An acronym is a group of letters that stand for a phrase (each letter stands for a word).

For example, U.S. is an acronym for United States.

Here are some more common acronyms and examples of how we use them:

  1. RSVP – Répondez S’il Vous Plaît (please reply)
    • Remember to RSVP for the party by Friday. Billy needs to know how many people will be there.
  2. ASAP – As Soon as Possible
    • Your car is parked illegally. You should move it ASAP to avoid getting a ticket.
  3. TBA – To be Announced
    • The date for the first day of class is TBA but will be sometime in September.
  4. N/A – Not Applicable
    • This section about kids is N/A – You don’t have to fill it out since you don’t have kids.
  5. AKA – Also Known As
    • I love New York, AKA the Big Apple.
  6. DOB – Date of Birth
    • What is your D.O.B.?
  7. ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival
    • The ETA of my package to my home is 7 days. It should arrive by then.
  8. BC/AD – Before Christ/Anno Domini (in the year of the lord)
    • The Punic Wars took place from 264-146 BC.
  9. RIP – Rest in Peace
    • RIP to my grandfather who was a great man.
  10. AM/PM – ante merīdiem (before midday)/post merīdiem (after midday)
    • Is your flight at 8 o’clock AM or PM?

Read more to see the answers.

Read More »
Share this:

Pronouncing Chinese Names 101

Here’s a little video for all you teachers out there and others who may not know how to say names in Mandarin. It comes from the East Asian Studies Center at Ohio University:

And here are a few sounds in Chinese pinyin that are different from English. The pinyin is on the left while the equivalent English pronunciation comes after the equal sign:

What is pinyin? Watch the video below from Yoyo Chinese to find out:

Share this:

Mother Tongues

Languages spoken around the world
Languages spoken around the world

There are at least 7,102 known languages alive in the world today. Twenty-three of these languages are a mother tongue for more than 50 million people. The 23 languages make up the native tongue of 4.1 billion people. We represent each language within black borders and then provide the numbers of native speakers (in millions) by country. The color of these countries shows how languages have taken root in many different regions

Use the picture to answer the questions below. The first person to post all 8 answers correctly will win a prize!

  1. How many languages are in the picture above?
  2. How many people speak English as their mother tongue?
  3. How many people in the United States speak English as their mother tongue?
  4. How many people speak Spanish as their mother tongue?
  5. How many people in the United States speak Spanish as their mother tongue?
  6. How many people in China speak Korean as their mother tongue?
  7. In how many countries do people speak French?
  8. How many people are learning Italian?

rolling stones logo3

Share this:

Language Learning Strategies

This post is from our E4 teacher, Mary Staub. Mary shares some language learning strategies she’s used. We also get to watch a video of her students sharing their favorite tips to improve their English. Read and watch below, then share some of your favorite ways to practice English in the comments section:

Foreign languages have always been part of my life.

I grew up bilingually, speaking Swiss German swissand English since childhood, and started learning French and Spanish during high school. More recently, I’ve tried to start englishlearning Arabic.  Over the years, I’ve used a lot of different language learning strategies to help me improve more quickly.


For example, when I was living in Seville, Spain, for eight months during college, I looked for opportunities to meetferiaSpanish people and took part in all the town festivals. I also joined a Capoeira (Brazilian martial art) group capoeirawhile I was there, where all of the members spoke only Spanish. This forced me to use Spanish all the time and helped me become more fluent. Another thing I did was take dance classes from a teacher who spoke only Spanish. All her instructions were in Spanish so I had to learn to

Another thing I did and continue to do is to read as much as possible in Spanish or French. I read books, newspapers, or ???????????????????????????????anything else that I am interested in. I look up the words that  I don’t understand and seem important. newspapersThen I write the ones I want to remember in a journal  so I can review them. I also sometimes make flashcards, especially at the beginning when I’m learning a new language. That’s what I did when I started learning Arabic.


I also practice using new words and phrases by imagining little conversations where I can use them or I’ll try to start ‘thinking’ in the language. I often do this when I’m taking the subway or riding my bike and have time to let my mind wander.


Watch the video to hear about the language learning strategies that some of my E4 students use. Then add a comment to share some of your own strategies.

Share this:

New York Talk


Have you ever wondered about all of the languages spoken in NYC? You can hear so many different languages when you walk down the street. WNYC,  a public radio station has published the Census Bureau’s, American Community Survey. The survey lists the most popular languages in NYC.

Click on the chart below to look at the chart and answer the questions:

Which are the most popular languages besides English?

Which languages do you hear spoken often?

Which languages have you never heard of before?

What countries are these languages spoken in?

Besides English, which language would you like to learn?

Let us know your answers in the comments section.


*Thanks to E3 teacher Mary Sitzenstatter for sharing the article*

Share this: