IELTS: Intonation, stress, let me feel the emotion (Volume 1)

16th November 2020

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for my Asian students is copying the speech patterns of English, how our voices rise and fall, how we pause for effect then stress key words, augmented by body language and facial expressions.

Best way to improve is to copy so, without further ado, some classic film lines.

Let’s dive in !

First up, ‘The Italian Job’, a British film from 1969 starring Michael Caine, who is still working today, an actor from south London: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g_GeQR8fJo

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off !”

Now, let’s cross the pond (the Atlantic Ocean) and go Stateside, with Tom Cruise being yelled at (shouted at) by Jack Nicholson who you may remember from a previous video. The clip is from ‘A Few Good Men,’ a 1992 drama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2F4VcBmeo

This can be for two students or teams: Start at 0:13 – 0:19

“You want answers,”

“I want the truth,”

“You can’t handle the truth !”

Movin’ on, most of most students are teenagers … this one’s for them. Emely Martinez and some informal, vernacular: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7nyqZJG1WU&list=PLcFdqEA1TNzMEObFQ-XYy4u6dYnrkUSEa&index=13

Watch from the beginning

“Oh my gosh, I think I’ve just come up with the best theory … teenage life sucks !”

Now for a personal favourite, the inimitable Peter O’Toole an actor I had the pleasure of seeing, and briefly meeting, back in my London days. Here, Peter is on a talk show, explaining about a long, arduous flight from Japan to the USA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuhHThAaymQ

I heartily recommend watching the whole clip, however our section starts at 2:21

“Coming from Japan, one indeed stops at lots of places … Hawaii and all over … and it coincided, our stopping, with the cocktail hour … everywhere we went, it was cocktail hour … and one doesn’t want to be discourteous …”

Finally, my favourite TV chef (after Keith Floyd, obviously) is the beautiful Ching-He Huang

My Day on a Plate: Ching He-Huang

Here’s an assortment of phrases and lines from one of her numerous YouTube clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVmAMQYTtHk

The whole clip is under two minutes. Here are some selections, in order of appearance.

“From street food to fine dining, Hong Kong is the place that has some of the best food on the planet. Every time I come my absolute favourite thing to do is eat.”

“So this is the pineapple bun, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for, it’s flakey and it’s sweet … it’s really good.”

“It’s small and punchy … just like you !”

“The sweetness of the prawns … eeerrrrrrrr !”

“This is some serious woking !”

The last phrase shows how we can play with English; a wok is a traditional Chinese frying pan. Here, Ching uses the noun (wok) to form a verb (woking), which is non-standard, in fact, it isn’t in any of the online dictionaries I searched. Having said that, most native-English speakers watching the show will know what she means.

If you are unsure, Ching is saying that the restaurant is extremely busy, there is a lot of high-energy cooking going on (woks are associated with high-temperature, very quick dishes).

Ching-He Huang recipes - BBC Food

IELTS: Beginning to speak with IELTS language.

12th November 2020

Mindset 2, Unit 1 speaking

Today we’ll focus on two important aspects of IELTS, namely how to introduce an answer, and then beginning to use idiomatic language.

First off the bat, a review of recent vocabulary.

Arrange class into two teams. Ask the missing word(s) for a point [see if the students can use them in other sentences for an extra two points].

EON Heli Bar at Bitexco Financial Tower - Amazing views from Saigon's  highest lounge bar

Prices at Bitexco Sky bar are ______________ .

In Sai Gon, coffee shops are ______________ .

A ________ tried to sell me a Rolex watch, but I knew it was fake. I am not that ___________ to believe it was genuine.

The student was dancing and shouting things. His behaviour was very ________ but it is __________ that a class of teenagers will be a problem.

Tony agreed to meet Mary to go for a _______ but he forgot. He’s so ________________________ .

Ben Thanh Market, Saigon - Guide to Day & Night Market (Hours, Map)

Ben Tanh Market, which is like a _______ is a main tourist sight although for western people, the prices are _________________ .

Answers:

Western asian Stock Photos, Royalty Free Western asian Images |  Depositphotos®

astronomical or sky high // ubiquitous // hawker // naive // bizarre // predictable // stroll // absent-minded // bazaar // astronomical or sky high

Introductions

Last week, a top cat student responded to the question, “How do you spend your free time ?” by stating, and I quote:

“Well, I’m a student at university, so I don’t really have much free time. However, when I’m not studying I like to …

Today, we’ll concentrate on introductions.

The First Rule of Fight Club is... | Ability Ministry

First rule of introductions is NEVER answer the question immediately:

e.g. “How do you spend your free time ?” “I play video game and sleep.”

That sucks - Chris Traeger The real one | Meme Generator

Second rule of introductions is NEVER answer the question immediately.

Practice Makes Perfect GIFs | Tenor

So, here’s some typical IELTS topics and some sample introductions:

Your hometown / Tell me about your hometown

Food in your country / What is traditional food in your country ?

Travel / Where would you like to visit ?

Work or Study / What job would you like to do ?

Some standard opening lines:

That’s a very interesting question

Well, that’s a great question

Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ?

It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about …

As a young Vietnamese (add your own nationality), I …

Now … your turn.

Think of a good introduction to each of the four questions

Photos of indians talking to each other Stock Photos - Page 1 : Masterfile

Idioms

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

Turn over a new leaf

You categorically have to learn these idioms and be able to use them, appropriately, at the drop of a hat. Which idioms fits:

Something that doesn’t happen very often

Something that is very easy, no problem

Very bad weather heavy rain

Working or partying all day and night

Deciding to change your behaviour and be a better person

Something very expensive

To do extremely well in a test

Jewish students celebrate record A-Level success! | Jewish News
Happy students, just received their grades

IELTS: Be “industrious, hard-working, incredibly energetic” students

6th November 2020

IELTS Mindset 2 Unit 1:Listening

How to start turning standard English into IELTS-style answers

Tips:

Introduce your answer

Paraphrase the question

Use low-frequency words (LFW)

Think what idiom or expression is appropriate

Use intonation and stress

Speak fluently and pace yourself

For a database of idioms and IELTS – language you will need to know, click here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/22/ielts-language-bank-idioms-and-l-fws-you-need-to-have-at-your-beck-and-call/

Example:

Last week we used these words:

city centre / industrial / residential / suburban

quite / safe / vibrant / boring / peaceful

bustling / gritty

Which adjectives could describe the four types of area ?

NEXT UP:

Speaking exercise – imagine you live in the first picture. Describe the neighbourhood and your life. However, when you get a high-paying job, you want to take out a mortgage and move to the second picture. Describe that neighbourhood.

New Barlinnie super-prison to be moved next to iconic Provan gasworks -  Glasgow Live
The Impact Of Covid-19 On Residential Living - London Belgravia Real Estate

NEXT UP:

Introducing and expanding your answer

Coffee Shop (Jin and Ru) | Cute korean girl, Ulzzang korean girl, Ulzzang  girl
Starbucks in Seoul: How the Seattle Chain Flooded South Korea

Do you like coffee ?

I like many drinks however coffee is my favourite because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far out weigh the disadvantages.

NB (Latin – nota bene = note well, please read, important information)

  1. I didn’t answer immediately but introduced the question.
  2. Use of discourse markers to extend the answer
  3. Saying something positive and negative about the subject
  4. This was all one sentence – a complex sentence which you will need to start using in order to pass IELTS with flying colours

Try these:

  • Living in HCM
  • Free time
  • Working and studying.

New vocabulary

ubiquitous everywhere, very common

naïve innocent, inexperienced

stroll a gentle walk, for exercise (collocation: take a stroll)

a bazaar (noun) a permanent, covered market 

bizarre (adjective) very strange, unusual

absent-minded extremely forgetful

sky-high, astronomical very expensive, maybe too expensive

predictable it is possible to guess the answer, people doing the same thing

hawkers

Street _______ are common in Vietnam, and they are _________ in District 1. It is nearly impossible for a westerner to take a ________ without being approached. Some claim to sell Ray Bans or designer sunglasses, but you would have to be extremely ________ to believe they are genuine ! They are all fake, probably made in China. Many people try to _____(collocation) money by selling to tourists especially around Ben Thanh Market, a kind of _______, though this is strictly for tourists as the prices are ____________ !

Pronunciation Practice

First time in Viet Nam – First impressions of Viet Nam

A vlog by Divert Living, posted just over two years ago and which has already received more than a million hits:

[American English accent]

Try 04:44 – 04:53

” … and I asked them, ‘How much is aqua (water) ?’ Aqua’s fifteen thousand, beer’s twenty thousand … of course I’m gonna get the beer, now … it’s just as expensive as the water.”

09:00 – 0913

“Fun fact, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world … and, to go with the food, the size of the dining tables and chairs are super small.”

Speaking Practice: ‘Read All About It !’

2nd November 2020

The best way to improve your pronunciation is, obviously, to listen and then to copy.

Practice, practice, practice

IELTS students in particular need to demonstrate a variety of speaking skills: intonation, stress, chunking, elongating words for emphasis, not to mention body language, eye-contact and gestures.

Therefore, without further ado, here’s a number of clips for you to practice, and don’t forget … have fun !

First off the bat, President Obama speaking in Florida, October 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UoPB7SvCGk&t=364s

I want you to focus on the speech from 05:44 – 06:15

“I just want you to know it, it’s a good idea to have an answer to this question … it’s a good idea if you’re running for re-election to say, ‘Here’s what I want to accomplish.’ What did Trump say ? He got mad and walked out of the interview. He thought the questions were too tough. Too tough ! Miami, listen, if he can’t answer a tough question like, ‘What would you like to do in your second term ?’ then it’s our job to make sure he doesn’t get a second term.”

From a linguistic point of view, notice the differences between British and US English, words such as ‘interview’. Notice how President Obama paces himself … leaving space between sentences, how he stresses certain phrases (“Too tough !“). Finally, listen to the ‘music’ of the last sentence. His voice is building up to a climatic, “Doesn’t get …” which is an incredibly powerful way of speaking.

Now, let’s have a speech from President Trump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVG1uR9wr-A

I want you to focus this time from 00:53 – 01:20

“…and ensure more products are stamped with that beautiful phrase: ‘Made in the USA.’ And next year will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country … under my leadership our economy grew at the fastest rate ever recorded, 33.1%, just announced. We created a record 11.4 million jobs in the last five months …”

Naturally, not everybody agrees with President Trump, nor his style of debating. Here’s how Vice-President Joe Biden reacted to being constantly interrupted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7Gw–6t3s4

Watch from 0:40 – 0:44

“Will you shut up, man !”

Time to bring it closer to (my) home, and British politics. You saw how polished and professional President Obama was … but that is not always the case. Here is former Labour (left wing) politician, Diane Abbot who was famous, or infamous, for making mistakes in the media.

In this clip, the politician is forced to listen to a recording of a radio interview where she couldn’t answer the question. This can make you cringe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYZ262b7wBI

Watch from 0:37 – 1:18

The question was how much would 10 000 extra police officers cost ?

“Well, if we recruit the 10 000 police men and women over a four-year period, we believe it will be about £300 000 …”

Interviewer speaks

“Haha, no, I mean, sorry, they will cost … they will, it will cost … um about … about £80 million … yeah !”

Now, the British Parliament may be regarded as an icon of modern democracy and free speech but it can get out of hand. Politicians, like children, can be noisy and in need of discipline. A strong presence is required to maintain order. Here’s Mr John Bercow, former Speaker of the House reprimanding a politician:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-2002454/Video-John-Bercow-couldt-flying-flamingo-view-is.html

Here Is Why Brexit Has Been Delayed

“If you don’t like it, you’re perfectly entitled to your view, I couldn’t give a flying flamingo what your view is.”

Let’s wrap up with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN7ojP2Q6kY

From 0:34 – 0:46. PM Arden is talking about winning the election and the votes or ‘seats’ that she needed in order to secure victory.

“We have seen that support in both urban areas and in rural areas, and seats we may have hoped for but in those equally we may not have expected.”

To the ‘students’ that talk during my class, here’s a word from Vice-President Biden:

Will You Shut Up Man | Know Your Meme

Thanks, Joe.

IELTS: My hometown

28th October 2020 Mindset 2 Unit 1: Speaking

My Little Town - Wikipedia

A new class, new students, so let’s hit the ground running, get the students mixing, talking to each other and up from their seats. I prepared a questionnaire. They have to interview different classmates and learn a little about them

Gather information about your classmates

QuestionNameResponse
Why are you studying IELTS ?
Where would you most like to visit and why ?
Would you like to live abroad ?
What is the hardest thing about learning English ?
How do you solve this ?
How often do you use English ?

Do you read, write or speak at school or at work ?
What do you most like about western culture or
countries ?
What idioms do you know ? 

This lead into the idiom it’s raining cats and dogs which most students had heard (it means raining heavily).

Today’s lesson is based on types of housing and areas; some extra terms:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

Which would you apply to these:

underthepier,southwold/alternative arcades

All photos are from the UK

Ask each other about your hometown or your neighbourhood.

What do you like about your neighbourhood ?

What don’t you like ?

Explain why you don’t like something.

Vietnam on Video: Part 2

26th October 2020

A collection of clips predominantly featuring western people and their views on Vietnam. I have also added some suggested sequences for pronunciation practice … and so, without further ado …

First time in Viet Nam – First impressions of Viet Nam

A vlog by Divert Living, posted just over two years ago and which has already received more than a million hits:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHnQKvU8OiA&t=547s

Pronunciation Practice:

[American English accent]

Try 04:44 – 04:53

” … and I asked them, ‘How much is aqua (water) ?’ Aqua’s fifteen thousand, beer’s twenty thousand … of course I’m gonna get the beer, now … it’s just as expensive as the water.”

09:00 – 0913

“Fun fact, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world … and, to go with the food, the size of the dining tables and chairs are super small.”

This vlog was shot in Ha Noi, so let’s get their take (their opinion, view, experience) on Sai Gon:

What to expect – Saigon or HCMC

Now they travel to my neck of the woods (the area I live in or was brought up in), and they encounter, among many other delights, coconut coffee:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw_K-1AmVk&t=661s

Pronunciation Practice:

09:50 – 10.00

“Wow … that’s so strong, but it’s got a ball of coconut ice-cream in the middle … whoah !”

And the young lady who I believe is Korean adds:

“I wanna try … This is the coffee king … ahhhhhhhh !”

Talking Point:

The young travellers give their views on the environment and cleanliness of District 1 which is the city centre [UK] or downtown area [USA].

To what extent do you agree with them ?

What do Vietnamese students think of the Vlogger’s appraisal of Sai Gon ?

Let’s move on and talk about traffic which is quite a serious issue in Vietnam. Firstly, attending driving school … what can go wrong ? A clip from the world-famous motoring show from the BBC, ‘Top Gear.’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1xNTBLgq4c

[UK English accent]

Right from the get go (from the very start) we have some great lines:

“Cheer up … this is gonna be a doodle … [Vietnamese] … it wasn’t !”

01.23 – 01:45

“How the hell … what did you just do ?”

“It was eighteen. Eighteen years old.”

“How did you know ?”

“Did you not bother learning Vietnamese before we came here ?”

“Well, no.”

“You’re screwed, then.”

Time for some food and the ubiqitous Phở My favourite TV chef, Mr Keith Floyd, who sadly passed away in 2009. He came to Asia, and visited Vietnam and now he’s going to tell you about Phở:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO6cSQ8Vly8&list=PL4JTuMl25i9kPkTq5rGPVRNyhU0GPK1PT

[UK English accent]

02:32 – 02:38 and continuing up to 03:05

“Vietnamese are industrious, hard-working, incredibly energetic people …”

“So, the most essential thing here in Vietnam is a great breakfast, a thing called a pho.”

What goes in a pho, Keith ?

“You might put chicken, you might put meat, you might put fish but as long as you’ve got noodles and a rich stock, you can’t go wrong.”

How English people dress …

Top 5 Coolest Celebrity Chefs Ever! « Appliances Online Blog
Cheers
Far Flung Floyd | DVD | Buy Now | at Mighty Ape NZ
Top Gear Vietnam Special - Tour Vietnam With Quality Motorbike Rentals
Three Englishmen in Sai Gon

How English people really dress. Thanks for visiting my blog. All the best.

