Freshman English: Readings and Lab
Fall 2017
College of Science


Mondays 新生大樓 403, class periods 3/4, 10:20am-12:10pm,
Wednesdays 外教 101, class periods 1/2, 8:10-10:00am

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

TA: Stella Kuo 郭劭芸

Goals of Course
E-mail and miscellaneous requirements
List of somewhat shorter novels for book report assignment
News and podcasts
Grade calculation
Outside Work
Study aids and resources
Inputting KK/IPA symbols
English TTS (text to speech) (good for proofreading); Chinese TTS
Google in English

Fall 2017: 31 class meetings

September 2017: 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27, 30 (extra make-up class)
October: 2, (4, 9 and 10 are holidays), 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30
November: 1, 6, 8, 13, (15 is a holiday), 20, 22, 27, 29
December: 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27
January 2018: (1 is a holiday), 3

Important dates for Fall 2017:
Cancel-add: September 11-23

Application period for withdrawing from a course:
September 25-December 8
Finalization of class schedules:
October 2-6
Mid-Autumn Festival holiday (no class):
October 4
Double Tenth National Day holiday
(no class):
Monday and Tuesday, October 9-10
Online application for exemption from advanced English class:
October 16-20 (tentative)
Mid-semester online student course evaluations:
October 30-November 10
(no midterm will be given for this class): November 6-10
NTU Campus Fair:
Sunday, November 12
Anniversary of the Founding of Taiwan University (no class):
Wednesday, November 15
New Year's Day/Founding Day of the ROC
(no class): Monday, January 1, 2018
End-of-semester online student course evaluations:
December 22, 2017-January 4, 2018
Last day of class:
Friday, January 5, 2018
Final exams:
January 8-12, 2018
Freshman English final exam:
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 in 外教101
Winter break:
January 15-February 25, 2018
Chinese New Year's Eve:
Thursday, February 15, 2018


I. Books
Optional textbook:

1. 親愛的英文,我到底哪裡錯了? (fb)
作者: 史考特•科斯博 (Scott Cuthbert)
出版社:本事文化  2014

Optional picture dictionary for vocabulary-building:
2. English-Chinese Oxford Picture Dictionary, 2nd edition.
Adelson-Goldstein, Jayme & Norma Shapiro. New York:
Oxford University Press, 2009.
Available at 台大出版中心 (總圖旁)

This is a collection of the most high-frequency and useful words in English.
You may know many of them already, but almost certainly not all of them.
Setting up a program for yourself to learn a few pages of the vocabulary a day -
the pictures make it easier - means you are likely to have important words
ready when you need them in a pinch.

3. Here is a short, simple edition of the Oxford English Picture Dictionary.
    Vocabulary flashcards here.

II. Other materials
1.  Dictionaries
     Check ALL words you're not COMPLETELY sure of here –

     a.  Merriam-Webster Online (GA [= General American])

     b.  The Free Dictionary (GA and BE [= Standard Southern British English])

     c.  Cambridge Advanced Dictionary (GA and BE)

Checking your grammar with Google
    Read this and follow the instructions to check your work
    BEFORE submitting any assignment:
    Using Google as a Usage Barometer, by Jerome C. Su.

3. Hello!ET (CET) 師德 articles on pronunciation, by Karen Chung

4. Excel spreadsheet with individual pronunciation points
    and issue number of related CET article:
    Use for pronunciation improvement plan.
    Available over Google Drive; use your gmail address to access the folder.
5. Simplified English novels
    Extra credit given for one-paragraph summary of each book you read
    Record of books read on Sheet Two of Pronunciation Plan file.
    Simplified novels are fine - the originals are usually too long and difficult.
    Try the library, or Bookman's, Crane's, Lailai, or Cave's, and exchange with classmates.
    FYI: Literary genres include: novel, short story, drama, poetry, essay.

6. For reference: About Poetry: English Prosody Plus Selected Literary Terms

7. Book sharing: Ms. Chung will occasionally share a book with the class that she is currently reading:
    you are encouraged to do so too!

III. Technology
1. Always use your NTU email account for class business unless otherwise instructed.
2. Join: the Class Facebook Group
3. Join: Karen on Ivy League Analytical English
on Facebook
4. Everybody must have a gmail account and be added to Google Drive, to post, read and edit class assignments.
5. Submit your Echo practice listening log, update your pronunciation plan and your reading list, add new vocabulary, and enter errors and corrections WEEKLY in your Excel file on Google Drive.
6. Submit your weekly class notes into a Word file on Google Drive.
7. Free recording software: Audacity
8. Optional: Online Flash Cards
9. Optional: Free audio books are available on Librivox

Goals of Course

This course will concentrate on four main areas:

     (1) Pronunciation training. Everybody must keep a pronunciation, grammar and class notes journal. A summary of your class notes is due every Monday.

     (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. Also, for each simplified English novel or other English book you read on your own and submit a short summary of, you will receive extra credit. Everybody must keep a record of the books you read.

     (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. 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.

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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 with 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:

UK Media:
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, iPod, or smart phone, 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 on iTunes U!

     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 and Melissa 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:
     Taiwan University now uses 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 and The Free Dictionary are recommended) 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) 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), FM93.1 and ICRT (100.7), 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)

5. The Free Dictionary (American English pronunciation)

OneLook Free Dictionary (Good for patttern searches)

7. Lopate: Near Suicide

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