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The saying 'learn to walk before you run' applies here
perfectly. The pre-communicative practice in learning a language is like
learning to walk as a baby. How many times did you fall when you
started to walk? MANY times, indeed. But you didn't give up! Your mum
was there to pick you up every time and you didn't even think about it.
Learning a language needs this repetitive stage until you become
confident in using your words and moving your tongue in your mouth to
pronounce your words fluently and correctly. I advise you to do it with anything you wish to learn in English.
Communication as a dance:
you learn dancing, you first learn the steps of a particular dance. You
learn your steps and your partner learns his/her own steps. Then you
form a pair and practice those steps for real. The result may be a coordinated, harmonious dance, or it may be a complete disaster, including stepping on each other's toes, kicking inadvertently and mis-coordinating your steps.
Communication as a 4-wheel bike:
As a child, I had a pair of smaller wheels on my bike, to help me keep my balance while practicing, before I could ride without thinking of all my moves.
Think of these as the teacher and think of the bike as the grammar, the forms of speech you're handling before you become proficient in using them on your own.
In this section we practice the elements of the language system without communicating any actual messages. We practice the steps of the dance separately, before we join our partner to do the actual dance. For now we only want to become proficient in doing the steps mechanically, without thinking too much about what comes next.
You need to master the simple rules of word order and structure: the adjective comes before the noun, the way an adjective becomes an adverb by adding '-ly' at the end, the way we double some letters when we add '-ing' for the progressive etc.
Simply concentrating on these and doing a lot of exercises (we call these drills) even in the hundreds will help you a lot in becoming fluent. You will come to a stage when you don't need to remind yourself the rules in your head before writing or saying the expressions - you don't need the helping wheels on your bike anymore, you've got the confidence to use your skill.
So let's look at the concepts of communicative grammar we have dealt with in our e-zine lessons and I shall build some exercises for you to practice on.
Some of these concepts we have examined in our English Corner E-zine are:
Pre-communicative practice is designed for 2 levels:
The first level is when students work in pairs repeating over and over dialogues based on a picture or pre-set situation. Here are some examples and more explanatory notes.
The second level of the pre-communicative practice, where the relationship between the language structures used and their meanings are reinforced by situations that can occur in real life. Find a few examples here and notes on how to use this practice.
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Here we shall build some lessons to help you improve your writing skills.
Lots of lessons: cause & effect, comparisons, linking signals, relative clauses, presenting information, expressing emotions and grammar games, of course. We had more lessons on: intensifying adverbs and phrasal verbs, expressing various concepts such as addition, exception, restriction and ambiguity. Lately we started some exercises: likes/dislikes, frequency adverbs (twice), verb tenses, etc.
Learn how to build a website, by using the SBI! system - start from the basics, developing a site concept and a niche, supply and demand, learn about profitability and monetization, payment processing, register domain, website structure and content as a pyramid. Also learn about the tools I'm using to build this website. We also covered how to build traffic, working with search engines, building a good system of inbound links, using social marketing and blogs with the SBI system, how to use Socialize It and Form Build It, how to publish an e-zine and how to build a social network in your niche.
We looked at a few games by now: Countable & uncountable nouns, Free Rice, Name That Thing, Spell It, Spelloween, the Phrasal Verbs Game, Preposition Desert, The Sentence Game, Word Confusion, Word Wangling, Buzzing Bees, and The Verb Viper Game.
Be prepared to play and learn more pretty soon.