Who Stole the Money? A Brief Lesson in English Intonation

I didn’t say he stole the money.
I didn’t say he stole the money.
I didn’t say he stole the money.
I didn’t say he stole the money.
I didn’t say he stole the money.
I didn’t say he stole the money.
Which one of these sentences means “I think someone else stole the money?” Not sure? OK. Which sentence implies that I merely suggested that he stole the money? Still don’t know?

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Dangerous Liaisons: How to Speak English Without Sounding Like a Robot

Dangerous Liaisons. No, I am not talking about the 1988 Glenn Close and John Malkovich movie about gossiping 17th century aristocrats. I am talking about the English pronunciation phenomenon of an otherwise absent consonant sound at the end of the first of two consecutive words, the second of which begins with a vowel sound and follows without pause. Or, to put it more plainly, how native English speakers connect their words when speaking, making listening comprehension for ESL students the most difficult of the receptive skills.

You see, English isn’t spoken as it is written, therefore when spoken naturally and at full speed it bears little resemblance to the written version of the same sentence. For this reason, liaisons are an essential part of learning how to speak English and just as importantly, a part of understanding English.

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Teacher, I Want to Learn British English. That’s Problematic Student.

England and America are two countries separated by a common language according to the famous phrase of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Warm beer versus cold beer, cricket versus baseball.

Sometimes, it certainly seems that way when teaching at BridgeEnglish Denver. As a native of the old country, I am often asked by students which spelling version of a certain word is correct. Is it color or colour (cue Microsoft red line telling me I spelled the word wrongly)? Should I use the word lift or elevator? Is it soccer or football?

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Give Me a Break! Tim Samuelson Gives English Students the Chance to Get Away

Learning English is tough. Learning any language is tough. Sometimes you just need a break from classes, learning and books and get some fresh air, go for a hike or go to a museum, something. It is no different for the students at Bridge Denver. They study hard. Some study everyday from 9am until 6pm for months. That is a whole lot of learning. The brain can only absorb so much information before it says, “OK! I’ve had enough! I need a break! Take me outside!”

And that is where Tim Samuelson comes in. He is the Activities Coordinator and also the Academic Advisor here at BridgeEnglish Denver. He is the one who plans all of the extracurricular activities so that students can have some sort of reprieve from their studies. But, in fact, the activities impart knowledge to the students just as much as being in the classroom. Plus, they are really, really fun!

AB: Tim, tell me a little about your background and how you got involved with Bridge.

TS: I have always had a passion for traveling and I thought that teaching ESL would be a great way to see the world and work at the same time and so I decided to get my TEFL certification. I actually received my TEFL right here at Bridge Denver in 2006. I wanted to go to Spain and so, after I got my certification, I went to Madrid for a year and taught English there.

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“Excuse Me, While I Kiss this Guy” – Dealing with Accents in the ESL Classroom

Remember Jimi Hendrix’s lyrics that sounded like “Excuse me, while I kiss this guy,” which actually said “Excuse me, while I kiss the sky?” There are countless songs that we all remember singing the wrong lyrics to, and they were sung in our native language!  Misunderstanding song lyrics is similar to what it’s like when you […]

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