The Start of Something New

Dear Reader!

I believe it’s high time I introduced my fledgeling podcast to the wider audience. The title of the podcast is Fluent English Now! and as the title suggests, my goal as an ex-teacher of English, is to give a hand to those non-native speakers of English who are strugling with fluent speech in English. The concept of the podcast is, that by introducing communication strategies along with an ever-growing vocabulary, one can achieve a greater level speech fluency in English as well as other languages.

I’ll release a new episode every two weeks, for now. In the future, I might make an episode per week, if the reception is positive and there’s an actual demand for my content. To indicate such need, please leave me a constructive remark or opinion after the questions of each episode left on Spotify. Also don’t forget to leave me a rating after each episode for me to see if the direction the show’s heading towards is acceptable or not.

I’m going to leave a few links below, where you can listen to my podcast on a number of podcast players. The podcast is currently available on the following podcast players: anchor.fm, who made it possible for my podcast to start its journey (https://anchor.fm/lesliekarpati)

spotify (https://open.spotify.com/show/2nDAx76kNm2ieK873acWcM)

Apple Podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fluent-english-now/id1593030156)

Google Podcasts (https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yZTUxYmNkYy9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==)

Breaker (https://www.breaker.audio/fluent-english-now)

Castbox (https://castbox.fm/ch/4650200)

Pocket Casts (https://pca.st/bm62smrt)

RadioPublic (https://radiopublic.com/https%3A%2F%2Fanchor.fm%2Fs%2F2e51bcdc%2Fpodcast%2Frss)

With that being said, I announce to you, that the first episode of Fluent English Now! has been officially released as of 12th November 2021!

So, until next time, dear reader, keep speaking English! 🙂

What is verbal fluency and why should it matter?

Dear Reader!

Have you ever thought about what does the term fluency or verbal fluency mean? How does that translate to our everyday lives and YOUR LIFE as a language learner in particular? In this short blog entry I’m going to put down a few notions that we need to consider when talking about language fluency and how to teach it.

In layman’s terms, verbal fluency is most often understood as the ease and smoothness of one’s speech or verbal delivery. This means, that the more speedier your verbal reply to any sort of verbal action is delivered, the quicker you’ll be seen by outsiders and are more likely to be labeled a fluent speaker of the language. However, we also need to bear in mind that it’s not only the speed of our reply that matters, but also the number, position and length of hesitations, weather filled or unfilled.

If your speech is filled to the brim with hesitations, like uhm, ahm, hmm and so on and this occurs frequently, then your oratorship is most possibly flushed down the toilet in a matter of seconds. But hey, heads up! None of us are born to be Cicero or Churchill. It is the struggle of climbing the hill to Mount Fluent Speech that makes us great speakers!

Now, in order to become an apt speaker of any language, you need to understand that fluency is a tricky and elusive term. If your goal is to achieve a native-like rapidity at “delivering your verbal bullets”, you need to familiarise yourself with the following terms and notions: cognitive fluency, utterance fluency, perceived fluency, speed fluency, breakdown fluency and repair fluency. Sounds like a lot to take in? Don’t worry. Let me walk you through the garden maze of all fluencies.

  • Cognitive fluency: the speed and ease/smoothness of how quickly one can build up their process of thinking and the likely utterance before actually saying a single word.
  • Utterance fluency: the speed at which one delivers their message. Usually measured in syllables or words uttered per minute.
  • Perceived fluency: the subjective assessment of the orator’s speaking skills and speech fluency, determined by the estimation and opinion of the observer.
  • Speed fluency: the number of words and/or syllables one delivers within a specific time frame and the speed at which said words/syllables are uttered.
  • Breakdown fluency: the number, length and position of filled and/or unfilled pauses in one’s speech. Here I need to notice that intermediate language learners often pause in the middle of an utterance and not at the end of a sentence or a trail of thought, like advanced or native speakers of the language are more likely to do.
  • Repair fluency: the number of false starts or re-starts, partial or complete repetitions one applies during a given section of their speech.

I hope this short explanation cleared the dust for you, dear reader, regarding verbal fluency and all other fluencies. Next time, I’m going to describe a few techniques and methods you can use to improve your spoken fluency, using fluency-oriented tasks. Until then, keep speaking!

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!

🙂