Fun text-to speech demo to practice pronunciation

text to speech

Here’s a really fun way to practice pronunciation. has a really neat text-to-speech demo which includes a talking avatar and a variety of different voices to choose from (male and female). The different accents included in the demo are US, UK, Australian and South African.The text-to-speech quality is excellent and best of all, it’s free!

Simple Past: ED endings







Here is a great link to understand how to pronounce ed endings in English:

Once you’re done reading the lesson, I’ve attached some worksheets for extra practice….




Pronouncing ed endings practice

Top 5 hurdles for adults learning English as a Second Language

Bicycle Confidence Workshop





Learning a second language is not like learning how to ride a bicycle and unfortunately the expression ”If you don’t use it, you lose it” is very true when it comes to learning English.

Here are the top 5 hurdles adults are faced with when learning English and tips on how to avoid these pitfalls.


English: Cartoon image of a nervous man.

          1. Fear




Fear is probably the number one obstacle preventing someone from learning a second language… Fear of being judged, ridiculed, not understanding or not being understood, making mistakes etc. are some of the biggest hurdles most people encounter.

Tips on getting past the fear:

I think therefore I am….. Tell yourself that you can do it….

– Fake it to make it…. confidence that is. Those who are more confident and believe that they can are the ones who see results.

– You’re not alone…. Most second language learners are faced with the same difficulties and issues.

– Shut out the negative chatter in your head… it’s distracting. Acknowledge the fear, accept it and it will go away.

The only way to get rid of the fear is to confront it.


Motivation by fear

          2. Motivation



Get motivated… Find what works for you and stick to it!


– Find a learning buddy, it’s always more fun to learn with someone than alone.

– Think of all the benefits that come with learning…. New job opportunities, meeting new people, perhaps a raise?

– Join an English class

– One good turn deserves another.  Help an English colleague or a web pal learn your first language and ask them to help you practice speaking  English in exchange.

– Immerse yourself in English. Read a book, watch a movie, go online… Technology makes it so much easier and interesting to learn.- Learning a language doesn’t have to be boring…. Learn about things that interest you.


Study Time

          3. Discipline with a capital D



Yes, learning a second language can be hard but the harder we work at it, the easier it becomes.


– Don’t make excuses

– Find the time to study and practice

– Set aside some time every day

– Make learning English part of your daily routine

and again, the most important tip…. Don’t make excuses


English: lonely, unhappiness sp: tristeza, des...

          4. High Expectations


Learning a language won’t happen overnight, the more pressure we put upon ourselves, the more disappointed and discouraged we get.

– Learning a language is not a race…. you get to where you want to be when you’re ready to get there.

– People who have no expectations are never disappointed.

– Be kind and gentle with yourself, you will make mistakes… that’s part of the learning process. It’s by learning from our mistakes that we improve.

Stay positive and tell yourself that you can do it. Focus on the progress and always acknowledge the successes whether they are big or small.


English: Multiple Intelligences

              5. Methods of Learning






What helps you to learn in the best way possible?

Is it sitting close to the teacher?

Looking at Power Point presentations or documents with lots of colour and pictures?

Do you need to hear the information to learn?

Do not be afraid to let your teacher know what works for you…

It’s important for you to get the most out of your learning experience and that’s what your teacher is there to help you with.


Apprendre du Nouveau Vocabulaire / Learning New Vocabulary

17/02: Languages

Looking up words in the dictionary is a simple but effective way to learn new vocabulary.








I got called in to replace for a full-time group last week and I noticed that the students were using their dictionary to look up new words during group discussions and noting new vocabulary along with the meaning for future reference which I believe is a great way to pick up and use new vocabulary.

This made me think of my ex-colleague Heather Belbin who had created a very simple yet effective worksheet to motivate students to write down new vocabulary along with the meaning. Feel free to visit her interesting and useful blog for ESL learners by clicking on the link: English at Work

Seeing as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I am including my own version of Heather’s new vocabulary worksheet to this blog post for beginner and advanced students.

New vocabulary worksheet for beginners

New vocabulary worksheet advanced


Quelques pistes pour vous aider à obtenir votre niveau C sur le test de langue orale de la fonction publique / Tips to increase your chances of getting a C level on the federal government language oral test

Speech Practice

Performance Test








Plusieurs élèves me demandent pourquoi ils ne réussissent pas à obtenir leurs niveaux C à l’oral, et ce même à plusieurs reprises…

Voici quelques pistes afin de vous aider à obtenir votre niveau C…

– Vous devez parler de votre emploi donc il est important de connaître les termes utilisés qui englobent les fonctions de votre poste. Il est beaucoup plus facile de parler de choses générales, c’est pourquoi il est plus difficile d’obtenir le niveau C, car on vous demande de parler de choses plus complexes reliées au travail et aux interactions que vous avez avec vos collègues et employeurs au bureau.

-Essayez de répondre aux questions sans déroger du sujet et en donnant le plus de détails possible.

-Imaginez que vous êtes en entrevue et répondez en conséquence.

-N’ayez pas peur de poser des questions à l’évaluateur si nécessaire… il est mieux d’être certain de ce que vous répondez que de penser que vous donnez probablement la bonne réponse.

Finalement, étant donné que le rôle de l’évaluateur ressemble beaucoup à celui d’un employeur, il ne faut pas se sentir intimidé si l’évaluateur n’échange pas beaucoup avec vous, surtout étant donné que le test est axé sur votre performance.

Si jamais vous ne réussissez pas à obtenir votre niveau C, ne vous découragez pas et n’hésitez pas à réessayer. N’oubliez pas, nous n’apprenons rien si nous n’échouons pas.

Bonne chance!



Many students ask me why they cannot seem to obtain their C level even when they redo the test more than once.

Here are some tips in order to help you obtain your C level…

-You must talk about your position, everything surrounding your tasks and your work interactions therefore it is important to know the precise terms related to your job. Getting a C level is more challenging because you need to talk about complex issues related to your work.

-Answer questions using as much detail as possible and stick to the topic at hand. Imagine that you are being interviewed for a job and answer consequently.

-Do not hesitate to ask the evaluator questions if necessary… It is much better to be sure that you are answering a question correctly rather than think you are giving the right answer.

Finally, the role of the evaluator is very similar to that of an employer, do not be intimidated or surprised if the evaluator is not very talkative especially seeing as this is a performance test.

If ever you do not succeed in obtaining your C level, do not hesitate to redo the test. Remember, those who never fail, never learn.

Good luck!


Simple Present Explained

Simple present

In English, we use the simple present to talk about facts, habits, routines and *feelings.

Facts are statements which are true all the time.

Habits are things that we do because we really enjoy something or we can’t help ourselves, it’s programmed inside of us.

Examples of habits:

smoking, going to bed late, overeating when feeling stressed, going to the movies once a week.

Routines are things that we do in order to get something done or to simplify and improve our lives.

Example of  a routine:

Bringing a child to daycare every morning before going to work.

note: It is possible for some things to be both a habit and routine depending on the context.

More examples:

Fact: Bears hibernate.

Habit: I always bite my nails when I’m nervous.

Routine: My husband brings our daughter to daycare every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Note: We don’t use the simple present to talk about things that are happening right now. (right now = present continuous / e.g. You are reading this right now.)

Feelings* We often use the simple present to express our feelings on a more general level, especially to state a fact.


I am mad at him,            compared to:             I’m feeling so angry with him (present continuous:  in this case, the specific moment when the sentence is spoken)

I am so happy to be here.


Some keywords used with the simple present are:   often / never /rarely / sometimes / every / always / each