Category Archives: English

Oh, Korea

As somebody who relies on my supposed knowledge of the English language to earn a paycheck every month I should support stuff like this, but I really, truly don’t: “Imposing curfew on students who receive low scores on their English … Continue reading

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ESL / EFL / EIL / ELF

E.S.L.: English as a second language, meaning students will be speaking English outside of the classroom.  Think of exchange students as the most obvious examples. E.F.L.: English as a foreign language, meaning students only speak English in the classroom, and … Continue reading

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The (Future) (Potential) Smartphone App of Babel

David Arbesu on how computers are making great strides as language translators, but how they will never really be able to replace the wetware of bilingual humans: “But translating is an altogether different task than finding the nearest Starbucks, because … Continue reading

Posted in Advanced Conversation, English, ESL, Language, Science, Tech | Leave a comment

Liver Strong

Today I learned some interesting Korean.  I was talking to a student about “guts,” and how when you’re talking about food (we are almost always talking about food) guts are the disgusting bits of the animal that you throw away, but … Continue reading

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Adventures in Pedagogy

I’m teaching advanced level adults this semester and they’ve already asked me that we do a class on, ahem, Trump. “Why is he so popular?” Fucked if I now. Which is the short version of, lots of Americans really dig … Continue reading

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ESL Thug Life

This morning with my adult advanced students we warmed up with the expression “Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” It took about 20 minutes to get the explanation across but I think it was worth it.

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“kingly royal regal”

Linguist John McWhorter on why English is (objectively!) so damn weird: “Finally, as if all this wasn’t enough, English got hit by a firehose spray of words from yet more languages. After the Norse came the French. The Normans – … Continue reading

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That’s Why I Earn The Big Bucks

Something strange about English: on a Monday or a Tuesday “this weekend” can refer to either last weekend or next weekend.  (E.g., on a Monday morning at the office — “What did you do this weekend?”, never “What did you do … Continue reading

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“sozzled nature of our colonial beginnings”

A mini-scandal was kicked off when an Australian “public speaking expert” claimed that the Aussie accent came about because the founders of that great nation were a pack of constantly soused alcoholics.  Not true!  In fact: “This ‘theory’ about the … Continue reading

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Terrible Horrible No-Good

This morning with adult students the lesson plan was pretty straightforward — use past tense expressions to talk about good and bad experiences from when you were young. What ensued was a catalog of misery:  One student doesn’t like animals … Continue reading

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