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Everything posted by Amelie

  1. Oh gosh, it's like you're describing me! How has it been going so far? Is the new challenge keeping you interested and engaged? What other coping tools are you using? My problem was so similar - I had it easy until high school, then when I got into a prestigious university, I couldn't keep up with my classmates. I knew they were all working hard to get ahead, but I couldn't follow suit because I didn't know how to. Until then, getting good grades was ridiculously easy. I really struggled for a long time.
  2. My all-time favorite is "how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood". So funny! And so much fun to say. She sells seashells by the seashore is another go-to tongue-twister for me as well. Also the classic Peter Piper. But there are some that give me a hard time, like "Denise sees the fleece, Denise sees the fleas. At least Denise could sneeze and feed and freeze the fleas".
  3. I text the way I write messages here, or anywhere. I spell out the words, I use proper punctuation - the whole shebang. I make shortcuts sometimes, but nothing too crazy, and only when I'm in a hurry. I shudder to think of how I used to text when I was in high school - so embarrassing! Thank God screenshots weren't possible yet back then!
  4. I like to do this too. I choose a dense text with a lot of fancy words and I read several pages of it out loud while I'm alone in my room. It helps me practice enunciating properly, speaking more slowly, and modulating my voice. My problem is I get tongue-tied all the time, and saliva pools in my mouth more quickly, I feel (sorry, TMI!). If anyone has tricks on how to combat the saliva thing, I'd be much obliged.
  5. I agree with a lot of you here - British English sounds better to my ears, but I grew up speaking American English. It's what I'm more comfortable with and more fluent in. That being said, how charming are some British words? Loo for bathroom, lift for elevator, telly for telephone, "at university" instead of "in college". Also, I just recently became a fan of John Oliver, so British English is definitely my preference these days!
  6. I agree with this a hundred percent. I grew up addicted to American sitcoms, so without really meaning to, I just picked the language up easily. I think it was the combination of enjoyment, interest, and repetition. I watched A LOT of TV shows when I was a kid. I used to even look forward to holy week, because there'd be Seventh Heaven marathons on our local TV station (this was before we had internet access, and before the scandal with Papa Camden, obviously). As with anything, the easiest way to learn is to enjoy it while doing it over and over again.
  7. I learned English by watching A LOT of American TV shows (mostly sitcoms) and reading A WHOLE LOT of romance novels. I didn't even consciously set out to be good at the language - I just did what interested me. Of course, it helped that in my country, the language of instruction for most subjects (like Math, Science, even GMRC) is English, so I had a rudimentary understanding of it at a very young age. But being comfortable with it, understanding its grammar rules, and speaking it with ease happened because my interests happened to align with learning it. I guess in some ways I followed the advice of most of you: I immersed myself in the language (without packing my bags and flying to North America or the UK).
  8. Hi, linguaholic. I think Nick may be referring to the flashcards that Nathan showed at the start of the video. You've inspired me to step up my game, Nick. I've signed up for Duolingo months ago, but I've only done it maybe once or twice. For some reason, I'm finding it really hard to focus on this project. But I'd really love to be as fluent in Spanish as you are. That was impressive. I'll give Pimsleur a try. I just signed up for the free lesson. I hope it's not too expensive. Thanks!
  9. I'm affiliated with a company that offers instruction exclusively through Skype. There are challenges, like dropped calls and spotty connections. And of course, it can't beat face-to-face conversations. What I try to do as a teacher is to always be polite and cheerful. Whenever I need to correct something, I always start by praising their efforts and improvements, and then subtly steering them in the right direction. Phrases like, "That's good, but you could also say ..." "You're doing well, but it might be better if you use this word instead ..." If my student and I are having a lively conversation and I don't want her/him to lose momentum, I simply type my corrections in the chat box as we're talking. Then at the end of the lesson, after commending his/her good work, I tell her/him to please go over the corrections I've typed when she/he has the time.
  10. If your friend is sensitive, one good way to phrase a correction would be to say, "Or, you could also say ..." And maybe keep using the correct pronunciation of the words? Just casually slip them into the conversation. I did the same thing with a friend of mine and quinoa. I went on and on about its benefits and how expensive it is. Pretty soon, my friend's saying it the way I prefer, and the whole thing stopped bugging me. Haha, manipulative much?
  11. There's this scene in a book written by Lexi Blake (I hesitate to put the title here because the theme may not be to everyone's taste) that always, ALWAYS gets me. It's about a woman who got in a horrific accident that killed her husband and baby daughter and rendered her unable to walk for a few years. The accident was caused by a teenager who was coming home from a party celebrating her high school graduation. The girl was actually a straight-A student who was looking forward to a bright future as a doctor, and she drank alcohol for the first time that night. In the scene, the heroine was explaining why she forgave the person who inadvertently caused her so much grief, and even donated practically all of her inheritance for the girl's tuition (the girl had lost her scholarship because of the charges brought against her). She said nobody could understand why she'd do such a thing. But she said that the girl OWED her. Her baby was already gone, but the girl could still use her talents to save countless others. The money she donated was meant to make sure that no one else loses a child like she did. She needed to know that something good would come out of her suffering. I didn't do the book justice, but believe me, it was a well-written scene. I always cry buckets everytime I read it.
