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目前分類:英語學習 (18)

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Regarding your questions to me


In the past, I have been answering your questions without asking.  After discussing with my husband, I felt that wasn’t a good approach.  I might be confusing you even more by introducing too complicated a concept to you if your English proficiency is moderate.  I believe in providing guidance, stimulation and feedback, so I don’t always answer your questions directly.  However, this approach might trouble some whose English ability is mediocre. 

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How English is taught in America’s elementary schools?


How is English taught in America’s elementary schools?  I can only talk about how it is taught to my son and in his school.  However, I cannot speak of how it is taught to third-graders and beyond since my son just turned into a second grader this fall. 

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What constitutes good writing? 

There are good writing and bad writing.  There are all kinds of writers, each with specific writing style.  However, before you become a famous writer, try to stick to the basic rules.

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Lately, I have stumbled upon several articles in Taiwan arguing around the subject whether English grammar is important.  It is interesting to see so many people in Taiwan having so strong an opinion on this subject.  You really have to ask yourself what your purpose of learning English in Taiwan is.  You don't need to master English to survive in Taiwan.  It is just a foreign language.  I am picking up a little Spanish since my son is taking Spanish after school program.  My purpose would be to be able to understand some words or to pick up some words that the Mexicans are saying or to make learning Spanish more fun for my son.  To me, I do not intend to write in Spanish nor speak to Mexicans in Spanish, so grammar is not important to me nor is mastering Spanish my goal.   To me, learning a foreign language is just for fun.  So, ask yourself these questions. What is your purpose of learning a foreign language, in this case, English?  Who do you want to communicate with?  What means would you use to communicate with them?  Of course, anyone can speak English but how good do you want your English to be?  There is African American English but does Obama speak like that in public or write like that? By the way, please don’t assume that everyone will be able to understand Chinglish.  Even though I do understand Chinese, I have hard time understanding Chinglish.


Truly, if you want to write a good article, grammar is very important.  If you are speaking in public or making a presentation to your senior leaders, grammar is very important.  It really depends on whom you want to communicate with.  

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What is an Outline?

An outline presents a picture of the main ideas, supporting evidence and explanation of any subject.  There are two kinds of outlines: the topic outline (consists of short phrases) and the sentence outline (consists of full sentences).         


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Some of my readers have asked if I can provide a list of grammar resource.  I don’t really keep track of the grammar sites I visited when trying to validate my points.  You might have noticed that not all grammar sites are good at explaining all grammar rules and sometimes they might contradict one another.


Anyway, since you asked, I decided to spend some time locating some of the resource.  They are randomly listed.  By the way, I do not have time to go through each one of them and point out which ones I believe to be more accurate or more acceptable.  At a glance, they look fine to me.  As I said earlier, there may be contradicting grammar viewpoints from each grammar site.  There are traditional grammarians of earlier times who imposed a Latin-like structure on our language by diktat, and there are modern linguists who prefer discourse analysis.  If you come across some rules that sound questionable, always ask and do more research. 

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Immersion Program – A potential solution to solve the problem within Taiwan’s English educational system.


Immersion program is not a new concept.  It has been around for thousands of years as a way for us to learn native language.  Years of research have shown the power of immersion programs to aid students in attaining high levels of second language proficiency.  No other type of instruction, short of living in a second-language environment, is as successful.

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People have been asking me how to improve conversational skill.  The reason I see for not able to continue a conversation or engage in a conversation is the lack of vocabulary and knowledge of the subject in discussion.


If you have limited vocabulary, you might struggle with words for expressions.  If you know very little of the subject in discussion, you might have trouble jumping right into the subject and providing your point of view.  To conquer both issues and improve your conversational skill, you need to read more. 

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I found a couple of free websites where you can learn to speak English by clicking at the letters or the symbols.



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Six Guiding Questions to Organize Email



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I used to be a member of Toastmaster International for some years and have earned several best speaker awards.  Maybe I should re-join the club and link up with my old pals.  Anyway, what prompted me to re-read my old blog post and re-edit it was a speech drafted by a boy.  I thought that maybe you can learn from what I learnt as a member of Toastmaster International         



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I recently came across a link recommended by someone answering questions on Yahoo knowledge.  The link is http://expertvillage.com/ .   She believes that you will become an expert in English in no time by watching the videos offered by expertvillage.  Out of curiosity, I clicked the link and found out that it is very similar to YouTube.  I did not go any further into watching the videos.  I am a lazy person and I have never watched any videos from YouTube either.  I prefer watching videos from a big TV screen.


Anyway, I asked her why she would recommend it.  Her response was that it encompasses a wide variety of do-it-yourself topics.  By watching the videos, you get to increase your vocabulary and improve your listening skill.  (I have reworded what she stated but kept the essence of what she was trying to portray)

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Tips to improve your English writing skill:


1.        Concise and brief.  Remember “short and sweet”. 

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This is an article I posted at my translation blog: Elisa的翻譯工作坊 - 版權所有.  I think that it may benefit some of you, so I decided to post it here too.



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I have not looked at the questions from Yahoo Knowledge for about a week.  I have been busy lately with my work.  I used to be able to steal some time from work answering questions from Yahoo Knowledge, but it has been hectic this year.  I am buried with four projects simultaneously; all need to be delivered between April and June, all concerning revenue generation and regulatory compliance. 


In addition, the lack of response from Yahoo Management regarding my recommendation put a damper on my passion.  I am getting tired of answering Yahoo questions.  However, I find writing articles and blogs an interesting substitute.

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Caution – word usage and grammar accuracy online


I have seen people relying too much on the information obtained from the internet.  We all know that not all information gathered from internet is accurate.  There are all kinds of people providing all sorts of information online and they could have easily made a mistake or a typo. 很多人在用不代表一定對. Unless the information you obtained comes from a reputable site, you should be very precautious on the information you obtained.

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Many people have asked me this question: “How can I improve my English skill?”  Instead of answering them one by one, I thought that it may be beneficial to share my thoughts with you all.


First of all, I want to say that it takes time to learn a language. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t see the results right away.  I am over 40 years old, so I have learned English for over 32 years already.  Not good at English does not mean that you are worse than anyone else.  I have seen many Taiwanese students studying in the US with very poor English ability; however, they are very good at Computer Science, Engineering and etc.  It only means that you may not be able to advance in your career if working in an English speaking country.  Spanish is another language that is very popular in the US .  I don’t know Spanish either, but I don’t feel that I am less capable than anyone else.  Chinese is also becoming a very popular language in the world.  Don’t look down on yourself.

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Common pitfalls in English writing and translation:


Reading the answers in Yahoo Knowledge, I have noticed a pattern of some Taiwanese English writing style: redundancy and wordiness.  This happens not only to people with poor English ability, but to people with good English skill.

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