English Business Letter Generator

Here is an interesting page on Ego4u.com that generates business letter in English. I have found it by chance, and tried it out. If you visit the page, you will see the following templates from which you can choose:

  • Invoice or Overdue Notice
  • Dispatch Note and Acknowledgment Receipt
  • Order Information
  • Offer, and
  • Enquiry

After the click on the template you will see common parts of the business letter (salutation, the first paragraph, subject etc.), with several options, followed by spaces for information to personalize your letter.

Creating custom business letter intro by using the templete
Creating custom business letter intro by using the template

Created letters can be exported in textual and rich-text format (RTF). Here is an example of completed letter:

Business Letter - Offer (Autogenerated by a tempate)
Business Letter - Offer (Auto-generated by a template)

Letters auto-generated from templates are interesting and useful mostly as an illustration of the form. However, it is better to learn how to write them and improve your correspondence, which is, after all, business-like and professional.

Macmillan Readers help improve reading and listening skills

Textbooks of reading material, or readers, improve reading and listening skills, especially when accompanied by the recording of the written material. This text is short overview of the listening problems, with the explanation why texts with recorded narration are useful. In addition, we will describe Macmillan Readers Series.

Listening problems in EFL

What are the problems regarding listening in language acquisition? We will use the list from an article Barriers to Acquiring Listening Strategies which states that major listening problems are:

  1. Lack of control over the speed at which speakers speak ,
  2. not being able to get things repeated,
  3. the listener’s limited vocabulary,
  4. failure to recognize the “signals,”
  5. problems of interpretation,
  6. inability to concentrate, and
  7. established learning habits.

Benefits of using Reader and recorded narration

By using reading materials and recorded narration, learners can address some of the problems. For example, the learners can gradually train themselves to read faster, they can repeat the recording when they like and as often as they like. Further, learners are not under pressure to know unknown words, as they can at their own time work on the text and then again on the listening.

A CD accompanying Macmillan Reader

The listening material is very important in dealing with the proper pronunciation, stress, accent and sentence rhythm. This is great way to acquire pronunciation, especially if learners can record themselves and then compare their own reading with the narration on the CD.

Introducing Macmillan Readers Series

Without any wish to promote it as the best available, we will in short describe Macmillan Readers series. The series consists of booklets with CD that contains recorded material spoken by professional actors. It is published at six levels, and each level has structure and vocabulary that suits learners’ ability. More difficult words are explained within text, or shown in the pictures. According to the publisher, the texts are “retold versions of popular classic and contemporary titles as well as specially written stories.”

Back of the book indicating a level
Back cover of the book indicating a level

The number of words is different at each level:

Starter, about 300 basic words
Beginner, 600;
Elementary, 1100;
Pre-intermediate, 1400;
Intermediate, 1600 and
Upper, about 2200 basic words.

The readers contain a glossary and comprehension exercises as well. You can visit Macmillan Readers
on a bookstore site for further information. Feel free to suggest similar products in the comments bellow.

Babbel.com – language learning platform

Babbel.com is an online platform for learning foreign languages. You can choose to learn Italian, French, Spanish and German, while site is available in English and Italian and it offers interactive multimedia content.

After registration you will be welcomed by uncluttered home page from where you can choose tutorials and exercises. Because Babbel.com is a modern site, it is loaded with pictures and good voice samples (“listening material”) by native language speakers.

Vocabulary sets and learning unknown words

Here you can learn words related to a specific topic, such as meeting people, art, weather, food, music etc. After choosing the vocabulary you are guided through the tutorial in several stages. The site will present you in more than one way the words you are learning, and after that you can solve simple and amusing test. If you opt in for the e-mail notifications, you will get a remainder to review your more challenging words.

Learn words related to specific topica
Learn words related to specific topic

Learn – Real-life language, Grammar and Exercises

Steadily growing number of tutorials available in Learn section of the site is useful in getting an overview of basic grammar and in seeing how the language functions in real life. The section is presented through mini lessons which consist of language material (audio and pictures) and, again, different tests where you can see how successful you are acquiring your new language.

Interactive language lessons (Tutorials)
Interactive language lessons (Tutorials)

Community and Language Learning

The site is still being developed, but community plays one of the major parts. You can see what users are online, what languages they are learning and so on. There is an option to get in touch with “learning partner” and improve the learning by working together. However, it is obvious that this needs more work, from technical aspect and available content. It would be good to have voice and video chat, and more multimedia content to motivate learners.

To connect with other users you can also use Chat and Board, available in French, English, Italian, German and Italian (at the moment when this article is being written).

Language learning platform with potential

Babbel.com is a platform with great potential, and being free it is worth trying. We hope that the team behind the site will work more on interactivity within context. It is obvious that learners need more exposure to the language, more content with target language, especially topics related to the culture of the countries where the foreign language is spoken. Also, it would be great to see how potentials of community can be used not only in an interactive part, but in the creation of the content as well.

At the moment, Babbel.com is great for intermediate users that wish to refresh their basic knowledge of foreign language, but we hope to see more content with in-depth language exposure that will benefit all learners.