Making the news, across the world, is the continued spread of the Corona Virus.
This is a topic which is affecting millions of people, and having a significant impact on the global economy but of course … health comes first.
I’m writing from Vietnam, where precautions were implemented rapidly. Schools were closed, for example, so my centre is offering online-classes.
I recommend students read as much ‘real-life’ English as possible, not rely solely on the text books, so I was interested by this clip from the BBC, specifically aimed at Vietnamese.
This is a speech by POTUS (President of the United States), Donald Trump. The purpose of this blog is not politics BUT to encourage students to listen to the language and thereby learn new words and expressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twd60cPH7t0
The clip has Viet subtitles so is a great way to learn expressions, vocabulary as well as HOW native speakers speak … where we put the stress and intonation.
This is the normal procedure (way / method) to hail a taxi in NYC. However, this would not be acceptable in Bangkok.
Hailing a taxi in Bangkok
Notice how the hand points down. In Thailand, people beckon (call) a dog with their hands up, so a taxi driver would think this was very impolite and rude. The driver would be offended; the hand signal would cause offence.
Cultural differences are one way of inadvertently causing offence. However, some people can say, write or do things that upset other people:
The 45th President is famous for his somewhat un-presidential tweets. He is referring here to the North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-il:
However, in the interests of fairness, North Korean leaders have made comments that could be offensive to the USA. The former leader, Kim Jong-un:
And sometimes, within the same country, people can disagree with each. This is all part of a free society. The problem arises when people stop arguing the facts or beliefs, but start to attack people for their looks, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation. Some times, people can go too far in what they say:
This is the singer, and animal-rights supporter, Morrissey. He is talking about the treatment of animals in China, which he feels is intolerable. He can object. However, in this quote, he insults the entire country as seeming to be “a subspecies,” that is, not quite human. He makes his point, but do people understand his message, or get offended by his words ?
Sentence order – exercises for you to practice rearranging the words in a sentence to make your English more interesting. This is especially useful for IELTS students.
Vocabulary – a feature just on boosting your command of the English language, and finding higher, or better, low-frequency words for basic English.
Increase vocabulary. The average native-speaker uses about 2 000 words. You can boost your vocabulary by learning verbs, adverbs and adjectives which can be easily found by a Google search. Also, use an online thesaurus.
Speak in longer sentences. Say what you want to say (make your point), then elaborate by giving examples, adding reasons and maybe an anecdote. Along with this, give the opposite view by using conjunctions such as ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’ etc.
Pronunciation. Many native speakers have a problem understanding English learners, so we will practise slow and careful enunciation, intonation and stress.