The Royal College of Psychiatrists has information about mental health: on depression, shyness, stress, eating disorders, therapies, etc.
Some of it has been translated into various languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.
- الاكتئاب عند الرجال
- Каннабис и психическое здоровье
- Preocupaciones y ansiedades
- سگریٹ نوشی کے ذہنی صحت پراثرات
Information is also available from Mental Health in Multicultural Australia in several languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.
The Chinese Mental Health Association (in the UK) has information in English and Chinese.
Compounds are words formed from two (or more) words. For example, black + board = blackboard.
They can be spelled in three ways:
- as a single word: flowerpot
- as two words: flower pot
- with a hyphen: flower-pot
So which one should you choose? A linguist has devised a rule which she says works for 75% of words:
- Compound verbs, adjectives and adverbs – use a hyphen (blow-dry, world-famous, well-nigh)
- Compound nouns:
- 3+ syllables – use a space (bathing suit)
- 2 syllables:
- second part has 2 letters – use a hyphen (make-up)
- second part has 3+ letters – as a single word (coastline).
You can read more on her website.
My even simpler rule: if you’re not sure, write it as a single word: blowdry, worldfamous, wellnigh, bathingsuit and makeup. Even if it’s wrong, it looks cuttingedge.
A post on All Things Linguistic says:
The International Phonetic Alphabet is really one of those useful life skills that everyone should learn. Trying to write about speech sounds without the IPA is like trying to write about music sounds by just making up your own musical notation.
The post provides three links:
Our report on the death of law blogs was an exaggeration. It turns out there are more survivors:
- University of Aberdeen School of Law Blog
- Admin Law Blog
- Al’s Law
- Steve Cornforth Blog
- The Defence Brief
- EHCR Blog
- Garden Court North Chambers Blog
- UK Inquest Law Blog
- Justice of the Peace Blog
- Lancaster University Law School Blogs
- Lawyer Watch
- Learned Friend
- NIPC Law
- Martin Partington
No doubt there are even more, but these are enough for now.
Fill the blanks in the following equation, so that it makes arithmetical sense:
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 = 2019
You are allowed to use any of the basic mathematical operations, +, –, x, ÷, and as many brackets as you like.
There are various solutions, including this one: ((10 × 9 × 8) – (7 × 6) – 5) × ((4 –3) + (2 × 1))
Most law blogs seem to die after a few years. Current survivors include:
- UK Human Rights Blog
- UK Constitutional Law Association blog
- United Kingdom Immigration Law Blog
- UK Supreme Court Blog
- Watching the Law
- Law and Lawyers
- Pink Tape
- The Time Blawg
They have links to more blogs, though many are extinct.
Update: More law blogs
Some non-native speakers of English appear to confuse L and R sounds. People from Japan are particularly famous for this. It is a stereotype sometimes used in films with Asian characters, such as Lost in Translation.
This video looks at the different L and R sounds in English (such as clear L, dark L, tapped R and bunched R) and why native speakers of Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese may have difficulty pronouncing them.
There are numerous blogs on economics and related subjects, with new posts every week. One blog that regularly provides links to them is Economist’s View.
- Donald Trump Is Trying to Kill You – Paul Krugman
- Why rent matters – Stumbling and Mumbling
- Inequality of opportunity, income inequality, and economic growth – VoxEU
- How do American families spend food benefits? – Microeconomic Insights
- A broader tax base that would raise more money – Larry Summers
- Mathematician, heal thyself – Magic, maths and money
It also has a permanent list of about 150 blogs.
Even if you are not particularly interested in economics, many of these blogs discuss other current issues too.
Do you know what the preposition above means? And how it is different from on? What if you needed this information to defuse a time bomb?
Watch this video from Utrecht University:
Source: All Things Linguistic
This year the Norfolk & Norwich Festival will be held between 10th and 26th May. There are events in various categories: music, dance, theatre, etc.
- A Simple Space (acrobats)
- Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret about Gin
- Nakhane (South African pop musician)
- Smashed (juggling – pictured)
- A Night At The Musicals (drag artists)
If you are under 26, most tickets cost £7.50. A few events are free.
The University of Manchester Library has some online resources on study skills. For example:
- Dissertations: choosing your topic
- Never a wasted word: writing your essay
- Present like a pro: the art of delivery
There are many others – on maths, referencing, revision, statistics, reading, research, etc.
Stack Exchange is a collection of questions and answers on numerous topics.
Some questions from English Language & Usage:
- What is the rule for adjective order?
- What do you call a disk with a hole in the middle?
- When should “no problem” replace “you’re welcome” as a response to “thank you”?
- What is the difference between “complicated” and “complex”?
Some questions from English Language Learners:
- How should I refer to a friend who is a girl but not a girlfriend?
- Is there any difference between “which” and “that”?
- What is the difference between “nope” and “no”?
- Is it OK to mix American and British English?
Zoology is the study of animals. But do you know the meanings of its various branches? Do the quiz!
For more information, see the National Autistic Society website.
From the page, What is Autism?:
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing.
There aren’t many free practice materials for IELTS on the internet. A website that has recently been recommended by our IELTS teacher Malle is IELTS Mentor. It includes:
- 300+ academic reading passages, with questions and answers
- 300+ examples of academic writing task 1 (graphs), with model answers
- 1200+ examples of academic writing task 2 (essays), with model answers
- many other resources.
See our IELTS page for links to other sites.
According to a paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings “are alleged to be more rigorous and sophisticated and certainly more prestigious” than other ranking schemes. However:
The value of the THE rankings, but not their price, is drastically reduced by their lack of transparency so that it is impossible, for example, to tell whether a change in the score for research results from an increase in publications, a decline in the number of staff, an improved reputation or an increase in research income.
The paper describes the THE citations indicator as “bizarre and ridiculous”:
Here are some of the universities that appeared in the top 50 of last year’s citation indicator which supposedly measures research influence or quality: Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, Brighton and Sussex medical School, Reykjavik University, Anglia Ruskin University, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
ZoteroBib helps you make a bibliography quickly.
For example, you find this book in Google Books. Paste the URL (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=mT-jBQAAQBAJ) into the ZoteroBib search box. Choose a style, such as Cite Them Right 10th edition – Harvard. ZoteroBib creates and formats the reference for you:
Nilsson, N. J. (2014) Principles of Artificial Intelligence. Morgan Kaufmann.
Next you find this article. You could paste its URL into the box or use the DOI (10.1007/s11036-017-0932-8). ZoteroBib adds it to your bibliography:
Lu, H. et al. (2018) ‘Brain Intelligence: Go beyond Artificial Intelligence’, Mobile Networks and Applications, 23(2), pp. 368–375. doi: 10.1007/s11036-017-0932-8.
You find this book on Amazon and use the URL or the ISBN (978-1292153964). Your next source is a web page and you use its URL (https://futureoflife.org/background/benefits-risks-of-artificial-intelligence/). You even cite a Wikipedia article – though your teacher will not be happy!
When you’ve finished, copy the bibliography and paste it into your document. Here it is:
JournalTOCs is a collection of the tables of contents of 33,000 academic journals.
You can search for journals, “follow” them and read their tables of contents online. You can also choose to receive emails when new issues come out, or set up an RSS feed.
If UEA has access to a journal, you can read an article by clicking on the link in the table of contents.
A similar service is Zetoc.
For Dummies is a series of beginner’s books on various subjects. UEA Library has several ebooks in the series, including:
- Business Studies
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Psychometric Tests
- Overcoming Anxiety
- British Sign Language
- HTML, XHTML and CSS
You can read all of these online. Search UEA Library for the full list.
Did you know that blind people gesture when they speak? Or that blind Turkish speakers gesture like sighted Turkish speakers – but differently from English speakers?
In this video linguists Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch discuss why we gesture when we talk:
Some examples of articles:
- Her own hero: the origin of the women’s self-defense movement
- Game of privilege: an African American history of Golf
- The turbulent world of Middle East soccer
- It’s Rough Game but Good Sport: The Life, Times and Personalities of the Shanghai Rugby Football Club
- The East Asian Olympiads 1934–2008, Building Bodies and Nations in Japan, Korea, and China
You can read it online through UEA Library.
Time is out of joint: the transmedial hauntology of David Bowie
If you have no idea what that means, well, it’s the title of an article in the academic journal Celebrity Studies. The current issue is dedicated to the study of Bowie.
Other recent issues have articles on (for example) The Great British Bake-Off, Super Voice Girl, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, X-Men, Doctor Who, Haruki Murakami, Amy Winehouse, Beckham, Beyoncé and Trump.
With access through UEA Library, you can read all of these online.
For example, the latest issue has a news item about the use of anti-depressant drugs in Northern Ireland:
Findings show that anti-depressants were prescribed to 12% of NI’s population in 2011 with this rate rising to 14% by 2015. “Over the entire five-year period 24% of the population were prescribed anti-depressants,” says Professor Shevlin. “Existing figures for 2013 show that proportionately more anti-depressants were prescribed in NI than 23 other countries worldwide…”
You can read every issue of the magazine online.
- the puggle, a cross between a pug and a beagle (pictured)
- the maltipoo, a cross between a Maltese terrier and a poodle
- the dorgi, a cross between a dachshund and a corgi
Wikipedia has a list of dog cross-breeds.
If you need background music for a video or slideshow, you could try the Free Music Archive.
The music is arranged by genre – Blues, Classical, Country, Electronic, etc. – and then sub-genre, such as Rock > Loud-Rock > Noise-Rock > Sludge. (More suitable, perhaps, as background music are genres such as Instrumental > Ambient.)
Tracks can be downloaded as mp3 files and then added to your project. Most of them have Creative Commons licences such as Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.
The Royal Economic Society holds an annual essay competition for sixth form students. Recent titles have included:
- Does economics have the answer for the global problem of plastics pollution?
- “GDP does not measure the output of the economy any more”. Do you agree, and if so, what improvements would you suggest?
- “Some internet companies have become too big for the good of society and should be broken up”. Do you agree?
- “If you don’t look after your health, you can’t expect free access to healthcare”. Is this wrong? What are the economic arguments?
- Should internet companies like Uber and Airbnb be regulated?
You can read the winning essays online.
(There is no mention of the competition for this year, so perhaps it has been abandoned.)
UEA Library has trial access to some online resources. They are expensive, so the library needs to know which are worth keeping. They are:
- Archives of Sexuality & Gender
- British Periodicals Collections
- Cecil Papers
- Drama Texts Collection
- Film Scripts Online
- Informit Indigenous Archive
- International Herald Tribune
- LGBT Magazine Archive
- Nichols Newspapers Collection
- Picture Post Historical
- Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992
- Revolution and Protest Online
- The Telegraph Historical Archive, 1855-2000
- Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels
- US Declassified Documents Online
- Women’s Studies Archive
The ebook, Eat That Frog! : 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy, is available through UEA Library. We have a link to it on our study skills page.
As an explanation of the title, the author writes:
Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.
I could not find the source for this quotation. It appears in various forms on motivational websites, in collections of quotes, etc., but never with any bibliographical details. Project Gutenberg’s collected works of Mark Twain include references to frogs, but nothing that I could see about eating them.
Finally, I came across Quote Investigator, which has a page on this very quotation: Eat a Live Frog Every Morning, and Nothing Worse Will Happen to You the Rest of the Day. Instead of the American writer Mark Twain (1835-1910), it attributes the saying to the French writer Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) and he refers to toads rather than frogs.
The moral of the story is: stop doing things in a hurry – and check your sources!
The Oxford Phrasal Academic Lexicon (OPAL) is a set of four word lists, which you can download as PDFs:
- Written single words (1200 words)
- Spoken single words (600 words)
- Written phrases (370 phrases)
- Spoken phrases (250 phrases)
According to Oxford, these are the most important words to know in academic English.
You can also view the words and phrases online and look up definitions, collocations, etc. The phrases can be filtered by functions, such as adding, comparing, defining, hedging and making contrasts.
An opal is “a white or almost clear semi-precious stone in which changes of colour are seen, used in jewellery”.
Source: Poetry Foundation
First choose an area such as Forensic or Clinical or Occupational. Then you can see the places of work for that area (for example, hospitals or prisons) and the training route (such as a degree), likely salaries, useful links, etc.
The BPS also has a YouTube channel with careers information.
Studying Economics offers advice, help and information for economics undergraduates. Besides the tips on study skills, careers, etc., there are some distractions – links to economics-related videos, songs, games, etc.
For example, there’s a catchy song from the Bank of Ghana about their new currency unit and a video of Yoram Bauman, Ph.D., a “stand-up economist”, in which he simplifies Gregory Mankiw’s 10 Principles of Economics for a general audience:
Economic Data freely available online is a collection of links to economic and market data in the UK and other countries.
Do you know what the current inflation rate is in Uzbekistan? The Asian Development Bank can tell you.*
The links are compiled by John Sloman, a name that should be familiar to INTO economics students, for The Economics Network.
*14% for 2019 (forecast)
We The Economy is a series of 20 short films which you can watch online. The films look at economics in general and the US economy in particular, and try to answer these questions:
- What is the economy?
- What is money?
- What is the role of our government in the economy?
- What is globalization?
- What causes inequality?
Told through animation, comedy, musical, non-fiction, and scripted films, WE THE ECONOMY seeks to demystify a complicated topic while empowering the public to take control of their own economic futures.
For example, the film Cave-o-nomics (pictured) asks:
How did the economy get started?
Meet Ugg, Glugg and Tugg, three enterprising cave men who accidentally invented trade, marketing and the base elements of the modern market economy.
The films were produced by Morgan Spurlock (director and star of SuperSize Me) and Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.
Ten resources for today’s teacher training session:
Recorded TV and radio programmes that you can watch and clip
Statistics and charts on business, industries, consumer habits, etc.
- Credo Reference
Cross-referenced collection of reference books
- Academic Phrasebank
Phrases used in academic writing
- Cite them right online
Referencing tips and examples
UEA Library’s academic journals arranged by subject for easy browsing
Database of newspapers
Online magazine from the museum with articles on science, history, culture, etc.
- Microsoft Forms
For making online surveys and quizzes (example). See also Google Forms.
Copyright-free images and videos
The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are popular science talks given around Christmas each year. The first one was in 1825.
They were started by the scientist Michael Faraday. They have been televised since 1936.
Plus is an online popular mathematics magazine:
which aims to introduce readers to the beauty and the practical applications of mathematics. A lot of people don’t have a very clear idea what “real” maths consists of, and often they don’t realise how many things they take for granted only work because of a generous helping of it. Apparently, some people even have the idea that it’s boring! Weird.
Plus has articles, videos, puzzles and other maths-related content.
If you can’t understand newspaper headlines, it may be because of their unique grammar. Or it may be because you’ve found a crash blossom. The term derives from this headline:
Violinist linked to crash blossoms
It is possible to read this and wonder: What on earth is a crash blossom?
|Violinist||[is] linked to||crash blossoms|
|noun||verb + preposition||noun phrase|
In fact, the story is about a violinist whose career has blossomed (i.e. flourished) since the death of her father in a plane crash. The word blossoms is a verb here, not a noun:
|Violinist||[who is] linked to crash||blossoms|
Can you spot the problem in each of these headlines?
- McDonald’s Fries the Holy Grail for Potato Farmers
- Fossil Yields Surprise Kin of Crocodiles
- British Push Bottles Up German Rear [a war news story]
- Google Fans Phone Expectations by Scheduling Android Event
- British Left Waffles on Falklands
- Gator Attacks Puzzle Experts
- Republicans Look to Safety Net Programs as Deficit Balloons
- Queen Mother tried to help abuse girl
The confusion in all of these is about whether certain words are nouns or verbs.
Norwich Economic Papers is a journal written and edited by UEA School of Economics students, some of them graduates of INTO. In fact, one of our student wardens is the current editor.
There are 18 volumes so far, dating from 2010 to 2018. The latest volume includes articles on:
- wage discrimination on Irish immigrants
- the environmental impact of plastic waste
- why people smoke
- the fiscal viability of Universal Basic Income.
You can read all of the volumes online.
The Royal Society of Chemistry website has a careers section called A Future in Chemistry. A chemist could:
- discover new medicines
- protect the environment
- invent products and materials
- solve crime using forensic analysis
- teach chemistry (if all else fails)
besides some evil things that the website doesn’t mention.
There is lots of advice about jobs, study options, work experience, etc.
The Royal Society of Chemistry website has four periodic tables, with links to detailed information on each element.
- The main table has standard information about the various elements, plus their supply risk.
- A history table shows when each element was discovered and who by, and the origin of its name.
- An alchemy table shows 16 elements known to alchemists (antimony, arsenic, bismuth, copper, gold, iron, lead, magnesium, mercury, phosphorus, platinum, potassium, silver, sulfur, tin and zinc).
- A trends table displays the density, atomic radius, electronegativity, melting point, boiling point and first ionisation energy of elements.
The site also has some resources for the International Year of the Periodic Table.
The Parlement of Foules (parliament of fowls, or birds) is a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer written in about 1381. It mentions Saint Valentine’s Day as a special day to find a lover:
For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
Of every kinde, that men thenke may;
And that so huge a noyse gan they make,
That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake
So ful was, that unnethe was ther space
For me to stonde, so ful was al the place.The Parlement of Foules (lines 309-315)
For this was on Saint Valentine’s day,
When every fowl comes there to choose his mate
Of every kind that men can think of,
And that so huge a noise did they make
That earth and sea and tree and every lake
So full was, that scarcely was there space
For me to stand, so full was all the place.
Using a full stop like this in texts, chat messages and emails could imply that you have bad news.
Friend sends me a chat message that’s just “Hey.”
Me: oh my god what’s with the period has someone died
(Reader, it was fine.)
— Gretchen McCulloch (@GretchenAMcC) 7 February 2019
Some online dictionaries use symbols to show word frequency. The more symbols a word has, the more common it is in English.
The Macmillan Dictionary uses 1-3 stars:
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English uses 1-3 circles:
The Collins English Dictionary uses 1-5 circles:
And you find that sort of rootless existence appealing, do you?
Yes, ma’am, I do.
I mean, I’ve got everything I need right here with me.
I got air in my lungs and a few blank sheets of paper.
I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna happen …
or who I’m gonna meet …
where I’m gonna wind up.
Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge, and now …
here I am on the grandest ship in the world …
having champagne with you fine people. Titanic
For some films there are even bilingual subtitles:
I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, 我是海军陆战队中士哈特曼
your senior drill instructor. 是你们的高级训练教官
You will speak 除非我先说话…
only when spoken to 你们不得擅自开口
The first and last words out of your sewers will be “Sir! ” 你们跟我说话首尾都要冠以”长官”一词
Do you maggots understand? 你们这些蛆虫明白吗?
