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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Learn English Reading News - CNN Student News

CNN Student News

Does “CNN” sound familiar? … “Cabel News Network”, better known as CNN, is a television channel from the US founded in 1980. At present, CNN is the most viewed news channel in the United States. And what has this got to do with learning English?

Well, CNN offers a free service called Student News with very attractive material for practising English online. On this web site you’ll find:
  • Videos (in an American English accent) accompanied by a quick guide and a complete transcript. The content of the videos is very diverse, updated regularly and includes interesting news: the Democratic National Convention, severe weather warnings, America the Beautiful, etc. An example of a video is:

Moreover, CNN has a huge collection of audio and video podcasts about a big variety of topics: News and Politics, Business, CNN TV, Sports, Technology, Health, Entertainment, Comedy, Education and Specials. You’ll be able to listen to the podcasts of the legendary Larry King.

It is also possible to listen to the online radio which is updated News 24 hours a day.

Visit CNN Student News
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Totlol.com - Excellent Videos for Kids

Totolol

Are you looking for an enjoyable way in which the kids can learn English? Why not try funny videos in English?

Totlol is an online resource where you’ll find what you’re looking for. It is a community-moderated facility where users upload videos (found in YouTube), and the community members are the ones who decide if the videos are suitable for kids under the age of 13.

By doing this, Totlol allows kids to watch entertaining videos in English, giving peace of mind to their parents about the content.

An example of a video that you’ll find:



A very good idea for the youngest learners to enjoy online videos while learning English and having fun.

Visita Totlol.com
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Find Great Podcasts on Listen to English

Listen to English

Are you looking for interesting podcasts to practice your English with? There is a huge variety of podcasts on the Internet: about football (languagecaster.com) , from the BBC, from VOA news, from ESL podcasts and more.

Today we present you with a new web page, listen-to-english.com , in blog format that contains very interesting podcasts about different topics: Music, Phrasal Verbs, Better, Stonehenge, How much does the Queen cost?... and much more.

In every blog entry you’ll find a podcast with the complete transcription (the text in the entry) plus exercises with the related vocabulary, grammar explanations or games.

The podcasts, whose average length is between 3 and 5 minutes, are written and produced by Peter Carter, an English gentleman from Birmingham, who speaks clearly in British English.

An online resource highly recommended for learning English, improving your vocabulary, pronunciation and listening skills.

Visit listen-to-english.com
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Learn All the English Grammar Secrets

English Grammar Secrets

Would you like to learn the secrets of English grammar? We don’t have a magic formula to share with you (we wish we had!), but we can introduce you to the English Grammar Secrets web site. It is an attractive online resource with many useful lessons, facilities for proofreading and be able to clear up doubts related to English grammar.

To mention some of the lessons that you’ll find: Present Continuous, Present Simple, Past Simple, Past Continuous, Present Perfect, Past Perfect, The Future, Shall, Reported Speech, First Conditional, Second Conditional, Third Conditional, Question Tags, and a large etcetera.

Every lesson has a grammatical explanation, examples of use and numerous exercises to assimilate new concepts and ideas.

A very interesting web page courtesy of Caroline and Pearson Brown.

Visit englishgrammarsecrets.com
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Examenglish.com - Free Practice Test for Official Exams

Examenglish.com

Did you know that there are different exams that can certify your competence in English at international level?

In examenlish.com you’ll find a collection with the sort of exams that will endorse your English level and thus help you continue with your studies, improve your CV, and get a new job …

I would say that the interface of the web site is not wonderful; however this web page contains interesting information about these exams.

What we most like about this online resource are the free tests that are offered for each of the exams. These tests give us an idea about what we can expect when doing such assessments. The web page also allows us to gauge our English level and calculates the equivalent of the official exam that we would have passed.

Let’s have a look at these exams and their official web sites:
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System). IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). The TOEFL® test is the most widely accepted English-language test in the world. No matter where you want to study, the TOEFL test can help get you there.
  • TOEIC(Test of English for International Communication). The global standard for measuring English language skills for business.
  • CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English). CPE is Cambridge ESOL's (English for speakers of other languages) most advanced exam. It is aimed at people who use English for professional or study purposes.
  • CAE (Certificate in Advanced English). CAE is an exam for advanced users of English. This exam is aimed at people who can use written and spoken English for most professional and social purposes. It is widely recognised for work or study purposes.
  • FCE (First Certificate in English). FCE is an exam for people who can use everyday written and spoken English at an upper-intermediate level. It is an ideal exam for people who want to use English for work or study purposes.
  • PET (Preliminary English Test). PET is an exam for people who can use everyday written and spoken English at an intermediate level. It covers all four language skills — reading, writing, listening and speaking. Preparing for the exam is a popular way to develop and improve your language skills because it provides practical language practice in a variety of everyday work, study and leisure situations.
  • KET (Key English Test). KET is Cambridge ESOL's exam which recognises the ability to deal with everyday written and spoken English at a basic level.
  • BULATS (Business Language Testing Service). The Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) is a language assessment service specifically for the use of companies and organisations. BULATS is for organisations which need a reliable way of assessing the language ability of groups of employees or trainees.
  • ECCE (The Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English). The Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE) is a high-intermediate level general EFL exam. The ECCE emphasizes communicative use of English rather than a formalistic knowledge of English, and it is aimed at students who are able to function and perform communicative transactions in all four skill areas of the language (speaking, listening, reading, writing).
  • ECPE (The Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English). The ECPE is a test of advanced English language proficiency, reflecting skills and content typically used in university or professional contexts. The ECPE assesses linguistic, discoursal, sociolinguistic, and pragmatic elements of the English language. Receptive and productive skills (reading, listening, speaking, writing) are evaluated through a combination of integrated and discrete tasks.
  • LTE (London Tests of English). London Tests of English are designed to reward positive achievement in English language learning. These examinations - aimed at adolescents and adults - are offered at six levels to enable candidates to enter at a stage that suits them and rise through the series as their English language skills improve.
Have you done any of these exams? How did you find them?
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

SubIngles.com - Improve Your English with Songs

SubIngles.com

We have already discussed online resources with subtitled videos to learn English (Yolango, Yappr or Mister Duncan). Today we’re talking about a web page, SubIngles.com, with a collection of subtitled songs to learn English while having fun. At present it has 1,259 songs where you can listen to your favourite singers while practicing your English.

In SubIngles.com you can also find activities where you have to listen to a song and fill in the missing blanks.

As matter of interest, in YouTube there are many different versions of the same song. Personally, I liked these two versions of “Without You” by Mariah Carey:

Here’s the song by Mariah Carey:



And now a hilarious version sung by a woman who changed the song’s title to “Ken Lee”:



Joking apart, don’t forget to visit SubIngles.com!
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Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Free Dictionary - Great Online Dictionary

The Free Dictionary - Great Online Dictionary

Some time ago we talked about an excellent online dictionary: WordReference.com. We want to present to you today another online dictionary that compares favourably with WordReference. It is “The Free Dictionary”. Let’s look for the meaning of the word “thesaurus”. What do we get after pressing Search?
  • Definition of “thesaurus” in English, with the possibility of listening to the American English and British English pronunciation.
  • Explanation of the Latin and Greek origin for “thesaurus”.
  • Synonyms, related words and antonyms for “thesaurus”.
  • Translations for “thesaurus” to Spanish, French, German and Italian.
Interesting, isn’t it? Apart from this, “The Free Dictionary” has other very attractive functionalities to practice our English:
  • Medical, legal and financial dictionaries.
  • Search for acronyms and abbreviations.
  • Search for sentences and idioms.
  • Search for words or articles in different encyclopaedias (Wikipedia, Hutchinson, …).
To end, in “The Free Dictionary” you can also find:
  • Dictionaries for Spanish, French, German and Italian languages.
  • Material for Surfers of the Internet.
  • Material for Webmasters: Games, Word of the Day, Quotation of the Day, …
A web page that you shouldn’t miss!

Visit TheFreeDictionary.com
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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Learning English with Mr Duncan

Learning English with Mr Duncan

Do you know Mister Duncan? Neither did we until not so long ago … Mr Duncan is an English teacher born in Stafford (United Kingdom), who after working for 4 years in China as a teacher of English conversation, returned to the UK and decided to create free videos (uploaded to YouTube) to teach English to anyone interested in learning English online.

The main features of the videos are:
  • Average length between 4 and 10 minutes.
  • Big variety of topics: Office Words, Friends, Grammar, Slang, Technology, Time, ...
  • They are extremely funny! You will have fun while improving your English.
  • Since the ninth video [Lesson Nine (F A M E)], the videos are subtitled and we are very pleased about this because it allows you to take full advantage of these online resources.
To date Mr Duncan has created 36 videos, but this number will increase because the author usually publishes a new video each week.

Don’t hesitate to watch his videos!

Visit his channel in Youtube

Visit his Learning English Videos
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