Friday, November 30, 2007

Adjective Opposites

When do you use "dis-", "un-", "in-", "im-" or "-less" to form the opposite of an adjective? Do you say "unhonest" or "dishonest"?

You know the right answer partly from your reading and general experience of English. But now I can introduce you to a very useful tool: The Virtual Language Center in Hong Kong.

The VLC has a web site which enables you to search a large body of text for examples of English words and expressions as they are really used. You type in a search word, specify the body of text which you wish to search - and the computer will display all occurences of the word down the middle of the screen with the context sentence displayed to either sode of the word.

Here's an example. I went to the VLC and set my word specification, "starts with", then typed in "dis".

arents' Association for Pre- school Disabled Children, the Spastics Associa
said he recognised the defendant's dishonest business partner had left him
recover $82,000, the amount of a dishonoured cheque for one month's rent.
is large enough to accommodate disinfected items such as a telephone,
rested two men and three women for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest,
left the scene in a confused and disorganised fleet. It is the Crown's ca
byline} By JIMMY LEUNG A DISQUALIFIED contestant in this year's
establish a right for appeal for dissatisfied clients; {para} guarantee
Of course, you will have to search through a lot of words beginning with "dis" that are not opposite adjectives, but that is a useful test for you!
And you may make some new discoveries. For example, we teach that the plural of "person" is "people". But does "persons" exist? Go to the VLC and find out.
And as always please please leave a comment!
Post-scriptum for Level 4:
This follows last Thursday's lesson on page 74. It'son the BBC web site. Read it and leave a comment.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Vote! and read about Houses

Hello. It's a rainy day in Rome, so it's an excellent moment to vote for your preferences in our English lessons by clicking on the buttons in the voting panel in the top right-hand corner of this blog. Only 5 people have voted so far - not many at all. :-(

Another good thing to do on a gloomy day like today is to remind yourselves of the summer sunshine by visiting Alghero Estates, a real estate business in Sardinia. In Level 3 we have been describing houses and apartments, but this is a useful site for everyone. It is packed with good vocabulary. If ever you want to rent or sell your apartment or house, this is the place to come for inspiration.

As always, please do leave a comment! Not enough people are doing this. :-(

More soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blog Readers Suggest New Sites

First, Alicia Rey of Argentina recommends Bell English, the site for the well-known language school in the UK. You have to register to get the best out of the site, but it is free. Try Telephone English, and give us your impressions in a comment.

Alicia recommends her own site, English Studio, which is a Blog packed with videoclips of authentic English, with accompanying exercises. Try it now! (and leave us a comment).

And Rossella of the Saturday 4B course sends us English Club, full of grammar explanations and exercises.

Try all these sites and don't forget to leave your comment. Your comments turn this site into a community.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Changes to the Right-Hand Column

Dear all,

I have made a few changes to the list of sites in the right-hand column.

To make it easier for you to choose a useful site, I have divided the sites up into various categories. I have added more categories and the newest is the list of English File sites at the top of the column.

Please do all use these sites and, very importantly, send a comment!

Why? Comments help us form a community of learners. And your comments tell everyone else which sites are most useful - and which are not.

How would we ever have found out about "Phrases and Meanings" (Rossella, class 4B on Saturdays) or "WordReference.Com" (Alfredo, class 4B on Tues/Thurs) without their respective comments?

You've been very good so far but you could be better!. Please keep those comments coming!

Very soon, I'll be giving you more recommendations. Watch this space!


Friday, November 02, 2007

Can You Read This? (Fast!)

Many thanks to Rossella of Saturday course 4B for her 'Phrases and Meanings' site recommendation. I have added it to the links in the right-hand column.

Found on Facebook!
(but it is actually quite a well known old text)

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

If you can raed tihs forwrad it

Could you read this?? Let us all know what you thought of it in a comment.