Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Great Pronunciation Site

The words Bag and Back: A minimal pair
that's difficult for some language learners. 
I was going to do a common error today, but I decided to share a link to a great website instead. Honestly, I'm running low on ideas for common errors, so if you have a suggestion for one, I'd love to hear from you.

Anyhow, the site is called "shiporsheep.com," and it focuses on minimal pairs. If you don't know what a minimal pair is, it's basically two words that are pronounced exactly the same, except for a single sound. Some examples of minimal pairs are words like bag and backchip and cheap, chip and ship, pig and pick, and, of course, ship and sheep.

shiporsheep.com is great because after you click on the sounds you want to focus on, it'll open a page with all sorts of examples of the sounds you want to practice. Then you only need to put your mouse over a word to hear it pronounced.

One disadvantage of the site is that there's no feedback. You can pronounce the words after you hear them, but there's no one or nothing to indicate if you're actually pronouncing them correctly. Still, it's a cool site, so you should check it out!

That's all for today, but later this week I'll try to give you a few more language-learning resources. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Online Conversation Club

In addition to the Conversation Club at El Patio in Palmares, there's an Online Conversation Club available to CCCN students. It's free, it's easy, and it's a good way to practice your English.

To participate, use Instant Messenger. When you're signed in, add 
to your contacts, and you're ready! The contact will be online during conversation club hours. To chat, simply say hello. There are different teachers administering the sessions, and each teacher will provide discussion topics. You can also use the club as a chance to ask any questions you may have about English or your class.

The schedule for this bimester is as follows:

Morning: 9 am -12 noon: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Afternoon: 3 pm - 5 pm: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

Evening: 6 pm - 9 pm: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday

Saturday: 1 pm - 4 pm

Try to take advantage of this opportunity to practice English! Have fun!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Conversation Club for Palmares and San Ramon Area

For anyone who's interested and free on Saturday afternoons, there's a new, informal conversation club in Buenos Aires, Palmares. It'll start around 12, as soon as the morning classes finish. You can see more details and directions on the flyer above. As I said, it's informal, and not directly sponsored by the CCCN, so you can also feel free to bring any friends who may want to participate and practice English.

I would go myself, but I have to work on Saturday afternoons. But I've heard good things about the food and the atmosphere at the place, so I hope that some of you will be able to take advantage of this opportunity. Good luck, and have fun!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Job Opportunity in Costa Rica for People With High Levels of English

My student Ronald works for the ICE, the Costa Rican electricity and telecommunications company. He told me that the ICE is currently recruiting employees, and I told him I'd pass on the info he gave me (including the logo above). Obviously, the information is in Spanish, but hopefully it can be of use to someone (note that the date is for this Friday!):

Gerencia Clientes requiere contratar Personal Ocasional para el puesto de: EJECUTIVO/A SERVICIO AL CLIENTE


1.      Bachiller en Educación Media.
2.   Formación en Inglés avanzado (de 90% a 100%). Presentar atestados que demuestren esta condición.
3.  Capacitación en la operación de paquetes computacionales. Presentar atestados que lo demuestren.
4.     Para laborar horarios mixtos, en turnos rotativos de domingo a domingo, con un día libre por semana.
5.   Preferiblemente residir en Alajuela Centro o alrededores, esto por el tipo de horario de atención, o estar dispuesto/a a desplazarse.


  1. Tener licencia B1 al día    

ü  Lugar:  Aula Plantel La Maravilla,  200 norte de la Corte Suprema – Alajuela.
ü  Fecha:  Viernes 20 de Mayo ‘2011   
ü  Hora:    8:00 a.m. a 4:00 p.m.             

Documentación que deben presentar: (Obligatorio)

ü  Original y copia de los títulos
ü  Hoja de delincuencia (con menos de tres meses de emitida)
ü  1 foto tamaño pasaporte (no escaneada)
ü  Copia licencia de conducir B1 extendida por el M.O.P.T.
ü  Levar lapicero; ya que las personas que cumplan con los requisitos deberán llenar una pre oferta.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

German Classes, Anyone?

I can't guarantee you'll be as cool as these two if you learn German,
but there's a pretty good chance you will be.

As you may or may not know, I actually studied German at the university; in fact, I have a German MA, and it's only by a strange twist of fate that I actually teach English. Anyway, I've recently been talking to a few friends and students who were interested in learning German, so I thought I'd mention this to anyone who's interested. We're trying to open a beginning-level German course in Palmares (likely at Lucy's house). It'd probably be a couple of hours a week, but the schedules would have to be determined after I find out who's interested. 

I have to admit that I really like German, although the grammar can be a bit difficult to learn, at least compared to English. But if you're wanting a new challenge and want to learn the language of Goethe, Lessing, Schiller, and Falco, then German can be great fun! 

If you're interested, either leave me a comment on this blog post, send me an email, or give me a call. Bis bald!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Common Errors: "Know" vs. "Meet," "See," and "Visit"

Good evening, everyone! Welcome back to Mistake Monday. This week's Common Error is actually really common, but it's also very easy to fix. The four words we'll talk about --know, meet, see, and visit-- are used in similar ways, but they're not 100% interchangeable. Let's look:

Common Error: "Know" vs. "Meet," "See," and "Visit"
DON’T say this:I want to travel to France to know the Eiffel Tower.
I have never known New York, but I've heard it's an amazing city.
The Spring Social Meeting is a great way to know new people.
WHY?If you know someone or something, it means that you have knowledge or information about them.

If you meet a person, you see him or her for the first time. This situation can be called an introduction, since you introduce one person to another person.

If you visit a place or person, you interact with them in some way.

If you see a person or place, it's similar to visit; normally you interact with them, but you may just observe them.
INSTEAD, SAY THIS:-"I want to travel to France to see/visit the Eiffel Tower." 
-"I have never visited/been to/gone to New York, but I've heard it's an amazing city."
-"The Spring Social Meeting is a great way to meet new people."
-"Do you know Paul? He's a really nice guy." OR "Have you met Paul?"
-"I don't know French, but I do know German."

So, hopefully you'll know what to say now if you meet someone new or visit a new place. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Common Error: "Since" vs. "For"

Good evening, and welcome to Trouble Tuesday! We're back tonight with an error that many students make when talking about things that happened in the past. Let's take a look:

Common Error: "Since" vs. "For"
DON’T say this:She's lived in San Jose since 15 years.
I only have 5 months at my new job.
WHY?For and Since can both be used to refer to activities that started in the past and continue today, but each word is used a little differently:
-Use since if you mention when the activity started.
-Use for if you mention the period of time that has passed or will pass.

The second incorrect example above is wrong because you can generally not "have" time. In this case, you'd have to re-phrase the sentence (see below).

Note: Both since and for can generally be used with any tense except the simple present tense.
INSTEAD, SAY THIS:-"She has lived in San Jose for 15 years." 
OR "She has lived in San Jose since 1997."
-"I have only been working at my new job for 5 months."
OR "I have only been working at my new job since December."

So, this error isn't actually that complicated to fix, right? If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!