Questions tagged [english]

Questions specifically about learning or teaching the English language. Questions about the grammar or vocabulary of English can be asked on English Language Learners Stack Exchange or English Language & Usage Stack Exchange.

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23
votes
4answers
1k views

Is doing a huge amount of grammar exercises helpful for learning English?

Some books that teach English come with pages and pages of grammar exercises. Are these helpful? I see that a few exercises are helpful to help you understanding the grammar. However, after that, ...
19
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the most common languages among people who DON'T speak English?

My aim in language learning is to communicate with the most people. I want to learn a new language and thought to learn Mandarin Chinese, because it's the most common language. But I figured if a lot ...
18
votes
5answers
619 views

Able to understand conversation but not speak

This is my problem: If an Englishman is speaking, I can understand him well. I've read many English novels and stories, I can understand English movies without subtitles, and when I need subtitles, ...
18
votes
5answers
6k views

Can I understand 95 percent of CNN and talk show, movies, anything just in 3 years?

Can I understand 95 percent of CNN, talk shows, movies and anything? If I listen to English materials (podcasts and videos, …) for three years and I also listen to English materials for 3 hours every ...
15
votes
3answers
354 views

How can I stop/prevent conversations from switching to English?

I've oft experienced (and heard stories about) conversation participants switching to English when noting some lack of fluidity in the target language. In a similar vein, I've heard anecdotally of ...
13
votes
2answers
225 views

Is it too late to teach my 10 year old son English now?

I have a 10 year old son who lived in the States until he was about 3 and a half. Then, we moved to my home country (Japan) where my parents are. When we first moved back, he had his American dad in ...
13
votes
1answer
878 views

Teaching the Present Continuous before the Simple Present?

What would be the pros and cons of teaching the Present Continuous before the Simple Present of main verbs? As every teacher and foreign learner of English knows, courses and course books usually ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Open-source English-French Dictionary

I'm looking for an English to French dictionary in a plain text file (.txt for example). I already found some dictionaries but a lot of definitions are wrong or incomplete: know; savons, sache, ...
11
votes
4answers
895 views

Improving a language at B1 level

I am learning Russian and English. I speak in English and understand everything most of the time when my friends talk. I understand about 60% of the words in movies and news. I also struggle with ...
11
votes
2answers
156 views

British colonial era English reader's primer

I wonder whether someone knows this material. I have tried to find even pictures on the internet, but to no avail. They were small, thin books called Reader's Primers or something like that. I'm ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Is there a certification in English beyond C2 that a foreign speaker could pursue?

I got my C2 certification in English language proficiency over 10 years ago. Since then, I believe my grasp on the language has improved significantly, but that improvement is not reflected anywhere ...
11
votes
3answers
112 views

Improving my English Skills (CAE) without a language trip

I'm learning English in my 8th year now and want to take the CAE exam (Cambridge, level C1) in one year. I am already taking an extra course at school; in normal lessons we are between level B1 and B2....
11
votes
2answers
162 views

Has a corpus-based unprofessional bilingual dictionary ever been written - how was it received?

I am thinking of compiling a bilingual dictionary (German-English for that matter, but the question may be generalized). I was thinking of using a specific and finite corpus of texts, which should be ...
9
votes
2answers
136 views

Graded readers for English?

Graded readers are a good resources for extensive reading, at least for people who are not yet sufficiently proficient to read texts written for native speakers of the target language. We have graded ...
9
votes
3answers
190 views

Should I learn English from the UK if am I learning English from USA?

I'm learning still English and in some blogs and friends always tell me that I should I learn English from the UK and American at the same time, but for me it is something hard to learn both ways of ...
9
votes
2answers
205 views

What's the most efficient way of improving English listening skills?

I am a native Chinese speaker, and I have lived in Toronto for 8 years since the time I was 18 years old. But my English listening skills are pretty poor. I cannot understand the movies in the theater ...
8
votes
2answers
147 views

How to find out your own English level?

