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Blog criado por Bruno Coriolano de Almeida Costa, professor de Língua Inglesa desde 2002. Esse espaço surgiu em 2007 com o objetivo de unir alguns estudiosos e professores desse idioma. Abordamos, de forma rápida e simples, vários aspectos da Língua Inglesa e suas culturas. Agradeço a sua visita.

"Se tivesse perguntado ao cliente o que ele queria, ele teria dito: 'Um cavalo mais rápido!"

quarta-feira, 1 de julho de 2015

“Hope” is the thing with feather (BY EMILY DICKINSON)

I have nothing concerning TESOL to share with you guys today. I am really busy at this very moment. The only thing I would like to show you today is this beautiful poem written by Emily Dickinson. 



“Hope” is the thing with feathers 
(BY EMILY DICKINSON)


“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.





Summary

The speaker describes hope as a bird (“the thing with feathers”) that perches in the soul. There, it sings wordlessly and without pause. The song of hope sounds sweetest “in the Gale,” and it would require a terrifying storm to ever “abash the little Bird / That kept so many warm.” The speaker says that she has heard the bird of hope “in the chillest land— / And on the strangest Sea—”, but never, no matter how extreme the conditions, did it ever ask for a single crumb from her. (SparkNotes)

Like almost all of Dickinson’s poems, “Hope is the thing with feathers... takes the form of an iambic trimeter that often expands to include a fourth stress at the end of the line (as in “And sings the tune without the words—”). Like almost all of her poems, it modifies and breaks up the rhythmic flow with long dashes indicating breaks and pauses (“And never stops—at all—”). The stanzas, as in most of Dickinson’s lyrics, rhyme loosely in an ABCB scheme, though in this poem there are some incidental carryover rhymes: “words” in line three of the first stanza rhymes with “heard” and “Bird” in the second; “Extremity” rhymes with “Sea” and “Me” in the third stanza, thus, technically conforming to an ABBB rhyme scheme. (SparkNotes)

Commentary

This simple, metaphorical description of hope as a bird singing in the soul is another example of Dickinson’s homiletic style, derived from Psalms and religious hymns. Dickinson introduces her metaphor in the first two lines (“Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul—”), then develops it throughout the poem by telling what the bird does (sing), how it reacts to hardship (it is unabashed in the storm), where it can be found (everywhere, from “chillest land” to “strangest Sea”), and what it asks for itself (nothing, not even a single crumb). Though written after “Success is counted sweetest,” this is still an early poem for Dickinson, and neither her language nor her themes here are as complicated and explosive as they would become in her more mature work from the mid-1860s. Still, we find a few of the verbal shocks that so characterize Dickinson’s mature style: the use of “abash,” for instance, to describe the storm’s potential effect on the bird, wrenches the reader back to the reality behind the pretty metaphor; while a singing bird cannot exactly be “abashed,” the word describes the effect of the storm—or a more general hardship—upon the speaker’s hopes. (SparkNotes)


References

Poetry Foundation. (2015). Retrieved June 27, 2015, from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171619

SparkNotes Editors. (2002). SparkNote on Dickinson’s Poetry. Retrieved June 27, 2015, from http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/dickinson/

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segunda-feira, 29 de junho de 2015

"Once you have been speaking a second language for years, it’s too late to change your prounciation"




David Nguyen, originally from Vietnam, moved to Canada in 1980, a time when many Vietnamese people were fleeing their country. David was an engineer and, although it took a long time and a lot of hard work, his credentials were eventually recognized, and he was hired in a large engineering firm. His professional skills were very strong, but his employers often complained that they had difficulty understanding him, despite the fact that he had taken several ESL courses when he first arrived and had a good grasp of both spoken and written English. The problem, as they put it, was his “heavy accent.” Sixteen years after his arrival in Canada, David enrolled in a Clear Speaking course offered two evenings a week for twelve weeks at a local college. Along with his classmates, he received instruction intended to make him more intelligible. On the first night, the students were invited to participate in a study that would entail collecting samples of their English pronunciation at the beginning and end of the course. Like David, the other students had all been in Canada for extensive periods of time; the average length of stay was ten years. They were all well educated and ranged from high intermediate to very advanced in terms of English proficiency. Each student agreed to record speech samples in the first and last weeks of the course; they were offered an honorarium at the end of the study.

What the Research Says

What could David, after 16 years of living in an English-speaking city in Canada, realistically expect from thirty-six hours of instruction over twelve weeks? The conventional wisdom about immigrants like David is quite discouraging. A widespread assumption is that he would have fossilized, a term coined by Selinker (1972) to describe the process undergone by a second language (L2) speaker who is unlikely to show improvement in certain forms of the target language, regardless of instruction. Selinker’s proposal is supported by a number of early pronunciation studies. Oyama (1976), for instance, examined the pronunciation of 60 Italian immigrants to the United States. Their ages on arrival ranged from six to twenty years, and they had lived in the U.S. for five to eighteen years. Two linguistically trained judges assessed their accentedness on a five-point scale. Oyama found that the immigrants who arrived at later ages had much stronger foreign accents than those who had come at an earlier age. Interestingly, length of time in the U.S. made no significant difference to degree of accentedness. Oyama concluded that pronunciation instruction in an L2 should take place when learners are young. Her finding has often been interpreted as indicating that older learners don’t benefit from pronunciation instruction; in other words, they have “fossilized.”

Another interpretation of fossilization is connected to the length of time an L2 learner has spent in the target language community. Research on naturalistic development of L2 pronunciation patterns has shown that experience in the second language environment does indeed have some impact on pronunciation, even though it is quite small. Moreover, most changes in the direction of the target language tend to occur within the first year in the second language environment (Flege, 1988; Munro & Derwing, 2008). These findings, along with those of Oyama (1976), suggest that L2 learners’ productions will fossilize after even a relatively short period of residence in their new language environment. Thus, fossilization has been tied to both age and length of residence. Older learners are considered to have more diffi- culty modifying their L2 speech, and learners who have resided in the target language community for more than a year are considered to be likely candidates for fossilization.


Read on…

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sexta-feira, 26 de junho de 2015

WB Yeats: How to read a poem.



The Nobel Prize laureate WB Yeats was born 150 years ago this June. Poet Nick Laird analyses his unique reading style and describes the challenges of performing verse.



I once read in Dublin with a poet who turned up with what looked like a small wooden suitcase. It turned out to be a sort of buttonless accordion, which, as she read each poem, she slowly opened out to 90 degrees, playing a constant low atonal wheezing throughout. I was surprised – though not as surprised as at a poetry festival in Herefordshire when another contemporary burst into a passionate folk song after she’d read her first piece, a sequence she repeated for the rest of her set. The entire audience – all four of them – went mad for it, though I did subsequently find they comprised her immediate family.

Poets read their poems in all kinds of styles: those who are hunched and intense or relaxed and conversational, or those who hector or lecture their audience, or over-explain or apologise, or crack gags to puncture the slightly tense silence that descends in each poem’s wake. What is now rare is the kind of quavery shamanic intoning – as if summoning demons – practised by WB Yeats, who was born 150 years ago this June.

The Irish poet made a series of radio broadcasts for the BBC in the 1930s. He seemed to know even then that his reading manner was going out of style. “I am going to read my poems with great emphasis upon their rhythm, and that may seem strange if you are not used to it,” warned Yeats when introducing the Lake Isle of Innisfree in a 1931 recording. “I remember the great English poet, William Morris, coming in a rage out of some lecture hall where somebody had recited a passage out of his Sigurd the Volsung. ‘It gave me a devil of a lot of trouble,’ said Morris, ‘to get that thing into verse.’ It gave me the devil of a lot of trouble to get into verse the poems that I am going to read, and that is why I will not read them as if they were prose.”

Although all poets – at least all good ones – write in a relationship to rhythm (if not in strict iambs or dactyls or anapaests), techniques now are much more lightly demonstrated. Yeats, though, straddled many periods. He was born in the middle of Victoria’s reign, and his own work began the Celtic Twilight, those soft-focused, eerie lyrics of faeries and gods of the 1880s, but ended with a distinctly clean and modern tone and sensibility with the Last Poems of 1939.

Masters’ voices

He wrote the Lake Isle of Innisfree in 1888, when he was 23. He was on the Strand in London, he explains, when he heard “a little tinkle of water”, and stopped outside a shop where a ball was balanced on a jet of water – an advertisement for “cooling drinks” – and it set him to thinking of Sligo and lake water.

Just after Yeats was tramping down the Strand, Robert Browning and Alfred, Lord Tennyson made two of the earliest audio recordings of poetry. Tennyson’s, made on a wax cylinder in 1890, has him thundering through the Charge of the Light Brigade. The poem’s short stressed dactylic lines echo the galloping horses, and at some point someone – presumably Tennyson – becomes his own Foley artist and starts a weird knocking sound, trying to imitate the noise of the hooves. Even Tennyson, it seems, was a bit worried that the words weren’t quite enough.
Robert Browning’s recording shows a similar fear of dead air, as radio producers now call it. It’s also a classic example of buckling under pressure. In 1889 he was at a dinner party thrown by his friend Rudolf Lehmann, the German artist. A sales manager for Thomas Edison’s Talking Machine, Colonel Gouraud, was also there and had brought along a phonograph. Browning agreed to recite his poem How They Brought The Good News from Ghent to Aix. Again, this is a poem about horses, and his recital has something of the jaunty, excitable tone of a Grand National commentator: “I sprang to the saddle, and Joris, and he; I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three… ” Then he forgets the lines and does something I think all poets should do if they find themselves in a similar fix: he recites his own name twice, very loudly, and then shouts out: “Hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray!”.

