Friday, 6 November 2015

The indefinite article: a thing to remember

The indefinite article a/an (un, una) has some characteristics which may catch Spanish speakers out.

1. When the article is followed by a vowel or silent consonant, the form an must be used:

an apple
an interesting book
an honest man

2. Sometimes, the article may accompany nouns that seem to begin with a vowel . The sound, however, is not like that of a vowel, but the semi-vowel /j/. In this case, only the form a can be used:

a university / ə ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsəti/
a union /ə ˈjuːnjən/

3. In Spanish phrases such as “Tengo casa/perro/gato/coche/etc.” and “Soy profesor/camarero/policía/etc.”, the indefinite article is not used. In English, the article must always be present.

I have a house = Tengo casa
He has a car = Tiene coche
I haven´t got a cat = No tengo gato

I´m a teacher = Soy profesor
She´s a waitress = Es camarera
My uncle is a police officer = Mi tío es policía

Monday, 2 November 2015

Getting vocal about it: 12 vowels

There are 12 vowels in English compared to just 5 in Spanish. These vowels are usually numbered to facilitate their identification:

1. /iː/ as in cheese
2. /ɪ/ as in ship
3. /e/ as in pen
4. /æ/ as in mad
5. /ɑː/ as in car
6. /ɒ/ as in hot
7. /ɔː/ as in horse
8. /ʊ/ as in good
9. /uː/ as in moon
10. /ʌ/ as in cut
11. /ɜː/ as in bird
12. /ə/ as in better

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A picture (and words) to learn a lot

In my previous post, I wrote about the importance of pictures, illustrations and videos to facilitate vocabulary acquisition.

Today, I want to present my Facebook page Cuaderno bilingüe, dedicated to learning vocabulary through pictures. A picture may well be worth a thousand words, but I also believe that adding some words to the picture will help students learn vocabulary.

With this aim in mind, I try to post a picture every day on the above-mentioned page, with the corresponding word or phrase in English and Spanish identifying the thing, person or object that the picture shows. Surely, this must be more helpful that learning vocabulary in isolation.

You can have a look at the page (even if you don´t have a Facebook account) by clicking on the link below:

Cuaderno bilingüe

UPDATE: Now with videos!

Monday, 21 September 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words

While quite content with the way my book of idioms, sayings and proverbs currently stands, I know that there are some limitations. For instance, it is not possible to include as many pictures, illustrations and videos as one would like without making it awkward to navigate that information on a Kindle.

That´s where the book´s page on Facebook comes in. This page allows me to add a lot more material to help readers understand those expressions better. Moreover, they can leave comments and questions.

So, there you have it: a page with increasing content as a complement to the book. I hope you like it.