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Sunday, November 28, 2010

VocaTube - Vocabulary related to the Office and Work

VocaTube

Videos from YouTube help us to be up to date or have a good time; we believe they can also be a powerful educational tool. At Learn English Online blog we’d like to use some of the millions of videos available on YouTube to improve your English vocabulary.

Videos for this entry are about the topic of the office and its related vocabulary, you’ll learn vocabulary and sentences useful not only at the office but also at any job.

Remember that vocabulary can only be improved with practice and listening through repetition. It’s difficult for everyone to understand from the beginning but you’ll notice that the more hours you listen, the better your understanding.

Essential English Office Vocabulary – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

Another video with basic Vocabulary – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

Video that shows the vocabulary at the office along with examples of use and descriptive images – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Good video with vocabulary and sentences to understand the use in context – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Excellent subtitled video from Mr Duncan where he explains the most important office English vocabulary – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Very good video that explains the most common phrases and expressions for making phone calls in English – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Learn to talk about what you did at work in the past in English (past continuous) – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Let’s finish this VocaTube with a bit of humour from a funny video related to the office – advanced English



Link to the video on YouTube
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Write a Guest Post for Great Exposure

Guest Post

Did you know that writing a guest post is one of the best ways to get your name out there and increase your visibility on the Internet? If you are an English teacher, a student, a company or simply a blogger that would like to get some links to his/her blog, you should seriously consider writing a guest post.

At Learn English Online we have always encouraged and given the opportunity to anyone interested in writing a guest post for the blog. Moreover, your article will normally be translated to Spanish and also published in our blog Aprender Inglés Online.

There are many benefits to writing a guest post:
  • You’ll make yourself known (as a person, a company, a Web page or a blog), increasing your visibility on the Internet.
  • Your guest post will reach more than 2500 subscribers of the blogs.
  • + 4000 followers on Twitter will see your article and will be able to recommend it to their followers.
  • + 1500 daily visits to the blog will also enjoy reading your guest post.
  • You’ll get two links per article and per blog, making a total of 4 links per guest post (2 links in the article in English plus 2 links in the same article translated to Spanish).
If you kept reading, we assume that you’re interested in the possibility of writing a guest post. You should know that there are also some general rules that every guest post should follow:
  • Our readers love reading good articles so the guest post should be of a reasonable standard, both grammatically and topic-wise.
  • The topic should be about a free online resource to learn English online, a document describing an English lesson (about vocabulary or grammar for instance) or a guide to learn English using a free tool on the Internet.
  • Guest posts should be unique and should have not been published before on any website or blog.
  • Recommended length for the guest post is between 1 and 2 pages (in a text editor as Word). Although some exceptions based on the article would be accepted.
Last but not least, some examples of guest posts that have been written for the blogs are:

Learn English Phrasal Verbs Using 3 Powerful Tips
Aprende los verbos compuestos (Phrasal Verbs) utilizando 3 buenos consejos

Think in English, Change your Facebook Account to English
Piensa en inglés - Cambia tu cuenta de Facebook al inglés

Netlingo - The Dictionary of the New Technologies
Netlingo - El diccionario de las nuevas tecnologías

How to Prepare for the TOEFL
Cómo prepararse para el examen TOEFL

If we have convinced you and you’d like to write a guest post, please contact us at the following email address:
Contacto LEO
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Learn English Phrasal Verbs Using 3 Powerful Tips

Phrasal Verbs 2

Quite often foreign English speakers have tendency of creating complicated, unnatural English sentences when speaking. While it’s acceptable and even necessary (to develop English writing skills and learn to express yourself) when writing, in spoken English it can lead to situations when English learners struggle to explain themselves and hesitate when speaking. That’s when phrasal verbs come into action and facilitate spoken English fluency and therefore they’re really beneficial in order to increase foreign English speakers’ confidence!

But if you’re having and impression that phrasal verbs are used only as slang phrases and educated, intelligent people don’t use them – you’d better think twice! While there’s indeed a great number of very informal phrasal verbs like ‘to stick up for’ which means ‘to defend someone when they’re being criticized’ or ‘fire away!’ meaning ‘start speaking!’, it’s very handy being able to use them as well. If you’re on a night out with English speaking folks, you’ll be able to communicate with ease as informal chat mostly consists of such phrasal verbs.

