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Avalon method course vs Conversation with a native speaker to learn English?


zetigrek
29 Sep 2010 #1
I'm going to take a course of English but I can't decide which method choose. As you know I'm on the level of "Upper Intermidiate" and can easly write in English intelligible texts (I hope...)

I just need some speaking training and to make my ear more sensitive for English talk (when I watch a movie in original language version I understand only about 60% of the dialogues). So I'm hesitating between Avalon method course (modernized Callan) or just simple conversations with native speaker. I know what is the idea of callan method as I was on few lessons when I was still a teenager. Although it's boring as hell sometimes (and makes people absent-minded during lessons) I consider it as a good method if you are desciplined person and work regulary and I would choose it if it wasn't so expensive!

In the other hand I have much cheaper offer of a conversation with native (in English school of course) but I afraid it will look like: "oh what will we talk about today? Anyone?"

I know lots of you are teachers and I wonder what would you suggest me more in my case? :)
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
29 Sep 2010 #2
Conversations all the time. Stay clear of anything Callan based for your level.
OP zetigrek
29 Sep 2010 #3
on my level? why's that?
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
29 Sep 2010 #4
Callan is good for complete beginners, but at a higher level its rather boring and repetitive for the student. Grammar also sucks at that level of Callan based lessons.
Wroclaw Boy
29 Sep 2010 #5
(when I watch a movie in original language version I understand only about 60% of the dialogues)

I wouldnt worry to much about that the way Americans have butchered the language makes it difficult for many of us to understand. Do you have problems understanding BBC news for example?

This gal is good:
youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5RuoXH2fBDA

Shes got the whole accent package.
Plastic Pole52 - | 67
29 Sep 2010 #6
I wouldnt worry to much about that the way Americans have butchered the language makes it difficult for many of us to understand

Unlike this lady, Americans are actually very easy to understand,well except some African-Americans. I can only guess what is she saying in the first sentence .
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
29 Sep 2010 #7
the best films to watch and listen to are older black & white. movies made in the 40's 50's and 60's relied on standard or bbc english and not the variety of accents used these days.

they were also made in a 'theatre' style with one person speaking at a time.
compare Hans Kloss and any modern, fast action movie to see what i mean.

it is said that the art of conversation is in the listening.

you can find topics in your matura books or ask your school teacher for a list.

when your tutor speaks make sure that he follows some of your requests. speak slowly, don't change the topic etc.

some songs are useful too. hurts- wonderful life

1. it's easy to understand
2. it helps with grammar.

'suzy meets the man of her dreams'

obviously she met him, but this is present simple narration. meets.

u do need a real person to speak to. someone with a story to tell, animated, natural, wanting to help. not some prat that hasn't a clue.

for this u have to talk to your friends to find the right person.
OP zetigrek
29 Sep 2010 #8
Do you have problems understanding BBC news for example?

Unfortunately I do. I find American accent much more clear. That's why I hope to have some Brit as a teacher ;)
Wroclaw Boy
29 Sep 2010 #9
Unlike this lady, Americans are actually very easy to understand

Shes actually imitating an Australian, how can you say Americans are easy to understand? Jeeze i have issues with some Scotts ang big time with pikeys they all live within 300 miles of me, the US being about 40 times bigger and the diverse accents i somehow doubt that statement very much.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
29 Sep 2010 #10
the best films to watch and listen to are older black & white. movies made in the 40's 50's and 60's relied on standard or bbc english and not the variety of accents used these days.

Good point, but maybe zeti is looking to improve her understanding of modern accents and dialogue.

Zeti, the simple thing would be to find a native speaker who knows how to conduct conversation lessons with the proper material. If you are going to take up lessons, start thinking about your FCE. You may not think your are at that level yet, but you should be at least starting to study towards it.
Wroclaw Boy
29 Sep 2010 #11
Unfortunately I do.

I suppose i never really looked at it like that but i can see how traditional American could be clearer.
Plastic Pole52 - | 67
29 Sep 2010 #12
Shes actually imitating an Australian, how can you say Americans are easy to understand? Jeeze i have issues with some Scotts ang big time with pikeys they all live within 300 miles of me, the US being about 40 times bigger and the diverse accents i somehow doubt that statement very much.

Ok.Now I know she is saying "Good day I am Amy....".Americans say there are different accents in the US but the differences are so little that I can't distinguish them.Met only one Scott and he spoke ok.But the English (aside from BBC) seem to be speaking some different language.Who are pikeys anyway?
Wroclaw Boy
29 Sep 2010 #13
Ha ha, Brad Pitt always had an excellent Irish accent his Pikey was even better, enjoy:
...
Bzibzioh
29 Sep 2010 #14
Met only one Scott and he spoke ok

Seriously? I tried to watch one Scottish movie and had absolutely no clue what they were saying. I read French subtitles to figure out dialogues.

Zet, just watch American TV and you'll be fine. I never had any English lessons, just watched "The Bold and the Beautiful" in Greece, with Greek subtitles (and in that point I understood more Greek than English).
OP zetigrek
29 Sep 2010 #15
allan is good for complete beginners, but at a higher level its rather boring and repetitive for the student. Grammar also sucks at that level of Callan based lessons.

I've just checked the textbooks for Avalon and Callan and you have right it's not for me. I hoped that there would be much more idiomatic or colloquial expressions but the vocubulary is really easy.

Good point, but maybe zeti is looking to improve her understanding of modern accents and dialogue.

Well I watch lots of things whitout subtitles but I really have to watch something like 3 times to get the meaning of most words. It is much better when I install English subtitels but still it's hard to catch up with the pace of natural talk ;)

I would say you have to acute your senses to hear the words in foreign language that's why I need a real person which I can interact with and listen to him :)

Oh and I have a problem that I have learn wrong pronounciation of many words as I used to studing dictionary on my own when I was kid and guessing how a word whould be ptonounced... Someone has to correct me in that.

Yep maybe I just start a general course for FCE.
Ironside 51 | 11,510
29 Sep 2010 #16
Americans say there are different accents in the US but the differences are so little

there are different accents and there is a local clatter !
Wroclaw Boy
29 Sep 2010 #17
I tried to watch one Scottish movie and had absolutely no clue what they were saying.

Which one?

Well I watch lots of things whitout subtitles but I really have to watch something like 3 times to get the meaning of most words. It is much better when I install English subtitels but still it's hard to catch up with the pace of natural talk ;)

Do you write here without a spell check? My wife claims she learned the most English from Eastenders and friends both TV shows.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
29 Sep 2010 #18
this shows something important. if one is interested in the show and willing to follow the story then learning will be easier.

another important point. a normal learning period/lesson is 45 mins so stick to short clips or short shows like soaps.

if u are confused at the beginning of a film switch it off and don't waste time on it.
Bzibzioh
29 Sep 2010 #20
Bzibzioh:I tried to watch one Scottish movie and had absolutely no clue what they were saying.

Which one?

It was the British TV movie "Warriors" about British army during the war in Bosnia, with Joan Gruffudd. Very brutal but very good.

so stick to short clips or short shows like soaps.

Plus in soaps they speak slowly, clearly and not overlapping each other, so it's good tool to learn from.
Ironside 51 | 11,510
29 Sep 2010 #21
Or learn from this show :)

that what I mean - there are accents and there is a clatter !

observe !:)
...
or you can learn to sing the song :)
youtube.com/watch?v=RPaJhlIIYjM
Paulina 12 | 2,042
29 Sep 2010 #22
Yep maybe I just start a general course for FCE.

I think this is the best choice... I remember that my FCE course helped me a lot.
As for vocabulary and listening skills - watch films and TV series. Your ear will get accustomed with time.
Reading books can be useful too :)
My younger brother also read a lot of comic books. His vocabulary is really rich :)

this shows something important. if one is interested in the show and willing to follow the story then learning will be easier.

Definitely.

I think watching TV series is a good way to learn. But you have to choose "easy" ones at first.
For example, I've watched all seasons of "Lost" - there wasn't that much talking there, but a lot of action and dialogs were simple. But I don't know if even today I'm able to understand everything what Lorelai and Rory say in one of their "AK-47-style" conversations in "Gilmore Girls" ;)

I'd have problems with British stuff too, I guess, as I watch mostly American films and TV series.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
29 Sep 2010 #23
Zeti, there is no substitute for conversation with a native speaker as you can ask them pretty much what you want. Avalon is a fixed method which doesn't give you maximum flexibility. You might get frustrated and want to pull out.

Seriously, Avalon ties you to going but conversation grants you flexibility which is needed in today's world. Convos every time, Zeti :) There is simply no comparison in utility value.
Plastic Pole52 - | 67
29 Sep 2010 #24
Ok I guess I was wrong about English,some of them actually do speak very understandable English.
youtube.com/watch?v=s4ORBVOFExc

Scotish accent is easy,after a week among Scotts I wouldn't have any problems with understanding them.Pikeys not so much.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
29 Sep 2010 #25
There is no such thing as a Pikey accent:/
Plastic Pole52 - | 67
29 Sep 2010 #26
So they are speaking Irish in this clip with B.Pitt?I did have problems understanding them.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
29 Sep 2010 #27
I would say that was more of a deep Irish accent. Pikey accents depend on where they come from.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
29 Sep 2010 #28
PP52, what Scottish accent? Geez, you Polish yanks likely think that we all speak in the same way. I can move 30 minutes west of my home city and I know they are not from where I"m from.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
29 Sep 2010 #29
There is no such thing as a Pikey accent:/

Of course there is.

I would say that was more of a deep Irish accent.

Not one that I've ever heard in my life. Sure, his voice has been influenced by Irish but his accent doesn't exist independently of...well...pikeys.

What's a "deep" Irish accent anyway ?! LOL

"Well for a start officer, the man spoke with a deep English accent"

"...a what?? "
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
29 Sep 2010 #30
What's a "deep" Irish accent anyway ?! LOL

I find the Cork accent quite hard to understand. Monaghan has a unique accent too. Depends how much slang they use.

With reference to Pikeys, not all pikeys are from Ireland. Which is my point.


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