AmEnglish.com Resources

Tips and training to improve reading, vocabulary and communication skills

Posts Tagged ‘pronunciation in English’

Animal Tales with TOEFL® Vocabulary Practice

Posted by englishlessons on March 5, 2014

Rhyme and Reason

Research has shown that rhymes are very effective for language acquisition. They make it easier for learners to remember the words, and they reinforce the vowel sounds in English. They also help English language learners with the challenging fact that in English different vowels can make the same vowel sound. For example, two of the rhyming words in “The Bottlenose Dolphin” in Volume One of Animal Tales are the words “prey” and “day.” Using these programs will improve your listening comprehension, vocabulary, and pronunciation in English.

Animal Tales- Volumes 1-3

Animal Tales with TOEFL Vocabulary Practice

Posted in Partners, Products, pronunciation, TOEIC Tip, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New TOEFL® Vocabulary Practice in Animal Tales- Volume 3

Posted by englishlessons on September 9, 2013

Animal Tales- Volumes 1-3

Animal Tales with TOEFL Vocabulary Practice

AmEnglish.com® in collaboration with LittleELL.com has just released an update to Volume 3 of Animal Tales with a new TOEFL® Vocabulary Practice.

Posted in Blogroll, Partners, Products, TOEIC Tip, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Idiom of the week – Ring hollow

Posted by englishlessons on May 28, 2013

Definition:

seem not true or wrong

Examples:

Their promises about staying with the project until it was finished ring hollow now that they’ve abandoned it.

His promises to her rang hollow when she discovered that he’d been seeing another woman.

Picture it:

If something is hollow, it is empty inside, so picture discovering that a promise or commitment is an empty one.

AmEnglish.com Programs:

Improve your fluency in English. Check out all 17 English Language Training Programs from AmEnglish.com

Idioms in English TOEFL Listening Practice

Posted in Blogroll, idioms, Products, pronunciation, TOEIC Tip | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Idiom of the week- a White knight

Posted by englishlessons on May 20, 2013

Definition:

a person or firm that gives money to a company in order to prevent it from being bought by another company, especially one that saves a firm from being taken over by an unacceptable purchaser

Examples:

At the last minute, a hostile takeover was averted. A white knight came to the rescue.

We are hopeful that we can avoid being purchased by our competitor. We need a white knight.

Picture it:

In fairy tales, the white knight is the good knight who rescues people from danger.

Slideshows:

Check out all 4 volumes of Idioms in English

Idioms in English TOEFL Listening Practice

Posted in Blogroll, idioms, Partners, Products, pronunciation, TOEIC Tip | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New version of “Animal Tales” – with photographs

Posted by englishlessons on September 10, 2012

Animal Tales

AmEnglish.com® and LittleELL.com have just released a new version of Animal Tales with photographs. This online, interactive program is designed for English language learners at the high beginning level and above. The focus on rhyming words is a fun way to reinforce correct pronunciation in English.

Animal Tales features nine poems* about nine animals with:

1. Audio, text, and photographs for each poem

2. Audio, text, and photographs for facts about each animal and its environment

3. Scored dictation practices to check listening comprehension

4. Scored review quizzes to check reading comprehension

5. A scored final review with “fill in the blank,” “multiple choice,” “dictation” and “word scrambles”

*The poems are written in anapestic tetrameter. Other well-known examples of poetry using this poetic meter are Twas the Night Before Christmas and many poems by Dr. Seuss.

Posted in Blogroll, Partners, Products, TOEIC Tip, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

AmEnglish.com and LittleELL.com have just released “Animal Tales”

Posted by englishlessons on June 9, 2012

Animal Tales

AmEnglish.com® and LittleELL.com have just released Animal Tales. This online, interactive program is designed for young English language learners at the high beginning level and above. It is appropriate for ELL students in fourth grade through middle school. It will help improve listening comprehension, pronunciation, and vocabulary in English.

Animal Tales features nine poems* about nine animals with:

1. Audio and text for each poem

2. Audio and text for facts about each animal and its environment

3. Scored dictation practices to check listening comprehension

4. Scored review quizzes to check reading comprehension

5. A scored final review with “fill in the blank,” “multiple choice,” “dictation” and “word scrambles”

*The poems are written in anapestic tetrameter – 4 rhythmic units each composed of 2 weak and one strong syllable, xxX xxX xxX xxX. (Note: it is possible to omit the first weak syllable or add an additional weak syllable at the end.) Other well-known examples of poetry for children using anapestic tetrameter are Twas the Night Before Christmas and many poems by Dr. Seuss

Click to view a 2 minute slideshow:
Animal Tales Slideshow

Posted in Blogroll, Partners, Products, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Idioms in the Wall Street Journal- A Sampling

Posted by englishlessons on November 18, 2011

Idioms* like “make waves” and “a long shot” are used frequently in English. Tracking idioms in news sources like the Wall Street Journal shows how often they are used and how important understanding idioms is to understanding the meaning in English. A quick survey of just three articles in the Wall Street Journal on a recent Tuesday yielded a total of twenty-six idioms. These ranged from phrasal verbs, like “pin down” to idioms like “bridle at something.”

For non-native speakers of English, idioms can be challenging. It can be very difficult to “catch” the idioms in spoken English if they are new for you. You may hear the surrounding words, but miss the idiom itself. It is usually easier to track idioms in writing as you have the option of reviewing the text. Once you identify an idiom, your next task is to understand it. Sometimes, you can guess the meaning of an idiom from the context in which it is used. You can also check the meaning by typing it into an online search engine along with the word “idiom.”

Using idioms correctly can break down assumptions native speakers make about a learner’s lack of competence in English because of mistakes in grammar or pronunciation. A student told me a story about using an idiom in a job interview in Silicon Valley, Ca. He had struggled in the past in interviews because of his accent. During this interview he told the interviewer that he was creative and knew how to “think out of the box.” He sensed a shift in the conversation and felt that using this idiom effectively had made a difference in how the interviewer saw him. At the end of the interview, he got a job offer.

AmEnglish.com Programs:

Improve your fluency in English. Check out all 17 English Language Training Programs from AmEnglish.com

The English Skills Series

*An idiom is a group of words with a special meaning of its own that is not clear from the meanings of the individual words.

Posted in Blogroll, idioms, Partners, Products, pronunciation, TOEIC Tip, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

English language learning strategies

Posted by englishlessons on November 7, 2011

Students in my pronunciation workshops often ask me about how they can quickly improve their pronunciation. Some students want to memorize all the rules as soon as possible hoping this will be the fastest fix. Memorizing large amounts of information may work when cramming for certain tests, but it’s not as effective for English language learning. There are multiple steps required to improve pronunciation in English. Let me use the stress pattern for compound nouns in English as an example.

Step one – learning the rule
Compound nouns are nouns with two words inside of them, like “newspaper,” ” landlord,'” “carpool,” and “homework.”
In English the stress usually falls on the first part of a compound noun.
So, you hear “NEWSpaper,” “LANDlord,” CARpool,” “HOMEwork.”*
The first syllable is longer, louder, and clearer than the second. If you don’t stress the first syllable of a compound noun, it may be very hard for a native speaker to understand the word.

Listening

Your awareness of this rule will raise your awareness of compound nouns in English. It’s similar to the experience you have when you buy a new red car. Suddenly, you start noticing all the red cars on the highways and freeways. You may not have noticed the stress pattern for compound nouns before, but now you notice it frequently. My students often comment that they suddenly start hearing mistakes in stress that they didn’t notice before. At first, students say they hear co-workers, who are also nonnative speakers of English, making stress mistakes. Later, they start to hear their own stress mistakes.

Step two- applying the rule

Speaking
Your heightened awareness of this rule will help you in applying it. At first, you may only remember to stress the first syllable of words you use at work every day, like “SOFTware.” However, if you focus on this rule, you’ll discover that there are thousands of compound nouns in English, and you’ll start applying the rule more often. You may catch yourself after you’ve said a word, correcting your stress.
For example: ” I’m looking for a pair of sunGLASSES. I mean SUNglasses.”
Over time, you’ll be able to apply the rule more easily in your conversation.

*This lesson is taken from Pronunciation in English- High Beginning+. This interactive program helps you use the important elements of stress, intonation, and rhythm like a native speaker. Pronunciation in English – High Beginning+ teaches the rule for compound noun stress using many different kinds of practices with video, audio, and recording to guide you in learning and applying this rule, along with many more.

