In my 13 years of teaching English to speakers of other languages, Reading Explorer by National Geographic is the best tool I have discovered to build reading skills.
The image to the left is from China's Taobao. In China, Reading Explorer comes as a set of 6 books divided into levels starting at Foundation and going up to Level 5.
In Hong Kong, the set I bought was just 4 levels - Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced. The 4 books contained more or less the same material as the 6 books. The books were simply divided differently so the Hong Kong books had more pages in each book. The cost is higher in Hong Kong than in mainland China IF the version you buy in Mainalnd China is printed in China.
If you buy online, you'll want to check to see if you are getting a physical book or online book. Also to see if it is the latest edition. The images shown are for the 2nd edition which is what I bought when I was in China.
In the US, Amazon.com sells the books, but as you might expect, the price is higher in the US than China. While checking for this blog, I noticed the US Amazon site shows a newer edition. They now have the 3rd editon. It does appear the US version now has the same 6 levels as China starting at Foundation and ending at Level 5. The US Foundation, 3rd ed version is shown below the Chinese Taobao advertisement image.
Sample: Below is a scan from the first Reading Explorer Book I bought in Hong Kong from what I guess is the First Edition of the book. It will let you get an idea of how the books may help you.
Each Unit has a Theme. Each unit has a different theme from the other units so you will get exposed to a lot of topics. Here I chose Unit 2 - Favorite foods. Everyone likes food, right?
Note this page asks you questions BEFORE you start reading. This is generally about the broader topic and just to get you thinking about the topic.
Now you get to the first page of the reading. Again, it asks you questions BEFORE you start reading. This is one reading skill. Predicting and thinking what you might read about. They also give you a topic related image.
The first actual reading part of the Unit. The lines are numbers and words are highlighted in red. These are the key vocabulary words they want you to learn. Note the reading section here isn't very long. 1 page.
Next is a section USING the new vocabulary including other forms of the word. Maybe the reading used the noun and now they see if you can understand the adjective or the reading uses one tense and now you need to use a different tense.
You have just finished 1 part of the Unit. Congratulations.
As you can see, it doesn't take much time to do 1 part. 5 pages total with 1 page being reading.
Next comes a second related reading topic.
This section follows the same order as the first section of the Unit.
Now you know why I chose the 2nd unit - one of my favorite foods - chilis / chiles / chilis. As I mentioned at the beginning, this particular book is a little out of date now. It was the first edition and today they are on a 3rd edition. The Ghost chile is no longer considered the hottest in the world.
There are 2 final sections but they are shorter. Just one page with a shorter reading and some questions followed by
a page of questions.
The final section is designed to watch a short video and answer questions. I just discovered I didn't scan those 2 pages but ot resembles the above 2 pages but refers to a video. The video DOES NOT come with the book or at least it didn't come with mine. I suppose they want you to buy it separately. Note the answers to all the exercises are also NOT included with the book. They sell a teacher's book that has the answers but I never bought one.
So that is how Reading Explorer by National Geographic and Cengage Learning is laid out.
Reading is the best way to improve vocabulary and also helps with learning grammar since you see it being used. I had every one of my IELTS students using this material to mprepare them for IELTS - it helps both with the reading sections of IELTS, the listening sections (If you understand the topic you are listening about it improves your recognition of what they are saying) and writing and speaking - again the knowledge of different topics you gain help you talk and write about the topics they give you on the exam.
Maybe this will be useful to some of you.
I have no idea what countries have these books available and which ones don't except I know China and the US has them.
Some fresh Carolina Reapers and Red Ghost to dry;
40+ dried Carolina Reapers ground with seeds;
Brasilian Malaguetas used to make a new bottle of pepper sauce (not shown). But
These are some of my existing Southern Pepper Sauce of various spice levels. Just combine chiles / chilies / chillis (Spelled a variety of ways) with 5% vinegar and a little salt in a glass bottle. If you want it spicier, cook the chiles in a little oil before adding the vinegar. Puncture each chile before cooking it or it will "explode".
