Language barriers holding back global science

[Language & Science ★★]

wwsalliance1

(P1) Language barriers are holding back science around the world. English is the language of science, but a third of research is not printed in English. Researchers from the University of Cambridge said scientists miss a lot of important research. They said journals should have summaries of a study in many languages. They also said universities should translate research into different languages, especially Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

(P2) International companies are asking staff to use only English to reduce language barriers. Germany’s Volkswagen announced that English is its official language. It wants to attract employees. Japan’s carmaker Honda said its staff must use English by 2020. Researcher Tatsuya Amano said scientists need to be serious about this. He said the WHO missed important research about avian flu in China because it was in Chinese.

WORDS: 133

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1701/170104-language-barriers-1.html

VOCABULARY: barriers, holding back, printed, journals, reduce, official

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Is learning English important in your country? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think more international companies should ask their employees to use English? Why or why not?
  4. What is the most difficult skill for you to learn in English?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How much research in science is not published in English?
  2. Besides English, what other four languages should research be translated into?
  3. Small local companies are asking their employees to speak English. (T or F)
  4. The approved language for Volkswagen is _______________.
  5. WHO is an organization that overlooked a lot of information about the __________ flu because it was written in Chinese.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • English is the language of science (P1)
  • miss a lot (P1)
  • must use English by 2020 (P2)
  • missed important research (P2)

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Image source: by Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information https://worldwidescience.org/archive.html

Different American Accents

[Language ★★★]

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(P1) Many English learners and teachers often point out the  “American accent”. The problem here is that there really isn’t one single American accent but many. Researchers don’t agree on exactly how many different accents there are but it could be anywhere from 20 to over 100!

(P2) The dialect spoken by TV announcers and actors in the USA is often called “General American English”. People who speak general American English pronounce words like “hot” and “not” with what is called an unrounded vowel. So these words sound like “haht” and “naht”.

(P3) On the east coast of the USA, in places like New England, there is a small difference here. The “r” in some words is often not enunciated. The first syllable in words like “parking” are often pronounced as “pah-king” with a strong “a” sound like “cat” or “man”.

(P4) New York City has a peculiar dialect by itself. Much like the New England accent, the “r” is sometimes not pronounced but the “a” sounds are not as strong. A word like “carnival” would probably sound like “caw-na-val”.

(P5) As we move down into the southern states, the american accent becomes quite different. The final “r” on words is usually dropped. So when someone says “summer day” in the south, it can often come out as “summah day”. In some words, a vowel can be said with two or even three different sounds. For example, in general, American English, the “a” in “cat” is pronounced with only one sound. Southerners, however, might pronounce the “a” in cat as “kei-yat”.

(P6) There are many many other accents and dialects in American English. One accent is not any better or worse than the others. However, it’s useful for tourists who visit America to understand the accent where they are planning to visit. Don’t be surprised if you hear more than one of these accents or even a medley of them during your stay.

WORDS: 314

SOURCE: http://dreamreader.net/lesson/american-accents/

VOCABULARY: point out, unrounded, enunciated, peculiar, southerners

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Does your country have different dialects and accents? If yes, can you explain them?
  3. Why do you think there are so many different accents in the USA?
  4. Do you prefer one English accent over another? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How many different american accents are there?
  2. The accent used by ___________ and ____________ is mostly a general American accent.
  3. People who are from the New England States generally don’t pronounce the ____ in words.
  4. The New York City and New England dialects are not alike in some ways, especially when pronouncing r. (T or F)
  5. It’s helpful for tourists visiting the USA to know which accent is used where. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • the problem here (P1)
  • could be anywhere from 20 to 100 (P1)
  • what is called (P2)
  • by itself (P4)
  • not any better or worse (P6)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kufm/files/styles/x_large/public/201506/american-flag-_pd_.jpg

English Learning Tips for Beginners

[Language ★★]

love_english

Six ideas to help beginners learn English faster:

1. Listen to English every day

  • Listen to English radio
  • Watch English TV
  • Go to English movies

2. Make an English/ESL friend

3. Read English stories

  • Start with children’s books
  • Try ESL readers
  • Read advertisements, signs, and labels

4. Write down new words

  • Start a notebook for new words
  • Write words in alphabetical order (A, B, C)
  • Make example sentences

5. Keep an English diary

Start with one sentence.

  • How do you feel?
  • How is the weather?
  • What did you do today?

Write another sentence tomorrow.

6. Visit an English-speaking country

  • Learn English more quickly
  • Stay with an English family
  • Hear native speakers talk

WORDS: 120

SOURCE: https://www.englishclub.com/learn-english/tips-for-beginners.htm

VOCABULARY: go to, makeup, dialogues, labels, write down, diary

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What are your goals to learn or improve your English?
  3. Do you have English speaking friends? If yes, describe them. If no, do you want one? Why or why not?
  4. What English speaking country would you like to live in? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. The article mentions 3 listening activities. What are they?
  2. One way to practice English is to create your own conversations. (T or F)
  3. Learning new words helps to improve your English. (T or F)
  4. Writing sentences and words into a journal is not recommended. (T or F)
  5. What are three things you can do in English-speaking countries to learn English?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • ESL friend
  • start with children’s books
  • make example sentences
  • stay with

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Image source: by “unknown” https://i1.sndcdn.com/avatars-000148519513-teqoc3-t500x500.jpg

IELTS Writing strategies

[Language ★★★]

comp-ownership-by-edu

Spend 20 minutes on Task 1 (150 words) and 40 minutes on Task 2 (250 words). Task 2 is longer than Task 1 and is worth twice as many marks.

Before you write

  • Read the task and make a mental summary of the key points and overall trends/stages.
    Why? Because if you misinterpret the data or diagram, you will lose a lot of marks for content.

