Happy Friday Everyone! TGIF!
I would like to thank everyone for joining my live twitcast today. It was really great to see old friends and new faces. I’m doing a live Twitcast every Friday, 8~10am (NY Time), 1~3pm (UK time), and 9~11pm (Tokyo time). If you have time to join, please do! We chat about a variety of topics, some related to learning English, and some not!
Input and output. How do these terms relate to language? Well, listening and reading are forms of input. When your read and listen to English, the language goes into your brain. It’s input, and input can be active or passive. I mean you can sit down and read a book or a magazine (active input) or you can walk down Fifth Ave in NYC and be surrounded by signs written in English (passive input). When you are in class, and your teacher plays a listening exercise from you textbook, or you are studying at home for the listening section of the TOEIC, that’s active input. When you have the radio on (in English) and you are cooking breakfast, that is passive input. Input brings English in, and is pretty easy to do when you are by yourself.
Output, or speaking and writing on the other hand are a different story. These two forms of output are active, and can be the most challenging. This is especially true if you are trying to learn English (or any other second language) but are not living in a country where the folks there speak English. I have a few ideas that I hope will help you.
Social networking provides a great number of opportunities for communicating in English. Skype is great and I suggest you go to the skype website and check out the user forums there. There are a lot of people out there in the world who are looking for a language exchange partner just like you! If you live in Brazil and are learning English, there is probable some native English speaker out there somewhere who is looking to practice her Portuguese.
If you are not a fan of such camera-face to camera-face contact with strangers, then try Twitter. Twitter is an excellent way to have English conversation with a LOT of people from all over the world. With Twitter, you can say something or ask a question and there is a good chance someone (like me!) will answer you. My twitter handle is @happyenglishny. To get you started, follow me on Twitter, and I’ll follow you back. Then, we can chat. Or you can start following other people. Most of the people that I connect with on Twitter are other English teachers and people like you who are looking to practice English conversation.
If you feel you are not ready for “real-life” output, then try keeping a journal. I did a post earlier this week on how to write a journal in English, so I won’t repeat that here. But I cannot tell you how important it is for you to WRITE SOMETHING EVERYDAY. Output.
Ok, that’s the story today. Lets chat about this! Leave a comment and let me know what form of output you use, and how it works!
Hi Everyone! Today I’d like to look at some vocabulary and expressions related to taking time off from work or school.
Special days in your country which have historical or religious roots are called holidays. In the USA, we have holidays like New Year’s Day, President’s day, Independence Day, etc. In most countries, some of these holidays are days of the year that the government has decided public offices and businesses should be closed. These are called national holidays.
In the USA, for most people the work week is Monday to Friday. Wednesday, which falls in the middle of the week, is often called hump day. People who have such a work week have off on the weekend, or we can say they have the weekend off. Thus for most of these people, Saturday and Sunday are their days off. Some people have different days off. Let’s look at some of this vocabulary in some example sentences:
Christmas is my favorite holiday.
The office is closed on Monday because it is a national holiday.
My work week is Monday to Friday.
Happy hump day everyone! (note that this word is used in informal conversation only)
I love having the weekend off.
I’m going to the beach tomorrow because I’m off.
I have a day off tomorrow, so I’m going the beach.
Sometimes there is a long break from work or school. Schools in the USA have breaks such as winter break, spring break, and summer vacation. In general, companies in the USA do not take such long breaks. But workers do! If you take several consecutive days off, you are taking vacation or you have vacation. People can generally take their vacation time whenever they want to. You can also say that you are going on vacation, and this phrase is also used when you travel during your time off. If you use the article “a” it means you have a trip planned which includes travel, you are going on a vacation or taking a vacation. Let’s look at some of this vocabulary in some example sentences:
The kinds are home this week because it is spring break. (or you can say they have spring break)
What are you doing during your summer vacation? I’m taking vacation in June for a week.
I can’t wait to go on vacation
Bob and his wife are taking a vacation to Orlando
Be careful! The vocabulary for school breaks such as winter break, spring break, and summer vacation is used only when talking about school-related breaks. If you do not work for a school or are not a student, you don’t have sprng break. Also, in British English, the term holiday is used to mean time off from work. In American Englsih, holiday is NOT used this way.
This is how we talk about time off from school or work in American English. I know there are a lot of idioms and vocabulary here, so please take some time to memorize it.
Where did you go on your last vacation? Tell us about it!