Sunday, February 25, 2018

104. Just how easy-to-learn is English?

Perhaps this is just one of those silly questions which might not even stir you into giving a sarcastic response.

Well, honestly, if it were so easy, I wouldn’t have started blogging in the first place. There are tens of thousands of blogs and websites tackling the difficult aspects of English. Why then this one? – WHY NOT?
Here is a pdf containing the top one thousand words that most matter for English. Why not open it and check how many of them you know the meaning and use of?

And here’s the document:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

103. Information in the Cloud

This blog is under maintenance due to Dropbox’s decision to eradicate its Public folder feature in 2017.

According to the announcement received from Dropbox, free accounts have until March 15 to update their links. Here’s what one of the users said in Dropbox Kills Public Folders:

"There are countless users who have been using the public folder to post images and files in blogs and forums. These aren't just worthless jokes and memes that nobody will miss if you flip the switch and break all of them. These are often valuable resources that users have created and entrusted to you to retain and keep online."

It will take some time until I manage to manually introduce the new links to the audios, videos, and pdfs I uploaded along the years. So, even if there are entries whose “static” information can be worked on, there are a great many posts that will be only partially useful without the attached media.

And time will tell!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

102. Fluency vs Accuracy

I’m sure this is simply history repeating: being fluent, being accurate.

What does it take to conjoin the two qualities in oral and in written expression? Well, it takes discipline and compliance. It takes a lot of acceptance of linguistic resources AS THEY ARE: no inventions, no attempts at distorting what comes in ready-made constructions; in one sentence: don’t ask why; just take it as it is (well, that was two sentences!).

In the attached pdf you’ll find the abbreviations I use when correcting. It saves quite a few hours of correction per campaign. So you are asked to download it: it will be helpful when time comes for you to decode your marked writing tasks.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

101. A fresh new start


This might be – after all – a good place for readers to pick up extensions of homework. Yeah, right: all of a sudden the blog stops being “atemporal”, at least for the time being.
Check blog posts 25, 26 and 27 for work on Indirect Speech:
This does have to do with intentionality: you are not asked to write the reported speech version, just to detach yourselves from the grammatical aspect insofar as it allows you to tell the story line from the viewer's stance. While I admit that it is not easy, I still believe it is feasible!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

100. The 100-post Blog

Have you ever stopped to think about how the so-called globalization affects you?
I have. Proof of it is what I have tried to synthesize in my profile (see right on this page).
      1.  “We live in a bewilderingly complex world based on Information.”
In the first place, globalization does affect us deeply through the enticing attempts at sharing information. Every 24 hours, amounts of data – which are far from being accessible to one individual as such – are poured onto the World Wide Web. From a collective standpoint, this should be intrinsically fruitful – provided that you get to know precisely the item of information you are looking for. What is left for every one of us to hope is that, in due time, a super-item of information will emerge which might help humankind take a leap towards progress. It will surely be a leap of faith. 
    2.  “There is so much of it that we’ve somehow come to think we know more because it – the information – is out there.”

More often than not, it is exactly the huge amount of data which misleads us into thinking that we are by far more knowledgeable than, say, a person who lived in the 6th century BC. Or 5,000 years ago, for that matter! It is not the quantity which enables the leap, it’s its quality: its quality of attaining the quintessence of universality by tackling The Core of Things. In so doing, we are more likely to catch a glimpse of the Simple Truths; but wait: can anyone strive to do that? Is this always an individual endeavour, or does it take a “mentor” to lay out simple truths for you?
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    3.  “But everybody has a right to be wrong! Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Question your answers.”

I am no exception: I, too – so to speak – have a right to be wrong! I was, and I admit it. While giving myself the benefit of the doubt, I am questioning my answers – in this case, the maintenance of a blog which started as a place for Community Language Learning; it was the perfect opportunity for me to see in what way additional work at this conflicting /Advanced level as an extension of the English class enables progress, at the same time granting a universal dimension to the teaching/learning process which I, as (I believe) hundreds of thousands of teachers of English worldwide, experience. But there are hundreds of thousands of such blogs, so Dare to know!
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Virtual conversations stayed scarce, and this can hardly motivate a Blogger (in this case myself) to keep posting – unless the Blogger still believes it doesn't matter whether his or her visitors have a say. After switching to The Bare Necessities of the English Grammar there was even less feedback, which turns a blog like this into nothing else but the adventure of surfing solo across the World Wide Web. 

As far as the possibilities of the English language per se,  a time will come when nothing will have been left for the global community to say without stepping into plagiarism. Perhaps it will coincide with the moment in which the Myths about English will have been challenged one by one.

I still believe that there were intentions of feedback, which make me refrain from signing out altogether; but the blog will virtually remain exactly what the header says: Everything you always wanted to know about the English grammar* (* but were afraid to ask). Ask a question – any question. It will not take long until you receive an answer.  
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Sincerely yours,


99. The Point! (VII&VIII)

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The story (and the series of posts) is coming to an end.

The final task presents you with the summary of the last two episodes of the film, from which ten snippets of text have been removed. There is one snippet too many in the key to the exercise; but do believe me, it’s a lot easier to watch the episodes and find out before checking!

but tacitly accepted by all the villagers
instead of being pointless
everything he and Arrow ran into had a point
much to his surprise
for a fleeting moment
whether it shows or not
glad that Oblio was back
which was unfolding under his very eyes
he had just witnessed
while all the others lost theirs
he had met

“Oblio was too excited by the things he had learned in the Pointless Forest to pay
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attention to the huge bird which was hovering over his head (and Arrow’s, for that matter). The bird took them in its claws and, (1) ___, Oblio and Arrow were hanging on for dear life, thinking it would be natural for them to be scared; well, (2) ___, Oblio realized he wasn’t afraid. Rather, he was glad to enjoy a...bird’s eye view over the Pointless Forest, and feel even more excited at the things he could thus see.
“How weird it seemed to Oblio that, (3) ___, all the things and creatures in the Forest always brought some point to his experience.

“As soon as the Mammoth Egg got hatched, the just born chick started cooing in ways that sounded like questions to Oblio: What? – Where? – Who? – Why? He didn't have too much time to think about the miracle of life (4) ___: there came The Pointed Man again, assuring Oblio that there was no place for him in the Pointless Forest.

“It took Oblio a good deal of trouble to recover Arrow from Vanishing Point, and the incident finally convinced him that the only pointless thing (5) ___ in the Pointless Forest was the Pointed Man.
“It was time to rest after such a long, full day.

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“And back they went to the Pointed Village, where Oblio’s mother was struggling to come to terms with the decision – taken by the vile Count, (6) ___ – that ended in her dear Oblio’s banishment. She didn't seem to have any support, not even from Oblio’s father; she was sure they should have challenged the Law. At the end of the day, who makes the laws of a country? How good are those laws, after all, and who is supposed to obey them?

“Voices outside were hailing Oblio’s coming back. The cantankerous Count was infuriated by such daring act; it’s just that the King, (7) ___, had a different opinion: the Count may have misread the will of the people as far as Oblio was concerned, since the only person in the village who flew into a rage at Oblio’s presence was him – the prideful Count.

“Oblio explained to the King that what he learned in the Pointless Forest was very important: (8) ___; therefore he must have one too.
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“And indeed, a point grew on Oblio’s head, (9) ___.

“But that didn't matter so much any more; people just started assuming that every man has some kind of point, (10) ___”.

The boy who listened to the story understood the lesson.
How about you?