Here in the south-west of England there is finally a hint of spring in the air. However, you wouldn't know it from the weather forecast: the other day as I was getting ready to drive to work the forecaster on the radio told me that it was going to be a 'dull, dank and dark' day. Wow! They really know how to cheer people up, don't they? Dank! What a great word. I think that none of my students would know it. The Cambridge Online Dictionary gives the definition as wet, cold and unpleasant (especially of buildings and air). Those days in a British winter when it never really gets light and is cold and wet: DANK.
It's been a while since I have written a post and today there is a really good reason for writing one because there is an excellent Academic English website which has come online from Queen Mary, University of London, and it's open to everyone! I've been taking a look around the site and it is definitely going to feature on my short list of great sites to use and to recommend to students. One of the pages that I'm particularly impressed by is the one which focuses on seminar speaking skills. Participating in seminars is one area of university study that international students find particularly challenging for a number of reasons and this page highlights useful language that students can use to perform a range of important functions, such as disagreeing politely and giving an opinion. The good thing about the Queen Mary site is that it doesn't just list the phrases for you. Instead there are interactive exercises in which you have to listen and identify the function of the phrases so there is a good chance that you'll remember the phrases and you can use them in your own seminars. Visit Academic English Online from Queen Mary here.