Monthly Archives: February 2013

How to Score Maximum Marks in OET Listening

Students think the OET listening task is difficult for multiple reasons, for example: “The speakers talk too quickly!” or “I can’t write fast enough!” or “It’s so hard to think about spelling and grammar whilst listening!”, etc.

Below are a few simple tips to help you score maximum marks:
1.    SKIM through the questions and get a general idea of the topic at the time given at the start
2.    UNDERLINE and listen out for the key words of each question so you can listen out for them during the dialogue
3.    PREDICT some answers if you can – e.g. if the question says “What risk factors are mentioned by the speaker for cardiovascular disease?”
4.    WRITE concise phrases instead of full sentences
•    For instance, “runny nose” instead of “he had a runny nose”
5.    DO use common abbreviations such as:
•    “HR” for heart rate
•    “SOB” for shortness of breath
•    Arrows to indicate INCREASE or DECREASE
•    Check the OET website for what abbreviations are allowed!
6.    USE your own abbreviations (for example, ‘yrs’ instead of ‘years’) then correct them when you have time later
7.    WRITE as you listen – and work on improving this!
8.    DON’T try to rephrase what is being said as this will waste time
9.    FIX up spelling, grammar and tenseduring the pauses between the questions, and during the time given at the end of the task
10.    MOVE on to the next question if you realise you have missed one, then go back and GUESS an answer if you can
11.    PRACTISE as much as you can!!!!!

-Carol L, OET Teacher

Differences between Brazilian Portuguese and Portuguese from Portugal

The differences in the spoken language are much more pronounced than the differences in the formal written language

The Brazilian spellings of certain words differ from those used in Portugal and the other Portuguese-speaking countries. Some of these differences are merely orthographic, but others reflect true differences in pronunciation. They are similar to how the English spellings of certain words in the United States differ from the spellings used in other English-speaking countries.

A few examples are given in the following table:

Brazil Portugal English
abridor de latas abre-latas can opener
aeromoça, comissária de bordo hospedeira flight stewardess
água-viva, medusa alforreca jellyfish
AIDS SIDA (Síndrome da Imunodeficiência Adquirida) AIDS
alho poró alho-porro, alho-francês leek
amerissagem amaragem landing on the sea, splash-down
aquarela aguarela watercolor
arquivo ficheiro file
aterrissagem aterragem landing
Band-Aid penso rápido band-aid (US), plaster (UK)
banheiro, toalete, toilettes, sanitário casa de banho, quarto de banho, lavabos, sanitários bathroom, toilet
bonde, bonde elétrico eléctrico streetcar (US), tram (UK)
brócoli brócolos broccoli
cílio (Classical Latin “cilium”), pestana, celha pestana eyelash
café da manhã, desjejum, parva pequeno almoço, desjejum breakfast
caminhonete, van, perua (informal) camioneta station wagon (US), estate car (UK)
câncer cancro cancer (the disease)
carona boleia ride, hitchhiking
carteira de habilitação, carteira de motorista, carta carta de condução driver’s license (US), driving licence (UK)
carteira de identidade, RG (from “Registro Geral”) bilhete de identidade ID card
telefone celular (or simply and most common “celular”), aparelho de telefonia celular telemóvel cell phone (US), mobile phone (UK)
canadense canadiano Canadian
caqui (from Japanese 柿 kaki) dióspiro persimmon
disco rígido, HD disco duro hard disk
dublagem dobragem dubbing
durex, fita adesiva fita gomada, fita-cola, fita adesiva Scotch Tape (US), Sellotape (UK)
time, equipe equipa, equipe team
estação de trem gare, estação railway station
estrada de ferro, ferrovia caminho de ferro, ferrovia railway
favela bairro de lata slum, shanty-town
fila bicha, fila line (US), queue (UK)
fóton fotão photon
fones de ouvido auscultadores, auriculares headphones
freio, breque travão, freio brake
gol golo goal (in sports)
grama, relva relva grass (lawn)
Irã Irão Iran
Islã Islão Islam
israelense, israelita israelita Israeli
maiô, maillot fato de banho woman’s swimsuit
mamadeira biberão, biberon baby bottle
metrô metro, metropolitano underground railway, metropolitan railway
Moscou Moscovo Moscow
ônibus autocarro bus
polonês, polaco polaco Polish
rúgbi, rugby râguebi, rugby rugby
secretária eletrônica atendedor de chamadas (telephone) answering machine
sutiã, soutien soutien, sutiã bra
tcheco, checo checo Czech
tela ecrã screen
trem, composição ferroviária comboio train
Vietnã Vietname Vietnam


Is the largest country in South America and in the Latin America region. It is the world’s fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 193 million people.

Did you know that… the word “Brasil” comes from brasilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast. In Portuguese, brasilwood is called pau-brasil and the capital of Brasil is Brasilia..?!

Brasil has two main cities Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.


Sao Paulo Is the largest city in Brasil. The metropolis has significant cultural, economic and political influence both nationally and internationally. It is home to several important monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin America Memorial, the Museum of the Portuguese Language , São Paulo Museum of Art, Museum of Ipiranga and the Ibirapuera Park. Paulista Avenue is the most important financial center of São Paulo. The city holds many high profile events, like the Sao Paulo art Biennial, the Brazil Grand Prix Formula 1 Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo FAshion Week, ATP Brasil Open, and the Sao Paulo Indy 300. Sao Paulo hosts the world’s largest gay pride parade according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnaval celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (“Cristo Redentor”) atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambodromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracana Stadium, one of the  world’s largest football stadiums.

Brazilian Portuguese is the best language

If you want a decent return on your investment, says Helen Joyce, the best language to learn is Brazilian Portuguese…

Some lunatics learn languages for fun. The rest of us are looking for a decent return on our investment. That means choosing a language with plenty of native speakers. One spoken by people worth talking to, in a place worth visiting. One with close relatives, so you have a head start with your third language. One not so distant from English that you give up.

There really is only one rational choice: Brazilian Portuguese. Brazil is big (190m residents; half a continent). Its economic prospects are bright. São Paulo is Latin America’s business capital. No other country has flora and fauna more varied and beautiful. It is home to the world’s largest standing forest, the Amazon. The weather is great and so are the beaches. The people are friendly, and shameless white liars. You’ll be told “Your Portuguese is wonderful!” many times before it is true.

You won’t need a new alphabet or much new grammar, though you may find the language addicted to declensions and unduly fond of the subjunctive. You’ll learn hundreds of words without effort (azul means blue, verde means green) and be able to guess entire sentences (O sistema bancário é muito forte: the banking system is very strong). With new pronunciation and a few new words you’ll get around in Portugal and parts of Africa. If you speak Spanish, French or Italian, you’ll find half the work is already done — and if not, why not try? With Portuguese under your belt you’ll fly along.

Best of all, you’ll stand out. Only about 10m Brazilians have reasonable English, and far more Anglophones speak French or Spanish than Portuguese, of any flavour. I did not choose this language; it was thrust on me by the offer of a job in São Paulo. But when I think of my sons, now ten and five, one day being able to write “fluent Brazilian Portuguese” on their CVs, I feel a little smug.

Helen Joyce is The Economist’s São Paulo correspondent

Some Stories About Our Japanese Course 16

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes and lessons included the usual kinds of activities to develop speaking, reading, listening, writing, constructing and performing dialogues or speech apart from cultural, society-orientated, technology, industry, and travel in Japan.

As recent delightful news, several students, who took my Beginners 1 late last year, informed me their latest news by email. For example, they have been to Japan, greatly enjoyed Japan and could read and understand words that were written in Hiragana etc, and thanked our course (and will come back to our Japanese course this year). Very nice indeed.

In my recent teaching, apart from using the textbook, reference materials for vocab and grammar, video, DVD, flash cards for vocab, pictures and words esp. from Japanese cooking magazines, ads of shops (Harvey Norman or supermarkets to talk about prices of things) etc, I used the method of singing Japanese songs as before. I included some gestures for a few songs. Some adult learners are shy and they tend to hesitate at first, but I try to encourage to do gestures, eg. use of fingers for a song, “My Fingers” and “Cha-Cha-Cha with Toys” (“Omocha no cha, cha, cha”). For teaching a five-year-old girl every Sat., she is very good at singing and performing gestures (almost no fear!) and she enjoys colouring the pictures of the song sheets. Very active learning attitude. Including gestures in singing is very effective and human brains and emotions will be more effectively learning and acquiring the language and culture at the same time while singing. (I mentioned such a thing in my publication in “Australia Language Matter”(ANU) in the past, as one of teaching methods in Japanese and with its cultural concepts.

As for information related to Japanese society (and culture), I showed an article of recent Jenta, which had news of a tuna of an amazing price at Tsukiji Fishmarket, Tokyo, the world’s biggest fish market. Also, articles about Japanese politics, security issue/international relation, i.e dispute with China about the Senkaku Islands, etc. The sources/articles for are:

1. About the newly elected Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe of Liberal Democratic Party,   www.

2. About the Senkaku Island, dispute with China, (1) “China-Japan dispute has wide regional implications: Beijin would be wise to leave the Senkaku Islands alone”, The Australian, editorial, 10.12.12, p. 13. (2) ”Islands must not come between Japan and China: Beijin should take its claim to the ICJ (International Court of Justice), by Masahiro Kohara, Consul General of Japan, Sydney, The Australian, 3.1.13, p. 6 (in the article, Mr Kohara says Japan has spent the post-swar era as a peace-loving nation in line with its peaceful Constitution and has long been the world’s biggest Overseas Development Assistance donor to assist developing nations and in Asia, China was the biggest recipient of Japanese ODA. (3) “Peaceful way out for China and Japan”, by Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, originally article in The Wall Street Journal, The Australian, 7.1.13, p. 6. (4) “Manufacturing dreams won’t take us closer to Asia”, by David Uren (economic editor), 24.1.13, p. 10. It’s about future Australian major industries that should be sustained and strengthened for Australian international trade and its economy, in the article Uren says that til now, Japan was the source of the highest technology in Asia.  –  All of the above articles and comment seem impressive, sensible (for democratic and peaceful international relationships) and useful.

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson


Moscow metro – a piece of art hidden underground

In most cities the Metro system is just a means of getting from one tourist attraction to another. The Moscow metro is an exception to this rule, it is a tourist attraction in itself. You will find yourself stopping to marvel at some of Moscow’s amazingly ornately designed stations. Carrying an average of 7million passengers per day, it is also Europe’s busiest Metro system.

The Moscow metro is the main and safest transport system in the Russian capital. It is second only to the metro in Tokyo as far as the volume of traffic is concerned. The metro system consists of 12 lines with an overall length of over 298 km, with 180 stations. The first line opened on 15 May 1935. The passengers were immediately impressed by the fairy-tale beauty of the underground palaces, by the amount of light and the lavish decoration of the stations.

No underground in the world has used a synthesis of arts in its décor. The Moscow metro is a really unique architectural and artistic monument. It was the first one in the world to decorate the stations with statues, frescoes, mosaics.  It is hard to believe that all this magnificence was practically hand-made. Nevertheless, the result is amazingly beautiful stations, different from one another. Another uniqueness of the Moscow metro is that the construction of new stations is still based on these ideas and principles.This is how it was planned 75 years ago.

Moscow metro was built not only as public transport. In 1930-s the country was already preparing for a possible war. During the Siege of Moscow, in 1941, metro stations were used as air-raid shelters. Many stations built during the Cold War are very deep and were planned as shelters in the event of nuclear attack. The result of this is that the deepest station of the Moscow metro is “Park Pobedy”, 84 meters, the height of a 28-storey building. It’s one of the deepest stations in the world. At the same metro station one can experience the longest escalator (126 m). Standing at the bottom one cannot see the top.