Oracle, MexicoHi everybody and welcome to Paul’s EFL Review .
That’s me teaching Business English at Oracle in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.

The blog is designed for teachers and students of teaching and learning English as a foreign language.
I spent 3 years teaching English in Turkey, consisting of 2 years teaching Traditional Method English at a school of some 1,000 mixed teenaged students in Eskişehir; then a 6 month stint teaching police officers and even a judge as well as regular students at Kent English in Turkey’s capital Ankara, before spending a further 6 months teaching at a university near Mersin. Afterwards, I worked in Warsaw, Poland for a couple of years teaching both the Callan Method and Business English. Later, I was to spend almost 3 years teaching in Mataro, Spain where I perfected the art of teaching the Callan Method of Direct English. Then I enjoyed a spell at Great Chapel College in central London working as Principal. Following a position as both Director and Principal of a well-known Business College in London, I held educational/student recruitment seminars and events in the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan and Thailand. I went on to work as Project Manager of the English Language Unit at Al Baha University in the Saraat Mountains, Saudi Arabia where I was responsible for some 6,000 English language students from Business, Medical, Engineering, Arts and Science faculties as well as 150 English language lecturers across 8 branches of the university, dotted over some extremely rugged mountainous terrain. Before that, I worked in Riyadh for a year teaching English to students on the King’s Scholarship Program and I also taught English to Imams from Riyadh’s vast Islamic university. As for now, I have returned from 6 months in Guadalajara, Mexico where I taught English at local businesses in and around Zapopan – my previous employer in Riyadh flew me all the way back to Saudi Arabia to take up my Project Manager’s role again at Al Baha University – so here I am, back in the Saudi mountains. In my spare time I run a small import/export agency, resulting from a Certificate course with Wade World Trade; in fact I have been involved in international trade since 1982 dealing in sports equipment from Hong Kong and Taiwan; arts and crafts from Africa; garden products from South Africa and more recently steel from China. Although, due to my constant teaching and travelling my agency has never really got off the ground – the most positive thing about it is that I now have a great deal of knowledge relating to Business English, hence my teaching of the subject in both Warsaw, Poland and Guadalajara, Mexico. Whether or not my import/export agency succeeds this time around remains to be seen, but for the future at least, I’ll be continuing here in the remote Saraat mountains of Saudi Arabia.

The English language:
English Native speakers
360 million (2010)[2]
L2: 375 million and 750 million EFL[3]
Language family
Indo-European Germanic West Germanic Anglo–Frisian Anglic English
Early forms:
Old English Middle English Early Modern English English
Writing system
Latin script (English alphabet)
English Braille
Official status
Official language in
54 countries
27 non-sovereign entities

various organizations
Countries where English is an official or de facto official language, or national language, and is spoken natively by the majority of the population
Countries where it is an official but not primary language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now the most widely used language in the world.[4] It is spoken as a first language by the majority populations of several sovereign states, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and a number of Caribbean nations. It is the third-most-common native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.[5] It is widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the European Union, many Commonwealth countries and the United Nations, as well as in many world organisations.

English arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and what is now southeast Scotland. Following the extensive influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 17th century to the mid-20th century, through the British Empire, and also of the United States since the mid-20th century,[6][7][8][9] it has been widely propagated around the world, becoming the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions.[10][11]

Historically, English originated from the fusion of closely related dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic settlers (Anglo-Saxons) by the 5th century – with the word English being derived from the name of the Angles,[12] and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). A significant number of English words are constructed on the basis of roots from Latin, because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life.[13] The language was further influenced by the Old Norse language because of Viking invasions in the 9th and 10th centuries.

The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from Norman French, and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the appearance of a close relationship with Romance languages[14][15] to what had then become Middle English. The Great Vowel Shift that began in the south of England in the 15th century is one of the historical events that mark the emergence of Modern English from Middle English.

Owing to the assimilation of words from many other languages throughout history, modern English contains a very large vocabulary, with complex and irregular spelling, particularly of vowels. Modern English has not only assimilated words from other European languages, but from all over the world. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250,000 distinct words, not including many technical, scientific, and slang terms.[16][17]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


  1. Many native speakers of English believe anyone can teach their own language.
    This couldn’t be farther from the truth – just try asking them to explain conditionals to you!
    And many others believe that you have to translate from one language to another – what little they understand! I’ve been teaching English in many different countries since 1996 and the only language I speak is English.

    • I couldn’t agree more with you. Teaching ESL is a craft. Anyone who thinks you can just walk into a class and speak English will soon find that they are unsuccessful. Also, translating is never a good idea for TEACHING a language. A word may have the same meaning between languages, but how it’s used in context depends on many other factors. For example, the word flirt translate to cheat in the Korean language. I encourage all students at the pre-intermediate level and above to disregard there translation dictionaries

    • That is very true, Paul. Not many native speakers will admit to that. English is just like any other subject. One must know how it works. Just because one can speak English doesn’t give one the ‘licence’ to teach English. Teaching is a different ballgame altogether. My passion for the English language began when I was just in my teens. That was way before the craze of EFL/TESL started. My father was very concerned about me ‘going nuts’ over the English language. I spent all my savings back then buying and collecting English language books (mostly from Britain).

      I never knew that I would be a teacher/trainer of English one day. It happened by accident. Let’s just say that I was thrust into it. A university lecturer was engaged by my wife to train working adults in the manufacturing industry in Penang. What she prepared (in the form of notes) was utter rubbish. It didn’t make any sense. Hence, my wife pestered me to train with my own notes (since I knew what and how the English language works). It was a success and I have not looked back since then.

      My point is this – only those who have a passion for teaching in their respective subjects make learning a worth while effort. Nowadays, even housewives and backpackers are cashing in on this craze for English learning and teaching. I see most of these ‘native speakers’ of English creating a big mess in Malaysia. Ask them any serious question on how the English language works and they go blank.

  2. HI Paul,

    I have the same question as Leon, I’m a bit hesitant. In my case, compliment or hand out to students to “find the mistakes!”? I know my grammar and mechanics are off, but I try to write as I would speak.


    P.S I found some beautiful wording and descriptions on your page. Well done on re-blogging!

  3. Thank you for reblogging mine. I plan to follow yours so I can understand the English language better. I am a Southern by birth but was raised in the North. It surprised me how much difference there was between only 2 states! I find the English language fascinating. I am hoping this blog will help with my characters be more realistic.
    Also, thank you for all your efforts to teach our English to others.

  4. Thank you for the reblog! I’m going to interpret the reblog as a compliment and assume it’s because you liked the content of my post. I’m not sure my fragile ego could handle it being my poor grammar. 😉

  5. Hello Paul! Just stopped by to thank you for the exposure you give mere “light-weight” bloggers, such as I. I really appreciate the reblogs. Your life’s work is very interesting and to be commended.
    Have a spectacular day!

  6. Hallo Paul, this is great, I love the English language, the sound, and esp. the rich vocabulary. I am a Dutch writer, writing English poems also. I find it difficult to use the words “on” and “at” in the right way. Shall be reading a lot here 🙂

  7. Thought you might be interested in this site: Wordsmith.org The Magic of Words This is an example of what you get. I signed up for a word a day.
    Jun 24, 2013
    This week’s theme
    Word coined from animals
    This week’s words:

    Now that I have done my part in clogging the intertubes with cat videos, as a penance for the next five days I’m going to try not to use a word referring to cats (cat’s paw, Kilkenny cats, wildcatter, ailurophile, chatoyant, catbird seat).
    But we will see words derived from other animals.



    1. A coarse, vulgar-tongued woman.
    2. A woman who sells fish.

    From fish, from Old English fisc (fish) + wife, from Old English wif (woman). Earliest documented use: 1523.

    Billingsgate, London’s famous fish market, was once known for the foul language of its fishmongers. Now the word billingsgate has become synonymous with coarse language. Fishwife is another word to come out of this trade, as in the expression “to swear like a fishwife”. It has not been determined who the winner might be in a swearing contest between a fishwife and a sailor.

  8. Thanks for re-blogging my Empty Adjectives and Actionless Verbs. I’m amazed at your experience. I wish we had more like you teaching the English language. I’m appalled by our country’s illiteracy and relatively low high school graduation rates (plus the illiteracy rate of prison inmates). If one cannot read and write one’s native language, how can one possibly be successful?

  9. I’m honored that you chose to re-blog my post, An Apple for the Student: Descriptive Writing. My methods have grown out of experience and my own impressions of my students’ needs. Reading from your site, I feel reinforced and encouraged that I’m on the right track. I’ll definitely be back!
    Also, having learned a second language (in my adulthood) myself, I will attest to the effectiveness of circumlocution. I was fully invested in learning while interacting with people who did not speak English, in their native country. Drawing out the students’ accountability for learning through skillful, patient guidance is infinitely more effective than providing a list of translations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s