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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!"

segunda-feira, 25 de novembro de 2013

What should the most essential skills of a good foreign language learner be?

I have been reflecting much more upon my teaching practices and beliefs. Moreover, I have been experimenting new approaches and techniques in order to make my students learn English more effectively.

I’m an EFL teacher and (occasional) translator with years of travel and language learning experience. I do have a huge passion for language learning – Portuguese, English, Spanish, and French (in the near future). Therefore, it is needless to say that I have lots of experience in teaching and learning – I have been teaching English for more than a decade and not only am I studying English, but also Spanish (okay, if it is unnecessary to say, why say it?).

At first glance, we can say that everyone can learn a new or foreign language, but students’ abilities may differ enormously depending on their background, age, beliefs, abilities… 

Some of those ‘late-coming students’ and all sort of learners – kinesthetic, logical, musical, spatial, Linguistic…
I wholeheartedly agree that everyone can learn whatever he or she wants to, but learning languages might be a real challenge for some people.

Thinking about everything I have just said, what should the most essential skills of a good foreign language learner be?
If you have anything to say about it, please feel free to write it here - whether on Facebook or the blog. 

sábado, 23 de novembro de 2013

¿Cómo es? Como describir a una persona físicamente y la descripción de tú carácter en español.

I have been talking about my experience with the acquisition and learning of, say, my third language. (Read here if you feel like it)

"The best methods are therefore those that supply 'comprehensible input' in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are 'ready', recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production." (Stephen Krashen)

Today, we started unit six (unidad 6, en Español) by listening to a conversation between two girls (Natalia and Celia). They were talking about Natalia’s boyfriend: “Es alto, delgado, rubio, tiene barba…” were Natalia’s words to describe him, her boyfriend (Novio, en Español).

Although Natalia and Celia have been friends for a long time, they meet each other by chance after a long time, say, without getting in touch with each other. Well, at least that’s what I could infer after listening to “¡Hola, Celia! ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo te va?” (Noticing or perception? You guys tell me)


Natalia: ¡Hola, Celia! ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo te va?
Celia: Bien, ¿Y tú? ¿Qué tal estás?
Natalia: Muy bien, ¿Sabes?, me caso dentro de tres semanas.
Celia: ¡No me digas! Cuéntame, ¿Cómo es tu novio?
Natalia: Es alto, delgado, rubio, tiene barba… pero mira, aquí tengo una foto.

Celia: Es muy guapo. Tiene los ojos oscuros, ¿verdad?
Natalia: No los tiene claros. La foto no es muy buena.
Celia: ¿Y qué hace?
Natalia: Es médico, trabaja en un hospital.
Celia: ¡Qué bien! Es bastante joven, ¿No?
Natalia: Bueno, tiene treinta y cuatro años…

Having listened to the (whole) conversation twice, the teacher asked us to correct the mistakes based on the prompt:

Escucha otra vez y lee estas frases. CORRIGE la información como en el ejemplo.

Celia y Natalia no se conocen. > Celia y Natalia son amigas.

A.   Celia se casa dentro de tres semanas.
B.   Se novio los ojos oscuros.
C.   Su novio es alto y moreno.
D.  Celia trabaja en un hospital.

That was the way the teacher introduced the topic. Even though she hasn’t set the context by introducing and exploring the context around the whole situation (dialogue if you like it), the lesson was quite effective. Students were engaged and acting out a role-play activity by taking the dialogue as a prompt.

After practicing the dialogue and getting instant feedback from us, students, the teacher introduced (talked about) the way people can describe others in Spanish (needless to say, but the whole class is conducted in the target language, Spanish in this case).

(Como describir a una persona: descripción física y de carácter)

The teacher provided us with some examples by showing us some pictures in the conversation (Natalia, her boyfriend, and Celia) and writing some sentences about them.

1. Es alto, rubio, tiene los ojos azules y el pelo liso.
2. Tiene el pelo rizado y corto. Es morena y bastante guapa.
3. Es morena y bastante mayor. Tiene los ojos oscuros y el pelo liso.
4. Es moreno, bajo y delgado. Tiene el pelo largo y rizado. Tiene los ojos oscuros.

 After focusing a lot on the accurate way of saying all the sentences above, students were asked to listen to another part of the conversation, but this time, it was about Celia’s sister (Celia y Natalia hablando de la hermana de Celia).

After that, the teacher pointed to some pictures on the book and asked the whole group to repeat the Descripción física correspondiente de la hermana de Celia. ¿Cuál de las imágenes es?

I found this lesson really effective and I can say that it really had students extremely focused on and willing to figure out which picture it was.

