Linguivocal

podcast and blog about my English learning

Archive for the ‘English Language’ Category

Some useful podcasts for ‘English Learning’

Posted by shashi on November 12, 2006

Podcasting is the great media for language learning and there are some good podcast out there which can help us to improve our English. There are some learners who don’t know much about podcasting and that’s why I have decided to introduce this to others.In simple terms, podcast is nothing but an audio file that you can download on your computer. Podcasters record their episode and publish it online on the net and you can download it by using some software.

If you want to download podcast then you need specific software. The most common and easy to use software is iTunes. First you have to download this software. For this just click on this link http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ and follow the instructions. Once you have installed iTunes then you can download various podcasts just by clicking on iTunes address provided below. When you click podcast address (as few of them provided below) iTunes podcast page will open. Then just click on Subscrite button and you will get download all episodes of that perticular podcast.

1. Steve’s podcast – Steve talks about language learning
2. My podcast – It’s my podcast where I talk to other linguist members about English learning
3. Bob and Rob show – podcast about English learning both in American and British accent
4. BBC Women’s hour – daily podcast about women’s issues. With British accent ..
5. BBC news – daily news with British accent
6. ESL podcast very nice podcast, covers all the aspects of English learning.
7. English Babylearn English with English lessions based on movies and music
If anybody knows about other useful podcast please share it here so that others can take advantage of it.

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Posted in English Language, Learn English, The Linguist | Leave a Comment »

Episode#14 – Hitomi: An enthusiatic Linguist member from Japan

Posted by shashi on September 11, 2006

Hitomi – An enthusiastic Linguist member from Japan

  • Hitomi is Japanese Linguist member lives in Japan with her three dogs. She had been in US for one year for her education and now she works in Japan. She has joined the Linguist four months back and she is enjoying her English study.
  • She is the first member of Linguist Vox Community and regularly writes about her English adventure as well as her dogs.
  • She usually spend at least one hour studying English and spend more time listening to audio contents from linguist library. Her work place is about thirty minutes away and she uses this time to listen to English contents.
  • In her job, she has to write letters to customers in English and sometime she uses linguist system to correct her writings.
  • We also talk about Steve’s podcast (which is going to start in a few days)
  • She is one of the members of THY group and she enjoys talking in this discussion group. She loves to talk about food

Your linguistic friend,
Shashi

Listen online: (episode length: 24:55 minutes)

Linguivocal#episode 14

play_podcast.gif

Downloading episode : ( 12 MB size,64 kbps) Right-click on the above MP3 link and chose “Save target as” to download the file on your computer.

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Posted in English Language, Learn English, Linguist Bloggers, podcast, The Linguist | Leave a Comment »

Episode#13 – Blogging and English Learning

Posted by shashi on August 21, 2006

Blogging and English Learning :

 

  • In recent times, blogs have emerged as an efficient language learning tools. More and more language learners use blogs to share as well as to work on their language learning.
  • Initially I had started this blog to work on my English writings. I used to write about my progress in English. I also used to write about activities around the Linguist and this blog has helped me make new friends who have the same interest of English learning. Also blogging helps me keep motivated.
  • Ken also has two blogs one in English and one in Japanese. Initially Japanese learners tended to write in Japanese only, but now more and more Japanese learners write in English.
  • We have the Linguist Vox community where most of the Linguist members have blog. All learners write regularly and it is kind of fun as well as an English school. We can communicate easily with other language learners as well as tutors. Through blogging, we get new friends and we will be connected to outer language world.
  • Do you have any blog where you write about your English learning and what is your experience?

Your linguistic friend,

Shashi

Listen online: (episode length: 24:49 minutes)

Linguivocal#episode 13

play_podcast.gif

Downloading episode : ( 11 MB size) Right-click on the above MP3 link and chose “Save target as” to download the file on your computer.

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Posted in English Language, Learn English, podcast | 1 Comment »

Episode#11 – School and summer vacation

Posted by shashi on August 1, 2006

School and summer vacation :

  • In this episode, Ken and I talked on School and summer vacation. In India, we get one month’s summer vacation, usually in the month of May. Our academic year starts on first week of June. We usually don’t have any assignments for summer vacation. We give annual exam in April and then we go for summer vacation and our results come out when we rejoin the school. So we usually are tension free during vacation.
  • Some students join private classes during vacation while some join summer camps. We do lots of enjoyment and usually arrange some short trips to nearby places. When I was kid I used to go to my grandpa’s home. He lived in a small village and he had lots of sugarcane fields. I learned lots of things during my summer vacation like swimming and cycling.
  • In Japan, summer vacation is also for only one month and usually in the month of April. Kids get lots of assignments in the vacation and they need to spend more time on their study. Ken also used to visit his grandpa’s home and he lived on an island. So he got lots of fresh fish to eat when he visits there.
  • As we use Skype for recording, some times it doesn’t work good (like today) and quality may not be good.
  • How about your country? When do you get summer vacation and how do you remember your summer holidays?

Your linguistic friend,

Shashi

Listen online: (episode length: 21:19 minutes)

Linguivocal#episode 11 play_podcast.gif

Downloading episode : ( 10 MB size) Right-click on the above MP3 link and chose “Save target as” to download the file on your computer.

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Posted in English Language, Learn English, podcast | 7 Comments »

Episode#10 – Learning English

Posted by shashi on July 26, 2006

Learning English:

  • In this discussion I have been joined by another Linguist member Ken. He is Japanese and lives in Osaka, one of the largest cities in Japan. He has been learning English for more than one year and he is also active member of the Linguist. He is very good piano teacher and he is musician by profession.

  • In this episode we discuss about our English learning. How we started learning English, what was the reason behind learning English, various methods we have used to improve our English and some of our strategies about learning English.

  • It’s a huge time difference between UK and Japan, so we got problem adjusting convenient time for both of us.

  • As we both are learning English, you may find some mistakes in our discussion (perticulary by me) but that is part of learning process. The aim of our discussion is to improve our speaking skills and we are working on it. Hope you will enjoy this episode. We are waiting for your comments and your suggestions.

Your linguistic friends,

Shashi and Ken

Listen online: (episode length: 19:27 minutes)

Linguivocal#episode 10 play_podcast.gif

Downloading episode : ( 9 MB size) Right-click on the above MP3 link and chose “Save target as” to download the file on your computer.

You can also subscribe to Linguivocal using these channels (its free) to get automatic updates:

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Posted in English Language, Learn English, podcast, The Linguist | 9 Comments »

Episode#9 – Sport and Sexes

Posted by shashi on July 24, 2006

Linguivocal podcast epiode # 9

Listen online: (episode length: 09:38 minutes) play_podcast.gif

Yesterday, I read an article about sport and sexes in our linguist library. Now days, there are lots of concern about sex discrimination and equal opportunities. There is no doubt that women should be treated equally in every field. In today’s modern society, women are not behind us but they work equally along with men. It is common in society, perticularly at work place, woman get less pay than her colleague male worker. That’s the reason why the sex discrimination act is implemented in most of the countries. Women have organisations and there are human right commissions that fight for women for their equal opportunity and equal pay. However, sometimes the definition of human right is being stretched too much so that it creates dispute in society.

Now, there are increasing cases of sex discrimination in sport and women want equal opportunity in every sport. Some cases are based on human rights and they consider sport as a sort of human right. It is sometime hard to implement the definition of equal opportunity or human rights in sport. There are so many sports where strength and fitness are main traits of player and women can’t compete with men. Sports like soccer, rugby, NHL, and same sort of sport events, really need you to be tough and fit physically as well as mentally. These are outdoor sports and team sports, where physical fitness is prime important. In such sports, woman can’t compete with other men members of the same age. In scientific language, the growth of our body in boys and girls is same at certain period of age. However, after puberty boys grow faster than girls and they become more muscular and tough physically. So, even though some girls are good in a particular sport or sometime better than boys, they no longer compete with boys after puberty. Boys get more strong and wiry and tough even if they are the same age or sometimes smaller. I personally feel that this should not be an issue of human right. It shouldn’t be a human right for girls. If a girl is very good in soccer at school level, but then she is refused by soccer club then this should not be treated as a human right for that girl. This can’t be a human right.

The most important thing is that now sport is merely not a game but it is a huge trade and people invest lots of money on sport. So, it should be a club’s decision whether women are allowed or not in men’s team. After all it is matter of money and nobody wants to ruin. However, it also looks odd that woman is playing in men’s team in terms of physics as well as tradition. We are used to see some sports played only by men and it is hard to accept women in that sport. I think there are so many other ways to improve women’s role in sport, instead of fighting in the terms of human right. Women can create a separate women team and league matches. They can pressurise the government to improve sport facility for women so that more and more women can take part and become competitive player at international level. Now there are separate events for women at international level in various sports like cricket, hockey and so on. So it is not logical and ethical to argue for place in men’s team. There are so many sports where women and men can take part equally; like tennis, badminton, chess, holly ball where physical strength is not as important as in other games. I think it should not be a right for woman to be selected in men’s team even though she looks like competitive. Otherwise boys start to inter in girls team as it might be a human right for them to be played in women’s team and actually that will lead less women in women’s team.

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Posted in English Language, Learn English, podcast, Sports | Leave a Comment »

Episode#8 – Cold Calling

Posted by shashi on July 17, 2006

Linguivocal podcast epiode # 8

Listen online: (episode length: 09:38 minutes) play_podcast.gif

Yesterday I joined Tom Kaufmann’s discussion. He is Steve’s brother and he lives in Canada. He is in the business and he has written articles about cold calling for the Linguist library. I wasn’t familiar with the term ‘cold calling’ before reading his articles. I really liked his discussion and I enjoyed his discussion. He is very talkative as well humorous person. He makes jokes during the discussion and you have to be very picky to understand his comments. He really makes the discussion lively. Another reason to join this discussion was that I really wanted to know more about cold calling.

I am studying and that’s why, most of the time, I am at the home and I receive a lot of cold calls during the day. Most of these calls are from mobile companies. When I pick up the phone, the salesperson starts off with saying “Hello Mr. Shashi! How are you?” As I don’t know the person at the other end, I just say “I am fine.” Then he tells me that I have been selected by their company to receive a free mobile phone and it will be delivered to me within two days. I really get shocked and I just say “really”. Then he asks me about my current phone, about the handset I am using and the network I am using and how much money I pay to that company. After getting this information, he reveals about his companies chipper plans. Then he tells me that his charges are much less than the company with which I have contract and if I accept his contract I will get a free phone. Then only I come to know that this is a cold call. In fact, when you take contract phone from any mobile company, the handset will be free and it’s a deal from all the mobile companies. However, as a matter of fact, he is not telling me the new thing but the way he starts off, it really look like I am going to get a free handset.

It is really hard to avoid such calls. Initially I thought that it would be a rude or impolite to cut off the phone without listening to these people. However, now I have started dealing in a different way with such calls. When I understand that there is cold call from mobile company, I just jump to the point and ask them what their plans are. I listen to them and politely say I am not interested and thanks for calling and cut the phone off.

It’s really very hard to avoid such calls. Cold calling is a new strategy for companies to improve their sales. The reason is that the cost of phone calls has been dropping over a period and it is chipper to contact a person by phone rather than sending him postage mail. So, it is part of their sales strategy but it is the customer who gets suffered and we have to really find out new ways to avoid such cold calls.

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Posted in English Language, Learn English, podcast | 8 Comments »

How to start learning English with the linguist: Guidelines for the beginners

Posted by shashi on May 1, 2006

When I was new at The Linguist, I was always confused about how to use linguist library and from where to start. There are a lot of linguist contents in our library, so for the beginner members, it is sometimes very hard to select appropriate contents. New members are always confused and seek advice from other members and from tutors. When I was a beginner, I used to search members’ advice on the forum or on their blogs. That’s why I have decided to write some guidelines for beginners on how to use linguist library when they are just going to start with the linguist. (It is totally based on my experience and I hope it will be helpful for beginners.)

Must use free trial of 14 days before starting with the linguist:

click to join free trial

  • It is always helpful if you start with free trial. If you spend some time with the linguist then you will get familiar with the system. If you just look at the system, you may find it difficult, but if you go with it then you will find it the easiest to use.
  • During this free trial, you should finish all the free contents that are awarded to you for this free trial.

1. About contents: these contents describe in brief about the system and introduce to various components of system e.g. listen, read, choose, review, speaking, writing, measure etc.

2. Your language adventure part 1 to 9: Steve speaks about language learning and answers to the common problems the new learner is facing.

3. Free contents from easy starters and from other categories.

  • These contents contain the most common 2000 words (also called as High Frequency Words) used in English. These are the words that are frequently repeated in any conversations. These words account for 80% of any content.
  • When you choose any content you should complete following tasks with it. (Not necessary in the same order)

1. First listen to it over and over again. (I usually listen to 3 to 4 times)

2. Then read it and while reading, save the difficult words in your database.

3. Now again start to read it and try to find out and save various phrases from this content.

4. Now go to review section. First review ‘words I am learning’ and then ‘phrases I am learning’. Now test your words and phrases.

5. Try to use these words and phrases in your writings.

6. Work on your pronunciation at pronunciation section.

After finishing free trial:

  • When you become a paying member you will get access to linguist library, which has a huge number of contents that are recorded by native speakers. These contents are categorised as family, literature, culture and so on.
  • There are two types of contents available: conversational and non-conversational.

1. Conversational contents are conversation between two or more native speakers on the meaningful subject.

2. In non-conversational contents, native speaker reads out some interesting text.

  • I will suggest you to select conversational contents. These contents contain less academic words and more high frequency words. Also, this will helps you to review the words that you are learning. These contents are full of common phrases that are used by native speakers and it will help you to improve your speaking. Below is a list of some of the categories that contain conversational contents:

1. Easy Starter– “Asking for Things”

2. Language– “The Pronunciation Doctor”

3. Family– there are quite a few content items featuring Dr. Joy Brown and Dr. Laura. Both these ladies are radio show hosts in the U.S. and they speak to people who call in with their problems. These items are very popular, especially the Dr. Laura ones.

4. Entertainment– There are six items in this category.

5. Sport– There are 5 items in this category.

6. Culture– There are numerous items in this category.

  • If you want to improve your vocabulary then select contents from literature or other categories as these contents contain more new words and academic words. This will help you to build your vocabulary.
  • I will suggest choosing more and more conversational contents and if you get bored with this then choosing literature contents.
  • Initially try to choose content that contain few new words. Once you get familier with common words then try to select difficult contents.
  • Try to participate in beginner level discussions or join group of your level. Try to use words and phrases that you have learned in your discussion.

This is rough guideline and totally based on my personal experience but I am sure it will help the beginners to get the best out of the linguist. If you have any query, I will be happy to help you.

Posted in English Language, The Linguist | 10 Comments »

Perspective of learning English in India: Education system

Posted by shashi on April 23, 2006

In India, most of the students study in local language schools where English is second language as compared to convent school where English is the first language. Most of the students don't concern about English till they get admission to high school or college. It is the time when they actually expose to English. At school level, English is usually third language subject and students study English only through some grammar rules and vocabulary. They are mostly encouraged to write some essays and to answer some questions. Though these are English classes, they are usually conducted by English teacher who has limited knowledge about speaking English. These teachers, nevertheless, have good knowledge of English grammar. They speak in local language and teach grammar usually and ask to complete some grammar tasks. Despite studying English for five to six years at school, student doesn't get any opportunity to speak in English and never encouraged to speak in English.

 When such students enter in college, they are usually very worried and depressed about their English. At college level all subjects are taught in English and all lectures are conducted in English only. Now they try to concentrate only on academic words and try to imitate them. They usually don't get any problem understanding the subject and clearly pass the exams despite lack of sufficient English knowledge. I have found some students who ranked top in English but they couldn't speak in English. After completion of college study, students get admission for university degrees. At the university, education is again in English. If you are majoring in English then you might get sufficient knowledge about speaking English. At least you will try to speak in English. If you are majoring in some other subjects then there will be no any progress in your English proficiency.  

When student actually come in real world, then he realise that he can't speak in English even though he had studied English for eight to ten years. Then he gets frustrate and at this stage he actually try to learn English. Now he focuses on his speaking ability and tries to improve it.

What students do to improve their English? What are the sources available in India if someone wants to improve English communication skills? Are there sufficient classes and sources available for students to learn English?

Keep reading "prospective of learning English in India."

Posted in English Language, Interesting reads, My Diary | 2 Comments »

Perspective of English learning in India

Posted by shashi on April 22, 2006

English is now world wide language for communication and well accepted in all aspects from politics to poetry, sports to shopping, travels to telecommunication, Internet to entrepreneur and so on. It is now must to have good communication skill in English.In India, as other developing countries, English is now well accepted as business language. In most of the metropolitan cities, English is first language of communication. If you don't have good English then your chances of success will remain far away from you. Though some small businesses are still using local language for their work, English is still considered as royal language for it. Even though you have choice of studying up to school level in your mother tongue, after that from college level, education is compulsory in English medium only. In fact if some one graduates from university then he will be studying English at least for 10 years. Then why doesn't Indians have good English compatible at international level?

It is not like that Indians doesn't have good English. There are so many Indians who can speak English very well, even as native speakers. Again it is applied to those folks who study in English medium school (convent schools), so naturally they start to speak English from childhood. (Now there is increasing trend of sending children in convent schools instead of local language schools). But what about others who spend their school days studying in mother tongue? When these pupils entered in high schools, they are very much afraid about English and still they have to study their subjects in English medium. Even though they get adjusted to this change they never learn to speak English. They just learn vast vocabulary of academic words, which are useless for casual speaking (these words only accounts for 8 to 10% of any content).

Then why government has made compulsory to study academic education in English? Why it is not to have education in English right from your junior KG? What initiatives should government take to improve education system?

I will deal with this topic in few of my forthcoming posts…keep reading this blog.

Posted in English Language, Interesting reads, My Diary | 4 Comments »