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MAY/JUNE 2009 - issue 3/09


Welcome to the May/June Newsletter.


7. PS - Internet/computer-related links



This time round we have several articles for you; Mark Lowe looks at the parallels between Language & Music, Steven Schackne revisits the Direct Method & Hank Kellner continues his photography articles.
Michael Berman offers us the first unit in his twelve intermediate conversation lessons 'Let's Talk About It'. Each month we will give you the chance to download a new unit of the book. To visit the page:

A short article:

The Global Language Monitor
As expected, with a new word created about every 98 minutes (14.7 per day) the English-language crossed the Million Word Mark on June 10th, 2009 at 10:22 am (Stratford-on Avon Time)

Web 2.0 beats Jai Ho, N00b and Slumdog as the 1,000,000th English Word
English passed the Million Word mark earlier today, June 10 at 10:22 am GMT

Word Number 1,000,001: Financial Tsunami

Austin, Texas June 10, 2009 –
The Global Language Monitor today announced that Web 2.0 has bested Jai Ho, N00b and Slumdog as the 1,000,000th English word or phrase. added to the codex of fourteen hundred-year-old language. Web 2.0 is a technical term meaning the next generation of World Wide Web products and services. It has crossed from technical jargon into far wider circulation in the last six months. Two terms from India, Jai Ho! and slumdog finished No. 2 and 4. Jai Ho! Is a Hindi exclamation signifying victory or accomplishment; Slumdog is an impolite term for children living in the slums. Just missing the top spot was n00b, a mixture of letters and numbers that is a derisive term for newcomer. It is also the only mainstream English word that contains within itself two numerals. Rounding out the final five were another technical term, cloud computing, meaning services that are delivered via the cloud (or Internet), and a term from the Climate Change debate, carbon neutral. At its current rate, English generates about 14.7 words a day or one every 98 minutes.

“As expected, English crossed the 1,000,000 word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT. However, some 400 years after the death of the Bard, the words and phrases were coined far from Stratford-Upon-Avon, emerging instead from Silicon Valley, India, China, and Poland, as well as Australia, Canada, the US and the UK,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “English has become a universal means of communication; never before have so many people been able to communicate so easily with so many others.”

The English language is now being studied by hundreds of millions around the globe for entertainment, commercial or scientific purposes.” In 1960 there were some 250 million English speakers, mostly in former colonies and the Commonwealth countries. The future of English as a major language was very much in doubt. Today, some 1.53 billion people now speak English as a primary, auxiliary, or business language, with some 250 million acquiring the language in China alone.

These are the fifteen finalists for the one millionth English word, all of which have met the criteria of a minimum of 25,000 citations with the necessary breadth of geographic distribution, and depth of citations.

1,000,000: Web 2.0 – The next generation of web products and services, coming soon to a browser near you.

999,999: Jai Ho! – The Hindi phrase signifying the joy of victory, used as an exclamation, sometimes rendered as “It is accomplished”. Achieved English-language popularity through the multiple Academy Award Winning film, “Slumdog Millionaire”.

999,998: N00b — From the Gamer Community, a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term.

999,997: Slumdog – a formerly disparaging, now often endearing, comment upon those residing in the slums of India.

999,996: Cloud Computing – The ‘cloud’ has been technical jargon for the Internet for many years. It is now passing into more general usage.

999,995: Carbon Neutral — One of the many phrases relating to the effort to stem Climate Change.

999,994: Slow Food — Food other than the fast-food variety hopefully produced locally (locavores).

999,993: Octomom – The media phenomenon relating to the travails of the mother of the octuplets.

999,992: Greenwashing – Re-branding an old, often inferior, product as environmentally friendly.

999,991: Sexting – Sending email (or text messages) with sexual content.

999,990: Shovel Ready – Projects are ready to begin immediately upon the release of federal stimulus funds.

999,989: Defriend – Social networking terminology for cutting the connection with a formal friend.

999,988: Chengguan – Urban management officers, a cross between mayors, sheriff, and city managers.

999,987: Recessionista – Fashion conscious who use the global economic restructuring to their financial benefit.

999,986: Zombie Banks – Banks that would be dead if not for government intervention and cash infusion

In addition, the 1,000,001st word is Financial Tsunami – The global financial restructuring that seemingly swept out of nowhere, wiping out trillions of dollars of assets, in a matter of months

Each word was analyzed to determine which depth (number of citations) and breadth (geographic extent of word usage), as well as number of appearances in the global print and electronic media, the Internet, the blogosphere, and social media (such as Twitter and YouTube). The Word with the highest PQI score was deemed the 1,000,000th English language word. The Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) is used to track and analyze word usage.

