Monthly Archives: May 2013

What is the benefit of having good English pronunciation?

•    The first impression is extremely important when you speak with new people.
•    People will know straight away your professional level by listening to the way you pronounce English words
•    You can hide your limited vocab and grammar weakness, but not bad pronunciation.
•    Good pronunciation simply opens you to huge opportunities to meet potential employers.
•    Being able to communicate well with people from diverse countries is also a big achievement.
•    Networking is extremely important. Consider if people will avoid talking to you if they have difficulty understanding what you want to say.
•    If you have skilled pronunciation,  people will very much enjoy make friends with you

Ways to improve your English conversation skills

Write your own blog

You may not know that writing is actually a good way to improve your vocabulary. When you want to describe something but get stuck, you will have to look at the dictionary. By writing your own blog, after a period of time, you will be surprised in the way you can express your idea in a conversation.

A meet up group

Join an English conversation meet up group to meet with people who want to practise their English speaking skills and you certainly will learn a lot from each other.

Sing karaoke

Learning through singing is such an effective way to improve your pronunciation and confidence. Why not surprise your friends in a party night singing your most favourite song?

Take an English conversation course

It is a good way to start, if you have no idea at all. The tutor in the class will guide you on what to do and correct your individual common mistakes. Later on, you can learn by yourself easily.

Think in English

Try to force yourself to think in English but not your own native language. It will likely be hard initially, but this will be a great way to learn more things around you which you didn’t really actually think of in the past. Later on, you will find more things to say when you speak in English

Pick up your favourite movies

Watching movies in the English language with English subtitles may help you to understand the movie and help you to know how people actually converse in real life. We always learn from something and someone, so this is one of the many ways.

Vocabulary list

Building up your own vocab list will help you a lot in the long run. Don’t forget to go through the list whenever you have spare time. Make the most of your smart phone, iphone and iPad apps such as note taking app, and to do list.

 

5 steps to improve English Grammar

•    Start from basic sentences, move onto compound sentences and then complex sentences.
•    Learn grammar rules and make good notes for future revision purposes.
•    Double check your English grammar exercise/s every time you finish. You may make careless mistakes without notice.
•    Learn from your mistake/s; you will not improve if you keep making the same mistake/s over and over.
•    Learn from classmates, friends and the teacher. Some people may have difficulty in a particular skill and expertise in others. So why not learn from each other and together improve.

Series 1 of Korean Food : Japchae (잡채) Recipe

The picture referenced from http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2010/09/23/2010092300228.html

 

 

Japchae is one of the best Korean traditional foods have been still loved for every Korean regardless of gender and age. The dish is often served in Korean traditional Holidays such as Lunar New Year, Chuseok (추석/ kind of Korean Thanksgiving Day) and even someone’s birthday.

Japchae is a healthy and delicious food made with chewy cellophane noodle from sweet potato starch. 잡채 (Japchae) literally means a mix of chopped vegetables but modernized Japchae is a cooked noodle mixed up with many kinds of cokked vegetables and meat. Japchae is also very good dish for vegetarian if you make it without meat. You may choose the kind of vegetables you prefer. Japchae is a very colorful, tasty and highly nutritious food.

Let’s have a look at ingredients and how to cook it now!

 

Ingredients

200g japchae sweet noodles

1 onion, finely sliced

1 carrot, finely julienned

1 green or yellow capsicum, julienned

6~10 shitake mushrooms, soaked until soft and sliced into 5mm

Cooked spinach

100g lean beef, cut into thin strips (around 5~7mm)

Soy sauce

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

Sesame seeds

Vegetable oil

Pepper and salt

 

How to cook

1.Preparing beef

Marinate the sliced thin beef with 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil.

(If you want to remove the bad smell of meat, add a pinch of ginger power.)

Place it for 15 minutes.

Stir-fry them with vegetable oil in a pan over high heat until cooked through.

Put it on the platter.

 

2. Preparing shitake mushroom

Marinate the sliced mushroom with 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil.

Place it for 15 minutes.

Stir-fry them with vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.

Put it on the platter.

 

3. Preparing spinach

Put your spinach in a pot of boiling water and blanch it slightly for around 30 seconds.

Do not overcook.

Then rinse it in cold water 2~3 times and squeeze it lightly.

Chop it in half or into 5~7cm long.

Mix it with a pinch of salt, sesame oil, sesame seeds and pepper.

Put it on the platter.

 

4. Preparing carrots and onions

Cut carrots into strips and stir-fry it until they soften.

Add a pinch of salt. Just season to taste.

Put it on the platter.

Cook sliced onions with the same way.

 

5. Preparing capsicums.

Julienne capsicums into 5mm. It doesn’t need to be precooked.

 

6.Preparing noodles

Cook the noodle in plenty of boiling water for around 5 minutes.

When it is cooked thoroughly, it will look translucent.

If you are not sure of it, just taste it J. But do not overcook.

Rinse in cold water and drain well.

Cut the noodles into around 15cm.

 

7. Making Sauce

Mix 3 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp sesame oil and sesame seeds.

Add a pinch of pepper.

 

8. Mix every ingredient.

Put the noodles into a big bowl.

Add stir-fried beef, marinated shitake mushroom and precooked all vegetables.

Mix all ingredients smoothly with premade sauce.

Depending on your taste, control the amount of soy sauce or sugar.

 

Three Reasons for learning Tagalog

1. Tagalog is an easy language.

  • You say the words as you read them. There are no silent letters. Example: Salamat. (Sa-la-mat) or Thank you.
  • Similar to the English language, words do not have gender. Both men and women say similar phrases to each other. Example: Kamusta ka? (ka-moos-ta ka?) or How are you?
  • If you are a native/fluent speaker or just have a backgound of Spanish, you’ll find it easy to learn Tagalog as almost half of the  words are derived from Spanish. Example: You will hear some Filipinos count in Spanish: uno (one), dos (two), tres (three) and so on.

In informal conversational Tagalog: Puwede ba akong umupo sa silya? (May I sit on the chair?) Puwede came from puede which means May I?; silya came from silla which means chair.

2. Filipinos are amongst the friendliest, warmest and hardworking people in the world.

Although majority of the Filipinos can speak English, you will find them willing to teach you Tagalog and you will feel more appreciated for learning the language.

3. Enjoy Filipino songs

Filipinos are known to be fantastic singers. Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, and Charice Pempengco are among those who have gained international success. Here is Regine Velasquez’s version of “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka” with lyrics (To be with you, everytime it rains). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSES6fIk34o. This song describes how the strong pouring rain emphasises the singer’s feelings to the one she loves. Listen and enjoy the melody or ask a Filo to translate it for you. Not only do you enjoy the song more but you also learn Tagalog words!

The ‘Saaree’ Clad Eve and the ‘Kurta’ Donned Adam

Have you ever considered dressing up in traditional Indian attire? The ‘Saaree’ is really only a very long rectangular piece of cloth tightly wrapped around the femme-fatale to enhance the curves. The technique of wearing it though tricky is achievable with considerable practice. It is elegant, chic and charismatic. The kurta-pyjama is a knee long shirt with flair pants for the handsome hunk. Whether you don it below the six pack or a flab, it makes you look equally irresistible. Lehenga-choli is a blouse and ankle long skirt. Team it up with a bindi – the forehead sticker, some colourful bangles and an anklet and you will epitomize the Indian beauty. And where will you easily get all this in Sydney. You will not have to go too far. Liverpool is the hub of Indian fad and fashion. Lined up with shops, it will provide you with everything Indian that you will ever want to wear to impress your beau the Bollywood style.  From Salwar-Kameez to Sarees, Kurta-Pyjamas to Dhotis, beautifully hand embroidered shawls to embellished stoles or dupattas, you name it and they have it. There are even these not too expensive tailors, who will custom design your Indian wear or even fit you with ‘wear-in-seconds-saaree’ that would normally take an expert a good sweat and a good ten minutes!

The Grandiloquent Taj

Part of the World Heritage List, The Taj Mahal is considered one of the most magnificent buildings ever conceptualized. The exquisite marble beauty in Agra, India, might be a mausoleum, but all you will be haunted by is the intense love of a husband for his beloved wife. Undoubtedly, it also a legendary evidence of the artistic brilliance and scientific splendour of a prosperous regime.  Some three million people visit the Taj every year. Agra is easily commutable by bus, train, and air. Access to the structure is on foot purposefully to save the building from the city’s growing pollution. The Taj is a round-the-clock attraction and always buzzing with tourists, though a new ticketing system has been somewhat successful to distribute the onslaught of visitors evenly. Visitors wanting to enjoy the splendour in serenity could try coming in early or late in the day. The Taj is closed on Fridays. A good part of any visit to the Taj must be lavished on the exterior; however the breath-taking inlay work of the interiors cannot be missed. The mausoleum’s dazzling white marble shifts colour to reflect the pensiveness of the outside world—an enthralling transformation that must be witnessed in different conditions, such as in the crimson of twilight or pristine white of the full moon.