How Words Hook Up With Each Other in Spoken English
IMPORTANT! Please grab a piece of paper and a pen before you start reading this article as you'll be required to write down a few English words if you decide to participate in a small experiment! In this article we’ll look at how important it is to acquire new vocabulary in context, and how much time you may be wasting learning new words separately, just by learning meanings of new words or even worse – learning them through a translation in your native language. I've been discussing it on my blog and in my videos quite a lot, but I’ve never actually brought up certain examples to show you the effectiveness of learning new English words through context. So, let’s do an experiment first. It’s very important you participate in this because if you don’t, you won’t be able to feel the difference between learning new vocabulary with and without context, so please follow my instructions, all right? ;-) Basically you'll have to make effort to memorize a few quite sophisticated English adjectives but in case you know a few or even all of those words, please don’t be offended! I’m not trying to insult your intelligence by making assumptions about your English vocabulary; I’ll be doing my best to pick out a few English words that aren’t heard that often in normal daily conversations or in media. Now, please read the following five English words with the corresponding explanations and try to do your best to memorize those words and their meanings: (more…)
Collocation “Scour the Web” & Why the Word “Scour” on its Own is Useless!
Speaking in English Made Super Easy – Follow my Tweets and Just Stick Word Chunks Together!
English Harmony Highlights of August 2011
Personally for me the whole month of August just flew by because of a single reason – I was MAD busy at work! The moment I would come in and the moment I finished work in the evening felt like just a couple of hours apart because of the massive workload! It’s a good complaint though, considering the way things are at the moment on the jobs front in Ireland, and I hope that whatever your personal circumstances are, you’ve managed to keep your job and hopefully you’re getting plenty of spoken English practice in it! All right, I think I just veered off topic so let’s cut the rant and get down to discussing this month's blog posts! Yes, despite being extremely busy and tired I still managed to find enough time to write quite a few articles, and if you haven’t got round to reading them – now is the perfect time to invest a couple minutes of your time into reading some stuff about improving English fluency. The main blogging topic this month was English collocations, and I wrote three articles dedicated to this very important aspect of English fluency. I started off with a blog post called Unnatural English Collocations and Wrong Mental Associations. It’s probably the most important article in the whole month of August because it sheds light on issues like saying the wrong English word despite being aware of what the correct word is. It’s all about having created wrong associations between English and also your native language’s words, so it’s extremely important for you to know what to avoid in order to stop creating unnatural English collocations in your mind! (more…)
3 Ways of Hard-wiring Unnatural English Collocations into Your Brain
When fluent English speakers speak, they don’t stick separate words together. Every word they pronounce automatically triggers the next one; the whole sentence is rather a chain of words linked together. Let’s say, for example, you’re asked a question “Would you like to come along to a party on Saturday night?” Most likely your response would begin with words “Thanks for…” and then you’d follow it by either “…asking” or “…inviting”, and come to think of it, when you pronounce the first words “thanks for…” the rest of the phrase kind of comes out of your mouth by itself, doesn’t it? That’s a typical example of collocating English words – they would normally go together in spoken and also written English, and foreign English speakers find it much easier to speak if their vocabulary has been built based on collocations as opposed to memorizing separate words. Well, the aforementioned phrase was a very simple response, and most likely you’d be able to respond using such a simple phrase even if you didn’t memorize it as a single unit of spoken language. Yet I’d say you picked it up by mimicking other English speakers because you surely must have heard someone say “Thanks for asking” or “Thanks for inviting” and that’s why the phrase got imprinted into your mind. Of course, by listening alone you won’t become fluent, you need to speak to add new phrases to your active English vocabulary, but I can’t deny that it does work to some extent. Anyway, when the wrong methods are used and wrong associations between English words are established, you may unwillingly create unnatural collocations. They manifest themselves in the following way – you start speaking by saying a word or two, but instead of continuing with a word that logically complements the phrase, you say something completely unrelated, something out of context, so to speak. OR, such out-of-place words may start pushing themselves into your mind even before you speak, and you may get a feeling as if someone else has taken control of your mind. Freaky? That’s how I used to feel and that’s how many other foreign English speakers feel if they use the wrong English learning methods. But now I’m going to list the worst of them so that you can avoid them like the plague! (more…)
Unnatural Collocations and Wrong Mental Associations
Mimicking – The Best Way to Learn English Collocations!
If you read my previous blog post about English collocations, you’ll remember that a collocation is a group of two or more words that are naturally used together in written and spoken English – such as “a tough decision”, “renewable energy”, “foreseeable future” or “to draw a comparison between.” Many collocations are strong, which means that you if you replace one of the words with a synonym, native English speakers would notice that it doesn’t sound right. For instance, if you say “replenishable energy”, it would sound a bit odd because “renewable energy” has been accepted worldwide as a standard way to describe energy sources like wind, water and solar energy. Many collocations aren’t that strong. For instance if you say “a hard decision”, it sounds absolutely fine despite “a tough decision” being a standard collocation you’d find in English Grammar books. But why is it important for us, foreign English speakers? Why should we care about English collocations? The reason is simple enough. Bonds that keep words together in collocations also determine word PATTERNS in spoken and written English in general :!: We may be under impression that collocations were invented by English teachers in order to annoy students and make their studies harder. (Frankly speaking, I can partially agree with this if collocations are looked at as a separate section of English language studies instead of being used as an integral part of speaking and writing English.) In reality if we, foreigners, want to achieve English fluency we need to incorporate learning collocations in our daily English improving routine as part of acquiring new vocabulary and phraseology. You just can't ignore natural English word patterns otherwise your English will sound weird, simple as that! But don’t cram long collocation lists into your brain. Be selective! (more…)
How To Make Your English Sound Right? Use Collocations!
Don’t Translate Directly When Speaking English!
Hi Boys and Girls! I’m back with the second video episode – and I hope you enjoyed the first one! I’m still getting a hang of the video recording equipment in my home studio – so you may spot some small glitches here and there. But I think the video quality is decent enough for you to understand what I’m saying, what you think? So this time I’m covering a few seemingly unrelated topics – direct translation to English from your native language and English collocations. However, it just takes a few minutes to grasp the connection between those two. (more…)