Drying other varieties chile today
using a commercial grade dehydrator.
Word of caution: Chiles are misnamed. Don't wear contacts nor touch your eyes when working with these super hot chiles; there's nothing chilly about them except the name.
Improve your reading and English with a Kindle
I love reading. I love to read physical books but also to read electronic books or ebooks. To read an ebook, you need a device since the words are not printed on paper but designed to be read on an electronic device. The one I am most familiar with because I use it is the Kindle from Amazon. Other e-readers may have similar features.
So how can a Kindle help you improve your reading and your English?
When you are reading, you don’t want to stop every time you come to a new word. You want to continue reading at least until you reach the end of the sentence but even better until you reach the end of the paragraph or longer section. IF you are seeing too many new words, the material is too high of a level for you at this stage. The general rule is you want to understand 75% or more of the words.
But back to how a Kindle can help.
When you see a new word while reading the Kindle, you can check to see what it means. The Kindle has (1) a dictionary; (2) wikipedia access and (3) translation access built-in. You need wifi to access wikipedia or translations.
Press the word you don’t know and Kindle will select it and Kindle opens the dictionary to show you the definition. You must download the dictionaries you want to use such as English, Chinese, Spanish, and others but Kindle has free dictionaries available.
The same panel will provide access to wikipedia and translation (you can see the 3 circles showing the different tabs; just scroll to the right).
You can choose the different languages that you would like Kindle to use for translation. Hopefully your language is one supported by Kindle.
So this is one way Kindle can help you with both reading and learning English. There’s no need for you to stop and use a dictionary or online translator. It’s built in.
A second way is connected to the first. It is called Vocabulary Builder. You need to “Turn On” this option in your Kindle Settings. In Settings you have Reading Options. Vocabulary Builder is one of those options. Turn it on.
Now every time you check the meaning of a word (use the dictionary function) on your Kindle, the Kindle stores that word in the Vocabulary Builder. Now while you are in any book on your Kindle, you can select Vocabulary Builder from the menu at the Top (You will see 3 vertical dots or 3 horizontal lines at the top right corner of your Kindle; select it and Vocabulary Builder will be one option).
When you choose Vocabulary Builder, your Kindle will display a list of every word you have looked up. It saves them as flashcards.
You can review the words by selecting one and opening the flashcard or by Choosing Flashcards at the bottom - I suggest this later option.
It provides you with the Usage - it will show the word as it was used in the book you were reading and also the Dictionary Meaning so you can check to see if you remember the word or not. If you are sure you know it, you can mark the word as “mastered” or even delete it.
So this is a few ways using a Kindle to read can help improve both your reading and your English.
Can you spot (find) the reason I took this photo?
Happy hunting :)
100 Stories that shaped the World
1 Odyssey - Homer
2 Uncle Tom’s cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
3 Frankenstein Mary Shelley
4 1984 George Orwell
5. Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe, 1958)
6. One Thousand and One Nights (various authors, 8th-18th Centuries)
7. Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes, 1605-1615)
8. Hamlet (William Shakespeare, 1603)
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez, 1967)
10. The Iliad (Homer, 8th Century BC)
11. Beloved (Toni Morrison, 1987)
12. The Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri, 1308-1320)
13. Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare, 1597)
14. The Epic of Gilgamesh (author unknown, circa 22nd-10th Centuries BC)
15. Harry Potter Series (JK Rowling, 1997-2007)
16. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood, 1985)
17. Ulysses (James Joyce, 1922)
18. Animal Farm (George Orwell, 1945)
19. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë, 1847)
20. Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert, 1856)
21. Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Luo Guanzhong, 1321-1323)
22. Journey to the West (Wu Cheng'en, circa 1592)
23. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevksy, 1866)
24. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen, 1813)
25. Water Margin (attributed to Shi Nai'an, 1589)
26. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy, 1865-1867)
27. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee, 1960)
28. Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys, 1966)
29. Aesop's Fables (Aesop, circa 620 to 560 BC)
30. Candide (Voltaire, 1759)
31. Medea (Euripides, 431 BC)
32. The Mahabharata (attributed to Vyasa, 4th Century BC)
33. King Lear (William Shakespeare, 1608)
34. The Tale of Genji (Murasaki Shikibu, before 1021)
35. The Sorrows of Young Werther (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1774)
36. The Trial (Franz Kafka, 1925)
37. Remembrance of Things Past (Marcel Proust, 1913-1927)
38. Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë, 1847)
39. Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison, 1952)
40. Moby-Dick (Herman Melville, 1851)
41. Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston, 1937)
42. To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf, 1927)
43. The True Story of Ah Q (Lu Xun, 1921-1922)
44. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865)
45. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy, 1873-1877)
46. Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad, 1899)
47. Monkey Grip (Helen Garner, 1977)
48. Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf, 1925)
49. Oedipus the King (Sophocles, 429 BC)
50. The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka, 1915)
51. The Oresteia (Aeschylus, 5th Century BC)
52. Cinderella (unknown author and date)
53. Howl (Allen Ginsberg, 1956)
54. Les Misérables (Victor Hugo, 1862)
55. Middlemarch (George Eliot, 1871-1872)
56. Pedro Páramo (Juan Rulfo, 1955)
57. The Butterfly Lovers (folk story, various versions)
58. The Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer, 1387)
59. The Panchatantra (attributed to Vishnu Sharma, circa 300 BC)
60. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, 1881)
61. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Muriel Spark, 1961)
62. The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists (Robert Tressell, 1914)
63. Song of Lawino (Okot p'Bitek, 1966)
64. The Golden Notebook (Doris Lessing, 1962)
65. Midnight's Children (Salman Rushdie, 1981)
66. Nervous Conditions (Tsitsi Dangarembga, 1988)
67. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943)
68. The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov, 1967)
69. The Ramayana (attributed to Valmiki, 11th Century BC)
70. Antigone (Sophocles, c 441 BC)
71. Dracula (Bram Stoker, 1897)
72. The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K Le Guin, 1969)
73. A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens, 1843)
74. América (Raúl Otero Reiche, 1980)
75. Before the Law (Franz Kafka, 1915)
76. Children of Gebelawi (Naguib Mahfouz, 1967)
77. Il Canzoniere (Petrarch, 1374)
78. Kebra Nagast (various authors, 1322)
79. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott, 1868-1869)
80. Metamorphoses (Ovid, 8 AD)
81. Omeros (Derek Walcott, 1990)
82. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1962)
83. Orlando (Virginia Woolf, 1928)
84. Rainbow Serpent (Aboriginal Australian story cycle, date unknown)
85. Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates, 1961)
86. Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe, 1719)
87. Song of Myself (Walt Whitman, 1855)
88. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain, 1884)
89. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain, 1876)
90. The Aleph (Jorge Luis Borges, 1945)
91. The Eloquent Peasant (ancient Egyptian folk story, circa 2000 BC)
92. The Emperor's New Clothes (Hans Christian Andersen, 1837)
93. The Jungle (Upton Sinclair, 1906)
94. The Khamriyyat (Abu Nuwas, late 8th-early 9th Century)
95. The Radetzky March (Joseph Roth, 1932)
96. The Raven (Edgar Allan Poe, 1845)
97. The Satanic Verses (Salman Rushdie, 1988)
98. The Secret History (Donna Tartt, 1992)
99. The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats, 1962)
100. Toba Tek Singh (Saadat Hasan Manto, 1955)
I've read at least 41 of the 100 so far. I am not sure which Shakespeare plays I have read versus just know about. Romea and Juliet I definitely read since we had it in school not once but 2 or 3 times. The others? I probably read them but I'll reread them to be sure.
Many of these are ancient texts and were originally written in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, etc. Many of you may have read them in your native tongue. I must get by with reading a translation if I can find the book at all.
If you want to know where this list originated, you can check here -
Building on my last blog post, which was 7 years ago, what book, especially fiction, from your native country or territory would you recommend to me?
Most of you will be English learners so you will be recommneding to me books written by non-native English authors.
I have the list of books compiled in the Reading the World blog but those are books she selected. This way I can get books you suggest giving my reading list a different feel from hers.
And I am interested in modern authors more than "classic" authors. And while I prefer fiction, if your favorite book is nonfiction, that is ok also.
The more input I get, the more likely I can find a new book to read.
For the native English speakers, you are welcome to suggest titles and authors also.
I find this to be an interesting idea. As a bibliophile, I find the idea intriguing, and I'll try to find some of these books to add to my reading "Bucket List".
This is from a news article I read. The link follows to her website / blog and I am copying and pasting her suggested list. It looks like one must click each country name to see which book she chose to read however. As Time permits I'll try to get a short list of the books she actually wrote and highlight them in Orange as I have done for the first Country Afghanistan. Green shows a book I have read. Here is the link: http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/thelist/
Here is the "Long List":
This contains all the valid recommendations I’ve had. I chose one book for each nation. Country names are links to the reviews of the books I read.
My new job in Shenzhen is pretty good, not perfect mind you, but pretty good. The only BIG negative currently is that I live over 2 hours away from where I work. I am hoping to find a new place to live closer to Nanshan Central District (where I work) next month. I must save enough money first which is why I haven't moved yet.
Yesterday I finished my application for the correct visa to work in China. I will pick up my Passport in 2 weeks and be good to go (or should I say stay).
Until I move though, my time to access MyEC will remain very limited. I work 5 days a week and leave my apartment at 10 am and return at about midnight. That is due to the travel time. Once I move, I'll try to carve out some time to get back involved here at MyEC
I knew when I agreed to take the job in Longgang, Shenzhen, Guongdong, China I was taking a risk. Red Flags had arisen early. Supposedly hired in early June of 2013, I heard nothing on the paperwork I needed to obtain my Visa. I finally contacted the "Managing Director" in early July and was told that the Chinese Government was moving slowly. I waited. At the end of July I was asked to come obtain an F Visa instead of continuing to wait on a Z Visa (Proper work Visa). I was told they would get the proper Z visa for me once I arrived.
Knowing I was taking a risk, I went ahead and obtained the Visa and flew to Shenzhen. Eight months later (today) I quit. I came to China to see how it compared to other places I had been and to experience more directly the culture. Now I am left wondering " Are all English Language Centers run the same as this one? Are all untrustworthy?" The only way I will discover the answer is to find work elsewhere in this twin metropolis area. I will start looking on Monday.
Meanwhile, the center I just left sent me a threatening letter. Should I be worried? Should I take them serious? A center they brought me illegally to work in China is going to take me to court? I don't know.
Many end up in these situations blindly. I have no such excuse. I knew I was taking a risk. I am prone to trust someone until they prove they can't be trusted. That is my personality. Maybe this is just one bad apple. I hope it is but am afraid it isn't.
My F Visa expires August 9. If I can find sufficient work, I will stay until then. If I can find an honest employer, I may stay longer with a proper Z Visa. That assumes that I am not tossed out earlier by the government.
Time will tell.
This Slideshow on the BBC News sites "More than a Handshake" discusses some of the cultural differences among nationalities in a business setting. If your country isn't listed, how are your customs the same or different from those listed?
The U.S. is listed but you will see variances in different parts of the U.S. The South tends to be less formal in my experience than many other areas.
Flo-Joe's four steps to FCE exam success: is a site where you can take practice Cambridge Certificate exams. Even you you do not plan to take the FCE, the skills tested here will be similar to the skills you need for other English assessments such as the IELTS or TOEFL. There is a variety of areas covered.
The direct link to the Practice Tests is http://www.flo-joe.co.uk/fce/students/tests/tsindex.htm
ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The granddaughter then asked, "What does it mean, Grandmother?"
