Wednesday, December 31, 2008
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a great 2009. We’ll come back next year with news for the blog, including more interesting resources, exercises and learning guides. We are also thinking about some competition with presents for our readers.
Best of luck and keep going with the learning of the English language for the next year.
Have a look to some funny videos of a pretty crazy elf that we found dancing in different places.
Get yours in ElfYourself
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Do you have difficulties when pronouncing English phonemes? If your answer is affirmative, we present you today a website that will help you to improve your level of English phonetics. It is a Web page from the University of Iowa that contains flash animations of the phonetic sounds of English, Spanish and German.
With regard to the English language, the animations are available for the 44 English phonemes (divided into vowels and consonants) and explain with a video and a step-by-step description how to manipulate the different articulators (lips, jaw, tongue, etc) in order to pronounce English sounds.
These animations are really valuable because, apart from the audio video with the explanation about how to articulate the sound, you can also find words in context with the particular sound. Those words will act as extra support so you can consolidate your pronunciation.
In this Web page you will also find an interactive diagram showing the different components of the mouth and throat used to articulate the phonemes:
Visit The Sounds of English
Note: If you liked this post and you are looking for more free material to practise English sounds and improve your phonetic skills, don’t hesitate to visit our Phonetics section.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I hope that you enjoy that joke about the adventures of a Texan in Mexico.
A big Texan stopped at a local restaurant after a day roaming around Mexico. While sipping his tequila he noticed a sizzling scrumptious-looking platter being served at the next table. Not only did it look good, but the smell was wonderful. He asked the waiter: 'What is that you just served?' The waiter replied, 'Ah señor, you have excellent taste! Those are called Cojones de Toro. They are the bull's testicles from the bull fight this morning. A delicacy!' The cowboy said, 'What the heck… bring me an order.' The waiter replied, 'Oh, I am so sorry señor, but there is only one serving per day because there is only one bull fight each morning. If you come early tomorrow and place your order, we will be sure to save you this delicacy.'
The next morning, the cowboy returned, placed his order, and that evening he was served the one and only special delicacy of the day: Cojones de Toro. After a few bites, inspecting his platter, he called to the waiter and said, 'These are delicious, but they are much, much smaller than the ones I saw you serve yesterday.'
The waiter shrugged his shoulders and replied, 'Si, señor...
Sometimes the bull wins!'
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Steve Ford is another generous English teacher (remember Mr Duncan and mrthoth?) who prepares free videos to learn English online and then uploads them to his YouTube channel.
He speaks clearly in an American accent and many of his videos are subtitled, making them easy to understand. Moreover, the topics and contents of his videos contain some very pleasant surprises.
The videos in English are organized into three categories:
- Peppy: videos to learn grammar and vocabulary. The majority of the videos have associated activities (e.g. a video quiz at the end for reviewing new ideas and concepts contained in each recording.)
- Test Preparation: videos with very useful tips to prepare you for IELTS and TOEFL exams.
- Business: you’ll find the videos in this category extremely valuable to help you get through a job interview (in English), improve your accent (accent reduction) and increase your vocabulary.
Apart from his channel on YouTube, Steve Ford maintains a number of other websites for learning English:
Podcasts about his videos
Free activities to do online
Don’t hesitate to visit the sites and take advantage of these wonderful online resources.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Would you like to use several online translators at the same time? It’d be an advantage because then you wouldn’t have to visit different websites. That’s exactly what Jollo offers: an online resource where you can look for the translation of a word or a sentence up to 150 words or 1000 characters.
The online translators used by Jollo are WorldLingo, Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, Yahoo Babelfish, SDL and Youdao. Another strong point of Jollo is that it also looks for the translation of the sentence in the Jollo community. These translations are made and proofread by the users of the community, which means that the translations are made by people and not automatically by a translator application.
Another advantage is that if you wish to translate a very specific sentence or word in English or your native tongue and you don’t find any convincing interpretations, you can request a translation in the Jollo community. This request will be answered by the community and the sentence will appear in the Jollo “Phrase book”. In order to ensure quality of content, users can rate the translations.
Many languages are supported by Jollo. However, the ones with greatest support are English, Chinese, German, French and Spanish.
Note: In the blog we have included other free resources that you can use to translate texts or look for words in the online dictionaries.