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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
What if I told you there’s a tool that can expand your English vocabulary and improve your writing – and it’s 100% FREE? Would you be interested?
Well, there is such a tool, and it’s called a thesaurus. Learning to use a thesaurus is one of the best things you can do to develop your vocabulary and writing skills.
What A Thesaurus Can Do For You
A thesaurus can add style to your writing and make it more interesting to read. Consider this sentence:
I had a great vacation and did a lot of interesting things.
Is that an interesting sentence? No, not at all. But let’s put a few of these words into the thesaurus and see what comes up:
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!
Why do people have TWO ears, but only ONE mouth? Because listening is twice as hard as speaking!
Understanding spoken English can be difficult, especially if the speaker is talking very fast. Problems include:
- Feeling frustrated because you do not understand every word
- Only understanding people when they speak slowly
- Finding it hard to keep up with all the information
- Getting tired during long listening
Like all skills, listening takes practice. The following SIX tips will help you improve your listening skills.
Think of how you learned your native language. You listened for a long time before you ever began to speak. Reading and writing came much later.
Of all the skills, listening is the skill that helps you develop fluency: the ability to speak naturally. But just as you learned your native language, you need to listen a lot more than you speak. The sooner you get into the habit of listening to English, the faster you will develop your skills.
There are thousands of websites that will help you build your English listening skills. But how do you know which sites are good? And do you know how to use them?
The websites below are all excellent quality and will help you improve. We’ve included some notes to help you use these sites effectively. Happy listening!