second tool is an English verb ‘conjugator’, which contains some of the most common regular and irregular verbs and all their different forms.

For example:

Infinitive: to know
Past: knew
Participle: known
Gerund: going

Indicative

 

Present Perfect


I
know
I
have known
you
know
you
have known
he
knows
he
has known
we
know
we
have known
you
know
you
have known
they
know
they
have known
Past Past Perfect


I
knew
I
had known
you
knew
you
had known
he
knew
he
had known
we
knew
we
had known
you
knew
you
had known
they
knew
they
had known
Future Future perfect


I
will know
I
will have known
you
will know
you
will have known
he
will know
he
will have known
we
will know
we
will have known
you
will know
you
will have known
they
will know
they
will have known
Conditional
Present Perfect


I
would know
I
would have known
you
would know
you
would have known
he
would know
he
would have known
we
would know
we
would have known
you
would know
you
would have known
they
would know
they
would have known

You can find both tools here  at English Language Guide.

Day 5 – Fish Pie

It’s funny how the human brain works. It processes huge amounts of information, and makes connections between different things. For example, how would you fill in the blank in this sentence – ‘Selfish people don’t like to share their ______’? Some children may say toys, or food, or books. However, one child in an exam I was watching over this week believed that the perfect way to finish this sentence was ‘fish pie’. Why? Probably because ‘selfish’ contains the word ‘fish’. He also thought that ‘fish pie’ would be great to finish this sentence, too – ‘To be unselfish means to _______’.

Although the boy’s answer was totally strange, his story can help us when learning new words, or their spellings. For example, when I was a small girl, ‘because’ was quite a hard word to spell for me. My friends and I had a way or remembering the spelling – ‘Big Elephants Can Always Upset Small Elephants’. One of the teachers here in Indonesia had an unusual way for remembering the Indonesian words for ‘four’ and ‘six’, which are easily confused. The word for ‘four’ is ’empat’, and the word for ‘six’ is ‘enam’. She remembered which was which this way – the VietNAM wars were in the Nineteen SIXties, therefore ‘enam’ was ‘six’.

When you learn new words, what ways can you think of to help you remember them? Do they sound like something similar in your own language, or can you think of a special or silly way to remember? The human brain is amazing, and once you make one small connection, it will be hard to forget it.

Day 4 – Talk To Yourself In English

It’s apparently the first sign of madness, but it’s also a great way to help you practice speaking without the pressure of getting it right or not. Talking to yourself in English (on your own!) lets you experiment with words and sentences, but more importantly, your pronunciation. How do you sound when you speak? Practice saying words until you feel comfortable with them. Practice saying new words in different combinations. Practice different pronunciations! All this practice will help you feel ready for when you will need to say these words in a real-life situation. It’s also a well-known fact that speaking helps you to remember, so your ability to recall (think of) words when you need to will increase as well as your confidence.

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Day 3 – Take Learning New English Words To The Next Level

It’s easy to look up a new word in a dictionary. But how well do you remember the word, or the definition, or both? Next time you find a new word, look it up in a dictionary, but also type the word into Google – look at how it is used in context. You’re much more likely to remember it when you have looked at how it can be used.

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Day 2 – Learning English For Life

People never stop learning. There will never be a stage in a person’s life when they can claim they have nothing left to learn. Methods of learning change over time, and today, there are many different techniques. Technology has helped these changes, and today it’s easy to find learning techniques that you like, and that work for you.

You can find so much to help you online as well as books and courses. Experiment with different ways of learning – lessons, self-study, podcasts, mind maps, e-courses, and much more. Because we never stop learning, we should never stop learning how to learn.

Day 1 – Break Sentences Down

When you read something in English, do you struggle to understand long sentences? This is quite a common problem, and it occasionally happens to native speakers too! Sometimes there is so much information in a sentence that it’s difficult to understand what the subject or object is, or just what on earth the sentence is about!

If this happens to you, try to break the sentence into smaller pieces. Conquer one small part at a time, and build up your understanding  little by little. If you eat a pizza, it’s difficult to eat the whole thing as it is! You cut it into smaller, more easy-to-manage pieces. Do the same with big sentences.

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Our 30-Day Challenge

For the next 30 days, we are challenging ourselves to write one post on our blog a day, every day. We really want to get on top of our blog and start getting some really useful content to help you learn English. If you have any questions, requests, or ideas of things you would like us to do over the next 30 days, please leave a comment, and we’ll do our best.

Thank you for reading, we would really value your feedback.

Ingwhiz

The Problem With Accents, And How You Can Master Them

Hello Darlings!

WHAAAT a big problem! Time after time, I have had English learners come to me and complain about accents. There are waaaay too many to count – British accents, American accents, Australian accents, Canadian accents, Indian accents, Italian accents… etc.

Why is this so frustrating? Because learners become comfortable with one accent, and when they hear another they are ripped out of that comfy zone, and thrown into a land of uncertainty.

Here is a typical situation…

Happy students come to class. Teacher has an English accent…

Students do a listening activity. The speaker has a Russian accent…

Students watch a short video. The actors have American accents…

Next class, teacher with English accent is sick, and replaced by teacher with Australian accent. The following class, English-accent teacher is still sick, so students have a teacher from the Netherlands instead…

Poor students are going red with concentration and confusion. One girl bursts into tears, a boy threatens to sue the school…

Woah! Hold your horses! How can this happen?

Here are some facts:

  • England alone is made up of dozens of accents.
  • In the British Isles, there are also Welsh, Scottish, Irish, and Northern Irish accents.
  • These countries have different accents within them, too.
  • The US, Canada and Australia have hundreds of regional accents.
  • Additionally, there are also cultural accents, like Italian-New York (anyone want coaffee??)
  • Many businesses these days are multinational. they have offices in different countries. For example, Infocrap have offices in Germany and Singapore. The employees need to communicate regularly with the staff in the other country, and they must do so in English.

ARRGGHH!!!

So, maybe accents are more important than we think…

English is a ‘Global Language’. The problem is that everyone speaks it differently. This is a pain in the buttocks.

What can we do? You have probably had a high exposure to the American accent, thanks to Hollywood. Here are some ideas to maximize your accent understanding:

  • Find British or Australian films.
  • Check out iTunes podcasts and iTunes U for stuff that interests you – there will be many different accents to enjoy.
  • Watch global news.
  • Listen to digital radio.
  • Search for different accents in YouTube.

Immerse yourself with accents, absorb them like a sponge.

Love, Corinne x