Posted in Blogroll, Partners, Products, pronunciation, TOEIC Tip | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Accent Reduction and Clear Communication

Posted by englishlessons on December 27, 2007

English Skills Series

What do you say to a nonnative speaker of English who wants to get rid of his/her accent?

Accent reduction is a more realistic goal for nonnative speakers of English than accent elimination. The goal is to make speech more intelligible for effective communication. There are many factors that contribute to an accent in English. Incorrect stress can be an important contributing factor. Using correct stress in English is critical to being understood as English is a stress-timed language.

Placing the stress on the wrong syllable in a word in English can cause confusion. For example, the word “suburb” has two syllables, and the stress is on the first syllable. If the speaker stresses the second syllable of the word “suburb,” and says “suburb,” the listener may hear “superb,” a similar word with a very different meaning that has second syllable stress.

What are some ways to reduce an accent?

There are many ways to reduce an accent if English is not your first language. It’s good to use tools for structured and unstructured practice in English:

1. There are many options for unstructured practice. Watching films and listening to podcasts in English will build your listening comprehension and give you models for pronunciation. Whenever possible, talking with native speakers is great practice.

2. Our interactive programs, Pronunciation In English and Idioms in English, offer structured practice to improve both listening and pronunciation skills in English. Both programs focus on stress, intonation and rhythm in English. These interactive programs feature multiple native speaker models and immediate feedback on practice activities. The immediate feedback on answers guides users in correcting mistakes.

What else gets in the way of clear communication?

Sometimes, mistakes in syntax/grammar can cause miscommunication. This is true in spoken English as well as written English. For example, in the following sentence a mistake with the modal “would” makes the meaning unclear: “I would get back to you by the end of the business day.” The speaker meant, “I will get back to you by the end of the business day.” Targeting common mistakes in writing can translate to more effective communication in conversations and email.

What are some ways to improve syntax/grammar in English?

It’s good to work with tools for structured and unstructured practice.

1. An option for unstructured practice is reading for pleasure in English. It’s important to choose topics that interest you at a reading level that is not too difficult. Sometimes, people push to read material that is very challenging for them and then get frustrated and give up. Choosing reading material that is easier will keep you reading as it will be more enjoyable.

2. Our interactive writing program, Writing in English, offers structured practice to improve syntax/grammar in English. It focuses on common errors for nonnative writers of English. The interactive lessons and practices with immediate feedback on answers guide users in identifying and correcting common errors.

Posted in Blogroll, Partners, Products, pronunciation, TOEIC Tip | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are you plugged in?

Posted by englishlessons on August 18, 2007

An idiom is a group of words with a special meaning of its own that is not clear from the meanings of the individual words. Idioms are used extensively in conversations, email, presentations, newspapers, magazines, and films. If you don’t understand the idiom, you can feel left out of the conversation or presentation since the idiom is often the “point” of the sentence.

All languages have idiomatic expressions; however, idioms are used very frequently in American culture, especially American business culture. You can learn idioms over time after immersion in a culture, but it can really speed things up to have a systematic approach. Once you become more aware of idiomatic expressions, you will notice them more easily in conversations and newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, which is an excellent source for idioms.

Our approach to teaching idioms also helps improve listening comprehension and pronunciation in English. We present the idioms in the context of a story or dialog. This helps you to hear the idioms in a more natural setting. Audio tracks for each page include four different native speaker models. Then we have a page devoted to each idiom. This page presents the definition and examples of how the idiom can be used in a sentence. We also show how the concepts we teach in the Pronunciation In English program apply to idioms. The pronunciation notes demonstrate how stress, intonation, focus words, reduction and linking apply to each idiom. Idioms in English reinforces all of the concepts presented in the pronunciation program in a new context.

Every idioms page is followed by a scored dictation practice and a focus word exercise, both of which help build listening comprehension. At the end of every chapter is another scored dictation exercise. Once you learn all the idioms, you can check your knowledge with the final exam at the end of the program. It is a lot of fun to spot idioms you’ve learned in everyday conversations, in the newspapers, and in movies. Learning about idioms in English will help you become more fluent in the language as it used every day by native speakers.

AmEnglish.com Programs:

Improve your fluency in English. Check out all 17 English Language Training Programs from AmEnglish.com

English Skills Series

Posted in Blogroll, idioms, TOEIC Tip | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: