Fixing Dropped Letters with Linking

My Chinese students often drop the last sound of a word.  In a sentence, it is often the last S, but can also be M, N, F or other letters/sounds.  To fix this problem, have your student link the ending sound of a word to the beginning sound of the next word.

“the sun heats up the desert” sounds like “the sun heatsup the desert”

Use a pencil to draw a curved line linking one word to the next.  Linking is always within a sentence, and within a thought group, and never between sentences or over commas.

Here’s a homework sheet my student used to practice linking while reading. For more on linking, look here.

linking in sentences



ESL and American Swear Words

no swearing ESL lesson

image by Bing Images

I’m teaching a Chinese 9-year-old student English and pronunciation.  I noticed she used the question “What the h-ll is that?” Since she had already picked up this sentence with a swear word from the kids at school, it was time to teach her when, and when NOT, to use swear words!

Keep in mind this is a testament to how easily a young person can learn another language. Without any formal teaching, my student learned a language form from the American kids at school. Too bad it was a swear word!

Swear words are also called curse words, bad words, or coarse language.  Depending on who you are with swearing can be very offensive!   Swear words are usually not used with

  • parents
  • teachers
  • employers, or people in authority
  • spiritual leaders, like pastors, priests or rabbis

Adults are expected to use swear words sometimes. The most common kind of swearing happens when a person hurts himself, drops or breaks something and uses a swear word as an exclamation, or cathartic event (meaning they feel better after they do it.)

There are some companies and workplaces where swearing is commonplace.  We also hear lots of swearing in the movies and on television. But most people agree, children should not swear.

For alternatives use:

Dang or Darn for D-mn

Poop, Crap or Sugar for Sh-t

Heck for H-ll

Read about other alternatives for swearing here.

Keep up the good work learning English!



Learn English with Songs

Learn_English_with_songs_ESL_classes_ San_Jose_CAThe many benefits of songs for learning English:

Repetitive melodies are easy to remember.

Pronunciation in songs includes the natural linking patterns of English.

Intonation is easy to imitate and remember in songs.

Pacing, pausing and word groups are usually easy to copy in songs.

Vocabulary is memorized easier in a song.

See more ideas and a fun song exercise in this free printable from the Bloomsbury English website.

Requests and Literal Thinkers (Autism)

Social Thinking Literal ThinkersPeople with autism are literal thinkers.  They often miss sarcasm or misinterpret joking because they pay attention to the literal, or exact, meaning of the words.

I often had trouble communicating with my son (diagnosed with high-functioning autism) because I would hint or imply a request. He did not understand that I was actually making a request.  So that’s my first piece of advice to you, if you’re raising a child with autism, or living with an adult with autism. If you want your child/spouse to clean up his room, put something away, or fix a broken item, ASK DIRECTLY. Instead of saying “Your room is a mess” use “You need to clean up your room”.

The second thing that will help is the word you use when you ask your question. You should use “Will you…?” when making a request.  “Will you clean up your room?”  When you use “will”, you are obligating the listener to reply with his commitment. If you ask “Can you…?” your literal thinker will be wondering about his ability.  He will think “Can I…?” and he will further think “Yes, I can.  I am able to do that.”  But since he’s a literal thinking he’ll not make the jump to the idea that you are asking him to do that.

The last thing that may help is a time expectation on your part.

When does the garbage need to be taken out?  Before you go to bed on Thursday night, because the garbage truck collects on Friday morning.

Be specific and make you request using a time expectation.

Will you take out the garbage before you go to bed? 

Will you feed the dog at 6:00? 

Will you wash your car on Saturday?

By directly asking, using the words “will you” and putting a time expectation on it, you will improve your communication with your child/spouse with autism.