Debido a la situación que se está viviendo a nivel mundial, muchas universidades, colegios y escuelas de idiomas entre otros, se han visto obligados a cambiar su forma de enseñar a través de las clases online.
You can give a huge boost to your English speaking and listening skills through watching movies and TV shows. Many times while watching a movie or a TV show, we get caught up in the flow of the story and a part of our mind remains in that imaginary world with “the end” text appearing on the screen. In fact, some of us can’t stop wondering what it would feel like to meet the characters we watch or be in their place. For this reason, we pay utmost attention to every detail in the movies/TV shows. Moreover, thanks to this attention, we try to understand the dialogues in the movie word for word and repeat the lines of our favorite characters. This passion, consciously or unwittingly, helps us to improve our English skills.
One of the most important reason that makes watching movies suitable for improving English is that it is a fun activity. Beginners can use subtitles from their native language when watching movies in their original language (or exact opposite) to learn new idioms, phrases, words and understand how they are used in real conversations. If they want, they can rewind or fast forward the film and be more careful where they don’t understand. In addition, advanced English speakers may use native subtitles or no subtitles at all. More importantly, when you go back to study English or going to have a conversation in English, you need to keep alive the gains from this activity. For this purpose, you should strive to continue your English studies without interruption and to practice as much as possible.
We begin our list with two famous classics from 1950’s: On the Waterfront (1954) starring Marlon Brando and 12 Angry Men (1957) with great Henry Fonda. The best feature of these movies for English learners is both movies consist of natural and powerful dialogues. In the first movie, you will see how the main character fights back against the corrupt union boss. 12 Angry Men is a courtroom drama focuses on a jury’s deliberations in a murder case. Moreover, it can be regarded as a single-set production movie which means all the story happens just in one place. Thus, it provides plenty of monologues and dialogues during the screen time.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) is a movie based on the true story and it’s about an armed robbery that didn’t go as planned. The best thing about this movie is all the dialogues were improvised which means it is possible to hear very natural English from actors. As we mentioned above, single-set production movies are very rich in terms of monologues and dialogues. The Man from Earth (2007) is also can be regarded in this category. Its story begins with a college professor “John Oldman” becomes a subject to mysterious interrogation when he reveals to his colleagues that he is thousands of years old.
The last suggestion is very useful in terms of getting familiar with different English accents. First, Kingdom of Heaven (2005) is an epic historical drama that tells the story of the fall of Jerusalem during the 12th century. In the movie, there are many characters from different nations which makes it very easy to distinguish between different English accents.
Il existe deux versions de l’examen IELTS : la version académique et la version générale. Voici un petit guide pour comprendre la différence entre ces deux tests.
Premièrement, il est bon de savoir que les deux versions du test sont composées des 4 sections suivantes: Compréhension écrite (Lecture), Compréhension orale (Écoute), Expression écrite (Écriture) et Expression orale .
Certaines parties de l’examen sont similaires et d’autres sont différentes d’un examen à l’autre. Par exemple, l’écoute et l’expression orale sont identiques aux deux examens alors que la lecture et l’écriture diffèrent selon le type d’examen.
Pour les deux parties consacrées à l’écoute, il faut écouter un total de 4 monologues et conversations et ensuite répondre à une variété de questions. Cette partie dure environ une demi-heure et l’on ne peut écouter le dialogue qu’une seule fois.
Pour les deux examens, dans la partie consacrée à l’expression orale, il faut répondre à des questions sur des thèmes familiers, en parlant de manière continue et fluide pendant environ une à deux minutes par thème. Vous répondez aussi à des questions sur des thématiques plus vastes et abstraites. Cette partie de l’examen se fait de manière individuelle face à un seul examinateur. Cela dure entre 11 et 14 minutes.
Pour la partie “Academic Reading” (la lecture), il faut lire 3 longs textes et répondre à quelques questions à leurs sujets. Ici, il s’agit de textes de nature académique. Vous avez une heure pour terminer cette partie.
Pour ce qui concerne “General Reading”, il faut aussi lire 3 textes et répondre à une quantité de question à leur sujets. Ces textes sont plus centrés sur des thèmes plus généralistes ou relatifs au travail.
Pour l’expression écrite IELTS Academic, if faut écrire deux dissertations : la première est un résumé des informations venant d’un document: cela peut être un tableau, une image, un graphique, un diagramme, etc. La deuxième rédaction est un essai. Le candidat dispose d’une heure au total pour finir les deux exercices d’écriture.
Pour l’expression écrite IELTS General, il y a aussi deux rédactions à fournir : la première consiste à rédiger une lettre. La seconde est une dissertation. Le temps est d’une heure aussi pour finaliser les deux travaux.
