Need a free e-book? Or an article? Come, get some!

Dear Reader,

In the present days, when there’s a global pandemic raging on, one might have a certain desire. A desire to read something noteworthy. With books and articles being created and published almost daily, one has to wonder will they ever have issues finding said written goods online? Especially with a free access to said content. At a single site. In this blog post I’m going to introduce you to an awesome site where your question will be answered with a definite YES.

A Russian friend of mine – who also happens to be a teacher of English – once shared the key to a hidden virtual treasure trove with me. The site https://z-lib.org/ doesn’t promise either more, or less, than to bring plenty of articles and e-books to your screen. From a multitude of sources. In a wide variety of formats. With the possibility to convert the original content to said different formats. Or just drop them to Google Drive with a few clicks. And finally, a channel to send your next reading to your Kindle device or email address in a matter of minutes, provided you become more than just a simple reader.

Because with a mere browsing you’re only able to download a very small amount of books per day. However, after a free registration, your number of downloads increases by the double. And if that’s still not enough to satisfy your reading craving, you might want to consider throwing the team behind https://z-lib.org/ some of your virtual cash. It’s not a must, of course, but a simple donation. But if you do end up sending them some virtual dough, your generosity shall be returned a hundredfold or more, depending on the amount you can spare. With said donation, you’ll earn yourself an even greater number of downloads for a whole month and the above mentioned opportunity to send your freshly acquired reading to either your Kindle or your email.

And if you happen to send your donations during a fundraising campaign, then you my friend, hit the jackpot! For 30 days you’ll be able to download AN UNLIMITED AMOUNT of written goods. Besides helping the team to run the site smoothly and effortlessly.

So, want to read some? Then check out https://z-lib.org/.

Learning a language by watching films? Absolutely!

Dear Reader,

Have you ever wondered if it could be possible to combine a great pastime activity, such as watching your favourite films and series with successfully and effortlessly learning a language? Me too! And a new app discovered just recently might do just that for us.

The app called Skeebdo (https://skeebdo.com) offers a new way of picking up authentic English vocabulary from a number of multimedia sources. At the moment, it can offer its users an ever-growing number of films and series as hunting grounds, but it promises to boost its resources with YouTube videos in the future. As such, the app is best suited for modern language learners seeking out less boring and tedious means of getting familiar with real spoken English.

The way the app works is pretty simple: you start by picking a genre you’re interested in from a short list. This includes genres like fantasy, action, comedy or romantic. Then you choose a movie or series from another list and pick out five words you want to memorize and set the level of your expertise. Afterwards, it’s time for liftoff! The app will show you ready-made flashcard-style information with the pronunciation, meaning and the context for said word in the film/series. This way you’ll be able to get as much of your study sessions as textually possible.

The practice session works by either giving a definition of the word and listing the freshly acquired vocabulary to choose from by leaving a word behind and all the possible descriptions to match it. Later on you’ll be faced with a more challenging exercise where you get two letters of the word and the context and you need to fill in the missing letters.y available for both IOS and Android free of charge, but with the possibility of going pro after a subscription.

If you want to try out a newer way of studying English words, honing your skills in either writing and speaking by absorbing real life English (yes, slang words included!) then why not give Skeebdo (https://skeebdo.com) a shot? Maybe you’ll even find your next film or series to watch next time you sit down to broaden your vocabulary.

Skeebdo | LinkedIn
Skeebdo – Combining watching content
with learning English

Free Courses for All? Try these sites!

Dear Reader!

We all have a multitude of different potentials hidden within us. Some of us are apt at doing creative things with stationery, others are masters of the culinary arts and some are just great at number crunching or work miracles with their language skills. However, it’s always exciting to learn new things, hone your skills or master new arts and crafts. For this purpose, I’ve collected a number of websites that offer their huge collection of courses either free or at a modest price. With the insane number of things and goodies out there to master, let’s just jump into the thick of it!

Feel free to explore as many of them as you wish and browse through their online catalogue.

  1. Canvas Network: Canvas offers an insane variety of courses on a multitude of topics for FREE. The plus point: all these courses are made by well-known universities and colleges for the public. https://www.canvas.net/
  2. Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/
  3. Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/
  4. Udacity: https://eu.udacity.com/
  5. Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/
  6. Skillshare: Now this is the odd-one-out, for Skillshare is totally free…for a limited time. https://www.skillshare.com/

If you found any of these sites to your liking, your feedback is much appreciated!

🙂

Ran out of Good Reads? This site got you covered!

Dear Reader! We all love reading. Whether we’re talking about traditional printed books or quick and easy to deliver e-books, we all love to gaze upon and digest written content. In this post, I’d like to share a website with you where you can find numerous e-books free to download quickly and easily.

