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Showing posts from May, 2018

Making a Splash

Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know until you need it. On Monday I experienced one such moment. I was making my way home from a very  slow-paced walk  with my very lazy dog when, like in a movie or a comic strip, a bucket-load of water fell from a window above my head,  splashing  onto the pavement in front of me and  splattering  my legs. It wasn’t the water falling like a curtain   that made me notice what had happened, but the sound of the water hitting the pavement and tearing through the stillness in the street. I looked up, but the window closed  abruptly . I was  aghast . Then relieved (another step and it would have landed on my head), and then angry. Who throws water out of a window in the middle of a town?! I yelled up at the closed window, but when it didn’t reopen after a few moments, I continued walking up the street, cursing at my wet feet and looking over my shoulder  every now and then  to see if anyone would finally appear. Then som

Who is Joe Bloggs?

You may have heard of Joe Bloggs. He’s everywhere, but  nowhere to be found . In North America he  goes by the name  ‘John Doe’ and in Germany he’s ‘Max Mustermann’. ‘Joe Bloggs’ or ‘the average Joe’ is a fake name used in some English-speaking countries to talk about an average person or people in general, as in: Joe Bloggs can’t afford to buy a luxury car like a Porsche. This week, one of my lovely students introduced me to the German version (Max Mustermann), which I find  amusing  and delightful and will never forget even though I only heard it once. Do I really need to learn it though? Will it be useful when I’m discussing aspects of my daily life? Probably not, but it’s so much fun to know! As motivated beginners we  gobble up  new words and phrases, but it always seems that the more we learn, the less we remember. It’s as if our brains are empty baskets that fill up over time so that it becomes harder and harder to add new words to the collection.

To class (or not to class?)

Photo by Stephen Paris from Pexels Taking a language class is an obvious decision when you are learning or improving your skills. For some it’s a social occasion - a great opportunity to chat with friends and acquaintances and have a bit of a laugh . For many with a busy schedule, it’s a guaranteed time slot where you can put everything else out of your mind and focus on studying. Let’s face it , only the very motivated and disciplined among us will dedicate free time to home study. Folding a basket of washing or reorganising a kitchen drawer suddenly become very appealing when the alternative is time with a language book! That hour of class each week may be the only time you dedicate to study, despite your very best intentions. But attending a language class won’t make you learn, you need to participate effectively. Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your English class. 1. Speak (in the new language!) Here’s something I’ve learnt: no one is