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  1. #1
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    Default Helping a friend with English

    I am not an esl teacher as such, but am helping a friend with her English.

    My friend is taking a course which is quite technical (the language used in the classes is English, but it's not an ESL course). She does well in tests, but does not understand verbal instructions. We speak in English together but I believe she doesnít use English in many other contexts.

    I am wondering, what are some good techniques she could use to improve her English? I think that the specific areas of difficulty are pronunciation and listening, vocabulary and grammar.

    Would watching DVDs with the English subtitles be helpful? And, if so, would it help even if the accents/varieties of English are different from what is spoken here, or if the subtitles are paraphrased instead of word-for-word?

    Any other tips or websites where I might find some?
    Last edited by whiterabbit; 22-Nov-2008 at 17:37. Reason: title too general

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Helping a friend with English

    Quote Originally Posted by whiterabbit View Post
    I am not an esl teacher as such, but am helping a friend with her English.

    My friend is taking a course which is quite technical (the language used in the classes is English, but it's not an ESL course). She does well in tests, but does not understand verbal instructions. We speak in English together but I believe she doesnít use English in many other contexts.

    I am wondering, what are some good techniques she could use to improve her English? I think that the specific areas of difficulty are pronunciation and listening, vocabulary and grammar.

    Would watching DVDs with the English subtitles be helpful? And, if so, would it help even if the accents/varieties of English are different from what is spoken here, or if the subtitles are paraphrased instead of word-for-word?

    Any other tips or websites where I might find some?
    If she's living in Australia and not speaking English very often, it probably means she's stuck in some migrant ghetto, living with her family who speak their native language. I would encourage her to get out and make some Australian friends. You don't say what age she is, or the attitude of her guardians to her socialising outside their community; but this is what she needs. There's no reason for a young person in Australia to learn English from DVDs or websites - especially spoken English.

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Helping a friend with English

    I support this. it is a major problem with certain ethnic groups in the UK, where the women in particular are restricted from contact with their neighbourhood and never learn to communicate. It is also noticeable with migrant workers who stay in their national groups.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Helping a friend with English

    Thanks for your responses Raymott and Anglika. My friend is a married woman with children and she seems to be quite isolated from English other than through the course we are taking. I think you are right about friendship with Australians being important. But it is probably quite difficult to make friends without much language skill, so itís a bit of a catch-22. Unfortunately, we live a long way from each other, so canít usually meet up very often, other than at school. We do meet up socially occaisionally, but it's not a daily thing.
    Do you think that people need to use the target language daily to get results?
    Also, do you think that using DVDs could be helpful at all, alongside more frequent social encounters in English?

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Helping a friend with English

    Quote Originally Posted by whiterabbit View Post
    Do you think that people need to use the target language daily to get results?
    Also, do you think that using DVDs could be helpful at all, alongside more frequent social encounters in English?
    Nothing's black and white like that. Of course it would be better if she used English every day. And using DVDs is better than not learning at all. Maybe she'll find it easier once her children are of school age. (In fact I think they should be going to an English speaking pre-school). They will pick up the language easily and she'll be able to speak with them. But she's right not to wait until then.

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