Friday, 26 October 2012

Memory is the most important... err...

Is it important to have a good memory to learn another language well?  Hopefully the answer is obvious, since learning a language involves learning:

  • vocabulary - individual words like cat, library or superstitious;
  • word patterns - regular verbs like stop / stopped, irregular ones like throw / threw / thrown, and word families like confide / confidence / confident / overconfident and so on;
  • grammar rules - like using the past simple and would + the infinitive when you make a second conditional;
  • pronunciation - the 's' in island is silent, and the 'ed' in stopped sounds like 't';
  • intonation patterns - how to sound interested, or bored, or confident, or like you're asking a question;
  • 'chunks' of language that can be used automatically in relevant situations - like 'You're welcome' or 'Can I take a message?'
  • and so on.

  • But how good is your memory, actually, and how can you make it better?  Like anything else, memory skills will improve with practice, so here are some tips and techniques for memory practice that are sure to have an impact.

    Wednesday, 10 October 2012

    IELTS Ahead? Read these tips first!

    Preparing for an exam that is important for your future is not something that many people enjoy, and IELTS is no exception.  Just a few short papers can determine whether you get a job, university place or visa, so the pressure is on!  Fortunately there's lots of good advice out there about preparing for specific parts of the IELTS test, along with practice questions, model answers and video material for the speaking test.

    This post is not more of the same.  Instead here are four tips of a slightly different kind, which are mostly related to you and your motivation: