This past December I took a trip to Japan – again.
I’ve been to Japan three times. It’s a country where you can stay in the same place for weeks and still feel like you haven’t even begun to discover any of its secrets. There’s always something curious waiting to pique your imagination, and there’s always something for everyone. From little harbour towns to sprawling urban meccas, mountain hot springs to pristine beaches, and generations-old family businesses to over 200 Michelin-star restaurants, this island nation of 127 million people has it all.
During my latest trip, I went to Tokyo for the first time. People are used to tourists in Tokyo. English is everywhere – until it isn’t.(more…)
Do you enjoy the New Year? How do you celebrate it? Do you make special goals or plans? I know that New Year’s Eve is a special time for many people in different countries.
In Canada, many people stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve (December 31). They might have a private party with friends or family, or they might go to a pub or club. People love to dress up for New Year’s parties! Women often wear shiny or sparkly dresses. 10 seconds before midnight, they start to count: “Ten… nine… eight…” until, finally, “… one… HAPPY NEW YEAR!” They often cheer and hug (or kiss) the people around them. After that, some people sing a Scottish song called Auld Lang Syne. Most of us know the tune, but very few know all the words! So we usually just sing “la la la” and pretend that we know it!
Many people make a New Year’s resolution. This is a personal promise or goal that you make to improve your life. Common New Year’s resolutions are: to exercise more, lose weight, visit family and friends more often, save more money, or learn a new skill. Some people take these resolutions very seriously, and they succeed. However, many people abandon their goals quickly. In January, it is common to joke about how long you were able to keep your resolution!
What will you do this year? Will you stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year? Will you celebrate with family and friends? Or will you stay quietly at home and enjoy your rest? Will you make a New Year’s resolution, and will you keep it?
No matter what you do, REV wishes you a very happy New Year! May your 2019 be filled with joy and love!
When I was in university, I took some Chinese classes. One of the biggest challenges I had was learning how to pronounce the sounds correctly.
As a native English speaker, I struggled to reproduce a lot of Chinese sounds. Not only were the sounds difficult for me to make, but Chinese is also a tonal language. Chinese has four tones: high, rising, dipping, and falling. It also has a neutral tone. The sounds and tones were hard enough on their own. Together? HAH! Even now, I sometimes still have difficulty having correct pronunciation for both sounds and tones.
What really helped me improve my pronunciation was music. Once a week, at my university, there was a Chinese singing class. Each class we would learn and practice one or two songs. It was always fun, and I have many fond memories of laughing with my classmates at our pronunciation. However, as time went on, we found that the songs we learned were actually helping a lot with our pronunciation. To this day, I still remember many of the songs we learned. I also like to practice new songs!
Using singing and music is a wonderful way to learn a language. Here are some of the songs I’ve used before in my classes.
CELPIP Speaking Task 5
*UPDATE: Written on the whiteboard is “Although (your choice) is a good choice, I think that (my choice) may be better.”
What is not clear is that “(your choice)” refers to the choice that the other person has made. My apologies if the video is not clear on that point!
We have a special blog post from one of our amazing students, Mike!
I would not say it is a challenge, but it’s a valuable experience for being an English learner that I had three interviews with different native English speakers. Before sharing these, please let me introduce myself first.
My name is Mike and I was born in Taiwan. Following the traditional education in Taiwan, English was not a tool for me; it was a subject which I had to study for the exam and I hated it. For this reason, I hardly talked to anyone in English because it almost killed me. It was easy to keep the speaking part of English away when I was a student; I could be a good student only with reading and writing. But it didn’t work after I got a job and that was why I went to Canada to improve my English skills.