Maintenant, vous avez appris un peu plus sur les similarités et les différences entre le test académique et le test général IELTS !
Extensive reading – what is it?
Well, it’s like intensive reading: intensive reading for English classes or finding answers for your YES / NO /NOT GIVEN questions in IELTS, but for fun! Extensive reading is reading something that you enjoy or are interested in and lots of it; extensive reading is just reading, and it should be for enjoyment, interest or pleasure.
Reading is a mental activity as opposed to TV which is not; TV is purely visual (although TV is good for listening comprehension and pronunciation among other things, but that’s another story).
Everyone including those of us learning a second language can benefit from extensive reading. Carrel and Grabe (2010) argue that language learners can improve their comprehension and vocabulary by doing a little extensive reading. According to Julian Bamford and Richard Day (in Kreuzova 2019) you should read as much as you can on a variety of topics that you have chosen; the materials should be easily understandable to you from books, newspapers and magazines.
Extensive reading is moving away from the intensive reading of answer identification in your Cambridge, TOEFL or IELTS exams, and the reading skills of skimming and scanning toward a more relaxed form of reading; the kind of reading you do on the sofa because you want to, because there is nothing on TV or there’s nothing on your streaming service worth watching. So, think about what you like to read; are you interested in reading about what English-language newspapers say about your country or region; are you interested in learning about your own country’s history from another perspective? Like cooking? Read a few recipes? Remind yourself, what do you like reading in your own language: try reading the same in English.
I was surprised when I started to learn about British history from the Spanish and Argentinians. I never knew the British invaded Buenos Aries in the nineteenth century. I never knew the Dutch sailed up the Themes and stole the English flagship. It has also been suggested that extensive reading helps in examination results, make them more aware of the grammar when they are reading, increase a learner’s reading proficiency and by extension their vocabulary learning (Prowse, 2000) and (Liu and Zhang 2018).
There are other beneficial effects. It is generally believed that reading develops your concentration. When you’re watching TV, you’re probably doing something else: chatting, eating, doing your nails, interacting with social media, but reading, well reading is a different matter.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love binge-watching The Man in the High Castle on a lazy Saturday afternoon trying to forget work. With a book, you need to concentrate and focus on what is written and everything that it implies. Which brings me to another thing reading improves: your imagination. You can lose yourself in a character or situation, imagining yourself in their situation. Imagine yourself as a different person or asking yourself what you would do in such a situation.
In turn, reading is a good de-stressor; you are more likely to read when you’re in a quiet room, with no TV and oblivious to the world outside and exercising the most important organ in your body – your brain. So, while you are doing whatever you are doing like channel hoping, you are not using your imagination. We switch off our imaginations, but with a book we use our imaginations to a greater extent. Reading enhances your verbal skills; TV is visually-based media and normally uses short and simple sentences whereas books contain complex language more than you would find on TV or in a streaming service. This means using a greater range of vocabulary, longer sentences and more complex sentences; you can become aware of punctuation. So, go and borrow a graded reader from your school’s resource centre, borrow a book from the city library or read some on-line articles in magazines or newspapers on-line.
by Chris Scott, March 2020
Carrel, Patricia. L., and Grabe, W. (2010). Reading. In: N. Schmitt, ed., Applied Linguistics, 2nd London: Hodder Education, Page 215- 229.
Sarka Kreuzova 17 July 2019, Encouraging Extensive Reading, English Teaching Professional (1 09), viewed 31 December 2019, < https://www.etprofessional.com/encouraging-extensive-reading >.
Philip Prowse (2000), The secret of reading, English Teaching Professional, (13), viewed 2 January,2020, < https://www.etprofessional.com/the-secret-of-reading >
Liu. J., and Zhang. J., (2018). ‘The Effects of Extensive Reading on English Vocabulary Learning: A Meta-analysis ‘, English Language Teaching; Vol. 11, No. 6; 2018, viewed 2 January 2020, < https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1179114.pdf >
English has a lot of words that can be easily confused not only by those of you learning English, but also by those of us studying English, and by ‘native’ speakers. English is a rich mix of different influences; very little survives of the original Celtic language from the original inhabitants of the British Isles apart from place names such as York; Church Latin brought by the Roman’s persisted until the sixteenth century; the Germanic Anglo-Saxon ‘settlers’ colonised the eastern and southern part of Britain by the 5th century. Then came the Viking invasions in the 9th and 10th centuries; they brought the influence of Old Norse. In 1066, the Norman conquest of England began bringing a heavy Norman French influence. Then with Britain’s expanding trade and eventually Empire new words entered the language brought not only by the British but the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch empires thought trade.
There are also many inconsistencies in spellings; there are homographs (wind and wind), homophones (capital and capitol) and homonyms (produce the verb and produce the noun).
