En este episodio, Samuel y yo hablamos sobre cómo aprenderse los verbos irregulares a través de grupos de verbos que tienen el mismo patrón. Utilizamos como ejemplo los verbos: BLOW, KNOW, GROW y THROW.
Se trata de practicar con frases cortas y yendo del español al inglés, ya que es como funciona tu cerebro cuando intentas hablar inglés y aún no tienes un nivel alto; primero piensas en español y luego intentas decirlo en inglés.
Hablamos también de una manera de mejorar la pronunciación y entonación en inglés haciendo “shadow reading”. Puedes escuchar un texto con audio, tipo “Voice of America” y repetir todas las frases una y otra vez para que el acento y la entonación te salga mejor.
Hablamos de cómo en el inglés predomina el sonido de las consonantes, sobre las vocales. Lo que es lo contrario de lo que ocurre en español. Si te fijas “los guiris” (extranjeros, sobre todo de habla inglesa) pronuncian el español haciendo precisamente eso, dando más importancia a la consonante que a la vocal. Eso es precisamente lo que tú tienes que hacer cuando intentes hablar inglés.
Aquí abajo dejo la transcripción del podcast.
Episode 3 PRACTICING THE IRREGULAR VERBS.
Mónica: I have here with me my dear student Samuel. Samuel, how are you?
Samuel: Hello. Not too bad.
Mónica: Not too bad. Ok. Tell us a little bit for the first time listeners, tell us a bit who you are and what you do.
Samuel: Ok. Well. First of all my name is Samuel as Mónica said before and I work as a teacher. I am a PE teacher in a Primary school. In a short time I would like to teach my students in English and for this reason here I am. I’m really, really fond of doing sports, in particular, triathlon and that’s it.
Mónica: For me Samuel is a hero, and I have to say it very loud because I met Samuel some years ago when he had zero level of English and he has worked his way up with such an effort, so hard, with language exchanges because some people say: “Well, you don’t have resources. I cannot pay high-end classes”. No. He didn’t need them. He just continued, and continued and continued. And he’s quite fluent.
Mónica: Yeah. It’s like in sports.
Samuel: Yeah, it’s the same.
Mónica: You want to go further, and further. And what I love about him is that he keeps insisting. Ok, let’s do this class. When are we going to do the class? He is very eager, eager. To be eager. Do you understand that expression? Tener ganas, tener muchas ganas. To be eager to have a class when most people say: No. Another English class. He’s completely different. I really admire him because of that. You can achieve results only because you want to. That’s it.
So today we’re going to just I did with Quique in another lesson I’m going to try to explain to Samuel in a very specific manner how to improve his English level doing very specific things. I think he knows most of these things. The difference is going to be that we’re going to try narrow down as much as possible. Do you understand TO NARROW DOWN?
Samuel: Mmmm… specific or more attention I think.
Mónica: NARROW DOWN is como ESTRECHAR el foco. Because first of all I want to ask you: What is for you to be fluent in English?
Samuel: Now I realize that I’m doing a thing which I think it’s extremely effective for me and it’s to do READING and LISTENING at the same time. Because I figured out how to sound different vocabulary and I can learn new words and now I’m really, really motivated with that because it’s important to find a topic which you love. For me now I’m really, really motivated with that and as soon as I get up I study English, I read and listen to English at the same time, at least 30 minutes, every single day. And now it’s my new sport as you said before. It’s my hobby.
Mónica: Your hobby. Ok. But I was asking for a definition. What is your definition of being fluent?
Samuel: I think when you don’t have any problem to communicate with native people. When you have to control everything with the new language, I think you’re fluent.
Mónica: Ok. And you’re saying to me (and then I’m going to add what you just said): One of the ways to become fluent is the new method I found is that I read and listen at the same time. You do SHADOW READING. We call that SHADOW READING. It’s an audiobook or some kind of page where you can listen to the recording and at the same time they say one sentence and you say exactly the same. Right?
Samuel: It’s true.
Mónica: You try to copy the pronunciation.
Samuel: You have to have a time to be used to new vocabulary or new expressions, but first of all you need to know how to sound, how to say this specific sentence in a text, for example.
