What Is This Blog About?
There is an old saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
We want to teach you how to fish. Actually, we want to help you improve your English. But we don’t just want you to sit in classes listening to your teacher. We want to help you understand how to learn English, so you can learn effectively on your own.
One of the things that make language study so challenging is your own language background, and its “distance” from English in terms of grammar, pronunciation and use of vocabulary. For example, Korean, Japanese and Chinese students of English have to study a new alphabet just to get started, and English grammar is always tricky for students from this region.
English is a tough language to learn for many people from Asian countries, and Vietnam is no exception. Native speakers of Vietnamese also have particular areas of difficulty, and it is a good idea to be aware of what they are, why they occur, and how to overcome them.
Vietnamese students are fortunate in that their native language has a similar alphabet to English; instead, their biggest problem is pronunciation.
There is one difficulty in particular that I would like to mention here – consonant clusters or groups (for example, street, contracts).
What do the words repeat, restart, review, and remember all have in common?
They all ask you to do something again.
Repeat = say something again
Restart = begin something again
Review = look at something again
Remember = think of something again
With all four words, the prefix re- is key. Once you know how to use this prefix, you can use it to make other words that mean, “to do something again,” for example, repaint, reorder, and replace.
Learning to recognize common prefixes and suffixes is one of the best things you can do to build your vocabulary. It will help you guess the meaning of new words while reading, help you use dictionaries better, and help you when you take tests, such as IELTS and TOEFL.
Questions are a terrific way of opening talk up. After all, we often open conversations with easy questions – How are you doing? Hey, how’s it going?
Today I want you to think about some techniques for making communication go more smoothly. About that…and about tennis.
Think of conversation like a friendly table tennis match: I hit a question to you; you hit me an answer right back. But you need to be relaxed about this. You don’t want to sound as if you’re a policeman questioning a suspect!
Here’s how to promote ‘give and take’ when you talk to someone. The secret is: be aware of question tags, and how they’re used in conversation.inflatable football tunnel
There are many websites where you can practice your listening skills. How many websites do you know that allow you to practice your speaking skills online?
With English Central, you can use to do both these things at once. On English Central, you:
Watch a video – usually from a news or documentary program
Read as you listen, and build your vocabulary as you watch
Repeat the video you heard, record your voice, and get instant feedback on how you sound
To me, this is the part that makes English Central interesting. The site uses cutting edge computer technology to evaluate the accuracy of your pronunciation. It tells you how clearly you’re speaking, and if your pronunciation is not clear, the site lets you record yourself again, until you get it right.
The IPA is useful for language learners because it tells you exactly how a word ought to be pronounced. For example, when you look up the word “foreign” in the dictionary, the phonetic spelling will appear to you like this:
The phonetic spelling tells you exactly which vowel to use (/ɔ/) and it tells you where the stress should be (/ˈfɔr…). In other words, it tells you exactly how to pronounce the word.
So how good is your phonetic spelling? Do you think you’re pretty good? Why don’t you take the Phonetic Challenge and find out?
The Phonetic Challenge is one of the exercises on the Language Link Online web site, available to all Language Link Vietnam students. For those of you who are not students, we’ve presented it below.
Please note: you need a browser with Adobe Flash software to play this game. If you are using an iPad or a computer with no Flash, we’re sorry.
Ugh, grammar. Does anybody like grammar? I sure don’t. However, if you want to learn English properly, you can’t ignore the basics. And grammar is a BIG basic!
This is the first article in what we hope will be a series of monthly posts on grammar. We’re going to take one grammatical headache each month and shed a little light on how you can make it work.
Understanding Time One of the key points about English is that for every verb we use, for every action we describe, we need to be clear about WHEN it happens. English language learners often say things like:
I go Lenin Park.
This drives listeners crazy. WHEN DOES THE ACTION OCCUR? Did you go in the past? Do you go every week? Are you planning to go next weekend? You must make the time clear: is it past, present, or future? Your listener NEEDS to know.
With more than 800 million users, Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking site. Most people use Facebook to connect with friends, play games, and post photos, news about what they are doing, or interesting things they find on the Web.
All these things are good, but have you ever thought of Facebook as an educational tool? Can you use Facebook to learn English? Well, why not?
Here are five ways you can use Facebook to improve your English.
In our earlier post, Tips for Success in Foreign Universities, we talked about how important it is for students to develop skills that will help them succeed when they study abroad. This is what Language Link Vietnam’s International Foundation Year (IFY) Programme is designed to do!
In this video, Todd Lando, LLV’s IFY Programme Manager, tells students how they can enter the program and develop the academic skills they need to study abroad.