Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Lexical Chunks

From "The lexical approach is a way of analysing and teaching language based on the idea that it is made up of lexical units rather than grammatical structures. The units are words, chunks formed by collocations, and fixed phrases."

An article I read, recently, said that 50% or more of our speech in English consists of "lexical chunks."  Other scholarly articles suggest that when people learn vocabulary they retain it as lexical chunks rather than individual words.  So what does all that mean?

Definition of "lexical chunk" from "Lexical chunk is a frequent, meaningful sequence of words that may include both lexical and grammatical words."

Oh, great!  So what does "lexical" mean?

Definition of "lexical" from "lexical --  of or relating to words or the vocabulary of a language as distinguished from its grammar and construction."

Basically a "chunk" can be a phrase, a common expression, a collocation, an idiom, a phrasal verb and more.  

For example, "How is it going?" is a lexical chunk.  Of course you say this as if it were two words, not four: "Howzit goin'?"  

Here are three lexical chunks strung together: "Did you ever have a problem going to sleep?" This is 9 words and 11 written syllables.

However it is said as "Dijever 'ava-problum, goinda-sleep?"  This is only 3 chunks. It is probably 5 spoken syllables, depending on how fast you say it.

Contemporary articles suggest that your brain stores language not as words but as lexical chunks; therefore that's the best way to teach vocabulary.

Well, whaddaya know?  With my emphasis on reductions and phrasal verbs, I've been teaching with a lexical chunking approach!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Free English Practice for Spanish Speakers

If you are not a native Spanish speaker but know at least elementary Spanish, you can use this website and gain practice in that language, also!.  Take a look at La Mansion Del Ingles (

Although the site has a wealth of courses you can buy, it offers some free materials, also.  Look for the link that says, "CURSOS DE INGLÉS GRATIS".

As of today, there are 4 levels offered:

1. Curso de iniciación al inglés Gratis  

2. Curso de Inglés Básico Gratis

3. Curso de Inglés nivel Intermedio Gratis 

4. Curso de Inglés Avanzado Gratis

In addition, for those specializing in Business English there is a "Curso de Inglés de Negocios Gratis".

If you are not sure of your level, look for the link to a test.  It is called "la prueba de nivel".

Many, many thanks to my student, Yolanda, who told me about this site.  She downloads files onto her phone so that she can listen to English narratives while walking her dog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Additional Free Course from

I just saw the announcement, below from the USA Learns organization.


June 13, 2022

Today we added a new course - Access America! It helps immigrants improve their English and learn how to succeed in the United States. Please go to to learn FREE!

In the course, you will meet the Martinez family. They moved to the United States from El Salvador. Moving to a new country is not easy, but the family has learned a lot about living in the U.S. In this course, you will learn along with them, as you watch videos and practice new vocabulary and grammar.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Cool Spelling Mnemonic

 Thanks to Lynn Miclea who posted this on Facebookand to Shirley Thompson who reposted.


Holidays -- Juneteenth!

 I've finally created a Holidays page under my Portfolio tab with links to all the holiday EdPuzzles I've created.  Well, some of the links just go to a YouTube video which will eventually become an EdPuzzle.  My aim was one Holiday Lesson a month and I've met that goal.  Now that we're half way through the year, I realized I'd better gather them up and post them before they get scattered and forgotten!

Juneteenth has finally become an official national holiday, just in time for my June lesson!

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Not Enough Hours in the Day

And what is so rare as a day in June?

With a bow to James Russell Lowell, there aren't enough days in the week nor hours in the day to get everything done.  I finally got some marigolds planted just this afternoon.

In February my SQL database "day job", which had been winding down ever since the start of Covid, came to a final end, freeing up a few more hours to job hunt.  

I estimate that since September 2021 I have submitted 83 applications, resulting in six interviews and zero jobs.

ESL classes, however are humming along as usual.  My students have succeeded with various projects and positions, while I have certainly created a lot of educational materials.  Just on its own, ESL is quite fulfilling.

By the end of this month it will be a full year since I started teaching ESL!  I've already started listing my online-teaching years-of-experience as "1", which may be why I've started to get a few interviews.