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Issue #030 -- Week 30/11/14-06/12/14
December 08, 2014

Greetings and General Information

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Month 4 ~ Lesson 14

We started studying three subjects back in September 2014: pronunciation and grammar for improving your communication skills, as well as website design and development, for applying your English in practice once you get skilful in English and website building. Once we covered the basics of pronunciation, we started a new course in reading.

You can find our past lessons as follows:

Issue 016 - The NAMES and SOUNDS of the Letters
Issue 017 - Short/Long Vowel Sounds & CVCs
Issue 019 - CCVCs and CVCCs
Issue 020 - Digraphs and Silent Letters
Issue 021 - Sight Words (or Dolch Words)
Issue 022 - Long Vowel Sounds
Issue 023 - The R-Controlled Vowel Sounds
Issue 024 - Vowel and Consonant Contrasts

Issue 025 - An Introduction
Issue 026 - The Basic "Ingredients" of a Reading Programme
Issue 027 - Word Recognition
Issue 028 - Understanding Meaning in Context [1]
Issue 029 - Understanding Meaning in Context [2]

Issue 016 - CAUSE and EFFECT
Issue 017 - Comparison of Adjectives
Issue 019 - Comparison of Adverbs
Issue 020 - Special Cases of Comparison
Issue 021 - Comparison Clauses vs. Comparison Phrases
Issue 022 - Restrictive and Non-Restrictive Meaning
Issue 023 - Expressions of Frequency
Issue 024 - Using Grammar for Speaking/Writing
Issue 025 - Linking Signals and their Functions [1]
Issue 026 - Linking Signals and their Functions [2]
Issue 027 - Linking Signals and their Functions [3]
Issue 028 - Linking Sentences [1]
Issue 029 - Linking Sentences [2]

Website building:
Issue 016 - The Basic Concepts
Issue 017 - Content vs. Monetize
Issue 019 - PREselling vs. Selling
Issue 020 - Developing a Site Concept
Issue 021 - Choosing Your Site Concept
Issue 022 - Choosing Your Niche
Issue 023 - Real Supply and Value Demand
Issue 024 - The Filter Tool - Phase 1
Issue 025 - The Filter Tool - Phase 2
Issue 026 - The "Depth" of a Website
Issue 027 - Evaluate 7 factors for each Site Concept
Issue 028 - Profitability vs. Monetization
Issue 029 - The Site Content Blueprint

Reading ~ Step 1: Understanding Meaning in Context [3]

For a few lessons, starting from today, we shall consider how we can build on what we know already. Let’s look at words and sentences. A child/beginner needs to be able to recognise words in a text, but that in its own is not really sufficient. They need to recognise those words in the context, in order to avoid attaching a different meaning to those words than the precise one they have in that context.

As a parent, listening to your child fluently reading a passage in English, you may think that your child is actually good at reading. But if, for example, that child doesn’t grasp the meaning of the sentence or the paragraph, because (s)he attributes another meaning to some words than the correct one, then your impression of their proficiency is wrong and it will be just a matter of time until you discover (s)he is not actually good at reading in English. The more you let time go by, before you catch their deficiencies, the more they will have to repeat learning the same vocabulary again, until they get it right and this can be very off-putting.

Just as an example, if we have the sentence “Don’t worry, I’ll catch you up” – a young child may think of the phrasal verb ‘catch up’ as seizing somebody by the upper arm, as in playing tag. Instead, it means to walk fast enough, to get to overtake the other person in front. There are hundreds of verbs like this, but these are not the only source of confusion when reading.

There are many books with exercises on this subject and the Internet is full of free resources that are actually full of fun – a luxury I didn’t have as I grew up. One could spend hours and days on one’s favourite word games, like the men who gather around an improvised board on the street pavement, on a sunny afternoon to play their Chinese chess game while forgetting the world around them.

Let me recommend some of the best websites for building vocabulary for reading purposes.

For children, you’ll find stories like the following story by Beatrix Potter .

They all come with some vocabulary activities prior to the reading and exercises after the reading. You can also download and print the transcripts, the exercises and the key to the exercises – all for free! All you need to do is subscribe to the website, which is also free. Otherwise, you can read and play the games, but you won’t have access to the printouts.

For teenagers, you can check this: TeensReading introduction .

For this one you can ask the following questions:

The above is the main page for reading skills and the one below is an example of a reading piece for A1 = beginners: TeensReading [Finding a Home] .

The same applies on this page – you can download and print the transcripts, the exercises and the key to the exercises if you join in, for free as well. These two pages belong to one website, which is run by The British Council, so expect the language to be British English, and of a good quality, on par with the BBC websites.

OK, this is it for today, but we shall look at some ways of acquiring vocabulary and improving it in our next issue.

Grammar ~ Linking Sentences [3]

I suggested last time that we shall work on linking sentences for expressing conditions, both positive and negative conditions. For those of you who haven’t received these lessons from the very beginning, the abbreviations we’re using here stand for:

[Co] = coordination; [Sub] – subordination; [Ad] = adverbial link.

You can find more information about these and how to use them in Issue 025 Here you will find some easy ways of linking your sentences which not many people use in daily life. It would be an improvement in your English, if you started to actively use these expressions – trust me!

Positive condition

Would you have thought that the conjunction and can express a condition? OK, only in some contexts, such as commanding and advising, as follows:

[Co] [Take this medicine], and [(then) you’ll feel better.]

[Sub] If you take this medicine],[ you’ll feel better.]

[Ad] [You ought to take your medicine regularly, as the doctor ordered.] [You’d feel better, then.]

Negative condition

The conjunction or functions just like the coordinating and from above, but it expresses a negative condition:

[Co] [You’d better drive more sensibly on the road], [or (else) you’ll run the risk of provoking an accident.]

[Sub] [Unless you drive sensibly], [you’ll provoke an accident.]

[Ad] [I should drive more carefully if I were you]; [otherwise you’ll provoke an accident.]

Condition + contrast

[Sub] [However much advice we give him], [he (still) does exactly what he wants.]

[Ad] [It doesn’t matter how much advice we give him], [he (still) does exactly what he wants] Note that coordination alone cannot indicate condition + contrast.

The idea of condition (if) and implied contrast (even) is expressed by the conjunction even if:

[He keeps going for a jog every morning], [even if the weather is rough.] (You wouldn’t expect him to go jogging in rough weather, but he does.)

The meaning of even if is sometimes conveyed by if alone, or if… (at least):

[If nothing else], [(at least) two good things came out of their separation.] (even if nothing else came out of their separation…)

Even if expresses the same contrastive meaning in hypothetical conditions (conditions that are just in the imagination, they’re not part of the actual, real life):

[She wouldn’t marry him], [even if he begged her into marriage.]

Alternative conditions, implying the meaning ‘contrary to expectation’

This is expressed by the conjunction whether… or, or whatever:

[Whether we win or lose], [the match will be enjoyable.] (If we win, or even if we lose…)

Now, from the wh- words ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘when’, ‘where’ we get a similar meaning if we add ’ever’ , giving us whatever, whoever, whenever and wherever:

[Wherever he goes], [he makes friends.] .

[He will be in favour of the winner], [whoever he may happen to be.]

What we’re saying here is that the statement in the main clause is true on any of the conditions covered by the subclause. Again, the contrasting meaning is present, as the sentence implies that ‘he will favour the winner, even if that winner will be someone who is rather unpopular’.

The same meaning can be expressed by an adverbial clause beginning with no matter wh-: [He’ll favour the winner], [no matter who he may be.]

Two general adverbials with this type of meaning are anyway and in any case (=’whatever the circumstances’):

[He doesn’t know who the winner will be], but [he’ll favour him anyway/in any case.]

Website Design ~ Lateral Brainstorm

Step 2 - Complete the full brainstorm process on your Site Concept.

Previously we chose our Site Concept and deleted all keywords related to the other Seed Words.

We now have an excellent starting list of keywords that contain our Site Concept Keyword, many of which will be the topics of future content pages. These are our vertical brainstormed keywords and they are usually your most important ones. Lateral brainstormed keywords can stimulate new ideas for our niche, perhaps even give us a better idea for a niche, and will add depth to our Master Keyword List (i.e., more topics to write about).

So let's proceed with a lateral brainstorm. We will... 1. Lateral brainstorm to grow your Master Keyword List (i.e., find keywords that are related to our Site Concept Keyword, but that do not contain your Seed Word).

2. Delete irrelevant lateral keywords. 3. Blend with vertical keywords that are already on our MKL, from our previous vertical brainstorm activity.

We need to return to the Brainstormer and select Lateral Brainstorm and then select Lateral Brainstormer:

Once you’re there, enter your Seed Word.

STEP 3 appears when you select the resource (in this case, Lateral Brainstormer). Enter your Site Concept Keyword and click Brainstorm It!...

When the Lateral Brainstorm completes its work (which takes a few minutes because it visits the top 200 sites found in Google), we are sent to the MKL again.

Don't be surprised at the incredible variety of lateral keywords. There's some garbage to delete, but some excellent new keywords, too. Consider each as a surprise gift, an opportunity/idea for content creation, from a webmaster whose site is in the Top 200 at Google for a search on our Site Concept Keyword.

We must pay attention before we delete the irrelevant junk. After that, we need to blend with Vertical Keywords (on the KML from before), to give us two strong sets of keywords.

We now have a consolidated Master Keyword List that makes our upcoming keyword evaluation and additional research much easier. We shall look into this next time and it won’t take long before we can work with our Site Content Blueprint – the matter we started in our last issue.

This Is It, Folks!

I hope you find this information useful and not too confusing. Even though you're in the stage of building on it, have patience at this point in your learning and you'll be able to reap the fruit of your work later on, whichever aspect of our lessons you are concentrating on.

Please feel free to comment and suggest your ideas by replying to this email - I look forward to hearing from you.

Have fun, as always!
My best wishes,

Lucia da Vinci

Founder of My English Club

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