Category Archives: meta

OMG English!

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I’ve made a Tumblr for English vocabulary. Mostly, I’ll post English words and phrases that have been changed when they are used in other languages. There won’t be a lot of writing. You can look at the word and look at the photo to see what the words means in standard (American) English. I hope it’s useful!

http://omgenglish.tumblr.com/

Long Time No See!

I’m still alive! I am enjoying my new job, but I have been even busier than I expected. How about joining me on Facebook? Readable Blog is on Facebook! It doesn’t take much time to write a Facebook post, so I post there more than I write here.

I’m also @readable on Twitter.

I will try to work on the Facebook posts for this blog (about how to use Facebook safely and how to make it interesting). If you have specific questions you want me to answer, please ask. That will make it easier for me to write the posts.

Contest Winners – Most Thoughtful

Here is the final contest winner, for “Most Thoughtful” writeup of a technique.

I’d like to entry the  contest!

My way to study English is watching DVDs of ”Friends”.
To begin with, I often watch it subtitled in Japanese to understand its outline, after that,I watch it subtitled in English, then without subtitle several times.

sometimes, I consult this script to understand the plot: http://www.friendstranscripts.tk/

I think  watching TV drama is useful for English learners to learn and we can not only  learn English in an enjoyable format, but also learn it from the situation so  vocab is also easy to stick in your head.

besides,reading the script aloud  is also helpful to speak English.

That’s why I pick this way up & I  believe it works well for me.

It was submitted by the Twitter user @turningpoint6. Even though her entry was short, I think she did a great job of thinking about several ways to use and benefit from technique:

  • It’s fun, which always helps!
  • Watching TV episodes several times can help you with listening and vocabulary.
  • You can practice multiple skills this way–listening, speaking, and reading.
  • The new vocabulary is in a context, which makes it easy to remember. (It also helps you learn about who uses that kind of word, when to use it, etc.)

Contest Winners – Most Fun Technique

The next-to-last category is “Most Fun Technique.” This sounds like fun to me!

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share tools for learning English. I really want to know how everyone’s learning it. And CONGRATULATIONS on your 100th blog!!

I like music and alway listen to the web radio during the work all day. When I come across a song that I like, I look up the words I didn’t understand. Here is my tool. http://www.tube365.net/ and then I get to know the meaning of the lyric. After that, I sing the song over and over again. In the radio I usually listen to, they seem to bring songs, which are routine. It means that I can take a test if I can sing the song I liked well everyday.

I’m not really sure if it works for improving my English. But It’s really fun to sing a song in English. That makes me feel as I’m a real English speaker at least at that time! ;)

I look forward to another great tools!

Thanks a lot!

@pakuchi5 on Twitter sent in this idea. I think it’s a really fun idea! I’m trying to learn some Japanese songs for karaoke myself. Song lyrics aren’t perfect for learning grammar, but they’re good for other things. They’re definitely fun and motivating if you like music.

Contest Winners – Best Technique for EFL Learners

The third category in the contest is the “Best Technique for English as a Foreign Language Learners.”

I use VOA special English program ( http://www.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/ ) to practise “shadowing”.

“Shadowing” is an established method most Japanese interpreters use for their training.

My level isn’t that high, so I chose VOA special English programs for the materials because they speak slower in the program than regular speed.

How to practise “shadowing” is easy. You listen to the program and imitate just as you just heard. It’s fun and I feel as if I’m playing a game; I need to concentrate to catch up with their speaking. I like “shadowing” better than simply listening. I feel thrilled :)

If you find some point you can’t follow/catch, you can check the manuscript on VOA website anytime. After you read and figured out which words you’d missed, you repeat “shadowing” until you can “shadow” it fluently.

I guess this helps my listening skill a lot. Also, it’s more fun than just reading or listening as I wrote above, which means it’s easier to continue. You can practise listening and reading at the same time, too :)

Twitter user @kaorie3 sent in this technique. Shadowing is good for EFL learners who live in areas without many fluent English speakers. By listening to the VOA speakers and copying them, you can practice American English speech patterns. This can also improve your listening skills. The VOA website, as @kaorie3 mentioned, uses slower language, so it’s easier to do.

If you want to try some more natural language, try NPR (National Public Radio). I’ve noticed that some of their programs have speakers who talk kind of slowly compared to live radio news. Try different programs until you find one that you like.

Thanks for entering the contest, @kaorie3!

Contest Winners – Most Unusual Technique

The second category is the “Most Unusual Technique.” If you read about his technique, I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty unusual!

Hi Clarissa,

I decided to submit one tip for practising English that comes very handy on situations when foreign English speakers have difficulties with speaking English due to so called ‘mind-chatter’.

It’s a feeling in one’s mind as if hundreds of thoughts are repeating themselves over and over again and preventing from having a clear and fluent English speech.

I know for a fact that plenty of foreign English speakers experience this issue every now and then and I’ve described my technique of dealing with it in my blog post here: http://englishharmony.com/increase-english-fluency/

I still get this ‘mind-chatter’ every once in a while myself and the way of dealing with it as described in my blog post helps me every time.

I’d be glad if you accepted this as an entry for the contest!

