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August 31, 2013

Arranging meetings

So many offices, so many meetings Neil's been listening to the news this week. There are so many important people getting together discussing important things - and it's got him thinking about the skill of setting up meetings effectively.
In this 6 Minute English business edition, Neil and Feifei practise the language of setting up meetings with the help of our BBC Learning English Business Language expert.

Join them as they role-play a business conversation - and pick up a few useful phrases to take away with you!

Have a look at the script as well  so you can memorize the key phrases when arranging meetings. How about practicing this situation with a partner on the phone?

August 29, 2013

Consider your career

Language tip of the week: increase | Macmillan

This week’s language tip brings you some useful advice on other ways of saying increase:

Be/go up: to increase; used for talking about prices or levels House prices went up a further 12 percent last year. 

Push up: to make something increase; used for talking about prices or levels It is feared that the new taxes will push up fuel prices. 

Rise: to increase The number of complaints rose to record levels. 

Soar: to increase quickly and to a very high level; used mainly in journalism Stock prices have soared to an all-time high. 

Rocket or skyrocket: (informal) to increase quickly and suddenly; used mainly in journalism Bad weather means fresh fruit prices are set to skyrocket. 

Mount: to increase steadily The CEO is under mounting pressure to resign. 

Be on the increase: to be increasing steadily New cases of breast cancer seem to be on the increase. 

Double: to increase to twice the original amount or level Oil prices have more than doubled since last year. 

Triple: to increase to three times the original amount or level The last six months have seen the company’s value triple.

August 28, 2013

Going where the work is

In this week's 6 Minute English, Rob and Jennifer talk about why people move around the world to find work. These people are known as global migrants.

Visa stamp

Some 214 million people are international migrants, living in a different country from the one in which they were born. There are plenty with high-level skills who end up working for at least part of their careers outside their home country.

Some take work they are overqualified for, because it still pays better than what is available at home. This has led to a brain drain from some developing countries.

Find out what this means as well as some other vocabulary associated with migration.

This week's question:
According to figures from the United Nations, which one of these countries has the largest number of immigrants as a percentage of its national population? Is it:
    a) United States of America
    b) Qatar
    c) Turkey
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

August 27, 2013

NI2 Reading Comprehension

Dear NI2 students,

Find some reading practice in these links. I hope you find them useful:
  1. Wole Soyinka (Cloze)
  2. Reality TV (Multiple choice)
  3. Pirahnas (Cloze)
  4. The fastest Dinosours (Cloze)
  5. Liverpool (T/F/DS)
  6. When you have a sore throat (Multiple Choice)
  7. Sale-Rabat Tramway (text exploitation)
  8. Black English (Text exploitation)

NI1 Reading Comprehension

As some people are interested in practicing reading comprehension for September exam, I'm showing some nice links for you to go through. 
I hope you are having a great summer and enjoying your free time  :-)
  1. The first computer programmer
  2. Airbus Crisis Over
  3. Visit Angkor Wat
  4. Biofuels and the Environment
  5. Bully for you
  6. Child labour
  7. Papua New Guinea Reconciliation
  8. The Digital Divide 
  9. Arthur Conan Doyle
  10. Adolescents in Britain
  11. The Librerian

August 18, 2013

Texts, and what to do with them

news stand 
In the last few decades the quantity of text available has increased exponentially, and current technology enables any kind of text to be located and accessed almost instantly. Whether you want to read about tips for home brewing, recent developments in quantum physics or the history of railways in India, it will only take you a few seconds to find something suitable.
You generally read in your first language (L1) for information or entertainment, or a combination of both, and you can  – and should! – do the same in English, provided you have sufficient knowledge of the language. But as a language learner, you can also approach English-language texts from a different perspective: you can regard them as raw material for learning, and take an interest not only in their subject matter but also in their language content. As well as reading a text, finding out what you want from it and enjoying it, there are plenty of other things you can do with it. Here are a few examples.

1 Take a short text and translate it into your L1. A couple of days later, take your translation and translate it back into English. Compare the result with the original.
2 Read an international news item in your L1. Locate the key words and expressions and predict what their English equivalents will be. Then read the same news in English.
3 Make a note of the key vocabulary in a text and then try to reconstruct the complete text.
4 In a text you’ve read, find a sentence which is particularly interesting for you, perhaps because you can only understand it with some difficulty. Copy each of the words of the sentence onto separate slips of paper. Jumble these slips and spread them out on a table. Try to reassemble them in the right order. Try again a few days later.
5 Look through a text and find all the words containing a particular sound, e.g. /u:/. Check your results in your dictionary.
6 Look through a text and find all the words containing a particular spelling, e.g. ‘ea’. Sort them into categories according to pronunciation, e.g. /e/, /i:/, /eə/ etc.
7 Look through a text and find all the two-syllable words with stress on the second syllable.
8 Take a text with, let’s say, 60 words. Reduce it to 59 words while keeping the meaning intact; you could do this by changing the vocabulary or grammar, or by simply removing a non-essential word. Then reduce the length to 58 words, then 57, and so on.
Returning to the same text a number of times, and doing exercises such as these, you can deepen your understanding of the language in the text as well as appreciating the content. Perhaps you use other such exercises? If so, let us know!
Source: Macmillan 
Posted by on July 29, 2013 

August 13, 2013

NI1 Summer reads


These are some readers you might want to read these days. I hope it's not too late, is it?
    The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin

    When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head
    Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
    One Day by David Nicholls

August 12, 2013

Tensions Flare Over Rock Of Gibraltar

August 11, 2013

Language tip of the week: sure | Macmillan

This week’s language tip helps with ways in which you can express that you feel sure about something:

I’m sure: the most usual way of saying that you are sure about something
I’m positive/I’m certain/I know for a fact (that): a stronger, more emphatic way of expressing certainty
I know: used for expressing certainty that something will happen, based on a strong feeling rather than on facts
I bet: used informally to show that you are confident about the truth of what you are saying no doubt: a more formal way of expressing certainty about what someone is thinking or feeling, often used by people in authority
I am satisfied: a way of expressing certainty about the facts of a situation, often used in official situations
I’m sure she won’t forget – she’s very reliable.
I’m positive I had the keys with me when I left.
We’re certain we made the right decision.
I know for a fact that he lied to me about the party.
You’re going to enjoy the show – I just know you are.
I bet they’ve gone without us!
I bet he’s not as good a cook as you.
You will no doubt be relieved to hear that the management has agreed to your request.
Having examined the evidence, we are satisfied that safety regulations were not broken.

August 09, 2013

Modern Love

In the first installment of a monthly animated video series based on the Modern Love column, Steven Petrow explains how a cowboy inspired him to hire a matchmaker.

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