Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Xuan Bui's Beautiful City

Copied from Advanced Writing on Google Groups and reposted here for Xuan Bui, our most recent Blogging English member,  

It is the time for me to introduce you my beloved city. Its name is Ho Chi Minh city. Immediately after the communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975, a provisional government renamed the city after Hồ Chí Minh, the pre-eminent Vietnamese leader.

Located at 10°45'N, 106°40'E in the southeastern region of Vietnam, It is one of largest cities of our country but it is the most active city here. It is also a crowded city with a population around 7,123,340 (2009 on April 1). The city has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate. A year is divided into two distinct seasons.

Ho Chi Minh city is a home of hundred of cinemas and theatres, printing and publishing houses, bookstores and a widespread network of public and school libraries. You can visit the Museum of History, the Museum of Revolution, the Museum of Southern Women, the Museum of Southeastern's Armed Forces, the Museum of Fine Art, the Gallery for War Remnants, the Nha Rong Memorial House, the Ben Duoc Relic of Underground Tunnels and many private art galleries.

You can easily find a lot of tropical fruits here such as mango, Cainito, plum-tree...those are almost the fresh fruits. It is also a lot of coffee shops here with many styles such as French, Italy… and Vietnamese country style. There are many Pho restaurants in the city to enjoy which are very inexpensive. Pho and bun are those kinds of Vietnamese noodle style.

Traffic in Ho chi minh city is a big problem with any foreigners at the first time here. There are a lot of narrow and zigzag streets. Enter the street and you will see buses, trucks, vans, mini-trucks, cars and taxis, motorcycles, bicycles, cyclos, even wheelchairs but the most popular transportation here is  motorbike. The most inconvenient thing is a lot of traffic jam which takes you the long time to transport, prevent you from having more time to work and relax.

Even though It still have some inconvenient matters but I love it.

Xuan Bui

Learning goals and levels

I send this to new students applying to the class. The article + quizzes from About ESL ( very appropriate for students thinking about joining a class. Understanding reasons for studying English and learning goals help prepare for starting a new class.

But you still need this understanding and to reflect on why you are studying English and what your goals are. They may not be the same as when you joined the class. Following these tips will help you understand your English learning strengths and weaknesses so you can continue to get the most out of this class.

The Most Important Question: Why?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Questions & Requests

Do you have questions about blogging, blog policy, our English study group/blog ( I am not always quite sure what to call it)? Post them as comments to this post. Do you have questions about English or requests for lessons, specific exercises or study materials? Please post them as comments to this post.

This is a collaborative learning community. That means learning together: not by one on one exchanges. e, Post your questions to the group. Unless questions are of a confidential nature, please don't email me privately. When we share questions and answers, everyone learns from them. Also, sharing means I won't have to answer the same question more than once. Sometimes too, another group member can answer your question for you.

There is also the question of time: the less time I spend on private email, the more time I have to spend on writing posts and answering questions for everyone on the blog.

Sorry for my long absence

Hi All

I'm sorry not to post to Blogging English for a long time. I'm fine. I'm now 71 years old. As I live on my pension now, I've been enjoying my hobbies everyday.

I'm now crazy about playing contract bridge. I attend near bridge club to play it five times a month all day. I go to Tokyo to join team matches three time a month. Additionally I play Robot Duplicate on my PC almost every day.

I belong to an ocarina club. I practiced playing my ocarina with my club members three times a month. We also visit a home for aged people once a month and play our ocarina for an hour. I think playing my ocarina is good for my health.

I also join a English conversation club. Our class convenes twice a month. We have an American teacher. We talk about current topics each other and learn English grammar.

I've been busy but I keep to write my journal in English every day.

I'll keep watching this blog and join Blogging English.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Welcomes & check-ins

Please post comments below to welcome new members, say hello to old friends, check in and let everyone know you are back ~ even if only to visit. Got questions? Use comments for those too.
New blog members start by following and commenting on posts to say hello, introduce themselves, ask questions, etc. After you've had a chance to settle in, get to know everyone and have decided you might want to "stick around" for a while, we'll invite you to become a contributor. That means you can write and post directly to the blog as well as commenting.

Here's a welcome to new blog member Junai. She's from Japan and will, I hope, tell us more about herself and what she expects from Blogging English. She's bound to have questions too.

Here are few links to older posts that might be helpful:
PS: unless your messages and questions need to be private and confidential, please use the blog to communicate with us

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My city, Hidaka by Sadamu

Here is Sadamu's interesting and informative essay about his home city, Hidaka, that forward from the Advanced Writing group on Google. I thought he has already posted it to the blog like Allun did. Sadamu and all: please accept my apologies. I'd like to draw everyone's attention to an important point that Sadamu makes: learning about something by writing about it. I've also heard this referred to as "write to learn."  Vanessa

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sadamu
To: StudyCom Advanced Writing
My city, Hidaka

Hidaka, Japan: 聖天宮境内

I have two cities which I can call that it's my city. One of them is the city where I had raised till my high school graduation. The other is Hidaka where I have been living since 1996. Working on this home
work, I found that I didn't know about my city, Hidaka. I studied about my city, so I got wiser now.

Hidaka is located in the southwestern part of Saitama Prefecture,almost in the center of Japan. You can easily view my city on Google Earth at 139 degrees 20'42" E longitude, 35 degrees 54' 36" N latitude. It extends 11.1 km east to west, 6 km north to south. The eastern part of Hidaka is made up of plains and the city's urban district, while the west features high hills and mountains 200m high.Hidaka is a wonderful sightseeing location with Koma River.

The city was founded on October 1, 1991. We have 39 cities in Saitama Prefecture. Hidaka is 37th city in Saitama. The city has estimated population of 56,821 at Jan. 1, 2010. Population density of Hidaka is 1,200 persons per square kilometers. 25% of the city land is agricultural land and 20 % of it is residential and building lots. The city is served by Komagawa and Takahagi stations on JR line and by Koma station on Seibu line. One fifth of working people who live in Hidaka commute to outside of Saitama by these lines.

The oldest relic that has been uncovered in Hidaka is a knife shaped stone implement, about 12,000 years old. It is said that 1,799 Kokuri-jin (Korean immigrants) moved to the Hidaka area and established Koma
Country, in the year 716.

Main industry in Hidaka is sight seeing. There are many places to see and visit in Hidaka. It is supposed that Hidaka will have 6,500 thousands visitors in 2009 FY.

Regards, Sadamu

Top ten websites to learn English

Who isn't overwhelmed by the all the websites for learning and teaching English? Here's one teacher's list of websites that her students picked as best for learning English.

A common element in these websites: students have fun while learning English.

Top ten websites to learn English from Jennifer Verschoor's blog My Integrating Technology journey

Sunday, August 15, 2010

FYI: follow changes to any website

Feeds make it easy to follow updates to all kinds of web pages, from blogs to news sites to Craig's list queries, but unfortunately not all pages on the web have feeds. Today Google Reader rolls out a change that lets you create a custom feed to track changes on pages that don't have their own feed.

These custom feeds are most useful if you want to be alerted whenever a specific page has been updated. For example, if you wanted to follow's latest products, just type "" into Reader's "Add a subscription" field. Click "create a feed", and Reader will periodically visit the page and publish any significant changes it finds as items in a custom feed created just for that page.

We provide short snippets of page changes to help you quickly decide if the page is worth revisiting and we're working on improving the quality of these snippets. If you don't want Google to crawl or create feeds for a specific site, site owners can opt-out.

If you have a feed-less page you've been dying to follow, sign in to Google Reader and try it out for yourself.

how to learn a language

How to learn a foreign language is the million dollar question, but actually there is no magic answer. Many factors should be taken into consideration, as well as tools useful for learning a new language. The good news is that there are methods and techniques to use.

Language Components
Language Tools
Listening and Speaking

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ghotit | super-spell-checker

Larry Ferlazzo posts,

Ghotit is a super-spell-checker that is ideal for very beginning English Language Learners ... (as well as native speakers with challenges). It has the ability to help “sleuth-out” words that people are trying to spell — in a much more in depth way than most regular spell-checkers. Thanks to Ira Socol for the tip on this app. I learned about it through an excellent post he wrote titled Classroom Changers.
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