Sir, yes, sir! 长官 是 长官 Full Metal Jacket
Ways to add subtitles to films are discussed here. To read them online, choose a film, a language, then one of the subtitle files. Then under Fileinfo click on the Transcript icon:
Besides the Movie Corpus, these are some other corpora from Brigham Young University:
- The TV Corpus is based on TV episodes from the 1950s to the present. It includes American, British and Australian television programmes.
- The SOAP Corpus is based on American soap operas from the early 2000s.
- The TIME Corpus is based on articles from TIME magazine from 1923-2006.
- The Wikipedia Corpus contains the full text of Wikipedia – 1.9 billion words in more than 4.4 million articles.
- The iWeb Corpus contains 14 billion words in 22 million web pages.
Full list here.
The Movie Corpus contains 200 million words in 25,000+ films from the 1930s to the present.
You can search the corpus for words and phrases. For example, the phrase I have a bad feeling about this appears 52 times – in these films, among others:
- Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017)
- The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)
- Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) (twice)
- Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace (2011)
You can look at the context:
Leia: This ground sure feels strange. It doesn’t feel like rock.
Han: There’s an awful lot of moisture in here.
Leia: I don’t know. I have a bad feeling about this. Yeah. Watch out! It’s all right. It’s all right. Yeah, that’s what I thought… mynock. Chewie, check the rest of the ship… and make sure there are no more attached… chewing on the power cables.Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
You can also search using parts of speech. For example, try to get some + noun:
- sleep (174 hits)
- rest (64)
- work (3)
- help (3)
- information (3)
Apart from film cliches like these, the corpus is a guide to spoken English. The word beastly, for instance, was much more common in the 1940s than it is now and more common in British films than American ones.
– Won’t you stay for dinner, sir?
– What have you got?
– Macaroni. We found it in the cellar.
– Beastly stuff.The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
Want to read something that’s not a textbook? Then join Norfolk Libraries! You can borrow books, eBooks, eAudio books and eMagazines for free. You can also borrow CDs, DVDs and console games for a charge.
You can join online.
The World Atlas of Language Structures is “a large database of structural (phonological, grammatical, lexical) properties of languages”.
For example, in some languages certain pronouns are used for politeness. The atlas classifies languages according to second person pronouns that:
- encode no politeness distinction (e.g. English, Swahili)
- encode a binary politeness distinction (e.g. German, Russian, Mandarin)
- encode multiple politeness distinctions (e.g. Hindi, Hungarian)
- are dominantly avoided for politeness reasons (e.g. Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian).
You can see the distribution of these four on a map.
If you’re looking for something to read online, there is always fan fiction.
For example, FanFiction has 50,000 stories based on the Star Wars movies and 800,000 inspired by the Harry Potter books. The TV series Father Ted, on the other hand, has produced a measly 15 stories.
On a similar site, Archive of Our Own, there are 50,000 works about the band One Direction. For instance, Fading is 202,393 words, about twice the length of an average novel, and has been translated into Spanish. It starts like this:
Louis almost snaps when there is a light tap on the door of the studio. His knuckles go white on the edge of the cutting table but he forces himself to take a deep breath and put on a smile before he turns around. He isn’t the type to take his frustrations out on others, he prefers to take them out on himself. When he turns he finds Liam poking his head just past the door frame, hesitant to come in and disturb Louis.
Only 202,309 words to go!
FanFiction has a rating system for its stories: basically, K = Kids, T = Teens, M = Mature. The site “does not accept explicit content”. Archive of Our Own’s rating system is G = General, T = Teen, M = Mature, E = Explicit. A lot of fan fiction describes romantic/sexual relationships and this is normally indicated at the beginning of the story, along with any other content warnings.
In 1986 Ray Williams formulated 10 principles for teaching EFL reading. They included:
- In the absence of interesting texts, very little is possible.
- The primary activity of a reading lesson should be learners reading texts—not listening to the teacher, not reading comprehension questions, [etc.].
In 2002 Richard Day and Julian Bamford devised 10 principles for teaching extensive reading:
- The reading material is easy.
- A variety of reading material on a wide range of topics must be available.
- Learners choose what they want to read.
- Learners read as much as possible.
- The purpose of reading is usually related to pleasure, information and general understanding.
- Reading is its own reward.
- Reading speed is usually faster rather than slower.
- Reading is individual and silent.
- Teachers orient and guide their students.
- The teacher is a role model of a reader.
These points are also discussed in Extensive reading in ELT: Why and how?
