Sunday, February 19, 2012

How Long is Your Commute?

The New York Times website has a whole page devoted to the problem of commuting.

How long does it take you to get to work?

What are the pros and cons of different travel options?

What is the worst thing that has happened to you on your commute?

Do you have any advice for how to use the commute time productively?

Does the length of the commute affect how you search for a new job? How important is it compared to the size of the salary, the specific job responsibilities, etc.?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Airport announcements

It can be so hard to understand when announcements are made in public places! I'm a native speaker, and I still have trouble understanding them!

One solution is to rely on visual information: check the information displays regularly, or look around to see what other people are doing.

But it's important to train your ear, too. Look at your ticket, practice saying the names and numbers out loud, and listen carefully for your flight name and number. It could save you a lot of time and trouble!

Here is a recording to practice with. Try to listen for the name of  the destination, the number of the flight, the airline, and important words like "boarding," "delay," and "cancelled."

More from the news: "Your Brain on Gadgets"

We listened to and discussed an interview about how the invasion of gadgets affects our everyday life.

A group of reporters and scientists decided to have a gadget-free vacation.

Hear about the results here.

Grammar resources

For those who like working with a textbook and studying grammar in a written format, here are a few of my favorites:

1) Murphy's "Grammar in Use." Good for self-study and includes written exercises, with answers in the back of the book.

2) "Total English." Not as easy for self-study, but good grammar explanations. You can also buy a workbook for additional practice. The listening exercises have a good range of vocabulary, but are not realistic, because they use actors.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reporting questions

Here is the website which explains the different types of questions for changing into reported speech.
Note rule #4 which gives you two choices. In class I told you that the first way was better grammatically (having "to be" at the end). However, this site says you can use either one. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Brain Teaser

We talked a little about this in Group 7 today: The following sentence is real! Well, almost. Can you insert the correct pronunciation to make it understandable?

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

News For You

An interesting news station based in the U.S. is National Public Radio. We listened to a piece about QR code.

On their site, you can listen to interviews, news stories, book reviews, etc. Topics include music, art, sports, technology, and national news as well as international.

Many of the news stories have audio and a written summary, as well as a full transcript. I suggest looking at the summary or just accompanying images for 1-2 minutes, then listening to the story with just audio, to test your listening skills.