Have I finally managed to persuade you to start leaning English phrasal verbs? Then let’s get down to the business!

Tip #1. While there are plenty of English textbooks dedicated to phrasal verbs, there’s no real need to get a hold of one. You don’t need to stuff your brain with hundreds of phrasal verbs at once because you’ll simply start mixing them up! Of course, it never hurts to have one for reference, but I’d suggest you go for freely available online resources.

While there are many English learning websites where you can find lists of phrasal verbs, you need to find one where the phrasal verbs come with example sentences. You need to see in what context a phrasal verb is used to get it right!

Here’s a great website with thousands of phrasal verbs with examples. You can use it when picking new phrasal verbs to learn and also to look up meanings of new phrasal verbs you come across when learning English.

Tip #2. When choosing which phrasal verbs to learn, go for the most commonly used first! Here’s a list of the essential English phrasal verbs, and even if you learn only half of them, your spoken English will definitely become more fluent!

Learning English is often not so much about quantity as quality. You see – any person has active and passive vocabularies. Your active English vocabulary contains all the English words you can actually use when speaking, but passive is all the English words you recognize but can’t really use when speaking. So while it’s definitely useful to recognize meanings of plenty of phrasal verbs, you can add only a limited number of phrasal verbs to your active vocabulary in a given period of time.

That’s why it’s crucial to pick out the most commonly used ones and start using them when speaking English!

Tip #3. Pick a few phrasal verbs – one to three every day – and write them in your pocket dictionary. Memorize them by repeating a good number of times until the phrasal verb settles in your mind.

IMPORTANT! Always learn phrasal verbs within context! Don’t memorize a single phrasal verb, instead repeat and memorize a phrase that contains it!

So instead of memorizing only ‘to pass around’ learn the whole phrase ‘to pass test papers around’. By memorizing phrasal verbs this way you’ll make sure you can use them in real English conversations later on. If, on the other hand, you memorize only the exact phrasal verbs, you might struggle using them when speaking. You’ll be forced to constantly kind of look them up from your inner dictionary and it will hamper your English fluency. But if you have them imprinted in your mind as part of natural English phraseology, you’ll be able to use them automatically.

Of course, it’s important that you pick relevant phrases. Don’t learn a phrasal verb phrase ‘to get away with stealing a million’. Are you really going to talk about stealing a million on a regular basis? Use your judgment and learn a phrase that is meaningful and would be used regularly, like ‘to get away with being late’. Just think of similar situations in your daily life and pick expressions that you would use!

Guest post from English learning enthusiast Robby Kukurs. Robby writes about improving spoken English on his blog EnglishHarmony.com. He also regularly posts videos about improving English fluency on his YouTube channel.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

VocaTube - Vocabulary about the Human Body on YouTube

VocaTube

Do you know how to express in English the different parts of your body? Like for instance the most important parts or some more specific like the muscular system? Don’t worry if your answer is negative as we bring you the solution.

In this new post about the VocaTube series, we present several videos with which you’ll learn vocabulary related to the human body. Moreover, videos are sorted according to the level s of difficulty (from the elementary to the advanced level) so you’ll be able to jump and watch only the ones you’re interested in.

Remember that vocabulary can only be improved with practice and listening through repetition. It’s difficult for everyone to understand from the beginning but you’ll notice that the more hours you listen, the better your understanding.

Learn how to pronounce and write several body parts (head, eye, nose, ear, mouth, hand, arm, leg, foot and stomach) with the following video – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

Funny video with the body parts explained by a pumpkin – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

Good video where you’ll find an explanation of the body parts explained by a cartoon – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

How to spell different parts of your body – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

Fantastic subtitled video where Mr Duncan explores the human body and look at some idioms and what happens when you are sick – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Very good subtitled video about the human body, health and exercise from Mr Duncan – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Respiration 3D Medical Animation – advanced English



Link to the video on YouTube

The muscular system – advanced English



Link to the video on YouTube

The digestive system – advanced English



Link to the video on YouTube
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Learn English with your iPhone using the Free App from Babbel

There is no doubt the use of mobile phones is increasing every day and there are now many people who use their phones not only to talk or text but also to check their email or browse the Internet.

Moreover, with products like the iPhone and services like the Apple Store, there are more than 200,000 apps available to provide our phone with a lot of extra functionality. Babbel also wants to lead the use of apps to learn languages and that’s why they have released a free app to learn English using your phone.

