Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Modern Day American Slang

A major challenge that a lot of ESL students face is understanding and becoming familiar with the 15,000+ idioms/slang terms used in American English.  Slang words are informal terms that are very common in speech and, these days, in social media. While some slang words come and go, others last much longer and become commonly used terms for a very long time.

New slang emerge in pop culture all the time and it can confuse even native English speakers!

So to help us keep up, here are some commonly used in our language. Which ones do you already know and use?

Ain't- informal contraction of (Be) not; is not, are not, am not 
"Dime"/"Dime Piece"- (n) a perfect ten, an extremely attractive person
Bae- (n) abbreviation of "Before Anyone Else" -n- significant other
Boo- (n) significant other, boyfriend or girlfriend
Twerk- (n/v)- rump shaking dance
Nut Job/ Whack job- (n) crazy person
Turn up- (v)- to be excited and party
Mad- (adj)- very or a lot

--Slang Words and Definitions Provided by NYLC Instructor Andrew Tate

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

NYLC Students Win the New York State TESOL Contest!

Each year, in order to showcase the tremendous talents of English language Learners, NYS TESOL proudly sponsors a student project contest. As usual, the contest theme is framed within the shifting landscapes of the needs of our culturally and linguistically diverse society.
The essays were judged on relevance, organization and overall impact, idea development, content and details and literary style. 

This spring, New York Language Center students and faculty participated in a New York State TESOL sponsored essay contest and our students and faculty were winners for the second year in a row. 

We are so proud of our two Upper West Side  faculty members: Ivan Brave and Jarod Young and their students Semayat Oliveira from Brazil and Ilona Altschuler from Germany.

This week we are featuring the essay that won First Prize, beautifully written by Semayat. Scroll down to read the full essay. 

Semayat Oliveira is a Brazilian journalist who graduated from the Methodist University of São Paulo. She is co-founder of the communications collective We, women of the periphery, which is managed by by seven women from low income neighborhoods in São Paulo. The project was born in 2014 with an article published in the Folha de São Paulo, one of the biggest newspaper in Brazil. The objective was to create new pathways to an alternative and inclusive media. Oliveira produces content as a reporter and is one of the managers of the collective. In October 2017, she will participate in The International Center on Journalists fellowship for Latin American journalists in Washington DC.

Locked Up: How to Support Mothers in Jail with Children Back Home

What is the cost of a kiss in the cheek with a “have a good night” from a mother at bedtime? It can be more important and expensive than bail, can change a life. 

"They have a million questions, they want to know where I’ve been". That's what Tanisha Bynum said about having to speak to her children about why she had been out for a while. She was arrested and far from them for days: no phones, no touching. When they finally met again, the kids were curious and she was worried. But, for sure, both sides were feeling relief. 

I read her story in Time Magazine, around May of this year. She is from Alabama and could have stayed for almost two months behind bars. She drove to the beach with a suspended license and got involved in an accident. The other car ran into her and, after the crash, the result was siting down and waiting in a local prison to go trial. Aside from being a mother of three kids, at that time, she was also two months pregnant. Her bail was around $10,000. She didn’t have the money to pay. Luckily, she had the bail paid by the "Mother Bail Out", a campaign for black women started this year on Mother Day by many movements for racial and social justice in different states.

Friday, July 21, 2017

How well do you know New York City acronyms?

Have you checked out DUMBO in Brooklyn? It's an area by the East River with its share of trendy restaurants, cafes and pastry shops, quaint boutiques, and family-friendly outdoor spaces with art installations and fantastic views of downtown Manhattan. 

One of the themes of our Friday Workshops is New York City, when students talk and learn more about the town they are currently spending some time in. There's always something new to learn from teachers who were either born and raised in the area or have lived here for many years.

If you live in the Big Apple or have visited in the past, you've probably heard or seen the following acronyms around town. How familiar are you with these?

Gather your friends, classmates, colleagues, buddies, roomies, everyone around you and see if you all know what the following names and (one) expression stand for.

MTA                       BYOB                          LIRR  

            BQE                                 LES          

TriBeCa                       SoHo                      Dumbo

NYPD                 FDNY

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quality English Interviews Barbara Dick

" New York Language Center has a long standing positive reputation in our community. Not every student has the funds necessary to study at our more expensive competitors, and we offer an alternative where the quality of instruction and student services is not compromised. Every employee at New York Language Center understands we must make students feel like they are part of a family and are always there to support them.  Students leave New York Language Center with a very positive view of New York, greater English skills and many new friends from all over the world".

A great interview by Quality English featuring NYLC's Executive Director, Barbara Dick. 

Barbara founded NYLC in 1985. Hear in her own words, what she believes sets NYLC apart from the competition and the big chain schools.

Read full feature here:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Does your phone have all the BELLS & WHISTLES?

We are surrounded by technology. Some of us ARE more INTO IT (like it more) than others. Some get excited about the latest iPhone or game console; others, on the other hand, simply think it is all too much.

Well, however you feel about technology, if you are an English learner, you should learn the vocabulary used to talk about them. Try the exercises below and start using the following idioms when you talk to your friends.

I. The bolded phrases below are English idioms that are somehow related to technology. To get the complete idiom, you have to fill in the blanks with vocabulary from the group of words below. GIVE IT A SHOT (try it), then do the next exercise to check your understanding. Answers are below (or the next page), but no cheating!   

PLUG               SCIENCE               LIGHT               FUSE
  1. In the end, company directors decided to pull the ___ on the project because it cost way too much money.
  2. Besides, the idea was ___ years ahead & a lot of people couldn't see its value.
  3. The project included creating staff cell phones with all the bells and ___. Among many things, it would allow staff to clock in and out from their phones every day and allow everyone to order meals from area restaurants while keeping track of the company's lunch budget.
  4. Designers of the machine just couldn't get on the same ___ with the directors of the company.
  5. After the meeting, the head designer blew a ___ and tore up their blueprints. It was a good thing that they were all backed up.
  6. The whole team couldn't believe something so cutting ___ and great for the company could be disapproved.
  7. They thought the benefits and the low operating costs were so obvious. The concept wasn't rocket ___ at all, which made the disapproval completely perplexing.
  8. The team thinks administration will come around. The department head and the head designer don't get along, and they know how to push each other's ___.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Who is New York?

New York Language Center prides itself in providing students with an exceptional Student Life experience by immersing them in American culture and New York City life. Many ideas for our activities are inspired by information provided by TimeOut New York.  

This past Wednesday, TimeOut New York published their weekly magazine in which they explored some of the stories of the immigrants that contribute to our amazing city. We are proud to say that the staff and students of NYLC provided the translations for the cover! 

The title of the issue is "Who is New York". A phrase whose meaning can be challenging to translate into English and completely lost when translated literally into other languages. Nevertheless, we were up for the challenge, and as expected, the issue stirred lots of healthy discussion about language among our staff and students. 

As such, we are so excited to be a part of such an inspiring issue that is so relevant to the events of our day. We strongly believe that New York City is made great in large part by the people who come to live and settle down here. We were, therefore, thrilled to be a part of this project. Thank you to TimeOut NY for letting us help!

Friday, February 17, 2017

It's a piece of cake! ... & other idioms

Fill in the blanks with the words below to complete the idioms with food vocabulary in them. After trying this exercise, scroll down to check your answers. No cheating!

CAKE                BACON               BEANS           CUCUMBER
TEA                  BUNS                 JOE                  BREAD

  1. Alicia's husband is a stay-at-home dad, so she's the one who brings home the ________.
  2. In the morning, he gets the kids ready for school and makes Alicia a cup of ________.
  3. They just started a small company together, but right now, Alicia's job is their main ________ and butter.
  4. Everyone around her loves to go bowling. However, Alicia goes bowling only if her friends drag her to the bowling alley. It's just not her cup of ________.
  5. When she does go bowling, she always hits a strike. She thinks it's a piece of ________ and not so challenging.
  6. Her job is so stressful, and her colleagues admire her ability to stay as cool as a ________ all day every day. 
  7. She has a short commute to work, but she has to catch the bus. She hates freezing her ________ off in the winter.
  8. Alicia rarely gets upset, but she became so furious one day when she learned her husband found out about the surprise birthday party she was arranging for him. Someone spilled the ________! 


Scroll down or click "READ MORE" to check your answers and practice these food idioms with the following questions.