Fluency Matters!

An activity to improve fluency in spoken and written English By Dharmendra Sheth and Hasmukh Umaria Hello everyone, The following may interest you if you are a teacher or a learner of English.Speaking in one’s mother tongue is easy; speaking in any other tongue is difficult. Let’s accept it. Non-native learners of English often face two problems when they try to express their views in English. One, they can’t find the right word or expression to convey their message. And two, they find it hard to string words together and form grammatically correct sentences. These problems are particularly noticeable in one’s speech. A number of activities can be carried out to overcome this problem. One of them is “expansion”. Take an idea, and flesh it out by adding some details, explanation or examples. To begin with, write just two or three lines to expand the main idea. Once you get a grip on how to do that in writing, you might like to expand ideas orally. This activity will invariably help you to build up your fluency in written and spoken English. Let me show you how to expand an idea using some proverbs. You can in fact take any …

Becoming a better learner of English

Your eventual success at anything really depends on you. Yes, YOU. The pivotal factor is how much effort and time you put into anything. You should be self-motivated and have a positive view of life, whatever the outcome of any enterprise. And that applies to English language learning also. Most English language learners (ELLs), whether learning it as a foreign language or a second language, want to improve their spoken English. They want to improve their oral communication skills in English. They try different types of activities and strategies, but not many succeed in acquiring a good command of speaking skills. The following are just a few tried and tested tips that might boost your pace of learning and also improve the quality of the language. The first task perhaps is to analyze your language learning needs. What is it that you want to do with English? What is your purpose? Is it just for fun or study or research or travel? When your objective is clear, you should make a plan. Plan your work and work your plan. Find out what your current level is and decide the level you want to reach. Once you have done that, use …

Tips for success in IELTS test

You may have heard people talking about IELTS, the full form of which is International English Language Testing System. People who want to study, work or settle abroad need to appear for this examination. Some of course take this test to know where they stand and use the IELTS score as evidence of their English language proficiency. The IELTS test is co-owned and was co-created by a global partnership of education and language experts: IDP: IELTS Australia, the British Council and Cambridge English Language Assessment. In India, this examination is conducted by The British Council and IDP India. It is one of the few standardized and reliable tests. There are two modules of IELTS to choose from: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. For admission to universities abroad, one has to appear for the Academic module and for migration, the General Training module. Different universities require different band scores. All IELTS scores are between 0 and 9. You can also get 0.5 scores as well (for example, 6.5 or 7.5). You will get a band score for each skill—listening, reading, writing and speaking—and also an overall band score, which is the average score of all the skills. The IELTS score …

Pronunciation Matters!

Everything teachers speak (and do) in front of students matters. Teachers who are aware of the importance of their own language—grammar, pronunciation, choice of words, levels of formality, colloquial expressions, idiomatic expressions, etc.—and its influence on their students’ English cannot afford to ignore the value of continuing professional development (CPD). One of the major areas of concern in development is pronunciation. It is worth considering how a teacher’s pronunciation influences students’ overall command of English, and in turn the effectiveness of English in his or her professional and personal life. Why does a teacher’s pronunciation matter? Well, although it may sound hackneyed, it is worth stating that language is primarily speech as a potentially powerful means of communication.Good pronunciation enhances intelligibility and effectiveness of the contents of speech. Indeed, in most Indian schools, ‘teacher talk’ is the only exposure to English for students. Therefore, the more effective a teacher’s pronunciation, the greater his effectiveness and utility. With improved speech models: 1.        students’ listening comprehension will improve. 2.        improved listening comprehension will improve their English. 3.        they will want to imitate the teachers and to improve their pronunciation. 4.        they will be better attuned to English television or radio programmes. 5.        they will become …

Language is power.

Language is power. Everyone knows that. Or ought to, at any rate. We often see some professionals more successful than others, not only because of their competence in their field of work, but also their command of language, whether it is written or spoken, their mother tongue or some other tongue. A good command of language helps one carve a niche for oneself in one’s personal and professional circles. And yet not many take this power of language seriously. And some do pay the price of neglecting it. That one would love one’s mother tongue seems obvious. But isn’t it a fact that most people speak their mother tongue badly? Their writing skill in their mother tongue too leaves a lot to be desired. If one doesn’t speak or write one’s mother tongue properly, how can we expect one to perform well in another language, foreign or indigenous? People often ask me which language or languages a young person must know to flourish in Gujarat. My answer to the question is very simple, at least in theory, and will hopefully motivate some Gujarati folks (and by extrapolation, any Indian) to learn a new language/ new languages. First, you must know your …

IF by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on …

Live (or be) in cloud cuckoo land or la-la land

If you live/be in cloud cuckoo land, you are not able to understand the real situation, and imagine that something completely impossible might happen. Example; Anyone who thinks that the government will remove all taxes lives in cloud cuckoo land. An expression similar to the above is: be/live in la-la land

Linchpin — an interesting word

This word is used in the phrase: the linchpin of something; which means, the most important person or thing that holds everything or everyone together: Manya is the linchpin of our team. (the most important member) The alternative spelling is “lynchpin”

Does accuracy of language matter? What do you think? | Fluentlingua

Hello everyone, Till about a year ago, I used to believe that communicating with unerring accuracy is a primary goal for success in any field. I was wrong. I was never more wrong. By the way, is it grammatically correct to say that one is now more wrong than before or wronger than before? I don’t care a fig! 😉 Well, linguistic accuracy may be your personal goal but it doesn’t affect your success as a professional or a businessman. I am now convinced of the uselessness of being a stickler for accuracy in any field other than teaching. You can argue over this for days or weeks on end with anyone but me. Happy thinking! Dharmendra Sheth Image courtesy: https://svgsilh.com/image/1296377.html

Grab every opportunity to learn something new.

“You’re never too cool to learn something new.”   An interesting line I’ve just read in a pop-up window while browsing Merriam-Webster website. And I thought of sharing a similar idea with you. Note for English language learners: “Everyday” (adjective) is different from “every day” (adverb phrase). Study the following examples. b) He comes here every day. a) That’s an everyday problem.