Tag Archives: FCE Berkshire

WHY ENGLISH CAN BE HARD

English can be difficult because sometimes words with the same spelling can have different meanings and / or pronunciations.

Here are some examples for you to try to figure out:

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was cultivated to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that the workers had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • The soldier decided to desert his tasty dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present to his girlfriend.
  • A bass was painted on the bass drum.
  • I did not object to the object which he showed me.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid in his hospital bed.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about who would row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer.
  • To help with planting, a farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail around the mast.
  • Upon seeing the tear in her painting, she shed a tear.
  • I has to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

MINOR SENTENCES

A minor sentence can be thought of as a sentence where a verb is missing. Here are some examples:

  • Nothing coming.
  • Wow!
  • Like father, like son.
  • Not now.
  • Sarah here.
  • Oi, you!

It could even be possible to have a whole conversation using minor sentences:

A: How much for these?

B: One pound for ten.

A: Too much. How about these? How much for them?

B: Ninety pence for ten.

A: Alright.

B: A few sprigs of parsley too?

A: Okay.

Minor sentences are informal, so are most often found in spoken English rather than written English. However, these days, you could also come across them in tweets.

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THE EASIEST LANGUAGES TO LEARN

Mastered English? Then these languages should be a breeze. Here are the six easiest languages for English-speakers to learn:

Dutch

The sixth easiest language for English-speakers to learn is Dutch. Many Dutch words are written the same as English ones – but be careful as the pronunciation can be different.

Portuguese

Portuguese also shares many words with English but watch out for false friends!

Indonesian

Indonesian is one of the few Asian language that shares the same alphabet as English. A lot of the pronunciation matches the written form too.

Italian

Some Italian words are similar to English. English has also stolen a lot of Italian food words, so if you know these words in English, you know them in Italian too.

French

There are a lot of shared words in English and French as the languages have influenced each other throughout history.

Swahili

The easiest language for English-speakers to learn is Swahili. Swahili has very straightforward pronunciation and grammar, and it has also borrowed some words from English.

So, now you know English, which language will you learn next?

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THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGES TO LEARN

You might have thought English was hard, but, apparently, these are the six most difficult languages to learn.

Mandarin

Mandarin had thousands of special characters and four tones.

Arabic

Arabic has 28 script letters and sounds that do not exist in some other languages.

Polish

Polish spelling uses a lot of consonants, which makes writing and pronunciation hard.

Russian

Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet. If your language uses the Roman alphabet (like English), this can be difficult because some of the letters look the same, but the pronunciation is different.

Turkish

In Turkish prefixes and suffixes are added to words in order to change their meaning or show direction.

Danish

Written Danish is often very different to its pronunciation.

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READING GRADED READERS

What are graded readers?

Graded readers are books written for language learners. This means that the language is kept very simple – only common words and simple grammar are used. These books also include pictures to help you understand the story.

How can graded readers help me improve my English?

Reading graded readers is a good way to increase the amount of time you spend using English, which can help you develop the knowledge and skills you need to use English. Reading graded readers can help you:

  1. Develop your reading skills. You will become a faster reader and understand texts better.
  2. Learn vocabulary incidentally. You will consolidate vocabulary you already know and learn new vocabulary while your focus is on reading. This is, in part, because the same vocabulary is often used repeatedly throughout a story.
  3. Consolidate grammatical knowledge. You will find grammatical structures you have learnt in class in context, which can help you develop a better understanding of these structures. You may also learn new grammar.
  4. Improve your writing skills. You will be better prepared to write in English, as reading is closely linked to writing.

Which level should I read?

You should be able to read fast and without a dictionary. This means that the books you read should be easy to understand. The objective is not to learn new vocabulary, but rather to read quickly for general understanding and pleasure.

How much should I read?

For graded readers to be most effective, you need to read regularly. It is generally recommended that learners read about one book a week. Note that graded readers are very short and can often be read in about two hours or so.

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Cambridge FCE Exam tips – Speaking

cambridge-fce-speaking-examHere are some useful tips for the Cambridge FCE Exam.

Do not speak too fast or worry about your accent – this will not affect your results. You will speak with another candidate and the examiner.

The speaking part of the exam is based on 5 things: Grammar, lexis, discourse, pronunciation, and interactive communication. There is also a final mark for Global achievement – overall effectiveness in responding to the tasks in the different sections of the speaking test.

If you are given any materials – read them carefully. Also listen carefully to what the examiner and the candidate say in the exam.

• The first part of this test you will be asked questions about yourself – home, school, work, hobbies, habits, interests, and future plans. Just speak normally during this phase and listen to your partner as you can’t repeat their answer.

• The second part you will have to speak for one minute about two minutes – you must compare and contrast the pictures. You will also have to answer a short question about your partner’s pictures so listen to them. This will be opinion based. You will have to answer a question about the photos which will be given to you on a card – answer this and compare the photos. Use the examiners question to structure your answer. DO NOT DESCRIBE THE PHOTOS – ONLY COMPARE THEM – but, while, however, whereas….
For the question about your partner’s pictures try to use words they did not use.

• The third part of the exam you must complete with your partner. You will be given a number of pictures and have to discuss them, give your opinion, and make a decision about the pictures with your partner. Involve your partner – don’t just talk to yourself – ask them questions and encourage them to ask you questions. Discuss all of the pictures then make a decision. If your partner talks too much just interject and ask if you can give your opinion. If they don’t speak enough try to encourage them to speak.

• The final part of this exam the examiner will join the conversation you and your partner are having from part 3. They will ask open questions for you both to discuss.

When the exam is over – behave as if it were a job interview – just say thank you and leave – do not ask your score or express your relief at the exam being finished.

Prepare for your exam with expert FCE exam tutors at Eurospeak Language School in Reading. Our Cambridge exam classes are very popular and students consistently get great results.