A web site for the developing language teacher

January 2008 - issue 1/08


Welcome to the January Newsletter.


7. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. Hello

A (belated) Happy New Year to all!
We hope that you all have happy successful teaching in the coming year.

The year 2008 has been proclaimed International Year of Languages by the United Nations General Assembly. UNESCO, which has been entrusted with the task of coordinating activities for the Year, is determined to fulfil its role as lead agency.

A couple of short articles about the words of 2007:

`Subprime' Is Linguists' Word of Year
Saturday January 5, 2008 9:01 AM

CHICAGO (AP) - Even the American Dialect Society knows how risky home mortgages are these days. The group of wordsmiths chose ``subprime'' as 2007's Word of the Year at its annual convention Friday.

```Subprime' has been around with bankers for awhile, but now everyone is talking about `subprime,''' said Wayne Glowka, a spokesman for the group and a dean at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga. ``It's affecting all kinds of people in all kinds of places.''

About 80 members of the organization spent two days debating the merits of runners-up ``Facebook,'' ``green,'' ``Googleganger'' and ``waterboarding'' before voting for an adjective that means ``a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage or investment.''

The choice signifies the public's concern for a ``deepening mortgage crisis,'' the society said in a statement.

``Facebook,'' as a noun, verb or adjective, was popular with younger linguists, Glowka said.

Several people lobbied for ``green,'' which ``designates environmental concern,'' but the term has been around for years, he said. The word topped the 2007 ``Most Useful'' category, one of numerous subgroups the society choses.

The group also decided that although ``waterboarding,'' an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, gained a lot of attention during recent attorney general confirmation hearings, it was a bigger deal in 2004, Glowka said.

But what's a ``Googleganger?''

A play on ``doppelganger,'' the word is ``a person with your name who shows up when you Google yourself,'' according to the society.

Glowka said he assessed many Google-related words.

``Just Google `Google' and you'll turn them up,'' he said. The ghostly double of a word won the 2007 ``Most Creative'' designation.

As for ``subprime,'' Glowka said it is an odd word - at least as far as linguists are concerned.

The prefix ``sub'' translates roughly to ``below the standard,'' while ``prime'' means something close to ``the best.''

So, according to Glowka, the word really means ``far below the best.''

``People were saying that students were referring to their tests, `I'm going to subprime this; I'm going to mess it up,''' he said.

The American Dialect Society, founded in 1889, comprises linguists, grammarians, historians and scholars, among others. The society began choosing words of the year in 1990 for fun, not in an official capacity to induct words into the English language.

In 2006, the organization chose ``plutoed,'' which means ``to be demoted or devalued.''

To see all of the elected words: American Dialect Society:,,-7200515,00.html


Wordsmiths, avoid these words..

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A "surge" of overused words and phrases formed a "perfect storm" of "post-9/11" cliches in 2007, according to a U.S. university's annual list of words and phrases that deserve to be banned.

Choosing from among 2,000 submissions, the public relations department at Michigan's Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie targeted 19 affronts to the English language in its well-known jab at the worlds of media, sports, advertising and politics.

The contributors gave first prize to the phrase "a perfect storm," saying it was numbingly applied to virtually any notable coincidence.

"Webinar" made the list as a tiresome non-word combining Web and seminar that a contributor said "belongs in the same school of non-thought that brought us e-anything and i-anything."

Similarly, the list-makers complained about the absurd comparisons commonly phrased "x is the new y," as in "(age) 70 is the new 50" or "chocolate is the new sex." "Fallacy is the new truth," commented one contributor.

Some words and phrases sagged under the weight of overuse, contributors said, citing the application of "organic" to everything from computer software to dog food.

In the same vein, decorators offering to add "pop" with a touch of color need new words, the list-makers said.

Such phrases as "post 9/11" and "surge" have also outlived their usefulness, they said. Surge emerged in reference to adding U.S. troops in Iraq but has come to explain the expansion of anything.

Other contributors took umbrage at the phrase to "give back" as applied to charitable gestures, usually by celebrities.

"The notion has arisen that as one's life progresses, one accumulates a sort of deficit balance with society which must be neutralized by charitable works or financial outlays," one said.

"Back in the day" raised hackles for being applied to recent trends rather than historical events.

Other teenage linguistic indiscretions such as the often meaningless use of "random" and "sweet" raised the ire of list-makers, as did the pointless "it is what it is."

Reporters were chided for skipping out on detail by describing an event or parting as "emotional," and for misapplying "decimate" when they mean annihilate or destroy, not the word's true meaning of to lose a fraction.

Sports announcers were urged to drop "throw under the bus" when assigning blame to a player. "It is a call for the media to start issuing a thesaurus to everyone in front of a camera," a contributor said.

And finally, any self-respecting writer would groan at being labeled a "wordsmith" who engages in "wordsmithing," the list-makers said.
393320080101?feedType= RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews

And not forgetting the ongoing voting at Australia's Macquarie Dictionary:

Australians vote on word of 2007

Are these Sydney beachgoers running the risk of tanorexia?
