Author Archives: thormay

24. The Probable Language Brain [2013, extended 2015]

Abstract: Let us sup­pose that you are a research lin­guist, tor­mented by some doubts and ques­tions about the state of your pro­fes­sion, and not con­strained by hav­ing to repeat a cat­e­chism of “known truths” to Lin­guis­tics 101 stu­dents, and not … Con­tinue read­ing

Posted in Cognition, Grammar, Language learning, Linguistics, Probability in language, Research | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

25. Monolingualism and How to Fix It (if it needs fixing)

Abstract: The argu­ment I will develop in this essay is that the for­eign stu­dents are a latent human resource who can assist with over­com­ing Eng­lish mono­lin­gual­ism in the Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion. For­eign stu­dents, prop­erly rewarded, can be a major source of … Con­tinue read­ing

Posted in Australia, culture, education, Language learning, Language teaching, language testing, method | Leave a comment

23. Testing for Teaching; Teaching to What?

The out­line which fol­lows analy­ses the two halves of a lan­guage teacher’s pro­fes­sion: a) The first half is daily class­room prac­tice : what is taught and how is it eval­u­ated? b) The sec­ond half of a teacher’s pro­fes­sion is to … Con­tinue read­ing

Posted in education, Language learning, Language teaching, language testing, Linguistics, method | Leave a comment

22. Hidden Boundaries – A Joint-Venture Education Program in China

This review is a post-mortem of an edu­ca­tion joint-ven­ture between an Aus­tralian col­lege and a Chi­nese col­lege in cen­tral China at the three year mark*. It has lessons for pol­icy, man­age­ment, teach­ing and learn­ing. The focus is on for­eign lan­guage … Con­tinue read­ing

Posted in Australia, China, culture, education, Language learning, Language teaching, method | Leave a comment

21. WHAT NEXT? Eighty things to do with students learning English

This is a col­lec­tion of things to do in a class­room, plus a lit­tle expla­na­tion for teach­ers. The col­lec­tion is not a syl­labus, it is not graded and it is cer­tainly not “com­plete” (what would “com­plete” mean here?). How­ever bits … Con­tinue read­ing

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20. Please Tell Me Some Idioms to Learn

Abstract : What is an idiom? The answer is both com­plex and fuzzy. This short paper is a col­lo­quial dis­cus­sion that begins with a stu­dent inquiry about learn­ing idioms and pro­gresses to the real­iza­tion that idioms are an inde­ter­mi­nate cat­e­gory which … Con­tinue read­ing

Posted in idiom, Language learning, Language teaching, Linguistics, method | Leave a comment

19. Stress, Rhythm and Intonation

Abstract: These are notes on Eng­lish stress, rhythm and into­na­tion. Part A is for stu­dents and Part B is for teach­ers. The treat­ment here is “tech­ni­cal”, as by a lin­guist, but in very plain lan­guage. Even with poor for­mal Eng­lish, … Con­tinue read­ing

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18. Fluency Vs Accuracy OR Fluency AND Accuracy for Language Learners?

Abstract : This sem­i­nar paper indi­cates a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence in objec­tives between lan­guage learn­ing for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and learn­ing for live use. Whereas accu­racy is an absolute goal within school­ing con­texts, its value on the street is highly vari­able. This dif­fer­ence … Con­tinue read­ing

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17. Basic Tips for Language Teachers

Abstract : These notes [2300+ words] con­sist of three parts : 1. Some short back­round notes on the pro­fes­sion of teach­ing lan­guages; 2. A few use­ful links for teach­ing tips and con­tent; 3. A col­lec­tion of ten activ­i­ties which the … Con­tinue read­ing

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16. Grammar for Language Teachers

This entry has the struc­ture of a sem­i­nar pre­sen­ta­tion. It was just that,  for Chi­nese teach­ers of Eng­lish in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China, May 2008. I hope that you find it provoca­tive enough to be use­ful. Abstract: 1. What are … Con­tinue read­ing

Posted in Grammar, Language teaching | 4 Comments