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ESL Teacher Blog
The teacher's point of view: thoughts, observations and ideas about ESL teaching.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ESL Teacher Blog: What Are Language Chunks?

Language chunks are definitely one of the main ingredients of successful transition to the advanced levels of English. They’re what sets apart one language from the other, what makes each language distinct and unique. Noticing language chunks is a skill that needs to be well-developed by the intermediate level of English. If a student is unable to recognize common phrases and word combinations, s/he’ll stay at his/her current level and will never make it to the advanced stages.
 
The following are commonly referred to as language chunks:
 
Collocations are phrases that consist of words that recurrently co-occur together (derived from Latin locare ‘to locate’ and cum ‘together; introduced in 30s by John R. Frith).
 
dual citizenship but double occupancy
above zero but over 10 years (experience)
shipwreck but car accident
cut
hair but trim hedge
 
other terminology:
 
‘prefabricated chunks’, ‘phraseological units’, ‘multi-word combinations’
 
Idioms are expressions which meaning cannot be understood from the meanings of its component parts (derived from Latin ‘idioma’ - special property).

other terminology:

‘figurative language’, ‘not literal expressions’, ‘fixed expressions’, ‘invariant word expressions’
 
wet behind the ears
give the green light
 
Phrasal verbs are combinations of a verb and a particle (or particles).
 
other terminology: ‘multi-word verb’, ‘compound verb’, ‘verb-particle construction’
 
put off (verb + preposition)
get along with (verb + 2 prepositions)
take apart (verb + adverb)
 
Note: phrasal verbs are different from ‘prepositional verbs’.
 
Clichés are expressions that has lost some of its original meaning due to overuse:
 
other terminology: ‘catchphrase’
 
to be honest
born yesterday
at the end of the day
when all is said and done
 
Proverbs are sayings that expresses an observation or principle that’s generally accepted as wise or true:
 
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
All that glitters is not gold.
Look before you leap.
 
Language chunks are pervasive and therefore should be extensively taught during class time. Sufficient practice of language chunks will help students avoid wordy ways of expression and make their speech more natural, fluent and spontaneous.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 10:47 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Sunday, November 01, 2009

ESL Teacher Blog: Follow Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Torch Relay and Learn Canadian Geography

With the route of 45 000 kilometers covered in 106 days, it's said to be the longest torch relay in Olympic history to take place in one country.
 
The torch will travel using as many as 100 (!) different modes of transport: skis, canoes, horse-drawn carriages, tractors and wheelchairs, just to name a few. It will be carried by surfing, rollerblading, biking, dog sledding and skateboarding torchbearers. How many more modes of transport can your students think of?
 
Print out the national route map (without the background, if possible to save on ink) and have your students follow the route. Leave out some information in the table below and ask students to fill in the missing pieces.
 
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Route

from

to

by

Victoria (BC)

Yukon (via Whitehorse)

land, air

Yukon

Northwest Territories (via Yellowknife)

air

Northwest Territories

Alberta

air

Alberta

Saskatchewan

air

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

air

Manitoba

Nunavut

air

Nunavut

Nunavut (via Iqaluit)

air

Nunavut (via Iqaluit)

Quebec

air

Quebec

Prince Edward Island

air

Prince Edward Island

Newfoundland and Labrador (via St. John’s)

air

Newfounland and Labrador (via St. John’s)

Nova Scotia (via Halifax)

ferry, land

Nova Scotia (via Halifax)

Prince Edward Island (via Charlottetown)

land, ferry

Prince Edward Island (via Charlottetown)

New Brunswick (via Fredericton)

land

New Brunswick (via Fredericton)

Quebec (via Quebec City)

land, ferry, land

Quebec (via Quebec City)

Ontario (via Ottawa, Toronto)

land

Ontario (via Ottawa, Toronto)

Manitoba (via Winnipeg)

land

Manitoba (via Winnipeg)

Saskatchewan (via Regina)

land

Saskatchewan (via Regina)

Alberta (via Edmonton)

land

Alberta (via Edmonton)

British Columbia (via Vancouver)

land, air, ferry, land

Encourage students to use the interactive map to find out when the torch will pass through their community. How many of the 100 communities passed through by the torch relay have they visited/plan too visit/would like to visit? Are they planning on lining the streets to see one of the 12 000 torchbearers?
 
Have them report to class on how the event unfolds until its culmination on February 12th. Who will be the last torchbearer to light the Olympic cauldron? What is the westernmost/easternmost/northernmost/southernmost point of this torch relay? What would be the highest point for the Olympic flame to be taken? Make sure to listen for their updates on the Olympic news to inspire learning about the country where ordinary people get to participate in such an extraordinary event!

Find an Olympics related worksheet here.

Answer Key:
 
Canada’s most western point: Old Crow, YT (day 6, Nov. 4, 2009)
Canada’s most northern point: CFS (Canadian Forces Station) Alert, NU (day 10, Nov. 8, 2009)
Canada’s most eastern point: Cape Spear National Historic Site, NL (day 15, Nov. 13, 2009)
Canada’s most southern point: Point Pelee (National Park), ON (day 55, Dec. 23, 2009)
Highest point for the Olympic Flame: Kootenay Pass, BC (1,770 Meters) (day 86, Jan.23, 2010)
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 4:18 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment



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