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity -- boiling water -- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?
Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them?
ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?
Another link to an article online. For those wanting to improve your vocabulary, the study indicates two ways that are the best. The first is no surprise - live in a country where English is the native language. The second was more of a surprise to the researchers. People who read lots of fiction books have a larger vocabulary than people who read a lot but not lots of fiction.
Noted statistics from the study:
I'm just sharing a link to a blog that was shared on my Facebook Page.
"the recipe for fluency is unique to each individual learner." is a statement I readily agree with just as each person has a learning style that best suits them. No two individuals learn exactly alike. Maybe it will help some of you.
The English Language is like a vast ocean. It isn't uniform, and it contains a lot of variety with many possibilities lurking out of sight, hidden away under its murky waters. In some places its depth is shallow and easily understood while in other areas it may go very deep indeed - deeper than even experienced ocean voyagers may realize.
As you are fishing in its depths where you are, you may not catch every possibility. The rule you have reeled in may not be uniform; it may have some snags attached called exceptions (and probably does). The word you hooked is likely not the only species in the English Ocean. There may be other words better tasting than the one you have caught. The person who has been your navigator may have taught you all they have learned and know, but they may have only learnt the straits around where they are and as a result may not be familiar with what lies beyond or even the deeper depths in the straits they do know. They may even have fears that if they venture too far into the Ocean they will fall off the edge, so they hug the shorelines they know. So you learn the limited area they know. So someone who has experienced a different part or perhaps a greater region of the English ocean will have an understanding that your navigator doesn't.
I don't think it is possible for any one person to know all there is to know about this vast realm. I certainly do not. People who navigate upon its waters are always learning or they become stale and obsolete. However, those who grew up fishing its waters, mining its depths for treasures, roaming its shores and living on its and sustenance have an advantage over those who are just discovering it or even those who discovered it years ago but weren't nurtured on it from conception. If an educated Native English Teacher tells you that something is or is not true about this Ocean, more than likely you can take it to the bank even if it is not what you have previously been taught. Rules seldom are absolute. They are merely tools to help people learn. Substance is more important than form.
For example many of you will have been taught the following:
“We can use action verbs with the continuous, but state verbs are not normally continuous.”
Oxford Guide to English Grammar John Eastwood p. 79
In other words you have been taught that words such as understand, believe, love, want, see
should not be used in the progressive /continuous tense. You have been taught that “State” verbs such as these are not used in the continuous or progressive form . A rule intended to help but which leads to a false understanding; a misunderstanding of English.
This is an example of learning a rule both incompletely and without learning the substance. First it is not an “absolute” rule. Note the use of “normally”. Also it is more of a British English rule than an English rule since American English uses many of these “State” verbs in a continuous manner fairly frequently, especially compared to their use in British English. But even in British English, the substance is what matters, not the rule.
The substance is that the rule only applies to an unchanging state.
Here is the part you probably missed or was never taught:
“We can use the continuous with some state verbs if we see something as active thinking or feeling for a period of time, rather than a permanent attitude.
I love holidays. (permanent attitude)”; I'm loving every minute of this holiday. (active enjoyment)”
Oxford Guide to English Grammar John Eastwood p. 80
This latter statement accurately reflects the substance of English. “I am wanting something to eat” is not wrong if it is an ongoing, continuous state rather than an unchanging state. “I am not understanding you” is correct when used to talk about the ongoing present situation. Context in English is everything. Rules are just tools. Barron's 501 English Verbs lists continuous aspects for many of the "State" verbs. Only a few are NEVER used in a continuous aspect.
Without knowing the rules, Native Speakers know how the language is used. They know that many "State" verbs are in fact used in the continuous aspect. They use them in their daily lives. They have no prescriptive rules barring them from using the language correctly. So before you tell the Native English speakers they are wrong, consider the possibility that the rule you have learned is incomplete.
Native English Speakers have a built-in advantage. They have always known the English language ocean. They have an innate knowledge that those coming to it years later struggle to comprehend. There will be aspects of it they may not fully know, but their instincts will usually guide them true. The better educated they are, the more likely this homing instinct is to be inerrant. Can Native Speakers be mistaken? Yes. Many are lost in the Grammar Seas of English. Being a Native Speaker is not equivalent to speaking, knowing and using English well, but the better educated ones will tend to be excellent guides. There is a real good possibility that the latecomer will actually have a better knowledge of the maps than the Native Speaker because the Native Speaker will seldom use one; they will only consult a map if they are in unfamiliar territory. But once the Native Speakers consult a map, the Native Speakers will again be at an advantage understanding the map. They will know landmarks and details that aren't shown on a map. They may even know some areas not shown on the map or where the map is not entirely correct or up to date.
So cast your nets fearlessly into the vast English Ocean. The more you plumb its depths, the more you will discover, and the more you discover the more confident you will become and the farther you will venture out upon the waters to reach new destinations. Learn your rules BUT try to discover the reason for the rule. Rules can be great tools but also try to learn the substance. That way, you will know when the rules apply, how they apply and, just as importantly, when when a rule is not applicable. If you wander off course or get sideswiped by a wave, look around and see if someone who has more experience navigating the waters is around to come to your rescue. If they give you advice, hearken to it. Only a fool rejects good advice.
Some quotes I like tossed into your nets for free:
"Do not be discouraged by what you do not know — but be encouraged by what you can learn." Unknown
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make a mistake” Rowan Ahmed
"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words." Mark Twain
"One learns grammar from language, not language from grammar.” Lomb Kató,
I know I am writing about something that many of you will not have access to where you live. But since this is a global community, it may benefit some of you. I recently acquired a Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon. The Kindle Paperwhite is an electronic book (e-book) reader (an e-reader) that has its own built in lighting.
Some of its other features that I appreciate include: the ability to change the font size (but it doesn't work for pdf documents) with a quick touch;
the ability to store a large number of ebooks and sort them into folders
since I often will be reading several books in parallel switching from one to the other as the mood strikes me (I am currently reading Rebecca, When you Catch an Adjective, Kill it, and The Haunting of Hill House); it has built-in dictionaries that let you touch a word on the screen to call up it's definition which can be invaluable to those learning a language such as English; and it
also supports translation from one language to another. However for that feature to work, you need to have it connected to the internet by wifi or buy the 3G version. The Kindle uses internet translation sites such as Google Translate and as many of you already know, those sites have their own pit-falls depending upon which languages you are translating from and into when using them.
As you can see from the photographs the Kindle Paperwhite is about the same length and width as a normal paperback book but much thinner. Here it is compared to an oversized paperback (one that is about the same size as most hardback books) -
The only real negatives so far with this e-reader is it does not support many ebook formats including e-pub. However, you can use free software from calibre-ebook.com to convert almost any format including pdf into .mobi or .AZ3 to use on the Kindle. That is what I do. Then you can use non-DRM books you have from other sources such as www.gutenberg.org/ on it in addition to books downloaded from amazon. You can connect the Kindle to your computer using a USB port and move e-books back and forth directly from your computer to the documents folder on the Kindle. You can not nest folders within folders as I do on my computer, and Amazon advises you not to move folders onto the Kindle but just the e-book document itself.
So do any of you use a different e-reader? How does yours compare as to features?
The word glared at me from my computer screen as I was chatting. How should I respond to such an exclamation? Should I be angry? Demand that the person be tarred and feathered and run out of EC on a rail? Should I demand they be given a thousand lashes with a wet noodle? Should I laugh and ask if they know what the word narcist means?
90+ % of the people who chat at EC do not speak natively fluent English. In any group of people trying to use a foreign tongue, whether here or elsewhere, there will be some faux pas. I've made them as I have traveled around in non-English speaking countries, and I have witnessed many made by English language learners. I've put my foot in my mouth more than once. It's natural. While teaching in Mexico, I told one of my students that she had made a "silly" mistake on her paper. In her Spanish - English dictionary, the word silly was translated as "tonto" which means "fool" in its worst meaning. She was in tears. She misunderstood the expression. If I had called her "tonto", I would had been in the wrong. As it was, the misunderstanding was there. When I explained what "silly mistake" actually meant, she wasn't offended but laughed at how it was different from what she thought. She still talks to me to this day. She is my friend.
Opportunities abound to be offended IF you chose to look for offenses. It is a good idea to always give the person you are chatting with the benefit of the doubt. Or as Benjamin Franklin once said "Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices" Poor Richard's Almanac December 1738". As illustrated by my two real examples above, it is easy for communication mistakes to happen when language learners gather. The wrong word or expression will be used, or used in the wrong context.
It is even easy for them to happen when you have all native speakers communicating. I spent a month one time with people from 12 large corporations who were trying to write an agreement on a project where they all shared an interest. We spent one month on one paragraph. One day I realized that everyone wanted the exact same thing. The problem was that half of the people thought the existing language provided what they all wanted while the other half interpreted that language to have a different meaning altogether. The solution was to change the wording. A whole month of miscommunication due to two or three words.
So don't be quick to "fly off the handle" when somebody says something to you in chat that maybe just doesn't sound proper or even sounds out and out rude such as "Narcist!" It may just be that what they said wasn't what they intended. Or perhaps they have a different understanding of the word or expression than you (see my example above with "silly"). Mistakes happen but "[t]he greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make a mistake" R Ahmed. Don't be the one that creates an atmosphere on chat where people fear to make a mistake. No one has ever learned any language without making mistakes. Learn to laugh rather than scold. Make sure the person really intended to offend you before you get offended. Your understanding and their intention may not be the same. And remember "He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help." Abraham Lincoln.
Now how do you think I responded when (name withheld to protect the guilty) called me "Narcist!"?
How will you respond the next time someone says something to you on chat that you interpret as "rude" or "bad"?
PS: A side benefit to reading and pondering this blog , other than learning to be more tolerant of others and slower to jump to conclusions, is that you can also learn some new words, quotes and expressions along the way.
To Chat or not to chat, that is the question
The chat room here is as good or as bad as you allow it to be. Not every person who comes here to My EC comes with a good intention. Not every person is a "good" person. There are some who come to prey on others. They enjoy abusing others or they are looking to take advantage or prey on others. It is up to each person here whether this is allowed or not. If you permit it, you become part of the problem because you are encouraging it. Every time you chat with a person who is here to abuse others, you encourage them. I would encourage you to "just say no".
If someone is here talking about sexual issues, using sexual language or innuendos, they are not here for a good purpose. It is not appropriate and you should not encourage them by sympathizing with them or laughing or agreeing to chat with them in private. Each time you give them attention, you are encouraging them to return with the same agenda. Yes, perhaps it is part of your culture to be nice to everyone. But being nice to predators is like throwing gasoline on a fire. And some of them know it is your culture and nature to be nice which is why they chose to come here and target victims. To them it is a game. Don't be naive.
Let them know that such conversation is not appropriate and then ignore them so long as they persist in coming here and acting in such a way. If no one responds to their posts, especially in friendly way, they will eventually cease coming here looking for victims. They are seeking attention - don't give it to them. And never go into private with such a person or give them information about your Skype, other IM, email or personal information. They are looking to open the door with you. And every year people fall victim to people they first meet online. Yes there are bad people on the internet and in real life. Protect yourselves and others. Stop it here before it takes root.
The more you encourage them, the more they will return. If you think you are strong enough not to be a victim, what about their next target? The next person may not be as smart as you are. They may indeed become a victim. And in reality, the whole chat becomes a victim because people will quit coming to chat in that atmosphere. I know I will.
Such misconduct makes the chat a much less attractive place to be. The quality of the chat will suffer and eventually, if it continues, you will suddenly see less and less of me and other people who actually come here with pure motives. The chat room here is as good or as bad as you allow it to be. It's your choice.
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