Learning a Language with Idioms


Learning a language can be complicated, especially with the use of Idioms. After you can conjugate verbs, and know a lot of words, you may still have difficulty speaking the language with native users.

This is partly due to the use of idioms and would also depend of which region of a country you were in.

Idiom usage is not just regional, but also varies according to people’s interests and social groups.

The best way to pick up on the meaning of certain idioms would be to converse with people and ask them for a clarification of the idiom if you are not clear about the idiom they used. There are also sites on the Internet which will help explain the meaning of idioms.

 Idioms around the Globe

There are certain things that happen in every culture and there are idioms to deal with them.

  • In Norwegian and Czech, “walking around hot porridge” refers to beating around the bush, which is also an idiom meaning not getting to the point.
  • If you are in Italy or Turkey and you say you are “as hungry as a wolf” then you are starving.

If it is raining in large amounts, most cultures have an interesting way of saying that:

  • In English, it would be “raining cats and dogs”
  • In Africa, they might say “it’s raining old women with clubs”
  • Many languages refer to heavy rain as coming in buckets or as rain coming out of a bucket.
  • In Norway they say “it’s raining female trolls”
  • The Irish say “it’s throwing cobblers knives”

Comparing idioms between countries can also be interesting:

  • In Finnish, “with long teeth” means you are doing something that you really don’t want to do
  • In French, “to have long teeth” means you are ambitious.

The key to understanding the local idioms is to listen carefully and to ask questions of local speakers.

Idioms In the Arts

There are many idioms in the field of music.

  • If you “fine tune” something, you make small improvements to it.
  • “Changing your tune” means changing your mind.
  • If you are “whistling Dixie” or “whistling in the dark” you are overly positive about something.
  • If you try and make a decision too early without knowing all the facts, people may tell you that “it’s not over ‘till the fat lady sings.”

Drama and dance have idioms, too, like:

  • Break a leg” means good luck.
  • If you are a “ham” you overact.
  • If you say, “it takes two to tango” you mean that more than one person is at fault or involved.
  • If you “tap dance” your way out of a sticky situation, then that implies that you get out of it in a clever way.
  • Being “in the spotlight” means you are the centre of attention.

Remember, a group of people with shared interests such as the arts or business will have their own idioms. As with all idioms it will be easier to understand the idiom if you concentrate on what is being said and ask questions about the meanings of the idioms.

So is the ELT textbook dead, or not?


Early in 2013, Pearson (along with all major ELT publishers) had an exhibition stand at the IATEFL Conference in Liverpool. The only difference between Pearson and all the others (bar none) was that Pearson had absolutely no books on their stand – and all the other ELT publishers had books.

This was a clear message to the ELT community that, in Pearson’s eyes, the age of the book was over and the age of the tablet was upon us. Sticking with this brave new world of technology, Pearson continued to exhibit NO books at The London Book Fair in April 2013 and again NO books at the huge Frankfurt International Book Fair in October. Again, without exception, all ELT publishers were present, and all with books.

It should be pointed out that Pearson (who no longer call themselves “publishers”) are still publishing books – new editions of their best-selling Cutting Edge series (2013) and also new editions of their hugely successful Speakout, (planned for publication over the next two or three years). Despite this, Pearson “restructured” their UK Sales and Marketing team making three (out of four) representatives redundant together with a Sales Manager or two and their marketing manager. Within six months, replacements for the bulk of these redundancies were recruited!

However, It was a combination of serious and well-argued pressure from Pearson authors as well as specialist ELT booksellers which seems to have already forced a policy U-turn within Pearson. At last week’s BESIG conference in Prague (organised by Pearson’s Polish office) Pearson were both the primary sponsors of the book exhibition as well as having a large stand  – filled with books! They have also advised us that at next year’s IATEFL Conference (in Harrogate) the Pearson stand will welcome the return of their books.

There are many tales surrounding both the death of books and the arrival of the tablet. We would love to hear yours but my favourite is of a classroom in Italy where “blended learning” took on a whole new meaning. A row of students had the textbook, the second row all had tablets, and the third row had no material at all. The observer of the lesson noted that the vast majority of the teacher’s time was spent on helping the second row come to grips with technical problems presented by the tablet! Not an awful lot of language teaching or learning going on here.

So can we have a real discussion on how ready teachers are for the tablet? Do you and your institution have the necessary skills, broadband speed, budget and inclination to go wholly or partly digital? Or would you like publishers to cater for your present needs of a book and, perhaps, a CD-Rom? Please like and share this as much as possible so that the views of the ELT Community can be shared with – in alphabetical order – authors, publishers and teachers.

John H Walsh

Managing Director

The Bournemouth English Book Centre Ltd (BEBC)

+44(0)1202 712919

BEBC-British Council

www.bebc.co.uk

Explore the New Total English series


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New Total English retains all the popular features of the original edition PLUS strong focus on vocabulary, attention to collocations and now includes an online Vocabulary Trainer at each level. 

New Total English builds on the great features of the original edition including:

  • Clearly defined CEF-related goals and objectives for each lesson
  • brand new texts and DVD clips
  • a completely revised grammar syllabus
  • new photos and contemporary design which make the course easy to navigate
  • now available with MyEnglishLab for blended learning

A Solid grammar syllabus with regular Active Grammar boxes and Reference and Review sections. Over 50% of new material. New DVD material with Film Bank on the ActiveBook disc. New Writing Bank which makes writing a fun and engaging activity. Pronunciation Bank gives students phonetic examples of unit vocabulary.

MyEnglishLab is a flexible online tool that enriches learning, informs teaching and enhances your New Total English course.

With activities, exercises and unit tests providing instant feedback, students stay motivated and engaged and are encouraged to work autonomously. Teachers can use The Gradebook to see whole class or individual student progress and are able to help students who need it the most.

MyTotalEnglishLab – online homework and assessment: Teachers can assign homework and let students work in their own time. Students get exercises automatically marked with instant feedback. Teachers can monitor students’ progress at any time.

Each level of New total English has an online Vocabulary Trainer designed to help students acquire new vocabulary.

Total English Vocabulary Trainer tests students’ knowledge of a word, its meaning, grammar, collocation & usage.

Do your students find it difficult to learn and remember new vocabulary? The VocabTrainer helps them to personalise and remember their vocabulary learning. Students will get thorough practice in the meaning, grammar, collocation and spelling of a word so that they can be confident when speaking and writing in English.

New Total English ActiveTeach – Play TV and film extracts with optional subtitles, Highlight any part of the audio or DVD scripts to target key language. Access additional classroom resource activities and worksheets.

New Total English ActiveBook is a digital coursebook: Full access to the coursebook and exercises in their computer.

The Writing Bank

One of the main new features of New Total English is the Writing Bank. This appears at each level and consists of
one page per unit at the back of the book. This replaces the writing sections that were in the units in the original
edition of Total English, thereby allowing more space and time to devote to the writing skill. There are therefore
twelve Writing Bank lessons in Starter, Elementary and Pre-Intermediate, and ten in the higher levels. There are
still exercises based on writing in the main part of the book, but the focus on the skill of writing and developing
students’ written work is now the Writing Bank.

Each Writing Bank lesson is based on the theme of the unit and recycles some of the language from the unit.
Each one looks at a particular text type and contains a number of activities leading to the final written output.
The text types and writing subskills addressed are revisited through the different levels of the course.

Reviews from students and teachers

My students like to use this book, so far the topics have proved to be popular and relevant to them

A useful addition to my collection of Upper Intermediate text books. An overall successful attempt at making a teacher-friendly, student-engaging textbook.

New Total English  is a very comprehensive package with clear aims, a clear format and familiar syllabus. It is unique in its incorporation of the CEF and inclusion of a film bank and Catch up CD-ROM and would suit learners and teachers of general English who want a comprehensive course with opportunities for independent study and regular assessment.

The Total English Student’s Book is different to those I’ve seen before because it has been written with certain realities in mind: that students need to be interested and engaged in every lesson in order to learn, and that all the students won’t come to all your lessons.These realities often result in more work for the teacher. The Total English books use a format that means the work load on the teacher is lessened. Students who miss a class can make use of the reference and practice pages at the end of each unit, which provides a sort of ‘cheat sheet’ to the grammar points taught in that unit. The practice page encourages the students to use their new language along with that they have learnt in previous units.

Meet the Authors

Image    Diane Hall

Diane Hall is a distinguished figure in ELT and has co-authored Longman Advanced Learners’ Grammar and Distinction English for Advanced Learners along with many others. An “eternal student”, she has qualifications from an MA to a diploma in Film Studies. Diane is the co-author of the Elementary level of Total English.

Image    Mark Foley

Mark Foley is a prolific ELT writer and has co-authored Longman Advanced Learners’ Grammar and Distinction English for Advanced Learners among many others. Before becoming a teacher in 1981, Mark was an architect and earned a Master’s Degree in Architectural History. Mark is the co-author of the Elementary level of Total English.

Image    Araminta Crace

Araminta Crace is a well-respected ELT writer, and is one of the authors of the best-selling Gold exam preparation series. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to “do Ashtanga yoga and go camping, though not necessarily at the same time!” Araminta is the co-author of the Pre-Intermediate and Upper Intermediate levels of Total English.

Image    Rachael Roberts

Rachael Roberts has been a ELT teacher and teacher trainer for over 20 years, working in Egypt, Portugal, Brazil, Poland, Latvia and the UK. She currently divides her time between working as a teacher trainer at the University of Warwick and writing ELT materials. Among other titles, she is the author of Premium B1 level and the new edition of Total English Intermediate.

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Some of The New Total English books are in the top ten selling BEBC titles for the month of October and they are available here @ https://www.bebc.co.uk/new-total-english-intermediate-students-book-active-book-pack/9781408267189/

https://www.bebc.co.uk/new-total-english-pre-intermediate-students-book-active-book-pack/9781408267202/

https://www.bebc.co.uk/new-total-english-upper-intermediate-students-book-active-book-pack/9781408267240/

Comparing the Cost of A Degree Overseas


<a href="cost of education [Infographic]
Created by Hotcourses Abroad” title=”Comparing the Cost of A Degree Overseas”>Comparing the Cost of A Degree Overseas

The enduring reputation of many British and American universities continues to attract the lion’s share of international students, but things are changing in the world of international recruitment. With Australasia and Asia emerging as increasingly attractive options for many overseas students, it’s often hard to compare the real cost of study in different countries. 

Tuition costs

When comparing the annual cost of a postgraduate or undergraduate degree in these six countries, the differences in tuition fees are significant. While annual course ranges vary, maximum tuition fees in the UK and the USA can exceed $27k, more than double the maximum amount in Malaysia and Singapore. The minimum average cost for an undergraduate or postgraduate course in the States will cost students at least $19k a year, which is on a par with the maximum charge for a degree in Australia.

An Asian education – based on tuition fees alone – is by far the cheapest option for students, with fees in Malaysia and Singapore starting from as little as $2,800 and $9k, respectively. Australia is surprisingly well placed in the fees comparison, offering a minimum annual fee of $10k, but this is capped at a fairly reasonable maximum of $20k.

Student living costs

Another important factor when assessing the total cost of a degree is how much students will spend on day-to-day living costs in their host country. Hotcourses compared a few essentials like rent, transport and entertainment costs, alongside The Economist’s Big Mac index, to show the cost of living in the six countries.

Australia is the big surprise in this section, topping the chart in all four categories: accommodation, transport, food and entertainment. Students can pay an average of $725 a month for a single room, $95 for a monthly travel card and $15.93 for a movie ticket Down Under.

Accommodation costs in NZ, the UK and USA are lower at $660, $625 and $600 respectively, but the most purse-friendly living costs are in Asian study destinations. Malaysia offers the cheapest living costs in all four categories, with average monthly rent costing only $115 and transport costs as low as $20.

Earn while you learn potential

The overall cost of a degree is also dependent on how much international students can earn while studying. It’s reassuring to see that the high cost of living in Australia is supported by the highest minimum hourly wage, at an impressive $15.53. Students can balance the higher cost of a degree in the UK, NZ and USA with part-time earnings; these three all offer the chance to earn over $7.25 an hour. Asian countries perform poorly in the wage category; Malaysia only offers an average hourly wage of $1.65, with Singapore slightly higher at $3.96.

Asia and Australasia are clearly the cheapest options for the overall annual cost of your tuition fees, Singapore and Malaysia also offer students the cheapest daily living costs. Australia fares well in this comparison. The comparatively high cost of living in Australia can be balanced by lower course fees than some of its Western counterparts and opportunities for international students to earn a good hourly part-time wage.

Reputation and location

Living costs are lower than Australia in the UK and USA, but the fees can be much higher. Don’t forget, however, that the higher cost of a degree in these countries can be justified by the future benefits of a degree from a prestigious British or American institution. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011 is dominated by institutions from the UK and USA, with 67 institutions from either the States or the UK in the top 100.

Mike Elms, founder of Hotcourses, had this to say about the comparison: ‘Quality and cost are always the two most important factors mentioned by international students when selecting a destination to study abroad. The UK and USA have always done well in terms of perceived education quality, however Asia is proving powerful competition offering degrees taught in English at a fraction of the overall cost.’

Future earning can be influenced by the reputation of the university you choose, so a short-term investment in an expensive degree from a prestigious institution can reap dividends in the long-term. It’s important for students to weigh up the cost overall, alongside a consideration of where in the world they want to be.

 

Distance Learning


 

 

 

 

A brief history of distance education in an infographic image.

Very Interesting and also it is fascinating to see how Online education has changed over the years.

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There’s an App for That: Assistive technology (AT) and Learning Disabled Children


<a href="Learning Apps
Source: BestEducationDegrees.com” title=”There’s an App for That: Assistive technology (AT) and Learning Disabled Children”>There’s an App for That: Assistive technology (AT) and Learning Disabled Children

English language “did you knows” and The Philosophy of Ambiguity


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Did you know:

  • Did you know: the most commonly used letter in the alphabet is E
  • Did you know: the least used letter in the alphabet is Q
  • Did you know: dreamt is the only word that ends in mt
  • Did you know: the first letters of the months July through to November spell JASON
  • Did you know: there are only 4 words in the English language which end in ‘dous’ (they are: hazardous, horrendous, stupendous and tremendous)
  • Did you know: the oldest word in the English language is ‘town’
  • Did you know: ‘Bookkeeper’ and ‘bookkeeping’ are the only 2 words in the English language with three consecutive double letters
  • Did you know: the word ‘Strengths’ is the longest word in the English language with just one vowel
  • Did you know: the dot on top of the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle
  • Did you know: the past tense for the English word ‘dare’ is ‘durst’
  • Did you know: the word ‘testify’ derived from a time when men were required to swear on their testicles
  • Did you know: The first English dictionary was written in 1755
  • Did you know: the word old English word ‘juke’ meaning dancing lends its name to the juke box
  • Did you know: 1 out of every 8 letters written is an e
  • Did you know: the longest one syllable word in the English language is ‘screeched’
  • Did you know: all pilots on international flights identify themselves in English regardless of their country of origin
  • Did you know: the expression to ‘knuckle down’ originated from playing marbles (players used to put their knuckles to the ground for their best shots)
  • Did you know: the word ‘almost’ is the longest in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order
  • Did you know: the most commonly used word in English conversation is ‘I’

 

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Ambiguity ‘the quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness

  • I WENT TO A BOOKSTORE AND ASKED THE SALESWOMAN, “WHERE’S THE SELF- HELP SECTION?” SHE SAID IF SHE TOLD ME, IT WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE.
  • WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS?
  • IF SOMEONE WITH MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES THREATENS TO KILL HIMSELF, IS IT CONSIDERED A HOSTAGE SITUATION?
  • IS THERE ANOTHER WORD FOR SYNONYM?
  • WHERE DO FOREST RANGERS GO TO “GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?”
  • WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SEE AN ENDANGERED ANIMAL EATING AN ENDANGERED PLANT?
  • IF A PARSLEY FARMER IS SUED, CAN THEY GARNISH HIS WAGES?
  • WOULD A FLY WITHOUT WINGS BE CALLED A WALK?
  • WHY DO THEY LOCK GAS STATION BATHROOMS? ARE THEY AFRAID SOMEONE WILL BREAK-IN AND CLEAN THEM?
  • IF A TURTLE DOESN’T HAVE A SHELL, IS HE HOMELESS OR NAKED?
  • CAN VEGETARIANS EAT ANIMAL CRACKERS?
  • WHY DO THEY PUT BRAILLE ON THE DRIVE-THROUGH BANK MACHINES?
  • HOW DO THEY GET DEER TO CROSS THE ROAD ONLY AT THOSE YELLOW ROAD SIGNS?
  • WHAT WAS THE BEST THING BEFORE SLICED BREAD?
  • ONE NICE THING ABOUT EGOTISTS: THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.
  • DOES THE LITTLE MERMAID WEAR AN ALGAEBRA? 
  • HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A CIVIL WAR?
  • IF ONE SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER DROWNS, DO THE REST DROWN TOO?
  • IF YOU ATE BOTH PASTA AND ANTIPASTO, WOULD YOU STILL BE HUNGRY?
  • IF YOU TRY TO FAIL, AND SUCCEED, WHICH HAVE YOU DONE?
  • WHOSE CRUEL IDEA WAS IT FOR THE WORD ‘LISP’ TO HAVE ‘S’ IN IT?
  • WHY IS THERE AN EXPIRATION DATE ON SOUR CREAM?