Tuesday, May 29, 2007

speaking practice & 2 quizzes

SoZiety - practice your English with others worldwide via Sk
SoZiety is an interesting new company in Europe that takes full advantage of Skype for language learning. It's a simple concept, but very effective. SoZiety keeps a database of users.

Financial Terminology Quiz
This 30 question quiz tests a wide variety of financial terms used when talking about finances, wealth and business in general. Improve your industry specific vocabulary...

Quiz - Differences between British and American English
This quiz on differences between British and American English compares spelling, vocabulary and grammar differences. Each question is repeated twice somewhere in the quiz so that each version is tested.


  1. Hi Ms. Vanessa, How are you?

    I attempted the Quiz on difference between British and American English and got just 58 % marks. Only 46 items out of 80 were correct.

    Actually, Madam, in India, now a days people don't care whether the English is British or American. However, I understand that we should use the correct English. In India mostly we use British English.

    Can you tell the significance of not using the British words in American English or vice versa? I mean to say why should we use a particular English when we are able to express ourselves correctly?

    As for instance, if I say,

    "The colour is black"


    "The color is black".

    What is the difference?



  2. I have also attempted the Quiz on financial terms and got 26 correct items out of 30.



  3. Rajeev - I'd have to say that your question falls into the "stupid question" category - a real time waster. Use your common sense. It's a wonderful tool.

    "Colour" & "color" are the same word with the same meaning but different spellings.

    A common sense rule of thumb: BE CONSISTENT. It hardly matters in speaking but formal writing is another matter, depending on the situtation and audience. When you write a paper or letter, use the same spelling pattern for the entire document. Don't start spelling one way (ou or o; s or z, etc) and then switch back and forth between UK and US usage.

    Of course it won't change the meaning, but it will create the impression that you are a sloppy and careless writer. If on a standard test or a paper being graded, the reader would no doubt lower your score or grade.

    That is actually easy to watch for. Usage is trickier when words do not have the same meaning - corn/grain; bonnet/hood, etc. Some usage differences can even lead to socially awkward or embarassing situations.

    Again consistency is the key but here you run the risk of not being understood. Know your audience. You may not know all the word differences, but be aware that your reader or listener might misunderstand you - be ready to explain.

    Most good English-English dictionaries

  4. Hi Ms. Vanessa,

    How are you?

    You misunderstood my question or I could not express myself properly. All I wanted to say is that here in India we follow British English but the computers and other literature that we study are mostly American. Even in Indian newspapers there are not many news items on Britain. But, our newspapers are full with American news. ON 123 Agreement and other things. So, in these circumstances we are confronted with a new English which is half British and half American.

    I accept that it looks good if we write only one type of English. But, that is possible to a great extent either in America or in Britain. ( It is my thinking - may be I am wrong) which are the originators of this language. I hope you get my viewpoint.

    However, I'll try to learn more about the differences between British and American English.

    Thanks for rating my common sense,

    I accept that,



  5. I and any other reader will misunderstand questions that are not clearly stated - or rather ones that all too clearly state something the writer did not mean to express.

    No doubt there is another version of World English in the making that combines elements of both American and UK usage. Don't overlook Canadian and antipodean versions for that matter. Actually, Canadian English, a recognized version of standard English, already combines elements of both...

    Don't lose sleep over it. Languages change: that is their nature. If they change too fast or too much, it can be hard for users to keep up with the changes and, eventually, hard for widely separated users to communicate with one another. The only languages that do not change are dead and/or hieratic ones.

  6. Hi Ms. Vanessa,

    How are you?

    I do accept that languages change and I have read it somewhere that language changes after every 50 KMs and it is good as in this way we can get new words to express ourselves easily.

    Now a days in India we are using Hinglish (Hindi + English) and even in Government offices I have seen that they write certain English words in Hindi and they avoid using Hindi words for that and people like that because it is very difficult to pronounce or understand those words in Hindi.

    Some time back, I came across a dictionary and was surprised to find that there are many Hindi words in English langauge dictionary or repute. As for instance Guru which is a Hindi word meaning 'one who teaches'.

    Are there words from other languages also in English language except Latin?




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