Are you suffering from password fatigue? Ever considered manscaping? Do you know any tanorexics?

These phrases and more are contenders in an online vote organised by Australia's Macquarie Dictionary to select the Word of the Year 2007.

Seventeen categories contain a total of 85 words from which voters can choose.

Options include globesity - the problem of rising obesity around the globe - and floordrobe - the use of the floor as a substitute wardrobe.

Some words appear to be unique to Australia.

Salad dodger is included as a term for an overweight person, while a surfer under the age of 10 can now be called a microgrom.

But many of the new words seem to reflect global developments and trends.

Chindia is used as a noun to refer to China and India as a collective unit, in terms of economic power and strategic importance.

There are also five new words related to carbon emissions and how to deal with them, reflecting growing concern about climate change.

Several of the new words relate to advances in technology.

Pod slurping is described as the practice of downloading large quantities of data to an MP3 player or memory stick from a computer.

Griefers, meanwhile, are players who deliberately sabotage online computer games instead of abiding by the rules.

Other words represent new definitions for old concepts.

Kippers are adult children who fail to leave home - a contraction of Kids In Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings.

Man flu, meanwhile, refers to a minor cold contracted by a man who then proceeds to exaggerate the symptoms, the dictionary said.

Voting closes on 31 January and Australia's Word of the Year 2007 will be announced in the first week of February.

So to vote, get along to:

The next unit of Michael Berman's upper intermediate business course is available for download at

The ideas are up on the 101 Gadgets page. check them out. Contributors will be contacted about their free book.

I have recently come across the excellent TED Talks:
'TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the
talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. Almost 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.'
Do check these out:
For an interesting talk on Education & Creativity, watch Ken Robinson's talk at:

Lots of you have downloaded Tony Buzan's website iMindMap. I hope you find it as useful as I do. If you haven't downloaded it you can still get a trial version at:

As I'm sure you're aware, we run online courses for every level of teaching experience.
We offer a seven module development course & a shorter elective module course.
We also offer a two module Language Awareness & Phonology course, plus An Introduction to ELT/ESOL for the newcomer. To coincide with the New Year & resolutions, we are offering a 15% discount on the course fees during January. For more information & fees contact us at:

If you have any information you'd like to include in the Monthly Newsletter, please do email it with the subject: 'Monthly News addition'. Thanks.

Happy teaching!


ARTICLES - If you've given a course or seminar or have a lesson plan & would like to give it a public airing, do get in touch.

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At Developing we occasionally carry out consultancy work. The different projects have included tutoring DELTA candidates by email, offering advice on curriculum design & materials choice & short training courses in person & by email. If you would like us to help in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch.




Time to develop your teaching from the comfort of your computer?

The online courses are hosted at one of our sister sites, ( ). The individual, personalised courses develop with the experience, needs & interests of each participant at their own rate.

We use Moodle, an excellent course management system, each course having its own password so only the individual participant plus the trainer can gain access. The central focus on the courses within Moodle is the forum & where there may be three or four different threads going on at the same time. Attached to these are a variety of resources. All are very easy to operate in Moodle. Choose between the full, seven-module course, & an elective four-module course.

For more information, to get in touch & check out:


You've probably heard lots about Moodle, the framework for providing online courses. Have you thought about having your own? At Developing (a sister site of Developing we provide you with your own Moodle for only $12/month or $60/seven months. Your Moodle installation comes with 300mb of space & 1gb/month of bandwidth.

We set it all up for you & you provide the courses. You don't need to provide the actual course, this can simply be an online presence, a way of keeping in touch with your students, a meeting place with individuals or whole classes, an extension of your lessons.

We like it so much that we run our own online development courses at Developing with Moodle. For more information:

Reliable & affordable Web Hosting for the English Language Teaching Community!

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There's a whole world of material for classroom use at YouTube but the problem has been how to download it in a format that you can use on a computer in your classes. Here are a couple of sites I came over for downloading from YouTube without getting your hands dirty on your own machine.
Rose Senior is a language teaching expert. She presents at conferences on a range of topics and gives customized professional development workshops for language teachers around the world. Her concept of class-centred teaching provides a framework for successful classroom teaching.
ESL Podcast
'Educational Jargon Generator - This fine academic tool was designed to assist in the writing of reports, grant applications, and other documents related to public schools. I believe that it will be particularly useful for people involved in writing reports for WASC accreditation. Amaze your colleagues with finely crafted phrases of educational nonsense!'
Top ways to improve your English online - to pass on to your students

International Association of Technical English Trainers (IATET) - 'Anyone who is involved in Technical English might be interested in joining a new egroup which has been set up. Future activities include workshops, internationally-recognised exams and materials development.
To sign up, send a mail to the following:
(US)- Universities With the Best Free Online Courses.
6 Billion Others - a portrait of contemporary mankind. Excellent.
Spelling List Generator - 'This program will generate a wordlist based on your search choices.'

If you've visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would like your site to appear here, please get in touch. Thanks.

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A few days, among many, to plan your lessons around in January:
1st - New Year's Day
6th - Three King's Day
8th - Elvis Presley's official birthday
20th-ish - Martin Luther King Jr Day - 3rd Monday of Jan.
25th - Robert Burns' Day - Scotland's national poet
26th - Indian Republic Day
26th - Australia Day
Eid ul-Adha - on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja - varies in the Gregorian calendar
Chinese New Year

To see the list of Days:

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:
Some holiday origins.



The last review was 'Dictation New methods, new possibilities' by Paul Davis & Mario Rinvolucri (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers CUP)

'Dictation' is one of my favourites in the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. It has been around for a while, being first published in 1988 & in its thirteenth print in 2002. The book looks at a much maligned area & brings many fresh & varied approaches to it.
To read the review;

And check out all the other reviews:

If you know of a useful book that we haven't looked at & that we should review, do let us know & we'll see if we can get a review together.

If you're going to, or then please go through our Books page. You will pay the same & we will receive a few pennies to keep the site & newsletters free. Thanks.

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Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.

Recent Tips have included:
- Year 2007 - classroom activities to look back
- Gadgets Galore - Reading skills
- Scotland the Brave - Writing skill
- High or Low? - Different levels
- Use the language - Speaking & language

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7. PS – General internet/computer-related links

A few computer use rules of thumb:

- make copies of all
- important files
- run scan disk & then defragment the hard drive
- use firewall software - use a virus scan & update the files every week
- install security patches that software providers offer
- update your DirectX files regularly
- don't open attachments without scanning for viruses first
- don't respond to spam
- just delete & forget
- don't send personal or bank information by email
- turn off your computer at night

How to write a novel in 100 days or less.
Show me how to
Twenty top 10s of 2007 - tech stuff.
EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.

10 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTube (Smart Video Collections)
Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2007.
BBC YouTube channel.
Best Free and Freeware Software for Windows
Welcome to Open Source Living, a collection of the Web's best Open Source software, applications and references for a zero-cost / top quality digital experience.
Lots of 2007 lists.
The Good Web Guide is the definitive guide to the best sites on the Internet. Our channels contain thousands of detailed website reviews. Simply click on the channel of your interest in the bar above. Within each channel, we highlight some current favourites
Welcome to Giveaway of the day project, the new initiative in the software distribution world! Every day we offer for FREE licensed software you'd have to buy otherwise! is the ideal platform for downloading video clips.
All popular video portals, e.g. YouTube & Veoh are supported.
What is the Story of Stuff? From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
10 Amazing and Magnificent Trees In the World
Goodreads - Have you ever wanted a better way to: see what your friends are reading? keep track of what you've read and what you'd like to read? get great book recommendations from people you know?
In response to the recent Led Zeppelin concert,30576,1686204,00.html
50 Top 10 Lists of 2007
60 second lecture series - 'Every spring and fall, SAS faculty take a minute out on Locust Walk to share their perspectives on topics ranging from human history and the knowable universe, to fractions and fly-fishing. While not every speaker makes it under the one-minute mark, they all deal with their chosen subjects with intellectual agility and wit.'
'Wake Up: A Guide to Living Your Life Consciously.'
'This is Pictogame! - Simply the best free service ever made to create and share your own games.'


'10 Sites Offering Free Linux Courses Online. Whether you're new to Linux or an advanced user, you're bound to have questions. Read on to get a list of universities and other institutions offering free Linux courses, training and tutorials online.'

'Good things in life do not necessarily cost you a bomb. Below I have compiled a list of the top 100 101 free computer software you can make use of.'
'Notepad++ is a free (free as in "free speech", but also as in "free beer") source code editor and Notepad replacement, which supports several programming languages, running under the MS Windows environment.'
How to build a PC.

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Disclaimer - all of the recommendations for computer-related software are personal recommendations. We take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong when downloading, installing or running them - not that anything should, but you never know. It's your decision, your responsibility. The same applies to the jobs mentioned above. And anything else that you can think of that we might be responsible for as a result of this newsletter!

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