Sunday, March 4, 2018

Learning English from Your Favorite Songs

One of the best activities that you can do as an English learner is to find a song that you love and memorize the lyrics. There are two reasons for this. First, you can increase your vocabulary by memorizing the words in the context of the song. Secondly, you can memorize grammar patterns that the writer of the song presents. By listening to your favorite song again and again, you will memorize both vocabulary and grammar without even trying!

This is without a doubt my favorite Taylor Swift song ever. As a writer of love stories, I am captivated by its beautiful message and happy ending. It is based on the story of Romeo and Juliet (also one of my favorite love stories) by William Shakespeare. The ending of the original Romeo and Juliet was tragic, but Taylor Swift brings a more positive twist to the story. I love it, and I hope you will, too. 

Here are some phrases that you can learn from this song:

The flashback starts: A “flashback” is the part of a story when we see what happened in the past.
Make your way through the crowd: To “make your way through” means to move around people in a crowd to get through.
Little did I know: meaning “I didn’t know how important it was at the time”.
All there’s left to do is run.: “All there’s left to do” means there is nothing else we need to do; in this case, only run.
I sneak out to see you.: to “sneak out” means to go outside without others in the house (like her parents) knowing about it.
We’re dead if they knew.: This means that we will have big trouble if they find out.
I was a scarlet letter.: In this song, it probably means she was labeled by others as a “bad, shameful woman.”
We’ll make it out of this mess.: “to make it out” means to escape from this trouble
I was wondering if you were ever coming around.: to “come around” means to visit someone at their home. She was waiting for him to come visit her again. It was taking a long time.
My faith in you was fading. : “My faith in you” means how much I trust you. In this story, she was starting to believe that he wasn’t going to come back for her.
I met you on the outskirts of town.: the “outskirts of town” is just outside of the populated area. She probably met him there because it was more private.
Is this in my head?: meaning “Am I just imagining this?”

Enjoy this lovely song with English and Vietnamese subtitles!

Happy English learning!
Prof Dave

Sunday, November 12, 2017

How to be Happier Learning English

This is not a video about how to be happier while you are learning English. It's a video about how to be happier in general. And you're learning English now, so if you are happier in general, you will have a more positive attitude learning English. This attitude will affect not only your language learning, but also your whole life. 

Take this experiment. Follow the steps of the instructor on the video. It may just help you feel happier. Language is life! Connect your language to what you love about life and you will feel great learning English. You may even love learning English!

Here are seven expressions that you can learn from this video:

1. Here's the deal. We often say this as an introduction when we want to explain something important to someone without wasting time.

2. We take things for granted. This is an idiom that means we stop being thankful for the good things we receive in life. For example, clean air, running water, electricity, and so on.

3. So they (the things that we take for granted) stop psyching us up. If they "stop psyching us up," it means we are no longer excited about them.

4. Don't take my word for it. This means that it's not only my opinion. Let me tell you about an expert who agrees with this opinion.

5. It seemed to kick-start our brains. This means that our brains suddenly started working faster and better.

6. Let's recap. This is a common expression meaning "let's review what we learned."

7. To get that "happy" ball rolling... To "get the ball rolling" means this is the way to start something. To get the happy ball rolling means the way to start feeling happy is to do the following.

I hope this information has been helpful to you! Happy English learning! See you in the classroom!

Professor Dave