My best teacher!

2016年 09月 02日 スタッフブログ

My class teacher from high school was an English teacher and we all loved him very much both then and now because he always tried harder than other teachers to understand us (He loved us too, although he never said that kind of thing because he didn’t want other students to feel bad. Still, we all knew that we were his favorites. We could feel it. lol).

Even though we graduated years ago, our class has a reunion at least once a year -- not only some groups of students but “everyone” is invited, including the teacher, every time or we often call him ★to catch up when a few students get together.

This summer another student and I had a chance to see him. We talked a lot about what we had been doing and recalled tons of things from our school days. It is always heartwarming to have such a reunion.

At that time, I remembered one thing that he told me when I was a student learning English from him; “What you can’t explain exactly in Japanese, you won’t be able to say in English, so please remember to speak Japanese with accuracy all the time.”

I was not convinced about that at school, but now I believe he was quite right and how important it was.

This situation reminds me to talk properly and consciously so that I can be better at English too, hopefully.

By the way, I am pleased to still be friends with my teacher and hope this friendship will last forever and ever!


★reunion: 高校を卒業した今でも、この「クラス会、同窓会」は少なくとも一年に一回はするのですね!「結合」や「合体」を表すunionに「再び、さらに、新たに、・・・し直す」などの意味を表す接頭辞のre-がついたこのreunion、このようにre-がついた語は多くあります。チェックしてみて下さいね!

★to catch up: 主に「追いつく」の意味でつかわれるこのcatch up。このように使われるときは「近況(会っていなかった期間の今まで)について話す」という意味です。カジュアルな表現で、友達に「会おう!」「会って話そう!」と言いたい時”Let’s catch up!”と使ったりします。

★properly: 「適切に、きちんと、礼儀正しく」などを意味します。英語の上達のためには日本語でも何かを説明する時に適切に伝えられる能力が重要なのですね!

★last: 「最後の、この前の」という意味の形容詞ではおなじみですが、このように動詞で使うと「続く」という意味になります。先生との友情が永遠に続きますように!と願っているのですね!

​Top 3: Words that are better than great.

2016年 08月 31日 English Tips

It is *customary for a teacher to begin a lesson by asking some simple questions, such as “How was your weekend?” or “What was the movie like?” Usually the student will answer with a simple, “Good”, or perhaps the little more exciting, “Great!”

“Good” is good response and “great” is a bit better, but there are so many fantastic adjectives in English that you should try to vary your responses. You will sound more natural and interesting.

Here is a list *off the top of my head of just some of the adjectives that you could choose from:

amazing, outstanding, unbelievable, sublime, wicked, spectacular, excellent, fantastic, terrific, tremendous, superb, wonderful, exceptional, first-rate, magnificent, impressive, phenomenal, …

Some of these will work in all situations while some are saved for special occasions. So, choosing the best word can be difficult for a learner. Try copying another person in the group, or just try using a word you like. If it doesn’t fit, other people in the conversation will let you know.

Everybody has their personal favorites, which are influenced by age, upbringing, friends, and culture. This makes for some wonderful variety!

Here are my personal top 3 words that are better than great:

#1: Sensational: I just like the way you can emphasize different parts of the word. “Wow! This meal is sen-SA-tional!”

#2: Awesome: I use this word a lot in conversation because it was popular when I was younger. It continues to be used, but be careful because it can sometimes sound too casual. “Man! What an awesome day!”

#3: Cracking: I like this slang term because it is a term used often in Australia, and so it is part of my *cultural identity. “This has been a cracking match!.”

*off the top of one’s head:よく考えないで、即座に
*cultural identity:文化的アイデンティティー

​That hits the spot!

2016年 08月 26日 スタッフの日常英会話

Imagine this situation – you have been walking around in the hot summer sun, your mouth and throat are very, very dry. Then your friend gives you an ice-cold refreshing bottle of water. How good does that feel?! In cases like this, when something you eat or drink is extremely satisfying, you can say, “That hit(s) the spot!”

This saying means that the food or drink was exactly what you needed. Look at these examples:
1. You were very busy all day and didn’t eat lunch. After finally eating dinner, you say,
“Yum! That pizza really hit the spot!”

2. After work, you open a cold beer and take your first big drink. You say,
“Ah…That really hits the spot!”

この状況を想像してみてください-太陽の日差しの強い暑い夏の日、口も喉もカラカラです。その時友達がキンキンに冷えた水をくれたら。その時のうれしさと言ったら?!こんな時、食べ物や飲み物が最高に満足のいくものだった時"That hit(s) the spot!”が使えます!

この表現は、食べ物や飲み物がその時まさに必要としているものだったという意味です。 これらの例を見てみてください。


IELTS勉強法:スピーキングの秘訣#5: “評価のポイント”

2016年 08月 23日 IELTS Tips



How do I get scored?

When preparing for the speaking section of the IELTS interview, I urge you to make sure that you clearly understand the following:

  • The tasks you need to do,
  • The types of questions you may be asked, and
  • The way you will be scored.

The marking guidelines that all interviewers use to give you a score focus on four criteria:

  • Fluency and coherence  (Is your speech smooth and does it make sense?)
  • Lexical resources  (How big is your vocabulary?)
  • Grammatical range & accuracy  (Can you use a variety of sentences? How many mistakes do you make?)
  • Pronunciation  (How clear and “natural” is your English?)

A full description of the different band levels can be found at:

But, if you prefer to see some actual examples of what constituents a particular band, I strongly recommend watching the videos found at:

The best way to achieve a high score is to be prepared. And this means knowing what your interviewer is looking during your interview. Understanding the marking guide will help you prepare better and perform to your best.



2016年 08月 19日 スタッフの日常英会話


そんな時、日本語は一つ一つの文字が一つの音を持っていますから、声を出さず、口の形を見せたり、「丸くて、硬くて、小さくて、甘くて...。」などと分かりにくくしたりしますが、英語はアルファベットの組み合わせによって音が変わりますし、アルファベットの文字一つ一つに名前が付いていますから、”Does he eat C-A-N-D-Y?” と聞いたりします。子供に聞かれたくない言葉はもちろんのこと、たとえ大人でも言うと失礼な言葉など、このように綴りを言うことがあります。私が初めてこの暗号(?)を聞いたときは頭の中でとっさにその単語を完成させるのに時間がかかりましたが、今では、ほとんど何でも食べられ、大食いの4歳の息子の前では暗号だらけになってきました...。その単語の綴りを覚えられてしまったら最後ですが…^^:

Top 3: vocabulary building smartphone applications

2016年 08月 17日 English Tips

There are many applications available to help you learn English words. They are easy to download for free or for a small fee. The great advantage of these apps is that you can study vocabulary anywhere anytime, so instead of playing a mindless game on your 12-minute subway ride to work, you can use that time to improve your English skills. If you study 10-15 minutes a day, you will see some positive results very quickly.

The one negative point is that there are literally thousands of these apps. So, it can be difficult finding one that best suits you and your needs. To help, here are my Top 3 vocabulary building applications.

#1 – WordWise: This is a simple, yet effective application – with a great name! (haha) Even though it is not connected to us here at Wordwise, I recommend it because it uses a fun, game-style approach where you can gain points as you build your vocabulary. It is also a great application for improving your spelling, too!

#2 – MyWordBook: This is a great app developed by the British Council and Cambridge Publishing. It uses interactive activities, such as flashcards, and focuses on the most important English words. There are tests and review exercises, too, so you can check your progress. The application’s only  downside is that after you learn all the vocabulary that come with the app, you will need to purchase more “word packs” to match your level and interests.

#3 – Allen IELTS Prep TestBank!: This app is specifically for students preparing for the IELTS test (although there are similar apps for the TOEFL and TOEIC tests). As everyone studying for the IELTS test knows, to get a good score you need to study vocabulary – a lot! The app costs a small amount (~120 yen) to purchase but provides you with over 1000 test questions, so you can get some great practice doing the various question types.

These are just a few of the many great applications to choose from. If you have any other great suggestions of applications to improve vocabulary, please let us know by adding a comment.

downside:マイナス面 欠点

Breakfast on the Yarra

2016年 08月 12日 インストラクターブログ
Breakfast on the Yarra

I lived in Melbourne for about 6 years when I was at university and fell in love with the city. The city is famous for its unpredictable weather and for weeks before my recent trip many people had said the weather was terrible – cold and dark and wet – after all it was the middle of winter. Imagine my surprise when each day of my recent trip was warm (15-16 degrees) and sunny. Melbourne . . . go figure!

The city has change quite a bit since my university days (about a 100 years ago). Many new buildings have been erected in the city center and they have spoiled the old-fashioned charm of the place somewhat. However, I really like the entertainment complex on the south bank of the Yarra river, the river running through the center of the city.

This complex, Southgate, lines the river and offers a great selection of restaurants and bars. My first morning was spent at one restaurant … and it was my most enjoyable morning for years. Not only was the service excellent and waiting staff polite, but the weather was brilliant and the food terrific. I would like to enjoy many more such mornings in the future.

Of course, I visited a lot of my favourite places during my trip: St Kilda Beach and Acland Street (famous for its continental cake shops and fish and chips), The Italian precinct based around Lygon Street (famous for its Italian restaurants) and the Greek precinct on Lonsdale Road (my favourite restaurant, Tsindos, is still doing business there).

I guess the best change I noticed was the transportation system. Melbourne has a fantastic and convenient tram system and the city center is well-serviced by a number of tram lines. The city center is not so large but walking around all day can be tiring for an old man like me. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that a “free travel” zone has been established, and you can now ride the trams free of charge in the city center … maybe this is why there is a growing obesity problem in the country.

Anyway, if you like good food and a relaxing meal by the river, visit Melbourne and maybe you’ll meet me there someday!


★go figure: みんながメルボルンは寒くて暗くて雨ばかりと言っているのでそう思っていたら、冬にも関わらず、滞在中は晴れで気温も15~16度とそんなに低くなかったことで「(なぜこんなことが起こったのか)不思議だ、驚きだ!」という意味のGo figure! が使われています。「(なんでそんな事を言うのか)信じられない!」「(私に聞かないで)自分で考えて!」などの意味でも使う表現です。

★spoiled: 「だめにする、台無しにする、甘やかす」などの意味をあらわすspoil. ここでは、メルボルンの古風な魅力をたくさんの新しいビルが台無しにしていると言っているのですね。

★precinct: 「地区、管区、警察管区、投票区」などを意味します。ここでは中華料理レストランが集まった中華街のように、イタリア人やイタリアンレストランがたくさんあるイタリア人街を指しています。Italian precinctにあるItalian restaurant…食べに行ってみたいですね!

★obesity: 全世界で増えているこのobesity…「肥満」のことです。中心地のトラムが無料になったことが肥満を増やしている原因かも!?と言っていますね。発音もチェックしておきましょう!

Freudian slip

2016年 08月 10日 スタッフの日常英会話

先日「Freudian slipって知ってる?」と友人に聞かれました。「知らない」と答えると、わかりやすい例を挙げて説明してくれた後、ある文章を見せてくれました。その中には「The experiments were curried out in India.」とありました。正しくは「carried out」で「その実験はインドで実施された。」となるはずですが、インドという文字についおいしそうなカレー(curry)を思い出してしまったのでしょうね^^
(はからずも)本音が出てしまうフロイト的失言という意味のFreudian slip。つい出てしまった経験はありますか?


2016年 08月 05日 スタッフの日常英会話

言語が違うともちろん人の名前の種類も発音の仕方も違いますよね。思い起こせば、私がアメリカでベビーシッターをしていた時、10歳で家族と一緒にアメリカに移民したパキスタン人のホストマザーに「母国語で“アヤ”はベビーシッターの意味なの!ちょうど同じだね。」と教えてもらったり、何かの申し込みや登録をする時、受付の人がいつも私の名前をIyaとしたり...など思い出します。スタッフのまいさんは”What’s your name?” と聞かれ”Mai.”と答えると"Yes! Yours!”と言われることが多々あるそうです。Mineと聞きとられてしまうのですね^^: 発音が難しくても、名前は正しい発音で呼んであげたいと常日頃から思います。

have got

2016年 08月 02日 スタッフの日常英会話

アメリカ滞在時にはあまり聞いた事はありませんでしたが、オーストラリア滞在時、会話中にhave gotがよく使われていました。自身も周りの真似をして、よく「I’ve got it!」と言っていましたが、正直なところ、これは現在形なのか現在完了形なのかわからないまま使っていました…。
その後、調べてみると、「have got」と「have」はイギリス英語で同じ意味と知りました。

Do you have it? (アメリカ英語)
Have you got it? (イギリス英語)