Reconstructing Chomsky on Language

Recently in class Chomsky’s name came up in discussion as the most widely cited author, but not many students knew his name or why he is so well-known.

The following video outlines Chomsky’s ground-breaking theory of language.

Before you watch the video, discuss with a friend the following questions.

  • What makes human language different from animal language?
  • Is language learned, or are we born with it?
  • How is it possible that small children learn languages so quickly?

Watch the video and then attempt the text reconstruction activity at the bottom of the page.

Continue reading

IELTS Listening – credit card numbers

(For more IELTS Listening Section 1 spelling practice, try these names and postcodes!)

Credit card numbers come in a predictable format – four groups of four digits, for example:

4567 5678 6789 7890

Zero‘ can also be read ‘oh‘, and sequences of the same digit can be read as ‘double‘, ‘triple‘, etc.

See if you can ‘spell’ these credit card numbers: Continue reading

IELTS Listening – spelling postcodes

(For more IELTS Listening Section 1 spelling practice, try these names and credit cards!)

Postcodes can be problematic in IELTS Listening Section 1. However, if you are aware of the predictable formats of postcodes then recognising them becomes easier. UK postcodes all fit the following pattern:

UK poatcodes

So that’s: one or two letters + a number + another number + one or two letters

And remember that the number ‘zero’ can also be read ‘oh’!

See if you can ‘spell’ these postcodes: Continue reading

Eyeing the perfect past

In this post we’re looking closely at, or eyeing, past perfect tense. In a previous post I showed that past perfect tense is probably not very useful in IELTS writing and speaking. It belongs more to the narrative genre, and in IELTS we don’t write stories!

When I explain this to students and they look at me as though they don’t really believe me, and so we go ahead and look at a story to see how past perfect works. Continue reading