Page 1


FEBRUARY 28, 2011

Intermedio 1

Newsletter # 2

A modest guide for my bewildered students of Intermedio 1

Hello everyone! In this second issue of our humble Newsletter I’m going Exams are over. It is time to focus on the mistakes you to stop and think about your make. But I will also offer learning process. Hopefully you have the feeling that your some advice and mention some of your strengths. It is English is now a little better critically important to realise than it used to be in where you are, where you are September. Yet, there are some frustrations that need to supposed to be and where you are expected to be by the end be addressed. of this course.

Words that came up in class Remember that understanding a word is not the same as knowing it. Socalled passive vocabulary consists of the words one can understand, deduce, infer, etc. Picturing that word in our mind may involve just an act of recognition or some good old guesswork. Typically what happens is the following: we see or hear a word and then we guess or remember its meaning. This poses the problem of false friends: words that look similar to terms in our mother tongue but have very different meanings. Notorious examples include: embarrassed and constipated. In class we have used words like car salesman, behave, to ogle, social climber, chatty, lattice, risky, awe, inch. How many of them did you know before reading the previous paragraph?

FIND YOUR WAY No two students learn in the exact same manner. Txema usually talks to himself in English. Adolfo likes to listen to music in English. I love to watch films. Ideally everyone should find out how they best learn a language and then do whatever is necessary for them

" INT 1.2

to make the most of those resources. No matter what your approach might be, just remember that exposure to the target language is paramount. So listen, talk, write, watch, do anything you feel can be helpful... but don’t try to learn vocab lists or simply fill in lots of blanks...



Mistakes you make

FEBRUARY 28, 2011

2. Copy that expression in a special vocabulary notebook.

Some of them are avoidable because you know them (if you 3. Every night go over the don’t realise that yesterday I go is new vocabulary you learnt that wrong... Houston, we have a day. problem). Some other mistakes 4. Use that expression in class are connected with new or with a speaking partner. vocabulary and structures so they are understandable. After some time you will Advice realize that many of those The most important advice I expressions have migrated from can offer has to do with your vocabulary notebook to epistemology: how do we know your brain. They are now yours! that we really know? Only by checking your active vocabulary (for example) regularly will you get a sense of progress in that department. Here is an idea that worked out for me some time ago: Above pairwork in class Below Listening to Silvia

1. When you hear an interesting word/phrase, jot it down.

Food for thought. When a little child learns to speak their mother tongue there is an awful lot of copying involved. Children repeat phrases exactly as they hear them. They don’t interpret or rephrase. They simply imitate. Why don’t you imitate those little imitators?

GUIDELINES FOR LEARNING ENGLISH SAFELY (AND EFFICIENTLY) CHECK YOUR PROGRESS We should look back on the rearview mirror WATCH FILMS in the original version USE INDICATORS Intonation often expresses what is important. Body language and certain expressions can indicate that you’re interesting or boring. Pay attention to those signs.

FIND A PARTNER who can help you practice your oral skills. LOOK UNDER THE HOOD Sometimes we see which a text which looks uninteresting, too simple. Well... Don’t judge a book by its cover.

GET A GRIP According to an old Pirelli slongan, power is nothing without control. So even if you think you can speak fast, try to make sure that you have control over the words you say.

MISTAKES THAT I LOVE One of you wrote we through a party. The sentence is wrong. However I like this kind of spelling mistakes because they show that you’ve learnt the right collocation (throw/party). Some other students wrote we made a party or we did a party.

" INT 1.2



Boring and bored

The class is over. It’s time to go home, have dinner and watch a good TV series in English.


This is a classic problem for Spanish speakers. You should bear in mind that the semantic difference is huge. If the teacher is boring you will be bored but it doesn’t make any sense to say that the film is bored. Similar problems arise when we face: tiring and tired or interesting and interested. Crazy sentences that you wrote in the exam

Since they was very youngs, this reasons are enough for they Everybody makes mistakes but not everyone makes the most think live is shit. of them. You’ll like to have a partner who live all your life. People is

I tried to he didn’t stole.

That’s just an example of the singular/plural problems you’re supposed to have left behind. One of you wrote: this responsibilities.


Third person singular

The V-sound

She don’t care or Kenny play vo$eyba$ are incorrect sentences which contain mistakes that you are supposed to have overcome. I know. The Beatles used to sing but she don’t care. I know. That doesn’t make it right.

It is all over the place. Remember it is a basic phoneme.

Almost OK

The most important thing: do something about it.

The SH-sound

Don’t forget we are the only country in Europe where this sound is foreign. In English it’s extremely common. We find it in terms such as she and English. However you should not expect to see an sh in every word that contains this sound. Species, sugar and impression also have it.

Of my point of view (instead of %om my point of view), apart of it (it should be apart %om it) or for the other hand (instead of on the other hand) illustrate this common The “-ed” ending problem area. Guest and guessed are perfect Say and tell homophones. 50% of you wrote she said me. We should know that it’s either ADVICE: Try to pronounce a she told me or she said to me. non Spanish vowel sound Something similar can be said You may start with the schwa about she explained me or he didn’t in a book or the lax i in words like listen me. big, think or it.

" INT 1.2

FEBRUARY 28, 2011

Tips for writers Don’t make up words such as reservate, solucionate or universitary. By the way explication exists but nobody uses it. Learn your irregular past forms. The past of write is not wroten, the past of break is not broken. Don’t make serious mistakes. I must to tell you, I didn’t allowed her, I don’t have nothing, I would prepared, like a mads, great crazy men. Remember that stupid mistakes are avoidable: felt instead of fell or all days instead of every day. Españoladas no, gracias. Like you know (como sabes), we went to have something (fuimos a tomar algo). Watch out for false friends. Succeed does not mean suceder.

Your strengths YOU ARE DETERMINED You keep coming to class. Some of you show up for the Friday sessions. That is bound to pay off. YOU ARE RESOURCEFUL You check information on the Internet and compare vocabulary in TV series. YOU ARE READING THIS That means you feel the urge to learn more and more.


Intermedio 1.2  

THE EXAMS ARE OVER. GO CELEBRATE!" FEBRUARY 28, 2011 Exams are over. It is time to stop and think about your learning process. Hopefully you...