A recent finding of mine is a website that gives the exact answer to the question “What should I read next?” Here’ a link to the site: https://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/index.php This site offers you tons of book recommendations based on the title or author you have read. Just type the title or the author’s name into the search bar and press enter to start your journey into the realm of incredible titles.

Screenshot_2019-02-17 What Should I Read Next Book recommendations from readers like you
The Doorstep to a Whole New World of Reading Experience

However, if you are more of a traditionalist who prefers the tactile approach to books, – while also not caring about murdering another tree or ent family – then you have plenty of websites that satiate your lust, hunger or thirst for printed titles. Some of the best known names are https://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/.

But if you are still lost for what to read next, how about giving https://www.goodreads.com/ a try. The site will list all the books its ever-growing community has read and reviewed so far, thus allowing you to catch a glimpse at some of the more reputed, as well as the less appreciated jewels of the printing industry.

Screenshot_2019-02-17 Recent Updates Goodreads
A Typical Goodreads Homepage

I hope this short text could help you finding your next awesome adventure into the magical world of reading, fellow bookworm.

Good reading!

     🙂

About my Research in a Nutshell

Dear Reader,

in this short entry I wish to share some insight about my PhD dissertation, along with the topic that currently fascinates me in relation to language teaching and studying.

For a starter, I’m a teacher of English and as such, have experienced quite a few obstacles of reaching proficiency in teaching English to different levels of students. The most crucial aspect of this was – in my personal point of view – the difficulty arising from speaking a foreign language fluently – or with just a minimal level of hesitation – despite all the years spent with practising English. And to our shame, the current Hungarian scene is no better either: despite teaching English as a foreign language since the 1980’s the current level of knowledge regarding foreign languages is pretty pathetic for us Hungarians, with only 6% of students learning two or more languages at our local schools.

Share of students learning two or more languages.jpg

And only a fraction of our teenager and adult population speaking at least one language actively (besides their mother tongue, of course).

Knowledge of foreign languages in the EU.png

To make matters worse, the current Hungarian government has just officially announced that all those who wish to enter higher education in Hungary, must be ready to have at least a B2/intermediate level of knowledge of a foreign language by the time they enroll on their very first course. All this should come to pass in 2020. To be fair, they have also announced that all those, who couldn’t acquire a language certificate up to the present moment, shall not fear, for their diplomas will be released to liven up the current labour market.

With bearing all that in mind I came to the conclusion that I need to focus my English teaching on speech fluency, as well as not neglecting the other skills required. However, last year my life came to a change: I withdraw from the teaching profession for a number of reasons and found myself in the social sphere instead, working as a legal guardian. Despite this shift in my professional life, I’m still deeply concerned with the issue of speaking a foreign language properly and effectively and as such, choose an adequate topic for my PhD dissertation: the role and usage of communication strategies in teaching English. To my thinking, these techniques are a possible boon for any language learner regardless of the language they must study in school or are studying for their own purposes and have a hard time holding their own in a conversation.

But what are communication strategies? To put it simply, they are methods and techniques that enable one to become a more fluent speaker of the language by helping them avoid the phenomenon called, “communication breakdown”. A perfect example of such methods is the use of synonyms and antonyms when the proper word simply doesn’t pop up in our head.

If you are further interested in the topic of communication strategies, feel free to like this post or leave a comment pushing me for further information and I shall describe these techniques and methods in detail in future entries.

Let me hear what YOU think about the issue of speaking a language fluently. How do YOU resolve situations where the cat got your tongue and YOU have to say something but YOU can’t? Do YOU feel that YOU are prepared for such occasions? Leave YOUR feedback in the comment section below.

How to Learn Sentences, Rather than Words?

Dear Reader! We have all been there: trying to memorize a whole bunch of words and phrases just to be able to speak in front of the class or to try to give our best during a language test, maybe a presentation. When such occasions arise we either try to cram in as much as we could inside our heads, or just to give up at all.

But some sought out alternative solutions to studying just words and fixed expressions. Let’s see one of these alternative solutions: introducing Clozemaster!

clozemaster-icon.jpg

www.clozemaster.com

Clozemaster is a pretty neat way of studying a language right from the start. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, the game-like features, the UI, the 8-bit dashboard will definitely grab your attention, especially if you are into retro gaming style. What’s more, you will level up after each time you successfully reach the end of a level (see my first pic on my current level).

Screenshot_2018-08-14 Learning Deutsch From Magyar
My current level as a deutsch Student. 🙂

The free users can only practise their vocabulary, while premium users have access to both listening and speaking activities as well. In addition, you can choose between multiple choice like tests and text inputs, the latter one rewarding you with double the points than the previous one, every time you score points.

So, instead of just rote learning one word after another, you can see the words working together to form complex and natural sentences. Some are easier and you can quickly anchor them down in your head while others require a bit more patience and practice, depending on the level you’re studying, your mother tongue and your language skills. But fear not! For Clozemaster always showes you the correct result and takes you back to the sentence that needs more practice right before the end of the round. And if you need more, feel free to review all the sentences you have mustered so far! Or go for a ride on the wave of grammar challenges where the task is the same, but you will be required to do a bit of an accuracy tests instead. 😉

The sheer number of learnable languages on the site is rather staggering. As an English speaker you can learn from Afrikaans and Arabic through Greek and Hungarian to Welsh and Yiddish!

Screenshot_2018-08-15 Learn language in context - Clozemaster
All the languages you can learn as an English speaker.

Finally, here are a few screenshots of my dashboard and my score. I’m studying German at the moment with the help of the site and I enjoy it greatly! 🙂

Screenshot_2018-08-14 Learn language in context - Clozemaster
My dashboard with all the current functions available.

Screenshot_2018-08-14 Learning Deutsch From Magyar(1)
My stats and progress bar.

Használati útmutató a blogomhoz

Kedves Olvasóm! Korábban már írtam arról, hogy mi a blogom célja és rendeltetése. Ha ez esetleg elkerülte volna a figyelmedet, kérlek olvasd el itt: https://wordpress.com/page/fluentspeechblog.com/1

Arra azonban nem tértem ki, hogy pontosan HOGYAN is tervezem ezt a fajta tájékoztatást és tanítást, népoktatást. Nos, most erre szeretnék röviden kitérni.

A blog célja elsősorban az idegennyelvi beszédfolyékonyság (fluencia) növelése. Ez természetesen nem jelenti azt, hogy a többi készség (olvasás, írás, hallott szövegértés; esetleg fordítás, tolmácsolás) nem lenne fontos, vagy nem kellene fejleszteni, de tapasztalatom szerint a nyelvtanulóknak, illetve nyelvet használóknak sokszor a folyékony beszéd okozza a legnagyobb kihívást. (Ez természetesen a elsődlegesen nem-anyanyelvűekre vonatkozik.)

A blogot bilingviálisra (kétnyelvűre) terveztem. Ennek oka abban keresendő, hogy bár főleg magyar nyelvtanulóknak szánom az itt található tartalmakat, mégis, a mai globális világban nem árt, ha az embert a nemzetközi porondon is jegyzik. Éppen ezért az itt olvasható bejegyzések egyaránt elérhetőek lesznek magyarul és angolul egyaránt.

Emellett nem árt, ha tudod, hogy azért én is emberből vagyok és néha előfordul, hogy kicsit érzékenyebb, személyesebb tartalmakat is feltöltök erre az oldalra. Természetesen ezeket a szövegeket nem kell elolvasnod, ha nem akarod. Véleményezésre mindig van lehetőség az egyes írások kapcsán, de EZT CSAK KULTURÁLT FORMÁBAN, ÉSZÉRVEKKEL ALÁTÁMASZTVA FOGADOM EL! Természetesen minden esetben fenntartom magamnak a jogot és a lehetőséget, hogy bármely durva, sértő, nem odaillő megjegyzést eltávolítsak az oldal zavartalansága érdekében. Kérlek, erre légy tekintettel!

A fentiek tükrében szeretnék különféle offline és online forrásokat felkínálni, amelyek remélhetőleg hozzájárulnak az idegennyelvtudásod elmélyítéséhez és kiszélesítéséhez. Ezek között a tartalmak között szerepelnek tanulást segítő weboldalak, blogok, könyvek, film, zene vagy éppen sorozatajánló. Ezen források esetében két fontos szabályt kell mindig szem előtt tartanod:

  1. CSAK ÉS KIZÁRÓLAG KIPRÓBÁLT DOLGOKAT AJÁNLOK NEKTEK! Semmi olyat sem szeretnék bárkinek felkínálni, amit előzetesen legalább egy rövid ideig nem teszteltem, hiszen így nem lehet hiteles a bemutatás!
  2. BÁRMI, AMI NEKEM BEVÁLLT, VAGY TETSZETT NEM BIZTOS, HOGY NEKED IS MŰKÖDNI FOG! Ez bármivel így van, nem kell meglepődnöd. Vannak olyan módszerek, weboldalak, szolgáltatások, amelyek bizonyos embereknek kedveznek, míg mások kevesebb vagy éppen alig érzékelhető sikerrel fogják használni. Ennek ellenére mindenkit arra biztatok, hogy bátran tegyen egy próbát az itt felkínált lehetőségekkel!

Akkor hát, kalandra fel!

🙂

Miért fontos, hogy nyelveket tanuljak?

Kedves Olvasóm! Bizonyára benned is felötlött már a kérdés, hogy tulajdonképpen miért voltak kötelező idegen nyelv óráid iskolás/főiskolás vagy egyetemista éveid alatt. Miért voltak fontosak ezek az órák? Mivel lettél több ezeknek köszönhetően? Éppen ezen kérdésekre válaszul most felvetek néhány lehetséges megközelítést.

Az idegennyelv-tanulás fontosságáról, illetve annak konkrét, az agyra és a gondolkodásra gyakorolt pozitív hatásairól egy remek rövid, ámde jól érthető TED videó tesz tanúbizonyságot (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMmOLN5zBLY). Ebben a videóban is jól látható, hogy a két (vagy többnyelvű) agy milyen jótékony hatásokat “szenved el” az idegen nyelvtanulás oltárán feláldozott sok-sok órányi (vagy éppen évnyi) gyakorlásnak köszönhetően.

Egy másik, szintén nem elhanyagolható, megközelítése az idegennyelv-tanulásnak az ilyen jellegű tudás anyagi vonzata, amelyet Bálint a következő blogbejegyzésében remekül összefoglal a 2016-os évre levetítve.

https://otevotnyelv.com/nyelvtudas-2016/

Továbbá, idegen nyelvet nem csak anyagi okokból, vagy az újdonság keresése, illetve a szellemi frissentartás miatt lehet, illetve érdemes tanulni. Ma már egy olyan globális világban élünk, ahol szinte lehetetlenség legalább egy idegen (zömmel az angol) nyelv ismerete nélkül (meg)élni.

A legtöbb sorozat, film, tudományos kutatás, vagy éppen a magyar nyelvbe bekerülő új kifejezés (pl. ezt adom; szó szerinti fordítása az angol I give that-nek, de a magyar megfelelő önmagában nem közvetíti ugyanazt a jelentést, mint angol eredetije, ráadásul igen “magyartalanul” hat) is az angol nyelvből ered. Így tehát legalább ezt a nyelvet fontos jól és helyesen megtanulni és használni. Ez természetesen nem csak az én véleményem, ez egy tény. 🙂 Így tehát, már csak hobbi szinten is érdemes elkezdeni foglalkozni egy (vagy több) idegennyelv-tanulásával akár otthon, az internet segítségével. A későbbiekben bemutatok majd néhány weboldalt, amely segítséget nyújt ebben a folyamatban.

Akármi is legyen az indokunk az idegennyelv-tanulására, fontos, hogy kitartóan és következetesen csináljuk azt, különben annak hatékonysága alacsony lesz, lsd. a következő cikket ennek kapcsán: https://otevotnyelv.com/fokusz/.

Kedves Olvasóm! Kívánom neked, hogy megtörhetetlen lelkesedéssel és kitartó munkával érd el a célodat: egy vagy több idegen nyelv magas szintű ismeretét, illetve használatát! Ugyanakkor, soha ne feledkezz meg saját anyanyelved fontosságáról és annak igényes és művelt szóhasználatáról sem (káromkodni természetesen szabad, de kizárólag indokolt esetben és csak egy egészséges időtartamig, különben egy, a nyelvi igénytelenséget jól mutató szokássá válik ;-)).

„…soha ne feledd, miképpen idegen nyelveket tudni szép, a hazait pedig lehetségesig mívelni kötelesség.” (Kölcsey Ferenc: Parainesis Kölcsey Kálmánhoz (1837))

A website for those who want to reach the next level of English

I came upon a very useful website a few year before and immediately decided to re-post the posts it shares on Facebook with other fellow teachers of English and students eager to add some more to their knowledge of this language. This site was Fluent Land. (https://www.fluentland.com/)


Fluent Land caters for a number different needs, whether they are coming from teachers of English or students of the language:

  • It provides you with a place to practice different language skills from grammar and listening to vocabulary and pronunciation (the latter one can be practiced on either a beginner, an intermediate and an advanced level).
  • It offers both TOEFL and IELTS practice material.
  • It helps both your students and you, too with a variety of language games that aim at improving the different skills of language users.
  • In addition, it is not only a site for language learning, but also for getting to know other teachers and students from around the globe. Both the forum and their blog are open to new ideas brought together by the many.
  • Finally, it let’s you search their online database of users to find either the right language teacher for your personal needs or the next foreign language that you want to study. 

Screenshot_2018-07-24 Fluent Land – Online Language Learning Community

What I found really cool about this site is the sheer number of great material that you can browse online and print out as educational aid. My favourite section is the vocabulary part of their blog (http://www.fluentland.com/english-vocabulary-lessons/): from here, they freely share their vocabulary materials on Facebook and of course, – one good turn deserves another, – the knowledge they so generously have imparted on us, is spread further thanks to the “Share” button.

If you want to find out more about their goodies and improve the level of English of those you work with every day, give it a spin! 🙂