Freshman English: Readings and Lab

Fall 2012 and Spring 2013
College of Science

Mondays 外教 203, class periods 3/4, 10:20am-12:10pm,
Wednesdays 新生大樓 403, class periods 1/2, 8:10-10:00am

Professor Karen Steffen Chung
(the first Google hit for 'Karen Chung')

Spring 2013 syllabus

師德文教 CET Hello! E.T. articles on English learning

Total class meetings and important dates Fall 2012   Spring 2013
Class Facebook Group
Readings Fall 2012
Fall 2012 listening assignments
NEW!! Christmas carols 2012
(html, with audio files)
Christmas carols 2012 handout (pdf; print out and bring to class)
Additional page of Christmas Carols: Scottish Gaelic Christmas Carol (pdf; print out and bring to class)

Goals of Course
E-mail and miscellaneous requirements
List of somewhat shorter novels for book report assignment

How to configure Thunderbird (POP3/SMPT)     IMAP
News and podcasts
Grade calculation
Outside Work
Study aids and resources
Inputting KK symbols

Google in English

Spring 2013 syllabus

     1. February 18:

Class enrollment
          b. Final exam: Correct and submit 2/25
          c. Poetry: Limericks
          Click here for the About Poetry: English Prosody Plus Selected Literary Terms handout. (Refer to this for definitions of terms like iambic, doggerel, and synaesthesia) 
Johnny Bear

     2. February 20:
Poetry: Limericks
Gilmore Girls: Complete and correct this cloze exercise on Scene I for 2/27; mark stresses and pauses.
c. Johnny Bear

     3. February 25:
a. Submit corrected final exam, class notes, pronunciation improvement plan and schedule
          b. Poetry: Recite Limerick
          c. Johnny Bear
Read new CET article: 9.   大師開講 鼻音/m/、/n/ 與 / —— No problen?(上) in No. 77, May/June 2013 (forthcoming)

     4. February 27:
Gilmore Girls: Go over cloze exercise on Scene I in class, including stresses and pauses
          b. Perform Gilmore Girls, Scene I on Wednesday, March 6.
          c. Johnny Bear

     5. March 4:
          a. Submit class notes, pronunciation correction plan, listening log
          b. Return and go over final exam
          c. 2 performances of Gilmore Girls, Scene One; feedback and discussion
          d. Finish Johnny Bear; go over entire story again
          e. Oral book report announcement

     6. March 6:
Rest of performances of Gilmore Girls, Scene One; feedback and discussion
          b. Go over Gilmore Girls, Scene Two, to be performed 3/13; entire script
              Characters:    (1) Lorelei/Girl #1/
Girl #4
                                  (2) Michel
/Lane/Mrs. Traister/Girl #2/Woman/Sookie
                                  (3) Bellboy/Drella/Rory/Girl #3/Salvador

          (Stop at: SOOKIE: Stepped on my thumb. I'm fine. On three. Okay.)

     7. March 11:
          a. Finish Gilmore Girls performances, Scene One.
          b. Book titles, names of partners in each group due over email; discussion.
          c. Finish Johnny Bear; reread and retranslate entire piece.

     8. March 13:
          a. More details on book report.
          b. Gilmore Girls performances, Scene Two. Assignments for GG Scenes 2, 3, 4, 5. Ask questions over FB NTU Freshman English; last chance on Monday 3/18 in class.
          c. For Monday March 18: Prepare to reread and retranslate Johnny Bear orally in class.

     9. March 18:
          a. More on book report.
          c. Re-reading of Johnny Bear.

     10. March 20:
          a. Finalize book report book choices.
          b. Gilmore Girls.
          c. Re-reading of Johnny Bear.

     11. March 25:

     12. March 27:

     13. April 1:

     14. April 8:

Total class meetings:

Spring 2013: 32 class meetings

18, 20, 25, 27;
4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27;
1, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29;
1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29;
3, 5, 10.

Important dates:

February 28th Memorial Day:
(no class): Thursday, February 28, 2013
February 18 to March 2 (add)/3 (cancel)
Period for confirmation of canceled/added courses:
Monday-Friday, March 11-15
Second online application for exemption from advanced English class: Monday-Friday, March 18-22
Online registration for high-intermediate GEPT
: Monday-Thursday, March 18-28
Children’s Day, Tomb-Sweeping Day and review holiday (no class):
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, April 3-5
Application period for withdrawing from a course:
March 4-May 17
Mid-semester online student course evaluations: March 18-April 26
NTU Athletic Meet: Saturday, Sunday March 30-31
Mid-terms: April 15-19
End-of-semester online student course evaluations: May 31-June 13
Dragon Boat Festival holiday: (no class): Wednesday, June 12
Last day of class: Friday, June 14
Final exams: Monday-Friday, June 17-21
Freshman English final exam: Wednesday, June 19 in 新生大樓 403, 8:10-10:00am
Summer vacation begins: Monday, June 24, 2013
College and department transfer exams:
June 24-July 4

Fall 2012: 33 class meetings

     September 2012 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26;
     October 1, 3, 8, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31;
     November 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28;
     December 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, 31;
     January 2013 2.

Class Facebook group:

Important dates:

Cancel-add: September 10-23
Finalization of class schedules:
October 1-5
Application period for withdrawing from a course: September 24-December 7
Double Tenth National Day:
(no class): Wednesday, October 10
Online application for exemption from advanced English class
: October 8-12 (tentative)
Mid-semester online student course evaluations: October 8-November 16
Mid-terms (no midterm will be given for this class): November 5-9
Anniversary of the Founding of Taiwan University (no class): Thursday, November 15

New Year's adjustment holiday make up class: Saturday, December 22.
Adjustment holiday: December 31.
New Year's Day/Founding Day of the ROC (no class): Tuesday, January 1, 2013
End-of-semester online student course evaluations:
December 21, 2012-January 3, 2013
Last day of class: January 4, 2013
Final exams: January 7-11, 2013
Freshman English final exam: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 in 403
Winter break: January 14-February 17, 2013
Chinese New Year's Eve:
Saturday, February 9, 2013

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Readings, handouts, articles:
a. Print this out and bring it to class:
From: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:
Cue, Routine, Reward: Automating Goals Word  pdf  audio file

i. Print this out and bring it to class (10 pages):
"Johnny Bear" by John Steinbeck (pdf).  

Audio file
of "Johnny Bear", read by the author, John Steinbeck
Source page
floating clamshell digger

ii. Print out, read, and prepare to discuss in class:
Bio of John Steinbeck

iii. Familiarize yourself with the content of this
slide show introduction to the short story genre:

Introduction to the Short Story

E-mail quote format

(3) The Echo Method and pronunciation — read these articles carefully!
1.   大師開講 — 提升聽力祕訣: 每天請聽「回音」十分鐘(上)in No. 69, January/February 2012, p. 8-10.
2.   大師開講 — 提升聽力祕訣:每天請聽「回音」十分鐘(下)in No. 70, March/April 2012, p.12-14.
3.   大師開講 — 提升聽力祕訣: /i/ 和 /ɪ/ 的辨別 in No. 71, May/June 2012, p. 12-14.
4.   大師開講 — 「重音」真的很重! in No. 72, July/August 2012, p. 12-14.

5.   大師開講 — 英語教學死角:複合名詞重音 in No. 73, September/October 2012, p. 12-14.
6.   大師開講抑揚頓挫:英語的語調和斷句 in No. 74, November/December 2012, p. 12-14.

7.   大師開講
Stop at stops! —— 遇到塞音請 in No. 75, January/February 2013, p. 12-14.
8.   大師開講 “-s”和“-ed”詞尾 怎麼唸? in No. 76, March/April 2013 (forthcoming)
9.   大師開講鼻音/m/、/n/ 與 /ŋ/ —— No problen? (上)in No. 77, May/June 2013 (forthcoming)
10. 大師開講 — 鼻音/m/、/n/ 與 /ŋ/ —— No problen? (下)in No. 78, July/August 2013 (forthcoming)

NEW! Mini-conversations

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Fall 2012 listening assignments

     1. Listening assignment for September 12-19: Habits and how to break them (1)

     2. Listening assignment for September 19-26: Habits and how to break them (2)

3. Listening assignment for September 26-Oct. 3: Habits and how to break them (3)

4. Listening assignment for Oct. 3-10:
Habits and how to break them (4)

     5. Listening assignment for Oct. 10-17:
Habits and how to break them (5)

     6. Listening assignment for Oct. 17-24: Habits and how to break them (6)

     7. Listening assignment for Oct. 24-31: APM: Guy Kawasaki on how to write better electronic mail

     8. Listening assignment for Oct 31-Nov. 7:
Habits and how to break them (7)

     9. Listening assignment for Nov. 7-14:
Habits and how to break them (8)

Listening assignment for Nov. 14-21: Habits and how to break them (9)

     11. Listening assignment for Nov. 21-28:
Habits and how to break them (10)

     12. Listening assignment for Nov. 28-Dec. 5:
Habits and how to break them (11)

     13. Listening assignment for Dec. 5-Dec. 12:
Habits and how to break them (12)

     14. Assignment for Dec. 17:
I. End-of-semester evaluation:
Part 1: evaluate the class, teacher, homework assignments,
what was most and least useful, things that could be improved, and how
— everything about the class this semester.
Part 2: Evaluate yourself: Attendance and punctuality, homework submission,

how prepared for class you were, how much you learned from the class,
how much effort you put into this class.
Part 3: How do you plan to continue improving your English?

II. Organized summary of your class notes:
Go through all your old notes, and organize them into a summary of main points.
You do not have to include every single detail from your notes; try rather to combine
notes that are about the same thing and to generalize.

Format and submission instructions: Convert your files to pdf format
before emailing both files to Ms. Chung at:
no later than January 2, 2013.

     15. Listening assignment for Dec. 19-Dec. 26:

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 Goals of Course

This course will concentrate on fourmain areas:

     (1) Pronunciation training.

     (2) Reading and translation practice. This semester we will mainly be reading essays and possibly short stories, though additional texts may be assigned. Normally, individual students will be assigned to translate a given passage of the reading beforehand. Each of the passages will be read, translated orally into good Chinese, discussed, and sometimes acted out in class. The reading will be followed by a class discussion, and almost always by a short quiz, usually on vocabulary and compound and phrase stress. Students are actively encouraged to relate what they read and learn to their own life, experiences, and feelings, and to listen attentively to what their classmates have to say.

     (3) Listening and oral practice with online resources. There will normally be one online listening assignment a week requiring written answers to listening comprehension questions. We will correct the assignment of the previous week and a new assignment will be given every Wednesday. You may work with your classmates or friends on the listening part of the assignment, but you must do your own work answering the questions. 50% or more will be deducted on assignments that are not handed in on time. Click here for suggestions on how to approach the listening assignments.

     (4) Various oral presentations, including a book report first semester and possibly a dramatization second semester.
     This is not a composition course, and we unfortunately have too large a class and not enough time for lots of conversation practice. You must create opportunities for yourself to get practice in these areas. If you would like composition practice, however, you could consider keeping a blog. You may even be lucky enough to get feedback on what you write! Or find a language exchange partner on Remember in any case that you are responsible for your own education – the NTU faculty and staff can help you with only part of it!

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E-mail and miscellaneous requirements

E-mail: Every student must use your NTU e-mail account – it is in general more dependable and less prone to problems than 'Hotmail' type accounts. Each student is responsible for ensuring that their e-mail inbox is able to receive and send mail at all times.

     In the first week of class, each student is required to send an e-mail message to the professor with an English quote you like, together with its source. (Example: "Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think." Niels Bohr (1885-1962), Danish physicist) It must be a verifiable quote, CORRECTLY FORMATTED, containing no errors. Here is a sample so you know what format to use.

     The purpose of this is (1) to collect the e-mail addresses of everyone in the class, so we can all use them for class communications; and (2) to remind you right at the beginning of the semester of the importance of producing careful work that is not filled with sloppy mistakes. Make sure you sign your name to every e-mail you write! Put "fe quote" in the subject line. Pay attention to correct format; for example, leave a space before and after (parentheses) like this. Without a space it looks like(this)and this is not acceptable in English written format. Also note which English media digest you have chosen to subscribe to (see below).

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     Pronunciation and grammar journal: You are required to keep a running record of specific sounds and other areas you need to work on in your pronunciation in a small notebook, based on feedback you receive in class. You are also required to keep a record of all grammar points and corrections made in class and in your written work. You are expected to have your journal open and ready throughout each class, without being reminded. You will be asked to write and hand in a summary of your pronunciation and grammar journal at the end of each semester. You can use this page to insert IPA/KK symbols into Word and other documents.

     Oral book report: Each student will be asked to choose a simplified or original novel to read with a partner and give a 5-minute oral book report on. Here are three lists of suggested books to choose from, though your choices are not limited to these; do NOT however choose any of the following: Harry Potter, The Little Prince, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles Of Narnia, or any other children's literature:,6903,1061037,00.html

You may read your book in the original if you choose, but most works are quite long and difficult, with an overwhelming number of unfamiliar vocabulary words. The intention of this assignment is simply for you to become better acquainted with English literature, and for you to have an enjoyable reading experience. Hopefully, once you have gotten through, understood, and enjoyed an entire abridged and simplified work in English, you will want to explore more books, maybe also in simplified form, but eventually you may want to tackle a novel in the original. DO NOT COPY FROM ANY SOURCE WITHOUT CITING THE SOURCE. This is plagiarism and an extremely serious offense; in the US it is grounds for dismissal from the university.

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     News reading: Every student must register on the Website of one of the New York TImes and subscribe to their daily news digest (these are free, as is access to up to ten news stories a month). You will be asked to choose the kinds of news you'd like to receive. The aim of this requirement is give you at least a passing familiarity with current international events, and for you to get used to using English-language news media sources.

The New York Times (US):
The New York Times homepage:

Here are some other major English-language newspapers:

The Los Angeles Times (US):
The Los Angeles Times homepage:

The Washington Post (US):
The Washington Post homepage:

The BBC (UK):
The BBC World Service homepage:

The Guardian Unlimited (UK):,12904,-1,00.html
The Guardian Unlimited homepage:

Poetry from the MPR's Writer's Almanac (optional): If you'd like a poem and a "today in literature" summary delivered to your e-mail inbox every day, sign up here:
Writer's Almanac homepage: also has a Classic Poem Daily (optional):

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Podcasts: If you have an MP3 player or iPod, podcasts are a great way to listen to class listening files anytime, anywhere. You can also download an enormous variety of files you choose yourself. You can even produce your own podcast for others to listen to!

iTunes is one popular way to download podcasts. Select "United States" as your country for the largest selection. Check out the free university courses available!

     Here are some pages with podcasts to choose from, subscribe to or download, then copy to your MP3 player:

BBC podcast feeds:
NPR podcast directory:
Nature magazine podcast:
Podcast directories:

     Handouts will be posted on this Web site. You are responsible for printing them out yourself.

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     Grade calculation

     Grades will be calculated on the basis of:

     1. Attendance. Note that missing more than three classes or being late to class more than five times without good reason is sufficient grounds for receiving a failing grade for this course; being late disturbs everybody else in the class, so make a concerted effort to be in class on time.


     If you must miss class or be late let Ms. Chung know by e-mail or otherwise beforehand; or as soon as possible afterwards if you really can't get in touch beforehand. Don't just fail to show up for class and not offer an explanation – even if it's "I overslept", please explain.

     2. Homework, including listening assignments and pronunciation/grammar summaries
     3. Quizzes (usually given after we finish reading and discussing each text)
     4. Oral presentations
     5. Class participation
     6. Attitude
     7. Progress made
     8. Final exam
     Extra credit will be given to students who do independent research on a class-related topic and share their findings with the class.

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Notes regarding grading policy:
     Note that starting this year, Taiwan University is switching from a percentage to a letter grade system like the one used in US universities. Please do NOT ask for a precise percentage breakdown of how your grade is calculated. You should be able to see from the above that each person's situation is different, and things like "attitude" and "progress made" are difficult to quantify. If, for example, you make great progress after the middle of the semester, your earlier grades will count less. If your grades fluctuate a lot and you do not have a very positive attitude toward learning, all of your grades will be counted just as you earn them; points will be taken off from your final grade if you have often been late or absent from class, or are missing assignments or handed them in late. It's really quite simple - do good work and you get good grades. Your final exam will test your ability in the key areas covered in class; it is not "arbitrary". Very often it is consistent with the work you have done throughout the semester, and therefore your final grade may be close to your final exam grade. Do not conclude that because of this, your final grade is simply decided by your final exam grade. If you have questions not covered in these notes, please e-mail Ms. Chung. But please do NOT come to complain about a grade or demand an explanation for it unless it is clear there has been in error in calculation, e.g. of an exam score. Rest assured that we teachers spend a LOT of time taking many different factors into consideration before finally deciding on each and every grade we give.

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Here is a list of recommended dictionaries and reference works. Please use an online English dictionary with audio files (e.g. the Merriam-Webster is one of the best) to check the pronunciation of any word you encounter that you aren't sure how to pronounce. You have no excuse for getting a pronunciation in a poem or written exercise wrong in class! Get used to relying on your ears rather than on your eyes when it comes to pronunciation!

      The following paper dictionary is highly recommended: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: The Living Dictionary. 5th Edition. 2009. Essex: Pearson Education. Available at Crane's in hardcover or paperback. It comes with a CD-ROM (requiring about 500MB of disk space) which offers definitions, audio files of pronunciation of the entry in British English (online version also available; or you can check the standard British English pronunciation on and U.S. English, plus exercises and many other excellent features. It gives word pronunciations in IPA symbols, which are very close to the KK system you are familiar with.

      The above dictionary doesn't include very difficult or technical words; you can get these from the online dictionaries, or get another English-English desktop dictionary, available for purchase at local English book stores such as Bookman, Crane's, Lai Lai and Cave's.

     Here's a page on How to Choose a Dictionary.

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      US English-English dictionaries usually use a strange (for you) set of pronunciation symbols based on English spelling habits, which may be difficult to get used to at first. You will find a pronunciation key on each page of the dictionary to help you. Here's the pronunciation key to the American Heritage Dictionary, which is representative of this kind of pronunciation symbols. If in doubt, use an online dictionary with audio files and listen to the correct pronunciation!

      A pocket edition of one of these English-English dictionaries is handy for class use; most English-Chinese dictionaries published in Taiwan are full of errors, especially in the KK pronunciations of words. Electronic dictionaries are handy and very popular among students these days, but they are also not always as reliable, since they are mostly produced domestically; they will probably be missing some words and definitions, and the pronunciation in KK symbols may not be accurate. But some include a huge database of several good English-English dictionaries, and are very useful. Shop carefully.

     The best English thesaurus, in my opinion, is: The Synonym Finder. 1987. Emmaus: Rodale. 1361pp. Paper. Available at Bookman Books 書林.

      In my view, the very best Chinese-English dictionary is one compiled on the Chinese mainland: 漢英辭典. 修訂版. 1995. 北京:外語教學與研究出版社. 主編:危東亞. This now seems to be out of print, so the following is a good substitute: 新世紀漢英大辭典 A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary. 外語教學與研究出版社, 2003. Purchase at 秋水堂 台北市羅斯福路三段333巷14號
(02)2369-5999. You may have to put in a special order. It takes about six weeks for the book(s) to arrive.

      See homepage and the Language and Linguistics page for links to more online dictionaries, including Chinese ones.

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Outside Work

     All students are encouraged to advance their English skills on their own, outside class. Here are some ideas on how to do this; also please visit Extras on this site for some resources to get you started:

      Read English newspapers and magazines (many available free online – see Extras or do a search), novels (simplified ones are OK!), materials on the Internet, anything else of interest;

     Listen to the radio – programs like Studio Classroom or Ivy League (if you are on Facebook, you might want to consider joining the Karen on Ivy League Analytical English fan page), the FM93.1 and ICRT, which broadcast BBC programming every weekday morning, 6am-7am for FM93.1, and 7:00-7:30am for ICRT: listen to the BBC's daily Learning English feature with text and audio; and other Internet broadcasts from around the world (see Extras); you can now download lots of audio programs on the Internet to your MP3 player – see section on podcasts above;

     Watch English language TV programs, e.g. sitcoms and the news, and movies: movies and other videos/DVDs can be borrowed and viewed in the AV library;

     Speak and write English with friends: you may want to set up a language exchange, meet English speakers through activities in Taipei's foreign communities, or just practice with classmates – don't be shy! Finding and writing to an e-mail pen pal is another good way to practice English – try joining a special interest discussion group (see Extras) and send a note to someone who says things you think are interesting. Keep a blog.

     Here's a Topical list of resources in the Language Learning workshop from SIL International – it contains lots of good ideas on language learning.

     Please write Prof. Chung if you have other good English-learning ideas to share!

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Study aids and resources

Reading and thinking:
Interrogating Texts: 6 Reading Habits to Develop in Your First Year at Harvard

2. How to Write More Clearly, Think More Clearly, and Learn Complex Material More Easily by Michael A. Covington

Format and Hanyu Pinyin:
3. English formatting workbook – good for practice:

4. Punctuation explained

5. Clean up cluttered Web pages with Readability

6. Hanyu Pinyin 漢語拼音Tutorial: Teach yourself Pinyin

7. Pinyin tone mark converter

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Computer skills:
8. David Pogue's Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User

Compound stress, word endings, grammar:
9. English compound noun stress rules

English plural and past tense pronunciation rules

11. Verb Tense Tutorial
Explanation of the simple past in English
More verb practice

Pronunciation, listening, the Echo Method, phonics, adverbs:
12. English Central

13. Facebook: Karen on Ivy League Analytical English

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14. Sesame Street: Demonstration of how the "Echo Method" works
Learn phonics with "Silent E"
Learn English adverb formation with the "LY" song

Language exchange and audio books:
15. Language exchange site: Livemocha

16. Free audio books: Librivox

17. More free audio books

Inputting KK symbols:
18. Online KK symbol editor page

19. Copy-and-paste IPA symbols

1. Merriam-Webster (American English)

2. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (American and British English)

3. Macmillan Dictionary (American and British English)

4. Howjasay (British English pronunciation)

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