MonthNovember 2014

My Favourite Scottish Words

Until September, I lived in Scotland.  I was born in Aberdeen (Scotland’s third largest city) and went to University in St Andrews. Now we’ve been gone for a whole three months, and today is St Andrews Day – our national holiday!

I haven’t been able to find a good Scottish Ceilidh (pronounced KAY-lee) dance in Vienna, and I think it’s too late to try importing my own haggis for dinner tonight. Needless to say I’m feeling a little bit homesick.

You’ve probably heard Scottish actors (or actors pretending to be Scottish) on TV or in films, but if you actually travelled to Scotland (particularly for the festivities today) you would hear a much wider range of accents. In fact, there are so many different variations of language in Scotland that some people call it a language in it’s own right.

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Resilience in Language Learning

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote about studying German.  In that time, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of resilience in language learning. Here’s how I’ve been getting on.

How is your German learning going?

It’s going ok… reasonably well… not bad…  This month has definitely reminded me how difficult it is to learn a new language!

 What have you been doing for the last month?

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For, Ago, and Since

Today I’m going to look at three small words used to talk about the past. A lot of my students make mistakes when using for, ago and since when they talk about past events and actions. I think this is partly because the German ‘seit’ and English ‘since’ are false friends – they sound similar, but are not used in exactly the same way.

Let’s start by looking at three different answers to a question I hear all the time. ‘How long have you lived here?’

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How Much or How Many?

Do you want your English to sound more natural? Learning whether to ask ‘how much’ or ‘how many’  will help you to sound fluent.

Nouns in English fall into two categories: Countable and Uncountable.

It’s easy to tell the difference – just think about their names!  Is it possible to count the item out, one at a time?  It’s a countable noun. Is it impossible to count, and has to be measured by weight, size, or in some other way?   It’s an uncountable noun.

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English for the Hospitality Industry – Part 1

English for Hotel Staff

Before I became an English teacher, I spent five years working in the hospitality industry. I’ve done every job from housekeeping to washing dishes, waitressing to reception work, and I’ve also worked in marketing for hotels and restaurants.

Many of my students want to learn English to work in hospitality. Today I’m here to help with my first post on English for the Hospitality Industry.

Imagine you’ve just been given a job as a hotel receptionist. Today is your first day. We’ll take a tour of the hotel and meet the staff.

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