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domingo, 29 de abril de 2012

Jokes in English - 22

The First 3 Years of Marriage

  • In the first year of marriage, the man speaks and the woman listens.
  • In the second year, the woman speaks and the man listens.
  • In the third year, they both speak and the neighbors listen. 

A man inserted an 'ad' in the classifieds: "Wife wanted".
The next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: "You can have mine."

Tips on English Pronunciation

10 Tips on English pronunciation and accent improvement!


1. The pronunciation of ‘Rs’, ‘Ts’, ‘Ds’ is not clear or hard to understand/distinguish:
‘T’ sound almost like ‘D’:
T in some parts of American speech is supposed to be less crisp. It should sounds more like a ‘d’ in many cases, especially between vowels. Katie is pronounced almost like KaDie, water like waDer.
R’ pronunciation: There are varying observations on the sound of ‘R’:
-Let the sound of R flow; don’t put too much stress on this sound especially in the middle or in the end of a word.
-Don’t totally chewing up the sound of ‘R’ in other cases. Practice the stress on this sound, and listen to how your American/English friends use it. In ‘Robert’, the stress is on first R; let the second ‘r’ flow, without any pronounced stress.

2. ‘Vs’ and ‘Ws’ sound: This is a common problem for many Asians and Europeans, so don’t take it personally. There is a clear difference between ‘w’ and ‘v’ sounds. Even though most of Indians understand the difference, the distinction is often not carried out in spoken English. Let us try this:
-For the sound of ‘v’, place lower lip gently on the upper teeth and say the word. Don’t press it hard, you should be able to exhale through, while making the sound. Most of us find this hardest to get used to.
-For ‘w’ sound, it’s a different than ‘v’, the lips are supposed to be rounded and puckered like when we say ‘u’, and with no contact between the teeth and tongue. Move your lips in the forward direction as you vocalize the sound.
-The key distinction between the w/v sound and the ‘B’ sound is the fact that the lips are closed when we start to vocalize ‘B’.

3. ‘S’ and “sh’ pronunciation: Some of the new comers have this issue. The problem is not how to make the sound what when to use what sound. Learn the difference in pronunciation.
-The difference in the sound of ‘Sue’ and ‘Shoe’ should be easy to follow.
-‘s’ as ‘s’ or as ‘z’:  ‘S’ in Sam (the sound is ‘s’), or in ‘is’ (the sound is like ‘z’).

4. ‘Th’ should not sound like ‘da’: Not a problem of speaking, but a habit. Put your tongue between your teeth to make ‘th’ sound.

5. The vowels are VERY important to pay attention to: If you are having difficulty with vowels, make sure to correct it. Buy a good book on pronunciation, or find some local or online resources to learn the pronunciations aspect. For example, the long vowels are supposed to take longer to vocalize compared to the short ones.

Short vowels: rat, leg, pig, Rob, bus: Don’t park on them, move on to next sound.
Long vowels: rate, he, side, robe, tune: Hang in there, don’t rush.
See the difference in ‘i’ sound in Sid (quick) vs. Side.

6. Not too fast or too slow: Speak slowly, but not too slow. The right pace comes with practice. Don’t chew up the words by going too fast.

7. Open the mouth properly while speaking: Let the sound come out properly while speaking. Don’t speak through the teeth or with half open mouth.

8. Syllable stress matters: Understand which parts of a word should take the stress and which ones not. This comes with listening and practicing.

9. Practice is a must: A regular practice- over and over- is very helpful. The best way to get rid of so-called ‘thick accent’ is by speaking and imitating local (American or English) style and slang. A few ways to practice are:
- Speak out loud, speak out often, and as much as possible
- Practice in front of a mirror, or with a friend. Make a game out of it.
- Watch TV to get exposure to the local dialects and speech mannerism.
- Record your audio, listen to it, and then practice to improve the pronunciation.
- Avoid false or fake accent

10. Relax, look at the bigger picture: Well, not a tip, but a word of advice! Everybody has some sort of accent. We are all supposed to. It is the way we are raised, it is the way they speak in our neighborhood. So don’t lose your sleep over this. Instead, understand the issue, get some feedback from your friends on which areas you may need improvement on (if at all), and work on it accordingly. While it may take a long time to lose the accent completely, we can improve it significantly over short period of time if we really try.

sexta-feira, 20 de abril de 2012

Songs of the Week - Adele

Rolling in the Deep

Someone Like You

Set Fire to the Rain

Recipe of the Week - Special for Mother's Day

Italian Omelet


•3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
•2 tablespoons chopped onion
•2 teaspoons olive oil
•1 tablespoon butter
•3 eggs
•3 tablespoons water
•1/8 teaspoon salt
•1/8 teaspoon pepper
•1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
•1/4 cup marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce, warmed


•In a small nonstick skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in oil until tender. Remove from skillet and set aside.
•In the same skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk the eggs, water, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to skillet (mixture should set immediately at edges).
•As eggs set, push cooked edges toward the center, letting uncooked portion flow underneath. When the eggs are set, spoon mushroom mixture on one side and sprinkle with cheese; fold other side over filling. Slide omelet onto a plate. Serve with marinara sauce. Yield: 1 serving.

Nutritional Facts

1 omelet (calculated without marinara sauce) equals 523 calories, 40 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 681 mg cholesterol, 830 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 29 g protein.

Prep/Total Time: 20 min.  Yield: 1 Servings

domingo, 15 de abril de 2012

Videos of the Week - National Anthems in English

America's National Anthem

British National Anthem

Canadian National Anthem

Australian National Anthem

Book of the Week - Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe
by Daniel Defoe

Crusoe (the family name corrupted from the German name "Kreutznaer") sets sail from the Queen's Dock in Hull on a sea voyage in August 1651, against the wishes of his parents, who want him to stay at home and pursue a career, possibly in law. After a tumultuous journey that sees his ship wrecked in a storm, his lust for the sea remains so strong that he sets out to sea again. This journey, too, ends in disaster as the ship is taken over by Salé pirates (the Salé Rovers) and Crusoe becomes the slave of a Moor. After two years of slavery, he manages to escape in a boat with a boy named Xury; later, Crusoe is rescued and befriended by the Captain of a Portuguese ship off the west coast of Africa. The ship is en route to Brazil. There, with the help of the captain, Crusoe becomes owner of a plantation.

To read a PDF version of this book, go to this link:

To listen to this story in an MP3 file, go to:

To watch this movie, click on the play button:

For the remaings chapters, go to:

My Trips 10 - Amsterdam

Amsterdam is quite different and unique in comparison to any other European city. In some sense, it reminds us of Venice, with its network of canals. Most citizens use (old) bikes to get by in the city. Home of two great museums, such as Van Gohg and Rijks, among many other interesting points worth a visit like Madame Tussauds (wax museum), Anne Frank House, Heineken Brewery, several pubs, parks, and its famous red light distric.

 Graffiti walls

 One of many canals

 A clamped car

Heineken Brewery Pub