College colleagues

I’m very busy during the week, but at weekends I go out with my colleges.

Indonesian flag This was something I overheard someone say, although I sometimes see the same error in writing. Mostly it’s a pronunciation problem that influences written form.

There’s a world of difference between colleges and colleagues:

  • colleges (3 syllables: /kɒlɪdʒɪz/) – educational institutions
  • colleagues (2 syllables: /kɒliːgz/) – the people we work with

Colleges or colleagues?

A student out for a walk with his colleges(!)

Whoever you are, and wherever you are, you’re extremely unlikely to go out with your colleges! What you mean is:

  • I’m very busy during the week, but at weekends I go out with my colleagues.

But even here there’s a problem. English native speakers are unlikely to refer to the people they study with as colleagues. If the context is education, then a native speaker is more likely to use the following:

  • I go out with my classmates.
  • I go out with people from my class.
  • I go out with fellow students.

If you go out with colleagues, you are going out with the people you work with, and not the people you study with! If you are hanging out with college colleagues then you are probably a teacher or professor hanging out with fellow teachers or professors!

Linkin’ Text – A pronunciation app

Note! I’m still working on the algorithm and I’d very much appreciate your feedback on how it’s working so far!


Indonesian flag Indonesian students are used to separating – when they speak Indonesian – every single syllable, and therefore every single word, so that the boundaries between words are always easy to identify. Unfortunately, native English speakers try where possible to join words together in speech, making the boundaries between words less obvious.

Indonesian flag Indonesians are aware that they can still communicate well in English without linking words the way English native speakers do. However, forcing yourself to link words has at least two important advantages:

  • Identifying word boundaries (when listening) becomes much easier if you are able to produce – in speaking – word boundaries!
  • Linking – or connecting – words gets you a higher score for pronunciation in IELTS Speaking!

Linkin’ text highlights 4 link types:

  • Red shows that a sound has been moved.
  • Blue shows that a sound has been added.
  • Green shows that a sound has been changed.
  • Faded shows that a sound has been omitted.

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Lemon Squeezy

Another song from @GuruEAP – this time to practice the words ‘easy‘ and ‘difficult‘. See also this earlier post for further practice of these not-so-easy items!

A free handout with lyrics and tasks for students accompanies the song. The video features Indonesian EAP students preparing to study abroad. Enjoy!