Monday, December 13, 2010

'Tis the season to be jolly ...

And to shop, of course!

You all know the word 'workaholic', don't you? It means somebody who works too much and just cannot stop. Like me! ;-)

What about somebody who shops too much, and ... just cannot stop, either? Well you guess it: 'shopaholic'!

But there's another word for it, which is much more impressive. It's 'oniomania'. Sounds big, huh? You can impress people with this word. They will admire your knowledge.

Want to learn more? Or, want to know where I got the information and ideas for this entry? Go here.

Read, laugh, enjoy, and integrate it into your English classes, yes, why not?

'Tis the season to be jolly, you know!

"One, easy language for the whole world?"

This piece is a good one for language learners and language teachers, so I thought I would share it here for you to read. Enjoy!

One, easy language for the whole world? Meet the man who tried to make it happen. | The Hot Word

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Teaching English Pronunciation to Vietnamese Students

A student of mine asked me today to share with her my experience in improving Vietnamese students' pronunciation of English.

Well ... I have not been teaching English (teach learners how to speak/use the language itself, not Linguistics or ELT Methodology, or EL Testing in the language), for a long time now, so I cannot answer the question without trying to refresh my memory first. And in this age of the Internet, how do you refresh your memory? Well, surfing the Net, of course.

And ... lo and behold! I found several good articles about teaching English pronunciation to Vietnamese students which are directly relevant to the question asked by my student.

For example, let's read this article from the Foreign Policy Journal (my first time at the site). A very good article, many good points, the only problem with it is that it is way too long, which may make many people give up right from the start. So, if you don't want to read all of it, below is an excerpt from the article that I find worthy of attention.
Listening: I am a proponent of ALG Automatic language Growth, a listening-only method of language acquisition. (You can watch some of my ALG Videos here).

Without going 100% into ALG or applying it exclusively to an ESL classroom in Vietnam, I believe, beyond any doubt, that a significant factor contributing to Vietnamese students having pronunciation issues is that they simply don’t listen enough. If you haven’t heard the sounds, you can’t reproduce them. In the commercial ESL marketplace, across Asia, parents are told that their children will be speaking English from their first day. The focus of the entire program is on speaking, rather than listening. Good foreign ESL teachers do model the target language, before asking students to produce it. But it’s not enough. When you learned English, you heard phrases hundreds or even thousands of times before you spoke them. But in Asian ESL, students are asked to produce after one or two hearings.

[How very true!]

Another article that I found very useful is this one, from a colleague in Ha Noi, here. An excerpt:
Below is a list of core items to teach (the first 7 are believed to be most essential):

1. The English alphabet. A focus should put be on the following letters which students confuse the sounds of: R, I, E, G , J, H, , K, Q, W, X, Y

2. Familiarisation with the English phonemic chart. Essential as it helps students to be able to know the pronunciation of words from dictionaries. Teachers should encourage students to use monolingual dictionaries made by reputable publishers.

3. Voiced and unvoiced sounds. Students should be taught this to help with the pronunciation of ‘s’ and ‘ed’ endings.

4. Long and short vowels. Students need to be able to confidently differentiate and produce these as they are both challenging and have an effect on meaning.

5. Word final consonants. Vietnamese students often neglect these and constant exercises on final endings should be done attentively during any course.

6. Consonant clusters. These are not a feature of Vietnamese and therefore are challenging. ‘sts’, ‘ts’, ‘str’, and ‘tr’ appear to be the most challenging for many students.

7. Suprasegmental level: Word stress, sentence stress, and intonation are essential items to address. Tonic intonation should be given special care as changes alters meaning. Sound linking is important but not essential as when learners say the words correctly, they will link sounds naturally themselves.

8. English sounds not found in Vietnamese. For example, the interdentals /d/ (voiced) and /th/ (unvoiced). /th/ can be mixed up with /f/ or Vietnamese "th" though this may not influence comprehensibility.

9. /l/ and /n/ can be mixed up in the northern dialect (Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Quang Ninh etc.)

10. Initial /j/ like in yes, young, yellow may be heard as in zes, zoung, zeallow. This sound can be a bigger problem for learners from the south, or central provinces of the country.

11. /r/ The Hanoi accent does not distinguish between /r/, /z/, or /dj/. Some people in the central part of Vietnam such as Nghe An, Quang Binh, Hue, or Danang can say /zed/ instead of /red/.

12. The difference between aspirated and non-aspirated ‘t’. Initial ‘t’ in English is aspirated as in ten and tea. After ‘s’ as in stop and steel ‘t’ is not aspirated and is more similar to its Vietnamese counterpart. This is advisable to teach, but not on a short course.

Sounds not causing comprehension problems for the Vietnamese.

The sounds b, c, d, ch, f, k, h, m, n, ng, q, s, t, v, w may be a little difficult to produce but they don’t tend to lead to problems of comprehensibility.

Diphthongs do not seem to cause much difficulty for the Vietnamese.

Principles of teaching English pronunciation to the Vietnamese.

Pronunciation teaching should be systematic, gradual, consistent, interesting, practical, and integrated.

Well, there are a lot more out there, but I should not spoil it for you. You must go and check for yourself, really.

My final note: the Internet is such a treasure for anybody wanting to learn new things, and for learning English especially. Surf the Internet everyday, looking for things to read, and keep a blog in English (like this one), and your English will improve in no time at all!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Do you know the names of these signs (&, ~, /, <, etc) in English? Read on and learn!

Have you ever had problems trying to say the names of signs like these: @, &, ~, /, <, {, {, |, etc?

Signs that are so familiar because you see them every day on the keyboard of your computer. However, you may not know that you don't know what to call them in English, until somebody asks you.

Well, your salvation (and mine, of course) is here. Like most of you, I need to say their names (I want to do that in a lecture), and to my horror I don't know how to do it. So I searched, and found this one. Go here for it.

And to be on the safe side, I copy the content of the page onto my blog, just to keep it where I can find it most easily.
Pronunciation guide for UNIX
How do I pronounce "vi" , or "!", or "/*", or ...? You can start a very long and pointless discussion by wondering about this topic on the net. Some people say "vye", some say "vee-eye" (the vi manual suggests this) and some Roman numerologists say "six". How you pronounce "vi" has nothing to do with whether or not you are a true Unix wizard.

Similarly, you'll find that some people pronounce "char" as "care", and that there are lots of ways to say "#" or "/*" or "!" or "tty" or "/etc". No one pronunciation is correct - enjoy the regional dialects and accents.


* Derived from UNIX
+ Derived from C
& Derived from NetHack
# Deserving further explanation, see explanations at the end.


SPACE, blank, ghost&

! EXCLAMATION POINT, exclamation (mark), (ex)clam, excl, wow, hey, boing,
bang#, shout, yell, shriek, pling, factorial, ball-bat, smash, cuss,
store#, potion&, not*+, dammit*#

" QUOTATION MARK, (double) quote, dirk, literal mark, rabbit ears,
double ping, double glitch, amulet&, web&, inverted commas

# CROSSHATCH, pound, pound sign, number, number sign, sharp, octothorpe#,
hash, (garden) fence, crunch, mesh, hex, flash, grid, pig-pen,
tictactoe, scratch (mark), (garden) gate, hak, oof, rake, sink&,
corridor&, unequal#, punch mark

$ DOLLAR SIGN, dollar, cash, currency symbol, buck, string#, escape#,
ding, big-money, gold&, Sonne#

% PERCENT SIGN, percent, mod+, shift-5, double-oh-seven, grapes, food&

& AMPERSAND, and, amper, address+, shift-7, andpersand, snowman,
bitand+, donald duck#, daemon&, background*, pretzel

