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Topics - Rafiz Uddin

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English Grammar / Difference between British & American English
« on: March 25, 2019, 03:27:44 PM »
If you’re not a full time editor, you may be asking yourself what the differences between American and British English are. Well, Americans and the British clearly speak the same language, but there’s enough variation to create versions of the language with slightly different personalities and local flavor — or should that be flavour?

It’s difficult to make clear distinctions between US and UK accents when there is such a wide variety of accents within both the US and UK. A Texan and a New Yorker are both Americans, but have very different accents. The same goes for British accents in London, Manchester and Glasgow.

However, some very general distinctions can be made. Americans usually pronounce every “r” in a word, while the British tend to only pronounce the “r” when it’s the first letter of a word.
American English    British English
color    colour
behavior    behaviour
theater    theatre
meter    metre
organize    organise
traveled    travelled

American English    British English
apartment    flat
college    university
theater    theatre
vacation    holiday
chips    crisps
(french) fries    chips
the movies    the cinema
soda / pop / coke / soft drink    soft drink / fizzy drink
sneakers / tennis shoes    trainers
sweater    jumper
mailbox    postbox
band-aid    plaster
drugstore    chemist’s
soccer    football
cookie    biscuit


The differences below are only a general rule. American speech has influenced Britain via pop culture, and vice versa. Therefore, some prepositional differences are not as pronounced as they once were.
American English    British English
I’m going to a party on the weekend.    I’m going to a party at the weekend.
What are you doing on Christmas?    What are you doing at Christmas?
Monday through Friday.    Monday to Friday.
It’s different from/than the others.    It’s different from/to the others.

Past Simple vs Present Perfect

Americans tend to use the past simple when describing something that has recently occurred, while people in the UK are more likely to use the present perfect.
American English    British English
I ate too much.    I’ve eaten too much.
I went to the store.    I’ve been to the shop.
Did you get the newspaper?    Have you got the newspaper?

The past participle of get

In the UK, “gotten” as the past participle of “get” is considered archaic and was abandoned long ago in favor of “got.” However, in the US people still use “gotten” as the past participle.
American English    British English
get — got — gotten    get — got — got
I haven’t gotten any news about him.    I’ve not got any news about him.

Collective nouns: singular or plural?

In British English, a collective noun (like committee, government, team, etc.) can be either singular or plural, but more often tends toward plural, emphasizing the members of the group. Collective nouns in the US, by comparison, are always singular, emphasizing the group as one whole entity.
American English    British English
The government is doing everything it can during this crisis.    The government are doing everything they can during this crisis.
My team is winning.    My team are winning.
Regular or irregular verbs?

This is a subtle difference that can be easily overlooked in speech, but is much more apparent in written form. Many verbs that are irregular in the preterite in Britain (leapt, dreamt, burnt, learnt) have been made regular in America (leaped, dreamed, burned, learned).

As the most-spoken second language on the planet, English has to be flexible. After all, it’s not solely spoken in the countries we’ve detailed above. So whether you speak English like a Brit or like a ‘merkan, this should not be an obstacle when communicating with people on the opposite side of the pond, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

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Creative Writing / পথিক হেটে চলেছে
« on: September 24, 2018, 01:31:29 PM »
পথিক হেটে চলেছে।
পথের দুপাশে ফোটা ভাঁটফুল জিজ্ঞেস করে, জেনেছি কী যেন শিক্ষা অর্জন করেছ, ঠিক?
পথিক হেটে যায়।
পথের সামনে পড়ল এক কালকেউটে সাপ। পথিক হাতে লাঠি নিয়ে এগুলো।
সাপ বলে, আমি তোমায় মারতে আসিনি। জানতে চাইছি কেবল, কী শিখেছ?
পথিক লাজাওয়াব। সাপ গর্তে লুকোয়।
এরপর আবারো হেটে চলে পথিক।
উপরে আকাশ আর নিচে মাটি সমস্বরে জিজ্ঞাসে, বলো না পথিক, শিখেছ কী?
পথিক এবার আকাশের দিকে তাকায়। একবার খুঁজে দেখে চারপাশে। না, কেউ নেই। এবার তাকালো নিচে। পথের মাঝে মাটির স্তরে ভিন্নতা আছে। কোথাও উঁচু, নিচু কোথাও। একই মাটির কতই ধরন! উঁচু মাটি নিচু মাটির দিকে তাচ্ছিল্য করছে কিনা সে শুনছে কান পেতে। না।
আর নিচু মাটিও নিজের ব্যাপারে হীনমন্যতায় ভুগছে কিনা তাও ঠাউর করা যাচ্ছে না।
আচমকা আকাশ বাতাস ধ্বনিত করে পথিক ডেকে ওঠে- অতটুকু পথ হেটে আমি শিখেছি ঠকে যায় কারা- 'অপবাদদাতারা ঠকে যায়। ঠকবাজরা ঠকে যায়। নিজেকে নিয়ে বড়াইকারীরা ঠকে যায়। ঠকে যায় মিথ্যুকরা। ঠকে যায় হিংসুকরা। ঠকে যায় খায়েশের অনুসারীরা।'

Creative Writing / Exploring the Road Unknown
« on: September 24, 2018, 01:30:35 PM »
When the sun was playing its hottest heat-game
And the drops of sweat were blinking in my name,
I suddenly realized that the other side of this road is unknown
Nor trod I on it as before I'd trod on whatever road was shown
That bicycle was a pretty good companion
Who was nodding himself for me to ride on

And I did not wait for the reactions waiting
Who'll say what and who'll keep debating

The man from the wood said to turn to the trend
Saying it would take time for me to reach the end
He was not to be listened
Nor had I poise to intend
I worked on my pedals and I rose the gear
In a few minutes I learned the end was near

Applied Linguistics & ELT / Motivation in ELT
« on: September 24, 2018, 01:16:39 PM »
Motivation is what moves us to act, in this context to learn English, to learn to teach English, or to teach it. This deceptively simple statement reveals, however, the four elements it involves:

    ▪ the reasons why we want to learn,

    ▪ the strength of our desire to learn,

    ▪ the kind of person we are, and

    ▪ the task, and our estimation of what it requires of us.

Motivation is a property of the learner, but it is also a transitive concept: coaches can motivate their clients, teachers can motivate their students. Furthermore, it is dynamic and changes over time, especially in the usually long-drawn out process of language learning. Motivation is thus remarkably complex.

For many years, studies of motivation for language learning concentrated on reasons for learning. Empirical evidence showed that for some people a wish to integrate, in some sense, with the speech community of the language being learnt seemed to be more strongly associated with success, while for others a wish to capitalize on the usefulness of knowing a language within the learners’ own culture was more effective. This was the distinction made famous by Gardner and his colleagues (Gardner 1985) between ‘integrative’ and ‘instrumental’ orientations. Although this work had the advantage of direct relevance to language learning, its almost universal acceptance masked equally important but more general distinctions, such as:

    ▪ extrinsic and intrinsic motivation (Deci and Ryan 1985), which referred to the source of the influence, whether within oneself or perceived as being from the outside; and

    ▪ striving for success versus avoidance of failure (Heckhausen 1991).

In Gardner's approach, strength of motivation was typically estimated only from attitude questionnaires and thought of as a hidden psychometric trait. However, other educational traditions had used indices from observed on-task behaviour: choice of task according to perceived difficulty, the learner's persistence in tackling a problem, level of participation in class or group activities, attention focus and span; or qualitative data such as verbal reports of self-monitoring and self-regulation.

Crookes and Schmidt's (1991) ‘new research agenda’ incorporated developments in general educational studies into the narrower field of language learning motivation. This focused on individuals, the contexts of learning, the strategies learners might adopt, and the observable learning behaviour of class members.

Following the new agenda, attention then shifted to ideas about the individuality of the learner. For example, Covington's (1998) self-worth theory emphasizes the importance of the beliefs learners hold about themselves, and therefore their level of aspiration and the kinds of strategies they operate or can be taught to adopt, to achieve what they want for themselves. A very important related concept is Bandura's (1997) notion of self-efficacy, looking at how learners estimate their capabilities and manage themselves. Learners who can develop effective motivational thinking, capitalize on success, and minimize the effect of failure will depend less on externally imposed structures and strategies than on their own resources. This connection between intrinsic motivation and the development of learner autonomy in language learning has been investigated by Ushioda (1996).

Learners’ beliefs about the task or sub-tasks, their perceptions of the level and nature of the difficulties, and of what is expected of them, represent another very important motivational influence. Attribution theory (Weiner 1972) has long been a means of capturing how learners evaluate tasks differently, by considering the reasons why the learners believe learning outcomes occurred. If success is attributed to having a good teacher, that learner will not believe it will occur in the absence of that teacher; if failure is seen as the result of lack of effort rather than talent, the learner may believe working harder will result in success.

A comprehensive source-book for all these approaches is Pintrich and Schunk (1996) which succinctly describes the range of motivational theories in education and associated research and applications.

Dörnyei (2001: 21) argues that motivation changes over time in three phases: choice, execution, and retrospection. The initial choice to actually learn the language or start the task rather than just think about it requires different springs to the maintenance of effort, perseverance, or tolerance of frustration in the second phase. Finally the learner needs to come to terms with the whole experience and evaluate the outcomes. Dörnyei (ibid.: 136) offers a checklist of 35 motivational strategies covering the three phases for teachers to try out—warning that the aim is to become a ‘good enough’ motivator, not a perfect one.

The teacher's role in all of this is central, and difficult. It goes far beyond the provision of reward (itself dependent on the learner's self-efficacy). It involves providing a supportive and challenging learning environment, but also facilitating the development of the learners’ own motivational thinking, beyond simply identifying their original orientation. Perhaps the most difficult aspect is not doing anything to de-motivate them.

প্লাস্টিকের চাল নামক গুজবের কথা নিয়ে এ পোস্ট।
প্লাস্টিকের ডিমের মত এটিও একটি পরিষ্কার গুজব। ধরুন, বাজারে প্লাস্টিকের চাল আছে। তাহলে প্রথম প্রশ্ন প্লাস্টিকের চাল দেখতে কেমন হবে, ধরে নেই দেখতে একেবারেই সাধারন চালের মত। পরের প্রশ্ন ওজন কেমন? প্লাস্টিক তৈরি হয় পলিথিন নামক পলিমার যৌগ থেকে অন্যদিকে চালে থাকে স্টার্চ যেটা এমাইলোজ এবং এমাইলোপেটিন এর সংমিশ্রন। পলিথিন এর বৈশিষ্ট্য অনুসারে এটি স্টার্চের তুলনায় অনেক হালকা। সুতরাং একই পরিমান আসল চাল আর প্লাস্টিকের চাল দু হাতে নিলেই ওজনের পার্থক্য বোঝা যাবে।

প্লাস্টিক কি সিদ্ধ হয়? আপনার হাতের কাছে যদি কোন প্লাস্টিকের টুকরা থাকে সেটাকে পানিতে চুবিয়ে সিদ্ধ করার চেস্টা করুন। দেখুন সিদ্ধ হয় কিনা। বাজারে ৩ ধরনের প্লাস্টিক পাওয়া যায়, হাই, মিডিয়াম এবং লো ডেনসিটি। লো ডেনসিটি প্লাস্টিকের গলনাংক ১০৫-১১০ ডিগ্রী সেলসিয়াস, হাই ও মিডয়ামের গলনাংক ১১৫-১২০ ডিগ্রী সেলসিয়াস। ফুটন্ত পানির তাপমাত্রা ১০০ ডিগ্রী সেলসিয়াস সুতরাং ফুটন্ত পানিতে প্লাস্টিক গলবেনা এবং প্লাস্টিকের চাল বানালেও তা ফুলে ভাত হবে না। যরি হয় ও তা আপনি চিবিয়ে খেতে পারবেন না (প্লাস্টিক চিবিয়ে খাবার চেস্টা করে দেখুন)। আর যদি খেয়েও ফেলেন তাহলে হজম করতে পারবেন না কারন প্লাস্টিক হজম হয়না, হয় বেরিয়ে যায় বা ব্লক তৈরি করে।

প্লাস্টিকের চালের প্রমাণ হিসেবে সবাই যে ভিডিওগুলো শেয়ার করছেন সেগুলোতে দেখা যায় কেউ একজন চাল একটা চামচে নিয়ে চুলার আগুনে ধরে রাখছেন, এতে চাল গলে পুড়ে কালো হয়ে যাচ্ছে, তাতে নাকি প্রমান হচ্ছে এটা প্লাস্টিক। তাদের কাছে প্রশ্ন, কখনো "আসল চাল" এভাবে পোড়ানোর চেস্টা করে দেখেছেন কি? না করলে আজকে করে দেখেন। প্লাস্টিকের গলনাংক তো উপরে বলেছি, স্টার্চ (ভাতের মূল উপাদান) এর গলনাংক ২৫০-৪০০ ডিগ্রী সেন্টিগ্রেড। প্রাকৃতিক গ্যাস এর আগুনের তাপমাত্রা প্রায় ২ হাজার ডিগ্রী সেন্টিগ্রেড। সুতরাং সরাসরি মেটালের উপর নিয়ে এভাবে আগুনে ধরলে আসল চালও একইভাবে গলবে এবং পুড়বে। এই কাজটি অনেকে চিপসে আগুন ধরিয়েও করেন এবং প্রমাণ করতে চান প্লাস্টিকের চিপস, তাদের সবার জন্য সমবেদনা। স্টার্চে আগুন ধরে এবং তাও প্লাস্টকের মত গলে যায়। যারা চাল ভাজার কথা বলেন তারা নিজে চাল ভেজে দেখুন, নির্দিষ্ট সময়ের বেশি রাখলে এবং নাড়াচাড়া না করল ওটাও এভাবে পুড়ে গলে যাবে।

পরের প্রমাণ হিসেবে যেটি দেখানো হয় সেটি হলো ভাত মুঠ করে দলা পাকিয়ে বল বানিয়ে মাটিয়ে ফেলে দেখানো যে প্লাস্টিকের চাল তাই বাউন্স করছে। একই কথা এখানেও প্রযোজ্য। "আসল চালের" ভাত এভাবে দলা পাকিয়ে মাটিতে ফেলে দেখেছেন বাউন্স করে কিনা?! দলা পাকালে স্টার্চের মলিকিউলের চেইনগুলো একত্রিত হয় এবং সেটাও কিছুটা বাউন্স করে। তারচেয়ে বড় কথা হলো প্লাস্টিক সাধারন তাপমাত্রায় কখনোই এভাবে দলা পাকানো যায়না।

আরেকটি ভিডিওতে একজন চুলায় ভাত রান্নার সময় উপচে পড়া মাড় শুকিয়ে চুলার পাশে জমা শুকনো স্টার্চের লেয়ারকে প্লাস্টিক/পলিথিন বলে চালিয়ে দিচ্ছেন। যারা কোনদিন ভাত রান্না করেন নি তাদের এটা ভাবা স্বাভাবিক। ভাতের মাড় উপচে পড়ে শুকালে এভাবে স্টার্চের লেয়ার পড়ে।

তবে প্লাস্টিকের চাল বানানো সম্ভব। থ্রিডি প্রিন্টার দিয়ে সহজেই বানানো যায় কিন্তু এটার খরচ আসল চাল এর চেয়ে অনেক বেশি তাছাড়া ওজনে হালকা হওয়ায় এক মন চাল বানাতে সাধারন চালের চেয়ে অনেক বেশি প্লাস্টিকের চাল লাগবে যা cost effective না।
১। মারুফুর রহমান অপু

Md. Rafiz Uddin
Department of English
Daffodil International University

English / Some tips to improve your English pronunciation
« on: August 26, 2018, 04:29:17 PM »
To speak English more accurately (i.e. native-like) one needs to maintain proper pronunciation. However, the question comes as what can help us achieve native-like pronunciation. The following tips can help one to attain that:

1.   Listen first:
Listen from news channels, documentaries, animated movies, podcasts and the like. It is called that the receptive skills (i.e. reading and listening) help one to achieve productive skills (i.e. writing and speaking).

2.   Practice minimal pairs:
Minimal pairs are pair words like sleep and slip, which are only different by one sound. You can click on each word to hear a complete sentence with each, then quiz yourself in the second box and click the correct answer.

3.   Use a mirror:
Stand in front of mirror and see how your mouth and lips move. There are guides and pictures online that will help you learn how to move your mouth. Use them so that you can pronounce correctly.

4.   Watch your tongue:
The main difference between rice and lice is in your tongue. When you speak, you move your tongue to make sounds. You probably didn’t even notice that, since you do it without thinking. To improve your English pronunciation, it’s a good idea to check what your tongue is doing. Some difficult sounds for non-native speakers to make are the letters “L” and “R,” and the sound “TH.” Pronouncing them correctly is all in the tongue.

5.   Know and practice stress and intonation:
English is a stressed language. That means some words and sounds are more important than others. You can hear this when you say a word out loud. For example, the word “introduce” is pronounced with a stress at the end, so it sounds like this: “in-tro-DUCE.”
Sometimes where you put the stress in a word can change the word’s meaning. Say this word out loud: “present.” If you said “PREsent,” you are talking about a noun that means either “right this moment” or “a gift.” If you said “preSENT,” you are talking about a verb that means “to give or show.” For intonation practice, there are some rules found online.

6.   Find a language buddy:
Getting feedback from an outside observer is crucial. Find a friend who’s also interested in improving their English. Try exchanging recorded messages so you can listen closely to each other’s pronunciation.

7.   Slow down:
Many English learners think that speaking fluently means they need to speak fast. This is wrong. Speaking too fast reinforces bad habits and makes the speaker sound nervous and indecisive. Speaking slowly will give you time to breathe properly and think about what you want to say next. Because it gives you time to think while you are speaking, you’ll feel more relaxed and be able to concentrate on making your English sound fantastic.

The above tips may help one to improve his/her native-like pronunciation.

Md. Rafiz Uddin
Department of English
Daffodil International University

Online Education / 7 most popular online learning sites
« on: July 18, 2016, 05:26:46 AM »
Education has now been much easier with the help of Internet. These 7 websites are the most popular in providing online education throughout the world.
1. Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database. Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses. Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.
2. Khan Academy
Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects. Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.
3. Open Culture Online Courses
If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site. Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.
4. Udemy
Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons. Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.
5. Academic Earth
Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects. Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.
6. edX
Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.
7. Alison
Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses. A great option if users need certification for their learning, Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

Learning English / 10 free websites to practice English at home
« on: July 18, 2016, 05:20:27 AM »
At the New York Public Library's Adult Learning Centers, where adults work on basic English and literacy skills, we're often asked for recommendations of websites for adults to practice English at home. Below you'll find eleven sites, some with a focus on listening, some on vocabulary, others on grammar, and some with a range of activities. Happy learning!

Easy World of English
An attractive, user-friendly website including grammar, pronunciation, reading and listening practice and an interactive picture dictionary.

Many Things
This website includes matching quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator and other computer-assisted language learning activities. The site also includes a special page on pronunciation, including practice with minimal pairs. Not the fanciest or most beautiful website, but with lots to see and use and no advertising.

Dave's ESL Cafe
A forum for both ESL teachers and students around the world. Includes quizzes, grammar explanations, and discussion forums for students. For teachers, includes classroom ideas on all subjects as well as discussion forums.

The California Distance Learning Project
Read and listen to a news stories on topics including working, housing, money and health, then work on activities based on the stories including matching pairs, vocabulary, and quiz questions. Some stories also include videos.

BBC Learning English
An array of wonderful activities for practice, some relating to current events. Includes videos, quizzes, vocabulary practice, idioms, crosswords, and much more, though all with British accents.

Activities for ESL Students
Grammar and vocabulary practice for all levels, including many bilingual quizzes for beginners. Also includes a link for teachers, with conversation questions, games, and many other ideas to put to use in the classroom.

This is a website for kids, but who says adults can't use it, too? The site includes educational games organized by grade level, from 1st to 5th, and is particularly good for spelling and phonics. There are games to practice vowels, uppercase and lowercase letters, Dolch sight words, synonyms and antonyms and more..

GCF Learn Free
A well-designed site with interactive tutorials for everything from operating an ATM machine to reading food labels. If you click on the main page icon and then click on reading, the site has resources for English language learners as well, including stories to listen to and read along, and picture dictionaries.

Language Guide
This is an online picture dictionary, with everything from the alphabet to parts of the body to farm animals.

Oxford University Press
This site from Oxford University Press has activities to practice spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and listening. A bit difficult to navigate, so more suitable for advanced learners and savvy internet users.

Also, don't forget YouTube. Whatever you'd like to learn — an explanation of a grammar term, idioms, a set of vocabulary — enter it in the search field and an array of videos are sure to come up. I hope some of these sites prove useful. Enjoy! And please add your own favorite sites in the comments.

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