How To Make Smoother Conversation

Learn to speak English fluently at Language Link VietnamQuestions 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

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Best Websites for Learning English: English Central

Language Link Vietnam teaches you to study English effectively, on your own

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.

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Take the Phonetic Challenge!

In an earlier post, we told you about the International Phonetic Alphabet, also known as the IPA.

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:

/ˈfɔrɪn/

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.

Making Sense of Tenses

Learn more about grammar at Language Link VietnamUgh, 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.

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