' APOSTROPHE, (single) quote, tick, prime, irk, pop, spark, glitch,
lurker above&

* ASTERISK, star, splat, spider, aster, times, wildcard*, gear, dingle,
(Nathan) Hale#, bug, gem&, twinkle, funny button#, pine cone, glob*

() PARENTHESES, parens, round brackets, bananas, ears, bowlegs
( LEFT PARENTHESIS, (open) paren, so, wane, parenthesee, open, sad,
) RIGHT PARENTHESIS, already, wax, unparenthesee, close (paren), happy,
thesis, weapon&

+ PLUS SIGN, plus, add, cross, and, intersection, door&, spellbook&

, COMMA, tail, trapper&

- HYPHEN, minus (sign), dash, dak, option, flag, negative (sign), worm,

. PERIOD, dot, decimal (point), (radix) point, spot, full stop,
put#, floor&

/ SLASH, stroke, virgule, solidus, slant, diagonal, over, slat, slak,
across#, compress#, reduce#, replicate#, spare, divided-by, wand&,
forward slash, shilling#

: COLON, two-spot, double dot, dots, chameleon&

; SEMICOLON, semi, hybrid, giant eel&, go-on#

<> ANGLE BRACKETS, angles, funnels, brokets, pointy brackets, widgets
< LESS THAN, less, read from*, from*, in*, comesfrom*, crunch,
sucks, left chevron#, open pointy (brack[et]), bra#, upstairs&, west,
(left|open) widget
> GREATER THAN, more, write to*, into/toward*, out*, gazinta*, zap,
blows, right chevron#, closing pointy (brack[et]), ket#, downstairs&,
east, (right|close) widget

= EQUAL SIGN, equal(s), gets, becomes, quadrathorpe#, half-mesh, ring&

? QUESTION MARK, question, query, whatmark, what, wildchar*, huh, ques,
kwes, quiz, quark, hook, scroll&, interrogation point

@ AT SIGN, at, each, vortex, whirl, whirlpool, cyclone, snail, ape (tail),
cat, snable-a#, trunk-a#, rose, cabbage, Mercantile symbol, strudel#,
fetch#, shopkeeper&, human&, commercial-at, monkey (tail)

[] BRACKETS, square brackets, U-turns, edged parentheses
[ LEFT BRACKET, bracket, bra, (left) square (brack[et]), opensquare,
] RIGHT BRACKET, unbracket, ket, right square (brack[et]), unsquare, close,

\ BACKSLASH, reversed virgule, bash, (back)slant, backwhack, backslat,
escape*, backslak, bak, scan#, expand#, opulent throne&, slosh, slope,

^ CIRCUMFLEX, caret, carrot, (top)hat, cap, uphat, party hat, housetop,
up arrow, control, boink, chevron, hiccup, power, to-the(-power), fang,
sharkfin, and#, xor+, wok, trap&, pointer#, pipe*, upper-than#

_ UNDERSCORE, underline, underbar, under, score, backarrow, flatworm, blank,
chain&, gets#, dash#, sneak

` GRAVE, (grave/acute) accent, backquote, left/open quote, backprime,
unapostrophe, backspark, birk, blugle, backtick, push, backglitch,
backping, execute#, boulder&, rock&, blip

{} BRACES, curly braces, squiggly braces, curly brackets, squiggle brackets,
Tuborgs#, ponds, curly chevrons#, squirrly braces, hitchcocks#,
chippendale brackets#
{ LEFT BRACE, brace, curly, leftit, embrace, openbrace, begin+,
} RIGHT BRACE, unbrace, uncurly, rytit, bracelet, close, end+, a pool&

| VERTICAL BAR, pipe*, pipe to*, vertical line, broken line#, bar, or+,
bitor+, vert, v-bar, spike, to*, gazinta*, thru*, pipesinta*, tube,
mark, whack, gutter, wall&

~ TILDE, twiddle, tilda, tildee, wave, squiggle, swung dash, approx,
wiggle, enyay#, home*, worm, not+


!? interrobang (one overlapped character)
*/ asterslash+, times-div#
/* slashterix+, slashaster
:= becomes#
<- gets
<< left-shift+, double smaller
<> unequal#
>> appends*, cat-astrophe, right-shift+, double greater
-> arrow+, pointer to+, hiccup+
#! sh'bang, wallop
\!* bash-bang-splat
() nil#
&& and+, and-and+, amper-amper, succeeds-then*
|| or+, or-or+, fails-then*

-- NOTES --

! bang comes from old card punch phenom where punching ! code made a
loud noise; however, this pronunciation is used in the (non-
computerized) publishing and typesetting industry in the U.S.
too, so ...
Alternatively it could have come from comic books, where the
words each character utters are shown in a "balloon" near that
character's head. When one character shoots another, it is
common to see a balloon pointing at the barrel of the gun to
denote that the gun had been fired, not merely aimed.
That balloon contained the word "!" -- hence, "!" == "Bang!"
! store from FORTH
! dammit as in "quit, dammit!" while exiting vi and hoping one hasn't
clobbered a file too badly
# octothorpe from Bell System (orig. octalthorpe)
# unequal e.g. Modula-2
$ string from BASIC
$ escape from TOPS-10
$ Sonne In the "socialist" countries they used and are using all kinds
of IBM clones (hardware + sw). It was a common practice just
to rename everything (IBM 360 --> ESER 1040 etc.).
Of course the "dollar" sign had to be renamed - it became the
"international currency symbol" which looks like a circle with
4 rays spreading from it:
\/ \/
/ \
\ /

Because it looks like a (small) shining sun, in the German
Democratic Republic it was usually called "Sonne" (sun).
& donald duck from the Danish "Anders And", which means "Donald Duck"
* splat from DEC "spider" glyph
* Nathan Hale "I have but one asterisk for my country."
* funny button at Pacific Bell, * was referred to by employees as the "funny
button", which did not please management at all when it became
part of the corporate logo of Pacific Telesis, the holding
company ...
*/ times-div from FORTH
= quadrathorpe half an octothorpe
- bithorpe half a quadrathorpe (So what's a monothorpe?)
. put Victor Borge's Phonetic Punctuation which dates back to the
middle 1950's
/ across APL
/ compress APL
/ reduce APL
/ replicate APL
/ shilling from the British currency symbol
:= becomes e.g. Pascal
; go-on Algol68
< left chevron from the military: worn vertically on the sleeve to signify
< bra from quantum mechanics
<> unequal e.g. Pascal
> right chevron see "< left chevron"
> ket from quantum mechanics
@ snable-a from Danish; may translate as "trunk-a"
@ trunk-a "trunk" = "elephant nose"
@ strudel as in Austrian apple cake
@ fetch from FORTH
\ scan APL
\ expand APL
^ and from formal logic
^ pointer from PASCAL
^ upper-than cf. > and <
_ gets some alternative representation of underscore resembles a
_ dash as distinct from '-' == minus
` execute from shell command substitution
{} Tuborgs from advertizing for well-known Danish beverage
{} curly chevr. see "< left chevron"
{} hitchcocks from the old Alfred Hitchcock show, with the stylized profile
of the man
{} chipp. br. after Chippendale chairs
| broken line EBCDIC has two vertical bars, one solid and one broken.
~ enyay from the Spanish n-tilde
() nil LISP
Version 2.5, 1997

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"How to Fail in Grant Writing"

A friend just sent me this via email, with this comment:

"an interesting approach....
from the chronicle of higher education dec. 5...
things you can do so you are sure not to be funded...."

Very useful and interesting article, so here goes:

December 5, 2010

How to Fail in Grant Writing

By Elizabeth Jakob, Adam Porter, Jeffrey Podos, Barry Braun, Norman Johnson, and Stephen Vessey

Looking for the fast path to grant rejection? We provide a list here of proven techniques. We gathered these in the course of serving on grant panels or as program officers, and, in some cases, through firsthand experimentation. We are biologists, but many of our suggestions will be useful to grant writers in all disciplines.

On content

- Don't explicitly state any goals, objectives, or hypotheses in your grant proposal. A good panelist will be able to figure out your questions from the methods.
- Say that your grant is "transformative" — something the National Science Foundation looks for in particularly outstanding grants; it means that your work will change the approach we take to a particular problem — when it is clearly not.
- Say that more than once if possible. Heck, go ahead and boldface it! If you claim it is so, it is so.
- However, if your grant is potentially transformative, make it clear in your proposal that you don't know how good an idea you have.
- Make it obvious that you have cut and pasted sections from your other grants into this new proposal. Don't worry if the formatting does not match or there are sentences and sections from the old proposals that have no bearing on this one. Reviewers are impressed by people who are too busy to proofread.
- If your proposal is a resubmission, be snarky about the comments you received from the previous reviewers.
- Use lots of acronyms. Define them several pages after you first use them, if possible, or at least bury the definitions in long paragraphs.
- Don't make any predictions. And if you do make predictions, don't put in any experiments that would actually test them.
- Make sure that the feasibility of your proposal's second and third objectives depends on a particular result from your first objective.
- Don't bother discussing what you will conclude if your data don't turn out exactly as you expect.
- Don't give sample sizes or statistical tests.Remember the old axiom: The longer the equation, the better. Panelists will be afraid to acknowledge in front of others that they don't understand it, so they will be more likely to recommend you receive a grant. And remember not to define the parameters of any equations you use. Panelists feel smug when they succeed in figuring it out themselves.
- Be sure to use different symbols for the same parameters in different places in the proposal. Remember to use the same symbols for different parameters in other parts of the proposal.
- When discussing your pilot data in disciplines where "Pn Propose to use a difficult technique (e.g., microarrays, recording from neurons) that you have never done before, but don't offer any assurance that you will have a collaborator. Alternately, propose to use a difficult technique that you have done before, but don't mention your experience or pilot data because, after all, you've done it already.
- Focus your grant entirely on your own study species and/or area of focus. Knowledge for knowledge's sake, right? Dealing with problems of general interest is a waste of time. A good panelist will be able to discern the global impacts of your research without being led by the hand.

On format and style
- Use weird subheadings that do not map onto one another. For example, begin your proposal by listing Goals 1, 2, and 3, and then label your experiments A through J, with no clear relation to the goals. Reviewers love a challenge.
- Use very few subheadings. Grant reviewers are smart enough to figure out where the subheadings should be. A single multipage paragraph is fine.Reviewers love 10-point, Arial-font, single-spaced type. Preferably there should be no spaces between paragraphs, headings, or subheadings, either. Your goal is to leave no white space on the page.Use a myriad of type styles. Within a paragraph, try to use BOLD-FACED, ALL-CAPITALIZED TYPE for some sentences, then italicize others, and underline still others. Alternatively, use the same plain style throughout the entire proposal — for headings, subheadings, and paragraphs—for a nice, calming homogeneous appearance.
- Don't use spell-check.
- Don't bother worrying if illustrations or graphs are on different pages than the legends that explain the meaning. Relax, the reviewers can work that out with just a little bit of flipping pages.
- Rely on color alone to distinguish lines from one another in a particular graph. After all, no reviewers will be old-fashioned enough to prefer to read a print copy of your proposal, and then not have a color printer. Program officers don't choose colorblind panelists, either.
- Impress reviewers by using complex illustrations with many panels, arrows, boxes, drawings, and photos. The more stuff you can squeeze in, the smarter you'll look. Condense labels into tiny boxes, so that key parts are unreadable. Also assume that the illustrations are self-explanatory—no need for a pesky extended caption.
- If you are allotted 15 pages for your proposal, use only 12. This is especially effective if you leave out any detail whatsoever about your methods.
- Replace simple, meaningful words with polysyllabic behemoths whenever possible. Don't write "use" when you can say "utilize." Why "use a method" if you can "utilize a methodological technique"? There is no reason to "increase" when you can "exacerbate." Bonus points for using polysyllabic words incorrectly, as in "the elevation in glucose concentration was exasperated during exercise."

On the literature
- Cite literature willy-nilly. Throw it all in! If possible, give a general statement and then cite a series of people who say conflicting things on the topic. The reviewers will never catch on. They don't care if you understand the literature, just that you know of its existence. It is particularly good if your proposal emphasizes aspects of the literature that are unimportant in justifying your objectives. The reviewers will be impressed that you are so broadly read.
- Alternately, don't cite many papers at all, especially recent ones. The reviewers will assume you know the literature.
- If, in places, your grant says something like "Koala noses are known to be adorable (REF)," be assured the reviewers will understand that you were just too strapped for time to fill in the actual research reference.Cite literature that isn't included in the "References" section of your proposal.

On the "impacts" statement
- If you're applying for an NSF grant, make sure that in your "broader impacts" statement you say that your research on frog metamorphosis will help cure cancer and/or help us understand the function of the human brain.
- Confine your statement about the impacts of your research to things that every scholar would do normally. For example, say you will publish your research and leave it at that.

On your grant-program director and you
- If the grant guidelines ask for names of suggested reviewers, be sure to do the following.
- Suggest only two or three names. After all, the program director should have in mind the very best reviewers for your proposal no matter how obscure your area of research.
- Be sure to suggest names of your closest friends, collaborators, your Ph.D. adviser, or even your spouse. They are the people most familiar with your work, right?
- Never provide university affiliations or e-mail addresses of the names you list. Isn't that what Google is for?
- Always keep in close communication with the program director managing your proposal, especially in those critical few days right after the panel meets to review the proposals. Multiple e-mails during that period are OK, but telephone calls really get their attention.

This is also an excellent time to schedule a personal interview with the program director to talk about your grant proposal.Finally, and perhaps the most important tip of all: Always assume that the panel and the program director will give you the benefit of every doubt.

Elizabeth Jakob is a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where Adam Porter is an associate professor of plant, soil, and insect sciences; Jeffrey Podos is a professor of biology; Barry Braun is an associate professor of kinesiology; and Norman Johnson is an adjunct assistant research professor of plant, soil, and insect sciences. Stephen Vessey is a professor emeritus of biological sciences at Bowling Green State University.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Must-read: "Can bilingualism improve your brain multitasking power? Je ne sais pas"

Bilingualism has always been a way of life for many people in Vietnam since time immemorial. Why do I say that? Well, think of Vietnam's history. We as a nation had to live under Chinese domination for a thousand year, then under French colonialism for a hundred year, and now this globalisation with English as the lingua franca.

And not just Vietnam. The situation is the same all over the world. Bigger countries always want to dominate or influence smaller countries; people always want to do more business with more people, so they have to go beyond the borders of their own country. And of course when people from different countries meet, they may get married, have children, and the children will speak the languages of both parents, even though one of the two languages may be more dominant than the other. Well you imagine the rest.

Bilingualism has interested linguists for a long time. And if you study linguistics, you know that language development is related to brain development. Related, yes, but is it good, or is it bad for the development of the brain? People don't agree on the answer. Some say it's good, some say it's bad. I don't know what you think, but I belong to the first camp - those who think it's good.

And now this article from the Los Angeles Times, which is very strong on the positive side of bilingualism. You can find the article here.

A few quotes:
Should parents raise their children bilingually – teaching them two languages from a very young age? It’s a thorny subject, but as UCLA linguist Jared Diamond writes in an editorial in the journal Science, knowing more than one language could improve your multitasking skills from infancy and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s in old age.
Experiments with bilingual babies (and yes, babies can be bilingual – they learn to recognize different sounds produced in different languages) showed that the infants were able to adjust to unpredictable changes in a ‘game,’ while the monolingual babies were not.

It helped for the senior end of the spectrum, too – among elderly Canadian patients who had a probable Alzheimer’s diagnosis, those who were bilingual showed symptoms about five years later than their monolingual counterparts.

See? It's beneficial not just for children, but for old people (like me), too!

And I have found motivation to keep this English blog! ;-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Open Access Journals in Education

I just came across this list of open access journals, which of course include journals in the field of education.

Such a treasure for students and researchers from a poor country like Vietnam! (And not just for poor countries, I guess!)

So here it is, for those who need it: Directory of Open Access Journals. Go here for the list of journals in the field of education.

Read, enjoy, and share, will you?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Funny signs and inscriptions"

I've just found an article from the Net which is very funny and useful for English teachers, and I want to share it with you. You can find it here.

Some quotes from the article:
Bangkok Dry Cleaners:
"Drop your trousers here for best results"

Japanese Hotel:
"You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid"

In an office:
"Toilet out of order... Please use the floor below"

A laundry in Rome:
"Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time"

Rome Doctor's Office:
"Specialist in women and other diseases"

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
"Ladies may have a fit upstairs"

Outside a Paris dress shop:
"Dresses for street walking"

Are you laughing? If you are not, then surely you are not a native speaker of English, I guess!

First entry for my new English blog

Hi there!

Recognise me? Yes, this is the same bloganhvu, the same blogger, but this time it is in English.

If you know me, then you know that I used to be an English teacher. I taught at the Faculty of English Linguistics and Literature for about 20 years after I graduated from the same university, and then I left. It will be 10 years next year since I left it.

Since then, I have lost the opportunity to speak English everyday, albeit broken English of some kind. Practice makes perfect, and because I don't speak everyday now (I still read, and sometimes I translate - mostly from English into Vietnamese, rarely the other way around - but that is not like speaking everyday), I find myself slowing down considerably when it comes to speaking with a native speaker. Maybe my age adds something to it, too!

That is why I agree to take up a class teaching Linguistics to a group of students - English graduates who are or want to be English teachers. It's a post-graduate diploma program, offered by Ha Noi University in Ho Chi Minh City. I am hired by them - part-time of course - to teach those students.

So this entry, and this blog, is intended with these students - who I will meet this afternoon - in mind. So that they can come and read, if not comment on, what I write. And I hope to write much, even though I have two other blogs that I need to keep.

Two other blogs? And this one, too, which makes three? Good heavens, I hear you say. Yes, I love writing, I love language, and I love English. If you don't believe me, you can go to my two other blogs and see. I write regularly, and ... long, I warn you!

Well, so good for now. I hope to see you hear often, and to read your comments on what I write.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Oh, I almost forgot. The URLs for my other two blogs are:

1. This blog is for me to write about life, about poetry and language, about what I read, what I think, and about people that I love (or ... hate, but I rarely do that, you can take my word for it :D). I love this blog, and my friends love it, too!

2. Hard to remember, huh? Let me tell you how to remember it. "ncgdvn" is actually an acronym for "Nghiên Cứu" (research) "Giáo dục" (education) "Việt Nam" (Vietnam). So, again: nc (research), gd (education), and vn (Vietnam). This is where I write about education, and about my profession now (in which I have been involved since I left USSH at the end of 2003), that is: educational measurement and evaluation, and quality management in education. Boring stuff, huh? I hate it myself, but I guess it's useful in a way.

Well, go there and see for yourself, if you can read Vietnamese. If not, use google translate, and you can get the gist of what is there. Then come back here and discuss things with me, why not?

Yeah, why not? I love blogging!