16 maart 2011

Rock Your English! (2) - op je plek gezet!

Eergisteren introduceerde ik coach Buffi Duberman (@rockyourenglish, website, Facebook) en haar Top 10 meestgemaakte fouten in Engelse songteksten en grammatica. Die pakt ze 1-voor-1 aan op EHPO, in voertaal Engels uiteraard. Maar eerst brengt ze Nederlandse muzikanten en tekstschrijvers wat realiteitszin bij, om daarna af te sluiten met een paar uiterst nuttige oefeningen.

'My English is pretty good. I love South Park.'
Buffi: 'People in Holland usually think their English is OK. They don’t need the subtitles for movies, they can watch Family Guy and laugh at the right moment, and carry on a basic conversation, all in English. All good. Good enough for general shizzle, but what about when it really comes to active, spontaneous, and natural communication? Can you use all the words that you know? And use them naturally, spontaneously, and accurately? That, my friends, is the fi-dolla question.

People tend to forget that there are 2 types of ‘knowing’: active and passive. The passive knowledge of Dutch people is strong. This means they can understand most of what they read or hear. Their ears are very well informed. However, when it comes to active (especially spontaneous!) use, people often fall short. Speaking and writing skills are usually at a much lower level than listening and reading skills. Your mouth knows a lot less than your ears. I want to help people bridge a gap between their passive and their active knowledge of English. How do you do that? Lots of different ways.'

Tip 1
'Take a newspaper, magazine or website article that you like (if you like the subject, it’s more interesting to learn from it), and copy or scan it. Use Tipp-Ex (lekker old skool!) to cover, or delete all the verbs (werkwoorden). Leave it for a day. The next day, see how many verbs you can put back. And watch the endings of the verbs – was it ‘has worked’ or ‘has been working’? This exercise is more than just a memory game; it’s actually a concentrated way to focus on specific words, see how they are used, and activate them, instead of just scanning them to get general information from them. If you do this 3 times a week I promise it will make a big difference in your active vocabulary use.

Tip 2
Take that same article and choose 5 words from every paragraph. Find out what they mean by looking at the context. Still stumped? Try
dictionary.com (don’t forget the audio fragment on that site. Listen and repeat! Work that mouth!). Your brain remembers words in clusters better than separately, so for every word you learn, find a word that means the same. Look up the synonym on thesaurus.com. Then find the antonym – the opposite of this word, also on that same site. Write your own sentences with these words in it (3 in total, one for each word). Now you have 2 extra words for every new word, and it takes no extra effort: 3 halen, 1 betalen (qua brain cells…)!'Tip 3
'Now, how do you organize all these new words? Easy. Go get a tiny address book. The one that’s about the size of an iPhone, no bigger than that. This will now be your own private dictionary. All the new words you’re learning can be organized any way you like. Put all the new ‘music’ words under M, or do it word by word - whatever works for you. What’s important is that you put down the 2 extra words for every word you want to remember. Think of them as a cluster. ABC: A=B, A≠C. And don’t forget to put these new words into sentences of your own. Throw this little dictionary into your guitar - or laptop case, take it with you wherever you go, keep using it and referring to it, and before you know it, your vocabulary will be growing and flowing!'


Prachtige concrete tips, Buffi. Dank daarvoor. Volgende keer: 'The Most Difficult Sound in English and Why Mastering it Will Make You a Better Kisser'. Ik kijk er naar uit!

2 opmerkingen:

buffi zei

bedankt niels! i love that you said yes, this is tons of fun! x

Richard zei

Ok you two, get a room!

No, seriously: it's fun Buffi. So Niels, thanks for giving her the opportunity.

And Buffi: thanks for sharing!