Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spoken Punctuation

"We don't need punctuation when we speak, so why do we need punctuation when we write?"

This is what someone asked me the other day. Actually, we do have punctuation when we speak - in a way.

The basic unit of spoken punctuation is the pause. Where we would insert a comma in written English, we insert a tiny pause when we speak:

   When I reached home, I made a cup of tea.

Where, in written English, we would add a full stop, we add a slightly longer pause when speaking.

In a formal situation, such as a speech or presentation, we add an even longer pause as a 'paragraph break' or to signify the beginning of a new point.

Interestingly, there is not a good way to signify inverted commas in spoken English, which has given rise to the air quote:



Another interesting crossover from written to spoken punctuation is when people say 'period' out loud to punctuate a particularly strong point, one which is the last word on the matter.

   I don't care what she said to you. It's wrong to hit girls, period!

Monday, October 13, 2014

X-Word Grammar

Here is an interesting site: www.xwordgrammar.com/

The site covers an alternative way of examining grammatical structures, which was developed by Dr Robert Livingstone Allen in the 70s. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Livingston_Allen)

What I found most interesting was not the methods for examining grammar, but the simple way that X-Word Grammar approaches sentence structures.

The site uses the terminology trunks, shifters, linkers and inserts to describe the way sentences are constructed.

A trunk is the main segment of any sentence, usually with the Subject-Verb-Object pattern:

Danny ate some cheese.

A shifter is a part of a sentence that can move about without affecting the meaning:

Before lunch, Danny ate some cheese.
Danny ate some cheese before lunch.

A linker connects two trunks together or two sentences:

Danny was eating lunch. Meanwhile, Penny was doing laundry.

Finally, an insert is used to insert extra information:

Danny, a big fan of brie, decided to buy some more cheese.


The basic concepts could be taught reasonably easily to an intermediate level class and would encourage them to think about the way they put sentences together.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

ESL Video: Brian Tracy's Communication Skills

Here is the final video in our series of ESL videos for upper int/advanced level classes:

http://www.roadtogrammar.com/videoesl/video_10_commskills/

Brian Tracy gives three tips on improving your communication skills. Brian uses relatively simple languages and sentence structures in his speech. He provides a good model for students to follow.




This would be great to project on the board as a class activity (I do this all the time with my classes). There is an intro, a video, vocab, a quiz, a discussion and some learning points.

The page works on mobile devices.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

ESL Video: Google Nose

Here is the ninth in our series of ESL videos for upper int/advanced level classes:

http://www.roadtogrammar.com/videoesl/video_9_googlenose/

Google has a fantastic new technology for searching smells... but will your students sniff out that it's an April Fools prank?




This would be great to project on the board as a class activity (I do this all the time with my classes). There is an intro, a video, vocab, a quiz, a discussion and some learning points.

The page works on mobile devices.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

ESL Video: Are You Human?

Here is the eighth in our series of ESL videos for upper int/advanced level classes:

http://www.roadtogrammar.com/videoesl/video_8_areyouhuman/

It's based on Ze Frank's Ted Talk in which he explores what makes us human.




This would be great to project on the board as a class activity (I do this all the time with my classes). There is an intro, a video, vocab, a quiz, a discussion and some learning points.

The page works on mobile devices.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

ESL Video: The Power of Quiet

Here is the seventh in our series of ESL videos for upper int/advanced level classes:

http://www.roadtogrammar.com/videoesl/video_7_powerofquiet/

It's an explanation of why we should appreciate introverts more and how they form great partnerships with extroverts.




This would be great to project on the board as a class activity (I do this all the time with my classes). There is an intro, a video, vocab, a quiz, a discussion and some learning points.

The page works on mobile devices.

Friday, October 03, 2014

ESL Video: Facts about LEGO

Here is the sixth in our series of ESL videos for upper int/advanced level classes:

http://www.roadtogrammar.com/videoesl/video_6_legofacts/

It's video of factoids about everyone's favourite toy.




This would be great to project on the board as a class activity (I do this all the time with my classes). There is an intro, a video, vocab, a quiz, a discussion and some learning points.

The page works on mobile devices.