The winning technique above was submitted by @englishharmony (non-Twitter users were welcome to enter, but only Twitter users entered).

Well, driving yourself crazy with English can definitely get in the way of speaking fluently–especially if you’re focusing too much on trying to remember rules and difficult vocabulary words. So maybe taking a break is a good idea sometimes.

Contest Winners – Most Useful Techniques

Thanks again to everyone who entered! Here are the first two winners. I’ve posted their submissions “as is,” which means that I didn’t edit their English. The main focus for this contest was good ideas, not perfect grammar!

The first category is “Most Useful Technique,” based on my opinion as a teacher and as a language learner myself. Two people submitted similar ideas, so there was a tie (two people scored the same/both won). Here’s the first one:

@10lizy's books

Hi!! 

I would like to introduce the tools of studying in English with attaching photo.
The notebook is necessary to memo for new words or new sentences.

The English-English dictionary and The Oxford Thesaurus are also necessary tools.
I use them since I was a student of English school in Malaysia.
The teachers recommended to use them!

Books are written by English.
I try to read them out!!
Picking up some nuances or learning way to native’s thinking from them.

The magazines, CNN English Express,to Include in CDs. I use for improving my listening.

That’s it!!

This combined technique was submitted by the user @10lizy on Twitter. It focuses on books, but she uses them in many ways. Graded readers are great for picking up vocabulary. Easy-to-understand regular books are great for learning words that go together and sentence patterns. She also mentions that it’s a good way to learn how native speakers think, and the nuances of words. She also uses English learning books with CDs for listening practice. She writes sentences and words in a notebook (some researchers say that this works well if you do it in a certain way.) Finally, she has a thesaurus and a dictionary to help her get a deeper understanding of words.



Here’s the second one:

Hi, I’m AlexaderBD on the twitter and this is the first time I  write to someone that have English as first language. xP

About the  contest I can say that my English was not that bad, but was not
that great  too, and my solution to improve it was to read books. I have choose
the reading of books because books are one of my big love. When I have a  doubt about some word in the book I use a dictionary
This is a picture  of the book I’m reading at the  moment.

alexaderbd's books

I  think this is what is suppose to do in the contest, if it isn’t please let me know.
But the main reason to make me participate is the help me  improve my English.
Hope you can understand everything I try to say.  :p

This technique comes from @alexaderBD on Twitter. He has a more direct approach of reading novels in English. He is comfortable reading English, loves reading, and speaks another language that’s related to English, so this is a great choice for him. Huge novels like The Stand (or Harry Potter) aren’t a good idea until you’re comfortable with them. If you are, then you can use them to improve your vocabulary, your reading speed, the different ways you can use words, your understanding of difficult things like articles, and so on.

If you just read books about English, it’s not very useful. But if you read books in English, I think it can be a very useful technique. Great job, both of you! If you wrote me about which prize you wanted, I’m sending your prizes soon. (Some people didn’t answer about their prizes…)

I’ll post more winners tomorrow!

100 Posts and a Contest!

This is post #100!


Time for the first Readable Blog contest!

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The contest theme is “Sharing Our English Tools.”

  • Think about one way that you practice or study English — something that works well for you. It can be anything. It should be something that you actually do.
  • Think of a way to tell me and other people about it. You can do that by taking and uploading a photo of you doing something (or a photo of a thing that you use). You can leave a comment on this entry. You can send me a message here. You can make a post in your blog, and Tweet me a link. You can draw how to do it, and send me a letter (please contact me and give me your e-mail address if you want my address. You can even post a video on Youtube or something like that. Almost anything is OK–just ask here or on Twitter if you’re not sure!
  • If you send it to me privately (by mail, contact form, etc.), please let me share it with everyone.

I will send something by mail to the entries that are

  • the most useful, based on what I believe as a teacher
  • the most fun to do
  • the most unusual
  • the most thoughtful

The (mysterious) thing each winner might get could include a book, something from Trader Joe’s, chocolate…Each winner will be able to choose between at least 2 things.

The deadline (last day) is November 6th! I must have received your entry by then.

P. S. You should be an English learner and a reader of this blog or a @readable follower to enter. (Of course, you can start reading this blog or following @readable now!)

(My Twitter follower, @10Lizy, suggested the idea for the contest. Thank you!)

New Page Added: Improving Your English in Asia

I’ve added a new permanent page to the site. It’s Improving Your English in Asia. In the future, you can find the link at the top of the page. Look at “Ways to Improve Your English,” and then “Improving Your English in Asia.”

Many of my friends who live in Asia say it’s difficult to improve their English. They say they can’t practice English easily, can’t listen to correct English easily, can’t meet fluent English speakers, and so on.

I agree, it’s not as easy in East Asia as it is in Western Europe or some other places. However, it is possible. You need to be motivated (you need to really want to do it). You need to be creative. You need to spend time finding ways to improve your English. Then you need to spend time actually doing it. If you do that, you’ll be able to improve your English anywhere in the world.

The list of ways to improve your English is pretty long. I put a lot of things on there because I want you to find several things that are useful for you. Also, some of the things on the list are only good for advanced learners or for people who can read Japanese.

Of course, I live in the US, and I’m learning Japanese. I need to do the same thing for myself when I’m studying Japanese!