Confusion can come about when the meaning is misunderstood by the listener. When we learn a new language, or study our own language, enter a new job or read a new book we are confronted by new words that can confuse us in the form of faddy neologisms or jargon.
It took me a few days to stop using the Spanish word coger in South America; I could no longer coger el colectivo I had to tomar el colectivo (take the bus) in South America. In English there are a number of ways we can confuse ourselves; the first are the superficial differences between the ‘Englishes’ usually to do with spelling or semantics – the meaning of a word. For example, there were two computer programmers; one from America and one from England. When the English programmer and finished writing his program, he sat down to watch a TV programme; then, when the American finished her program she sat down to what her TV program. Which program or program you use depends on where you are and what you are doing. In the next two examples the meaning of each sentence is different; In England it is quite acceptable to say “I’ve never seen such a gorgeous ass”; you would be complimenting someone on their donkey, but using the exact same words in the United States could land you in gaol or is it jail? I get easily confused by these two words. There are also confusions brought about by time, for example, until the early twentieth century, it wasn’t unusual for people of a certain education to say, “I’m feeling rather gay today.” This meant “I’m feeling rather happy.” During this time people sometimes said they felt rather ‘queer’ or strange; both gay and queer have different meanings today – in the early twenty-first century; these are prime examples of the semantic shift in words. England also has a fantastic culinary tradition; one such culinary delight is the faggot; I love faggots and regularly eat them – faggots in England are large meatballs by the way. However, I am sure this is still an arrestable offence in some parts of the United States and the wider world.
Time has also changed the meaning of wicked and cool; in the late 1990s they meant something like fantastic or really good. In today’s news media the words snowflake and gammon have taken on a new meaning. These words are often used as terms of abuse in the news media it is debatable how much they are used outside the confines of newspapers and troll or water armies. Confusion can also occur through pronunciation; in the American ABC comedy TV series Modern Family the character Gloria Delgado-Pritchett played by the American-Columbian actor Sofía Vergara is asked by her husband to get some baby cheeses and she orders lots of baby Jesuses. But there is also confusion brought about by homophones; for example, which of the following means to be still or not moving? In her Grammarly blog Top 30 Commonly Confused Words in English, Brittney Ross mentions two confusing words: Complement and Compliment; both words are spelt differently; they both have different meanings but the same pronunciation both for the verb and noun forms. So, what happens when we hear these words, how do we learn how to spell them? Stationary or stationery? Confused? It’s common to confuse these two words even among so-called ‘native’ speakers, so look at the two words in context: The train was stationary, so I popped into the stationery store and got these envelopes and pens. How do I get around the problem? In my head I tend to stress the final vowel in both words and remember the context; that helps me remember the spelling. And there are the principles and principals: There are fundamental principles we all live by; one of them is that we shall not steal. Many school principals have at least a master’s degree is the headmaster of a school. How do you remember which is which? Well you could use spelling mnemonics; for example, my pal is a school principal. The other way of confusing you is the non-transparent spelling system; we don’t always mean or say what is written; in English vowels aren’t pronounced or used. Take, for example, the word chocolate; in Spanish all the vowels are pronounced, in English we are lazier and drop the second ‘o’ vowel sound, so it’s pronounced as choclate.
So, knowing how a word is pronounced and practicing can often help our spelling, but there is also the problem of the spell check; how many of us have used the spell check and this marvellous device has sent the wrong word making us look completely illiterate? Embarrassing isn’t it! As Brittney Ross says in her Grammarly blog Top 30 Commonly Confused Words in English ‘your word might be spelled right, but it may be the wrong word.’ We also have the double entendre is a figure of speech that has two meanings or interpretations; this form of ambiguity can cause confusion in meaning, for instance, newspaper headlines are notorious for this; take for example this headline, ‘Strikes to Paralyse Travellers’; does it mean that travellers will be physically paralysed or does it mean that the infrastructure will be paralysed and travellers won’t be able to travel? Anther confusing example is that 21 taxes choke tourism operators – Parliament cries; a parliament crying because tourism operators were choked by twenty-one taxes!
Chris Scott February 2020
Brittney Ross [n.d.], Top 30 Commonly Confused Words in English, Grammarly blog, viewed 30 December 2019, < https://www.grammarly.com/blog/commonly-confused-words/ >.
Mirror.co.uk 17 August 2016, Strikes to Paralyse Travellers, Mirror, viewed 30 December 2019, < https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/strikes-to-paralyse-travellers-638297 >
Richard Annerquaye Abbey January 24, 2019, 21 taxes choke tourism operators – Parliament cries, viewed 30 December 2019, https://thebftonline.com/2019/editors-pick/21-taxes-choke-tourism-operators-parliament-cries/