Day, R. and Bamford, J. (2002) ‘Top Ten Principles for Teaching Extensive Reading’, Reading in a Foreign Language, 14(2). http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/October2002/day/day.html
Watkins, P. (2018) Extensive reading in ELT: Why and how?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cambridge Papers in ELT. http://languageresearch.cambridge.org/images/Language_Research/CambridgePapers/CambridgePapersinELT_ExtensiveReading_2017_ONLINE.pdf
Williams, R. (1986) ‘”Top ten” principles for teaching reading’, ELT Journal, 40(1), pp. 42–45. https://doi-org.ueaezproxy.uea.ac.uk:2443/10.1093/elt/40.1.42
Cambridge University Press publishes Cambridge Papers in ELT, a series of research papers on various topics, including speaking and extensive reading.
At present there are 17 papers, which can be read and downloaded by everyone from the website, Language and Pedagogy Research for ELT.
- Blended language learning
- ELT trends: beyond technology
- Enhancing student interaction
- Extensive reading for primary in ELT
- Extensive reading: why and how?
- Giving feedback on speaking
- Immersive speaking tasks
- Learner-centred content
- Near peer role models
- Personalization in adaptive learning
- Personalization in mobile learning
- Safe speaking environments
- Successful learners and teachers
- The development of Oracy skills
- Time for speaking practice
- Using mobiles in the classroom
- Visual literacy in ELT
According to this slideshow (from a presentation at the 2015 IATEFL Conference), you need to know 95-98% of the words in a text to be able to read it easily.
At 90%, “For many of your students, this is where ‘fun’ starts to turn into ‘work’.”
The slideshow displays excerpts from a story in which 98% – then 95% – then 90% – then 80% of the text is in English, while the remaining words are gibberish.
Some people think 80% is enough. This is the 80% passage:
“Bingle for help!” you shout. “This loopity is dying!” You put your fingers on her neck. Nothing. Her flid is not weafling. You take out your joople and bingle 119, the emergency number in Japan. There’s no answer! Then you muchy that you have a new befourn assengle. It’s from your gutring, Evie. She hunwres at Tokyo University. You play the assengle. “…if you get this…” Evie says. “…I can’t vickarn now… the important passit is…” Suddenly, she looks around, dingle. “Oh no, they’re here! Cripett… the frib! Wasple them ON THE FRIB!…” BEEP! the assengle parantles. Then you gratoon something behind you…
The author cites two sources:
Hsueh-Chao, M. H. and Nation, P. (2000) ‘Unknown vocabulary density and reading comprehension‘, Reading in a Foreign Language, 13(1), pp. 403-30.
Schmitt, N., Jiang, X. and Grabe, W. (2011) ‘The percentage of words known in a text and reading comprehension‘, The Modern Language Journal, 95(1), pp. 26–43.
Can’t concentrate or sleep because your neighbours are talking too loudly? Read What’s the best way to block the sound of a voice? from the blog Making Noise & Hearing Things.
According to the author, there are three ways to block out sound waves:
- Isolation: e.g. earplugs, earbuds, headphones
- Damping: e.g. wall-hangings, rolled-up towels under doors, heavy curtains, rugs
- Masking: e.g. a fan, white noise or music, noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds.
Google Ngram Viewer can compare the popularity of words and phrases over time. For example, typewriter and mobile phone:
It can also compare their popularity in British and American English. For example, mobile phone and cell phone:
As in the chart above, add :eng_gb_2012 (books published in Great Britain) and :eng_us_2012 (books published in the United States) to your word or phrase.
Question: Is there a B&Q in Norwich?
No, there’s an N, an O, an R, a W, an I, a C and an H.
External links from these blog posts are now being added to the Links page (under More on the menu).
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
ɪn ðə ruːm ðə ˈwɪmɪn kʌm ən gəʊ
ˈtɔːkɪŋ əv ˌmaɪkəˈlænʤələʊ.
toPhonetics converts English text to IPA phonetic transcription. Paste or type your text in the box, choose British or American pronunciation and decide whether to transcribe weak forms. For example (with British pronunciation and weak forms selected):
Learning resources from INTO University of East Anglia
ˈlɜːnɪŋ rɪˈzɔːsɪz frəm ˈɪntʊ ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsɪti əv iːst ˈæŋglɪə
The transcription offers alternatives for resources and INTO. As INTO is a name, we use the strong form.
You can listen to the transcribed text.
toPhonetics is also available as an app for iOS and Android.
Online tools for making gap fill exercises (cloze tests) usually have something wrong with them. This one, for example, looks nice and simple, but the “let me choose” option is buggy. More promising is the Gapfill Printable Exercise Generator (Version 2) at Random Idea English, which has been “Currently under testing” since 2012.
After pasting in your text, you choose one of four ways to make the gaps: Manual (put square brackets around the words to be gapped), Random (with options), Auto (list the words) and Gapmaker (just click on the words).
You can see the finished exercise in various formats. For example, this a document-friendly version, which you can copy and paste into Word:
coffee · cruellest · desire · dried · forgetful · lilacs · roots · stopped · sunlight · surprised · warm
- April is the ____________ month, breeding
- ____________ out of the dead land, mixing
- Memory and ____________, stirring
- Dull ____________ with spring rain.