Global Language Monitor has been tracking English word creation since 2003. Once it identifies new words (or neologisms) it measures their extent and depth of usage with its PQI technology.


We are continuing with the chance for you to try out Moodle for a month free of charge. As you know we offer web hosting to language teachers at Developing ( & one of the hosting plans is the online course hosting with Moodle software. With this you can provide a meeting place online, courses, lessons, forums & a host of other things with this content management system. So if you would like to try it out for a month, send an email to with 'MoodleTrial' as the subject.
You can find out more about Moodle at:

Friendly web hosting for the ELT community.


Lesson plans, activities & articles are very welcome.
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Happy teaching!


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Language and Music - The Parallels Between Learning/Teaching Language and Learning/Teaching Music by Mark Lowe

(First published in Modern English Teacher - MET - Vol 16 no. 3)

A few million years ago, our distant ancestors chanted together. Gradually the chant divided into language and music as our species evolved. But music and language still have much in common: there are still deep parallels between them. Mark Lowe looks at some of these parallels.


Many scientists interested in the origins of language believe that language and music evolved together. Here, for instance, is Charles Darwin:

We must suppose that the rhythm and cadences of oratory are derived from previously developed this, and … believe that musical sounds afforded one of the bases for the development of language … (from ‘The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex’)

Here is Robbins Burling, in ‘The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved’:

We can imagine an early hominin with a single type of vocalization that was ancestral to both music and language. It would … have allowed close coordination among the participants. Then, after a united initial phase, vocalization would have split into 2 parts. The part carrying the emotional message would have developed a more regular beat and become music. The part that carried the more cognitive message would have turned into verbal language … . This scenario would account for the deep parallels that are still found between music and language.

The purposes of this article are: first, to explore these ‘deep parallels’ between language and music, and second, to propose classroom
procedures which make good use of these parallels.


Communicative language teaching recognizes the importance not only of lexis and syntax, but also of stress, intonation, rhythm and voice quality in conveying our message. Lexis and syntax are cognitive, but the other aspects of speech express feeling, and are intimately related to musical expression. Consider how David Attenborough introduces ‘Great Plains’, from the BBC’s stunning wildlife series –
‘Planet Earth’.

‘Immense distances … vast plains … and life in all these huge expanses … depends on one amazing plant … grass’.

Attenborough, with a skill honed by decades of experience, employs all the resources of the human voice to put his message across with matchless eloquence. He raises the volume and pitch of his voice to stress the important syllables (shown in bold type here), and he lowers the pitch of his voice to signal the end of an idea. He speaks with slow, measured rhythm. There are many musical parallels. One is in the way a musician articulates a melody: musicians increase the volume of their playing or singing as a melody moves towards a climax on the highest note, and they round off a melody with quiet repose. Another parallel is the use of rhythm to heighten the emotional impact of what we say, as expert orators demonstrate.

I find that applying principles of stress, rhythm and intonation derived from music greatly improves my students’ speech. Meaning becomes clear, speech sounds more natural, and we understand what our students say. Moreover, these skills not only help to make meaning clear: they also add new emotional dimensions to our students’ speech: colour, emotional involvement and range – and the ability to hold an audience. There is plenty of evidence that musical parallels can help our students to improve their speaking.

To read the rest of the article:

Other articles by Mark:
Is Grammar Innate? by Mark Lowe
Language Philosophy and Language Teaching by Mark Lowe
The Shibboleths of TEFL, or Sense and Nonsense in Language Teaching by Mark Lowe


The Direct Method by Steve Schackne


Many classes I have observed over the years contain an unequal balance of energy. On one hand, we have teachers who furiously move back and forth in the classroom as they busily organize, control, encourage, and assess their students. During this process, many students sit listlessly in their chairs, their eyes saying, “I hear you, but I am not always listening to you.”

Conversely, some classes have teachers sitting back watching students who have been assigned multiple tasks to be completed in a fixed period of time. The students are concentrating on assigned textbook activities or, if it is a communicative task, are either circulating around the room or are busy at their desks giving and receiving information from fellow students. Students often work on time deadlines in these exercises and the goal of completion sometimes interferes with language quality.

I don’t want to generalize too much; both of these scenarios can yield positive results. However, a see-saw of sweating teachers and students isn’t always conducive to learning. A more relaxed, natural approach is a viable option.

