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Recommend an English course?

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Globalti, 28 Nov 2007.

  1. Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    Not for me! D'oh! For a friend living in another country who wants to improve his English. Preferably a book with CD type thingy. There are dozens out there!

    He already speaks well enough but lacks vocabulary and confidence.
     
  2. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    Location:
    Thumberland
    The good ol' beeb has lots of useful resources (and for loads of other langs too, language buffs!)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/
     
  3. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    I'd suggest he come on here for some conversation, but then again, maybe not, based on some of the tosh we come out with!:biggrin:
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    My friend is Sudanese - he might come across the abuse posted earlier today in the teacher thread!
     
  5. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    Ah, Take your point.

    Actually, seeing Fnaar's link to the world service, in addition to courses, he might not do badly to listen to the World Service if he can. I have it on all night to help me sleep, and the bits I do listen to seem like a very good example of clear English, well spoken (so not much use in understanding the average British person!:biggrin:). And a good source of informative news etc.

    Does he have internet access? A native English speaking email penfriend might be a good thing to have, to help with vocab and colloquialisms.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    Ha ha! LOL! He already has ME as his email penfriend and whenever I speak or mail I take pains to use the clearest, simplest English possible. I told him yesterday to listen to the BBC; I would listen to R4 all day if it was possible here in the office, my great regret is all the fascinating stuff I miss during the day.

    I'll nip to Waterstones and see if they have any courses I can actually open and examine - the problem with Amazon is the sheer overwhelming choice.
     
  7. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    Location:
    Thumberland
    To be honest, RR, a book and CD is going to be fairly limited comapred to what you can get for nowt on the net (if your mate has access). Here's another one from the British Council:http://www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish.htm

    However, if he wants a decent grammar practice bookm try this: http://www.cambridge.org/elt/elt_projectpage.asp?id=2500613

    Most coursebooks you'll find in the shop assume the participation and intervention of a teacher and classmates to practice conversations with.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    Thanks, I'll check those tomorrow.
     
  9. mr_hippo

    mr_hippo Living Legend & Old Fart

    Conversation cannot be taught in a formal setting and definitely not from books! How did you learn 'conversation'? It is not taught in British schools!
    Confidence comes with time and practice - remember how you used to get tongue-tied in French lessons?
    Vocab also takes time - learn 5 new words a day could be useful but only if you need those words in your everyday life e.g. 'tyre, tube, puncture, patch, repair' but not 'biochemist, tintinnabulation, contour, security, condiment'. We can all see the link between the first group but what about the second? It's just random!
    Murphy's Grammar - if your friend can speak to a reasonable level, Murphy's (or similar) is a useful reference. He possibly knows more grammar than the average Brit! If I were to ask you to give me a sentence about cycling using the third conditional, how many of you could (without resorting to any reference works)? Rigid Raider's friend probably could!
    Conversation is a living and breathing entity, 'conversations' in text books are more like movie scripts! Try asking your boss for a day off, don't you run through, in your mind, what your boss may or may not say - if he says this that I say that but if he...'? In the book, it's all black and white! Did I practice these 'movie scripts' with my students? Yes but with a twist! The students were expecting "OK, we will go to the Mall." but got something related like " I went there yesterday, let's play football." - end of movie script!
    I once spent about 10 minutes in one class greeting one student. The stock answer here to 'How are you?' is 'I am fine, thank you and how are you?' OK, she asked me a question and got the stock answer and so it went on - they never used the stock answer again!
    As someone has already suggested - BBC World Service. also DVDs - documentaries and films - with subtitles switched off and talking books.
    Amusing tale about Mrs Hippo (MA English - U of Wisconsin), first visit to England, sitting in my eldest daughter's lounge and me with a mug of tea in my hand - voice from the kitchen "Dad, tea's on the table." Mrs Hippo looked at me, then to the mug and said 'You've already got one!' Now we have tea every night apart from Sunday when we have dinner - we're posh in our house!
     
  10. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK

    I'm sadly disappointed in you, Hippo, if your level of conversation doesn't include all five of those second set of words on a regular basis. Why only the other day I had to ask a biochemist to pass the condiments at a dinner. I had to speak up because of all the tintinnabulation going on in the church next door, and I couldn't reach the condiments myself, because of the contours of the rather warped table, which had come of worst in a struggle between a fleeing miscreant and our security people.
     
  11. Fnaar

    Fnaar Smutmaster General

    Location:
    Thumberland
    I would agree with you, Mr Hippo, I just meant to steer RR away from buying a book which is aimed at group learning...in such a book, 30-40% of the material would consist of "communicative activities" (ie meaning more than 1 person needed). I used the term 'conversation' instead.
     
  12. mr_hippo

    mr_hippo Living Legend & Old Fart

    Our security guard is a Sudanese biochemist, as he is going to Sudan for Christmas and I will not see him before then I offered him the 'Condiments of the Season' and gave him his present - a DVD of 'Herge's Adventures of 'Tintinnabulation', his face wrinkled up like an OS contour map of Holme Moss.