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The Conversation A blog from Livemocha

Stories, tips, updates, news and ideas about the wide world of language learning

Free English Lesson: Over vs. Under

Written by Miranda González

 

If you’re an English learner, I think you’ll agree that prepositions are one of the trickiest parts of the language. But with a little explanation and a lot of practice, you’ll see that they are really not so scary after all.

 

Today we’ll discuss the different uses of the prepositions “over” and “under”.

 

Prepositions of location

Over = at a location higher than something else

Example: The picture frame is hanging over the fireplace.

 

Under = at lower place than something else

Example: We sat under a tree to eat our lunch.

 

Prepositions of movement

Over = upwards and across

Example: The dog jumped over the fence.

 

Under = forwards and below

Example: The baby crawled under the table.

 

More than (over) / less than (under)

People over the…  read more

Time For Some Idioms With the Word “Fall”

Written by Miranda González

 

Happy first day of fall, everyone! The temperatures will soon begin to drop, and so will the leaves. It’s time to enjoy pumpkin-flavored everything and look forward to the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. Why don’t we get into the spirit of the season with some “fall” idioms?

 

Fall off the face of the earth – to disappear completely and often suddenly

Example: I haven’t seen Jasmine for months. She’s fallen off the face of the earth.

 

Fall in(to) place – to occur in a satisfactory and organized way

Example: Let’s see…I’ve got my passport, plane ticket, my bags are packed. Everything for my vacation is falling into place.

 

Fall through the cracks – to be forgotten about or overlooked, especially within…  read more

Multilingual Dogs? (An Explanation of Onomatopoeia)

Written by Miranda González

 

You would think that dogs would make the same sound in all languages. After all, dogs don’t speak French, or Italian, or Russian. They just speak, well, dog. So if I’m in Belgium and I hear a dog barking, it should sound pretty much the same as a dog barking the U.S., right? Well, the actual sound should be the same, but the way Belgians express that same sound will be different.

“Can you hear that?” I tell my baby son. “It’s a dog! It says, ‘Woof, woof, woof!’” That’s the sound dogs make in English, of course. But if I were a Dutch-speaking Belgian mother, I would tell my son that the dog says, “Blaf, blaf,…  read more

Versatile English Words: Volume 2

Here we are again with another great English lesson from our good friend Miranda González!
 

Quiz time! Which English word fits ALL four situations below?

1. I only have three dollars for the bus. That _____ be enough, right?

2. The dishes are dirty. We _____ wash them.

3. If anyone _____ call, tell them that I am busy.

4. He failed the test. He _____ have studied.

 

Did you guess it? Answer: SHOULD. Let’s go over the examples I gave you.

 

#1 Use “should” for probability

When you are almost sure but not totally sure, you can use “should” to express about 90% certainty.

Example: He has been studying a lot, so he should do well on the test.

 

#2 Use “should” for advisability

“Should” expresses anything from a…  read more

If you don’t have anything nice to say… use a euphemism!

Miranda González is back with another lesson in her series about English grammar. 

 

You’ve probably heard this old English proverb: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s pretty good advice, I’d say. There have been times when I’ve said something rude and realized later that I should have kept my mouth shut. However, while it’s great to be a positive person, we can’t simply ignore everything negative around us. There will be occasions when we have to talk about things that aren’t very pleasant, and that’s where euphemisms come in.

A euphemism is a kinder word or phrase that you substitute for one that is unpleasant or offensive. For example, while you normally wouldn’t…  read more

More Fun & Funny Ways to Improve Your French

All too often language learners forget to have some fun with their endeavors. They commit to the work, practice their pronunciation, and bury their noses in their vocabulary and lessons. But let’s not forget that your brain needs a break! Give it a little breathing room by taking opportunities to ease up when can and have a laugh!

Here’s something that will make you giggle and expose you to bits of the French language that you may not learn in your lessons—especially in regard to context. The best part about this video isn’t the hilarity of the animals and the superbly done comedic voice-overs, but the easily accessible mots quotidiens (every day words) presented in easily understood scenarios.

Take the time to watch it, then go…  read more

Versatile English Words: Volume 1

Miranda González, a favorite English language instructor and blog contributor for Livemocha, joins us again giving our intermediate and advanced English learners lessons in grammar and syntax. In this first edition of her series “Versatile English Words” Miranda explains the many uses for the words ‘will’ and ‘would.’

 

Quiz time! Which English word fits all four of the situations below?

 

1. Here I am! I told you I _____ come.

2. When I was a kid, my mom _____ take us to the pool during the summer.

3. _____ you hold this for me? I’ll be right back.

4. If he had more time, he _____ help you.

 

Did you figure it out? The answer: WOULD. As you can see, the word “would” has a lot of…  read more

Have Fun with Your Language Learning!

Getting overworked? Is your brain starting to freeze out anything new in your target language? That’s OK! Bearing down on your studies can become a real drag sometimes. So, for our English and French learners (and anyone who wants a good laugh), we present Funny Talking Cats Play Patty Cake. (Just a little lighthearted fun)
 

Here’s the original English version.

 

And now for a French rendition of the same silliness.

 

Do you know of more funny videos that you can share here?

 

Keep on learning!

Be sure to continue your language learning in Livemocha.com. Online lessons and opportunities to connect with native speakers are free—and in thirty-five languages!

 

Livemocha is a Rosetta Stone company.

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As a language learner you’ve undoubtedly tried your fair share of services, books, and online options to get started on your language-learning journey. You may already know that Livemocha is a fantastic place to cut your teeth on a new language. You may also know that Livemocha is a Rosetta Stone® company.

What you may not know is that Rosetta Stone learning is way more than the yellow box that people associate it with. The company offers high-quality online and mobile language-learning features (effective and fun features that Livemocha doesn’t offer.)

 
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And so much more.
 

Try now for FREE!

We encourage you to give it a try!

Helping you optimize your language learning is very important to us….  read more

Test Your Vocabulary Skills! Fun With Homonyms

Homonym: a word that is spelled and pronounced like another word but is different in meaning

Answer:
Bawled

Usage: 

The baby bawled every night at bedtime.

bawl (bôl)
v. bawled, bawl·ing, bawls
v.intr.

To cry or sob loudly; wail.
To cry out loudly and vehemently; shout.

v.tr. To utter in a loud, vehement voice. See Synonyms at shout.
n. A loud, bellowing cry; a wail.
 

Usage:

The smiling man is bald.

bald (bôld)

adj. bald·er, bald·est

Lacking hair on the head.
Lacking a natural or usual covering: a bald spot on the lawn.
Lacking treads: a bald tire.
Zoology Having white feathers or markings on the head, as in some birds or mammals.
Lacking ornamentation; unadorned.
Undisguised; blunt: a bald statement of policy.

 

Usage: 

The hedge hog is all balled up!

ball (bôl)

A spherical object or entity: a steel ball.
A spherical or almost spherical body: a ball of flame.

v. balled, ball·ing, balls

v.tr.

To form into a ball.

v.intr.

To become formed into a ball.

 

Continue your language learning…  read more

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