Brief History

The natural method, also known as the direct method is often associated with Stephen Krashen and the late Tracy Terrell, but in fact had its beginnings over a hundred years ago in Europe where it began as a response to the grammar translation method. The core feature is its emphasis on the spoken language. Other characteristic features include:

• Teaching vocabulary through pantomiming, realia and other visuals
• Teaching grammar through an inductive approach
• Focusing on question-answer patterns
• Stressing teacher-centeredness

If we view the word natural in its most generic form, certainly speaking and listening would qualify as natural activities more than reading and writing. All people (excepting those with certain disabilities) naturally acquire speaking and listening skills, while reading and writing have to be taught. Conveying meaning through total physical response, such as hand gestures and other body language, is also, arguably, a naturally occurring communicative feature. Assimilating grammar rules through exposure to language is also a naturally occurring phenomenon for native learners, and all languages, of course, have some form of question-answer pattern as filling in information gaps is a primary purpose of language. Teacher centeredness may be the only feature that could be classified as artificial when placed in a language learning model.


Now, let us isolate the individual characteristics even more:

• Spoken language
• Vocabulary
• Grammar
• Question-answer patterns

Certainly speaking, and speaking using question-answer patterns would be considered a more natural communicative approach than teaching vocabulary or grammar. So we start with a lesson based on asking the students questions, having the students answer at least some of the questions, which can, in turn, give rise to other questions—a question-answer lesson.


But what questions do we bring into class? Questions based on a textbook? That would violate our “natural principle” in that a textbook is an artificially introduced language learning aid. Questions based on vocabulary or grammar? That would force us to stray from “real communication” and focus more on semantics and syntax.

In real life whom do we question and what questions do we ask them? We may question our family and loved ones, our colleagues and classmates, or total strangers. Take two or three days and make a note of all questions you ask, and to whom you address these questions. This is not as difficult as it seems, as you can recall many of these at the end of a day. This inventory will give you a catalog of the type of questions we ask during real communication events, and form the basis of questions you can bring into class.

To view the article:

Other articles by Steve:
The First Fifteen Minutes by Steve Schackne
The Good Teacher by Steve Schackne
A Common Sense Approach: Vocabulary Building by Steve Schackne
Leveling Your Students: The Common Sense Approach by Steve Schackne
The Common Sense Approach: The Flexible Syllabus--Balancing Time and Content by Steve Schackne
The Common Sense Approach—Advanced EFL by Steve Schackne
The Common Sense Approach: Grades and ESL by Steve Schackne
The Common Sense Approach - How One Teacher Organized A Speaking Course For 200 Chinese Graduate Students by Steve Schackne
A Common Sense Approach to Treating Error in L2 Learners by Steve Schackne
Teaching Useable Language by Steve Schackne


Using Photographs To Inspire Writing V by Hank Kellner

I’d been teaching for six years when Stephen Dunning’s Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle was published in June 1966. Because the book featured 114 modern poems accompanied by exciting photographs, it soon became a favorite with English teachers who wanted to teach poetry.
Many teachers, however, realized that when the photographs that appeared in Reflections were viewed apart from the poems, they were powerful incentives to writing. Other teachers discovered that the combination of a photograph and a poem triggered students’ imaginations and helped to inspire writing.

The Return of Watermelon Pickle…Almost

As far as I know, Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle is out of print. But that doesn’t mean that combining photos with poems is any less effective today than it was years ago. After all, grandma’s famous chicken soup still cures colds, doesn’t it?
Even though the photo and poem shown here didn’t appear in Reflections, they’re a good example of how that combination can help to inspire students to write either prose or poetry.

(photo of reflections on water)

Like diamonds on black velvet,
Starlight dances on water.
Alone, I sit and think
Of life, and love,
And lesser things like
Who will win the Super Bowl next year?

In the photograph, the extremes of light and darkness suggest ideas that students can translate into writing. In the poem, the narrator introduces thoughts that many people share at one time or another. Together, the photograph and the poem can introduce ideas that will trigger students’ thought processes and help to create many kinds of written compositions. The possibilities are endless.

To view the remainder of the article:

Other articles by Hank:
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 4
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 3
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 2
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 1


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.

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'Making the world's knowledge computable - Today's Wolfram|Alpha is the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone. You enter your question or calculation, and Wolfram|Alpha uses its built-in algorithms and growing collection of data to compute the answer.'
And simply inputing words you get a host of useful information, including a synonym network & the written & spoken frequency in the British National Corpus.
The Phrase Finder.
e-english is a unique website which connects teachers and students of English worldwide. The site is completely free for both teachers and students. It is very easy to use. All you have to do is register as a teacher and set out how much your lessons cost and then students will contact you if they are interested in having lessons with you. Alternatively you can contact them if you wish. We also provide a range of resources to help teachers to teach and students to learn.
Twitter Handbook for Teachers
K-3 Teachers Guide to Twitter
Classic literature for download as free eBooks
Record & listen.
One Sentence, true stories told in one sentence.
One Sentence is about telling your story, briefly. Insignificant stories, everyday stories, or turning-point-in-your-life stories, boiled down to their bare essentials.

