Language Articles

Yet another set of twins has arrived in our family, I have almost lost count of the number of relations we have who are twins. Apparently for each set of twins in a close family your chances of having twins yourself increases by 8%. My youngest daughter was a twin and she has two grandmothers who were also twins; one of whom also had twin brothers. It is getting to the point where she says she would be disappointed if she only had one child at once.

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I read recently that there are at least 40 theories as to how people learn a second language and that each of these theories has a number of scholars who support it, but also those who don’t. What is obvious is that we learn in different ways – by listening, imitation, repetition and so on. These various ways are divided into two groups. There is   acquisition i.e. unconscious learning in the way a child learns by listening and observation  The other way is of course active learning as when we try to learn a verb tense or a list of vocabulary. The conclusion that the linguistic scholars seem to share is that the classroom and book learning are not the most important ways to learn a language. It is being immersed as far as is possible that is important – being exposed to a language in as many ways and as often as possible.

Read more: How do we do it - Language Article

Have you ever heard a "Knock , knock. Who’s there?" joke?  What about something that “makes your hair stand on end”?

William Shakespeare not only wrote great plays, and wonderful, romantic poetry, but this balding, long-dead man from Stratford , so enhanced the English language , that we are still using his words and phrases today. You might have a friend whom you describe as having ‘a heart of gold’ or someone else to whom you say, “Good riddance!”. Maybe certain foods or sounds, “Set your teeth on edge”. Has someone ever made you jealous? Then you were suffering from, “The green eyed monster”.

Read more: Shakespeare's Legacy - Language Article


Proofreading your writing: When to call in the professionals

As an EFL learner it is normal to expect that you will make some grammar and punctuation mistakes in your writing. One of the most effective ways to reduce or eliminate these flaws is to have your writing proofread and edited either by yourself, a friend or a professional. Whilst using the services of a professional proofreader is usually the most effective option, in many cases it is not the most pragmatic or feasible one.

This article seeks to discuss when it is most appropriate to call in the professionals and what to look for in such services. It also provides guidance on cheaper (or free) alternatives when this is not an option for you.

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The other day my husband came in with the groceries.

‘I’ve bought plenty of pasta packets.’ he said.

To me this means little packs to serve one or two people, that contain both pasta and the ingredients for a sauce – a quick snack when in a hurry. You just add water or milk, perhaps some butter and heat up.  Today we’d been out for a walk and needed lunch quickly so that he could go on to an appointment. but I searched the shopping bag in vain.  Plenty of plain pasta in packets,  but no pasta packets.  We discussed the difference between a packet of pasta and a pasta packet over lunch – sardine sandwiches.

Read more: Context is King - Language Article