As you write

  • Introduce the information, in a sentence or two, using your own words.
    Why? Because if you copy the question, the examiner will not count these words.
  • Summarize the key points and use data to illustrate these.
    Why? Because you will lose marks if you miss key points or fail to illustrate them.
  • Include an overview of the information – either in your introduction or conclusion.
    Why? Because you will lose marks if your answer does not contain an overview.

How you write

  • Try to show that you can use your own words (wherever possible) and a range of grammatical structures.
    Why? Because you will get more marks for vocabulary and grammar if you can do this.
  • Divide your answer into paragraphs and use linkers to connect your ideas.
    Why? Because you will get more marks if you can organize your answer well and use a range of linking and reference words.

When you have finished

  • Count your words to make sure you have written enough.
    Why? Because short answers lose marks. (There are no extra marks for long answers.)
  • Check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
    Why? Because mistakes in these areas can reduce your marks.

WORDS: 264

SOURCE: http://www.ielts-exam.net/ielts-preparation-tips/IELTS-Writing-strategies.html

VOCABULARY: marks, misinterpret, illustrate, overview, linkers

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Do you agree with these strategies? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you want to take the IELTS exam?
  3. Is it important to practice and study for the exam? Why or why not?
  4. Would you recommend this article to another English learner? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Task 2 is shorter than task 1.  (T or F)
  2. Will you lose points if you do not include an overview? (Y or N)
  3. It’s not important to use connectors. (T or F)
  4. If you write too much, your score will be lower. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Mental summary (before you write)
  • Wherever possible (how to write)

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How to learn SPEAKING and pronunciation

[Language ★]

speaking

  1. Talk to yourself
    Talk about anything and everything. Do it in the privacy of your own home. If you can’t do this at first, try reading out loud until you feel comfortable hearing your own voice in English.
  2. Record your own voice
    This might feel very uncomfortable, but it will help you find your weak pronunciation points. Listen to yourself a few days later. Which sounds do you have difficulty hearing?
  3. Use the telephone using English
  4. Participate in class – don’t be shy
  5. Learn common idioms
  6. Understand the sounds that your language doesn’t have
    For example, many languages don’t have the “r” sound. These sounds require extra practice.
  7. Recognize that teachers are trained to understand you
    When you get out into the real world, average people will have a more difficult time understanding you unless you practice speaking slowly and with proper pronunciation.
  8. Practice minimal pairs
  9. Study word and sentence stress
  10. Practice tongue-twisters
  11. Learn common phrasal verbs 

WORDS: 167

SOURCE: https://www.englishclub.com/learn-english/how.htm

VOCABULARY: privacy, uncomfortable, idioms, minimal pairs, tongue-twisters, phrasal verbs

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you like to record your voice? Why or why not?
  3. Are you a shy person? Why or why not?
  4. Are there tongue-twisters in your native language? If so, when did you learn them?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. You shouldn’t practice talking to yourself to improve your speaking. (T or F)
  2. How many tips does the article give to help improve speaking and pronunciation?
  3. The general native English speaker will have a more difficult time understanding an English learner. (T or F)
  4. You don’t have to learn verb phrases to speak better. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following phrasal verbs mean?

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Image source: by “unknown” https://i1.wp.com/s8.postimg.org/72frylo2d/pronunciation_5.png?resize=350%2C200

Tips for Learning & Improving English

[Language ★★★]

best-tips-for-improving-your-english

(P1) Whether you are a foreign student or a native speaker, English skills can always be improved. There are many tried and true tips for learning English. These are five English tips that are often taught to the foreign language speakers coming into English. These tips not only help you learn English, but they are also tips on improving English skills.

1.) Read a book, newspaper or journal in English that is just above your current level of reading with a dictionary. This will help you learn new vocabulary words in a fun way. This is also a great tip for improving English in a technical field. Even by spending a mere 15 minutes a day, your skills can improve drastically.

2.) Listen to speeches or watch movies or documentaries in areas you aren’t familiar with are fun tips on improving English. This activity will help improve listening and vocabulary at the same time. At first, you can use subtitles then turn the subtitles off when the listening part of this activity becomes easier.

3.) Although less fun, learning grammar is an essential tool for English. Knowing English grammar inside and out is one of the top tips on learning English. This should be tackled at the same time as both reading and listening exercises so that you understand how the sentence is constructed and can manipulate it later to suit your needs.

4.) Keeping a diary allows you to utilize all of your English skills that you’ve been practicing with reading, listening, and grammar. As a bonus, you can go back over your entries and grade yourself, noting where you can improve more. This is one of the greatest tips on improving English at any stage of learning the language.

5.) When you feel you are ready, go for total immersion. This means surrounding yourself by English speakers. Of all English tips, this one will test all of your skills.

(P2) After all your hard work, don’t forget to reward yourself. Learning English is difficult, but with these tips on learning English, you will get better.

WORDS: 345

SOURCE: http://www.5minuteenglish.com/learn-english-tips.htm

VOCABULARY: journal, mere, drastically, essential, tackled, manipulate, entries, immersion

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What is your opinion about these tips?
  3. Which English skill is more important to you: reading, speaking, listening, or writing? Why?
  4. Which of these tips are you currently using? Do you plan to start using the others? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How many tips does the article suggest to increase your English proficiency?
  2. Can native speakers also improve their English by using these tips?
  3. The article states learning grammar is more fun. (T or F)
  4. Which tip will force you to use all your English skills?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Tried and true tips (P1)
  • Suit your needs (tip #3)

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Image source: by “unknown” https://cambridgeesolde.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/top-tips-for-improving-your-english.png