I want to find out my English level (A1-C2). I thought it will be a good idea to find some placement tests. Where I can find some free, good English placement tests with some feedback?
8
votes
3answers
79 views

How can I best use my time when teaching young EFL learners during a very short class period?

I have been teaching private English classes for over a year now, and one of these classes happens to be for two Japanese children, 7 and 9, who have no prior English knowledge. Their father asks them ...
8
votes
2answers
108 views

Which American accent to learn for differentiating the most words

Like in many countries, the USA has many different dialects and accents including the General American accent. Several years ago, a group at Harvard did an American dialect survey that further ...
8
votes
3answers
92 views

Slightly Incomplete Sequential Acquisition, Possible to Fix?

I have had my first exposure to English at about six years of age (and have used it ever since), and I generally consider myself a native speaker since I use it a lot (even if this is probably ...
8
votes
0answers
71 views

How do language learners identify “good” language models to imitate?

The company I work for provides educational resources for teaching English in a variety of classrooms across India. Some of these classrooms are in very remote rural and tribal areas. We've seen a lot ...
7
votes
6answers
122 views

Can anyone give me advice on upgrading / learning English?

I recently defended my doctoral thesis in management science and I realize that English is the key to the job market and research field. During my primary and secondary education, I was good at ...
7
votes
2answers
150 views

Should I use my second language to learn my third language? [duplicate]

English is my second language (I do not have a good command of it.) while Chinese is my first language. I want to have Japanese as my third language. Can I learn Japanese from books/tutorials ...
7
votes
1answer
858 views

How can one learn English stress-timed rhythm?

In a talk about the future of Englishes, the linguist David Crystal mentions that (British) English traditionally has a stress-timed rhythm. In some (most?) countries where English is taught, teachers ...
7
votes
2answers
46 views

Fun mobile apps for teaching kids English?

My two 12 y/o Israeli boys are struggling with English at school, as the school English teaching system is incompetent. However as they are addicted to their Android smartphones I'd be happy to enroll ...
7
votes
1answer
516 views

Are the methods for learning English reported on Antimoon reasonable?

Antimoon (see e.g. How to learn English) claims that two Polish men (Tomasz P. Szynalski and his friend MRW) taught themselves English primarily without studying rules and grammar. Instead they read, ...
7
votes
1answer
61 views

Helping a Chinese native improve her advanced-level English

I'm helping a middle-aged, college-educated woman from mainland China improve her English. This is a hard-working, well-educated, highly-self-motivated student. She has lived in the USA for many years....
6
votes
1answer
92 views

How to improve my English skills while using it daily with people who are not proficient in using it, without absorbing their mistakes?

I'm not a native English speaker, and I have been speaking English for 5 years (the university I went to was an English-medium university). Since then, I have been using it for all my academic work. ...
6
votes
2answers
89 views

How can someone already well read in English improve upon the language?

I am an Indian who has studied in English medium schools all my life. I have a strong grasp of basic English but still face difficulty sometimes. Be it phrasing some ideas into words or pronouncing ...
6
votes
2answers
107 views

Choosing the right TOEIC test

I'm looking for an internship in Amsterdam and I was wondering which TOEIC test would best help boost my resume ? Would it be adequate for an internship ?
6
votes
2answers
99 views

How to continue improving my English despite the lack of immediate need?

I am originally from Russia and I've been living in the UK for the past 5 years. I work in IT so the requirements for English are not very high. I speak and write well enough to be understood by my ...
6
votes
1answer
69 views

Is it a good idea to practice American English by listening to radio from the USA?

