Archive for February, 2012

Why English pronunciation is so difficult, or is it? Is it all just so contradictory??

1) The bandage was wound around the wound. 2) The farm was used to produce produce. 3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse. 4) We must polish the Polish furniture. 5) He could lead if he would get the lead out. 6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert. 7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present. 8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum. 9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes. 10) I did not object to the object. 11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid. 12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row. 13) They were too close to the door to close it. 14) The buck does funny things when the does are present. 15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line. 16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow. 17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail. 18) After a number of injections my jaw got number. 19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear. 20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests. 21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candles while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, two geese. So – one moose, two meese? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? Is it an odd, or an end?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite a play and play a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are the opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm is going off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

This blog is just for fun, however it truly highlights the diversity and complexity of the frustratingly, contradictory, and almost absurdity of the English language. :-)

Good luck with your English language learning.

Simon

Ok English

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How To Understand Fast Speech.

Do you have any difficulties when listening to people speaking fast? Why do you think these difficulties occur?

The following sentences are not written using normal spelling but I am using them as an example of how fast speech looks when you hear it. Try reading each one aloud. Then rewrite them using normal correct spelling.

1. Shwi start now?

2. Dywanna gedda coffee?

3. I hafte leave.

4. Ah ya gonna see yim befor ee goez?

5.  She’s bin prmoted

6. She wz late.

7. Didje go win t the factri?

8. woss appenin?                                        

9. Wen zi gonna getchya  a taxi?

10. Less go we yavent got much time.

Ok if you took the time  to say these sentences out loud and rewrite them correctly, one thing you will have noticed is that  there are linking sounds that appear when words are spoken together quickly and fluently. The sounds used are /j,/w, and /r/. And also  the last letter of a word merges with the first word that follows. Try saying the sentences again, concentrate and see if you can hear and feel these linking sounds.

After you have done that try saying the sentences below very quickly and see if you can hear any linking sounds :

- He’ll be in after three

- I saw a good opportunity

- Could you do it now, please?

- She visited China and India

- Should we go out now?

- Can you see all the figures clearly?

Indeed this is an unusual area of the English language  that I am highlighting in this blog, but I do believe it is of great benefit to become familiar with because many native English speakers you will encounter in your life both professionally and socially will and often do speak quite or very fast.

In future blogs I will post videos that give  us a clear understanding of fast speech and how words become merged and how linking sounds are very common.

For now here is just one more challenge. For each of the following sentences below, decide if there are any consonant sounds that might change or even get lost when speaking in a fast or fluent way. Just to give you a clue many native speakers when speaking very fast often drop the ‘t’ sound in a word so you might hear ‘bu..er’ instead of ‘butter’

1. Did you have a look at this?

2. So, could you tell me her last name again?

3. We went there last week.

4. Do you want to get a sandwhich?

5. What will you do next, Tim?

6. Give me a moment. It’s in my handbag.

So thanks for your attention. I posted dis blog t givya sum idea of ow   English sarnds wen spoken quickly cos i fink iss very yimportant t understand fas speech n bcome uus t wit. :-)

Good luck wivya English language learning

Simon

Ok English

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Writing Emails In English With The Professional Touch

So to carry on from yesterday’s blog :

2. To write professional emails :

When writing emails there are two different styles ; one is formal and the other is informal.

With Formal emails/letters there are NO phrasal verbs!

In formal/professional correspondence we do not use phrasal verbs, we use a more sophisticated language.

It is important to be able to state clear, firm requests, demands and questions in a formal email without sounding rude.

Sentences with ‘I would’ can make a demand sound less direct. The structure- I would be grateful if you could/ would…is used to request an action:

- I would be grateful if you could confirm that you  will rectify the problem.

- Would you mind…is a polite way of introducing a request. It is often used with please and always needs a question mark:

- Would you mind sending the email again, please?

Make indirect questions with phrases such as I wonder, do you know. Could you tell me, followed by if/ whether or a question word ( who, what, etc) :

- Could you tell me how much it will cost?

. I wonder if you could tell me how much it costs?

Ok more to follow on this area of English language tomorrow.

Thanks for your attention. Once again good luck with your English language Learning.

Simon

Ok English

 

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Teaching English In Budapest.

I gave this blog post the title ‘Teaching English In Budapest’ because I would like to focus this post on Hungarians who are learning English.

I teach at many international companies here in Budapest where many employees must have a good knowledge of English. The main areas that students always say they would like to improve in are :

1. To be more confident when speaking in English on the phone .

2. To write professional emails.

3. To be able to understand native speakers and all their different accents.

4. To be more productive in meetings when meetings are in English.

5. To understand fast speech.

So let’s take a look at these five areas,  for now, one by one.

How can we become more confident when speaking on the phone?

                                                          

Well the first thing to remember is that it is ‘NOT A PROBLEM’ if at first we don’t understand what the person we are speaking with said. What is more important is to know and use expressions to show we need time, more information or simply to have the person repeat what they have said so we can understand.

Even native speakers don’t always understand eachother when speaking on the phone, but what they CAN do is quickly use expressions to clear confusion or misunderstanding.

So we don’t have to just say ‘ eh.. eh ..I.. I… don’t understand sorry.

We can be professional and protect our professionalism by using quick expressions.

So we can say things like :

Sorry I didn’t quite catch that…..

Could you repeat that…

Could you speak a little slower please..

Let me just check, so you mean….

I’m not quite following you…

I think it will be better if I give  you my email address and you can send me the information….

So these are just some expressions that allow you to feel confident even if you are not understanding the other person. You maybe having a conversation with a native  speaker with a strong accent or fast speech or maybe someone foreign who’s English is not so good or clear. But by using these expressions you can keep in control of the conversation without feeling uncomfortable.

Anyway more on this topic to follow in my next blog.

So once again, good luck with your English language Learning.

Simon

Ok English

 

 

 

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Learn How To Say The Same Thing In Many Different Ways.

There are so many ways in the English language to say the same thing. For example you can say ” I don’t understand” but there are many other ways to say this. In some situations an alternative expression is more appropriate. The following list gives examples of the many different ways we can say
 ” I don’t understand” :
Sorry I don’t quite follow…
I’m not sure I got that…
Sorry it’s not so clear….
I’m not with you…..
Do you mean……?
What do you mean…?
I don’t know what you mean…
Perhaps I have misunderstood…..
Ok this was just a quick look at this part of the English language.
More to follow on how to say the same thing in a variety of different ways, from formal to informal.
Good luck with your English learning.
Simon
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Phrasal Verbs Are Very Common In Speech And In Informal Writing.

So today’s blog is a quick look at phrasal verbs. This is an interesting area of the English language and in my opinion a very important area to understand and learn how to use. Why? Because Native speakers use phrasal verbs very frequently. In fact unless the language is very formal then phrasal verbs will be in almost every sentence.

For every phrasal verb there is a more formal word or expression. For example : the phrasal verb to put up with something or someone means in a more formal way to tolerate someone or something. The phrasal verb to split up or break up means to seperate.

A phrasal verb is a two or three part verb. The second part of the verb changes the meaning of the verb. Compare :

I’m giving him the job.

I’m giving up my job.         

Phrasal verbs as I mentioned before are especially common in spoken English. Some phrasal verbs can be seperated when used with a pronoun (him, her, it, them, etc.):

           …you’re not going to be able to access our database until our engineers sort it out.

If a noun is used with this type of phrasal verb, it can come inside or after the verb:

           ….until our engineers sort the problem out.

           ….until our engineers sort out the problem.

Other phrasal verbs cannot be seperated, whether with a pronoun or noun:

          ….we depend on this for exact passenger numbers …

….we depend on database for exact passenger numbers…

Others do not not take an object:

Hang on- did you say 9 am or 5 am ?

Your dictionary will tell you whether a phrasal verb is separable, inseparable, or does not take an object.

So check out your dictionary and look up more phrasal verbs and learn how to use them and go on….. practise practise practise !!!!! :-)

 

           

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