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In English language learning, most course books introduce verb tenses in a highly regimented fashion. As a result, many teachers who want to use short narratives for their elementary classes feel stymied because the linguistic devices from which stories are made don't follow the strict order prescribed by the course books. "It will confuse the students" is the most common cry to be heard. But this is wrong: it will not confuse the students at all.  Continue reading...
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As a teacher of English as a foreign language, I've developed a bit of an aversion to adjectives. Show me too many and I break out into a prolonged, painful and unpleasant rash. Or should that be painful, prolonged and unpleasant? Or...?  Continue reading...
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Getting to grips with stories in the EFL environment is more than simply dealing with problematic vocabulary. It's all to do with context, and how words work together to form a greater whole. Finding the right trigger means students being able to exceed the "normal" lexical load.  Continue reading...
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Worthies from the County of Devon in southwest England caused a bit of a ruckus recently when the local government announced that they were abandoning the use of the apostrophe on all street signs in the county. This, they claimed, was to avoid "the confusion" that they thought its retention would bring. What's more — or more inaccurately "whats more" — they said that this was merely a clarifiction of what had been common practice for a long time.  Continue reading...
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Over the years of teaching English as a foreign language, I've noticed how some of my students adopt some of the throwaway words and phrases that I use unthinkingly. The two words that are adopted most are stuff and thing (though I just as easily say thingy while waving a hand to indicate that I don't know or can't remember the correct word).  Continue reading...
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In an earlier article, I suggested that the selection of a "standard" English for teaching purposes was a bit arbitrary and that the "standards" selected frequently failed to be representative of the way that most native speakers actually speak English. I opined that it seemed somewhat disingenuous to expect learners of the language to struggle with mastering phonemes that many native speakers didn't bother with much themselves. This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Continue reading...
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"My students have been saying it correctly all the time, and I've been telling them that they were wrong," said Maria de Conceição. She had her head in her hands and, while not looking exactly disheartened, she did look somewhat perplexed. She was one of twenty Portuguese teachers of English who were showing pluck and determination by sitting through a twenty-five hour training course with me, and we had been looking at the alarming variety of ways of saying many high-frequency words in English.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 Displaying 1-7 of 21 Articles