While I was looking for a better way to practice American English I found a website, where you can find radio channels from all over the world. Do you think it is a good idea to practice your ...
6
votes
1answer
591 views

Efficient way to teach English singular/plurals and verb tenses to Chinese students

Chinese mandarin nouns have no singular/plural forms. Also, the concept of time in mandarin is not expressed by changing verb forms, and other mechanisms are used for this purpose, such as adding '...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

Similar Languages to South-Slavic/Balkan

I am going to be travelling through the western Balkans (specifically Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania) and would like to learn some of the spoken ...
5
votes
1answer
71 views

Using he/she when speaking quickly

I am reasonably fluent with English and can express arbitrary thoughts by using it. However, when speaking fast, I often use the wrong pronoun (from "he" or "she"). I am also aware of "they", which I ...
5
votes
1answer
104 views

What are some effective methods for improving one's accent?

I am a non-native English speaker. I've started learning the language roughly ten years ago, and have been practicing it ever since, be it through exposure to English-spoken content (movies, music, ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

How did Celine Dion learn to sing in perfect English?

Celine Dion is from Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province in Canada. English is not her native language, yet in her songs her English is perfect. Is this because she grew up speaking the ...
5
votes
2answers
73 views

Which activities are appropriate for which age group?

When preparing for an ESL lesson various activities are included in various stages of a lesson plan. For instance, milling, drilling, info Gap, Gap filling, text-matching, multiple-choice, true/false,...
5
votes
0answers
19 views

I have been reading a lot recently but how to improve my writing skills?

I am a working professional and English is my second language. I realised that my vocabulary is very weak so I started reading. I don't have enough patience to complete a novel so I started reading ...
4
votes
2answers
69 views

Problems teaching the 'gn' and 'gh' to an English learner

I'm teaching a French girl English (I'm not a qualified teacher, I'm more of a language assistant, I'm an English native, I'm at university at the moment). She is having trouble with pronouncing words ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

Is it possible to become fluent in pre-12th century English?

I would really like to learn to speak Old English, but it seems that spelling and pronunciation weren't exactly standardized in the early medieval times. In fact, I'm not sure we know much about Old ...
4
votes
1answer
123 views

Which books use etymology and derivational morphology to teach English for L1 Cantonese and Mandarin speakers?

My friend's native languages are Cantonese and Mandarin. She rates herself at B1. Peer-reviewed research substantiates that etymology can assist in learning vocabulary. See Google Scholar. English SE ...
4
votes
2answers
104 views

How to memorize German vocabulary by connecting it to English?

My background vocabulary is English. Can you help me how to memorize German vocabulary by connecting the words with English?
4
votes
2answers
341 views

Resources for English morphemes

I'm helping a friend learn English, and one of the things I like teaching is morphemes (parts of a word), by explaining the meaning of the morpheme and examples of it being used. What resources are ...
4
votes
0answers
33 views

Negative questions in (English language) listening tests

I work for a company that produces ELT materials. We write various kinds of reading and listening passages, followed by comprehension questions. Our staff writers use the "What is NOT true" ...
4
votes
0answers
59 views

Proficiency or competency scale for the learner

There are a lot of ways of assessing verbal proficiency in a language. Unsurprisingly, most of the research and teaching material are for language teachers and researchers. However, I was wondering ...
4
votes
0answers
45 views

Tongue exercises relaxation (Flap T/D)

I have a question about pronunciation. I've been studying English practically for my whole life, but for some reason I have such a hard time pronouncing the FLAP T. I do know how to make it perfectly, ...
3
votes
2answers
135 views

Can English people understand my English even if I do not use English grammar, but just words, adverbs and context?

I would say English language is way too difficult because of its grammar. For example, we have to conjugate many different tenses. Other languages such as Vietnamese do not conjugate tenses. For ...
3
votes
2answers
216 views

How can I improve my accent?

I can hear that I have some sort of non-native accent, but I just can't identify what's making me sound different. Is it the intonation and word stress? Are there certain words or sounds that I'm not ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

How important is accent for being understood in a given language? [closed]

When I learned English at school (in France), my teachers asked me to make effort to have an "England-like" pronunciation (which was difficult for me). Today, I use the English language for my work (...