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Apr 14

Consonant Clusters 9 - "Sp-"

Consonant Clusters 9: "Sp-"

Advanced

Sp- spits out at us and spurts across the page. It explodes outwards as is suggested by the bilabial plosive /p/, which expels the cluster with force out of our mouths.

A second meaning of the sp- cluster is that of spikiness: we have sharp chips of wood, metal and plants in spars, spurs and even spoons.

The ancient art of spinning provides a link between these two meanings. An early meaning of spin was “shoot...

Mar 16

Consonant Clusters 8- "Cl-"

Consonant Clusters 8 – "Cl-"

Advanced

Cl- as a consonant cluster is often associated with connection, the idea of clasping or clamping two or more things together, so that they clot, clump or club together.

Separate, but probably related, roots for the concepts of sticking, holding on, clustering and fastening have led us to have a vast array of cl- words in...

Feb 20

Compound Adjectives & Parts of the Body

Compound Adjectives and Parts of the Body 

Upper-intermediate - Advanced

English shows its flexibility in the way it has adapted and combined the nouns for parts of the body to become other parts of speech. 

The word “back” for example is now a verb meaning “to support” and is used in a number of compound adjectives, such as straight-backed, crook-backed and broad-backed. 

In...

Jan 8

Latin Roots 1: Duco, Ducere, Duxi, Ductum

Latin Roots 1: Duco, Ducere, Duxi, Ductum – to Lead, Guide

 

Advanced

The Latin verb ducere (to lead) and its different forms have led to an astonishing number of words in English. By the addition of various prefixes and suffixes, this form has created a large number of some of the most familiar words in the language.

Firstly, we have several nouns...

Jan 5

Consonant Clusters 7- "Gl-"

Consonant Clusters 7: Gl-

Advanced

Wise old heads tell us “all that glitters is not gold”. Yet it is true to say that very many words that begin with gl- will indeed glitter, glimmer or glisten and that glitter and gold derive from the same root.

There is a smoothness to gl- words: the glide of a glacier or the gleam...

Dec 3

Consonant Clusters 6 - "Sn-"

Consonant Clusters 6 "Sn-"

Advanced

Sn- as a consonant cluster often has associations with the nose. In fact it is sometimes a combination of the hissing, movement of the dental sibilant /s/ and the nasal /n/, with the nose being the most important of the two. In fact, it is very difficult to say /snӘwithout moving your...

Nov 11

Consonant Clusters 5 - "Br-"

Consonant Clusters 5: br-

Advanced

The consonant cluster "br-" has a number of very interesting meanings. First of all, there seems to be a clear category of br- words that have been given “masculine” or “feminine” meanings, according to traditional gender roles.

The male br- words show man as the territorial, aggressive fighter. Such words include brave, brother,...

Nov 6

Consonant Clusters 4 - "Thr-"

Consonant Clusters 4 - "Thr-"

Advanced

Thr- is one of the most difficult consonant clusters in terms of pronunciation for foreign students of English. It needs to be carefully distinguished from fr- and tr- or confusion can result.

Unfortunately, English has a number of similar-sounding words with these three clusters.

thr-fr-tr-three /Ɵri:/free /fri:/tree /tri:/through /Ɵru:/-true /tru:/thread...

Oct 17

Consonant Clusters 3 - "Fl-"

Consonant Clusters 3 "Fl-"

Advanced

Fl- as a consonant cluster is often associated with quick, light movements e.g fly, float, fluid. This is often combined with the idea of horizontal or lateral movement. Some related words extend this idea of being horizontal (flattened) or lateral: floor, flat, flank (the side of something).

First, let’s look at the following verbs:

flap flop flash...

Oct 10

The Passive Voice [Intermediate/Upper Intermediate]

The Passive Voice

Intermediate/Upper Intermediate

We use the passive voice very frequently in English. It is formed with the verb be + past participle.

It is used in a number of different ways:  

when the person or thing doing the action (the agent) is less important than the action itself. The water in Veliko Tarnovo will be switched off from 4.00 to 7.00 for repairs.  when the agent is obvious. Sandra...