For crying out loud

Though both Tennyson and Browning recite their poetry with regard to the rhythm, neither have the singular incantatory oddness of Yeats, of what Heaney has called his “elevated chanting”. We might note that Yeats came to poetry through an oral tradition. He wrote, in the 1906 essay Literature and the Living Voice, that “Irish poetry and Irish stories were made to be spoken or sung, while English literature has all but completely shaped itself in the printing press.” The oral culture in Irish poetry was strong – it is strong – and there is a sense still that the poem should not just be memorable but able to be memorised.

Yeats came from the bardic tradition, in which bards were a professional caste of scholarly, highly trained craftsmen. They attended special colleges for up to seven years to master the technical requirements of syllabic verse that used assonance and half-rhyme and alliteration. The bardic poems were oral history and songs of praise, designed to propel the names of famous kings and the details of their other-worldly deeds down through the ages. The men – and they were all men – were tasked with passing on the accumulated lore of Irish history and legend, and Yeats’s speaking style has something of that eldritch gloom about it: it’s a voice intoning through a banquet hall in candlelight. He wrote, in The Coat, “I made my song a coat, / covered with embroideries / out of old mythologies…”

Although Yeats constantly remade his style throughout his writing life, trimming off the finery of Victoriana, its frills and archaic reversals, to a modern, hard-edged style – what he called “passionate, normal speech” – his formal reading manner remained in the broadcasts he made a few years before his death. And yet it’s true to say that his engagement with the medium was profound. He was at the very beginning of radio culture: the idea of audience for early Yeats was limited to either reciting to a room of faces or communing in silence with a single reader on the page. When he wrote about his radio talks, it’s clear that for Yeats the very technology brought about a new sense of intimacy.

He had previously held off reading more personal poetry. On his American tours, for example, when asked for love poetry, he would respond that he refused to read “any poem of mine which any of you can by any possible chance think an expression of my personal feelings, and certainly I will not read you love poems”. But the radio made possible for Yeats a new kind of conceptual space for reading his more private writing aloud and in public, and in the snug of the studio he was happy to whisper into the ear, as it were, of the audience. “You would all be listening singly or in twos and threes; above all that I myself would be alone, speaking to something that looks like a visiting card on a pole… it would be no worse than publishing love poems in a book.”

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The benefits of a bilingual brain - Mia Nacamulli.

It’s obvious that knowing more than one language can make certain things easier — like traveling or watching movies without subtitles. But are there other advantages to having a bilingual (or multilingual) brain? Mia Nacamulli details the three types of bilingual brains and shows how knowing more than one language keeps your brain healthy, complex and actively engaged.





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International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

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quarta-feira, 24 de junho de 2015

How to Teach Reported Speech: Alternative Approach.

  
Reported speech is used to talk about things other people have said. Instead of introducing this topic using a range of different tenses, stick with a very simple structure for this first lesson. “He said he liked soccer.” where both verbs are past tense, would be ideal. A lesson on reported speech is the perfect opportunity to review different structures and vocabulary.



How to Proceed

1 Warm up

Use the warm up activity to get some simple sentences on the board. You can elicit certain sentence structures if students need more practice with something in particular. You can do this by asking students to make groups and giving each group a different question to answer. This way you will get three to six sentences for each structure and can cover a range of topics. After giving students some time to discuss their questions and write individual answers, have volunteers read sentences aloud. Write some sentences and the names of the student volunteers on the board. Be sure to use at least one sentence from each group.

2 Introduce Reported Speech

You may choose to have students stay in their groups or return to their desks for the introduction. You can try to elicit the target structure by asking a question such as “What did Ben say?” Try to use a sentence that is written on the board. Most likely students will search for the name Ben and then read the sentence exactly as you have written it but you can then say “You’re right! He said he was very tired. Good job!” You have now introduced the target structure. Write the sentence He said he was very tired. on the board next to Ben’s original sentence I am very tired. Use a few more sentences from the warm up as examples and encourage students to make reported speech sentences. Now play a short game such as Crisscross with the remaining examples to give students some practice.

3 Practice

In their groups, students should trade sentences with group members and rewrite the sentences using the reported speech structure. Be sure to allow time for the majority of students to present their sentences to the class so that students can have lots of examples and some speaking practice. If students have questions, this is an excellent time to address them and review anything they are struggling with. Next use short video or audio clips for an exercise where students listen to material and complete a worksheet testing comprehension and practicing reported speech. You could also use a written dialogue for this type of activity but it will be more challenging if students have to listen to the material even if that means reading the dialogue aloud to the class. Check the answers as a class after several repetitions. If there is time, you can also play the material once more after the answers have been checked.

4 Produce

Reported speech is a great opportunity for students to do interviews with classmates, teachers or family members so this activity may be best as a homework assignment. If students have never had the opportunity to conduct interviews before, it would be good to provide them with several questions to ask. It may also be helpful to provide the translations of these questions for the interviewees.

5 Review

What students present depends on the amount of time you would like to spend on this activity. Students could either use the reported speech structure to talk about the response to one interview question or summarize their findings. This activity allows you to ensure that students are using the structure correctly. If students have difficulty with something, you can review and practice that in the warm up for the next lesson.

Being able to talk about things they have heard allows students to share more information. It is one thing to say what you think and totally different to talk about what other people have said. This will definitely be practiced further when you talk about giving advice because often someone will prompt advice giving by saying something like “I want to/think ~ but my parents said ~.” Covering this topic thoroughly now will give students the confidence to create this section of dialogue in giving advice dialogues and role plays later on.



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How to Teach Question Structures.




Teachers often give students plenty of time to practice answering questions without dedicating sufficient practice time to asking them. For example, Crisscross is a very simple warm up activity where students answer questions such as “How’s the weather?” but after nearly a year of doing this activity, students may struggle to come up with the correct question for the answer “It’s sunny!” Students can become accustomed to hearing key words in questions, in this case weather, and answering correctly without paying any attention to the question’s structure.

Here are some ideas to help students focus on this more.

So, How Do I Teach Question Structures?


1 INTRODUCE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TOGETHER

During the introduction of new materials, you can ask the target question when trying to elicit vocabulary. This way, students will hear it while they are focusing on the structure of the answer and after practicing the target answer you can go back and do some pronunciation practice with the question too. Question and answer structures are normally introduced together because for example “How’s the weather?” and “It’s ~.” are a pair and learning one without the other is not very beneficial.

2 PRACTICE THEM TOGETHER, TOO

Practice activities should also include both structures. For speaking practice this is easy because interview activities and model dialogues will certainly include both. Written exercises usually make students focus on answering the questions and not on the questions themselves. For structures where students have to compose their own responses such as “What’s your favorite sport?” it makes sense that students would be more concerned with what they should say in response. On quizzes, exams, and in real life however, students are going to need to be able to ask as well as answer questions so include some activities that draw attention to a question’s word order. You can do this by adding a section of answers where students have to write the question for each answer. If this is too challenging you can have students match questions with answers or, better yet, fill in blanks within the question. These exercises will help students practice question structures more extensively.

3 PRODUCTION STAGE

During production exercises, questions are usually provided so that students have some guidelines or organization for their activities. Model dialogues and role-plays can be adapted to give students more practice forming questions. You can also play Fruit Basket by asking the student in the middle to say a question and having everyone who would answer “Yes” change seats. Example questions might be “Do you like blue? Have you eaten sushi? Are you a student?” This can be used for many different question structures and levels. You could play Fruit Basket as a review activity at the end of the first lesson using the answer structure and as a warm up in the next lesson using the question structure. Students may struggle at first but the more familiar they are with asking questions the easier it will be for them to learn new ones.

4 FOCUS ON QUESTION WORDS

Make questions part of general review material and activities before exams or quizzes by dedicating a section to them. If you have a study guide for students, make sure that students write their answers to questions as well as complete the questions. This will make them more aware of often overlooked words in questions. For “How’s the weather?” students may be tempted to say something similar to “What weather?” as the target question because many questions in beginning and intermediate English lessons start with what and because they recognize the word weather as the word that links it to the answer. When creating blanks in the questions, leave in words such as weather and focus more on who, what, where, when, why, and how as well as words such as your in questions like “What’s your favorite sport?” When conducting review games, you can include a section where students have to give the question for the answer provided. This may be the most challenging section of the game so awarding extra points for correct answers may be appropriate.

While many classes concentrate on having students answer questions, real life does not work this way.

Students are going to have to be able to both ask and answer questions when given the opportunity to speak English outside the classroom so teachers need to devote plenty of time to question related activities. Once your lesson plans start including more of these, students will have better success remembering and using questions.


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In some instances, I have been unable to trace the owners of the pictures used here; therefore, I would appreciate any information that would enable me to do so. Thank you very much.
Is something important missing? Report an error or suggest an improvement. Please, I strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that does not look right, contact me!
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