Academic English

I have never bought into the idea that we can teach or study academic English, or business English or any other kind of English as a special subject. English is English. ??

If we are interested in a subject, we will read on it, listen to audio content about it, perhaps even talk about it and write about it, and in this way we will acquire the vocabulary and turns of phrase that we need. We will acquire these skills incidentally, as we pursue a subject of interest. As Krahen says “students acquire an enormous amount of academic language through extensive reading, probably the most powerful tool for reaching advanced levels of English competence.”

Read the original education expert’s article on the??Education Week blog??and then read Stephen Krashen’s common sense rebuttal in the comments section.

English for Immigrants and LingQ

An important local organization that helps immigrants, part of the Skills Connect??program in British Columbia, has accepted LingQ as a useful language learning resource. This means that LingQ expenses may now qualify for partial reimbursement from the government. This is a first for LingQ.

If you are an immigrant to Canada, or elsewhere, you might want to look into whether your LingQ payments could qualify for reimbursement.

Language and culture

Language and culture are at the core of education, or should be. With all the debate about language learning methods, the definition of “linguist”, input versus output versus grammar, the role of the Internet etc. it is sometimes useful to take step back.

What is the most useful thing we learn at school and in life? Language and culture. If we have a deep understanding of our own language and culture we feel secure. If we read well, and are good listeners, with a wide range of vocabulary and general knowledge, and if we express ourselves confidenty, in our own language, we will do well in the tasks that we face as life long learners.

If we can do the same in one or more foreign language and culture, we expand our range of experience,?? increase our knowledge of the human condition, and make friends of people from many more backgrounds and origins.

So it is not a matter of technology or method. It is a matter of acquiring advanced skills in language and culture. Like so many other things, this boils down to interest and motivation.

I have never been that interested in learning Arabic, or learning about Arab history. I mean we can only do so many things. I have acquired skills in the language and culture of China, Japan, Russia and various European countries. But I have just finished a very interesting book called The Great Arab Conquests by Hugh Kennedy. Fascinating. I had a sense of the Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, the development of China, the modern history of Europe, but I had little exposure to the storied saga of Arab expansion and the development of this international cultural space. Now I have a start. Can the language be far behind?

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An English Learner’s Manifesto

Listen to the podcast of this post.

Any comments?

Have you studied English for many years? Are you still afraid to speak English? Please study this and repeat it to yourself daily.

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I can be FLUENT in English. My goal is to be FLUENT. My goal is not to be perfect. My goal is just to be FLUENT. I can be FLUENT and still make mistakes.

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F:First I must forget what I learned in school. I will make a fresh start. I will forget the rules of grammar. I will forget the quizzes and tests. I will forget all the times I made mistakes. I will forget what my teachers taught me. I will forget my native language. I will forget who I am. I am a new person. I am an English speaker. I will??make a fresh start. I will??have fun! I will focus on things that are fun and interesting. I will??learn.

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L:I will learn how to learn. I will listen a lot. I will let myself go. I will listen and let the English language enter my mind. I will listen often. I will listen every day. I will listen to the same content many times. I will listen to the meaning. I will listen to hear the words and phrases. I will listen early in the morning. I will listen late at night.

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U: I will understand the language. I will understand what I hear and read. If I can understand what I hear and read I will be able to speak and write. Until I can understand what I hear and read, I will not be able to speak and write well. But there is no hurry. ??I will??work on understanding. I will??read a lot and especially, listen a lot. I want to understand the meaning of English. I do not want to understand the rules of grammar.

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E: Every day is a learning day. Every day the language is entering my brain. I enjoy reading and listening every day. I study with energy and enthusiasm. I study interesting things and enjoy the language. If I enjoy the language I will improve. Let the language enter my mind. There is no need to push myself. I am getting better every day.

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N: I will never say that I am no good. When I read and listen I will tell myself ???nice going???! I will learn naturally and easily. I will??be nice to myself. I will not be nervous. ??If I make a mistake I will say ???never mind???. If I cannot understand something I will say ???never mind.??? If I forget a word I will say ???never mind.??? If I have trouble saying what I want to say , ???no problem???. I will continue.

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T: I will Trust myself. I will??be confident. Confident learners improve quickly. I will treat myself with respect. I will tell myself that I am doing well. I just need to keep going, no matter what. The more I listen and read using The Linguist, the more I will understand. The more words and phrases I save the more I will know. ??Soon I will be ready to speak and write well. I will take it easy. I know I will succeed. I will trust myself and trust The Linguist.