Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Unreality and speculation

Sounds like a dream. Or a money-making scheme.. But no. Today we're talking about this week's grammar. It principally concerns my Level Four students but speculating on an unreal situation is an important function in any language and at most levels.

A good example is a personal question currently on the British Council Rome's Facebook page: "If I had absolute power for one day, I would..." - and you complete the sentence.

For further help on this topic, look no further than the British Council's Learn English site. On the main page, click "Grammar and Vocabulary", then "English Grammar". From the list on the right choose "Verbs in time clauses and if clauses". Look at the explanations and then try the games at the bottom of the page.

When you have finished, leave a message on the Tag Board saying what you think of the site. Did it help you?

I'll put up a further Listening Quiz later this week.

More soon!
Mike

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Instant Language: The Answers


Hello everyone! Very many thanks to those readers who participated in the latest Six Minute English Quiz. You got it mostly right. Here are the official answers:

1. How many languages are there in the world? There are about 6,000!

2. The device developed in Japan could save language learners hours and hours of study.

3. The Google voice translator works by sending your speech to Google's server, translating it in real time and then sending the translation back to you as a text file. If you pay extra you get a voice file.

4. What's the difference between the Google translator and the Japanese technology? The Japanese system provides the voice translation in real time. You speak to someone in England on your phone in Japanese and after a short pause, your speech reaches England, translated into English.

5. (The Big Question) How accurate is the translation? Is it exact? The Japanese translator says it is "understandable, but not perfect."

6. Does Jen think these new technologies will put an end to language learning? She says these types of technology are always helpful, but nothing will ever replace learning the language,

7. Jen thinks that learning a foreign language is one of life's great pleasures.


Many thanks to Manuela, Tommaso, Livia and class 4W18WF for your participation. But let's get more people joining in! Another quiz is coming up later next week. In my next message, however, I'll discuss using the Net to work on grammar and vocabulary.


See you soon! Yours,
Mike

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Instant Language

Hello and welcome to this weekend's new Quiz. Today it is about something very close to our hearts: communicating in a foreign language by using your Smartphone, but without having to learn the language first. Is this possible?

Well, a Japanese mobile phone operator has developed some technology which brings this idea a step closer. Listen to Neil and Jen discussing this question. Read the questions first before you listen. Here is the official question:

1. How many languages are there in the world? Is it:
a) about 100; b) about 1,000: c) about 6,000 

Listen out for the answer at the end of the programme.

2. A device has been developed in Japan which could save language learners ____ ____ ____ of study. [3 words]

3. How does the Google voice translator work according to Richard Taylor? It .......... [complete the sentence with the information you hear.]

4. What's the difference between the Google translator and the Japanese technology? The Japanese system ......... [complete the sentence with the information you hear.]

5. (The Big Question) How accurate is the translation? Is it exact? The Japanese translator says it is ________, but not _______. [two words]

6. Does Jen think these new technologies will put an end to language learning? She says  .......... [complete the sentence with the information you hear.]

7. Jen thinks that speaking a foreign language is one of ______ _______ _______. [three words]

Now listen to the programme. When you have finished use either the Tag Board (see right) or the Comments to give us your answers.

And I hope as many people as possible can take part in this week's Quiz! I will have more for you very soon.

Have a good weekend! Yours,

Mike