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Auteur: Dara Colwell


How to keep the conversation going – learning small talk in English

10 November 2014 by Dara Colwell
Not everyone likes making small talk, especially in a foreign language. Yet small talk is important for getting conversations started, which is crucial in doing business, winning a job interview, networking or making new friends. By its very nature, small talk—those casual, spontaneous conversations that take place, often to fill...

Common mistakes in the use with adverbs

28 August 2014 by Dara Colwell
How to add flavour to your sentences Winston Churchill (who was half American) once said that America and Britain were two nations divided by a common language—this is definitely the case with adverbs. Americans tend to drop them with verbs, interchange them with adjectives and considering Hollywood’s global influence, it’s...

Mutton dressed as lamb: when it comes to idioms, what you see isn’t what you get.

5 June 2014 by Dara Colwell
Let’s face it, idioms are confusing. While a language learner might understand every single word of an expression taken together, the sentence makes no sense. Like the idiom, “get my goat.” What first comes to mind—snatching a neighbor’s goat or feeling irritated? It’s the latter and clearly, goats have got...

Does language shape the way we think or is it the other way around?

22 April 2014 by Dara Colwell
This question goes back centuries. Charlemagne once said, “to have a second language is to have a second soul,” and many people have tried to find proof since. In the 1930s, linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf popularized the idea that each language contains a worldview that significantly influences its speakers. Several...

How to build your vocabulary?

10 February 2014 by Dara Colwell
How do you learn new words? A typical classroom exchange I have with students, whatever the level, goes like this: when students see a new word they try to guess it in context, or look up its translation. Some may write a “mental sentence” but the process usually stops here....

Mouth-to-mouth advertising and other Dutchisms

17 December 2013 by Dara Colwell
A lot of Denglish or Dunglish (English spoken by the Dutch) is caused by the fact that the Dutch tend to translate their thoughts into English word for word. In other words, they make frequent Dutchisms, such as: the wine is up. Dutchisms exist because living in a country of...

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