Saturday, 3 July 2010

Update Your English! Part -1

I enjoy teaching everyday English, or "natural" English. The reason for this is that students often arrive in England ill-prepared for the kind of spoken English that is heard in everyday situations."It's so different to what I've studied back home," students often complain. "It's like a different language!" The following examples below are the sort of phrases that puzzle students when they hear them in England for the first time.

What is this "innit" I hear everywhere?
Somebody stopped me in the street and asked me for a "ciggie".
Why do people say "Cheers, mate" all the time?
Why do young people say "I'm not bothered".
I heard someone say they were having bangers and mash for their dinner.
I often hear "Are you gonna watch the footie tonight?" What is" footie"?

The "Y" Factor
I would like to share one lesson I will be doing next week. The focus will be on groups of words which end in -y or -ie. These tend to crop up a lot in everyday conversation.

I introduce the topic by reading out the dialogue below at normal speed, without showing the words. It is a dialogue, which I actually heard a few years ago. I then ask my students to tell me what the dialogue was about. I am usually met with some bemused looks!

A Bickie, Polly?
B Cheers, mate!
A Choccy bickie?
B Oooh! Fab!
A Here you go.
B Cheers, mate.
A No probs!


I ask my students to "translate" this brief dialogue into more formal English:

A Would you like a biscuit, Polly?
B Thanks, my friend.
A Would you like a chocolate biscuit?
B Ooooh! Fabulous!
A Here you are.
B Thank you!
A My pleasure.


The next stage is to get students in groups to brainstorm words that the students may have come across, which feature these 2 particular endings. Groups then feedback to the whole class and words are written up on the board.

Using Authentic Materials
Next I ask students to stand up and look around the classroom walls, where I have stuck some articles from newspapers/magazines/the Internet, which show concrete examples of words or phrases ending in -y or -ie. In pairs, students jot them down in their noteboooks and they try to work out the meaning from the context. General open class feedback follows with definitions and explanations of the 20 or so words from the authentic materials.
I have copied some examples below, taken from the Internet:

A
David Cameron egged by a hoodie

B

Heatwave to end today with thunderstorms

Sunshine (Pic:Getty)

Bring in the barbecue and get out the brolly - the heatwave will end today with thunderstorms. And temperatures will plummet to a chilly 13C (55F) in the North next week.

C

Gourmet tour of Britain: Nicholas Roe enjoys a foodie safari through the UK countryside.

Gourmet tour of Britain
A Cider Route Tour will let you roam through the sweet-smelling orchards of Herefordshire

One of the most enjoyable ways of exploring the highways and byways of Britain is to follow a regional food trail - of which there is an ever increasing number. These involve touring restaurants, farm shops, delis, vineyards and cider producers in some of the most scenic areas of the country. Here's a selection to whet the appetite this summer.

Via the Telegraph

D


Taxman demands share of Oscars goodies

Oscars preparations

Lavish Oscar gifts are set to be taxed.
Those who hold a rose-tinted view of the entertainment industry may wish to look away now. It turns out that the eye-poppingly expensive gifts showered upon the film stars who present the Oscars are not given purely out of a spirit of generosity.

America's tax authorities are cracking down on the "goodie bags" handed out to awards presenters, which now frequently include luxury holidays, expensive hi-tech gadgets, designer clothing and even free laser eye surgery, and are valued at up to $100,000 (£53,000) each. The free items are a marketing tool and a de-facto payment for the stars' services, the internal revenue service insists, so do not count as gifts and are liable for tax.

Further Practice

I then have a few more activities to practise the new words. For example, a wordsearch created on www.puzzlemaker.com. Students have to find the 17 words in the puzzle. The answers are directly below.

H U T R T R K W G J X W Z H H
R U H C S Y C C O H C G I C Y
J W Z C R A T J H S X H U E G
R I B D Y B B J K W D I B W C
E P I B U E I N R A S E P B U
S E B B O M E P V H H C J I W
B U L A I R Y L L K M B Z E S
E U O F L L P E E K W G L M Q
Y I S D T E G Z K E P C O M L
C F T Y I C T J E Q B B R U U
L O H O I E F O Y R K I B Y U
Y F M G O O V L L L K C E N N
B W G F O F B O S I C K I E W
H T Y L V J F F C D Z Z Y C J
U O F L P K G R J V X L L Y Y
BROLLY
BICKIE
BUBBLY
CHOCCY
CIGGIE
COMFY
FOODIE
FOOTIE
FREEBIE
HOODIE
HUBBY
LAIRY
NEWBIE
SARNIE
SICKIE
TELLY
YUMMY


17 of 17 words were placed into the puzzle.

Solution

H + Y + + + F + + + + + Y + +
+ O + L + + + R + + + + L Y +
E + O + L + + + E + + + L M +
+ I + D + E + + + E + + O M +
C + T + I C T + + + B B R U +
+ O + O I E F + Y + + I B Y +
+ + M G O O + L + + + C E N +
+ + G F O F B + S I C K I E +
+ I + D Y B + + + + + I + W +
E + I B U E I N R A S E + B +
+ E B B + + + + + + + + + I +
+ U L A I R Y + + + + + + E +
H + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
+ + + + + Y C C O H C + + + +
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

(Over,Down,Direction)
BICKIE(12,5,S)
BROLLY(13,6,N)
BUBBLY(4,11,NE)
CHOCCY(11,14,W)
CIGGIE(6,5,SW)
COMFY(1,5,SE)
FOODIE(7,6,SW)
FOOTIE(6,8,NW)
FREEBIE(7,1,SE)
HOODIE(1,1,SE)
HUBBY(1,13,NE)
LAIRY(3,12,E)
NEWBIE(14,7,S)
SARNIE(11,10,W)
SICKIE(9,8,E)
TELLY(7,5,NW)
YUMMY(14,6,N)

I create a set of flashcards with the words above and the more formal equivalent eg

TELLY = TELEVISION
BROLLY = UMBRELLA
COMFY = COMFORTABLE etc

I hold up the informal words and students shout out the formal words. I then hold up the formal words and students shout out the informal words. I do this slowly the first time round, but much quicker the second time.

Memory games can be played by placing all the cards face down on the floor. In teams, students have to pick up 2 cards to make pairs. The team with the most pairs, is the winner.

Story building
Write each new word on a small bit of paper. Put them in a hat. Go round the class inviting a student to pick a card from the hat. The student has to begin a story using the word. A second student picks out a word and has to continue the same story incorporating their word and so on, until all the students have taken part in the group story building activity. Depending on the number of students, I sometimes get them to repeat the same story several times verbally and then ask them to write it up using the words as a visual prompt. For this activity, you may like the students to create their stories as a newspaper article. The Newspaper Generator from fodey.com is excellent for this purpose. See an example below:

Students could create a wordle of their stories and then exchange them with other pairs/groups of students who then have to guess the context of the story.

Students could also create short dialogues to practise the new phrases and read them out to the class.

I would love to hear how you would teach the group of words I have selected in this post.

12 comments:

Ana Maria Menezes said...

Janet, what a fantastic post this is, with lots of different ideas and tools. Will certainly book and tweet about it.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Ana

Thank you so much for popping by! I really appreciate your kind words.

I learn soooo much from you,and it is so exciting that lessons can evolve and be shaped from links within my fabulous PLN.

This method is very different from the way it was in the late 1970s!! A world apart. Almost like a different planet, even. In those long-distant days, everyone worked "alone", new ideas were kept isolated through lack of global communication and social media. Everyone to herself/himself.

Now, we are openly sharing and collaborating on lessons and I find this is absolutely incredible and so exciting!!

Dear Ana, thank you for being a part of this unique time in my life.

Best wishes

Janet

Leahn Stanhope said...

Hi Janet,

Great use of authentic language and authentic materials. I love blixy.com and your idea of working with the dialogues.

Thanks

Leahn

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Leahn

Glad you enjoyed this post and found it useful. I love teaching everyday English at all levels, and I have created quite a few lessons over the years, which are all kept in a special file.

I'll try and get some more up to share on my blog over the coming weeks.

Take care

Janet

Dani Lyra said...

typolyear Janet,

Great ideas,I specially enjoyed the tool to have students write their stories as a newspapre article. neat! I'll try some of your ideas out as soon as classes start.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Dani

Glad you liked the newspaper generator. It's one of my favourite tools, I must admit.

I'd love to hear how your lessons with any of these tools go. Keep in touch!

Janet

Marisa said...

What a resourceful post, Janet!I'll bookmark it. Thanks!
Marisa

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Marisa

Thank you so much! Glad it's useful. I've just posted feedback from the day's lessons on my latest post.

Anne Hodgson said...

Lovely. I'd say I'm lower intermediate in British English, so your colloquial terms are good fun for me.
Your stuents can scroll to the bottom of this page for related listening exercises with a pdf to print out, featuring (among other things) the use of "like" and "innit" http://www.spotlight-online.de/audio
Jo also recommends choral reading in class for these authentic texts : http://www.spotlight-online.de/teachers/try-it-out/listening/shadow-reading

Janet Bianchini said...

Dear Anne

Thank you very much for the very helpful suggestions for further practice. I will make sure the students are directed to these sites as it will be great for them to hear authentic English examples.

Ann Loseva said...

That's a grand post indeed! Such a lesson of a series of lessons throughout the year could be the only chance for the majority of students here in Russia to take a look beyond the accepted taught English. Thanks A LOT for this, I've been lucky to come across this!
Crave for more!)

Best from Moscow,
Ann Loseva

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Ann

Thank you so much for your kind comments about this post! I have to say it's a lesson that I use a lot and I keep adding to the authentic headlines/ articles / advertisements etc which contain examples of such words.

In front of me now I have a headline from the "Oxford Mail" which reads:

"Oxford proves fab for foodies". I hope to do an activity with it for further practice.

I have created many lessons on slang / informal English similar to this one, which I have not got round to posting up on my blog yet.

Maybe it's time for me to get down to digitalising them soon. Watch this space :-)))