IELTS: Language bank. Idioms and L-FWs you need to have at your beck and call.

22nd October 2020

A database of idioms that my physical classes covered previously as well as new idioms plus a reminder of some low-frequency words that are guaranteed to impress the examiner. Let’s kick off with some vocabulary building:

computer literacy (noun) computer literate (adjective)

flexible / flexibility / flexi-hours

to adapt / adaptability /

prospects

standard of living

networking

future skills

essential workplace skills

prosaic [cf with ‘run of the mill’]

cf is Latin for ‘compare’ // e.g. is Latin meaning ‘for example’ // i.e. is Latin for ‘that is’.

Now …

18 Relatable Tiger Mom Memes | SayingImages.com

Complete the sentences:

If you learn English you will increase your job ____________

Nowadays, most young people are _____________ _________________ . They are able to use programs such as Word, ___________ & ________

When selecting a university, you may have to be ______________ in case you don’t get into your first choice.

Getting a great, well-paying job is essential if you want a high ________________________ .

One student moved to Boston where the temperature can drop to below freezing. He’s really having ________ to the new culture.

My actor friend is busy 24/7, attending parties, setting up meeting, pitching ideas and Tweeting. That guy is constantly ______________ .

Class Game

Split class into two teams. One team selects a word or phrase and the other team has to use it, correctly of course, in a sentence. Bonus points for throwing in any appropriate idioms.

Rickenbacker 330 Left-Handed, Jetglo at Gear4music

I would love this guitar which is a left-handed Rickenbacker, a famous American company with a very distinctive look and sound, yet, to my dismay, it costs ______________________

Idioms from Semester 2

Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience

bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

Idioms from Semester 1

Which you should all know by heart and be able to reel off at the drop of a hat.

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! | Chynna Pope: The Beacon Hellion

Extra expressions for Top Cats:

Ring any bells ? // do you remember //

More or less // not exactly but approximately

Get the gist // do you understand the main point ?

Right up your street // this is something you will really like

Rabbit, Rabbiting on // UK slang, especially in London … talking too much

Tongue in cheek // not being serious about something

Keep your hand in // to practise something so you don’t forget how it’s done

Bucket down / raining cats and dogs // raining very heavily

Have a go / give it a bash / give it a shot // to try something

Call it a day // to stop work and go home early

Go ahead // sure, do it

Under one roof // everything in one place

Through thick and thin // together in good times and bad times.

Remember these old chestnuts ?

without further ado // tricks up your sleeve  // ace the test

pass with flying colours  // do yourself proud // 

you are in the driver seat (or you are in the driving seat)  // 

occur // inevitably // pertinent

This taxi has put me in the driver's seat of my life': Female taxi driver  shares inspiring story - it s viral - Hindustan Times
Guess who’s in the driver’s seat ?

Personal and personality adjectives:

patient / firm / authoritative / determined / brave / energetic / level-headed / down-to-earth / strong / fit / healthy / imposing / honest / loyal / civic-minded / caring / hard-working /

Finally, some adverbs you must have in your arsenal:

very / extremely / amazingly / unbelievably / quite / rather / undeniably / remarkably / totally / absolutely /

Phew!. The last time I wrote it was so long… | by Vaibhav Sinha | How I  Learnt Piano | Medium
Phew ! Thay Paul is a Tiger Teacher

For those who really want to expand their horizons, an extensive collection of idioms, expressions and collocations can be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/25/adult-speaking-class-level-3-ielts-english-expressions/

IELTS, Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Good Technology

19th October 2020

Technology

Information Management Technology (IMT) Definition

Let’s kick off with a song. Maybe the music isn’t your cup of tea, but that’s not the point. Just see how much you can understand.

The song is called ‘Good Technology’ and is from a band called Red Guitars who were from Hull which is in the north-east of England :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs0OkiCZNRI

The lyrics:

Good Technology

Red Guitars

We’ve got photographs of men on the moon
We’ve got water that is good for us
We’ve got coffee that’s instantaneous
We’ve got buildings that are very tall
We’ve got cigarettes that are low in tar
We’ve got policemen can tell us who we are
We can reproduce a work of art
We’ve got missiles can tear the world apart
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology

We’ve got trains that run underground
Aeroplanes that fly very fast
We’ve got music that is popular
We’ve got machines that sound like orchestras
We’ve got ability to transplant a heart
We’ve got freezers full of body parts
We’ve got computers that can find us friends
We know roughly when the world will end
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology

We’ve got animals with transistors in
We’ve got pills that can make you slim
We’ve got factories turning frozen chickens out
We’ve got ovens that cook in seconds flat
We’ve got plastics that are indestructible
We’ve got deodorants that make us smell of flowers
We’ve got detergents to clean up the sea
We’ve got sounds can turn you inside out

Sometimes I wonder what it is all about
There’s lots of leisure time to sit and work it out
There’s a TV show I’ve got to see
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology
Good technology

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Stuart Ross

Now, to cut down on ‘Teacher Talking Time’ and to get the class prepared to speak, to use intonation and stress as well as affording them the chance to use their L-FWs and idioms, a little warm up activity.

Firstly, what did you think of the song, with special reference to the lyrics and themes. remember – this song was from the 1980s, before mobile phones and the internet, which are now ubiquitous.

Ask and answer. Speak to many different students.

Elicit answers, interview your fellow students, pump them for information, don’t allow them to get away with a two- or three-word answers

How many hours do you use a computer every day ?

[Ask what the computer is used for, ask for examples, favourite sites, what is the work – play balance ?]

Do you have a smartphone ? If so, what type ?

Have you ever read an e-book ? Which one ?

What are your favourite video games ?

Do you write or read a blog ?

Are you on Instagram or Twitter ? Why or why not ?

When do you post comments online ?

Do you make phone calls or text family and friends ?

Who is teaching whom here ?

Father and son with computer. Father and son working on a laptop , #ad,  #son, #Father, #computer, #laptop, #working #ad | Father and son, Sons,  Father

Thinking on your feet.

What is happening here ? What’s the story ?

I Hate My Fucking Computer | Computer & Tech Support | Quikteks | Quikteks  Tech Support
🐣 25+ Best Memes About Nigerian Scammer Meme | Nigerian Scammer Memes
Welcome To Smart Japan
Bill Gates jumping over a chair - GIF on Imgur

IELTS – Get your motor runnin’: fluency, stress and intonation

15th October 2020

Get Your Motor Runnin' Head Out on the Highway | Donald Trump Meme on ME.ME

Our plan for the next semester is to develop speaking skills – presentation and delivery – as well as, naturally, increasing vocabulary, colocations, phrases, idioms … in short, the whole nine yards.

New idioms

I don’t want to overburden the class with too many idioms, so these are what we’ll be using over this semester. That means using them repeatedly until they become second nature and the students, of whom I am very fond, will have another string to their bow … oh, heck – ANOTHER idiom !

Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience

bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

NOW … your turn … what idioms fits ?

Lunatics Paradise: Australia's Renewables Fiasco Like Living in a Madhouse  – STOP THESE THINGS

At breaktimes, all the younglings come pouring out of their classes, screaming their little heads off …

it’s ___________________________________

Students protest against tuition fees - BBC News

Students are unhappy about tuition fees

They are _____________

You still can!': Music teacher champions adult students learning violin

She can speak five languages, do karate and is now learning violin

She has added __________________________

Yawning Girl Reading A Boring Book Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 19559231.

She thought the novel would be extremely exciting.

Unfortunately, for her, it’s just a ___________________ story.

Street Photography in Austin - Assignment Chicago

Some areas of downtown are no-go areas.

You really _________________________________________ if you go after dark and alone.

buster-keaton-396846_640

Poor Buster is so funny, yet he always looks _______________________

Oh, dear …

This beautiful young lady seems to be upset about something.

Possibly something the man said is a ______________________ with her ?

Excited Motivated Multiracial Business Team Stock Footage Video (100%  Royalty-free) 1037298239 | Shutterstock

We’re going to have a tremendous success with our new product which we shall be launching in Europe, the US and parts of Asia.

We’re really going to ________________________________

Marcello Mastroianni

Excuse me, I have to take this call _______________________

Part two:

How would you describe these neighbourhoods ? I want full sentences, as complex as you can make them, bursting with idioms, expressions and Low-Frequency Words. Give your opinions – would you like to go there, or even live there ? Explain your rationale.

Old Manchester pubs and cinemas from the '60s to '90s
Manchester, north-west England
Inmueble en venta - Earls Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 | Knight Frank
Tunbridge Wells, south of London
Birmingham UK Industrial scene | Birmingham uk, Birmingham, Industrial
Birmingham in the British Midlands

Rural Retreats | Wales Cottages
Rural Wales
The Edinburgh festival is cancelled: long live the festival | Scotland |  The Times
Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, during the festival

Part three:

Practice making complex sentences, with two clauses at least, from these simple sentences.

Example:

Cinema Paradiso getting Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray release in UK – Film Stories

Johnny always went to the cinema when he was a child.

As a child, Johnny always went to the cinema.

GRAMMAR NOTE – the first word after the supporting clause has to be the subject.

We always played games when we had Mr Tony as our teacher.

He speaks English well although his written work is rather poor.

The Who | Discography | Discogs

The Who were formed in west London in the early 1960s. They are a very famous, influential bands despite never having a Number 1 hit single.

Asian Woman Selfie stock photos and royalty-free images, vectors and  illustrations | Adobe Stock

My neighbour only works in a convenience store. She thinks she is a big star. She is constantly taking selfies.

And … to end, let’s start copying some classic movie scenes:

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcQBhjzqbLv-Fe17vj4O7Ep4GZ4je0erYx6AXA&usqp=CAU

The lines to copy are from 0:14 – 0.37

Here’s the first of the day, fellas … to old D.H. Lawrence … yyahhhhhhHHHHHHH … NIC, NIC, NIC, ffff, fffff … cccahhhh, indians !

IELTS: 8 1/2 … Chasing 8 1/2

12th October 2020

8½ (1963) | The Criterion Collection

Let’s hit the ground running … my recent tests highlighted key areas on which all students, without exception, need to work, namely:

fluency

complex sentences

pronunciation including intonation and stress

Not forgetting, to constantly increase and expand their vocabulary. A reminder of some recent language:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

apparently – something you believe to be true

conversely – the opposite, on the other hand, however

actually – saying something that is surprising or is the truth

New idioms

bear with me – please wait a very short time

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy.

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

Top Five Tips for Crossing the Street in Vietnam

Exercise 1: Using the new vocabulary. Fill in the blanks:

I live near some factories in a ___________ , ________________ area.

The traffic is my neighbourhood is a nightmare, I __________________ every time I go out or try to cross the road.

I was rather disappointed in the latest Bond film it was merely a ____________________ spy movie.

This is a library ? With all this noise ! It’s _______________________ here.

Let me check my files, __________________ a moment.

Don’t ask him about his test score, it’s a bit of a ____________ . He only got 65% although he was expecting to ace the test.

China is the biggest country in the world, oh, no, sorry ________________ it’s Russia.

The lockdown has affected many urban areas. What used to be a _________________ , ____________ city centre is now a ghost town.

Exercise 2: what is a ghost town ? Can you understand these lyrics ? The Specials with ‘Ghost Town’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ2oXzrnti4

Ghost Town

The Specials

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
All the clubs have been closed down
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
Bands won’t play no more
Too much fighting on the dance floor

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?
We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can’t go on no more
The people getting angry

This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town

Songwriters: Jerry Dammers

Exercise 3: What do you know about The Specials. Here’s some facts. Arrange them in the form of an IELTS-standard paragraph.

The Specials were formed in Coventry, in the British Midlands.

Formed in 1977. They had two main singers, Terry Hall and Neville Staple.

Their music is a mix of punk and reggae.

They had a number 1 song in 1980.

‘Ghost Town’ was also a number 1. It was released in 1981. This song is about the recession in the UK. Many people had no work, no money and no hope.

The Specials broke up (disbanded) in 1984 but later reformed. They still perform together.

Next blog will focus on pronunciation. To my classroom students, be prepared for a lot more speaking and practising so, yes ! You DO have to say it again … and again …

Bruce Lee quote: Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing,  our...

Attaining 8 1/2 … a piece of cake.

8 1/2 – Brisbane International Film Festival