This app has more than 3,000 words in total (with vocabulary from the basic to the most advanced levels) so you can improve your level of English at any place. One of the strongest points of this app is its speech recognition functionality that allows you to test and practice your pronunciation.

Babbel - speech recognition

This new audio feature includes analysis of pronunciation in real time and evaluates all facets of speech. The technology works as follows: When a learner repeats a word or a phrase, an algorithm compares his or her pronunciation to that of a native speaker, and immediately gives an evaluation of the similarity on a scale of 0-100. If the pronunciation scores over 50, that means it is generally understandable. At the learner’s discretion, the pronunciation can then be repeated to perfection.

By the way, this app to learn English is also available for other products of the Apple family like the iPod Touch or iPad. Hence, it is not critical to have an iPhone in order to enjoy it.

Register for free at Babbel and download its wonderful app for the iPhone
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why Using Phrasal Verbs Is Crucial For Fluent English

Phrasal Verbs 1

English phrasal verbs consist of a simple verb combined with a short word called particle – such as ‘on’, ‘up’, ‘down’ and similar. Typical examples of English phrasal verbs are ‘to put down’, ‘to find out’, and ‘to come back’ and as you can see the meanings of these simple phrasal verbs are self-explanatory. Obviously ‘to put down’ something indeed means that you have to put the respective object down, and you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that ‘to come back’ means exactly what it is – ‘to come back’!

Not on all occasions, though, a phrasal verb has a direct meaning. Let’s look at a phrasal verb ‘to look forward to’. If we take this phrase literally, it would mean ‘to look straight ahead’. However, in this case you have to think of yourself looking ahead into the future awaiting on an important event. OK, I have to admit that it is actually possible to guess its meaning. Even if you didn’t know the meaning of ‘to look forward to’ before, you’d still probably understand if someone told you: “All right, I have to go now. I’ll be really looking forward on meeting you again!”

But what if I told you: “I think we’ll have to put it off”? Would you still guess that the phrasal verb ‘to put off’ means ‘to postpone’? I think you have to agree that it’s not that easy, and here we’ve arrived at the vast amount of different English phrasal verbs that you have to learn before you can understand their meanings and start using them in your daily conversations. ‘To get by’, ‘to get along’, ‘to call off’, ‘to run out’ – all these seemingly simple yet so distinct phrasal verbs have meanings you’d never think of yourself!

‘I’m making enough money to get by’ means that I have just enough money to afford the basic things.

If I’m asking you: “How are you getting along with your new co-workers?” I want to find out if there’s a friendly atmosphere among you and your new colleagues.

And if you just used up the last sheet in the printer, you can tell your team-leader: “I just ran out of paper, can I get some please?”

So as you can see, you need to know meanings of these exact phrasal verbs to understand them even within context and also to be able to use them! Taking into account that there are hundreds of phrasal verbs in English language used in every possible life situation, you simply can’t ignore them!

You’re probably thinking – “Phrasal verbs? All right, it sounds useful, but is it really that necessary? If I haven’t paid much attention to them by now, surely I can do without them in the future!” Well, I have to tell you that you’re not entirely right in saying that. Of course, you can do without them, but you’ll miss out on so many benefits that the phrasal verbs can give you that it just wouldn’t be wise. And by the way – did you notice that I used two phrasal verbs in the previous sentence – ‘to do without’ and ‘to miss out’?

So here’s why phrasal verbs are actually crucial for any English learner!

First of all, you have to become aware of the fact that spoken English is literally packed with phrasal verbs. And as you definitely want to learn efficient English communication, it’s important that you learn to speak fluently and easily. So while there’s nothing wrong with using formal words like ‘to extinguish’ and ‘to dismantle’, using their phrasal verb versions ‘to put out’ and ‘to take apart’ is so much easier in a conversation!

Traditionally English is studied using textbooks that are written using quite formal language, and that can be one of the reasons why foreigners struggle with effective English communication. You see – English language you’ve used to read and write doesn’t always follow the same patterns as spoken English. I’m not saying that normal English grammar doesn’t apply when speaking. Nonetheless, phrasal verbs definitely change the language and make it more friendly, easy-to-understand and easy-flowing.

To clearly see my point, let’s compare two sentences – one in formal, written English and the other – spoken English.

Let’s say, this is what it says on your work contract: ‘Company’s employees are required to inform the management about taking the annual leave at least sixty days in advance.’ And this is what your new manager tells you on the induction day: “You have to hand in a holiday request at least sixty days in advance.” Do you see how a formal request is being paraphrased in conversational English using the phrasal verb ‘to hand in’? And mind this – it’s not only about informal conversations!

Phrasal verbs are being used all across the board starting from chatting with your friends during a lunch break and ending with company meetings! Imagine yourself asking your boss: “Would you like me to break down the first quarter’s sales figures as well?” The same question can be asked this way: “Would you like me to calculate regional sales figures for the first quarter as well?”

Now pronounce those two sentences. Don’t you agree the first one is easier to pronounce and it kind of ‘flows’ out of you mouth easier? It’s all because the phrasal verb ‘to break down’ consists of simple English words and eliminates the need to use a whole string of words ‘to calculate regional sales figures’!

And if this still hasn’t convinced you that phrasal verbs are a must-have for any English learner, here’s the second aspect.

As you saw in the example with the phrasal verb ‘to break down’, you can easily substitute a string of long words with a single phrasal verb. That makes the English conversation natural and fluent, and you have to agree that spoken English fluency is one of your English language study’s main goals!

Until now you’ve probably held the opinion that the bigger your English vocabulary becomes, the more fluent you’re automatically going to become. Most likely you’ve just focused on working with textbooks and using other techniques to memorize as much English as possible. While technically it is true and you can’t speak English without vocabulary, you also need to be selective as to what vocabulary you use in your spoken English.

What I’m trying to say is that on many occasions it will be much easier for you to speak English if you go for more natural, friendly means of expression, and phrasal verbs provide you with exactly that!

And by the way – phrasal verbs make your English speech sound more like that of a native English speaker. While there’s nothing wrong being a foreigner and you should never be ashamed of your origins, speaking in a native manner definitely makes your speech more understandable and it’s only a bonus.

So if you learn at least the most commonly used English phrasal verbs, you’ll definitely increase your overall English fluency and understanding. If you can say a sentence like: “You can end up being broke if you carry on gambling” you’re going to sound more native and easy-going than if you said: “You risk eventually becoming broke if you continue gambling”.

And here’s another great benefit to using and knowing English phrasal words. You can start speaking fluent English much sooner if you learn phrasal verbs as they consist of simple verbs that you’re already familiar with. Majority of English phrasal verbs are formed using basic verbs like ‘to get’, ‘to take’, ‘to make’, ‘to look’, ‘to bring’, ‘to give’ and similar. So instead of learning and memorizing plenty of new formal English words you can use your existing basic English vocabulary wisely and form dozens upon dozens phrasal verbs. This way you can start speaking fluently much faster and work on building up your formal English vocabulary afterwards!

Guest post from English learning enthusiast Robby Kukurs. Robby writes about improving spoken English on his blog EnglishHarmony.com. He also regularly posts videos about improving English fluency on his YouTube channel.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

VocaTube - Vocabulary about the seasons, months, days and time on YouTube

VocaTube

Videos from YouTube help us to be up to date or have a good time; we believe they can also be a powerful educational tool. At Learn English Online blog we’d like to use some of the millions of videos available on YouTube to improve your English vocabulary.

Videos for this entry are about the topic of time and its related vocabulary like seasons in a year, months of the year and days of the week.

Remember that vocabulary can only be improved with practice and listening through repetition. It’s difficult for everyone to understand from the beginning but you’ll notice that the more hours you listen, the better your understanding.

Funny song for children with the days of the week – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

The days of the week in English pronounced very clearly – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

Song with the months of the year – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

Learn American English explains how to tell the time in English – elementary English



Link to the video on YouTube

Catchy song with the days of the week and months of the year – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Very good song for children with the seasons in a year – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Telling the time in English – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

A very interesting lesson from Mr Duncan about the time (subtitled video) – intermediate English



Link to the video on YouTube

Dr Ticktock explaining the difference between AM and PM – advanced English



Link to the video on YouTube

Dr Ticktock minutes: seconds, minutes, hours and days – advanced English



Link to the video on YouTube

Video that explains how to calculate the elapsed time – advanced English



Link to the video on YouTube
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