For the production part, I realized that the approach follows the PPP (presentation, practice, and production) techniques. The teacher told us to write down the way we see each other. I had to write about me and the other classmates and then read it aloud.
That’s what I got about me (I won’t expose my colleagues or the teacher here):

Soy rubio, alto, guapo y joven. Tengo el pelo largo y los ojos claros.

As a way of definitely getting positive feedback from us (whether we understood it or not), the teacher told us that we had to play what she called El juego de las veinte preguntas.

I confess that I was very curious about that game, but pretty soon I realized that she had been talking about a sort of an adapted answer-with-yes-no-questions type game in which you have to ask question that people can answer with a very simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. ¿Cuántos años tienes? (how old is (s)he?, in English) is a kind of question we were supposed to avoid because nobody would reply to it with a, say, ‘yes-no’ answer, right?  

Un alumno piensa en un campanero de clase. Los demás hacen preguntas para averiguar quién es. Sólo puede responder sí o no.

A: ¿Tienes el pelo liso?
B: No.
C: ¿Es joven?
D: Sí.
E: ¿Es Joao?
F: ¡Sí!.

I have used that kind of technique to practice WH Questions in many lessons. It is undoubtedly a very good one – especially when used to talk about people’s appearances.

Having finished the activities about people’s appearances, we were introduced to the ways of how one can describe people’s personalities.  

This activity was quite simple because it was just a matter of introducing more words (vocabulary).

The technique I used to teach myself those mentioned words, was quite simple: I read the words given and wrote two sentences about myself so that I was able to practice all the given options:

Soy tonto, serio y antipático.
Soy inteligente, divertido y simpático.

Even though I know that – at the beginning or even false-beginning levels – I have very little language ‘behind’ me, and aware of  my capacity for taking in and retain new words, structures, and concepts is still limited, I allowed myself to practice as much as I could.

Having said all above, I imagined famous people and wrote on my notebook as much sentences as I could – it might sound tiring, but very effective.  

Sandra Bullock es inteligente, divertida y simpática.
Paulo Coelho es tonto, serio y antipático.
Jo Soares es rubio, bajo, gordo, feo y mayor.
Brad Pitt es rubio, guapo, alto, tiene el pelo largo e ojos claros.

For extra practicing, the teacher asked us to write a very short text about any member of our families. Believe it or not, she was in fact starting a new topic (smooth transition): La familia. I only realized it later on.

We saw Pablo Picasso’s family tree (Cuadro genealógico de Pablo Picasso).

Apart from learning that Picasso has had seven wives, I didn’t learn much with the activity because I knew the vocabulary (Primos, cuñada, nieta, sobrina, tía, suegros, madre, padre, hermano, hijo…)  and used the same technique I used when I had to learn the whole thing in English (but there’s no genitive case in Spanish).

By the way, this very specific vocabulary for family members in Spanish is quite similar to the ones in Portuguese – my mother tongue.

In short, I would say that this class was really good and very effective. The teacher’s role was pretty important and she did a great job there. We can take it for granted that it is not easy to get students engaged on a Saturday morning, but she did well.

I will prove that after learning the second language, the third one is pretty much easier to learn than the second one.

Look at those pictures and write some sentences about their appearances. Use the words from the box:

sexta-feira, 22 de novembro de 2013


How about quickie for old time’s sake?

I’m not talking about anything strange… Relax. It’s about a short explanation, say, about the use of ‘for’ and ‘since’ with Present Perfect and Past Simple.

Miami (photo for the internet)

We use ‘for’ and ‘since’ with the Present Perfect tense. The first one is about ‘the starting point’ (when something has started) and the latter is about ‘the duration’ (the length, if you like) of something.

A: How long have you lived in Miami?
B: I’ve lived here for six months. I love it here.
C: I’ve lived here since last year. I’m really happy here.

B and C still live in Miami.

A: How long did you live in Miami?
B: I lived there for two years.

B and doesn’t live in Miami anymore – B lived there for two years (particular time in the past).

It is possible to use ‘for’ with both Present Perfect and Past Simple, but we use ‘since’ only in the present perfect.  

Let’s practice, shall we?

How long have you had your current hairstyle?

“I have had my current hairstyle for two years.” or “I have had my current hairstyle since 2011.”

How long have you studied at your current school?
How long have you known your best friend?
How long have you been awake today?

Class dismissed – I told you it was just a quickie, right?

quinta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2013

You should always thank your toilet.

Believe it or not, the toilet is a very important thing. Why is that? Well, because he, the guy on the corner, is a lifesaver, and where toilets don't exist, thousands die, right? 

Whoever invented this wonderful device, has undoubtedly done a good job - nobody can live without a toilet, isn't that true? Well, if we have to thank the dude who created this friend of ours, we should also thank the Chinese for giving mankind that marvelous invention called toilet paper in 50 B.C.

In the end, it all boils down to excrement anyway. 

Okay, let's stop all this poop talk, shall we? Let’s sing this song. I used it in my lesson today – just for fun, you know... Students laughed a lot and we had a great time. Needless to say that I used it without any academic or pedagogical purposes. 

I am your toilet, so how do you do.
I take away your wee, and the odd number two.

For a quiet moment, I'll always be there.
Bring in your troubles, you don't even have to care.

Oh think about the things you put me through.
(Things you put me through, that have been through you.)

Stuff from your body I'll happily take,
Liquid or solid, whatever you make.

When you think of all the things that I do,
It's time to say thanks to your loo. 

If I wasn't there anymore,
You can only imagine disaster. 

I am a lifesaver and that is not a lie,
Where I don't exist, thousands die.

So next time you have to, do a poo or a wee.
Thank the sanitary saints that you have a me.

When you think of all the things that I do,
It's time, to say thanks to your loo.

La la la la la la la la la la,
La la la la la la laaa
La la la la la laa

It's time to say thank you to your loo.

Did you know that around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation? - that's almost 2,000 children a day.

quarta-feira, 20 de novembro de 2013

New Word: Selfie.

“Selfie” (Pronunciation: /ˈsɛlfi/) is the top new word of 2013, according to the Oxford Dictionaries. It’s a photo you take of yourself (usually on a smartphone).


Occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary

Therefore, you have probably seen many examples of “selfie” online because it is not unusual these days. Moreover, people love taking pictures of themselves, especially in front of the mirror (“mirror… mirror on the wall who is the most beautiful of all?”) 

I particularly have never taken a “selfie” – not even one. Have you realized people’s enthusiasm about that?

Anyway, if you did not know this ‘new word’, you have just learned something right now, right?

I am giving up Facebook as an attempt to not procrastinate.

From Ideias esdrúxulas

I have to spread the word... ever since I was away from Facebook; I have been reading more than usual; I took some time to learn a little bit more about Bossa Nova, jazz, blues, and country – some of the things that I discovered that I do like -, I have boosted my energy as well. Obviously, it was the main goal – being off not only has made me find another things to do, but also has given me a different perspective. I have been more patient.

Facebook was apparently perfect, as the dead so often become. Yes, Facebook was dead to me. A month without it and then I realized the wonderful things that I had been missing outside there – in real world.

I have met life with open arms – life without that social networking website made me see how important it (Facebook) was to me. – Actually, it was not important at all! And why is that? ‘Rubbish’ is all you get to see there– People publishing nothing but lies – they are not that happy – they don’t even understand the word! How, after all, can people be happy online? If I were that happy, I wouldn’t make it public to everyone on Facebook. You know how the others hate happiness. Especially when it isn’t theirs.

What have I missed there after a month? Nothing. Everything is different, except for one fact: everything is absolutely the same now – same old, same old. Same people publishing the same things I don’t want to know about – what they have had for dinner and the like.

Ever since I left my Facebook page off, I started having that sense of achievement. I read far more, studied far more (improved my Spanish a lot), and enjoyed life much better. Life is outside (offline), not online. As soon as you come to this point of being firmly convinced that you are not what it says on your profile, you find the real meaning of quality time.  

I found my reading irresistibly more romantic and meaningful. I mean, I had time, to finally, finish reading a ‘million books’ I had started but never finished. I learned a bit more about Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, and Yeats, for instance. , believe it or not, I could understand better, eat better and healthier. The best thing? I was able to focus more on my job and stopped procrastinating.

Unbelievably, my life has become easier – there was no doubt that it forced me to think about how productive I became. Whether you completely agree with that or not, I do not care, but Facebook is worthless – although it has had its moment in its heyday. Yes, I think I will give it up for good.

I cannot let it go without talking about it. I have created a group on Facebook called Conversation 2013; well… it turned out to be a group with a lot of people, but only a few (really) participating. I realized that only one person had been ‘feeding’ this group. Guess whom? Exactly, ME. So, what’s the point of having a conversation alone? I mean, does it make sense, create a group so that some people could practice English, but not half of its members are really there? Giving it up as well, pal.

Nevertheless, have I been completely away from the social network sites? Not completely, I must say. I have to confess… er… I have been using QUORA – which is pretty much better than Facebook.  