- Winter kept us ____________, covering
- Earth in ____________ snow, feeding
- A little life with ____________ tubers.
- Summer ____________ us, coming over the Starnbergersee
- With a shower of rain; we ____________ in the colonnade,
- And went on in ____________, into the Hofgarten,
- And drank ____________, and talked for an hour.
LyricsTraining is “the new way to learn English and other languages through music and the lyrics of your favourite songs”. You listen to songs and complete gaps in the lyrics.
For example, you might choose “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Pick a level from Beginner to Expert. You then get a YouTube video of the song with subtitles, which are missing random words:
Is this the real life?
Is this **** fantasy?
****** in a landslide, ** escape from reality
Open **** ****
Look ** ** the skies and see
Type in the correct words and the song will continue.
It is probably fun for a while, but how much it improves students’ listening skills remains to be seen.
News in Levels has very short news stories in three levels of English. Students can read and listen to the texts.
For example, Young Whale Helps Its Mum – level 1:
A whale goes into shallow waters. She is with her calf. She cannot move. This happens in Australia. The calf tries to help her. It pushes her. After 40 minutes, the whale is free. She swims away with her calf.
Difficult words: whale (a big animal which lives in the sea), shallow (not deep; there is not enough water for the whale), calf (the child of an animal such as a whale).
Compare with Young Whale Helps Its Mum – level 3:
A humpback whale with her calf was filmed east of Brisbane where the mother was stranded in shallow waters. The calf appeared to nudge its mother to help dislodge her to safety.
Fortunately, the whale became free after 40 minutes and could be seen swimming off with her calf.
Difficult words: calf (the baby of an animal such as a whale), stranded (unable to leave), nudge (push, bump against), dislodge (move).
A similar site is Breaking News English.
A pet cone is usually worn by dogs or cats to stop them from licking or scratching their bodies while their injuries heal.
The cartoon suggests another possible use.
Source: Liam Francis Walsh
Digital Tools for Teachers is an ebook by Nik Peachey. Aimed at English language teachers, it includes over 70 tools – divided into reading tools, writing tools, presentation tools, etc.
The book is in PDF format, I couldn’t get the internal links (to the various chapters) to work, but the links to the tools were fine.
You may know the farewell catchphrase, See you later, alligator, to which the usual reply is, In a while, crocodile.
This “Goodbye Shirt” has several more, including:
- In a few, cockatoo
- See you soon, big baboon
- Another time, porcupine
- Gotta go, buffalo
“See You Later, Alligator” is also a well-known song.
From All Things Linguistic.
ConceptNet is “a freely-available semantic network, designed to help computers understand the meanings of words that people use.”
Enter the word dog, for example, and the results include:
- Related terms (e.g. pet, animal, chinese zodiac)
- dog is capable of… (e.g. bark, guide a blind person, corner a cat)
- Types of dog (e.g. poodle, corgi, puppy)
- Location of dog (e.g. a kennel, a park)
- dog has… (e.g. four legs, fleas, paws)
- dog doesn’t want… (e.g. a bath, go to the vet, be left home alone).
For more information on ConceptNet, read the FAQ.
“Labour is likely to table a vote of no confidence in the government, though it is unclear whether it would do so immediately – and even less unclear whether it could win it.”
less unclear should be less clear or more unclear – an example of what Language Log calls misnegation
Yes, even the political editor of The Guardian makes mistakes in English!
Write & Improve is a free tool from Cambridge English that marks your writing and assesses your English level.
You can either do the set tasks or create your own task and paste in some text.
It thought my moon essay was quite good (4/5) and my English was native-speaker level. However, it did mark some words and sentences as wrong when they weren’t.
The Journal of International Students is published 4 times a year and can be read by everyone for free online.
The most recent issue (October 2018) includes these articles:
- Stress-driven spending: correlates of international students’ adjustment strains and compulsive online buying
- “They make no contribution!” versus “We should make friends with them!”—American domestic students’ perception of Chinese international students’ reticence and face
- Influential factors in the college decision-making process for Chinese students studying in the U.S.
- Hindsight is 20/20 vision: what international students wished they had known before coming to live and learn in Ireland.
The British Council has a six-week course at FutureLearn called Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language Tests. You can start it right now or when it runs again on 4th February.
According to the British Council, by the end of the course you will:
- be familiar with all parts of the IELTS test
- have some useful tips to help you achieve your IELTS goals
- understand how the IELTS test is assessed
- have an opportunity to have your written and spoken English assessed by other learners [emphasis added]
This doesn’t sound very useful, to be honest. On the other hand, it is free.