Mónica: Yeah, because it’s not only. The problem is that it’s not only the pronunciation of certain words, it’s also the intonation. You’re imitating an accent and you’re listening and reading, you copy the intonation. Intonation is just as important as the accent because if you say the thing with the right accent but the wrong intonation it sounds strange. And there is another benefit, you get another benefit form that technique that you are using and it’s that at the same time you’re learning structures without even noticing because you’re repeating and when you repeat at the end you make those structures yours.If you repeat the same structure at the end you say the same. For example, I read The Phantom of the Opera like a thousand times. This is for beginners, this is a book that I use for beginners and I always say: He was a man with no eyes, no nose….I already know it from this. Because I read it a thousand times. I read it thousands of times. So I know these sentences when you memorize the sentences, this is one of the methods I use to improve the level. So, basically there are two things. One, it’s the most important thing -and you already know this- is to work on the verbs, especially the irregular verbs.
Samuel: Yeah, the irregular verbs.
Monica:The irregular verbs. Why? Because the verbs and I like to use this metaphor. We have a tree, the verbs are going to be the roots for that tree to grow. If you don’t have the verbs that tree cannot grow because there is no way that you can supply all the elements that are needed to grow. So the verbs are this kind of vehicles that help you to grow. The other elements, let’s say the trunk it’s going to be important are structures, but then you get to the leaves, and leaves are details: like prepositions, things that aren’t so important but they need be there to have a nice tree. Right?
But these roots, when we start with the roots that are the verbs, you learn this list of verbs when you’re at school and there is where the problem starts. We talked about that before in another podcast. That we spend 25 five years learning these verbs and we really don’t know them. Why? Because you don’t use them in sentences and you don’t listen to them. You read them, but you don’t listen to them. It’s much more important to listen to them than to read them . So, we’re going to work now with that. I’m going to give you an example. We are going to pick only 3 verbs, because if we take more than 3 verbs the system starts collapsing because it’s too much information. So suppose I’m going to use the verb “soplar”. Conjugate the verb “soplar”. How do you conjugate…don’t write. Just conjugate SOPLAR in English.
Samuel: Well, BLOW, BLEW, BLOWN.
Mónica: BLOW, BLEW, BLOWN. Very good.That’s the first step.Second step. We are going to make sentences and I’m going to go from Spanish to English because your mind if you’re in Spain you are not in an English speaking country usually you’re thinking in Spanish. You are not thinking in English. You’re thinking in Spanish and because you’re thinking in Spanish your brain tends to translate and that’s why I said the sentences in Spanish. For example, El viento no ha soplado hoy.
Samuel: The wind haven’t blown today.
Mónica: Samuel, third person?
Samuel: The wind HASN’T BLOWN today.
Mónica: One thing. I’m sure you know this but I’m going to talk about this because it’s very important to see the difference why we fail and we feel frustrated, and the reason is because if you think about the verb SOPLAR in Spanish. Suppose you’re learning the verb SOPLAR in Spanish, which you don’t even remember when you learned it.But if I say to you. Futuro, Presente, Pasado, you good to do this “sound of snapping fingers”. HAS SOPLADO, NO SOPLÓ, SOPLARÁ. You do exactly and you don’t make mistakes.
Mónica: It would be very strange that you make any mistake. Maybe little children make mistakes. But you don’t. Right? Now we change into English.We get into English and we want to be fluent. We start: El viento no ha soplado, instead of “El viento no haber soplado ayer”. No. El viento no HA soplado ayer. I would correct that, I would say: “No HA SOPLADO ayer. No. The wind HASN’T. Espera, no se puede decir “Ayer with Present Perfect. No ha soplado hoy. Again: El viento no ha soplado hoy.
Samuel: In Present Perfect?
Mónica: Yeah, in Present Perfect.
Samuel: The wind hasn’t blown today.
Mónica: That’s it.The wind HASN’T.
Mónica: We have a root there. We work on that root. It’s a metaphor for me. El verbo es una raíz, trabajo en la raíz. I have to build it up. La tengo que construir. Because if I don’t build it up we are never going to have that tree, nice tree.
El viento SOPLA todos los días.
Samuel: The blow..
Mónica: No, the wind. No es “the wind”, es WIND. A ver….espera un momento. -…..When we talk about the weather or the moon, the sun, we do use the article THE. It’s The wind, yes. El viento SOPLA todos los días.
Samuel: The wind…sorry, the wind BLOWS every day.
Mónica: El viento SOPLÓ ayer.
Samuel: The wind did….
Mónica: No, no….
Samuel: The wind BLEW yesterday.
Mónica: Very good. Yesterday, con “i”, Samuel.
Not “chesterdei”, sino “iesterdei”.
The wind BLEW yesterday.
Mónica: ¿Ha SOPLADO hoy el viento? Don’t write. Look at me, just listen.Me estás mirando.
Samuel: No, no.
Mónica:Forget about writing.Look at me. ¿HA SOPLADO el viento hoy?
Samuel: Has the wind BLOWN today?