That’s it. Right now, I have got lots of plans. So much to come this year. I am going to give it another month. In the next entries, I’ll be writing about my accomplishments.


terça-feira, 19 de novembro de 2013

Portal da Língua Inglesa: COMO SE DIZ “RAIMUNDA” EM INGLÊS?

ATENÇÃO: Essa postagem é proibida para menores de 18 anospor conter palavras de baixo calão. Palavrão. Nome feio... Leia logo e pronto. 

Gostaram da imagem? Imagine essa mesma pessoa caminhando pelas ruas da sua cidade, mas você só consegue vê-la de costas. Claro que você nunca iria imaginar que se trata de uma “Raimunda”, iria?

Essa gíria (Raimunda) todo brasileiro deve saber do que se trata. Claro que não quero aqui julgar a aparência de ninguém, mas com tantas mulheres frutas no mercado, uma hora ou outra alguém iria fazer essa pergunta.

Se você não entendeu, eu explico. “Raimunda” é o termo que usamos em português-brasileiro para se referir àquela mulher que é bonita de corpo, mas nem tão bonita assim de rosto.


Ela é uma Raimunda, feia de cara, boa de bunda.

Notem que aqui temos a rima do -UNDA de “Raimunda” com -UNDA de “bunda”. Essa mesma rima não é possível na língua de Edgar Allan Poe (Língua Inglesa).
Pois é, em inglês nós dizemos “Butterface”, um termo que pode ser o equivalente a nossa “Raimunda”.

Em inglês a expressão parece ter surgido da pronuncia da frase “everything is good, but her face... (tudo é bom, mas sua cara...)” que quando dita, em voz alta e em velocidade normal de conversação do dia a dia, passa a impressão de “Butterface” (cara de manteiga, em uma tradução livre).

Se você quiser ver mais fotos de “Butterfaces”, aqui temos alguns exemplos [Link].


RAIMUNDA = BUTTERFACE. ou seja, but+her+face = butterface.

Se você gostou dessa postagem, poderá gostar das opções que aparecem aqui logo abaixo. Deixem suas sugestões ou críticas. Ajudem-nos a fazer um blog melhor. Em breve, teremos mais novidades para nossos leitores. Aguardem. 

Do language learners develop a new identity as they learn to use a second language?

Do language learners develop a new identity as they learn to use a second language?

I have just asked this question on my profile on Quora. Take a look at some of the answers I have got so far (19th November 2013):

For me the answer is "kind of."

On my blog I call myself Wataru Ford. When I made the name, I thought of it as a fun little pen name, not a significant change in identity. My Quora photo is the kanji for Wataru.

Learning Japanese has made me analyze, and in a sense, recontextualize my identity. In Japanese there are several words for "I" that carry different connotations of politeness and friendliness. I spent quite a while introspecting in order to figure out which pronoun is most true for me. This process hasn't given me a new identity per se, but it's made the way I understand myself more complex.

Some people feel that they become a different person when they can't fluidly express all of their thoughts. Well, I've never felt that way. I think I've always had a more grounded sense of who I am than most people, even when I was monolingual.

By Marcus Ford.

Not me, but the last language I learned was when 14 yo at high school, being German, after English (7 yo), Bahasa Indonesia (7 yo), Mandarin Chinese (4 yo) now due to disuse very, very rusty, and the two languages in I grew up in being dialectic Jakartan Malay and Dutch.

By Liang-Hai Sie.

You asked for the answer but I haven't learned another language enough to be even barely conversational in it. I had 2 years of French about 55 years ago. Also I don't think I know any of the few students I have had well enough to say about them that they have developed a new identity. I'm sure they have changed a little but not as much as anyone would call it a new identity.

By Jack Crawford.

They are using new parts of their brain and also old parts in different ways.  So their mental activities have greater scope.  But I do not think this diminishes there sense of self.  If you ask them who they are,  in any language they know they will tell you the same thing.

By Robert J. Kolker

Yes they do.
you see, when you learn a new language, of some other country are sect,
- you tend to talk to yourself in that language, making yourself comfortable.
- you learn what is good and bad for the native speakers of the language, their beliefs, ways etc.
- I lived in Indonesia and while learning bahasa Indonesia I started to get to know more about the people there, most importantly their religion - Islam, (I am an Indian Hindu and knew little about Islam). when you learn new things it changes your way of thinking towards that thing of which you had notion which was merely based on rumors and not facts.

By Vivek Sharma.

I would like to put more fuel for the fire, so, do you people think that language learners develop a new identity as they learn to use a second language?

If you read this one and would like to leave your opinion or thought here, I would be deeply honored in reading it.