Home About Blog Portfolio Contact



Lingo Practico Blog

Lingo Lingerings

Monday, November 29, 2021

No Luck Yet on the Google Scans

 Everything still looks the same as it did on Nov. 17 when I began my SEO efforts.  

I created a Google Search Console account, then added both a robots.txt file and a new sitemap.xml file to the root directory of the website. (GoDaddy seemed to have automatically created a sitemap.xml.)  I created a copy of the "chant" Google Sheet and, rather than just publishing, in addition utilized the Embed code that Google generates. I put the code in a separate HTML page which I was able to then add to the sitemap.xml.  Since the Portrfolio now links to a lingopractico.com HTML page rather than to an "anonymous" Google Drive, will that make a difference?

In addition, the Console showed a link to my site from Bridge.edu but none from LinkedIn; so I logged in to LinkedIn and modified the appropriate file, there.  Every inward link counts!

Of course I made sure that the terms "Color Vowel" and "Blue Canoe" show up on just about every appropriate page of materials.  

Once more I went over articles outlining reasons that pages may not show up in Google and double-checked my arrangements.

Via my Google Search Console account I let Google know about the new files and file changes and requsted a re-index of the Portfolio page.  I also requested an index of the new "chant" page.  No results!  Very discouraging.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Unexpected Geography and History Lessons

Practicing the spelling of US names and addresses with my HR-career student has turned out to be unexpectedly engaging.  

My Portfolio-Tab link to Alphabet and Names now includes most often-used city names, and most often-used street names as well as top first and last English, German, French, Hindu and Muslim names.  Plus somewhere I've noted that if a name ends in -son the person is probably of British descent, while if it ends in -sen their ancestors are probably Scandinavian (example: Anderson vs Andersen).  

Although English names predominate, there are more Americans of German ancestry than English.  (Add the English, Irish and Scottish descendents together though, and the UK is larger.)  My student now has a reasonable grasp of German name spelling, where "i" does not, necessarly, come before"e".

I really should add to the page top Spanish names for anyone who doesn't speak that language.

Did you know that aside from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. popular street names tend to be species of trees?  It's a quick lesson in the trees of the US, with "Dogwood"and "Magnolia" popular in the South, "Oak" and "Maple in the East and "Mesquite" showing up only in the West.

Often, city names are tributes the settlers made to locations in the old country, giving a clue as to where these pioneers came from.

Cities sometimes have the last name of a founder or an  historical personnage, often as a posessive (like Brownsville) , with "-ville" or "-burg" or "-berg" or "-ton" added on.  Fayetteville, NC, is named after the Marquis de Lafayette, a colorful character in our history.  

And then you have the story symboilized by Raleigh, NC, sitting not too far away from the state of Virginia, named for Sir Walter's Queen Elizabeth.  An interesting pair.

Also on the East Coast you find Charlotesville, NC, named after King George III's wife.  Although George, himself, did not end up with one of the very largest cities in the US, he did gain a "Georgetown" in quite a few states. 

As for the Carolinas, they were not named after any queen but were a tribute to King Charles I of England.  Carolus is Latin for Charles.

Of course there are many Native American names which are intriguing spelling challenges for anybody.   


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

More ESL Poets

I've discovered two more teachers who write poetry for ESL learners!

Venette Cook taught ESL and French Literature for many years at San Francisco State University.  She has a web page, "Beautiful English" and a YouTube channel, "Beautiful English: Free ESL Lessons with Poems".  At the website you can download her poems and/or order her books which are available in print from Amazon or from Blurb Books (blurb.com).  Venette is multi-talented.  She can play guitar and sing!  So you can hear some of her works set to music as well as spoken.

Mark Hancock wrote his first English language teaching book – Pronunciation Games – over 20 years ago.  With Annie McDonald, he has a website at "Hancock McDonald English Language Teaching".  There you can download or order their books, games and other materials.  Their recent PronPack series of books has its own YouTube site.  In addition, search YouTube for Mark's name and you will find many videos of him as a noted expert giving lectures at conventions.

Both of these teachers make their material available for free or at low cost.  

Looking at their books has made me realize that (1) I should add illustrations to my poems to make them more interesting and meaningful.  (2) I need to create at least audio tracks, if not videos, for the poems.  Unfortunately I cannot sing like Venette, nor do I have a talented graphic artist available like Mark. However Pete, my graphic artist colleague at my day job gave me the name of a website, Fiverr, where you will find very talented artists all around the world offering freelance services.  Some are in countries where they can make a living even though charging what, to us in the US, is an extremely low rate.

We'll see what develops.

Seeking Successful SEO

No luck to report on the job front yet.  However I've made progress in a couple of other areas.  

I completed the first cycle of "All Around My Mouth Poems" with one for White Tie and one for Brown Cow.  

Having finished the index for the poems, their Google Sheets file was complete.  So I turned my attention to SEO.  After requesting a re-index at Google, they've scanned at least the main headings on my pages..  Google criticizes this blog page as "not mobile-friendly", though it has no problem with my other pages.  How dare they! I'm using Blogger, Google's own software!

However, Google has still not covered any of the Google Sheets I've created and linked to, including the poems.  I've performed the necessary "Publish To Web" for each sheet, even though that changes the format slightly in a way I don't like.  

Let's see if adding the link to the poems on this blog page makes a difference.  I've made sure a "nofollow" command did NOT get added.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

I Was Featured in Another ESL Teacher's Blog

Many thanks to Krzl Nuñes for featuring me in her October 26, 2021 blog.  Here's the link.  In it she refers to me as a computer programmer, which I think is an exaggeration.  But it's true that people don't know what I'm talking about when I say I manage a data warehouse using SQL, nor do they understand the term "coder".  So I'll defer to her journalistic judgement when it comes to vocabulary.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Pronouncing the Alphabet

One of the first things you learn in any language is the alphabet. After singing the kindergarten "Alphabet Song" a dozen times in a new language you think you know it. But just try using the alphabet to spell your name when talking to someone else with a different first language!  Their kindergarten song will have been slightly different!  Earlier I made a post referencing "When a Frenchman Calls an Indian Call Center", an hilarious video illustrating this fact.

You can try to clarify each letter with a word. Typical example: "E as in Elephant".  But, the letter E is pronounced "eeeeee" as in "Eek, a mouse!", while the word Elephant starts with the sound "eh". The letter E is not pronounced "eh".

But in Spanish the letter E is pronounced "eh" as in "elephant". That sounds a lot like the English "A".

To confuse matters, look at the English vowel "I". We pronounce it "eye". In the Spanish kindergarten song, this vowel is the one pronounced "eeeeee" as in "Eek, a mouse!".

In Spanish, the letter G is pronounced similar to "Hay" and the letter J is pronounced "Ho-Tah".

Going from language to language, some letters of the alphabet play a game similar to musical chairs.

So I've written a special alphabet pronunciation rhyme on my Alphabet and Names page.  Here are some samples:

A's the first vowel in "Age" but used as the second in "pAge".

E's the first vowel in "Eve". The last E's quite silent in "leavE".

I's the first letter in "I'm" but used as the second in "tIme".

O’s the first letter in "Old". It sits in the middle of "bOld".

U’s the first letter in "Use" and also is found in "refUse".

G’s the first letter in "Gene". It also is found in “liGht Green”.

J’s the first letter in "Jail". And K’s the first letter in "Kale".

Y’s the first letter in "Yikes!" You see it in: “Your Yellow bikes”.

Z’s the first letter in "Zeal". You find it in “that craZy deal”.


Saturday, October 16, 2021

© Copyright 2021, Margaret R. Jones