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Rules for Natural English Speaking

While speaking English may seem easy from afar, it is will be important for you to incorporate a strong set of rules in order to be a successful and natural sounding English speaker.

Whether you are traveling to Britain, America, or any other English speaking country, you will want to prepare yourself to mesh with citizens of that nation. Pay close attention to the following set of rules in order to help yourself gain comfort and speak the best English you can!

  1. Don’t focus on grammar! —We know—grammar is important! Your teachers and tutors have likely been beating this into your head for years. While learning grammar is key when you want to pass tests, this isn’t usually the case in normal conversation. Truth be told, more foreign English speaker are aware of English grammar principles than native speakers! So, don’t sweat the small stuff. Worry more about what you’ll say to make new friends, get around town, and communicate with people around you.
  1. Educate yourself on key phrases. —As previously mentioned, you’ll have basic needs that will have to be met whenever you arrive in an English speaking country. You’ll need to have food and shelter. If you don’t know how to say anything else, you must be able to communicate well enough to meet those needs. As you go on through your studies, seek to memorize key phrases like “I would like to order a hamburger” or “I will be staying in the hotel for two nights.” Memorizing phrases like these will help you to be more confident in your ability to fend for yourself and make your transition to English speaking stress free.
  1. Use appropriate tools. —In the age of the internet, there is so much information available at the click of a button. Unfortunately, not all of this information will be helpful to you. As you choose the appropriate online course that will prepare you for your latest ventures, keep this in mind. Seek to learn from people who are native English speakers and can give you supplemental material that will beneficial for you.

Sounding and feeling like a native English speaker is no easy feat. It takes time, patience, and tons of practice. But, when you get the hang of it, you will surprise yourself, your closest friends and family, and even native English speakers you come into contact with.

Whatever your reasons for joining an English speaking environment, adhering to these three rules will help you to speak English naturally and fluently. With sessions with SkypEnglish4U, we will capitalize on these steps and include them in your everyday lesson plans. Each student is different and has different reasons for learning English.  We will work together to make sure those goals are being achieved with your practice on Skype.

Joining an online ESL course will get you on the fast track to being comfortable with your English skills. Join today and take advantage of this affordable experience!

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Using English in the World of Information Technology

The world is changing at a very fast pace and the people working behind the scenes in the IT industry all around the world are making this possible.

When I started teaching, I was really surprised at the number of students I had that were software developers, programmers, project managers, etc… all in the bustling IT world.  As time went on, I learned more and more from my students about the industry and what their job responsibilities were.

The beauty of practicing Business English on Skype, is that I don’t have to know everything about YOUR job in order to have a conversation about it.  My responsibility is to get YOU talking about it and strengthen your vocabulary related to your job and general grammar structure.

Why do IT professionals need to know English?

I asked a few of my students to explain why it is important for them…

As a Software Developer you need to know English in order to keep up with cutting edge technologies: English is the “official” language for talks, conferences, summits, blogs, technical articles and documentation.

Nowadays, companies from around the world work together so you also need to know English to attend meetings and understand your colleagues. Finally, if you want to work for the best IT companies you might end up moving abroad to an English speaking country and then…you’d better speak English!   

Alberto Rodríguez de Lema

 

Having good English skills is very helpful for my daily work as an IT professional because most of the IT relevant books are only available in English. In my role as programmer it is also required from most of my customers to write the documentation of the program code in English. Many of my colleagues and customers are located in different countries and the common language for negotiating, chatting, training is also English.

Having English sessions on a regular basis with Jessica helps me a lot to stay fluent and to feel confident for my daily work as an IT professional.

Volker Tontsch

 

Being a software developer means learning something new everyday. Ability to speak English exposes you to the endless source of information and allows you to communicate to and exchange experience with professionals from all over the world.

Pavel Prokopenko

There you have it- The real deal from real life IT dudes.

 

Bustling  (verb) move in an energetic and busy manner
The Real Deal (idiom) The bare truth or facts of a matter.

*practice using these words in the comments section and I will check them and give you feedback*

Are you moving to an English speaking country? Here are 4 benefits of Online English Courses

Different people want to learn to speak English for different reasons.

Let’s face it: English is the most popular language in the world and a lot of doors have been open for people who have taken the time to thoroughly master this language.

If you’re planning to move abroad to a country where English is the official language, it is imperative to be able to know the language in order to survive. Studying English can be beneficial for both the young and old, and will certainly help you to gain success in a world that may seem totally different to you. Luckily for you, online English courses make it possible for you to study for this influential change in your life without even having to even leave your home. Keep scrolling to learn the four best reason to advance your English skills in an online environment.

  1. Online ESL Courses will help you to gain employment. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to go to an English speaking country like Britain or the United States without at least a conversational knowledge of English. Taking English sessions online will help you to obtain the career of your dreams easily.
  1. Learning ESL online will help you to get along with natural English speakers. You will find that, as in any country, people will expect you to adapt to their native tongue. Failure to do so could lead to frustrating misunderstandings and possible annoyance from English speakers. Being able to speak to citizens of a country will help you to get into their good graces and allow you to network peacefully.
  1. You will gain a better understanding of the rules and regulations in another country. Every country operates in a different way. No two governments and laws are exactly alike. Therefore, it is imperative to be able to read and comprehend important documents pertaining to a different nation’s system of rules. Unfortunately, in today’s world, it is easy enough to get into trouble. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law, so the sooner you get to this part, the better!
  1. You will easily blend in with your new community. Learning English will help you to make new friends and have beautiful social experiences. You will soon be making memories that you won’t soon forget. With your new English skills, you will be able to share pieces of your culture with others and simultaneously receive such information from them. Soon enough, people will be appreciating you for your vast experiences and inviting you to community and social gatherings all the time.

Taking SkypEnglish4U sessions online will give you the time and space to prepare yourself for the next big journey in your life. At your own leisure, you will be able to put in the necessary practice to improve your language skills. Though learning a new language certainly isn’t easy, you will have all of the necessary resources to succeed at your fingertips.

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IELTS Practice Sessions on Skype

I have helped many students successfully achieve the score they needed on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam.  

Students take the exam for different reasons.  Many of the students I have worked with needed it as part of their visa application process because they wanted to relocate to Canada or Australia.  The other large percentage of students were taking it as part of the entrance requirement for a university program which would be taught in English.  Some students were asked by international companies to take the exam so the company could see exactly what level of English they had.  Lastly, some students just take it for themselves.  They want a goal to work towards and decide to take an exam to push themselves and for some, force themselves to study because they know that exam is coming up.  

SkypEnglish4U IELTS Sessions

Many students purchase IELTS books and use the endless resources on the internet to help them prepare for the exam.  That is great, and I definitely recommend reading anything you can about the exam, but that method doesn’t include speaking practice.  You can read all about the speaking section, possible question topics and example answers, but that is all passive learning.  If you really want to be ready for the speaking portion of the exam, you need to actually practice speaking.  Speaking by yourself in the mirror is a great way to get comfortable for the speaking section, but the mirror doesn’t make corrections and give you feedback.  

During my IELTS practice sessions on Skype, speaking and writing are the two parts of the exam that are  most efficiently practiced online.  As with all of my sessions, the student decides our path and  what they want to focus on.  For example, some may only want to focus on IELTS speaking part 2, while others want to focus on improving their writing and then fill the remaining time with speaking practice.  Each student is different, so I make sure that they are getting exactly what they need.

IELTS on Skype

IELTS Speaking 

During the speaking portion of the exam, you will have a one-on-one discussion with a certified examiner. The examiner will follow the test format with the 3 different sections, but will adapt their questions based on your answers to be as close to a real-life situation as a test can get.  This is why reading about possible test questions is not enough.  You really have no idea what they may ask.  

During our sessions together we can simulate an exam using actual IELTS questions used in past exams.  Part 1 starts with the general questions and topics.  For part 2, I will time you and give you suggestions on how to use the time wisely.  Finally, we’ll practice the part 3 follow up/conversational questions.  While we go over the different topics, I will make notes in the Skype chat box with vocabulary and grammar corrections and suggestions for you to see as we are speaking and also to review later on.

The speaking section is usually the part that students get the lowest score on because they don’t have experience with actual speaking.  Speaking out loud in English about anything will help you with this exam.  Opening your mouth is the first step.  I have worked with students who have never spoken English before our first session, but studied every IELTS book out there.  On the exam day, that knowledge that you learned from the book is not going to come out of your mouth all by itself.  You must practice using what you have learned.  

IELTS Writing

Whether you are taking the General IELTS or Academic IELTS, both require two different types of writing activities.  If IELTS writing is something that you are interested in practicing, I will send you the topic before our session and you write it on your own time and then we review it together using Google Documents (if you can not access this in your country, there are other ways to do it).  

Over the years, I have really noticed quick improvement from many students from using this ‘reviewing/editing together’ process.  With Google Documents, we both see the edits and changes, so it is an active learning process.  If you just send someone your document and they correct it on their own, YOU are not a part of the reviewing process.  It is much better to be actively involved and be able to discuss the changes and ask questions.

Writing is an active process.  You are using your knowledge to create something.  Many students don’t practice this section of the exam enough.  They think that because they can read well and understand most things, that then they can write well.  Another common mistake that students make is to not practice writing with the time you are allowed during the test.  I suggest that students start to practice writing with no time limit and once they start to feel comfortable with the essay format, start to keep track of the time.    

IELTS is an exam which was designed to test your level of English.  Everything that you read, speak, write or hear in English is going to help you prepare for the IELTS exam.  

Be Prepared

Because the examiner is a human, there is no knowing what questions they are going to ask.  You need to be ready to speak about anything and everything (not just the practice questions from the IELTS prep books).    

Taking a test is stressful all on it’s own.  Taking a test in a foreign language takes it to a whole other level.  Put your mind at ease and invest some time in practicing for the exam with me online and feel more comfortable with your level when you walk into the exam.

 

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What are the Differences: Speaking with a Professional Teacher on Skype, Language Exchange and Language Partners

Active Practice.  I am always talking about active practice and actively speaking and using English.  How can you do this online?

To actively practice you have to produce the language- mainly speaking in this case (writing is also great too!)  I’m an online English teacher, so speaking with me (or any other teacher) is an excellent way to get practice, but there are other options out there that you can do it for free.  Let’s have a look and compare the pros and cons of speaking with a professional teacher, doing language exchange and having language partners.

Sessions with a Professional Teacher

Pros

  • Native Speaker- Unless you are a beginner and need someone who can speak your language to explain things to you, you should be doing English sessions on Skype with an English native speaker so that you can hear their pronunciation and try to speak like that yourself.
  • Corrections- Professional teachers will identify your mistakes and correct you.
  • Pronunciation- Besides you hearing their pronunciation, they will listen to yours and make suggestions on how to improve it.
  • Knowledge- Professional teachers have certifications to teach English as a foreign language as well as knowledge gained through working with other students.  They know what works and what doesn’t based on previous experiences.  They can work with students of all levels.
  • Consistency– Speaking with the same teacher will help you to feel comfortable while speaking English and this leads to improvement and confidence.
  • Organization- There is a topic planned before each session and the teacher is there to make sure that you are getting the best experience possible during your time together.

Cons

  • Cost- Depending on where you live in the world, the price of native English speaking teachers may be out of your price range.

Language Exchange

Language exchange is when you find someone who wants to learn your language and you want to learn theirs.   Usually you split the time in half – half your language / half their language.

Pros

  • Cost- Language exchange is free!  You give some of your time to help someone and they do the same for you.
  • Flexible- There are web-sites that connect people who want to speak English at any time of day- like http://www.speaking24.com/
  • Camaraderie– You feel as an equal with your language exchange partner because you are both learners.
  • Pronunciation- If both people are native speakers, it is a great opportunity to pay attention to pronunciation and natural speech patterns.

Cons

  • No organization- a common complaint I have heard from students is that they don’t know what to talk about when they meet for language exchange.  Who is in charge of the conversation?
  • Lack of consistency- People come and go.  You may have a chat with someone one time and then they disappear, so then you have to search to find someone new and you repeat the same “where are you from” “what do you do?” basic conversation.
  • Lack of knowledge- Unless you get lucky and your language exchange friend is a teacher, you will most likely not be getting the type of corrections that you would from a professional teacher.  Even though they are a native speaker, they won’t have the experience in explaining grammatical structures and why you use a certain word in a certain situation.

Language Partners

Language partners are very similar to language exchange, but you are both learning the same language so you use your time together to speak in a common language.   It has some of the same pros and cons as language exchange, but the main difference is that usually neither of the partners is a native speaker of the language being used.

Pros

  • Cost- It’s free!  Just sign up for a site like https://www.interpals.net/ and start your partner search.
  • Friendship- You may meet someone who you get along with really well and share common interests with and a friendship can be formed from across the globe.
  • Practice- You get to speak.  Sometimes people just need to open their mouth and start speaking.

Cons

  • Non-native speakers- You may get lucky and find a native speaker who will just chat with you in their native language (without practicing yours), but generally people are looking to practice their spoken English, so the emphasis is on speaking and finding someone who will listen- no matter who they are.
  • Difference of level- Finding someone at your level may be difficult, especially the for intermediate and advanced speakers.  Often the partner sites are full of beginners and lower level students.
  • Lack of correction- If both people are learning, they may not have the knowledge of the language to identify each other’s mistakes and make corrections.
  • Lack of knowledge- Language partners are just normal everyday people, so they don’t have experience leading a class nor with explaining things.

 

Pros and Cons (plural noun) the favorable and the unfavorable factors or reasons; advantages and disadvantages 
consistency (noun) the ability to remain the same in behavior, attitudes, or qualities
camaraderie (noun) mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together
*practice using these words in the comments section and I will check them and give you feedback*

 

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Understanding Suffixes : English Grammar

Suffixes are a letter or group of letters added at the end of a word which makes a new word.

Learning how suffixes are used in English, can help you to improve your understanding and comprehension of the English language.  There are two types of suffixes used in English.

Inflectional Suffixes 

Endings are added to a word for grammatical purposes, but they never change the word class.

ENGLISH INFLECTIONAL SUFFIXES

Derivational Suffixes 

Endings change the meaning and create a ‘new word’ and the word class changes.  Nouns can turn into verbs, verbs into adjectives and adjectives into nouns… it gets kind of crazy!  In the chart below you will find some basic examples, but there are many more out there.

Derivational suffixes English Grammar

 

This is a good video explaining the different types and showing examples.  Youtube is an excellent way to sharpen your grammar skills while practicing your listening.

[embedvideo type=”youtube” id=”pYdIjc85tRc”]

 

Something to try… when you are reading something in English (on paper) go through the text and look for all of the suffixes and circle/highlight them.  You will be amazed at how many you will find.  Use one color for the inflectional ones that you find and another color for the derivational suffixes.

LINDA’S PROFILE

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Practice English on Snapchat

Practice English on Snapchat by chatting back and forth with me in English

Take advantage of social media and get free practice using English on Snapchat.  I will be posting daily ‘stories’ and sharing things from my life and English vocabulary.

  • Don’t know what Snapchat is?  Have a look here at this tutorial >> Snapchat 101

This is a great way for people to get practice USING English.  Over the years, I have learned that most of the students that I talk to have a great passive vocabulary, but are just missing the opportunity to speak and use that English they have stored in their mind.  From an early stage in language development, you can read and understand things, but producing language, especially in the spoken form, is more difficult and requires practice.

