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miércoles, 10 de noviembre de 2010

The Basics of Public Speaking

Surveys show that more people are afraid of speaking in public than of dying! This is not only amazing, it is also quite a problem because being able to speak well in public is an important skill in many careers. Being able to speak well is also valuable in getting a good job in the first place. Learn public speaking skill from these articles and you will not only have more success on the job. Being able to get up in front of an audience and give a speech will greatly increase your confidence.
The writer of these articles is a professional teacher with 20 years experience helping people speak more effectively. In addition to the articles, you can watch carefully chosen speeches, with comments added, that will show you how to be a great speaker. Before getting into details, here are five tips to help you get going:
1. Don't try to memorize a speech. Instead, use the "key points" approach, described in detail in Lesson 2. 2. Start strong with an interesting opening. It doesn't have to be brilliant, but it has to get the audience focused on your topic. Various ways to do this will be explained in Lesson 5.
3. Don't speak too fast! This is a very common problem as nervous speakers try to finish as quickly as possible. Instead, take your time, and your audience will listen more attentively.
4. Be careful when using visual aids, including (especially!) Power Point. They can be both distracting and confusing unless they are used appropriately. (See Lessons 11 and 14 for more on this topic.)
5. Close your speech strongly with a "call to action".
These five tips will get you started as a successful public speaker. You already have an advantage over other speakers. Now, let's learn how to really do a great job by moving on to Lesson 2 - Prepare Your Speech.
from website

martes, 28 de septiembre de 2010

ESL Definition

ESL means "English as a second language". People usually use the word ESL to talk about teaching English to people who do not speak English. Usually, ESL teaching happens in an English-speaking country. Often, ESL students are people who came to live in an English-speaking country, and do not speak English very well. If we talk about teaching or learning English in a country where English is not spoken, we usually use the word "EFL", but "ESL" is sometimes used, too.
Here are some example phrases with the word ESL:
an ESL website
Laura is an excellent ESL student.
Most ESL teachers are native speakers.
Paul goes to an advanced ESL class.
The book is full of boring ESL quizzes and activities.
He was reading an ESL magazine.
ESL refers to the learning of English within an English-speaking region, generally by refugees, immigrants and students. (The term has been criticised on the grounds that English may not be someone's second language but their third, fourth, or more.) TESL is the teaching of English as a Second Language.
EFL indicates the learning of English for eventual use in a non-English-speaking region. It can occur either in the student's home country (think of millions of schoolchildren around the world, sweating to achieve the level necessary to read this page as fluently as you are doing now), or, for the more privileged minority, in an anglophone country which they visit as a sort of educational tourist, e.g. after graduating from university back home. TEFL is the teaching of English as a Foreign Language.
If you find all these acronyms confusing, it may help to simplify. ESL tends to concentrate on English for daily needs and for living in an English-speaking community. EFL tends to concentrate on English for academic success (whether in the local school exam system, or for post-graduate study abroad), on exams, and sometimes on using English at work, i.e. within an office where English is sometimes needed.
Part of the confusion is created by the funding structure. Again, as a gross generalisation, in English-speaking countries such as Canada and Britain, the government pays for ESL to integrate newcomers into the wider society, and the individual student or his sponsor (parents, boss) pays for EFL.
It is worth noting that ESL/EAL/EFL programs also differ depending on the variant of English being spoken; "English" is a term that can refer to various dialects, including British English, North American English, and other dialects. For example, students studying ESL/EFL in Hong Kong are more likely to learn British English, especially British idioms, which may make travel to the United States marginally more complex for them, as North American English uses very different idioms and slang. For this reason, many teachers of English as a foreign language now emphasize teaching English as an international language (EIL), also known as English as a ­lingua franca (ELF).

Spanglish refers to the code-switching of English and Spanish, in the speech of people who speak parts of two languages, or whose normal language is different from that of the country where they live. For example, the Hispanic population of the United States and the British population in Argentina use varieties of Spanglish. Sometimes the creole spoken in Spanish holiday resorts which are exposed to both Spanish and English is called Spanglish. The similar code switching used in Gibraltar is called Llanito. Spanglish may also be known by a regional name. Some people tend to believe that the "Tex-Mex" spoken in Texas, is also Spanglish, which is not the case; neither is the case of the "Ladino" spoken in New Mexico, because both are language varieties of Mexican Spanish.
Spanglish is not a pidgin language. It is totally informal; there are no hard-and-fast rules.
There is no clear demarcation between Spanglish and simple bad Spanish or English. "Parquear" for "to park" is clear deliberate Spanglish; "actualmente" for "actually" rather than "at present" is closer to erroneous use of a false friend, and ambiguous as it has a clear, but different, meaning in true Spanish.


miércoles, 15 de septiembre de 2010


You know it's true. Everyone has told you. You have to spend as much time as possible listening to a foreign language. But how?
* Co-Workers - Friends - Family

If you are fortunate enough to have people around you who speak the language, spend as much time as you can with them. Be forewarned, though. Daily conversation with friends and relatives will probably be filled with idioms and grammar that would make your foreign language teacher nauseous.

* Internet Broadcasting

There are many free internet radio stations. They broadcast day and night, 7 days a week. All you have to do is find them. Try internet searches like the following in your favorite search engine:

 - free internet radio German

 - free internet radio Norwegian

 - free internet radio French

 - internet radio stations Spanish

 - internet radio stations Portuguese

Disc jockeys and talk show hosts may not use perfect grammar. However, news broadcasts are usually correct.
* Books on Tape or CD

You can purchase audio books online at sites like Amazon.Unfortunately, not all audio books are created equal. Sometimes the narration is cluttered with distracting loud sound effects and music. The volume may vary from horrendously loud to whisper-soft. If you can listen to a sample before purchase, do so. Never purchase more than one audio book from the same publisher or narrator until you are sure that they produce acceptable recordings. Sometimes the narrator's volume will vary so much during a reading that it makes the book almost useless.

Be on the lookout for audio bundles that include a printed copy of the book - excellent for learning purposes!

 * TV Channels

Check your cable or satellite TV lineup. You may find one or more channels in the language you are trying to learn.
* Movies and Television Series on DVD

Most larger centers and internet sites like Amazon have foreign language productions with English sound tracks and subtitles. Try to watch everything at least once without subtitles. Pay attention to the lips of the speakers as they pronounce words. Lipreading is part of the language learning process.

If you prefer to buy English productions that have been remastered for foreign language markets, you will lose the lipreading advantage - and you may have to purchase or hack a DVD player so that it will play DVDs from other regions. There is a link at the bottom of this article that goes to a page with more specific information.

North American TV series like M*A*S*H and Golden Girls have 1/2-hour episodes. Omit the intro and closing credits and you are left with about 20 minutes of material. Try to learn a few new words of vocabulary each time you watch an episode.

 * What are You Waiting For?

Take advantage of all the opportunities that technology has to offer!

martes, 14 de septiembre de 2010


What is an accent? An accent is the carryover of sounds from the speaker’s original language to the second language. When we are infants we literally have the ability to speak any language in the world. We are all born with the necessary speech mechanisms and the capability to learn any language. We end up speaking the language that we do solely by reinforcement. The sounds a baby hears and the speech patterns he is exposed to are the ones that she develops. Soon the baby gains the fine motor skill and control she needs to create sounds herself. The infant will begin by babbling and playing with sounds. Soon she is able to produce simple vowel/consonant combinations which maybe why mama and dada are often their first words, they can make the combination and the big reaction it elicits reinforces their efforts. By 18 months she will be able to produce about 20 words that have meaning and understand around 50 words. Now babies of course have the ultimate immersion experience. In order to obtain any control over their environment they must learn the language and they are surrounded by the language almost 24 hours a day.

Of course the second language learner does not have these advantages. Even if you are now living in an English speaking country, and attending classes to learn English you will still have opportunity to speak and hear your first language with friends and family, this is especially true in America a county of immigrants where finding a community of people with the same language background is possible.

Another challenge is the expectation factor. For many years you have heard a speech pattern and there is an expectation of what you will hear when others speak. You are predicting what sounds will come next based on your subconscious knowledge of language. I call this listening with an accent. It is necessary to break through this barrier, to really hear how others are speaking, to actively listen.

To listen is to learn, and I don’t mean that in an existential way. I really mean that if you can’t hear the way the sounds are produced you cannot learn how to produce the sound. Maybe that is why ETS added speaking and listening sections to the TOEFL. The two skills are so closely linked.

Once you can hear the sounds you must add them to your own phonetic library. This means that you have in your mind the knowledge and understanding of how to produce every sound or phoneme in you original language. Now you must add on some sounds that are in the American sound system that is not in your original language sounds system. Record your self reading a brief paragraph. Only 2-3 sentences in English. Then listen to the recording. Write down exactly what you hear on the recording. Not what you meant to say but what you really did say. How is it different from what was written? Did you say th, when it was written or did you say d? I would suggest sticking with the consonants at first because the differences are easier to pinpoint.

If you would like to get help in improving your pronunciation it would be best to go to a speech therapist rather than an ESL teacher. Speech therapists are trained in physiology of the speech mechanisms and musculature. They understand what is involved in producing each sound and are trained to identify and work with articulation problems. Though an accent is not the same as an articulation problem they have similar characteristics. When a client has difficulty articulating specific sounds the speech therapist can hear and see what they are doing differently and describe and show how to do it correctly. When a client has an accent the speech therapist can see what the person is doing differently and show and describe how to make the sound so it more closely approximates the standard.

The most important advice I can give you is to keep practicing. At first it may feel like you are exaggerating when you “speak with an American accent” but I am sure that the native American speakers around you will not even notice. They will merely be impressed with your great diction!

sábado, 11 de septiembre de 2010

What are the Benefits of Learning English?

There are numerous benefits to learning English as a foreign language. English is now the language of global business, or the lingua franca. This means that in the international business community, English is used for communication by people who do not speak the same language. English is generally considered to be second only to Mandarin Chinese in the number of people who speak the language. It is, however, impossible to know at any given time how many English speakers there are in the world, or how many people are currently learning English. Estimates are quite high.
There are many classes offered in learning English as a second language at universities, schools and community learning centers. Some are even free, so it is a great idea to take advantage of the opportunity. Depending on where you live in the world, you may be educated in American English or British English. American English is the language spoken in the United States, whereas British English is the language spoken in the United Kingdom. The languages are quite similar, though there are naturally different words, dialects and accents found in each.
Learning English can broaden your employment opportunities. People who speak two or more languages are ideal candidates for jobs in travel, international business, or translation. People who work with the general public, such as those who work in hospitals or in law enforcement, are often encouraged to speak a second language to better improve communication when it is most vital.
Learning English can also help you to meet new people. You can practice your English with someone who is also learning. Another option is to do a sort of "trade-off" in your language practicing. For example, if you speak Spanish and are learning English, you might practice speaking with someone who speaks English and wants to learn Spanish. It can be a fun way to get practice and learn to speak in a more natural way.
There are also numerous opportunities to teach English as a second language, which can be a great way to travel and see the world. Traveling to a foreign country is another great way to practice your language skills, but it also makes for a less stressful experience when you have some knowledge of the spoken language.
Because English is a first language for many countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, among others, many other foreign countries teach English as a requirement in schools. It is estimated that over a billion people in the world speak English on at least a basic level. Learning English presents many new opportunities that you may not have had before, so if you have the time and the motivation, it can be a very rewarding experience.

viernes, 10 de septiembre de 2010

How To Learn English!

How To Learn English!
Here are some tips which may help you to master the English Language!
Speak without Fear
The biggest problem most people face in learning a new language is their own fear.  They worry that they won’t say things correctly or that they will look stupid so they don’t talk at all.  Don’t do this.  The fastest way to learn anything is to do it – again and again until you get it right.  Like anything, learning English requires practice.  Don’t let a little fear stop you from getting what you want. 
Use all of your Resources
Even if you study English at a language school it doesn’t mean you can’t learn outside of class.  Using as many different sources, methods and tools as possible, will allow you to learn faster.  There are many different ways you can improve your English, so don’t limit yourself to only one or two.  The internet is a fantastic resource for virtually anything, but for the language learner it's perfect. 
Surround Yourself with English
The absolute best way to learn English is to surround yourself with it.  Take notes in English, put English books around your room, listen to English language radio broadcasts, watch English news, movies and television.  Speak English with your friends whenever you can. The more English material that you have around you, the faster you will learn and the more likely it is that you will begin “thinking in English.” .
Listen to Native Speakers as Much as Possible
There are some good English teachers that have had to learn English as a second language before they could teach it.  However, there are several  reasons why many of the best schools prefer to hire native English speakers. One of the reasons is that native speakers have a natural flow to their speech that students of English should try to imitate.  The closer ESL / EFL students can get to this rhythm or flow, the more convincing and comfortable they will become. 
Watch English Films and Television
This is not only a fun way to learn but it is also very effective.  By watching English films (especially those with English subtitles) you can expand your vocabulary and hear the flow of speech from the actors.  If you listen to the news you can also hear different accents. 
Listen to English Music
Music can be a very effective method of learning English.  In fact, it is often used as a way of improving comprehension.  The best way to learn though, is to get the lyrics (words) to the songs you are listening to and try to read them as the artist sings.  There are several good internet sites where one can find the words for most songs. This way you can practice your listening and reading at the same time.  And if you like to sing, fine.
Study As Often As Possible!
Only by studying things like grammar and vocabulary and doing exercises, can you really improve your knowledge of any language. 
Do Exercises and Take Tests
Many people think that exercises and tests aren't much fun.  However, by completing exercises and taking tests you can really improve your English. One of the best reasons for doing lots of exercises and tests is that they give you a benchmark to compare your future results with.  Often, it is by comparing your score on a test you took yesterday with one you took a month or six months ago that you realize just how much you have learned.  If you never test yourself, you will never know how much you are progressing. Start now by doing some of the many exercises and tests on this site, and return in a few days to see what you've learned. Keep doing this and you really will make some progress with English.
Record Yourself
Nobody likes to hear their own voice on tape but like tests, it is good to compare your tapes from time to time.  You may be so impressed with the progress you are making that you may not mind the sound of your voice as much.
Listen to English
By this, we mean, speak on the phone or listen to radio broadcasts, audiobooks or CDs in English. This is different than watching the television or films because you can’t see the person that is speaking to you.  Many learners of English say that speaking on the phone is one of the most difficult things that they do and the only way to improve is to practice.
Have fun!

From: Website