English with Stacy

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If you are an intermediate to advanced learner, I recommend subscribing to English with Stacy on Youtube. Here’s one of her videos: “-ing and -ed adjectives.” This video will help you use adjectives like “interested” and “interesting” correctly. The videos are great because they include some review and practice so that you can check your understanding. She doesn’t just talk to you! It’s very nice.

These videos will help you with listening and with grammar. She also explains how Americans (and some other English speakers) change their pronunciation when they are talking in a relaxed or normal way, which she calls “Fast English.” You don’t have to copy this pronunciation unless you have a special reason for needing to sound like this kind of English speaker. However, it’s still very useful for listening comprehension.

By the way, Stacy is the co-author of the current edition of Understanding and Using English Grammar, the advanced grammar book that I recommend for self-study.

Names

Happy new year!

Here’s a nice resource if you would like to know how to say the name of a client, a penpal, or even a character in a book that you’re reading: Hear Names (howtosaythatname.com). You can search for a family name (surname) or personal name (M=male, F=female), and then click for audio to hear it. They don’t have every name, but they have a lot of names. (They don’t have my personal name, but they do have my surname.) It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start if you don’t know how to pronounce a name at all.

There are some nice features, such as having different “origins” for one name. Names like “Laura” are pronounced very differently in English-speaking countries like the USA and Canada compared to how they’re pronounced in countries in Europe, South America, etc. There may be many pronunciations for one name.

If there’s no information for a name, you can click on Request a Name. I don’t know how quickly they add names, but I hope they’ll add my name someday!

There is another website you can try, Pronounce Names, but it’s less good. They use a strange way of spelling the names’ sounds that will only make sense to some native English speakers.

In an older post, I mentioned that there is a way to find out if a name is usually male or female.