19th ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival is up


Ms. Flecha has just posted the Nineteenth Edition Of The ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival, and my post is included and had a lovely write up. It was paired with another post from a TESOL educator in Brazil, Henrick Opera, who has a really interesting post on world Englishes standards. With more non-native English speakers world-wide,  you’d think we’d all understand each other better, but the big elephant in the room with TESOL teaching seems to be what version of English do you teach since there can be significant differences in pronunciation, and that bug-a-boo idiom between the different Englishes spoken around the world.

I’ve run across this myself the first time I watched The Commitments (based on the novel by Roddy Doyle, who I referred to in my post). It’s about working-class Dubliners. My husband and I felt like we needed subtitles, and we had to really listen carefully, and “translate” what they were saying because the accent and idiom/slang was so strong.  It helped when we figured out they were using a variant of the f-word rather liberally with the double “oo” rather than short “u” sound. Opera’s post is very though provoking and I highly recommend it.

Other useful tidbits:

  1. Ask Clarifying Questions is a great list of questions to use with ESL students to get them thinking about what they are reading.
  2. English with Jennifer shows how using poetry can help introduce learning, and culture. I’d add songs too to the list.
  3. Speaking of Music, Larry Ferlazzo has a post on a Boston Globe article on using subtitles in music videos.
  4. You wouldn’t think that teacher still need this, but if you or co-workers do, Mathew Needleman has a nice post on  The Right Way to Show Movies in Class.

There’s more up than these, so I high suggest stopping by and checking it out.

4 Comments to

“19th ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival is up”

  1. October 24th, 2010 at 8:19 pm      Reply Henrick Oprea Says:

    Many thanks for mentioning the post here, and I’m really glad to hear you found it nice! I also loved the anecdote about the movie. That’s exactly what I’m concerned with these days when some people claim that all is OK. I feel that language teachers are the worst possible assessors of language performance as we try really hard to understand what learners are trying to say.

    I also enjoyed your post and I guess I can say I share the same view. Some people equate an attempt at sounding native-like as something that is trying to make learners lose their true identity. I think that, just as you mentioned, there’s a way for learners to understand they have to sound better and still not lose their own identity. And when it comes to a foreign language, I think it’s a lot easier than AAVE, huh?!

    The point is we learn a language to be able to communicate with its speakers. If we lower the standards up to a point that you can only communicate with other learners of the language, but not native speakers, what’s the point of learning the language in the first place?

    • October 24th, 2010 at 8:47 pm      Reply alicemercer Says:

      The only question that still seemed to be out there in your post was which native English. The big divide seems to be Brit vs. American English. How to bridge that? I ran across something similar in studying Spanish, which has a lot of regional variants, and as in English, most classes try to “cover” it all. Since most folks in California are from Mexico and South America, I made sure I really concentrated on picking up features of Mexican Spanish (e.g., use of “usted”).

  2. November 3rd, 2010 at 4:23 pm      Reply Mariam Says:

    Hi, I am an ex ESL student originally from the Republic of Georgia currently living in Los Angeles. I came to the U.S. at the age of 10 thinking that the previous 3 years of learning English in Georgia would have come in handy. However, soon I discovered that my pronunciation and use of certain phases such as “not at all” with the British English accent did not help clarify or communicate my thoughts. As some time passed and as I became more familiar with the “U.S English” I realized that there is a significant difference between the English pronunciation taught in Georgia and the English spoken in the United States.

    This is an interesting article but what is the solution? Is there a pure universal English? As a student I think it’s helpful to engage in conversations in class as much as possible and to speak to other native English speakers. This will allow instant feedback and give the student a better idea of what the generally excepted pronunciations are to those that speak the language fluently.

    Compelling Conversations, is one of my favorite textbooks which I believe deals with this issue. It is wonderfully designed to help students gain conversation skills and become more fluent by sharing their experiences and interests. Developing skills which help us carry out conversations in English is necessary and valuable to all wishing to communicate with the native English speakers.


    • November 5th, 2010 at 1:49 pm      Reply alicemercer Says:

      I don’t know if there is a good solution. The solution is obvious for someone traveling or dealing with visitors or immigrants from one area, study the vernacular of that area. So if you are planning to immigrate to the U.S., study U.S. English, not Brit English as you advance in your studies. I’m imagining that some folks just don’t know, and in the case of seaman, and those working for an international corporation, the will be dealing largely with other E2s, and it’s hard to predict whether Indian, British, or American English will be their lingua that they need to frank.


  1. The Twenty-First Edition of the ESL/EFL/ELD Blog Carnival | Reflections on Teaching

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