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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Listening - Voice of America

These stories from Voice of America are read clearly and you can follow the text if you click on the title. There are translations, but only into Korean, Japanese & Spanish.

Nouns: Count and Non-Count

What's a noun?

(Irregular plural forms of count nouns)

Here are some good sites comparing count and non-count nouns:

Here's a Canadian site from the University of Victoria, BC:

This is an American site that features video lessons. After you look at this lesson, go to the Home Page of the site. Many other grammar lessons are available.

(This is the Home Page:)

Here are some quizzes that you can do to check your understanding the difference between count and non-count nouns:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An interesting lecture on language.

This is a lecture by Steven Pinker, a world famous professor of psychology and linguistics speaking at MIT - the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He's Canadian and studied at McGill University in Montreal. The first few minutes of the video is another professor introducing Prof. Pinker

It's called "Words and Rules".

Select the video player that best suits your computer system - Real Video or Windows Media

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good Sites for Grammar Study

This is a British grammar site that has simple and clear explanations and exercises. If you read the examples and do the exercises it will help you learn and/or review all the English tenses!

Here is an excellent grammar site that will teach you all the grammar terminology you will ever need. Be sure to look at "Eight Parts of Speech" and do the exercises.

For French speakers:
This is an excellent grammar site with explanations in French but everyone can try it!

Here's a new site I've just found. Each lesson has a video component. There are many levels - start with "Blue" - and new lessons are being added regularly.

Used to/ Be used to/ get used to

Here are some exercises:


This next one is from BBC English. At the bottom of the page see "Podcasts" and "Download" for free audio lessons. The Download link has texts to accompany the audio lessons.

And a song! "Can't Get Used to Losing You"

Here's an example of an Intermediate student's work:

Ke is from China. She wants to tell you about things you might have top get used to if you visit or live in her country:

What will people who are thinking of living in my country have to get used to?

By Ke

1.They will have to get used to using chopsticks instead of a knife and fork when they have a meal.

2.They will have to get used to making and eating jiaozi (dumplings) at festivals. Especially at the Spring Festival, almost every family makes jiaozi and eats them together at midnight on New Year's Eve (lunar calendar). After that, everyone bows to whoever is older than himself in his family, and says "Happy new year!” If you are a kid, you get money from your elders as a lunar New Year gift. This is a Chinese custom. Before I worked, I got gifts from my grandmother, mother and aunts etc.

3.They will have to get used to fireworks. In the Spring Festival, every family, especially with kids, buys lots of fireworks. Kids love them very much. Be careful of fireworks when you are setting them off or looking at them!

4.They will have to get used to crowds. There are many people on buses, in shops, restaurants, markets, on streets, especially in big cities.

5.They will have to get used to eating noodles on their birthdays. According to Chinese custom, the noodles that you eat on your birthday are called "long life noodles”. They mean health and long life.

6.They will have to get used to drinking tea. There are many kinds of tea in China, for example green tea, red tea, flower tea etc.


Rika wants to tell you what you'll have to get used to if you are planning a visit to Japan:

What will people who are thinking of living in my country have to get used to?

1) They will have to get used to taking off their shoes when they visit a house. We like to keep our houses clean.

2) They will have to get used to sitting on a tatami mat and not on a chair. A tatami mat is made of straw.

3) They will have to get used to not washing their bodies in the bathtub. They have to wash their bodies beside the bathtub, and then they can take a bath.

4) They will have to get used to using a mechanical toilet. It’s so nice!

5) They will have to get used to not opening or closing taxi doors. They are automatic.

6) They will have to get used to buying canned hot drinks from a vending machine.

I love hot canned corn soup!

7) They will have to get used to bowing when they greet people. Bowing is a very polite way to greet someone.

8) They will have to get used to Japanese people making noise when they eat noodles.

Be careful of splattering yourself!

9) They will have to get used to not blowing their noses in front of people.

10) They will have to get used to eating raw fish with wasabi. Wasabi kills bacteria.

Now Rika tells us about how she had to get used to life in Quebec and Ontario:

Getting used to Canada.

I used to live in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec. It is a small city. Not many Asians live there, so I had to get used to living in St-Hyacinthe.

1) I had to get used to speaking French. People there don’t speak English.

2) I had to get used to people staring at me. Old people did this a lot.

3) I had to get used to driving very carefully. People drive like crazy.

4) I had to get used to the smell of pigs. Sometimes the wind brought the smell [probably from a farm somewhere.]

5) I had to get used to listening to “Nous sommes Québecois”.

People don’t celebrate Canada day and don’t sing “O Canada” even though two Québecois wrote the song. Canada Day is moving day in Quebec!!!

6) I had to get used to seeing French signs on the streets. No English signs.

After I moved to Ottawa, I had to get used to some things again.

7) I had to get used to English.

8) I had to get used to seeing small traffic lights.

9) I had to get used to cashiers who don’t say “Thank you”. In Ottawa, customers say “Thank you” and cashiers say, “You are welcome”. How come?

In Quebec, all cashiers say “Merci beaucoup. Bonne journée.”

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Watch Documentary Films Online

This is a site with access to hundreds of documentary films. There are films on every imaginable topics. There will certainly be some that interest you and they can be an excellent source of information and listening practice.