  12. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth. It's one of my most beloved books. Frank and Lillian (the parents) remind me so much of my own parents. I also love the way it was written - sentimental but not maudlin, cheeky and irreverent, but always respectful. I hated the ending, however, but it's not like the authors did it on purpose.
  13. I've never finished a difficult book, in English or in my mother tongue. I just couldn't bring myself to do it no matter how hard I try. I did a book report on Anna Karenina without getting past the third chapter. I couldn't even finish Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Great Expectations - all those much lauded Victorian novels that any self-respecting lover of literature is supposed to have read and loved. I did read Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche, although I can't say I understood it.
  14. I just recently learned this line that's apparently from Jurassic Park (I've never watched it - I like quiet movies with simple plots, haha): "Life finds a way." Simple and terrifying, isn't it?
  15. Guys, remember those tiny dictionaries that were only slightly bigger than key chains? In fact, I think they actually functioned as key chains as well, and they came with magnifying lenses (because how else will you be able to read the definitions?). They were sooo cute (but essentially useless), and my best friends and I were obsessed with them. But yeah, they weren't ideal tools. Like most of you, I couldn't remember the last time I used a paper dictionary, even though there are several lying around the house. The internet is just so much more convenient. I especially love websites that provide audio pronunciation guides, because the written ones are just too darn confusing.
  16. "Be a catch" - be someone who is worth marrying or partnering up with. Sadly, I've had to say this to friends more times than I care to admit (their boyfriends really did a number on them). "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched" - this is the first idiom I learned so it's still a favorite even though I rarely use it in regular conversation.
  17. "Lend your money and lose your friend" - I think this is pretty self-explanatory. I've heard a lot of people say friends and business don't mix. Related to this is the Shakespeare quote, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" . "Rolling in it" or "Rolling in dough" - to have large amounts of money (or something valuable). Related to this is "Flush with cash".
  18. These words have given me a lot of headaches: enroll, fulfill, and embarrass. When I was in the second or first grade, our teachers made us practice the words believe and receive often (I think they're considered the two most confusing words for kids that time) so now I have no problem with them. If only our teachers did it for all the words in the dictionary. Haha! And @sayitwell, I don't think I'll ever learn the word Onomatopoeia - I had to copy it from your post.
  19. By "english novel" we mean novels written in English, right? I don't have to pretend I read Great Expectations and Jane Eyre when I was in elementary school? Haha. I don't recall the exact title, but it was either a Sweet Valley High book or a Babysitters' Club one. But oh, I remember vividly how glorious those days were. I was excited to go to school just so I could go to the library, or the mini-library we had inside the classroom. We were asked to bring our fiction books and leave them inside the classroom. We had a nook that was filled with books and stuffed toys and pillows, and we could go there to read. I loved it because my parents couldn't afford to buy me the entire set, and my classmates always had the best collections. It was a magical time.
  20. Atticus Finch. But I understand his transformation in the second book was not well-received (which is why I refuse to read it). Nevertheless, in To Kill A Mockingbird, he was the man that everyone with a Y-chromosome should aspire to be. He wasn't a helicopter parent, yet he managed to raise well-adjusted, bright kids because he lived by example. He wasn't the stereotypical glib and double-talking lawyer, but he was still an effective one (that heartbreaking Tom Robinson loss notwithstanding).
  21. It has a tone of defiance in it, doesn't it? Apparently, there's another colorful idiom that means the opposite: Lord willing and the creek don't rise - with good luck, God's will, and no major problems
  22. If there are any Everybody Loves Raymond fans out there, you'll find this funny: peach fuzz - small amount of hair growth Carrie Underwood fans: "souped-up" four-wheel-drive - made more powerful
  23. Mine have been mentioned already. I learned them in the first grade, and I still remember the story where I found them. "Don't cry over spilled milk" and "Don't catch your chickens before they're hatched". It was the story of the poor milkmaid who was fantasizing about all the things she'd buy with her chicken money, while walking down the street with the tray of eggs on her head. My heart broke for her.
  24. It's funny, but I've heard of people who actually use English (unconsciously) when they're steaming mad and berating someone. They even swear that their fluency improves when they're mad. Strange, huh? I wonder if they're telling the truth, and if the explanation to that phenomenon is similar to why I drive better when I'm angry.
  25. Grammar Girl is so fun and funny. It's my go-to website as well. I've been a proud subscriber for a long time. More than knowing the material backwards and forwards, it's helpful to know how to connect with your learners - how to make sure they're enjoying the process. I think people who are happy and laughing are more receptive to new ideas.
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