A note from Renata

dogs 1Hi there! It’s a sunny spring Monday morning. The weekend was very good. Friday night, my husband and I went out to have dinner with friends. We had a delicious meal with caipirinhas and so much fun. Saturday was a rainy day and we spend the day camping out on the couch, a pizza, a bottle of wine and movies. We watched “Hostage” with Bruce Willis.  Going into this film, it is a  nail bitting thriller that crackles with action and suspense. It was based on the novel of the same name by Robert Crais, this 2005 release finds that one hostage drama is not enough, there needs to be two hostage dramas going on at the same time just to make things even more complicated. Bruce plays a former top-flight LA hostage negotiator, who moves to the”burbs” after messing up on the job and letting a husband kill his wife and son. Bruce Willis does “anguish”, the thing he does best. It was not a fantastic movie but it was entertaining. Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and we walked the dogs Moby and Gabe.  After lunch, while watching some parts of  Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Interlagos, I prepared my classes for this week. Now I am going to get started for my classes in the afternoon and I hope you are having a good day too. Talk to you soon! kisses. Renata.

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Get ready, get crazy, get lost…got it???

results[1] Let’s get started! Get up, get out of bed, get yourself something to eat, get dressed, get your car keys and get to work. Get a map, so you don’t get lost. Or you can get a bus . Get the bus ticket and get a newspaper  to get informed. Get off  the bus and  get a taxi. Get into the taxi and you’ll get to the office soon. Ask the driver if he can get a short cut so you can get there faster. Tell him how you get mad every time you  get caught in a traffic jam. You’ll get late, so get your phone and get throught to your boss. You know he will get upset, but try not to get nervous, because after the meeting you’ll get a break and get in touch with that old friend who is getting married next month.  Get back home,  before it gets dark. It’s getting cold. Get a jacket. Did you get the idea? Don’t get me wrong. I know you can get by and  get over your doubts and get ahead. When you get used to it, you won’t get confused anymore and you will get round this problem. I hope I can get my message across to you. Getting tired? Getting hungry? Let’s get a pizza and then let’s get down to business. I got to go.  Got the msg? Get some rest! Kisses. Renata.

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Hi there!! Good morning! Good afternoon! Good evening! At home. At school. At work. At night. Some expressions are so familiar and frequently used that we don’t even notice them. But yes, they are collocations! But what the heck are collocations? The answer: A combination of two or more words used correctly to sound “right”, natural and get closer to what a native English speaker would use. They come in chunks or blocks. Let’s try to make it clearer with some examples: I am hungry and in a hurry, so what I need right now is a fast meal or a quick meal? Quick meal is the correct one. But check this example: Fast food or quick food? Easy! Fast food! This one is easy because as I said before we use it all the time. It is already incorporated into Portuguese. Another example: I am thirsty and I need to drink water in order to: kill the thirst or quench thirst? Quench thirst. One more: We do the housework, do the dishes. But we make the beds. The strategy: We need to read a lot: texts, the breaking news articles teacher Renata provides, watch TV series and films, listen to music. Music is an excellent way of increasing your vocabulary. From now on, visiting this blog will be a way of developing your collocational competence in English as a Second Language (ESL). By reading a lot of literature written in English you will be exposed to a massive amount of vocabulary and as a result, this will help you discover and acquire new collocations. Common patterns of collocation include: verb + noun (make a mistake), adjective + noun (a heavy traffic), adverb + verb (to strongly recommend), adverb + adjective (extremely generous), adjective + preposition (similar to), noun + noun (a ceasefire agreement), adj + preposition+ ing(guilty of killing). Collocations can be much longer such as : adverb + verb + adjective + noun + preposition + noun (seriously affect the political situation in North Korea). Well, I think it’s all for now. Have a nice long weekend. Vote consciously. Happy Halloween!! (3 collocations!!) Kisses Renata

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Pronunciation Nightmares

Is pronunciation a huge problem for you? How to pronounce words naturally in English? Instead of asking people to forgive your bad English pronunciation, think about this: we are not native English speakers. No matter how hard we try, once in a while we will let slip a mistake in pronunciation. The truth is: I do consider pronunciation a big issue, but not to the extent that it makes you feel like a total failure. If you are able to send the message and establish the necessary communication, so …fine!! Go ahead! We are constantly in touch with foreigners. American executives, Indian colleagues, British directors, Australian friends, Japanese businessmen. They are here all the time, and when they try to speak Portuguese we immediately identify their accent because we are native Portuguese speakers. Isn’t it true? This happens both ways. When we speak English, the Americans, the British or the Australians, they recognize we are not native English speakers. My advice : avoid unnecessary embarrassment with some tricky words, practice them a lot with your teacher, listen to music, watch TV series, ask a friend or change this word for a similar one. The more you practice the better you speak. Consider the fact that different “dialects” and accents exist in English and in Portuguese as well. I remember once a hard time I had, during a flight to Fortaleza. The plane landed in Salvador and the cleaning crew entered. Cleaning details were being checked by the foreman who asked her team :”Rábutô glei?” ,”Rábutô ? ” Rábutá! Rabutá glei!!”. What language were they speaking??? I thought I was in the wrong flight to another country.  So I asked the foreman what she was saying. She told me she was asking her team if they had already used the air freshener :”Já colocou Gleid”!! Já colocou? Vá colocar! Vá colocar Gleid!!” See?? Believe it  or not, it’s true. Don’t miss the upcoming posts. Some tips and easy to follow steps will be provided for you. Luckly we are not talking about Chinese language!!!   Hope dies last!!!     See you. Kisses. Renata

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Halloween is coming!!! Get in the spirit!!

Halloween week is ahead us. Therefore some very short explanation about this interesting celebration needs to be shared. It traditionally takes place on October 31st and it started out as a pagan celebration. The name Halloween comes from its Celtic origin which is “all hallows eve”. It was believed that the spirits of the dead during this night were allowed to roam freely. The  people, at that time, were so afraid of ghosts that this fear led them to wear ghosts, skeletons and witches costumes during that night  to keep the evil spirits away, creating the illusion of being one of the dead. Today, of course, the habit of wearing costumes is enjoyable and creates an atmosphere of excitement specially among children. They dress up as monsters, fairies, witches, super heroes  and go door to door asking for candies saying “trick-or-treat“. Here in Brazil we have recently started to copy this traditional celebration. Be prepared to have your house decorated in black and orange, traditional Halloween  colors, which represent the darkness of night and the color of bonfires, autumn leaves and jack o’ lanterns, carved pumpkins with a candle inside. Make sure to have a basket full of home-made candies to offer to the little ones who stop by. Go ahead. Shop for Halloween stuff before it’s too late.  Booooooo!!!!!!!!!

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Good morning my dear students!!

I don’t know yet when this idea of starting a blog came up.  Suddenly I asked myself: why not? And then, this is it. Here I am, trying to  share with you some stories and some experiences I had along my way of teaching English. Today in this very first day, I just want to thank you, for being so nice and supportive to me during all these years working together. My main goal here is to show you that,  as non native speakers, we have the same doubts related to English language. I hope you drop by to ask questions, solve your doubts, share some thoughts and chat once in a while. Sometimes by reading the posts you will find out that you are not alone in this world. Your doubts are his doubts and his doubts are her doubts which by the way are mine too. Funny! But believe me. I have already answered a student’s question by using, as an example,  a  mistake I constantly used to make when I was at college. See! Don’t be afraid of the  boogieman hidden inside under your desk. There is no need to be scared of making mistakes when speaking English. Be calm, breath and let go. Let me know if it is ok for you this way. Bye. Kisses. Renata

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