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Showing posts from March, 2011

Baby talk

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There's a baby living in my apartment house! He or she just moved in, and we can all hear the baby talk when the baby goes outside. "Ba-ba-ba", "da-da-da" and "ma-ma" are the basics of baby talk.

Besides being fun to listen to, baby talk reveals something about language. This baby is probably living with Czech-speaking parents, yet the baby talk is just like American English baby talk.

"A" is the first letter of both alphabets, because it's the first vowel in most European baby talk. "B" and "d" are early in the alphabet, and also early in baby talk. "Ma-ma" means mother in English, because it's one of first words babies say. "Da-da" sounds like Dad or Daddies, one American English word for "father." And "ba-ba" of course means "baby."

English for Social Purposes

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Learning another language is a complex and time-consuming task. It takes a child 6 years of more to become fluent in his/her native tongue, so naturally learning a second or third language will not happen overnight!

Reading is, I believe, the easiest skill to master in a foreign language for an adult learner. When you read, you can take your time. A dictionary and thesaurus help you with unfamiliar words. You can work out verb tenses, sentence structure, pronoun references and other bits of grammar at your own pace.

What can be most challenging about learning a language is speaking: simple, daily talk with other people.Children aren't usually shy to speak even when they don't have a good command of grammar or extensive vocabulary. "Me want cookie," although it's grammatically atrocious, will get the point across.

Adults, though, hate to appear stupid, and will hesitate to speak until their skills are perfect. This is a huge mistake, as you learn best by actually …

It's Spring, and Summer is on the way

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It's only March, but for educators, Summer is just around the corner. The American English Language Institute is pleased to announce that Spring 2011 tuition costs are in effect until May 31, 2011; after that time,  the Summer prices will be applied.

The Summer tuition costs are in noted on the left-hand side of the screen. (Please note that we are also offering a special Beginner's Course this Spring). We provide all educational materials for the courses unless noted in the costs.

Visit to Florida

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Last week I visited Florida, where I lived for 17 years. One of my stops was Seminole State College, to see my former co-workers. They were most gracious and generous, as they were when I worked for them. I came home with some wonderful books for tutoring: American English grammar workbooks, the Longman Language Activator (a combination dictionary/thesaurus), collections of short stories and essays--a wide range of books indeed.