A personal blog for one of my special students, my Princess, but one which will, hopefully, be of use to princesses everywhere.
We like to encourage students to imitate the speech patterns of native-speakers by which I mean the way we link words together, form contractions (‘I’d’ instead of ‘I would’ etc), and use paralinguistics to convey meaning (intonation, stress, body language).
However, students need individual assistance so while my Princess has remarkable lexical resources, as well as the ability to tell an anecdote or two, she could improve aspects of her pronunciation.
Therefore, I have prepared some clips for princesses the world over to use for speaking practice … and so, without further ado, princesses prepare to sound like a Queen
One of my students has chosen the English name ‘Cherry’, so this song goes down well (especially when I try, and fail, to hit those high notes).
Now, down to business
Past tense – what is the past tense for:
eat // drink // see // become // live // travel // ride // sleep
Moving on – complete the sentence:
Last night I _____ Chinese food
Yesterday he ______ hot, sweet tea
She ______ all night
Marco Polo _______ famous for his travel stories.
He ______ from I___ to C________
In Thailand, Mr Paul _____ a large grey intelligent elephant.
Also he _____ many beautiful colourful temples
Now, past continuous
Make sentences using continuous form. Remember – verb + ing
What are they doing ? They are telling stories
Use flashcards. Have students ask and answer the questions. Call two students, one from each team and have them stand on a mark. Awards points for pronunciation as well as correct answers. Drill class to make sure everyone is taking part.
Next hand out six flashcards, three to each team.
Ask them, “What were you doing when I drank coffee ?” They must answer in the present continuous e.g. I was setting up the tent.
Finally, have a student mime an activity. Only that student’s team may answer.
Moving on, today’s subject is a reading exercise about exploring a cave. As a lead-in, show this video about a famous cave in Viet Nam:
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, time to take stock and make sure the students have absorbed the information and are au fait (French for well informed, know the point) with the vocabulary so far. With that in mind, here’s a quick warm up. Replace the high frequency words with low-frequency ones, then use your newly-acquired discourse markers to construct longer sentences.
Let’s kick off with some common or garden IELTS subjects:
What do you do in your free time ?
I drink coffee with my friends. There are many coffee shops in my hometown
School keeps me very busy, but if I can find some time for myself, I enjoy hanging out with my friends in coffee shops, which are ubiquitous in Sai Gon.
TIP: The question here is about free time, so don’t just talk about coffee shops – mention at least two other different activities – even if you DON’T do them, just talk about them !
Example, playing music, watching films, listening to music, sports, shopping, helping family, reading – thing you enjoy NOT to do with studying or work
Now … Your Turn: [tips at the end]
Remember, you should be able to speak in complex sentences with a low-frequency word or two, some idiomatic language, contractions and discourse markers, all spiced up with a liberal sprinkling of adverbs and adjectives. Furthermore, try to introduce the answer, rather than stating it outright.
I don’t like English grammar. I am boring with it.
A lot more people go to China than Viet Nam.
She forgets everything.
Thai food is good.
I think Barcelona will beat Real Madrid on Sunday
I like to go to cinema and go to shopping and go my friend house and sleep.
I don’t go out now. It rains all day.
The examiner asks you a question but you didn’t understand
I didn’t hear you.
Errrrrr, I don’t know
OK, yes I like it
The examiner asks you a question but you need time to think of an answer.
I don’t know.
Tell me about your city
It very dirty.
I was born here. I love it.
We can do many things here.
Has many traffic jam. Yes. people nice.
Do you like to eat ?
Of course !
Yes. I eat with my family. I eat with my friends at school. I eat after school. I eat at night with my family
Words and expression to use, tips, phrases and idiomatic language.
Low – frequency words
Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded //
expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.
Could you repeat that, please // I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that // Would you mind rephrasing the question
In my opinion // From my perspective // For me //
Let me think // How can I put it // Well, that’s an interesting question
Allow me to explain // By which I mean //
As well as // furthermore // additionally // on the other hand // having said that // however // although // despite that
It’s raining cats and dogs // It costs an arm and a leg // piece of cake // I’m burning the candle at both ends
Relative pronouns – who / which / where / whose
One of my favourite things to do, if I have some spare time, is to hang out with my closest friends and just catch up on our news, maybe hit a mall because they are air-conditioned and have a wide array of amenities such as shops, cafes and, if I may say, bathroom facilities, as well as services like ATM machines and free wifi. My closest friends are Sheila, who is from India and studies here in Sai Gon, and Kerry, who is a gorgeous Thai lady. As we all come from different countries, there can be issues; allow me to explain. We have to communicate in English, however Kerry is just starting her studies, so we have to use Google translate frequently. Having said that, it’s such tremendous fun to be with my best friends. It helps me forget about the pressure and stress of work.
