• October 2, 2014

Reading aloud in ESL classroom

Reading aloud a piece of text is not a very popular ESL activity. Many ESL teachers say that reading aloud is unrealistic because it is never done in real life, we never read aloud in real life. That might be true, but the situation is quite different when we are talking about learners of English. [read the full article ...]

  • September 30, 2014

Rise-fall tone followed by a tail

We find a similar situation in the rise-fall tone case as we have seen with the fall-rise tone. If the tonic syllable is followed by a single syllable in the tail, the “rise” part of the tone takes place on the tonic syllable (the first one) and the “fall” part on the second syllable (see the examples below). [read the full article ...]

  • September 27, 2014

Fall-rise tone followed by a tail

Identifying a fall or a rise tone is not very difficult but a fall-rise tone is much more difficult to recognize especially when it is extended over a tail. When that is the case, its characteristic pitch movement is usually distorted or broken up by the structure of the syllable they occur on. [read the full article ...]

  • September 25, 2014

Speaking practice in pairs or groups in ESL classroom

Everybody says that pair work and group work are among the best approaches when it comes to speaking practice in an ESL classroom. I totally agree if we would live in a perfect world, but we don’t. When it comes to speaking practice one of the advantages of pair work (or group work) in an ESL classroom is that students feel more comfortable speaking to each other than speaking with the teacher. Definitely, it is a very effective way of practicing speaking skills.

As I said, we don’t live in a perfect world, so the right conditions for doing speaking practice in pairs or groups is not always appropriate. [read the full article ...]

  • September 18, 2014

Pitch possibilities in the simple tone-units

Two important things have to known: tone is carried by the tonic syllable and intonation is carried by the tone-unit. These two things are going to be analyzed in this article. [read the full article ...]

  • September 16, 2014

The structure of the tone unit

The tone-unit has a very clear internal structure and the tonic syllable is one of its components. There are two types of tone-units: simple and compound. Each simple tone-unit has only one tonic syllable. [read the full article ...]

  • 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

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