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.

September 26th: An Education (NY Times piece)

An American journalist recently subjected his kids to an experiment: language immersion. In addition to his full-length article, there is an accompanying video.

Was the experiment successful?

Do you think this is a good way for kids to learn a new language? What about people in general?

Read some of the comments. Do you agree with them, or not?

Going Back in Time

To practice making predictions, we viewed a video segment with Arthur C. Clarke. Were his predictions about the future correct?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Public Service Announcement

Here is a grammar joke for you.

Just a friendly reminder to pay attention to your commas when you're writing in English. :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Office Ethics

When we were talking about Ethics, we watched a few clips from the comedy TV series "The Office." You can see some clips on youtube.

To differentiate from similar titles, type in the names of some of the characters (Jim, Pam, Michael Scott) or actors (Steve Carrell).You may also watch the British version by searching for "UK The Office."

The relationships on the show may remind you of how you and your co-workers interact. But what about the jokes? Some people find the show very funny, and others do not see what the big deal is.


Do you have any ideas for this blog?

-what links would you like to see on here?

-are there any interesting topics you would like to see discussed on here?

-are there any specific grammar topics that you'd like to see addressed?

A Life-Changing Experience

We listened to the audio track of another TED video, "3 things I learned while my plane crashed."

Ric Elias found himself in a situation that would cause many people to reevaluate their priorities in life. How do you think your priorities would change if you had this kind of situation?

Is there something you regret doing/not doing in life?

Thursday, September 29, 2011