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).
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.
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.
I want to ask you four questions that will help you think about whether you are a good language learner. Answer these questions honestly:
- Are you aware of your own learning style, and do you try to learn in ways that suit you?
- Do you do things outside of class that give you the chance to learn and use English?
- Are you curious about English? Do you try to understand how the language works?
- Do you have a realistic sense of how long you’re willing to learn English, and try to overcome your feelings of frustration?
For years, researchers have known that some people are better at learning languages than others. The question is why.
While it is true that people have different learning styles – and some methods may not be appropriate for all learners – it is also true that there are some qualities that all effective language learners share.
Here are four qualities shared by all good language learners.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an entire television station producing high-quality video programs designed to help you learn English? Well, I have news for you: there is! It’s the Australia Network, and whatever your English level, you can find professionally produced and entertaining programs to help you build your skills.
The Australia Network is Australia’s international television service. It streams Australian programs all over the world, via television and the Internet. Along with news, sports, and entertainment, the Australia Network also produces a number of video programs designed for English language learners. You can find all these videos online at http://australianetwork.com/learningenglish/. And best of all: they’re free!
Consider the following learning situations, and decide which one YOU would prefer:
- You record a university professor giving a lecture. Later, you listen to the lecture again at home.
- Your teacher draws a lot of words and diagrams on the white board. You copy those words and diagrams in your notebook.
- Your teacher asks you to work on the computer. He doesn’t give you a lot of explanation; he lets you figure things out on your own, but is willing to answer questions.
All three examples represent good teaching and studying techniques, but if you prefer one situation over the others, it may tell you something about your learning style.
What is a learning style? Your learning style is how you, personally, like to learn. By understanding your learning style, you can find study strategies that will help you learn best.
Language Link Vietnam’s Board of Managers (BOM) creates the school’s executive strategy and is responsible for heading all major departments. The BOM has two foreign and two Vietnamese members.
It may be interesting for you to know that all four BOM members have a background in language education, both as teachers and as learners. Watch these short videos to:
- Practice listening to authentic English
- Test your understanding
- Get free, practical study tips from the people who run the school
To get the most from these videos, first listen and try to answer the questions below, before you look at the answers!
Watch the videos! →
I’m certain you’ve heard of the BBC: the British Broadcasting Corporation. It’s the largest broadcaster in the world, providing TV, radio, and online services to thousands of households in the UK and beyond. But did you know that the BBC has been helping people learn English since 1943?
The BBC launched its Learning English website in 1996, and it currently has 1.5 million registered users. The site features print, audio, and video materials, along with downloadable lessons and worksheets. Content is based on real news events and stories, and updated daily by English experts in the UK. Some material is designed for teachers, but most is designed for students. And it’s all free!