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English (ESL) Weblog

Blog containing ideas, thoughts and musings about the English language and its use, aimed at ESL students and teachers alike.

Last Build Date: Tue, 01 Jan 2013 14:37:21 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2018

Site Overview 2012

Tue, 01 Jan 2013 14:37:21 +0000

Here's a comparison of some of the sections of the site over the last year. As always, thanks to everyone who has contributed so much.

This does not include areas like the blogs, the links database, etc. And a Good New Year to all our users.

Site Overview- 2011

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 12:08:55 +0000

Here's a comparison of some of the sections of the site now with 2007, the last time this sort of overview was done. As always, thanks to everyone who has contributed so much.(image)

The linguistic genius of babies [Video]

Thu, 30 Jun 2011 13:44:58 +0000

At TEDxRainier, Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another -- by listening to the humans around them and "taking statistics" on the sounds they need to know. Clever lab experiments (and brain scans) show how 6-month-old babies use sophisticated reasoning to understand their world.


English Mania

Sun, 16 Jan 2011 00:29:29 +0000

The world has a common language to solve its common problems. So says Jay Walker in the following video. Here he explains why two billion people around the world are trying to learn the world's second langauage, English.


ESL World Cup links

Thu, 10 Jun 2010 05:27:01 +0000

Here are some links to ESL sites and lesson plans, etc, related to the World Cup.


English, a Crazy Language Indeed!

Sun, 01 Feb 2009 15:15:06 +0000

For my first blog post this year I thought I'd provide you with a couple of light-hearted and entertaining looks at the English language. The first shows you just how confusing the language can sometimes be, whilst the second demonstrates why some suggest that English spelling should be reformed.


Getting Back to Normal

Mon, 12 Jan 2009 11:26:23 +0000

Things have been quiet in some areas of the site of late and we haven't added many new items.  Sadly, work has been squatting on our lives and eating into time normally spent updating the site.

Noam Chomsky Talks About Universal Grammar [Video]

Fri, 25 Jul 2008 19:04:57 +0000

In this video, Noam Chomsky talks about language at Google as part of the Authors@Google series.

In this question and answer session he discusses a number of topics, but the first is about universal grammar in which he provides an in-depth description of how his ideas on universal grammar have evolved over time.

Another interesting question he answers at the end of the session relates to the effect of email, instant messaging and the like on syntax and grammar (TXT Speak). Hear Chomsky's views on whether this is just a natural part of the evolution of language and how it's affecting our minds.


Teachermate -Handheld Console for Educational Games

Fri, 30 May 2008 01:56:58 +0000


An Illinois, non-profit organisation called Innovations for Learning has released a handheld cosole, like a Game Boy or Nintendo DS designed for education and targeted at kindergarten and elementary students. Despite its simplicity and lack of software, this device has a lot of potential for English language education.


Drilling - Judicious Use of Brute Force in the ESL Classroom

Tue, 27 May 2008 08:34:58 +0000

Another training article. Something my trainees weren't doing very well -drilling. Not very exciting, but someone might find it useful.(image)

Once Upon A School - TED Prize Winner

Mon, 21 Apr 2008 21:27:00 +0000

I recently watched an inspiring talk given as part of the TED 2008 conference by Dave Eggers, a philanthropist and teacher-at-large (as they describe him). The talk shows ways in which dedicated one-to-one teaching can be provided to pupils who would not normally have access to this sort of personal tuition. What's more, the students seem to lap it up.

The successful and growing network of professionals volunteering their time to shine their light on local students of all ages is only part of the story. His novel approach to teaching and the way he makes learning fun should be an inspiration to all of us.

As Time puts it: "Many writers, having written a first best-seller, might see it as a nice way to start a career. He started a movement instead."


Teacher Training -Grammar Based PPP

Fri, 07 Mar 2008 03:46:49 +0000

As an aside from my usual topics about using computers for language education, recently I am involved in a teacher training programme and would like to share an article I am working on to assist new teachers to plan a lesson.

As part of the course, trainees need to present evaluation lessons using a grammar based syllabus prepared with PPP.

I hope this will be interesting to other teacher trainers and helpful to trainees, and I would like to hear your comments and criticisms.

Lexxica -Vocabulary Analysis

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 16:45:13 +0000

Lexxica provides resources to determine how much vocabulary a student knows and find gaps in their knowledge. They also claim to be able to accurately assess which words a student already knows.

The site is difficult to navigate and prone to crash. If all goes well, try the V-Check to find out how vocabulary you know (works for native speakers, too) and V-Admin to process your data. There are also flash games, free graded texts and flash cards.

I would be interested if other members here tried it and posted comments.

Lexxica: URL -

Site Overview- 2007

Mon, 31 Dec 2007 11:40:02 +0000

Since the end of 2004, we have recorded how many entries we have in some of the sections of our site, which means that we can see how much new content we have created since then.

In 2007, we put the Language Articles and PDF Lesson Plans into databases and currently have 26, 31 and 116 entries respectively. These sections are growing fast as we have an additional contributor, Alex Case, who has been adding a lot, which we're very grateful for. There are a further 14 articles in the Members' Area.

In 2007, traffic continued to grow fast, so thank you to all of you for using the site. We hope that 2008 will see many improvements and additions.


Teaching Christmas

Fri, 30 Nov 2007 09:34:59 +0000

We have added a number of lessons for different levels and articles about Christmas and how it can be taught and used in the classroom. There will be more to follow in the next few days, so please check the What's New page for updates.