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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Functional English: After School Learning, not Detention

Maltalingua after school English
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Maltalingua makes it a point to teach English professionally in the classroom, but also to include teachers and make English practice fun through an active social programme for students.

So, another free late-afternoon lesson was planned for the students to practise English expressions in their free-time. But what should we focus on? Now that the temperature has dropped slightly, and students want to have a tasty hot meal in the evening, we decided to focus on useful expressions for ordering food at a restaurant.

With most of our students attending, and a teacher with big eyes for food, we had a series of role plays and key expressions and vocabulary that can be used when eating out.  Some of the group played the clients and others played the part of waiters or restaurant staff.  Fortunately, most of the clients really enjoyed their ‘meals’, but others were not impressed, and didn’t want to give any tips!

Students found it easy to interact and they asked a lot of questions.  It was also great to have a group of students from different levels of English, who actually taught each other and had real-life spontaneous conversation.

So why not try your own skills at expressions for eating out by visiting our blog and taking the quiz…


Written by: Katrin Risiott

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English vocabulary – Commonly confused words

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Below there is a list of words which are often confused. Some of them have a similar sound but their meanings are completely different.

beside next to
besides in addition to/as well
remind to make somebody remember something
remember to use our memory to recall something
affect to influence something
effect to bring about
permission Consent, authorization
permit a document given permission to do something
raise to lift or elevate an object or to increase something
rise to get up/ move up
shade an area where there is no sun/light
shadow the shape created by the sun or light on an object
wandered to walk around in a casual way
wondered to think in a curious way
loose when something is too big, it doesn’t fit properly
lose when you no longer have something
complement (verb) to make something complete when combined
compliment (noun)  when someone passes an admiring remark
accept To answer “yes” and receive something willingly
except not including/excluding

Now start the quiz – Good luck :-)

[ssquiz id=’22’ all]

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School Activity: Maltalingua Pub Night

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After a great mixture of social activities to explore Maltese culture, another to try Maltese food, and another to develop English pronunciation, it was time to have a relaxing evening down the pub – well at a few pubs to be precise for the Maltalingua pub crawl.

We met at the school, and then went down to the LOVE monument in Spinola Bay to collect Andre, Michael and Jens. It was a nice mixture of new and existing students and Igli, who was coming out for one last farewell. Although the intention was to go from one bar to another, a couple of students were feeling peckish, so we first choose a place where we could eat and drink to kill two birds with one stone.

Everyone was happy with the choice. Some opted to resume their beer drinking, while others preferred to quiet down their stomach grumbles with food… accompanied by beer, of course!  Then we moved on to the next place and the next… but throughout the night, the pub crawl was of course, complemented with a generous serving of English language practice, a few helpings of error correction by myself, and promises to stay in touch in the future.

Written by: Michaela Griscti

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Useful English expressions – Greetings and introductions

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There are various ways how we can greet and introduce people. The dialogue below will help you familiarise yourself with expressions which are generally used for greetings and introductions in English and examples of how to use them.

(David was walking to his sister’s place when he ran into Mary)

David: Hi Mary, what a nice surprise.
Mary: Yeah I know. I haven’t seen you in ages. How have you been?
David: I’m snowed under.  (I’m very busy) How about you?
Mary: You know, same old same old (informal – nothing has changed-boring/annoyed)
(Mr Kobayashi approaches)

Mary: David, I’d like you to meet my boss, Mr Kobayashi. Mr Kobayashi, this is David Jones, an ex colleague of mine.
David: Nice to meet you.
Mr Kobayashi: Same here
Mary: Mr Kobayashi and I are here at our annual conference. What about you?
David: Oh I see. I’m visiting my sister, as she relocated here last month.
Mary: How good. Give her my regards.
David: Will surely do.
Mary: Ok David, we have to go as the conference is about to start. It was good to see you.
David: Nice seeing you, too. Keep in touch. Mr Kobayashi, it was a pleasure meeting you. Enjoy your conference.
Mr Kobayashi: Thanks. Nice to have met you (formal)
Mary: Thanks. I’ll drop you line (informalwrite to you) when I get back home.
David: Great. Take care.

[ssquiz id=’21’ all]

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School activity: Pronunciation Workshop

Prounciation Workshop at Maltalingua English Language School
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“Stressing English”

English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a “world language” of the modern era and while it is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the language most often studied as a foreign language.

The English language originated from the combination of dialects collectively termed as Old English. Modern English contains a very large vocabulary, with complex and irregular spelling, particularly of vowels. One of the biggest problems for language students is that English is not “phonetic” and words are not always pronounced in the same way that it is spelt.

The secret key to English is pronunciation! Students often find it difficult to understand native speakers, especially those speaking fast and the native speakers may find it difficult to understand them.  This can often be due to word stress, and word stress is the magic key to understanding spoken English.

In English, each syllable is not pronounced with the same force or strength.  For example, we pronounce PHOtograph and phoTOgrapher.  For students, identifying each syllable and recognising which one(s) we pronounce more loudly (big, strong, important) all comes down to practice.

With this in mind, Maltalingua offers free additional classes, and the focus this time was pronunciation, in order to prepare its students to make conversation confidently once outside the school.  We had a great turnout and focussed on individual sounds and word stress; by the end the improvements were already clear.

So, reMEMber, PRACtise is the KEY to imPROving your ENGlish and imPROving your proNUNciAtion!

written by Katrin Risiott

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School activity: A pleasant dinner on a chilly, rainy night

Maltalingua language students having dinner together
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Despite the fact that our initial plan was to head off to Birgu Waterfront, the weather had other plans in mind.  Instead, we decided to find a good restaurant near the school and near to where most of the students live.

It was a rather windy and chilly evening, and on my way to the school it started raining cats and dogs! Thankfully, I had my umbrella.  Before long we set off to a Mediterranean Cuisine restaurant in St. Julians.

I must admit I felt slightly outnumbered with all the men present. It was a good thing that Birgit joined us too, because I would have been the only woman present that night, mind you, I wouldn’t have complained because they were all gentlemen and very courteous throughout the evening.

Soon enough we arrived at the restaurant and were seated at our reserved table. The atmosphere was great and the food was absolutely scrumptious! Time flew by as we wined and dined over good conversation and a couple of jokes here and there. Hopefully, the weather will better when we try for Birgu in the next few weeks.

Written by: Michaela Griscti

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English grammar – Countable and uncountable nouns

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Lets have a look at the differences between countable and uncountable nouns:

Countable nouns

Uncountable nouns

Nouns that we can count e.g. apple, horse
We can say 1 apple, 2 apples, 3 apples
Nouns that we cannot count e.g. rice, water
We cannot say 1 rice, 2 rices, 3 rices
we can use some and anywith countable nouns- There are some pens on that desk
– We don’t need to pay any money for that activity.
we can use some and anywith uncountable nouns- There is some water on the floor
– Do you have any Italian wine?
We can use many and fewwith plural countable nouns- Many trees are dying because of the lack of water.
– There are few tigers in Italy.
We can use much and littlewith uncountable nouns- I don’t usually eat much rice.
– I can only drink little wine because it makes me feel sleepy.

Common uncountable nouns:

information           baggage           bread

travel                   money              trouble

traffic                   cereal               honey

advice                  coffee               furniture

To make uncountable nouns countable we usually add “a…..of…..”- piece of advice:

– a loaf of bread
– a cup of coffee
– a box of cereal

Try the following quiz to see how much you remember

[ssquiz id=’20’ all]

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