Monday, November 04, 2013

Learning in strom

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. Willa Cather

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Eponyms are words derived from proper names and are another of the many creative ways that the vocabulary of a language expands and extends.

I have found an electronic version of a good book on Eponyms, lately. The ebook, indubitably, is a must have ebook. You can download A New Dictionary of Eponyms by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

short stories for children

Picture Books is a web site that provides children with fully-illustrated, free stories. Visitors should owe a big thanks to professional illustrator and writer Dandi Palmer.

Short Stories has been designed and developed for older, and not quite so old, children. Stories are also available as a free download onto ebook readers and mobile phones.

Wacky Web Tales are geared for grades 3 and above. Check back monthly for new tales!

By visiting Free Children Stories, one can have access to new and original stories submitted by children's authors. Cute images, incidentally, accompany written texts.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lake Chaubunagungamaug

I want to talk about a lake with a 45-letter Indian name that can be translated as, “You fish on your side, I fish on my side and nobody fishes in the middle.” It’s Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.

Oh, yeah! This is the full-length version of the name. Have difficulty pronouncing it? Well, there is a helpful song that can be of benefit to you.

I like to add that this name is the longest place name in the United States. The lake, also known as Webster Lake, is located near the Connecticut border and has a surface area of 1,442 acres (5.83 km²), based on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Orwell Diaries

Recently, I have come across a blog devoted to George Orwell who was a British author and journalist. The blog has provided readers and fans with George Orwell's diaries, images, documents complementing the diaries and a Google Map of Orwell's travels. If I were in your position, I wouldn't give Orwell Diaries a miss.

Monday, October 04, 2010

old shoes in old words

If you are worn out, you are completely tired since you have been working hard.

Choose your pals wisely and carefully. There’s never an old boot, but there’s the shape of a foot in it. Your character will be shaped by the influence of your bosom pals.

That ill-mannered boy is as common as an old shoe. He seems entirely low class and uncouth.

That educational system cannot be changed and improved. Like old boots, past all hope of mending.

My room is cozy and snug. I do like my room very much. Indeed, it is as comfortable as an old shoe.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Computer Assisted Language Learning is defined as the use of a computer in the teaching or learning of a second or foreign language. CALL, in fact, brings four major advantages in its train: motivation, authenticity, critical learning skills, and adapting learning to the student.

I have provided you here with some useful and resourceful CALL-related links. I hope you find them of great benefit and help.

APACALL Asia-Pacific Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning that claims the opportunity to use communication technologies in learning, teaching and research.

The History of CALL A PDF file of an introduction to the development of the Computer-Assisted Language Learning.

Computer Assisted Language Learning An international Journal.


CALL: Its Scope and Limits A speech by Frank Berberich at the Toyohashi JALT chapter meeting.

Authoring in CALL Links to authoring systems for CALL.

CALL for Teachers Computer Assisted Language Learning for Teachers.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Multimedia English

Learning English can be intensive, costly, and time-consuming. With the advent of educational technology-based resources (CD-ROMs, the Internet, Web pages, etc.), millions of language learners are getting interested in flexible and creative learning methodologies.

In multimedia systems several media of communication such as animation, music, text, and image combine in conjunction with computer technology and give the users as ‘interactive players’ the opportunity to control the flow and direction of the text by navigating through it.

The use of language-learning multimedia technologies must be supported because they are necessary for keeping English-learning relevant to the information age. Self-study English-learning multimedia resources, actually, have become more affordable and ubiquitous than before.

Considering all these things, I have put here the links to three web sites that are based on teaching English through different modes of communication. You can resort to such materials with the ease of the mind for both teaching and learning English, surely.

Multimedia English Classroom
Bell English Online
ESL Galaxy

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sip and See

Without a shadow of a doubt, you are already familiar with "baby shower". I want to share a new expression with you.

Do you know what do Americans call a party that new parents throw to introduce their baby to the nearest and dearest? A sip and see party/shower. The guests in a sip and see party clearly sip beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and see the baby while enjoying the baby's babbling.

Monday, July 26, 2010

WiSe WoRdS from old books

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns! ~Allison Gappa Bottke

A day is Eternity's seed, and we are its Gardeners. ~Erika Harris

Decorate yourself from the inside out. ~Terri Guillemets

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you. ~Frank Tyger

Be pleasant until ten o'clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself. ~Elbert Hubbard

To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy. ~Hippocrates

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. ~Chinese Proverb

Don't look where you fall, but where you slipped. ~African Proverb

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. ~Malcolm S. Forbes

P.S. This post is dedicated to Raheleh - my devoted friend. Raheleh lives in Mashhad and has majored in TEFL. She is a very kind and helpful friend.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pirate Jargon

AHOY my pals.

I do like watching movies related to sea adventures and pirates, you know. That is why I have decided to post something on pirate jargon. Pirates, naturally, have their own jargon. Let's learn something about their jargon.

Have you ever noticed pirates' hats? Their hats are called tricorn hats. Tri stands for three and corn for corner.

They usually have a treasure map. A map that leads to treasure. If you find a treasure map someday, do not forget to get a proper shovel.

A pirate whose map has an X is a very lucky guy. An X on a treasure map shows where the treasure is hidden.

Their flag with a skull and crossbones is called Jolly Roger. Whenever a pirate does something wrong he has to walk the plank. This means that he is forced to walk on a board that is extended out of the ship and over the sea. What does happen next?

Aye. You are right. He will meet Davy Jones, then. Or he will be in Davy's grip. To be in Davy's grip means to be close to death or frightened.

A pirate may say shiver me timbers in order to express his surprise when, for example, he sees a good target for his mates' plunder from his skyglass (telescope) while standing in the crow's nest. Crow's nest is simply a small platform at the top of the mast. A pirate climbs it up to have a better view of the sail of another ship.

Well, these are only a couple of terms from the dictionary of pirates. Did you enjoy you learning them? Have you ever thought that pirates may have their own dictionary? Waiting to read your comments.

Fair winds! (goodbye!, good luck!)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Blending/Portmanteau Words

There are several and nearly fixed ways, which give new words a chance to live along with old ones in every language. One of these ways is "blending". In blending, two or more function words blend to form a new word. The new word, thus, is called a portmanteau.

I have chosen this topic intentionally because I want to share some new and somehow odd blending examples with you. If you try to memorize them, you can add some new pieces of information to your wordrobe. What does "wordrobe" mean? It means a person's vocabulary [blend of word and wardrobe].

My next example is "fantabulous" [Blend of fantastic and fabulous]. The idea of creating and developing podcats was fantabulous.

To me, "carjacking" is as dangerous as hijacking. "Carjacking" is a noun describing an incident by which a usually armed individual coerces the driver of an automobile to give up his vehicle or drive it and the assailant to some specified location.

I hate "baggravation". I do not want to feel it my life. Never ever. Baggravation [Blend of bag and aggravation] is a feeling of annoyance and anger one endures at the airport when his/her bags have not arrived at the baggage carousel but everyone else's bags have.

When something is extremely large, it is "ginormous". This word is the blend form of gigantic and enormous.

Remember when you hear an accident occur and later give a report on what you heard; you are an "earwitness" not an eyewitness.

Finally, I like to add that portmanteaux or portmanteaus are the plural forms of portmanteau.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Irish Slang Website is the most comprehensive online dictionary of Irish Slang that has been developed "straight from the horse's mouth".

If you hear something "straight from the horse's mouth", you hear it from someone who definitely knows it is true and has direct knowledge of it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

my dear sibling & some idioms

I dedicate this post to my helpful and intelligent brother. Alireza is a sophomore majoring in Civil Engineering.

Alireza! Hitch your wagon to a star for your limit is the azure sky.

I want to share with you some bee and bee-related expressions. Curious to know them? Well, keep reading the whole text.

a busy bee
-someone who enjoys being busy or active

be the bee's knees
-to be very good

hive of activity
- somewhere where things are very busy

make a beeline for (someone or something)
- to go straight toward someone or something

none of (someone's) beeswax
- none of someone's business

have a bee in one's bonnet
- to have a fixed idea that stays in one's mind

I got that picture from a really cool website. Idioms By Kids is a website with over 1000 kid drawings of the literal meaning of a number of English idioms. Start learning by clicking on the pictures. Use your noddle to guess the meaning of the idioms. Then, read the idioms and write down your own sentences using those idioms.

For sure, those illustrations can help you keep in mind for a long period of time what you are trying to grasp and grab. Have fun learning and thanks for your warm comments.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

La-la Theory

La-la theory (also called the sing-song theory) is the name of one of the speculative theories about the origins of language. This theory claims that speech originated in song, play, laughter, and other aspects of romantic side of life. It also argues some of our first words were long and musical rather than short grunts some theories suppose we started with.

Have you ever thought or read about the origins of speech? There are some other theories in addition to this theory. But, I like this one very much. It is a very neat and lovely theory, anyway.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

All around Robin Hood's barn

I am sure you do remember Robin Hood, a man who lived as an outlaw in Sherwood Forest in central England. He is famous in stories for robbing rich and giving to the needy.

His name is used to describe a situation in which money is taken from well-off people and given to those who are badly off.

Example: A new higher-rate tax that will have a "Robin Hood effect" on income distribution.

Clearly, Robin Hood's house was the Sherwood Forest. The roof of his house was leaves and branches. He did not have a barn and in fact did not need a barn. The phrase simply means a circuitous roundabout route all over a place.

Now, you no longer need to go all around Robin Hood's barn to discover the meaning of this phrase.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Cloud cuckoo land

Cloud cuckoo land refers to an idealistically marvelous state in which every thing is immaculate and desirable. Hence, someone who lives in a cloud cuckoo land is optimistic in a disgusting way; s/he is unable to fully grasp the reality.

Example: Anyone who thinks Ben can buy that classy and pricey villa is living in a cloud cuckoo land.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

dying words

Death is the biggest mystery of life. Reading the last words spoken and words written by famous people shortly before they die or commit suicide can be of huge fun and experience. These words give clues with regard to the person's feelings, concerns, and thoughts.

You also can improve your English a long with your writing. Try to imagine the situation those guys had before meeting their Maker and write a short story that simply ends on those dying words or even goes further than that.

Best of luck with your English story writing practice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

people of Eastern Congo

Violent conflict has plagued Eastern Congo for more than a decade. Hundreds of thousands of people are on the run, fleeing the violence in North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale provinces. People are frightened. Many are sick or wounded. Others have been harassed or raped, or have had everything they own stolen.

Click on the map to leave a message of support for them. Selected messages will be shared with people in Eastern Congo.

Here is my message:

Hello. We will not forget you. Peace will embrace you one day. Let's pray for that day together.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

The 1900 House

Would you like to go back in time and live more than 100 years ago? Try to imagine how your life might have been different if you had lived in the Victorian Era. The 1900 House is an actual Victorian house in South-East London. At this site, you can tour each room in The 1900 House. Then, you will end up finding a lot of unbelievably astonishing information about people who lived more than a century ago. HEY PALS! ENJOY YOUR VIRTUAL TOUR!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

more English podcasts

ABC News Podcasts. Daily and weekly news, Video and audio Podcasts.

ESL Podcasts. New podcasts are added frequently by ESL podcasters.

Business English Podcasts. Learn Business English at your convenience with MP3 Business English Podcasts.

The Linguist Podcast. Listen to linguists discussing language learning.

Jokes in English. Charles Kelly's Jokes in English Podcast.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Be out to lunch

Need your head examined: Say this when you think someone is crazy because they have done something that you do not approve of or agree with.

Be out to lunch/be out of your tree: Someone who is out to lunch or out of their tree behaves in a strange, confused way and does not seem to know what is happening around them.

Have a screw loose: Slightly crazy, often in an amusing way.

Be one sandwich short of a picnic/be a few clowns short of a circus: Strange and slightly crazy.

Be crackers/ be nuts: To be crazy.

Be insane/be out of your mind: You say someone is insane or out of their mind if they do something or intend to do something that is completely crazy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pimp your vocab quiz

Take the Pimp Your Vocab quiz to find out how in touch you are with the word on the street.

It is highly amazing that teenagers have their own jargon that is difficult to demystify.

What is your favorite teenglish word? Mine is chilax (chill out + relax).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Language Podcasts

A podcast is a series of audio or video files that are released episodically and downloaded through web. It is a portmanteau of the words "pod"—derived from iPod- and "broadcasting". The following links are links to some terrific language podcasts for those who have a strong fascination for learning languages.

ESL POD: Those learning English as a second language will enjoy these podcasts. They even list their top ten popular episodes including seeing a specialist and dining at a restaurant.

ONE MINUTE FRENCH: Got a love of language but only 60 seconds to devote to it? Then try this free series of mini-lessons in for English speakers who want to learn French.

A FLAVOR OF GERMAN: These podcasts are intended for intermediate to advanced speakers. They provides a fresh look at German idioms as native speaker Julia helps learn Mark improve his range of expression.

COFFEE BREAK SPANISH: Part of the Radio Lingua Network, this free series of podcasts is ideal for beginners through intermediate. There are 80 lessons averaging 15 to 20 minutes each and even a step by step guide.

ARABIC POD: With constantly updated episodes, this is a must visit for all lovers of the Arabic language. There is also a dictionary, forum, blog, and more.

A SPOONFUL OF RUSSIAN: Although the podcast has been discontinued, it is still free to view and take advantage of. There are also downloadable lessons, puzzles, and conversations.

Friday, January 29, 2010

LibriVox: free audiobooks

LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Their goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. In December 2009, it had a catalog of 3,000 unabridged books and shorter works available to download. Around nine-tenths of the collection is in English, although LibriVox recordings are available in 26 languages altogether.