Download Tony Buzan's iMindMap. Try it out & see how efficient it
can make you.

If you've visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would ike 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 June & July:

5th - World Environment Day
6th - D-Day WWII
20th - United Nations World Refugee Day
21st - Summer Solstice (& Dec 21st)
27th - Happy Birthday, "Happy Birthday"
Mother's Day - dep. on country
Wimbledon begins

1st - Canada Day
International Joke Day
4th - US Independence Day
11th - World Population Day
14th - French Bastille Day
Tour de France bicycle race

To see the list of Days:

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:

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Recent Tips have included:
- Picture the Story - Visuals
- Green routines - Lesson ideas
- Counting words - Writing skills
- Storming away! - Study skills
- Our World. Your Move - Lesson ideas
- May Day - Lesson ideas
- Teaching one-to-one - One-to-one
- Six Word Summaries - quick fun writing - Writing skill

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We recently reviewed the wonderful graded Classical Comics & have since added a review of the Teacher's Resource Packs that come with each of the novels. Here's what we think about the Packs:

And then there are the Teacher's Resource Packs for each book. These are excellent, a teacher's dream, full of photocopiable worksheets for each Act. This is what they say in the introduction to the Teacher's Resource Pack for Henry V:

'This photocopiable resource is designed with ease of use in mind.

Our aim is to create engaging, fun, easy-to-use worksheets with the busy teacher in mind!

These worksheets are created to encourage ELT students to both widen & develop their use of english, working on reading, writing, listening & speaking, while also developing valuable study skills for shakespeare & beyond.

While these worksheets focus mainly on language, there are also applications for history & drama. The question types are formulated to reflect the FCE Paper 3 Use of English.

We hope you, & your students, enjoy them.'

The worksheets consist of a variety of interesting comprehension checks on the Act the student has just finished, together with related language tasks. They follow the comic book very closely, as well as the CD audio version,, & expand on the content to provide even more depth to the times of the play & the times when Shakespeare wrote - the latter sometimes appearing as extra optional worksheets.

The teacher's notes are excellent as well, providing answers to the tasks as well as suggestions on how to carry them out.

Here are two examples, the worksheet & teacher's notes - click on the image:

In the Henry V resource pack, there are 20 worksheets with corresponding teacher's notes, 3 quizzes, 2 tests, the test & quiz answer keys & finally an appendix & audio track listing.

It really could not be any easier for the teacher to provide an interesting reading of the novels. Excellent!

To see the review of the Classic Comics:

To see all of out recommended books:

If you're going to, 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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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
100 Online Brainstorming Tools to Help You Think Outside the Box
40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune helps intelligent, engaged audiences get smart. Our users find, enjoy, and share videos about the people, issues, and ideas changing the world.
We gather the web's largest collection of unmediated video drawn from live events, lectures, and debates going on all the time at the world's top universities, think tanks and conferences. We present this provocative, big-idea content for anyone to watch, interact with, and share --when, where, and how they want.
Free Manuals!

Lifehacker Pack 2009: Our List of Essential Free Windows Downloads
Lovely photos of Africa.
.', crazy, links...'

Turn your spare thumb drives into feature-packed giveaway drives
Blue Screen of Death Survival Guide: Every Error Explained
Top 10 Tiny & Awesome Windows Utilities
Try to do - squirrel video.

How to Setup a Dedicated Web Server for Free

Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
Clever photo video - will the wolf catch the pig?
Astronomy Picture of the Day
List of unusual deaths

TED talk: Hans Rosling: Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you've ever seen
Find better Windows, Mac, Linux and online applications AlternativeTo is a new approach to finding good software. Tell us what application you want to replace and we give you suggestions on great alternatives! Instead of listing thousands of more or less crappy applications in a category, we make each application into a category.
Extreme Sheep LED Art
BumpTop is a fun, intuitive 3D desktop that keeps you organized and makes you more productive. Like a real desk, but better.
Online converter - Fill out one of the fields and click Calculate...
Oren Lavie - Her Morning Elegance - excellent video.

Top 100 Free eBooks for Business Students and Entrepreneurs
Five Best Free Data Recovery Tools
Spoof government site, providing examples of the types of information the UK government holds an an individual citizen.
Top 10 Must-Have Firefox Extensions, 2009 Edition

22 Firefox Extensions to Turn Gmail into a Powerhouse of Productivity and Manageability
The 100 Most Iconic Internet Videos
The Online Music Chart

Download and convert real media audio streams the easy way
50 Great Photographers You Should Know (with portfolios)

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