I like to play guitar // I love to listen to music //
I + like + verb+ing + object: I love playing guitar
NEVER – I like to listening to music
Tell me about yourself:
At university, my major was accounting and I have worked for 8 years.
Boy = son Girl = daughter.
I have one son, who is 3 and one daughter who is 1.
My manager is a lady (or woman) and she is professional, very friendly and nice. She has short black hair and an oval-shaped face. Usually, she wears a short black dress. My manager, whose name is Dung, always helps and supports me.
Pho is the traditional food of VN. It is soup with noodles, meat (beef, chicken), vegetables and herbs. It can be spicy if we add chilis. It comes with fresh herbs, vegetables and lime.
New idiom: bear with me= please wait a very short time.
My friend is a 29 year-old man. He has an oval-shaped face and short black hair. He is not very tall, he is quite short. However, he is very friendly and funny.
Adjectives– size then colour.
He has a large black bag. She plays a big brown guitar
adverbs– very, (a lot) quite (a little)
London is very expensive. Bangkok is quite cheap
exterior / interior = outside / inside
I went on holiday to Singapore with my friend. We went to a shopping mall and visited some museums and enjoyed the food. Seafood at Singapore is very cheap compared to Viet Nam and it was very delicious. I bought some clothes and shoes for my baby. We stayed for four days and the flight took two hours. I will return and revisit the shopping mall.
Two friends are in a coffee shop
Cath This is a great cup of coffee ! Ok, what shall we do next ?
Di I have to run to the bank. I need to deposit some money.
Cath Good idea, I wanted to use an ATM. I also need to buy some dollars.
Di You can check the exchange rate at my bank. It’s not far, we can walk.
Quick questions: How was your weekend ?
My weekend was quite fun.
How about (tell me about) the evening ?
We watched TV and listened to some music. I like V-Pop
I like K-pop very much OR I really like K-pop.
Where is the bank? Where’s the bank ?
How do I get to the park?
Is there an ATM nearby ?
Turn left or turn right
keep going until you …..
take the second turning on your left
cross the road / street by the ….
go as far as the …… then ….
It’s opposite the …
We are at the bus station and we need coffee !
Is there a coffee shop nearby ?
Yes, turn left then go straight and keep going and it’s on your left.
Excuse me, where is the hospital, please ?
Yes, go straight and then turn left on second avenue keep going straight , the hospital is opposite the park.
Answer these two questions:
I have finished work at school. I need to go to the police station but I don’t know the area.
Xin loi, sorry, I don’t speak Vietnamese. I must go to the police station but I don’t know this area.
so / very / extremely / incredibly
It is hot = it is so hot !
What did you do ? Past tense
On Saturday I drank beer and ate seafood for example, I had shrimp (prawn), octopus, fish, squid. We had lots of fun. Some people drank about six beers but I only drank a little.
Travelling to Thailand
In Thailand, the food is extremely hot (spicy) because they use a lot of chilis.
My Sony camera is very good (excellent) because the picture quality and colours are very clear.
The lens can zoom in 50 metres. The camera was reasonably-priced however, if you buy more lenses, the price increases.
I’m going to take pictures NOT I’m going to taking pictures
Tuesday morning, alarm set for 5.00 am UK time (12.00 midday in Bangkok), at the Tube before 6.00 for the 90-minute, three-train ride to Heathrow Airport. From there, Thai Airways to Bangkok.
I got the early Tube (London underground trains) because the first line is so busy, and I had a suitcase and a shoulder bag. Luckily, all three trains came within one or two minutes, while most of the journey was quiet (apart from some idiots playing videos on their phones out loud). Hard to concentrate on my book (‘Notes From Underground’ by Dostoevsky). By the time of the flight, I’d read a third of it.
Repacking at the airport, putting the coat in the case, then onto the self-service baggage tag print-out, which I’ve just about mastered by now.
Checked-in, security checked, re-belted and all gadgets back in the bag. A lot of time to kill. A lot of pointless, over-priced shops in which to wander, no intention of buying anything … except coffee.
Eventually time was killed or wasted or passed but ironically enough, not flew; we boarded … and just as the flight to London, this was very cold. Air-con turned up (down ?), no doubt to combat the Corona Virus, but it was like eleven hours in a flying refrigerator. The bathrooms were even colder. Before long, people were sniffing, blowing noses, sneezing. The precautions seemed to be making people ill.
