Posts Tagged ‘conversation practice’
The homestays with local families that are a part of the English immersion course package are often cited by Acadia Center students as one of the highlights of their time in Maine. Homestay hosts are eager to help you practice your conversational English and share in the everyday life of a small New England town.
“The house where I was during my immersion course and the family that hosted me were marvelous,” wrote Mauricio, a business executive from Colombia, after recently finishing his English course with us. “I want to thank them for their hospitality, kindness, and warmth.”
Camden, Maine, and its environs offer one of the most popular destinations in the USA for summer sailing, as well as for hiking, kayaking, biking, and other outdoor sports.
During Acadia Center’s summer and fall English immersion courses – offered from May through October - twice-weekly excursions led by experienced teachers give students a chance to practice their English conversation in small groups while exploring Maine’s beautiful bays and mountains.
According to the New York Times, Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Belfast, and surrounding towns are fantastic places to find restaurants offering local produce and unique dining experiences. Kayaking, sailing, and hiking excursions that are popular with Acadia Center English immersion students are also highlighted in the travel article published this week.
A great way to practice English is to read the comics – they’re short and funny, they feature everyday English vocabulary that you can really put to use, and like movies they give you plenty of visual clues to what’s going on.
A classic American comic strip is Gary Trudeau’s Doonesbury. in circulation since 1970 and featuring such legendary charactes as Duke, whose exploits on the sketchiest fringes of the diplomatic world make for witty political satire; BD, the football star and army vet who never removes his helmet; and Alex, the daughter of the strip’s title character, “a true child of the media and searcher for the Killer App.”
Check it out, and if you have any questions about the vocabulary in the strip, let us know and we’ll help you out!
Either as a relative pronoun or question word, whom is rarely used in conversation. Formal writing, yes, but ordinary conversation, no.
With whom did you go to the movies? is correct but sounds like a police interrogation.
Who did you go to the movies with? is technically incorrect but is the way we usually say it.
Is it better to be correct and absurdly formal, or incorrect and more accurate in mimicking native speakers, including the most educated? In ordinary conversation, generally speaking, the answer is you’re right to be wrong – use who.
Still, it’s a good idea to know which is correct in a given context. The quick test in choosing between who and whom is to substitute he or him. If he sounds better, who is correct; if him sounds right, whom is correct. That’s because as a pronoun whom is used to represent the object of either a verb or a preposition, while who represents the subject of a verb.
He is the consultant whom we contacted for advice. (We contacted him.)
To whom was the letter addressed? (The letter was addressed to him.)
He is the consultant who can answer your question. (He can answer your question.)
In the two examples above, the formality can be toned down by omitting the pronoun in the first, and using the more casual who in the second:
He is the consultant we contacted for advice.
Who was the letter addressed to?
The he/him test works well unless you’re confronted with a choice between whoever and whomever as in this sentence:
You can just talk with whoever/whomever answers the phone.
Even native English speakers get confused by this, because our instinct tells us that whom, not who, should follow the preposition with. However, there is another rule in English which dictates that every verb in a tense needs a subject. Here, whoever is the correct choice, since the verb answers needs a subject.
Might there be another situation when, besides addressing the Queen at a tea party, it makes sense to use whom as an object pronoun? If you see someone walking a dog, and the dog is so big and strong that it’s all its owner can do to keep up with it, you can ask, without risk of sounding ridiculously formal: Who is walking whom?
Writing about your experiences in a full immersion English course is a great way to help yourself remember the vocabulary you’ve learned. It also encourages you to start thinking in English, rather than translating words that are new for you into your native language.
Last week, Daniela, human resources director for a software company in Bonn, Germany, and English immersion course student at Acadia Center for the second time, wrote an essay about her hike up Ragged Mountain, a favorite spot for local hikers here in Maine. Her guide was renowned artist and illustrator Anthony (Chip) Bacon Venti. After going over the essay carefully with her teacher, Daniela revised it and now you can read the result:
An Easter Sunday Hike
On Easter Sunday I went on a hike with Tomm’s friend Chip whom I have met before. He knew that I had the day off from classes and offered to show me parts of his home state. I really appreciated his offer and he picked me up on Easter Sunday at 11 am. First we drove to Lincolnville and he showed me the beautiful view from Point Lookout which was formerly a private property. Now there is a kind of upscale restaurant inside. You can even sit on the deck if the weather is warm and sunny enough and enjoy the scenery.
Chip told me the name of some islands and mountains we could see and pointed to an island where celebrities like Kirstie Alley and John Travolta own a vacation home. Further away we could identify some offshore wind turbines which must be huge if they can be seen from that distance.
We took some pictures and than we drove to a parking lot at Route 17 which is at the beginning of the Georges Highland Path. We took our knapsacks from the backseat of his car and started the hike.
The trail was marked by blue markers on trees and rocks and sometimes it was difficult to identify exactly where the path might be. But Chip always found another marker and then we went on. The first part of the trail was not very steep but after about one hour it became a steep climb. Surprisingly we were overtaken by a couple who were running up the hill! We kept up our pace and the last 20 minutes the path led over rocks until we reached the summit. On the top of the mountain stands a huge tower which apparently receives or sends data. We rested at the foot of the tower for a while and enjoyed our picnic. Chip did some sketches of the panorama and explained the landmarks to me. Then we went back downhill the same way we had gone up.
The whole hike took about 4 hours and was a really unique experience. Later he gave me a ride home to Acadia Center. I have to admit that I was really tired after that but I am glad I had the opportunity to see what I have seen.
Do you have only two or three weeks to spare for an English immersion course in the USA? No problem – come to Maine and study at Acadia Center for the time you have available, even if it’s only two or three weeks. Then do what many of our students have done: book another course six months or a year later – take advantage of the 5% alumni discount - and save!
In the early part of 2011 several alumni have already booked second – and in some cases third – courses at Acadia Center, including a professor of ethics and theology from Brazil, an international trade agent from France, and a human resources executive from Germany.
The beauty and peacefulness of our small New England town make it an ideal place in any season for you to take time off from your busy worklife and focus on improving your English quickly, efficiently, and very enjoyably!
Winter is also a great time of year to immerse yourself in English while improving your English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.
Register now for an English immersion course at Acadia Center and discover winter in Maine.
If coming to Maine, USA, for an intensive English immersion course at Acadia Center does not fit into your schedule right now, how about signing up for online lessons in conversational or written English? An Acadia Center teacher will call you at your home or office and, in half-hour or hour lessons and using a screen-sharing tool as a virtual blackboard, guide you towards fulfilling your English learning goals. Hope to talk with you soon!