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June 2017

Site of the Day — Gif Lingua

Everyone is familiar with GIFs. A GIF is basically an image file format that is animated by combining several other images or frames into a single file. GIFs are all over the Internet on blogs and social media, and are part of what makes news and entertainment sites like Buzzfeed very popular. And now they are also being used in language learning by Gif Lingua. Gif Lingua is a site created by David Deubelbeiss, who is also a key person behind the excellent English Central. Gif Lingua has over 3,000 'books' at different levels, although they aren't books in the traditional sense, or even e-books. A Gif Lingua book consists of a number of pages (usually 20 or fewer), each with a sentence in written and audio form, illustrated by a GIF. The site has tons more features, including quizzes and videos, and works on any device. There's even a web app. New books are added every day, and users can create their own books too.

Gif lingua

VERDICT
Gif Lingua is a really original site that makes reading fun. Definitely worth checking out!


Everyday English for ESL — Lesson 3 — Hair Appointment

Here's the third lesson of my Everyday English for ESL course. You can download the PDF file for this lesson here, and view the course description below.

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Do you already have a basic knowledge of English, but want to improve your ability to communicate in real-life situations? And do so in a fun, enjoyable way? Then Everyday English for ESL is just the course for you! Each lesson begins with a fully-animated dialogue, which presents the vocabulary, grammar, and expressions you need to know in order to communicate successfully in English in a wide range of everyday situations. The situations include: 

• ordering food in a fast food restaurant 
• checking-in at the airport 
• making an appointment on the phone 
• returning goods to a shop

The dialogue is presented with and without speech bubbles, and is followed by: 
• a listen and repeat activity to help you improve your pronunciation and intonation 
• a listening comprehension passage related to the topic of the lesson 
• a series of questions for you to answer about the lesson topic

All the audio material has been recorded by professional voice actors with British or American accents, and each lesson comes with a ten-page downloadable PDF, which contains: 
• a full transcript of the lesson 
• language notes, explaining key grammar and vocabulary points 
• a word list 
• a series of language exercises 
• a crossword, 
• a word search puzzle

Several of these activities can also be done online, and the extra resources include Quizlet flashcard sets featuring the vocabulary used in each lesson.

At the end of the course, there’s a Final Quiz, to test what you have learnt.


Site of the Day — Write & Improve

Write and Improve

DESCRIPTION
Write & Improve is a free service from Cambridge English for learners to practise their written English. Submit your written work and receive feedback in seconds, covering spelling, vocabulary, grammar and general style. There are a number of free writing tasks at Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced level, as well as an IELTS workbook. You can create a profile to see many more tasks.


Learn English Online Promo Video

Here's a promo video for my new Learn English Online site.

DESCRIPTION
Learn English Online (http://www.learnenglishonline.net) is a directory of the best resources available on the internet for learning English as a second or foreign language. You will find over 700 annotated links listed in 34 categories, as well as tips and advice on how to improve your English. But that's not all. For news and reviews, check out the LEO Blog. And visit the Store to find out about my publications. To receive regular updates, free learning materials, and lots more, sign up for the LEO newsletter. As a special welcome gift, you will receive a free copy of Learning English Online, a 45-page PDF ebook version of the site!


Everyday English for ESL — Lesson 2 — At the Doctor's

Here's the second lesson of my Everyday English for ESL course. You can download the PDF file for this lesson here, and view the course description below.

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Do you already have a basic knowledge of English, but want to improve your ability to communicate in real-life situations? And do so in a fun, enjoyable way? Then Everyday English for ESL is just the course for you! Each lesson begins with a fully-animated dialogue, which presents the vocabulary, grammar, and expressions you need to know in order to communicate successfully in English in a wide range of everyday situations. The situations include: 

• ordering food in a fast food restaurant
• checking-in at the airport
• making an appointment on the phone
• returning goods to a shop

The dialogue is presented with and without speech bubbles, and is followed by:

• a listen and repeat activity to help you improve your pronunciation and intonation
• a listening comprehension passage related to the topic of the lesson
• a series of questions for you to answer about the lesson topic

All the audio material has been recorded by professional voice actors with British or American accents, and each lesson comes with a ten-page downloadable PDF workbook, which contains:

• a full transcript of the lesson
• language notes, explaining key grammar and vocabulary points
• a word list
• a series of language exercises
• a crossword,
• a word search puzzle

Several of these activities can also be done online, and the extra resources include Quizlet flashcard sets featuring the vocabulary used in each lesson.

At the end of the course, there’s a Final Quiz, to test what you have learnt.


Cartoon: Playing with Fire

This cartoon by Peter Brookes from The Times relates to the the tragic fire disaster in a London tower block, and illustrates a common English idiom: to play with fire.

London fire
COMMENTARY
The cartoon shows a number of tower blocks (or blocks of flats) as matchboxes. The message is clear — they are a great fire risk and a disaster waiting to happen. We won't know the cause of the London fire for a while, but it seems that residents' fears about the safety of the block were ignored. The expression 'to play with fire' means to take a risk or to do something that could cause you trouble later. • You're playing with fire if you try to cheat on the test. 

ALSO SEE
London Fire Newspaper Headlines (BBC News)


Video: 26 Ways to Learn English for Free

Here's a great video from Simple English Videos that I'm adding to the How To Learn English category. You can find the resources mentioned in the video, including free Readers and Audiobooks, here.


Everyday English for ESL — Lesson 1 — Fast Food Order

Here's the first lesson of my Everyday English for ESL course. You can download the PDF file for this lesson here, and view the course description below. I'll be posting further lessons over the next few weeks.

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Do you already have a basic knowledge of English, but want to improve your ability to communicate in real-life situations? And do so in a fun, enjoyable way? Then Everyday English for ESL is just the course for you! Each lesson begins with a fully-animated dialogue, which presents the vocabulary, grammar, and expressions you need to know in order to communicate successfully in English in a wide range of everyday situations. The situations include: 

• ordering food in a fast food restaurant
• checking-in at the airport
• making an appointment on the phone
• returning goods to a shop

The dialogue is presented with and without speech bubbles, and is followed by:
• a listen and repeat activity to help you improve your pronunciation and intonation
• a listening comprehension passage related to the topic of the lesson
• a series of questions for you to answer about the lesson topic

All the audio material has been recorded by professional voice actors with British or American accents, and each lesson comes with a ten-page downloadable PDF, which contains:
• a full transcript of the lesson
• language notes, explaining key grammar and vocabulary points
• a word list
• a series of language exercises
• a crossword,
• a word search puzzle

Several of these activities can also be done online, and the extra resources include Quizlet flashcard sets featuring the vocabulary used in each lesson.

At the end of the course, there’s a Final Quiz, to test what you have learnt.