Learning Practical English

I post this very first draft to share my experiences with the readers quickly. I will come back to explain more and edit the article.

… (I could not find appropriate words to say here at the moment 🙂 )

Bring English to your life

Create English surroundings

Submerge yourself in English

  1. Reading.
  2. + Read everything in English including books, newspapers, magazines, journals, websites, manuals, ads, bills, bags, boxes, receipts, announcements, instructions, …
    + If you are in Vietnam, you should find more and more English books, newspapers… for your study.
    + Stay away from Vietnamese newspapers, websites, televisions, radios at least for awhile 🙂 Whenever I read too much of them, my English deteriorates.

  3. Watching
  4. + Watch TV channels in English. At first, the caption may help you improve your vocabulary, but not much with listening. When you find it distracting, it is time to turn caption off. Make notes if you want. Be careful, captions are sometimes full of errors.
    + Watch movies in its original English language. You can easily rent them nowadays. Do not rent those with translations. Though subtitles are very helpful, do not focus on them all the time. You may replay the whole movie or some scenes in order to learn or listen more carefully.

  5. Listening.
    + English TV channels. This should be a must.
    + English radios.
    + English music. Though I did not learn much from this, you may find it useful particularly when you are bored!
    + First, try your best to understand what is said. Then pay attention to pronunciation, tone, idioms … You need them to build up your own English.
  6. Speaking. This is extremely important since you can improve your pronunciation as well as the ability to use English and make it yours.
    + Talk to native English speakers. It is very helpful to have friends, roommates, officemates, … speaking good English. You can learn from them quickly and ask for corrections if necessary.
    + Use dictionaries. Study carefully both spelled pronunciation and audio pronunciation.
    + Read newspapers, books, … out loud. You can record your voice sometimes and replay it to see how much you have improved and what else needs practicing.
    + Practice, learn and practice.
  7. Translating.
  8. Rephrasing.
  9. Thinking.
  10. Behaving.
  11. Living.

Hoang Thach Luan


Life elsewhere ?

Discussion: Do you believe that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe?  If yes, what kind of mathematics are they studying over there 🙂

 The following is one opinion on the first question by

Douglas Keyworth

As we all know, the Earth has everything that is needed for life to develop, which is why we are here.

But four billion years ago, when the Earth was formed, what were the chances that life would emerge? Pretty small, according to biologists – about the same chance that you would have of winning the national lottery five weeks in a row. So we’re quite lucky to be here at all.

Elsewhere in the universe

What about the chances of life forming elsewhere – in our own galaxy, for instance? The Milky Way contains around 400 billion stars. Some (maybe most) of these have planets orbiting around them, and the chances are that many millions – or even billions – of these planets could support life. So it does seem possible that there are some other lottery winners living in the same neighbourhood.

And if you think that there are countless other galaxies out there – many of them far bigger than the Milky Way – then it seems obvious that there must be other forms of life somewhere in the Universe.

Intelligent Life

But is it intelligent life, the kind of life that could build space ships and pay us a visit?

Here on Earth there have been billions of species, but only one of them has turned out to be intelligent enough to develop technology and fly into space. And even we’re not particularly intelligent: the human race will probably blow itself up long before it learns how to visit other part of the galaxy.

Alien visits

But let’s suppose that there are advanced civilisations, here in our own galaxy, who have developed fast-moving flying saucers. Would they visit the Earth?

First we need to ask: why should they want to? The most likely answer is that their own sun is at then end of its life, and they need to find somewhere else to live.

And the next question is: why here? The diagram shows the part of the Milky Way which probably has the largest number of habitable planets. The oldest ones (and therefore the ones which are most likely to have advanced forms of life) are in the area shaded red. We’re towards the edge (marked X).

If I were an alien looking for a new home, I think I would try a few million of my neighbouring planets before bothering to travel a hundred thousand trillion miles to visit Earth, on a journey that would take at least 200 000 years.


But what about all those UFO sightings that are reported every year? Well, most of them are planes. And whatever the others are, they’re not flying saucers. If you were a visiting alien with incredibly powerful technology, what would you do: hide yourself away and keep quiet, or land and take over the Earth? I know what my answer would be.

If there are other forms of life elsewhere in the Universe (and I’m sure there are), that’s exactly where they are – elsewhere. 

(Extract from Doff and Jones, Language in Use, Cambridge)

Các download và install tự điển StarDict

Tự điển StarDict là một công cụ giúp đọc một văn bản dạng Word, Pdf, tex. Khi ta ấn Shift và nhấp con chỏ vào chữ nào thì sẽ có một ô nhỏ hiện lên nghĩa và cách phát âm đồng thời ta cũng có thể nghe phát âm chữ đó . Ðây là phần mềm free, và tôi đã quét antivirus, thấy khá an toàn.

1 . Cách download : các bạn vào http://stardict.sourceforge.net/, download các files stardict-2.4.8.exe GTK+ Runtime for Win98 . Khi bấm vào các files cần download, ta có một window mới, các bạn bấm vào this direct link. Ðể download nhanh hơn. Nếu các bạn cần chương trình có phát âm thì download thêm file WyabdcRealPeopleTTS tarball 84M .

Ðể có các tự điển cần dùng, các bạn vào http://stardict.sourceforge.net/Dictionaries_misc.php , download các tự điển cần thiết . Có rất nhiều tự điển khác trong http://stardict.sourceforge.net/Dictionaries.php .

2. Unpack : sau khi unpack (bằng winrar.exe) : ta có các files :

stardict-2.4.8.exe ® stardict-2.4.8.exe

GTK+ Runtime for Win98 ® gtk+-2.8.18-setup-1.exe

WyabdcRealPeopleTTS tarball ® folder “WyabdcRealPeopleTTS”

Các files trong http://stardict.sourceforge.net/Dictionaries_misc.php ® các folders tự điển.

3. Install : Các bạn trước hết run gtk+-2.8.18-setup-1.exe, và sau đó run stardict-2.4.8.exe. Sau đó các bạn có directory (thí dụ) C:\ Program Files\ StarDict . Trong đó có folder “dic” trống rỗng , các bạn copy tất cả các files trong các folders tự điển (mà các bạn đã unpacked) và folder “dic” , nhớ là copy files tự điển chứ không phải copy folder tự điển.

Muốn nghe phát âm, các bạn copy folder “WyabdcRealPeopleTTS” vào directory C:\ Program Files\ StarDict

4. Run stardict.exe , các bạn bấm vàu biểu tương ngôi nhà để điều chỉnh option trong preferences :

a. Vào phần “dictionary”

vào “Scan Seclection” : Nếu các bạn chọn option “Only scan while the modifier key is being pressed” : các bạn bấm Shift và bấm con chuột vào chữ nào thì sẽ có ô tương ứng cho chữ đó. Nếu không chọn option này, ô hiển thị sẽ hiện lên khi ta bâ’m con chuột vào bất kỳ chữ nào.

– vào “Sound” : chọn “Enable sound event”

b. Vào phần “Floating window” , chọn “option”, rồi chọn “Pronounce the word when it pops up”.

5. Một vài lưu ý :

– Sau khi install StarDict, ta có một biểu tượng Stardict trên toolbar khi run Acrobat, phải bấm vào biểu tương này để tra tự điển nội dung các file pdf.

– Nếu chương trình Stardict đang ở trong Taskbar system, các bạn phải run nó từ Taskbar system, chứ không thể từ icon trên desktop.

Phan mem luyen speaking

Minh co để trong tổ bộ môn giải tích bộ đĩa Pronunciation Power 1 và 2 duoi dang file iso (gan 1,2 GB) trong thư mục chung va cuon sach Dictionary of American Idioms trong thu muc tu dien cua ThuMucChung. Ban nao muon su dung thi len chep ve nha.

American history book.


A writing book.

I send a good material for writing, hope it help you. strunk-white-the-elements-of-style-4th-edition.pdf

English trivia

I happened to see this page, thought it is interesting to know 🙂

 Interesting Facts:
1. The longest one-syllable word in the English
language is “screeched.”

2. “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends
in the letters “mt”.

3.  No word in English language rhymes with
“month,” “silver,” “purple,” or “orange.”

4. The symbol on the “pound” key (#) is called
an octothorpe. 

5.  The symbol used in many URLs (Web addresses)
is called a tilde. (~)

6. The dot over the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle.

7. The word “set” has more definitions than any
other word in English.

8. “Underground” is the only word in English that
begins and ends with the letters “und.”

9. There are only four words in the English language
which end in “-dous”: tremendous, horrendous,
stupendous, and hazardous.

10. The longest word in the English language,
according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is

11. The only other word with the same amount of
letters is its plural:

12. The longest place-name still in use is
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwe-nuakit natahu,
the Maori name of a hill in New Zealand.

13. Los Angeles’s full name is “El Pueblo de Nuestra
Senora la Reinade los Angeles de Porciuncula” and
can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size, L.A.

14.  The verb “cleave” has definitions which are
antonyms of each other: to adhere and to separate.

15.  The verb “sanction” also has definitions which
are antonyms:  to sponsor and to ban.

16. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

17. There is a seven-letter word in English that
contains eleven words without rearranging any of its
letters, “therein”: the, there, he, in, rein, her,
here, ere, I, therein, herein.

18. ‘Stewardesses’ is the longest English word that
is typed with only the left hand.

19. The combination “ough” can be pronounced in nine
different ways; the following sentence contains them
all: “A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman
strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling
into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed.”

20. The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without
repeating a letter is “uncopyrightable.”

21. “Facetious” and “abstemious” contain all the vowels in
the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning “containing

22. The word “Checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian
phrase “Shah Mat,” which means “the king is dead.”

23.  Only three words have entered English from Czech: 
polka, pilsner, and robot.