Verbling: practice the language with native speakers

In this post, I want to talk you about Verbling, a website designed for students of English as a foreign language to get in touch with native English speakers from around the world and practice in real time. It is meant to be an exchange between you and your chat partner: 5 minutes for each language.

On top of that, if you don’t know what to talk about, the site itself gives you the possibility of choosing a topic you like and proposes a question that could help as a conversation starter. All you need is a mic, a webcam and an email address. About privacy, these guys are in control of everything and they will not provide any personal information to anybody. You should also remember not to do it yourself!

Ups, nearly forgot! This website is not meant for under 13.

Challenge your vocabulary!!

Vocabulary.com is the easiest, most intelligent way to improve your vocabulary. It combines an adaptive learning system (The Challenge) with the world’s fastest dictionary (The Dictionary) so that you can more quickly and more efficiently learn words.” These are their words and, believe me, it is true. If you are one of those who moans about how little vocabulary you know, or if you are a words freek, or just a regular student, this website will probably be of help. 

Fun with grammar? Road to Grammar

Yes, there is a fun way to study grammar! Road to Grammar is a website specially disigned to offer fun exercises to practice any grammar difficulty you may have. All activities are adult orientated so you will not find them too childish. There you can find online quizzes, extra practice and games, they also do printables if you like to work on paper. If you have children learning English at school, there is a junior version that you can use with them and enjoy learning together. Thank you Antonio Jiménez for the tip.

road2grammar

 

More help to improve your writing: writingfun.com

writingfu.com logo

When learning a foreign language writing and speaking are the two most frustrating skills students have to deal with; the former being a real stone in the shoe that may lead to quitting. There are many reasons for that, but the basic problem is that writing is a very demanding skill, it needs to be highly organized and structured. On top of that the person(s), whom the piece of writing is meant for, are not present, what implies an extra effort in providing the information in full, nothing can be left aside. I bet you are already yawning or put off just with the thought of it. Well, it is time for you to take a look at the website I am introducing today Writing Fun. Jenny Eather has gathered all the basic types of writing and made a useful presentation using the latest technology in order to help ESL students with their writing skills. There you will find explanations, exercises, printables and examples of how to write and organize your ideas in formal and informal pieces of writing. By the way, I must thank Laura Martín (ESL teacher at EOI Las Palmas) for the tip.

 

Linguee: a new way of searching for meanings

 

In this post I would like to introduce you to a new tool which would be of great help with your writing. As you can see in the picture, the name of the tool is Linguee.com and it is a search engine for words and expressions in multiple languages and their translation in various contexts. It also provides the user with helpful information and examples. Although specifically meant for translators, Linguee.com can be used by students of English as a kind of thesaurus. You type the word you want to know the use of and the engine will bring you a set of different sentences with the specific word in a variety of meanings and contexts. One thing to bear in mind, Linguee.com is not a dictionary. Here you have a link to their about-us page.

Englishpage.com

If ever you need to check any difficulty you have with any grammar point or any of the skills, englishpage.com is there to help you. It is simple, efficient and easy to handle. Obviously, it is not only a tutorial, each section includes a a good bunch of on-line exercises to help improve or correct any deficiency any student or speaker may have.

 

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MULTIMEDIA ENGLISH CLASSROOM

I have already talked about this site on this blog, but I thought it was a good idea reminding those who are new to all this. MEC is a multimedia website meant for English learners to improve their language skills. Here are a few words about themselves and their aims: “(…) a free online classroom to learn English, designed for students from all around the world. It uses authentic material and is targeted at students of English who already have a basic knowledge of the language, but there’s also a complete section for beginners. If you can read this and understand it (at least the general idea), then this virtual classroom is for you!(…)” Below you have the link to their website, there is also the possibility to follow their posts on Facebook.

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>Phrasalverbdemon.com

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There is a constant issue that worries students when they get to certain levels of language command; phrasal verbs: their use, meaning, formation… One of these linguistic tricks we all have had to face sooner or later. Well! This a good start point to visit phrasalverbdemon  a website inspired by and for phrasal verbs, written by an ESL teacher from the Canaries. The site is useful for students and teachers alike, so do not rule yourself out and grab the opportunity.

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>Language Studying Problems? Here’s a solution.

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    Hi again! Browsing the net on the search for new resources for you, I came across with this simple, easy and effective site where you can find lots of useful tips on how to study and improve your language learning. For some, it may be extremely basic but I bet you all will find some nice tips to help with those dark areas of your grammar or spelling, for example. Pay a visit to the place and let your skills grow like foam! Ooops, I nearly forgot, the name of the site is “How-to-study.com” 😉 (If you click on the pic it will take you straight there)

>Campaign for Level C to become part of the EOI’s curriculum

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The AAEOIM (Asociación de Alumnos de Escuelas de Idiomas de Madrid) has started a campaign to claim the inclusion of level C in the curriculum of EEOOII. This campaign consists of individual letters to the Spanish Ministry of Education,  which the association would collect themselves and make sure to hand them in via the proper means (registered, stamped, endorsed an so on). Pay a visit to the AAEOIM web page ( http://aaeoim.jimdo.com/) where they have a detailed post about their aims and a sample of the letter they want those interested to send them. The deadline is March, 23. You are still in time to help with this serious matter which is of general interest for all of us, learners and teachers.