A recent article advocates “nap stations” in university libraries:
Since college students frequently are observed asleep wherever they are throughout the day, research indicates universities should consider the advantages to students of providing an area where they can nap safely and comfortably. The library seems to be ideally situated for this, since students are in the library studying when they may need to take a break, and it is usually open many hours. (Wise, 2018)
It mentions a pioneer – the University of East Anglia, no less – that has a Nap Nook in its student union. Other universities have library “nap pods”.
INTO UEA Resource Centre originally had some beanbags, but they attracted noisy students, rather than sleepy ones, not to mention an English teacher with a tendency to snore. (He subsequently took to the sofa, as pictured.)
Wise, M. J. (2018) ‘Naps and sleep deprivation: why academic libraries should consider adding nap stations to their services for students’, New Review of Academic Librarianship, 24(2), pp. 192-210. doi: 10.1080/13614533.2018.1431948.
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
T. S. Eliot, ‘Journey of the Magi‘ (1936)
- ELT Journal
- English for Specific Purposes
- Journal of English for Academic Purposes
- TESOL Journal
- TESOL Quarterly
Happy Christmas reading!
Bloomberg Businessweek is – astonishingly – a weekly magazine about business. You can read 10 articles online without paying, while UEA Library provides full access.
The main page for UEA access is here. You can search the magazine and browse issues. There may be a delay of a few days before the latest issue is available.
The current issue, for example, has several articles on Bitcoin:
- A Year After the Crypto Bubble Burst, Will Bitcoin Ever Recover?
- Bitcoin ATMs May Be Used to Launder Money
- Mike Novogratz Explains Why He’s Still All-In on Crypto
- China’s Plan to Sideline Bitcoin
Unolingo, from Smithsonian.com, is a crossword puzzle in which you complete the words using each letter of the alphabet only once. There are no clues.
For example, if you decide the top word is STALKING, you use the letters A, L and G, which are then unavailable to complete any other words.
Puzzles with one star, like the one shown, are the easiest. The hardest have four stars.
Some examples of articles:
- There Never Was a Real Tulip Fever
- Long Before Trees Overtook the Land, Earth Was Covered by Giant Mushrooms
- Why Did Humans Lose Their Fur?
- Why Aren’t There Electric Airplanes Yet? It Comes Down to Batteries.
- A Brief History of Robot Birds
Sounds Familiar? [requires Flash] from the British Library examines accents and dialects in Britain.
You can listen to recordings of people talking: for example, Pam from Norwich. There is an analysis of her accent and use of that as a subject pronoun (instead of it).
A few maps show where people use “non-standard” forms such as I were and you was.
As part of UEA Library’s 50th anniversary celebrations, you can take a virtual tour of the building.
During the Christmas holidays you might talk to local people in and around Norwich. As you will have noticed, the local accent is a bit different from the “standard” English of the BBC or most of your teachers.
- The word here sounds like hair; beer sounds like bear; really sounds like rarely.
- The -y- sound before the vowel in words like music is omitted, so Hugh sounds like who; feud sounds like food. (This is called yod-dropping.)
- Older people may pronounce words like home, stone, boat with the same vowel sound as foot or put.
There are also some differences in grammar and vocabulary.
You can listen to some examples of the Norfolk dialect in the Survey of English Dialects (under View by – County – M-O – Norfolk).
There are lots of words that mean good or bad. The opinion polling company YouGov asked people to score adjectives according to how positive or negative they were. The score was between 0 and 10, with 0 being the most negative and 10 the most positive.
The chart shows the results. The most negative word was abysmal followed by appalling, awful, dreadful and terrible. In the middle was average, bordered by mediocre and not bad. The most positive word was perfect, followed by outstanding, excellent, incredible, brilliant, superb and fantastic.
So there you are. Isn’t that, er, great?
The 2018 Daily chart advent calendar is a selection of The Economist‘s charts. Every day from December 1st to 25th a chart from 2018 is featured.
For example, today’s chart shows the average cost of a normal birth in private hospitals in various countries.
All of the magazine’s charts can be seen in the section, Graphic detail.
From Google Ngram Viewer.
The suffix -ful can mean as much as something will hold. For example, a spoonful of sugar is as much sugar as a spoon will hold. (It is the title of a famous song in the film Mary Poppins.)
The suffix is common with containers:
- a bagful of cash
- a sackful of presents
- a basketful of eggs
- a barrelful of monkeys
- a plateful of food
- a bowlful of jelly
- a hatful of goals
It is also used with parts of the body:
- a handful of dust
- an armful of flowers
- a fistful of dollars
- a bellyful of fighting
- an earful of complaints
- an eyeful of beauty
and transport, buildings, etc.:
- a planeful of passengers
- a houseful of guests
- a roomful of strangers
- a streetful of people
besides many other words. In fact, you can even add it to (usually short) nouns to make new words:
- a blogful of bigotry
- a laptopful of viruses
- a phoneshopful of INTO students.