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Thursday, 22 May 2008

## Today is the day...

Hello Xuan and everyone,

Well, today is the day! I hope your exam went well today and that you are feeling optimistic about the result. Please tell us how it went (did you tell us already what the subject was?). And of course, what is next? Do you have another exam, or is this the last one?

I really enjoyed the photos. I think I told you that I visited Vietnam about 9 years ago. The pictures of the rice fields reminded me very much of my trip. Your country is indeed beautiful. Green is a very restful colour, so I think people generally like to see images of the countryside. Fields in England do look different. If you have time, scroll through some of the picture on the BBC staff blog. There are some lovely shots of British countryside. Here is a picture of some of the countryside where I live. We do have yellow wheat fields, Xuan, but also green fields of grass. This view is taken near the historic Roman Wall, which was built by the Romans roughly 2000 years ago to protect England against Scottish invaders. It is mostly in ruins now, but some parts are still standing.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/2/3393775_95fd8a0309.jpg?v=0

I have a quick quiz for you, Xuan. I want you to think about quantifiers. Quantifiers are the words that describe the quantiy, or amount, of something. In some cases you have used these correctly (e.g. there are many rice fields in my country) but in other cases you make some errors (e.g. *there is a little car, motorbike in my home town). Have a look at the following phrases. Can you decide which quantifier should go in each space – choose from the following list. Can you remember the rules for each one? Tell me what rules you can remember and I will remind you about anything you forget in my next blog.

LOT OF // MANY // FEW // MANY // A FEW

1. There are _______ cars or motorbikes in my home town.

2. There are not _______ cars or motorbikes in my home town.

3. There are only ________ cars and motorbikes in my home town.

4. There are a _________ rice fields in my country.

5. There are __________ rice fields in my country.

I enjoyed reading all of the different phrases for going to sleep. I like the idea of putting yourself in an envelope to go to sleep (Cris and Betriz).

Merce – you did not make a mistake. You can say ‘view on life’ or ‘way of life’

Ernesto – we don’t like to wear shoes in our house. Normally when you visit someone in Thailand, you are expected to remove your shoes.

Hyoshil – you are not a pain in the neck. Teachers love questions! ‘Expanding’ does mean ‘extending’; they both mean ’to make bigger’. Usually, when we say that we are extending a house, we mean that we have added an extra part to it. Are you really expanding (i.e. building extra parts on the house) or just renovating, or updating?

Maione – I can’t imagine an explanation about the people from Pisa. Is it about the volcano eruption many years ago? Please can you explain?

Hello Maria – I have never been to the Amalfi coast. Please tell me more about it.

Hi Cris – we Virgos are very demanding! At the end of the day, the chicken incident was quite funny. I don’t believe that you don’t have a sense of humour – is this really true?

Ana Paula – one day, you will have a big, beautiful place to live, that you will own. Until then, enjoy not having to worry about bills, renovations, property tax or any other downside to owning a property.

Hello Ha – I actually do own a copy of the film A Beautiful Life. But! It is the original Italian version with subtitles. This is fine for me, but when I sat down to watch it with Joshua a few weeks ago, he was a bit confused. I will watch it one of these days. There is also a really god film called a Beautiful Mind, with Russell Crowe. Do you know it?

Hello Marianna – I like your expression ‘dangle dollies’. That suits the kids really well.

Elina – you can say, ‘my children are the same age as Josh and Rachel’. If you are talking about your son, you can say either, ‘he is the same age as Josh’, or ‘they are the same age’ (no *of)

Hello Silwal – I enjoyed both your stories. Thank you for taking the time to write. Being a ‘parent pillow’ as you describe is not so bad  It sounds like you have a very happy family and lovely children.

Naweed – you are right, Steve is a funny guy. I would be interested to hear more about your youth work. Do you work directly with young people?

Hi Paula – I can’t send you any chicken because we ate it all. But Steve has made some chicken soup with the bones. If you are in Thailand this weekend, you can round for a bowl. I can’t say fairer than that!

Hello Habooba – good to hear from you and thanks for your kind words.

Kuldeep – you make a good point about children relieving stress. No matter how tired I am when I get in from work, it is always refreshing to see the kids and I feel rejuvenated (i.e. no longer tired)

Maria – Steve loves playing with Rachel as well. Dads and daughters!!!!

OK everyone, I am really tired, so I must go and hit all the people from Pisa who are waiting for me in a sack inside the envelope (is that right…)

Night night everyone
Anne
xxxxx

PS - I taught a class today, and we had a long discussion about how to improve listening skills. What do you all do to work on your listening skills? Can you give my class any tips?

In ruins – damaged
Still standing – still exists nowadays

Dear Anne, You are right! Dads and Daughters! It's a theme for centures...!!! :-) You live in a very beautiful place. Our countryside differs from yours. There are more plane fields in the center of Russia. Our flowers are beautiful as your, but they are different too. Thank you for the photo with the Roman Wall. Mostly I knew about it from the nice film "King ARTUR". I wrote ARTUR as it is pronounced in Russia, sorry I don't know the truth spelling. Honestly reading books about Britain and Scotland I always sympathized to Scottish people... I think it will be useful for me to read more... As for listening skils our teacher says we should listen more - dialogs, texts, write them patiently listening again and again the small parts. Have a nice day to everybody!

Hi Anne! You´re very kind. I´m much obliged to you :-). But I have to confess that I have already to worry about bills and taxes, once I help my mum to support our home. Well in order to improve my listening skills I like to listen to some BBC podcasts. My favourite programs are The Word ( about books) and Mark Kermonde´s films review ( very funny). I always let the page of a virtual English dictionary open while I´m listening to these programs. So when I hear a different word I immediatly search for it. In the very beginning it was very hard to me Anne, but I´ve persevered and now I don´t find so hard to listen to the strong presenters accent. Therefore, this practise has been helping me a lot with my FCE listening exercises. Right now it´s 16:12 of a warm holiday afternoon here. It´s time for me prepare some coffee and bid you farewell :-). Have good dreams, Ana Paula.

Hello Anne, They say listening is necessary for the success to language learning.It is logical way of acquiring of a language.Babies first listen, then speak and at last read.I listend a lot the same content many times.I listend often every day. I think one should find conten which is enough interesting to him/her.Let the English language enter you mind.I heard this phrase from my teacher of English I like podcasts from BBC Radio 4.(The best radio in the world.lol).There's a lot of opportunities to find interesting content on the Internet.When I go to university I can listen my favourite podcasts every day.I am in close touch with English.Every day is a learning day for me. Anne, I have watched A Beautiful Mind with Russell Crowe.He is the perfect actor for this film.I liked how he absorbed his into character of John Nash.The film is a must watch.Hehe I wish Xuan luck on exam.I woudnt manage to write blog and prepare for exam.Well done!!! My best wishes for all blogers and thank you very much Anne!!!!

Hi,Anne We have added two bedrooms and made the family bathroom bigger. Expending a house is so stressful and every time we get bills from builders to plumbers we feel the pinch. It’s been on till the cows come home (do I use this idiom correctly?) and I do hope it will be finished in a couple of months. Are you a sound sleeper or a light sleeper? I am a light sleeper and if I heard anything from small noisy to big ones I feel jumpy and it takes a long time to get myself back to sleep. By the way, how do you say ‘good night ‘in Thai? I must thank you for your help. Sleep tight and see you later alligator!xx PS:I am doing dictation nearly every day about one hour to improve listening skills.

Hi Anne, Right now I am trying to improve my listening skills. I am just watching some movies and listening some songs. But I want to know if somebody has better techniques to improve their skills. Please, let us know your ideas and your student's ideas. Bye, bye :)

Hello Anne, I really love British countryside, it reminds me of some romantic movies or books (for example Jane Austin's novels). Night! :)

Hi Anne and our cyber friends, You can't imagine how loudly I laughed when I read that you were going to hit all the people from Pisa who were waiting for you in a sack inside the envelope. It sounded really funny and original too. By the way, I really have sense of humour but what I can't quite understand are all the jokes Oscar tells. But I think that's a universal women problem, isn't it? Men tend to be a bit sarcastic sometimes. About the film "Beautiful mind", is it British? A few words to Naheed and Ana Paula: I didn't know that you became bloggers last year. I was happy to find them, know you more about you and your country and see your faces. Best wishes to all of you. Fondly, Cris

Hi Anne, I forgot to give some tips in order to improve listening skills. What I do is: listening to TV programmes in which English is spoken as well as listening to Words in the News and other resources from BBC learning English. They help me very much. What I don't know is how to improve my speaking skills since I don't have any opportunity to speak in English now. Have a nice day. xxx Cris

Hi Anne and Everybody I am very new on this web page. I have been reading the writings for roughly ten days. I've decided to write something actually I encouraged my self. I try to improve my english.I have learned many things in a short time. Thank you all of you. I am very excited to know you and share your thoughts.This is my first comment, it will go on. I want to give some information about me. I am retired science teacher.I am learning english as hobby and also travelling is a life style for me.While travelling speaking english is very important to meet for local people and konw the culture. That is all for today.PEACE!

