This is the last posting of the year 2005. So a happy Christmas, Season's Greetings, and New Year to you all.
This year's holidays are longer than usual: 23 December to 9 January, or if you prefer, 19 days' total inactivity. So I leave you with a few Internet sites to explore during this time.
Level 4 Intensive Wed/Fri: we briefly mentioned the Winter Solstice, 21 December. Read more about it here on the BBC's informative web site.
Levels 4 and 5: you will by now have had an e-mail for me about the highly useful Learn English Professionals site. To enjoy all the facilities of this site, you need a user ID and password. I have given you these in the e-mail.
If you can find 15 minutes during the holidays, please do log in to the site. Read at least one article and do an exercise; do at least one listening exercise. Then please don't forget to leave a comment. Say how useful you found the site and the exercise.
Very Important: try the Listening Downloads at the bottom of the Learn English Professionals' front page. These give you ever more opportunities to practise listening.
And now something for everybody. Often, when you use Internet, you are passive. You read and listen, but you don't communicate. You absorb information, but you don't generate any. So why not try chatting? This is a good opportunity to practise your English online.
Unfortunately a lot of chat sites are a waste of time. But one site has been in existence for longer than most: Dave's ESL Cafe. Although old-fashioned - you have to click a button to refresh the screen and see the latest conversations - it remains a friendly, safe area. You'll meet teachers and students from all over the world.
Go straight to the Chat, click on "All First Time Users Must Register Here", and complete the on-screen form. You will need to give your e-mail address, and you will automatcially receive a registration number. Simply click on the link provided in the message, and follow instructions.
Other Chats: you could try Yahoo!, which has a large number of chat areas, and you can chat to your special group of friends by using Yahoo Messenger. You must be a member of Yahoo to use Chat and Messenger: I am a member myself and I go by the user name of Michaelivy. Let me know if you join Yahoo, and we can arrange to chat regularly.
Note: if your boss looks over your shoulder while you are on any of the sites I have mentioned here, you can legitimately point out that you are enhancing your value to the organisation you work for by maintaining your contact with English and improving your knowledge of the language. And of course your boss is most welcome to join this Blog, as well as the MetroZine. Tell him or her to contact me if desired.
That's all folks! Have a very happy Christmas and New Year holiday. During the holidays I shall be in England and France. If I am able, I will add another posting. So visit at least once a week. And as always, leave a comment!
Kind regards to you all,