The flight ? We got there, that’s all that counts. Generally, the worst thing about travelling is other passengers. There was a young chap (sturdy, young & healthy, but was stuck down by the sniffles) two seats from me who simply could NOT keep still, and naturally, at one point, the lady (term employed with irony) in front put her chair all the way back.
Next problem – we arrived very early, even ahead of schedule but I couldn’t check in to the hotel until 2.00 pm. More time to kill. I had an over-sized cappuccino at the airport and slowly meandered to the Citylink train. The airport, as the plane, freezing. The train, as the airport, freezing and the BRT (subway) … freezing. Still only 8.30 am. I took an iced Thai tea in a cafe near the hotel and read, still wearing my jumper (a jumper ? In Thailand ?), and the cafe … freezing.
I thought I’d leave my case at the hotel and walk around, head up to a shopping mall until check in time. However the hotel, when I arrived at 9.30 looking like I’d spent eleven hours in a flying refrigerator, found me a room, so a big ‘thank you’ to the staff of the Red Planet.
For those who know Bangkok, I’m staying on Surawong Road, nearest BRT is Chong Nonsi by Silom.
The hotel, by night:
I thought I’d feel better after some lunch, so I took prawn pa-nang curry. In the evening, near the hotel, I went to Jianng’s Healthy Fish Balls where, for 60 THB (£1.47 / $1.90):
Then a walk south on Silom to the Hindu temple, Wat Khaek:
Across the road is a soi (small road off a main road) with lots of street food:
The next morning began with traditional iced Thai coffee at The Coffee Club. 80 THB (£1.96 / $2.53).
Then a walk up (north) Silom to Lumphini Park. On the way, I spotted a soi (Soi 5) with a street market. Typically, there are food courts. It was still early, so I decided to come back and eat lunch here:
And I only saw two other farangs (foreigners) here.
At the end of Silom is the Metro, giving access to the park. While there, I made a new friend:
And then … “The rain began, the jolly old rain.” Before the rain got too heavy, lunch back at the market at Silom 5
Prawns and noodles 70 THB (£1.72 / $2.21), extra spicy sauce.
Later, not really hungry but thought I’d take a walk and see what caught my eye. I found Restoran Ibu, near Wat Khaek:
The food from the menu:
And the reality:
Just as good, I’d say. Ibu fried be hun for 100 THB (£2.46 / $3.16)
That night, the jet lag caught up with me. Couldn’t sleep, with the exception of a catnap around 4.30am, until 6.30 am and then only until 8.00 am. I gave up trying, and went out to read and NOT have any caffeine … instead, at a Cafe Amazon, by the Chong Nonsi BRT, a strawberry smoothie for 65 THB (£1.60 / $2.05)
Tomorrow is the flight back to Viet Nam, which should be painless, a mere 90 minutes, but I’m flying Vietjet and these smaller airlines tend to be low- down on airport take-off slots. Consequently, Vietjet has a reputation for always having delays. The last time I flew Bangkok to Sai Gon, the delay was longer than the flight.
And now, my final afternoon in Bangkok … and just twenty pages to go of my travel reading:
At 13.10, I finished the book, sitting in Lumphini Park. Time to walk back to the hotel, and some more street food – the market at Silom 10:
This is the stall I chose, spicy Thai vegetable soup (with prawn):
A mere 50 THB (£1.23 / $1.59)
For my last meal, where else but back to Ibu, this time for something traditionally Thai, prawns in coconut milk:
115 THB (£2.84 / $3.65). The staff are really friendly and I highly recommend this restoran.
And so, back at the hotel blogging. Reading, accomplished, curries – no problem, resting … not so much, but at least I’ll be home tomorrow – Unless Vietjet decide otherwise …
Red Planet – I paid about £75 / $96 for three nights. The rooms are fine for a single budget traveller and come with a fridge, large TV, safe and hair-dryer. The room also takes the three-pin UK plug.
On the downside, the walls are very thin (I can hear the chap in the next room talking and whooping and now he apparently has the hiccups). There is liquid soap, but this is not so good for hair, so bring your own shampoo, comb, also a toothbrush and paste. Being Bangkok, and near a night-time bar area, people come and go at all hours (this is a hotel, after all) and last night, there were doors banging until sunrise.
Room cleaning consists of changing the towels and supplying plenty of bathroom paper. Sheets not changed, but maybe if you ask nicely …
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 ?
27th October 2019. E Up 5 U 7 L 1 Countries pp. 64 – 65
Today’s theme is travel, and we will focus on six countries from five different continents. As a warm up, the students can be put in teams (this is a large class in a small room so activities have to carefully planned to prevent chaos and injury). Each team is given a small board and has to write: