• September 9, 2014

The tone-unit

As we have seen before, some of the world’s languages are “tonal languages”, in which using one tone instead of another one can cause a change in the dictionary meaning or in some cases even the grammatical categorization. English Language do not use tones in this way though tones are used for other purposes. Such languages are called intonation languages. In previews posts we looked at five tones found in English one-syllable utterances but that is not the end of the story because when we look at continuous speech in English utterances we find that these tones can be identified only on a small number of particularly prominent syllables. So, for the purpose of analyzing intonation we can define tone-unit as a unit generally greater in size than the syllable is needed. In its smallest form the tone-unit may consist of only one syllable so it would be wrong to say that it is always composed of more than one syllable. In order to better understand the concept, given examples are much better than a classic definition. The examples are given in spelling form and no punctuation is used. The reason for not using punctuation in these examples is that intonation and stress are the vocal equivalent of punctuation, so that when these are transcribed it would be confusing to include punctuation as well. The syllables that carry a tone are in bold. [read the full article ...]

  • August 26, 2014

Tips on learning English – Tip 14 – Learning new vocabulary words

I can’t stress enough how important learning new words is. But, unfortunately, it is the most difficult task. You need to know lots of words in order to be able to speak English. In this short post I am going to give you a few tips on learning new vocabulary words. [read the full article ...]

  • August 22, 2014

English tones and their functions

Although English language uses tones, it is not a tonal language (like Vietnamese and many others, for example). Tones in English language don’t change the meaning of the word, like they do in a tonal language. In order to exemplify some functions of English tones, I am going to use the words “yes” and “no”, and marks placed before them. [read the full article ...]

  • August 10, 2014

ESL Lesson Plan – My best friend – the dog

Level: Intermediate
Topic: Pets, dogs
Aim of the lesson: Talking about your pet
Length of the lesson: 45 minutes

Content:
The lesson
Explanations for teachers [read the full article ...]

  • August 9, 2014

Tips on learning English – Tip 13 – Reading and translating

Reading and translating is a great way to learn new vocabulary because you read a book and translate the words you don’t understand. Now, there are two dilemmas: what books should I read and what words should I translate. [read the full article ...]

  • August 7, 2014

Intonation in English language – form and function

What is intonation? I couldn’t find a satisfactory definition anywhere; however, one thing is certain: the pitch of the voice plays the most important part because the pitch of our voice is constantly changing when we speak normally. If you want to analyze intonation, then you have to analyze the pitch and see what it is doing. It can be described as high and low, but remember that these are arbitrary choices for end-points of the pitch scale. [read the full article ...]

  • August 6, 2014

ESL Lesson Plan – The Solar System

Level: Intermediate
Topic: Solar System
Aim of the lesson: Writing about our solar system
Length of the lesson: 45 minutes

Content:
The lesson
Explanations for teachers [read the full article ...]

  • August 5, 2014

Tips on learning English – Tip 12 – Do not move up to a new level too early

Below is a true scenario described by an acquaintance who has been studying English for ten years now and her English is still at the level it was after the first six months. The scenario stops after the first six months …

You are a learner of English who really wants to improve your English so you take an English course at the best language center in your area. The course lasts three months and you study 3 days/week, each day for two hours. You don’t speak any English at the beginning but after the first three months your English is pretty good considering that you have been studying for just three months. Does it sound familiar for you? [read the full article ...]

  • August 3, 2014

ESL lesson plan – Recycling

Level: Intermediate
Topic: Recycling
Aim of the lesson: Practice speaking in the context of recycling
Length of the lesson: 45 minutes

Content:
The lesson
Explanations for teachers [read the full article ...]

  • August 2, 2014

Linking in English language

I mentioned in a previews article about the mechanical speech machine that produces words as separated units. Listening to such speech, produced by a machine like that, will definitely seem strange even for a learner of English. In real speech, English language speech by native speakers of English, the words are linked together resulting in a natural speech impossible to be realized by any machine and difficult to be reproduced by learners of English. [read the full article ...]