Small Talk

Small talk is simple, polite conversation – usually with someone you don’t know very well.  Making small talk is a good way to practice your English speaking – such as when you meet someone walking in your neighborhood, or waiting in line at a store.  You can talk about things like the weather (“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”), or someone’s cute dog.

Here are some examples of small talk conversations that you can read, and listen to.

English Words You Didn’t Realize That You Know

The English word leopard has the same language origin as the Spanish and Portuguese leopardo, and the French léopard.  There are many other words like this that are very similar in English and other languages.  They are called “cognates”.

One good way to quickly increase your English vocabulary is to study a list of these similar words.

  • For Spanish, there are words like adorar (adore), mágico (magical), teatro (theater) and many more
  • For Portuguese, there are words like apropriado (appropriate), importância (importance), familiar (familiar), and many more
  • There are lists of cognates available for many other languages too – including Russian and Arabic
  • For more lists of cognates with English and many other languages, you can use Google.  For example, in Google: English French cognates
  • You can try entering the same search words in YouTube to watch video lessons about these

Use Your Dog To Practice English

Your English will improve if you speak or sing – out loud in English – to your dog.

But also, have you noticed that when you go walking with your dog, other dog lovers will usually be more friendly?  Maybe they’ll say hello, or ask you questions about your dog, or ask, “Can I pet your dog?”  Use this as a great opportunity for some small talk – short, informal conversation. Remember – the more English you speak, the more comfortable it will become.

Besides walking in your neighborhood, great places to meet other dog lovers (and for your dog, too) are parks in the area that are dog-friendly.  One of the best places is Eagle Pond at Callahan State Park in Framingham (shown in picture). Here’s a list of many more.

Do you have another favorite place?

Speaking English As Much As You Can

  We all tell our students that 6 hours/week of class is not enough time to learn to speak English well and we encourage them to find opportunities to speak English beyond the classroom. Last term, I told my class how important it was to be exposed to English as much as possible. This is especially important if you are not in class now.

The students were assigned the homework below. Most of them did the homework and practiced speaking English with more people.

HOMEWORK

  1. Find someone who speaks English and whom you have never spoken to before.  For example: post office clerk, supermarket cashier, waiter, etc and try to speak to them in English for a few minutes.
  2. Write 4 or 5 sentences describing this experience – who, what, when where, etc.

— Thanks to Charlie for this article —

Get More Practice on the HiSET Math Test

  The HiSET® exam is a test (similar to GED) that you can  take to show that you have the skills and knowledge equivalent to someone who has graduated high school in the United States.

The  HiSET Math Test is 90 minutes long and includes 50 multiple-choice questions. The content of the HiSET Math test includes the following:
• Number Operations and Number Sense
• Measurement and Geometry
• Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
• Algebraic concepts

Practice tests below cover each of those areas.   When you take a test:

 Always thoroughly read the directions so that you know exactly what to do.
 Read each question carefully so that you fully understand what is asking.
 Read all answers choices.
 Narrow your answer options by eliminating some answers and work throughout to find the best answer. Only one answer is correct.

Click any of the links below to begin  a HiSET® Math Practice Test:

— Thanks to Yuriy for this article —

Google Images as Your Dictionary

    There are some good, regular dictionaries for English language learners – including the Learner’s Dictionary, which explains 100,000 words and phrases in simple language, with sentence examples, and pronunciation.

However, there are many times when some pictures will help you understand a word better, and more quickly.  Perhaps the easiest way to see a word in pictures is with Google Images.  Here are some examples of words that are easier to understand with a picture, or a set of pictures…

100 Blog Postings

   In addition to giving you information on formal classes and conversation groups in MetroWest, and suggestions for places to go, there have been 100 articles posted on this blog – Learning English in MetroWest.  Each posting is intended to be a little lesson – about a way to help you improve your English.  You can go back to review them in many ways including:

We hope you have found these postings helpful.  If you have any suggestions for what kind of information you want to see more of, let us know.