Linguivocal

podcast and blog about my English learning

Archive for the ‘My Diary’ Category

New Chinese friend: Meag

Posted by shashi on June 16, 2006

Today on Skype, I met with a Chinese student, Meag. He (I am not sure he or she but I assume as ‘he’ as Meag sounds like male name) is preparing for IELTS exam as he wants to go to Australia for further education. He was surfing on the net and he found my name on the linguist forum. He called me as he thought I am Chinese. (I don’t know why he feels my name as Chinese.) He is more worried about his speaking ability and wants to improve it. He is going to appear this exam at the end of next month. I suggested him to join the Linguist and he joined as a free trial member. I think he should give a trial of the linguist and see how it helps him. Though I am a linguist member for about 6 month, it is not good idea to force someone to join the linguist. I personally feel that he should spend 14 days as a trial period, get used to the system and see whether this system helps him or not.( I am sure Linguist will definitely helps him prepare IELTS exam).

I am so sure about it as I have given IELTS exam and I’ve got 7 bands in speaking which is a very good and well accepted standard for all Universities. I think unless and until you don’t use the Linguist system, you will not get familiar with it. You have to spend some time with the system to get used to it and to know about its advantages. The best part of this system is its speaking section where you get chance to speak with native speakers. This not only tears down your fear but boost your confidence. This confidence will help you to get breakthrough in English. For Meag, what I can do is just suggest him to join the linguist and that I have done.

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Extremity

Posted by shashi on June 14, 2006

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I have been here in the UK for almost one year and now I feel that I am used to this atmosphere. The weather of the UK is totally contrasting to the India’s one. In India, it is extremely hot in the summer and sometimes temperature may go high up to 40°C. However, it is totally oppose here in the UK. In winter temperature is around 4 to 5°C and for the whole period we have to wear jackets and sweaters. For me, the last winter was pretty good though it was my first winter season. I didn’t feel uncomfortable and I didn’t moan for such chilly and cold atmosphere. Then spring had come and gone. I was excited as the spring is the season of colours and flowers. We got some pretty sunny days and we felt comfortable going out for shopping and travelling. Now, the summer has come. British people are always excited about summer as they prefer to go for outing in this season. However they also lament when the temperature goes high, sometimes above 25°. Initially I thought that I could adjust with this temperature. It wouldn’t be a great deal for me to be adjusted to temperature of 25°C as I was comfortable in India even at the temperature of 40°C. However now I’ve realised that it is not as simple as I had thought. For last couple of days, the temperature has gone high above 25°C and I am really suffocating in this atmosphere. I am not feeling comfortable sitting at home or going out. I am really surprised that I am sweating at this temperature. I am feeling terribly hot and that’s why I bought a fan yesterday. In the UK you don’t get ceiling fans or the AC. Here, in every room there is heater. There aren’t too many days when you need fans. Yesterday I spent whole day assembling the fan (I didn’t buy table fan. These are too small and I felt that it would be insufficient for home use.) Now I am feeling much better as I am sitting in front of the fan taking a cool air from it and really wishing for a rain.

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A disappointed discussion

Posted by shashi on June 7, 2006

Yesterday I got chance to participate in discussion. As I am the member of Monday discussion group, I usually don’t participate in other discussions. However, in the last month, we didn’t have a discussion for one Monday and that’s why I got chance to participate in other discussion. However yesterday’s discussion wasn’t good experience for me. The topic for discussion was good but I didn’t get much chance to talk. In a group discussion we normally prepare questions and we discuss the questions in a sequence so everyone gets chance to speak. In the yesterday’s discussion, I didn’t even speak for five minutes also.

In my discussion group, tutor usually don’t talk too much. The member, who selects the topic, usually leads the discussion. Tutor only supports our discussion and tries to maintain the flow of discussion. In yesterday’s discussion, the topic was already selected and questions were prepared for discussion. In spite of that, the selected topic was not properly discussed nor the questions. Most of the time, participants spoke randomly. There was always confusion about who should speak and who should listen. This made confusion for participants as well as for tutor. In this regards, I like Steve’s method. He takes the command of discussion and asks the questions in sequence, one by one, to all the participants, so everyone gets chance to speak and that's why there is no confusion about speaker.

I participated in Steve's discussions and Jill is tutor for my discussion group:so I know both of them very well. Steve is very sharp in pointing out our mistakes. He listens to us very carefully and points out even minor mistakes. Jill is also good in this matter. She corrects you if you make gross mistake and overall she points out your major mistakes. It is really hard to listen to you and at the same time pointing towards your mistakes. However, yesterday, I didn’t even get my corrections also. That’s really frustrating for learners. I don’t know whether it happens to any other members or not, but for me, it was really disappointed discussion.

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Way to improve the use of natural phrases

Posted by shashi on June 2, 2006

Yesterday,I went to the hospital to see my relative who was admitted there for some investigations. I spend almost my whole day there. She was admitted in female ward. There were two other patients near by her. Both were old and may be they were regular patients in that hospital. While sitting there and looking after my patient, I spend most of the time either chatting with her or listening to my linguist contents on mp3. This was totally new experience for me. Before buying new laptop, I used to listen to contents only on the PC as my software didn't allow me to download files on my mp3 player. However, now I can do that and so can listen to contents over and over again.

Both of them were very talkative and both these ladies were continuously chatting with each other. For that reason, I stopped listening to mp3 and started to concentrate on what they were talking. To my surprise, I understood everything they said. Only on few occasions, I wasn't able to understand some words, but overall I guessed the meaning. For the first time I realised that my listening ability is improved. I noticed one thing that they use various phrases which I didn't heard in our linguist library. It is also obvious that linguist can't cover all the contents and various phrases that native speakers use commonly. I realised that if I have to improve then I have to take initiative in all aspect.

Now I've decided that I will try to talk as much possible as I can with the native speakers. I believe that if I want to talk fluently, I have to use some natural phrases. I can learn these phrases only by listening conversations of these native speakers. Henceforth, I will pay more attention on native speakers' conversations and try to find out common phrases that they use during their day to day life.

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Horrible two weeks

Posted by shashi on May 28, 2006

Past couple of weeks I was off from the computer and Internet and obviously from the Linguist but now I bought new laptop so I am back again and have started studying with the linguist. It was really horrible period for me. Firstly my old computer was broken down and in the UK , it cost a lot to repair the computer. So, I decided to buy a new laptop instead of spending money on repairing the older one. Finally, yesterday I bought a new one.
These ten to fifteen days were so horrible for me. I wasn’t able to access to the linguist site. So , actually I was totally away from the English language. I didn’t participate in group discussion nor I did study contents from library. Now I understood how it is important  to be in touch with the language. I am eagerly waiting to participate in group discussion so that I could feel more confident. I have to study hard and spend more time to speed up my language learning.  

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what you say about laptop

Posted by shashi on May 19, 2006

I am looking for a good laptop. I am bit confused about which laptop is good. There are so many componies that it makes confused. I only know that while purchasing laptop we should look for it's RAM and HARD DISK SPACE. I think I should take a laptop with 524 or 1084 ram and a hard disk space about 60 to 80 GB. But which brand is reliable? There are packard bell, Toshiba, compaq, HP and sony. I am confused which one is best. and is there any other thing that i should check before purchasing? llike graphic card or wireless or any other thing. I haven;t knowledge of software or hardware. so please guide me so that I should not be dis-satisfied after purchasing.

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I am on holiday. Cheers!!!

Posted by shashi on April 24, 2006

It is past midnight and I am sitting at my computer, trying to concentrate on my studying. However, I do not feel comfortable. There is a disturbing tranquillity in the atmosphere. There are grumbling noises coming out of the computer; otherwise, everything is quiet. This extreme calmness disturbs me. It echoes in my ears and causes my heartbeat to increase. Now my heart is beating very fast and there is excruciating pain, which has forced me to keep my fist on my chest. I am trying to hold myself, but I feel that certainly there is something inside my chest that is pricking me. Hey!! Who the hell are you? What are you trying to do? I scold it, but it keeps going on and now I can't bear it anymore.

I find a crack on my chest as if you find on ground in droughts. It's very tiny but I can make it out. It is exactly on my heart area. I am surprised why the blood is not oozing out man!! Hey, this crack is getting wider and wider and deeper. What's going on!!!!!! The pain is getting more intolerable. I am feeling as if someone trying to pierce my chest with blunt knife. "Hey stop! I can't bear it anymore." I yell. But it doesn't stop and keep going on. A gush of blood comes out and spreads on my chest. Two tiny hands with little fingers try to hold my skin. With its little foots, it comes out and sits calmly on my chest. I am looking at it surprisingly; its stranger who has come out from my body. "Who are you?" I ask politely. Still it is smiling and staring at my eyes. " Who am I? Can't you recognise me? I am your heart. Your lovable and only heart." " But why are out? I will die if you stay outside." " You will die if I stay outside? How mean you are!! You are thinking of yourself. Have you ever thought how I am living inside? I am living alone inside that cage, working 24 hours and 12 months without any break and without any expectation. Don't you think that I should get some break? Hey man! Now I am on holiday and I will enjoy my outside stay. Cheers!!!!!"

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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 »

The Linguist and English learning

Posted by shashi on April 13, 2006

the linguist logo.gif

Since I have joined the linguist, my English is quite improved. Initially I was not confident that I could speak in English even though I had studied English for 10 years during my school days. The linguist has given me self-confidence that I can do it.

 The linguist gives you a head start with learning English. There are so many plus points in the linguist that enable you to learn in good way. This system is not a collection of grammar explanation nor it is based on classroom discussions. The core part of the system is a vast library of real authentic conversations. You can find about over 600 contents, which are recorded by native speakers. Here you are not forced to study particular topic but you can study the content of your interest from its huge library. With the linguist you can study the language whenever you find free time. You can study in car, during your office journey, when you are playing or when you are doing household chores. There is no restriction on the time. 

If you find some difficulty, your tutor is available to help you at any time. You can take part in-group discussion under the guidance of your Tutor so that your tutor can correct you. You can work on your pronunciation at pronunciation section and can compare your pronunciation with native speaker. If you write something you can submit it for correction. So all in all, it is a complete language system  and I am really enjoying my English learning.

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