Hello Anne. As for your student’s question how to improve listening skills. Good question how to…? There is no matter what exactly you’re asking about at the moment. There is no matter who is answering: an expert or beginner. It seems to me each of human beings is glad to share his own experience with any person who is keen on listening for. I’d like to put on my point of view how to improve listening skills. There is a staggering amount of high quality programs at bbclearningenglish.com. It means you’ve got a fifty percent of success. To improve listening skills you have to download programs to your mp3 player then you are supposed to be listening as much as it possibly. As for me it’s like a kind of puzzles. There are many words I’ve not become acquainted with yet. As long as I’m listening words stick to the memory to the correct place.

Hello Anne, Wonderful pictures,I am sure the feeling will be great to be there(country side) personally. I am visiting this blog for the first time but I am enjoying to read the blogs.

Dear Anne, as Xuan completed his exam, I am on the verge of the same calamity. I exam is commencing from 29 May 2008. which way (Amr./British) of writing date you prefer and why ? I doubt on the whether this question can stand erect. The scene you posted attracted me from within. Here in Nepal, if you make a stretch in some indefinite time to come, will get equivalent scene throughout the country. Now let me make an attempt of assigned work- answers 1,2,3,4 and 5 are a few, many, few, lot of and many respectively. I would be more delighted to learn the logic hidden behind the right choice of quantifier.

Anne, you asked us about listening. Listen well is very hard thing to do! One needs to be present to be able to hear properly. For some reason I can “hear” better if I close my eyes, naturally this is rarely possible when discussing with someone, as one should also make to a bond needed for conversation. Besides, one would look rather silly talking with someone eyes closed. As I, for one, am training my listening skills, I am looking forward to hear the comments from others. May I shortly comment on power cut issue some entries ago; as Elina mentioned, we seldom have power cuts in Finland, shorts breaks in power supply do occur, but long term cuts are very, very rare. Which is just a well, considering our climate, one does realize that a long lasting power cut could be almost fatal. The changes in temperature between summer and winter can be over 60 degrees. All the best to everyone and best wishes to you and your family Anne…

I've been learning English at the evening class since 2004. I'm retired and always the oldest student. All the other students had learnt English at school and so they knew many more words than me. I was often depressed because I didn't understand the teacher who spoke very quickly. Then I wanted to stop the course. My husband always encouraged me. He said: "If I were you I'd continue the course and I'm absolutely sure one day you are able to understand what the others say". I hoped he is right. Then I began to listen to the BBC radio when I was in my study. I used it more as background. In my car I have got a cassette recorder and so I'm able to listen to an English text during driving the car. I was really surprised but I understand more and more. Then I read an English magazin for learners and there is a weekly poadcast in the internet. I download it and then I hear the text via MP3-player when I do my exercises (sport). I do the same with the poadcasts given by BBC. I also buy a CD with a blooklet from time to time. I like detective stories and so I have fun listening to the stories. I also think watching movies in English is a good way, especially when you have seen the movie before in your mother language. I also go to a conversation course for senior citiziens. The teacher speaks simple and clearly so that I don't have any problems. In my opinion these are some of the most important ways we should go to improve our skills in understanding. All the best Felicitas

hi Anne,there was no volcano eruption in Pisa the town of" The Leaning Tower.The saying is probably due to its being a powerful military town once. so when its soldiers patrolled the town.the curfew had to start.it was the time to go to bed. About improving the listening skills there is no other method but keeping on listening.To increase th e probability of understanding I always try to guess what I am trying to listen to .The technique is not always successful.however-Before leaving you I want to tell you another saying about theinhabitants of Pisa"It is better to have a dead person at home rather than an inhabitant of pisa knocking on your door." can you imagine the rivalry among the towns in the wonderful Tuscany.?Bye Bye

Dear, Anne You ask me more about the YDF ( Youth Development Foundation) our Goal: To increase and encourage young people’s active and effective participation in the society by building their capacities, increasing their knowledge through initiating and supporting youth initiated-lead projects contributing to the democratization process, sustainable development, building lasting peace and promotion of civil society in the country. the Organisation which I work has 60 active staff and more than 800 vulunter member who help the organisation in social work, Best regards

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