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Preview: Tdol's English Language Blog

Tdol's English Language Blog



Richard Flynn (aka Tdol) is an English teacher and the Site Editor here at UsingEnglish.com. Here, he talks about English usage that catches his eye or ear, and looks at language issues that interest or puzzle him.



Last Build Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2015 09:45:44 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2016
 



EFSET

Tue, 22 Dec 2015 09:45:44 +0000

EF (Education First) have created a free online language test called EFSET. As it stands, it is a bit of a curate's egg, but I do think that they are onto something. It's slick and available in several languages, and you can log in directly from Facebook,Google or Linkedin.

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Access to the forum from South Korea

Tue, 07 Jul 2015 15:46:19 +0000

A couple of weeks ago, we blocked access to the forum from all IPs from South Korea. The forum had been under attack by some organised spammers for a few weeks, and it was ruining the forum. The attack was, presumably, using something like a botnet as there was a seemingly unending supply of different IPs used. Day after day, hundreds and hundreds of posts were being made and it was impossible to keep up with deleting and banning the accounts posting the spam. This was affecting the forum- people were complaining, and many were simply put off by finding page after page of nonsensical messages. The spam filter was not catching a lot of the messages as most didn't contain links but text pointing towards sites that were probably full of malware.

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Forum Policies- Cross-Forum Posting

Thu, 28 May 2015 11:57:03 +0000

Quite a lot of people post the same question in a number of ESL forums. The logic behind doing this is clear- you should be able to access a wider selection fof views and opinions and get better answers. However, things don't always work out the way people think and this process can lead to objections from the people answering.

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First Certificate- Updated Exam Specifications

Mon, 09 Mar 2015 10:50:13 +0000

We are updating our site to incorporate the changes that have been made by the updates to the First Certicate in English (FCE) exam from Cambridge English.

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Salaries

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 10:06:17 +0000

I left the UK in 2004. There are jobs currently advertised that pay the same, or in some cases 10% less, than I was earning then. Add even a very small amount of inflation and this makes for a huge drop in spending power. The average salary that people talk about in Japan today is the same as when I first visited Japan in 2005. I saw hourly rates in Portugal, where I first taught, a decade later that were the same as when I left.

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Family-Friendly Forum

Sun, 16 Nov 2014 15:31:40 +0000

I have had a few complaints about swearing in the forum, even though the posts were legitimate questions about the use of slang and swearwords. There aren't that many threads dealing with these, but some of them do contain language that somewould consider to be extreme and taboo.

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Football Glossary

Sun, 08 Jun 2014 17:01:58 +0000

The World Cup is about to start and the football glossary posted in the forum a couple of years ago has now been updated, turned into a regular glossary format and put onto the main site. You can view it alphabetically or by category.

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Forum- Passwords & Personal Data

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 12:48:04 +0000

After we changed everyone's passwords a couple of weeks ago, people were asking some questions about passwords and personal data.  Firstly, we don't hold much personal data- as people have usernames, we don't know real names. We do ask for the year and date of birth to comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). We ask for an active email account and send a link that has to be clicked on to complete the registration. This is to make it harder for automated registration by advertisers and spammers. We also ask where you're from, where you are based now and what your first language is. There are also optional fields where people can add biographical information and interests if they wish. Unless you use your real name as a username or connect via Facebook, the data is anonymous. If an acount is deleted, this information is deleted from our records.

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Talk a mile in my shoes

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 16:23:06 +0000

I was having lunch a few months ago when I suddenly struggled to get to the end of what I was saying- my voice dipped and wouldn't come back. Within a week or so, I couldn't produce any noise and was forced into a soundless whisper. If I strained a bit, I could just about make a sound that could possibly be heard at very close range. My first medical consultation did nothing, and I had tickets to go abroad that meant going with just this silent croak.

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China Holistic English

Mon, 17 Dec 2012 12:29:41 +0000

A few years ago we used to host some pieces written by Martin Wolff and Niu Quiang about their experiments in trying to teach English in new ways in China, which have since evolved into the China Holistic English site (link broken).

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Budget ESL in the Philippines

Mon, 19 Nov 2012 15:27:26 +0000

There have been a number of articles about the growth of ESL teaching in the Philippines like this, but some of what they are stating don't strike me as right. The Philippines does have potential and in the drive to reduce costs, it is clearly a place to watch out for.(image)



Speaking Activities That Don't Suck

Mon, 05 Nov 2012 13:16:14 +0000

I have English Teacher X's obra prima to read next and have enjoyed the other ebooks - they include a lot of sensible and realistic advice - but I didn't enjoy Speaking Activities that Don't Suck as much.(image)



How To Survive Living Abroad

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 14:21:33 +0000

The next of English Teacher X's ebooks that I have read is subtitled An expatriate guide to not getting robbed, scammed, jailed or killed. In pre-Skype days, I was living in a place in SE Asia where the internet was expensive and used to use an internet cafe across the road   Most days I heard someone phoning home to ask their family to send them some money as they'd been robbed. The risks he's talking about are very real, and the first part of the book makes a lot of sense.(image)



English Teacher X Guide To Teaching English Abroad

Wed, 17 Oct 2012 15:48:03 +0000

English Teacher X's Guide to Teaching Abroad is not a guide to classroom practice with some swearing, but a look at what he sees as the realities and expectations of an ESL teacher's lifestyle and working conditions abroad, with lots of swearing.(image)



To travel hopelessly

Mon, 15 Oct 2012 12:59:12 +0000

I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend - who has a Master's, the DELTA and a PhD in ESL- and mentioned something from EnglishTeacherX- you're paid to turn up, regardless of anything like a hangover. He said that the guy's professionalism put him in the shade. ETX has produced two of the golden rules of ESL, though To Travel Hopelessly shows that he learned one from another teacher. Other than turning up however bad you feel, he also says that you must have your fare out of a country.  If you don't you can be exploited.(image)