Monica: Has the wind…?
Samuel: Has the wind BLOWN today?
Mónica: No, el viento no HA SOPLADO hoy.
Samuel: No, the wind HAVEN’T….
Mónica: No. The wind HASN’T
Samuel: The wind HASN’T BLOWN today.
Mónica: El viento SOPLARÁ mañana.
Samuel: The wind is going to BLOW tomorrow.
Mónica: No, SOPLARÁ. No quiero GOING TO. SOPLARÁ.
Samuel: The wind WILL BLOW tomorrow.
Mónica: Perfect. The wind WILL BLOW tomorrow.
El viento nunca SOPLA aquí.
Samuel: The wind never BLOW here.
Mónica: Tercera persona, third person.
Samuel: The wind never BLOWS here.
Mónica: Perfect. The wind never BLOWS here. Ok. Perfect.
Donde yo vivo el viento SOPLA mucho o el viento SOPLA mucho donde yo vivo. You can say it the other way around.
Samuel: The wind, the wind BLOWS so
Mónica: No. “A lot”. A lot is the best way because A LOT covers everything.
Samuel: The wind BLOWS a lot where I live.
Mónica: Very good. If you repeat it. The more you repeat it, the more it’s like fluent. That’s fluency. Imagine how fluent you are in Spanish. Imagine the difference. Imagine: El viento SOPLAR..ayer no SOPLÓ. You say it like this (snapping fingers). Everybody, ta,ta, ta,
Samuel: It’s like a training.
Mónica: It’s like a training. It’s exactly like training in sports. If you were my trainer, trainer for sports and I had to do push ups or anything like that you would be very disappointed. You would say: Oh, my God, she has to work more because she’s very lazy. She doesn’t want. Or whatever, I’m not lazy. Usually I’m not lazy because that’s not my attitude, but I’m not in a very good …because I’m not doing sports every day, so if you don’t do it everyday. The thing with the language is that when you use it everyday you want it or not. In Spanish is the same, you use it everyday because you’re forced to use it everyday, but sports or exercise you do it when you want to, when you feel like and many people, I’m sure you have this situation. They want to do sports and they say how can you, you’re never going to get there if you’re just doing 5 minutes and then give up. The same thing happens here. BLOW, BLEW, BLOWN. But what is for me the most important element, the most important factor is ATTITUDE.
Samuel: Attitude is the key.
Mónica: Attitude is so important.
Samuel: Attitude. You spend time with your language and there is an important thing. It’s the knowledge. It’s when you develop your knowledge and realize, you realize things, you know.
Samuel: When you realize, for example, you are practicing Future tense and there is a moment when you realize how to use Future, how to use this special word when to use Future, for example. When you notice the, or you realize.
Mónica: You become aware of the differences. But this is like, it’s a process. At the beginning everything is like black. I don’t see any light here. Everything is unknown and the suddenly you start seeing little, little lights, and there is some light here. I understand this structure, but I don’t know how it works. And what makes the difference is the you keep trying and keep trying, keep trying and suddenly, suddenly you see the picture and you say:Oh, my God! My tree is there. I have my roots, I have my trunk and I have my branches and my leaves. But that takes a long time. And one key element here is to work with very specific things. We work with the word BLOW, which is a common structure for many verbs in English. Because BLOW, but BLOW, I don’t use that word too much. In spite of that, in Spanish if I ask you for SOPLAR you could say the same: SOPLAR, no usamos mucho esa palabra, pero If I say to you conjúgamela, you good go, pa, pa,
Vamos…..The same pattern, there are many words. CRECER
Samuel: Crecer, is GROW, GREW, GROWN.
Mónica: Ok. One comment I’m going to make. TO GROW UP and TO GROW. There is a difference. GROW UP in English means. Ya empezamos con los apuntes. No me interesan los apuntes. Notes. It’s conversation. Toma todos los apuntes for listening.
Samuel: Ok, ok.
Mónica: I have here a notebook on the chat that’s going to be recorded and I’m going to use that chat to ask you later. GROW is GROW, GREW, GROWN. Todos suenan igual.
KNOW, KNEW, KNOWN. THROW, THREW, THROWN. You see the same pattern, with the same pattern we can do four verbs. We can do BLOW, THROW, KNOW y GROW. Four verbs.
So, the pattern is always GROW, GREW, GROWN. I’m going back to what I started to say and it’s that GROW has basically two meanings. One of the them is CRECER in general, everything, plants GROW. Figuratively, you can also say that an idea GREW. Many things can GROW. Population GROWS. But GROW UP, to GROW UP is for people. TO GROW UP means
Samuel: Only people?
Mónica: Yeah, only people. You cannot say PLANTS GROW UP.
Samuel: Animals, plants, no?
Mónica: No. Because it means to GROW UP es como CRIARSE. Por ejemplo: I GREW UP in New York. You could say. Or I GREW UP in Madrid. Or I GREW UP in Cuenca. That means, the meaning is CRECER en el sentido de TO BE RAISED. SER CRIADO. And then, also TO GROW UP is MADURAR. When are you going to GROW UP? Sometimes teenagers when they behave like children or even adults behave like children, you can say: When are you going to GROW UP? So there is a difference there. You see the difference?
Grow up for people and GROW in general for anything else.
Only people. No me digas que las plantas GROW UP. It sounds very funny. Es como “las plantas han madurado”.
Only people….Right? Ok? So that distinction. Let’s see the.. We are going to talk about plants.
Esas plantas no han crecido.
Samuel: These plants…
Mónica: No. Samuel: Esas…están lejos. These are near. In English is near.
Samuel: Those plants haven’t GROWN.
Mónica: Very good. Those plants haven’t GROWN.
Samuel: Those plants haven’t GROWN.
Mónica: Esa planta creció poco.
Samuel: That plant GREW a little.
Mónica: Very good.
Esa planta no creció.
Samuel: That plant didn’t GROW. Didn’t GROW.
Mónica: Ok. Esa planta crece todos los días.
Samuel: That plant GROWS every day.
Mónica: Let’s see another…. La población no ha crecido en esta ciudad.
Population. We’re going to use population.
Samuel: Population…The Population HASN’T GROW
Mónica: Hasn’t what, sorry?
Samuel: HASN’T GROWN. GROWN.
Samuel: I didn’t remember.
Mónica: en esta ciudad.
Samuel. In this city.
¿Ha crecido la población en esta ciudad?
Mónica: Eeee…. tercera persona. Population with third person.
Samuel: HAS the population GROWN in this city?
Mónica: Very good. La población creció un 5 por ciento.
Samuel: The population GROW…no GREW. The population GREW five percent.
Mónica: Very good. The population..
You see what the brain is doing? The brain is…
I always talk about the metaphor of these two. A Spanish guy that is living in your brain and the English guy that is the tenant. The landlord and the tenant. The tenant es el inquilino. Let’s suppose in your brain you have a landlord, el dueño, el propietario. And this guy is Spanish obviously. And he has all kind of furniture. Tiene todo tipo de muebles ahí. And then he has a tenant; an English guy that has no furniture and he has to borrow from the Spanish. And he starts first taking this furniture but he adapts it to English, until he can buy his own furniture and the tenant…empieza “bueno voy a comprar algo mío”. Not borrow from the Spanish because if I borrow from the Spanish is not going to be mine. So I start saving resources, resources and I create my own furniture and then when you’re doing that, in that process, in that process that is going in your brain you are looking for the words. You’re saying: GROW, GREWN??.. you are looking and so the speech becomes very slow because the brain is trying to find the furniture and it’s basically borrowing. Está realmente pidiendo de prestado al otro. Entonces… we cut the borrowing and we create our own things, our own resources, but eso.. this is when you start stuttering or START hesitating. Do you understand hesitating?
Samuel: You have a doubt.
Mónica: You start like: Is it GROW, GREW, GROWN.
Mónica: Exactly. Also another metaphor. For me, the very specific it’s driving. I told you I think about driving. Driving for me is the same,.When you and you go first gear, second gear, third gear and then suddenly you do it. First, second, third. I’m not, I don’t if it’s fifth. I have no idea. I already. It’s imbedded. It’s inserted into my brain in such a way that it’s a different kind of knowledge. It’s mechanic knowledge. It’s not analyzing. In a certain moment you stop analyzing. It’s like in Spanish. Sometimes I say… this morning I asked one student something like: “me dijo que lo hiciera”. And then he comes and asks me: “¿Me dijo, qué tiempo es?And I started laughing you don’t know that “me dijo” is past tense. No, I don’t know. I’m not aware. It’s completely automatic. So what I’m asking you it’s to go back and think: Is tit past tense? And you have the problem, you know with what?r Present Perfect. In Present Perfect you are not… because what you did you went to the Past tense and then you went back to Present Perfect and then there is a problem of “have” and “has”. Is it third person? or Is it plural?
Samuel: I have a lot of elements.
Mónica:Yes and you start looking but
Samuel: Many times I don’t have any control
Mónica: No, no but this prevents alzheirmer completely, because the brain is going crazy. GROW, GREW, GROWN. BLOW, BLEW, BLOWN. Let’s do it with KNOW that’s a very common verb.
KNOW, KNEW, KWON. Vamos a decir que es como CONOCER because if I say SABER, it’s more difficult to translate. Let me see.
Yo sabía eso.
Samuel: I knew that.
Mónica: I knew that
Yo no sabía eso. I didn’t…
Samuel: I didn’t know that.
Mónica: Nunca he sabido porqué.
Samuel: I haven’t…
Mónica: No, no.puedo poner…cuidado que tengo NUNCA. No puedo poner …two negatives there.
Samuel: I have never KNWON.
Mónica:Why. I have never known why.
I have never known why…
Samuel: I knew it.
Mónica: I knew it. ¿Sabías tú?
Samuel:I knew it or I knew as a matter of fact, I knew it is familiar because I heard.
Mónica: Yeah, many times. That’s why you know it.But it’s exactly the same for everything else. The more you are exposed to the language, the better it’s.
¿Lo sabías tú?
Samuel: Did you know…
Mónica: Did you know it? Did you know it?…. Did you? Did you?
Samuel:Did you know it?
Mónica: Ella no lo sabe.
Samuel: She doesn’t know it.
Mónica:Very good. She doesn’t know it. She doesn’t know it.
Samuel: She doesn’t know it.
Mónica: Él lo sabe.
Samuel: He knows it.
Mónica: He knows it. He knows it.
Samuel: He know it.
Mónica: Lo supe ayer. There is a problem here with the translation: Lo supe ayer is usually….
Samuel: I knew it yesterday.
Mónica: Yeah, but there is another expression. I learned. I learned yesterday that he died, for example. Supe ayer que murió. I learned that he died yesterday. ¿Por qué no lo sabías?
Samuel: Why not ….
Mónica: No…no.. Make a contraction there.
Samuel: Why didn’t you…
Samuel: Ah, Why. Ok. Why didn’t you know it?
Mónica: Why didn’t you know it?
Sometimes we don’t use IT. Why didn’t you know?
It’s optional in a way.
Why didn’t you know?
We have GROW, BLOW, the third verb is to THROW. arrojar.
Samuel: THROW, THREW, THROWN.
Mónica: Ella me arrojó la pelota.
Samuel: She THREW the ball.
Mónica: to me. She THREW the ball to me.
Ella no ha arrojado/tirado nada.
Samuel: She hasn’t TROWN anything.
Mónica: Very good.
¿Qué has tirado tú?
Samuel: What does….
Mónica: No, no, no.. ¿Qué has tirado tú?
Samuel: What …
Mónica: ¿Qué has…? del verbo HABER. Samuel. Where are you from again?
You are from Ciudad Real, right?
Samuel: No. From Talavera.
Mónica: Talavera. But you don’t have problems with the Pretérito Imperfecto. You do use HABER ARROJADO ¿verdad? HA ARROJADO. Because in some parts of Spain this tense doesn’t exist, they always use the past tense and. I find that people with that problem usually have a lot of problem with the Present Perfect in English, but probably in your case is that you haven’t practiced so much the Present Perfect.
¿Qué has arrojado? What have you THROWN?
Samuel: My main issue to know English is to practice. I need to practice, practice, practice every single day. Practice makes perfect.
Mónica: Of course. What I wanted to show you here working on very specific things. Because you can work in general, listening, what you’re doing is correct. Listen and read and all that, you get to the same point. It’s like two people running to get to one, to the final, to the finish line A la meta.To the finish line and you take different roads. One road can be to live in a foreign country and to spend there some time and another road is to learn on your own. Another road is to have a teacher and try to learn with a teacher. They all get you to the finish line, but in different ways. When you are doing this with me you are working very specifically in problems, obstacles with fluency. And you can see that ….We just worked here with one thing that was three verbs, irregular verbs in different tenses using the system that your brain uses to speak English. The system that your brain uses to speak Spanish is think in Spanish translate. Even if I told your brain: Don’ do it, your brain will do it. Because it’s impossible to do it otherwise because of the metaphor I told you of the Spanish landlord with the English tenant. A tenant is un inquilino. No se puede evitar eso. Because….
Samuel: Sometimes I…
Mónica: Sometimes, yeah…
Samuel: Sometimes I think about my level because many times I know that I have simple mistakes. I make simple mistakes and bah…. Silly me. And you said before it’s important, essential or it’s crucial to have a page, a huge page, a huge route because if you want to build a huge building you have to, or you need to have a ….
Mónica: Foundation. A good foundation.
Samuel: A good foundation.
Mónica: The difference of the method that you’re saying and the method I’m saying is how specific it is. In this method that I’m using and I usually use with my students. It’s to be very specific about the progress. To work on very specific things. This is called SMART objectives. So there are only a few objectives but we work very hard on them and then you feel less frustrated because otherwise very brought. There are so many things to learn, so many structures, so many things. But if you start working with one verb you already have the pattern of 3 or 4 verbs. We said 4 verbs. Of course you know, I said, this is like a road and I’m telling you the signs. Here there is a sign, here there is a sign, here there is a sign. The first step is to notice there is a sign because teacher told you there was a sign but before you didn’t see it. You were blind because you’re learning the subject still. I’m telling you. In the same way that if you train me you would say: No, no, no. ….you are doing that wrong. You’re moving the arm in the wrong way and you can have a lesion. Why? Because you’ve done it all your life and you know exactly what happens. You know the anatomy of the body, you know how the muscles work, all these things you know and I don’t know. This is the same thing, I’m telling you there is a sign here, there is a sign there, I’m telling you “follow these signs”. And the first thing you do is: Hey, there is a sign there. Now I’m going to be aware about that I have to say them in the Past Tense, in the Present Perfect, in the Future otherwise I don’t really know them. I have an idea of what they’re but I don’t really know. Another thing I wanted to work on. This is not… we are not going to spend a very long time, but I want to show you.You said you were doing active reading. And, I usually use an easy page to do this. One easy page which is Voice of America, learning English.
Samuel: Yeah, I know.
Mónica: That’s a very easy page. So, for example, I pick an article and we’re going to work here with an article: How do I say good-bye to a coworker. Can you check the article? You’re going to find in this page the recording and the article, and they read…the way they read is very, very slow, so you can follow. First, can you read the first paragraph?
Samuel: In today’s ask a teacher we answer a question about saying good-bye. Our reader (Japanese name) works in at a high-school in Japan with many international co-workers. He wirtes
Mónica: Now, I’m going to read it and we’re going to do shadow reading. So; I’m going to read it. The difference is not going to be so much the accent as the intonation.
In today’s ask a teacher, we answer a question about saying good-bye. So you see intonation is nothing else than up, down, up, down, up, down and breathing also, because the breathing is different. So: In today’s ask a teacher (comma) we answer a question about saying good-bye (period). Our reader, Hiddeke, works at high-school in Japan with many international coworkers. That’s the sentence. Now, again: In today’s ask a teacher, you do shadow reading, you now read like I read. After me: In today’s ask a teacher..
Samuel: In today’s ask a teacher
Mónica: we answer a question
Samuel: we answer a question
Mónica: about saying good-bye
Samuel: about saying good-bye
Mónica: You see, tatatatata….it’s like a song. Then, there is another thing. You might think, actually this is not a very important thing, pronunciation is not the main thing, not really because as long as they can understand you, it’s ok. But there are two advantages. The better you pronounce the more people are going to think you have a higher level, immediately. That’s the way it works.
Samuel: Very true.
Mónica: The second thing is that when you learn the different sounds. There are not so many. The only thing is that you are not aware of them because your ear is unable to detect the difference between the Spanish and English.But if I tell you there is a sign there, there is a sign here you start to be aware and the first step is to be aware. What happens is when you start to be aware of the sounds you feel like you’re under control. And you feel like your self-confidence grows and then when you’re speaking you feel much better and it’s less frustrating because verbs are very frustrating. But if I tell you: “Ok do this sound like this, that sound like this” and suddenly you hear yourself and you say: Oo, wow. Now I said that sentence, it sounds like, not like a native because I’m not even, I don’t even have a native accent. But what I do it’s I copy, and I copy as close as possible. Not always succeeded but as close as possible and then it sounds really nice. And then you say: Ooo, my god! It sound much better. And then you feel proud and that’s very good for motivation. Now you are going to read again. One important thing here, you go over and over with the same sentence. This is how they train filipinos. You know that filipinos they work in call centers for The United States and they have to have exactly the same accent, American accent. They do this like this. They train them, some of them, because not everybody can do this because you need to have a high level of English and some previous training. They do this, they get paragraphs and they copy, copy, copy until they say it with the same intonation.
In today’s ask a teacher.
Samuel: In today’s ask a teacher. No “ask”.
Monica: Ask es como asco. Le quitas la “a”. Remember it’s very important the consonant, the vowel sound is not important. In English, consonants. When you hear a “guiri”. Cuando escuchas a un “guiri”. I think I told you this story. The “guiri” is going to speak Spanish with the consonants, not with the vowels. Va decir. “Io soi” ¿Qué lo que está haciendo ahí cuando hace eso? Es que le está poniendo énfasis a la S. “Ssoi PPedro”. Explosive sound. “Ppedro”. “Io voy a casa TTodos los DDias”. What is that? Le pone el “tch” le pone la “D”. DDias y no pone vocal.La vocal la corta.
It’s exactly what you do in English. We do the opposite. We put a lot of emphasis on vowel sounds and not in consonants. And that’s why is ASKKK.
In today’s Askk a Teacher we answer a question. Say that.
Samuel: In today’s Ask a Teacher we answer a question.
Monica: about saying good-bye.
Samuel: about saying good-bye.
Monica: our reader,
Samuel: our reader,
Mónica: works at a high school in Japan
Samuel: works at a high school in Japan
Mónica: with many international coworkers
Samuel: with many international coworkers
Mónica: with many international coworkers. with MANY international coworkers.
Samuel: with many international coworkers.
Monica: Very good. CoworkerS. ’cause another thing. Don’t eat the “S”. No te comas la S. Ok? SometimeS.
Samuel:For example, workerS.
Mónica: Ok. We stop there. So summarize. To sum up. We work with some verb tenses, specific verb tenses in different tenses and we practice a lot with those tenses, like Present Perfect, Past Tense, Present Tense. Sometimes “Future”. Basically, three tenses, maybe four tenses. We find patterns in verbs, like we found with GROW, BLOW, KNOW, THROW. So four verbs. We did those almost four verbs. And we repeat that structure. Can you summarize it for me? Because when you tell me the story you really learn it. When we teach is when we learn. It’s funny because the more you explain, the more you learn about it. So can you tell me?
Samuel: It’s another technique to learn new something and to wrap up.
Monica: Yeah, to wrap up.
Samuel: Wrap up. The most important thing is that when you learn something is better slowly but surely.
Monica: Yeah, very good.
Samuel: And you need to have a XXXX and after that you have to grow up to advance, or to be advanced.
Monica: To be advanceD.
Samuel: To be advanced.
Mónica: Wait a minute. You have to have a “huge” what?
Samuel: A huge found…foundation.
Mónica: Foundation. No. You need to have huge foundation, no. You need to have a foundation. What is that foundation made of?
¿De qué está hecha? Foundation of the English language?
According to what I said.
Samuel: One of the most important things are verbs.
Mónica: Verbs. Right.
Samuel: Irregular verbs. How to pronounce these verbs. And slowly, and step by step you have to practice every single day because as you know “practice makes perfect”.
And in my case really I’m really fond of doing sports and my new sport is English.
Mónica: Hahaha. This is true, but it has been for a long time.You are my hero.
Samuel: I need to feel really, really confident to talk with you, no, to talk to you. I know that I’m on a good way because, I’m really, really motivated and attitude is positive. It’s the key for me. Motivation, spend time with your new language.
Mónica: And what did I say about pronunciation?
Mónica: What did I say? ¿Qué dije de eso? about pronunciation. Do you remember?
Samuel: Yeah, you said that it’s important to…
Mónica: It’s not so important for the fluency
Samuel: The more important thing is the rhythm
Mónica: What I want to say is that pronunciation is not very important for fluency really because you can speak English with an accent and be fluent. But it is important as a tool for motivation because when you start speaking with an accent that’s close to a native accent you feel better and you feel more under control. And people immediately think that you have a higher level than you really have and that’s why also is encouraging because the moment you reduce your accent then people start thinking: Oh! he knows a lot of English, that’s number one, and number two, you feel that you’re more under control.
Samuel: Under control.
And in a way it’s not so difficult to improve your accent because you need to know certain details that you are not aware of and nobody told you usually. So if you learn those details it’s going to be much faster and we can work on future classes on that. You’ll see it. Because it’s just that you are not aware. The moment you are aware, first you realize and then you say “EE, now I’ve got to implement it”. Then you it and then you mouth hurts. “Te duele la boca” because you try to pronounce it in a way you never did before.
Samuel:You have never used.
Mónica: You have never used those muscles. It’s “como” when you ask people to do push-ups and they have cramps all over, you know, the next day because they never used those muscles. It’s exactly the same.
Samuel: Stiffness. Is it correct? When you do exercise.
Mónica: Yeah. Cramps is calambres. Stiffness, stiffed muscle es como
Mónica: Agujetas. Yeah, that’s it. Ok. We stop here. I’ll make a new appointment.I’ll write an email for you probably for Wednesday again. I’m not sure. But I’ll write to you if you want to join of course. It’s a pleasure having you.And I really thank you because you’re willing to record with me this podcast. Because I think you help me, you also help people that want to learn English. We both help people that want to learn English because this material is for free if you want to listen to it. So it’s good for everyone. It’s a win-win situation. Right?
Samuel: Thank you and before you go I would to show my list of irregular verbs.
Mónica: Hahaha. Terrible.
Samuel: xxx I try to go over every week a list and …
Mónica: Yeah, but think about the way I told you how to do it. Don’t get overwhelmed. No te abrumes. Because the main problem with the irregular verbs is that we get overwhelmed because there are so many. Just pick two or three verbs and work with them like this:Did you do it? No, I didn’t do it. Will you do it? I have done it. She has done it. In the same way you would do in Spanish.
Samuel: I know, I know, but now
Mónica: With no hesitation and takes time of course. But it’s only two, three verbs, it’s just like: Did you do it? No, she did it.This kind of conversation with yourself. And this is how you get used to it.
Samuel: But, go ahead sorry.
Mónica: No, that’s my advice.
Samuel: Thank you, thank you so much. But now to be honest I’m sitting on……my level is B2, not my real level, ok? I have this level to work, ok? for my job, but I would like to take a next level, I would like to have C1 level.But at the same time that, now I’m not ready. And I would like to be ready in the short term because my school wants to be a bilingual center and in a future, they will have teachers with high qualifications. And for this reason, one of the reasons I’m really motivated for that. But at the same time, I want to do now things which I love because for example I hate writing, I have writing because….
Mónica: You don’t like it. Some people don’t like writing.
Samuel: And I know I’m really motivated with speaking and with listening because I realize that my level is improved, is improving, sorry and that’s it. But at the same time, I think that I need to practice my writing, my reading, my specific tasks to pass the future exams.
Mónica: Yeah. But this is more, this a different thing. I always tell students. There is a completely different thing. One thing is to be fluent (when) speaking English, another thing is to pass an exam. And to pass an exam, especially the Cambridge examination is learning a method, a way to pass certain types of questions. And there is one thing I will tell you. I recently. I think I told you. Last summer, I passed, I took and exam because I need it for my work as a lawyer. I wrote two books about English, I teach English for many years, all these things, but it has no value for the administration. The only thing that has a value is the certificate. So I had to go like any other student and take the C1. I took the C1 last summer. And I was really shocked by the kind of questions. I’ve been practicing a lot with those questions in different exams but is different when you take the exam than when somebody else is taking the exam, or a student takes the exam. And I was thinking, many times a native person would not be able to answer those questions because they are questions about logic. The Reading is a lot about logic and sometimes also the listening. And if you’re not good at logic you’re not good at answering those questions. I really believe it’s not so much related to your level of English because you can be very fluent and still fail. Do you understand?
Mónica: Fail, fallar, fracasar. So you can still fail because it has to do with the method.
Mónica: So the method is to learn how to do the exam. Of course this kind of classes help you, but what helps you the most is to get the mock exam, the sample exams and work on the sample exams. One time, two time. Answering the questions, and doing exactly the same things that they tell you to do. So following the books, and following the method.
Samuel: Yeah, yeah, I know.
Mónica:And this is the only way that you can pass this kind of exams, especially the C1. The first thing is do a mock examination, try to do a mock examination and then you see your real level for their scale, for their scale which is not the same. You see where you are, and then from the results you get there you start working on the problems you have because you are going to get like a picture of your situation.If you want in the next class I can tell you more about it because I have to go now. So in the next class we can talk more specifically about that, and we can plan a strategy.
Strategy for passing this exam. Are you already working on that for the exam? On the exam C1?
Samuel: Yeah. Now yes, but not from Cambridge.
Mónica: From the EOI?
Samuel: British Council.
Samuel: Aptis exam
Mónica: But Aptis is not as difficult.It is better.
Samuel: It’s better, but C1
Mónica: It’s easy to get the B2. But probably the C1 is not so easy.
Samuel: Yeah, yeah.
Mónica: We can work with Aptis. I can also tell you that.
Samuel: Aptis is a good way to get a high level. It’s specific for teachers.
Mónica: Ok. Thank you very much, Samuel again.I’ll see you next time and we can talk about Aptis if you want to.
Samuel:Have a good weekend. I hope you’re doing well.
Monica: Ok. Thank you very much. I appreciate that we can help each other, and we can help other people at the same time. Good week-end Bye-bye.
Samuel: Bye.See you.