Enough of the boring stuff, onto the fun!  How can YOU use English on Snapchat?

First of all, follow me : SkypEnglish4U

English on Snapchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find your friends from contacts or by searching and you can also ‘friend’ many celebrities.  You and your friends can ‘snap’ back and forth as a normal messenger system, except that the messages disappear after a short time.

I will post ‘stories’ with different things and while you are watching them, you can swipe up and respond to me directly.  I encourage you to send me a snap, better yet a video snap so that you can practice speaking.  You can send me a question, respond to my ‘story’ or just tell me about something, ANYTHING really.  Get involved and active with your English.  I look forward to hearing from you!

tutorial (noun) a book, computer program, etc., that teaches someone how to do something by explaining each stage of a process
take advantage (idiom) to make use of something well; to make use of an opportunity
*practice using these words in the comments section and I will check them and give you feedback*
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Learn Real English: 9 Words for this Holiday Weekend

Learn Real English: 9 Words for this Holiday Weekend

Today, and this weekend, is a holiday in many countries. A friend and I decided to go on hike in the beautiful village of Deep Cove, near Vancouver. As a result of it being a holiday weekend, here are some words I was thinking about and want to share with you!

1. Long Weekend

A ‘long weekend’ is a 3 day weekend, instead of the normal 2 day weekend. This weekend the extra holiday day is today, Friday, so the weekend is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. People here LOVE long weekends!

2. Spring Break

‘Spring Break’ is usually one or two weeks where students do not have to go to class during the spring season. A ‘break’ is a time of rest from work, so this is a time when students rest from their work as students!

3. Get away

Get away (verb) - to escape or break free
Get away (verb) – to escape or break free

Many people who work or study love the long weekend or their spring break because they can ‘get away’ – which means to be free from their work and go far away from their work or the normal stress of their lives! Today there were many people on the hike who wanted to “get away”.

4. Escape the Rat Race

Definition of Escape
escape (Verb) – to be free from a place where you do not want to be, or run and be safe from danger
Definition of Rat Race
Rat Race (noun) – a word to describe the way that people work too hard to get money and power, and how they can not escape this circle of more, more, more….a comparison to rats in science experiments.
Image credit to artist Polyp.

Many people want to get away on long weekends to escape the rat race for a while. People work very hard and the opportunity to get away from their hard work is very welcome!

5. Unwind

Definition of Unwind
Unwind (verb) – to relax

People who are feeling very tired of the rat race and who need a break often say they need to ‘unwind’ (pronunciation of wind is not like the noun, the verb is pronounced,/waɪnd/ ) The idea of unwind is to relax a body that is feeling tight and stressed.

6. Crowds and Crowded

Definition of Crowds and Crowded
Crowds (plural noun) – Many many (maybe TOO many!) people
Crowded (adjective) – when there are too many people

When my friend and I were on the hike today, there were so many people that wanted to get away on their long weekend that the hike was VERY crowded!

7. Parking Spaces

Definition of parking space
Parking Spaces (Plural Noun) – The area where you can park (put) your car

It was not only the hike that was crowded! When we arrived to the village of Deep Cove we had to drive around for almost 30 minutes to find a parking space!

8. Traffic Jam

Definition of traffic jam
Traffic Jam (noun) – A time when cars can not move on the road because there are too many cars

We were lucky in one way. It was a very busy day, but we did not get stuck in any traffic jams. I am sure that in other parts of the city and other parts of the world there were many traffic jams on this busy long weekend, but we got away with no traffic jams!

9. Bumper to Bumper

Definition of bumper to bumper
Bumper to bumper (adjective phrase) – a description of cars in a traffic jam

 

Another adjective phrase we often use to describe a traffic jam is bumper to bumper. We did not experience a traffic jam today, or see any bumper to bumper traffic.

 

I hope you enjoyed this long weekend/Spring Break vocabulary lesson. Please share below on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus or wherever your friends are who need vocabulary help! You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google Plus to continue to get posts about English language learning. Thank you and I hope some of you can join me this summer on an English Language Intensive Travel Experience to learn more Real English!

 

This and more helpful articles can be found here > http://englishretreats.ca/learn-real-english-9-words-for-this-holiday-weekend/

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Learning by Doing

There are many ways to learn a language.

You can read – a grammar book, a book for fun, a blog, or beautiful phrases.

You can listen – to audiobooks, tv series, podcasts, or music

You can watch and see – a whiteboard in a classroom, a picture dictionary, a movie

You can speak – in a classroom, in a hangouts chat group or on the bus to a new friend

Usually when people start to learn English they will learn with grammar books, classroom whiteboards, movies, music and classroom speaking practice. All of these methods have value and will help you in your goal of improving your language abilities, but I have found that often the most valuable learning comes in the moments in when you are LEARNING THE LANGUAGE IN A NATURAL CONTEXT.

For example, if you are learning the language to use in a restaurant, you can read about it in an English textbook, you can watch a restaurant scene in a movie, or you can read the words a teacher writes on a whiteboard. These are all helpful. Sometimes it feels less stressful to begin to learn the language OUTSIDE of the natural context (in a classroom or in a book) but the moment that you actually connect with the language and REALLY UNDERSTAND how to use it is when you are actually IN the restaurant. When it is REAL English.

This learning that is done in the moment is called experiential learning, or LEARNING BY DOING. This is why full immersion is such an effective way to learn a language. When you put yourself in a situation where you must use the language in all the every day moments of life, you learn language in the most effective way.

 

There is a saying from Confucius.  “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” 

 

I have created a unique English learning program to give people the opportunity to learn by doing and to learn in an environment that is beautiful, fun and relaxing. It is not in a school. It is not in a classroom. It is outdoors, in nature. It is a small group of new friends. It is many moments of every day learning opportunities. There will also be specific English skills, and reading, and grammar and whatever is necessary to help the learning process. There will be the best of learning before you.

This and more helpful articles can be found here > http://englishretreats.ca/learning-by-doing/

Andrea’s Profile

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500 Most Common English Words

This list of 500 common words in English is a good place for beginners to start learning the foundation of the language or for advanced students to really test themselves.

Vocabulary is the foundation of language.  Without the words, you can’t make the sentences.  Many students get overwhelmed at the thought of learning ‘all of those words’.  Everybody learns differently, so you need to figure out what is best for you!  If you are an organized, laid-out-plan type of person, this list of the 500 most common words in English is a good place for you to start.  Do you prefer more of a random style of learning?  This list will be great for you as well.

  • Come up with a plan of attack: I’ve grouped the words into clumps so that it is easier to identify small groups of 10 words instead of looking at a list of 500 words.  Decide on a number that you want to focus on per day/per week.  3 a day seems to be a popular number with students or 15 a week if you have less time to spend on it.  You decide what works for you best.  If you miss a day it is not the end of the world, pick up where you left off.
    • Make paper note cards
    • Make electronic flash cards (Quizlet & Anki are both popular)
    • Use a whiteboard 
    • Have a notebook with the words ANDthe words used in sentences
  • Random sampling: Save this list and each day just point to a word and use it in a sentence.  Do not just say it in your mind and tell yourself, ‘Cool, I know this word’.  WRITE IT DOWN or record yourself saying it.

500-most-common-english-words.pdf

Pronunciation

Now that you KNOW the words, it time to pronounce them correctly!  Have a look at this link here > Pronunciation in English: 500 Common Words

As you look at the words, click on VIDEO in each column to watch video lessons on the sounds and word lists.  Soon you will be pronouncing 500 common words according to American English pronunciation. Plus, you will feel confident about American English sounds.

Practice

Practice makes perfect!  You have to use the words in order to really KNOW them.  Practice speaking with a native speaker and in no time, you will feel comfortable and confident with your English speaking>>  SkypEnglish4U Online Sessions

Plan of attack (noun) ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation