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Issue #034 -- Week 28/12/14-03/01/15
January 13, 2015
Greetings and General Information
Looking into the archive of our past issues I couldn't find Issue 034, which I am sure I sent last week. I don't know what happened, but I do know the Internet is not stable over here, so I don't trust it. Therefore, I shall send Issue 034 again today, for those of you who haven't received it and for the list of links in our archive. I'll try to finish and send Issue 035, as scheduled today. Should I encounter problems again, this may need to be postponed for tomorrow. Let's hope all goes well.
A Happy New Year to all our readers and a warm welcome to our new subscribers! I wish you will find My English Club fun and instructive and I look forward to welcome you as a new valued member soon. Read, learn and communicate around the world!
A warm welcome to our new subscribers! I wish you will find My English Club fun and instructive and I look forward to welcome you as a new valued member soon. Read, learn and communicate around the world!
Please feel free to contribute to these pages when you have a minute. They are meant to be a platform for exchanging ideas, stories and opinions - an ideal medium for practicing your English, which should be used to the full. Together, let's bring it alive, let's make it the welcoming community you wished for, when you joined.
You and your friends can subscribe individually through the form on My English Club. If anybody mentions to you that they are interested in receiving it, please tell them this - many thanks. Also, they can read the previous issues on Back Issues for English Corner E-zine.
Month 4 ~ Lesson 18
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:
Reading ~ Reading Skills for TOEFL 
I hope you had fun over the festive season, with the vocabulary games I offered you in the last issue. As promised, I’ll give you the answers in this issue, at the end of this lesson. Let me know how many you got right.
Starting a new year, let’s get on with a more serious matter in what regards reading skills one needs to develop in order to pass through various courses and exams, in order to acquire the respective certification. This material will also serve students who are preparing for the TOEFL exam in the near future.
What we’ve done so far – vocabulary building will be the foundation of the first reading skill needed in class, or in a test situation: understanding vocabulary from context. In these circumstances, you will not just play or practice – you will need to demonstrate what you’ve learnt so far, in order to accumulate points to ensure safe passage to the next level or passing an exam like TOEFL or IELTS. Let’s look at what’s involved.
In these circumstances, you will not just play or practice – you will need to demonstrate what you’ve learnt so far, in order to accumulate points to ensure safe passage to the next level or passing an exam like TOEFL or IELTS. Let’s look at what’s involved.
For some of the easiest type of questions, you will be asked to determine the meaning of a word or phrase in a given reading excerpt. The skill in question is understanding vocabulary from context. Here we can have two varieties of words:
a) It may be a difficult word, even one that you’ve never seen before. You will need to look at the sentence in which the word is placed, and/or at the sentences around the respective word. That context will help you understand the meaning of the unknown word.
b) Another situation is when you are asked about the meaning of a word you often use in everyday English. In this kind of situation, usually the word has various meanings and you need to select the right meaning of that word in your particular context – it may not necessarily be its primary meaning. Example of a test question:
Innovations That Breed Innovations
It required a leap of imagination on the part of Muhammad Yunus to create a bank that lends money to some of the world’s most desperately impoverished people – village entrepreneurs who might need as little as thirty or fifty dollars to start a tiny business. Conventional banks couldn’t afford to make and service such minute loans, and borrowers didn’t have collateral or credit histories.
In 1976 Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist, created the Grameen Bank. Instead of requiring collateral, it asked borrowers to recruit a group of consigners in their own community to guarantee the repayment. The group would have a collective interest in the success of the borrower’s small business and could exert social pressure or provide help if payments fell behind. Its members might themselves qualify for loans, in turn, if the debt was repaid.
[From: “Revolutionary Wealth” by Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler, Boubleday 2006, Ch. 35]
i) The word “impoverished” in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to
In this question you are not expected to know the meaning of “impoverished” as such. Instead, you need to demonstrate that you understand the meaning of the words around it sufficiently, to allow you to select the correct meaning of “impoverished” in the sentence, in this case “poor” . To answer this question, you should select option C) poor.
ii) The word “behind” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
In this question, you should choose a word that could replace “behind”. You should know in this case that the word “behind” is a normal, everyday word that is not being used in its normal everyday way, meaning “not in front of something else. Because it sits together with the verb “fall”, which in this context is used for money/payments, it does not make sense to talk about falling after or being the rear side or backside of something or somebody, but it does make sense to talk about payments falling late. To answer this question, you should select option C) late.
You will get proficient in this kind of questions as a result of practising the kind of exercises I’ve mentioned to you in prior issues. You need to do this regularly and stretch your abilities by conquering higher and higher levels, on a regular basis.
Next time we shall consider Reading Skill 2 needed for the TOEFL test – recognising referents.
Now, let me keep my promise and give you the answers to the exercises you had in Traditional Vocabulary Games in Issue 033 .
i) 1. it’s; 2. meat; 3. two; 4. hi; 5. heel; 6. pear; 7. they’re; 8. sew; 9. steel; 10. dear; 11 bean; 12. flour; 13. stairs; 14. hour; 15. tail; 16. wood; 17. blue; 18. sea
ii) 1. animals; 2. metals; 3. clothes; 4. birds; 5. cutlery; 6. trees; 7. relatives; 8. cereals; 9. crockery; 10. fish; 11. insects; 12. vehicles; 13. flowers; 14. liquids; 15. utensils; 16. instruments; 17. currencies; 18. occupations; 19. reptiles; 20. furniture
iii) bear – hear – heat – meat – meal – seal – sell – bell – belt – bolt – colt – coat
iv)1. prison; 2. piano; 3. newspaper; 4. bed; 5. golf; 6. car; 7. astrology; 8. boxing; 9. watch; 10. roof; 11 cat; 12. camera; 13. theatre; 14. aeroplane; 15. window; 16. funeral; 17. chess; 18. castle; 19. rugby; 20. Farm
v) 1. chain; 2. hush; 3. pitch; 4. splitting; 5. dead; 6. marked; 7. casting; 8. Dutch; 9. inside; 10. dirt; 11. stone; 12 sore; 13. confirmed; 14. foregone; 15. flat; 16 close; 17 bone; 18. open; 19. French; 20. soft
Have you scored as high as you expected? If not, play the game again and see the difference. Have fun!
Grammar ~ Participle and Verbless Clauses
Have you come across those cases when a sentence had no verb or even no subject? We call them verbless clauses, and they often have no subject either.
“The war left behind many victims, many of them children.”
We can usually assume that a form of the verb be or some other verb has been omitted: ‘many of the victims were children’, ‘he had a mobile in one hand and…’.
When the subject is omitted, we can usually take it as equivalent to the subject in the main clause:
“All dancers, when on stage, crave for each of our applauses and an excellent review after the show.” (‘when they are on stage’)
An adjective (alone or as head of an adjective phrase) may be a good contestant as a verbless clause, given the implied presence of the verb be
“Hungry for friendship, the young boy would do anything he could to please the other boys in the team. “
The verbless clause can easily change its place within the sentence, but it usually precedes or follows the subject of the main clause:
“Even if correct, he would still struggle to gain our commitment.”
An adjective in this capacity could be replaced by an adverb, without much difference in meaning between the two alternatives:
“Anxiously, her lover threw himself into her arms as soon as they met again at the station.”
These verbless clauses, used more frequently in formal written English, also have a varied ‘general purpose’ linking function, as you can note in the examples below:
Reason: “Being an educated child, Michael offered to help the old lady across the street.” (‘As he was an educated child…’)
Time (when) : “Repaired, this bracelet will be very valuable.
Condition: “Repaired, this bracelet will be very valuable.
Means: “Using a jug of boiled water, she cleaned the soldier’s wound thoroughly, before applying the ointment.”
The above is a special category of clauses, which I would advise you to get familiar with, by practising it frequently. Another category is the cross-reference and omission, which I shall discuss in our next issue. We use this when clauses are connected because they share some content, for example they may be talking about the same person, etc.
Website Design ~ Investigate and Plan Monetization Options
It’s now time, as planned, to look into the monetizing aspect of a website. This is called “Day 4” in the SBI course and its purpose is to investigate and plan monetization options. As you may be familiar with the concept of a “day” in the SBI system – what we call “a day” will actually take a learner as long as it needs, for fully grasping and applying the lessons of that chapter.
For example, I am still learning from this course, and I am now in my third year of developing my website. Well, only just, as I started it in November 2012. However, it will take us no longer than a month to get through it, the reason being that I planned our present course around the 10 chapters, aiming to finish it in 10 round months, taking us through this academic year, you see. So far we are on track – we’re starting month 4, with chapter 4, so let’s get started.
Our steps for this chapter will cover, roughly:
Today we shall dip our toes into the first point – planning the big “M”. Thomas A. Edison said once: "Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning." With that in mind, we need to investigate and make sure that the Site Concept chosen for a new website can indeed make substantial profits before committing to a domain name. This is because we are learning about the monetization opportunities before we actually get onto registering the domain name.
We need to lay out a plan for a diversified Monetization Mix. Of course, not every monetization model has to start immediately. The potential must be there, though. Otherwise it wouldn’t become a business. If you don’t intend to create a business, you may as well just write a blog, for the pleasure of having your voice online, maybe accompanied by other talents of yours such as photography, painting or singing/playing an instrument.
When I started this website, the idea was to create a business in line with my profession, which will allow me to carry on working on something I love, but free from the need to get employment from other people and institutions. I am slowly approaching the stage when I can practically do this, but I must be responsible with regard to my mortgage outgoing, or else I risk losing my house and that would be silly. Before I can give up a secure source of income, I must prove to myself that my own business is sustainable, which is still to be demonstrated.
I haven’t embarked on the monetization system so far for two good reasons: first of all, I concentrated on the CTP so far, as taught by the present course, in order to build significant and reliable content, which would then start the traffic on my website in order for me to start earning my credibility worldwide. Given the limited amount of time I had to dedicate to this activity for the last 16 months, I postponed the monetization stage. Secondly, because I don’t consider myself a money-oriented individual, the idea of making fortunes online was kind of alien to me for all this time, and it still is. This has been the mental and emotional block in my life, allowing me to procrastinate indefinitely, until this year I decided to actually bite the bullet and do it.
The way I envisaged I would do this was by organising this course, which would take me on the monetization journey, while I actually concentrate on helping others (you, my readers) to achieve their dreams. I knew that at some point (now) I would need to ‘get my hands dirty’; hence I prepared myself mentally and emotionally for it so far. This is the reason I googled ‘My English Club’ last week and I think the fact that it came on third place among 580 million other search results safely attests that this website is ripe for monetizing. Personally, I am also ready for claiming my independence in terms of work, as many of you know I need to achieve my worldwide journey within a year, and that requires a fair amount of planning and effort.
That being said, let’s open our appetite by considering what exactly can one do, in order to secure an income online. Many people think it’s as easy as opening a website, but that’s a myth. I won’t digress in that direction though. I learnt from the SBI system that, even if one thinks one knows exactly how to monetize (and that might change as you proceed), one must not lock oneself into one monetization model. Why leave money on the table?
In this issue, I shall just reveal about a good number of monetization ideas, each needing good consideration before deciding whether or not it is suitable or unsuitable for the type of business one plans to open and for the kind of niche the website is meant for. In parallel, one must also decide whether or not the ideas considered are also possible, given the circumstances of the people involved, the medium of the website and the potential customers as well. We shall look into these details and we are going to consider each of these ideas individually, but for now, let’s just look at the big picture as such. What can one do, to make money online?
Among the most popular sources of income are: AdSense ads, AdSense search, affiliate marketing, referrals, lead generation/finder’s fees, multi-level marketing, hard goods (one’s own or else dropshipping), e-goods (e-books, audio, video), Cafepress, DVD sales, service selling (i.e. offering various services to other individuals or companies), local business, webmaster services, e-bay/net auction, membership, donations, rental agency, joint venture, sell ad space, and why not? PREsell SBI!
Now, can you see yourselves doing one or a combination of these online and collect your income directly into your bank account? In fact, many of you already do it, but on other people’s website, paying a fee for using their bandwidth and facilities, for better or worse. For example my friends who trade on TaoBao, or E-bay are doing exactly that and I’m sure they earn better than I do as a teacher. Hats off to you: I’m not jealous – I’m happy for you. In fact, that’s a step in the right direction, and the decision to open your own business online or not is just another step.
OK, I could actually go on and on about this, but let’s just say that we’ve covered the introduction, we’ve got ourselves interested and we just need to prepare for our next stages of this course. Many people must have heard of AdSense and its potential with “Get Google $” – we shall consider this concept next time. Make sure you return refreshed!
A Very Happy New Year to you, my friends!
I expect you had a good break during the Festive Season and I hope you are ready to start a new year full of promise. Those of you who can see the results of you hard work so far, please share this with your colleagues who are still trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Let's make this year a more collaborative one by writing in, to comment and suggest your ideas - I look forward to hearing from you.
Have fun, more than usually!
Lucia da Vinci
Founder of My English Club
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