Monday, 29 December 2008
Go on reading about this place while you listen to the story behind.
And if you want to know more about this state enter their official web guide.
Friday, 19 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
It's a snowy Christmas Eve. Santa is out and about while all the good girls and boys are tucked up in their beds sound asleep.
But there's a slight problem. Santa can't remember where all the good boys and girls live. One of the reindeers ate his map.
Can you help Santa choose which chimney to go down to leave his presents? Click on the chimney you'd like him to go down. Only one out of three is correct. Select the right one and a child will be opening their gift in the morning, choose a wrong one and Santa will get a nasty surprise and it will end the game.
The further you get Santa, the better chance you'll have of winning a prize. The person with the highest score on the stroke of midnight (GMT) on January 6th 2009 will win a prize. In the event of a tie, the first person to get that score will win. The Judge's decision is final.
Try this game thanks to Cambridge English Online
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
The landlord thought about what to do...
Download the LearnEnglish stories and poems podcast. You’ll find multi-level stories to improve your English; you can do it online or in this blog.
This time the support pack contains the following materials:
• the story that you can listen to in the podcast in a pop-up player;
• a pre-reading vocabulary activity;
• a comprehension activity based on the story;
• a vocabulary activity.
Monday, 15 December 2008
Christmas is the biggest festival in Britain and is celebrated on 25th December. The four weeks before Christmas are called Advent, and are traditionally celebrated in churches by lighting a candle each Sunday during Advent. Nowadays, many people in Britain are not very religious, but they still celebrate Christmas. But watch out - the preparations begin long before Advent. In fact, as early as September or October, you start to see signs that Christmas is on the way...
Go on reading while you listen to it and try this BBC crossword about Christmas.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
across the waves first two quick strokes and then one long steady stroke, was
the light of the Lighthouse. It had been lit."
(Virginia Woolf, "The Window," To the Lighthouse)
Next year we'll have a new chance to read an learn a bit more about Virginia Woolf. Woolf-- a major British novelist, essayist, and critic-- was one of the leaders in the literary movement of modernism. This elite group also included Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot.
In her works, she used a technique called "stream of consciousness", revealing the lives of her characters by revealing their thoughts and associations.
Her most famous novel, "To the Lighthouse", which was written in 1927, examines the life of an upper middle class British family. It portrays the fragility of human relationships and the collapse of social values.
She was also a feminist, socialist, and pacifist who expressed her beliefs in essays such as "A Room of One's Own".
On 23rd April 2009 in Neda a new Literary Conference about this novelist will be held. In the meanwhile try to prepare yourself with some material:
Some of her works: Mrs. Dalloway, Jacob's room,
To the Lighthouse, Collected Short Stories
Friday, 12 December 2008
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
It can also be a time when each of us chooses to take human rights into our daily lives, individually and collectively.
Take action as an individual. Join the growing global people network.
I choose to sign this declaration because: I wish to take responsibility for upholding the goals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in my daily life and in my community. I will do my best to speak out to protect the freedom and rights of others in my community. I affirm the following principle: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” I believe Every Human Has Rights.
Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in plain language.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Saturday, 6 December 2008
To grown-ups, he is a special symbol of goodwill and selfless giving. Santa Claus also has some other names: Saint Nicholas, St. Nick, Kris Kringle, Pelznickel...
Learn more about him with VOA while you listen to the programme.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese; so one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
Monday, 1 December 2008
"All animals are equal but some animals are
How much do you know about the person who these quotations belong to?
But before enjoying these novels try to know some more about him reading this BBC article, and then this reading comprehension quiz.
Friday, 28 November 2008
Daylight Saving Time gives us the opportunity to enjoy sunny summer evenings by moving our clocks an hour forward in the spring.
Yet, the implementation of Daylight Saving Time has been fraught with controversy since Benjamin Franklin conceived of the idea. Even today, regions and countries routinely change their approaches to Daylight Saving Time.
Throughout its long and fascinating history, daylight saving time has had a remarkable impact on a wide variety of unexpected areas--from Middle East terrorism to feuding twin cities, voter turnout to time-change riots, radio stations to trick-or-treaters, and opera performances to manslaughter charges.
anecdotes and incidents,
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Pubs in Britain are frequently said to be haunted. This might be because they are often century-old buildings, or it could just be that ghosts like a pint as much as the rest of us.
The 400-year-old Red Lion Inn in Wiltshire is one Britain’s most haunted pubs. The pub is situated inside Avebury stone circle - a World Heritage site and the largest stone circle in Europe - which greatly enhances its already unique atmosphere.
The hotel reports a sinister history. Legend tells of the landlady, Florrie, being murdered and pushed down the village well during the civil war, by her soldier husband who returned to find Florrie had been unfaithful.
This legend haunts the Red Lion pub, with several customers and employees seeing the lady, dressed in black, walking around the pub in search of a bearded man.
One eyewitness report detailed a spinning chandelier with a bearded man sat underneath.
Customers have seen Florrie in the ladies toilets and a previous pub landlady said the ghost of Florrie hurled salt and pepper over tables and chairs.
Ghostly horse-drawn carriages have been seen pulling up outside the pub, which dates back to the 16th century.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Thanks to BBC Learning Programmes we have the opportunity to clear doubts and practise the language.
This time a student from Egypt asks about how to improve the language and George Pickering, a British Council inspector of language schools in the UK, helps with some advice.
Try to complete the listening test and give your opinion about his ten tips, do you agree with him? Would you suggest anything else?
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Now let's know about texting:
There are lots of different kinds of ‘chat speak’ developing. For example, acronyms are often used in online chatrooms, and texting is used to message between mobile phones. An example of text speak would be ‘LOL’ or ‘laughs out loud’. Another example is 'TTFN' or 'ta ta for now'....go on reading
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
The National Park Service offers us the possibility to be a webranger. Webrangers help to preserve National Parks in the distance; they learn about the Grand Canyon, have fun, and are Park representatives to their friends, families, and schoolmates. Rangers spread their new knowledge about Parks and continue to use good environmental practices.
Enter the page, join the webrangers service and enjoy!
Monday, 17 November 2008
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Listen to the audio with or without the tapescript and try the exercises at the end of this post.
We use tags in spoken English but not in formal written English.
They are not really questions but are a way of asking the other person to make a comment and so keep the conversation open.
Making a tag is very mechanical. To make a tag, use the first auxiliary. If there is no auxiliary, use do, does or did.
With a positive sentence, make a negative tag and with a negative sentence, make a positive tag.
- It's beautiful, isn't it? He has been, hasn't he?
- You can, can't you? It must be, mustn't it?
- You know him, don’t you? He finished it, didn't he?
- He will come, won't he? It isn't very good, is it?
- It hasn't rained, has it? It can't be, can it?
- They didn't leave, did they? He won’t do it, will he?
- Jenny doesn't know James, does she?
- There isn't an ATM here, is there?
- Let's have a cup of coffee, shall we?
To reply, use the same auxiliary:
- It's beautiful, isn't it? ~ Yes, it is. I think it's fabulous.
- It isn't very good, is it? ~ No, it isn't. In fact, it's terrible.
Although, the rules are very simple and mechanical, in order to use them easily in conversation, they have to be automatic. So you need to hear and practice them very often.
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Note: I couldn't find another version with subtitles in English working properly... sorry!
Monday, 10 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
Thursday, 6 November 2008
How many things do you know about animals? Could you answer these questions?
1) Which animal seems best suited to praying?
2) Which animal would do best in the Olympic stadium?
3) Which animal causes people to look worse than usual?
4) Which animal offended a dictator?
5) Which animal would be most welcome in a library?
6) Which animal is the laziest?
7) Which animal could get a shock when it is hungry?
8) Which animal has special protection when having a drink?
9) Which animal seems poorly adapted to its natural habitat?
10) Which animal would be easiest to sleep with?
Listen to the British Council EnglishLearnCentral programme and discover it. And if you have any doubt try the test or read the tapescript after listening.
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Thanks to Segrel
Listen to BBC News by Mike Wooldridge
If this is a "Mandela moment" for America, there were - perhaps inevitably - few specific clues in Barack Obama's victory speech as to how that will work its way through on to the world stage. But for those who have objected to American unilateralism during the Bush years there was the commitment to listening, the promise - in Mr Obama's words - of a new dawn of American leadership, coupled with the pledge to defeat those who "would tear this world down".
Among the reaction from Europe, President Sarkozy said the American people had chosen "change, openness and optimism". And the European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, said "we need a new deal for a new world".
Iraq's foreign minister was quick to tell Mr Obama that there was "a great deal at stake" in Iraq and he did not foresee a quick US disengagement, while President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan said he hoped the election would bring peace, life and prosperity to his country.
Managing such expectations abroad, as well as at home, will clearly be one of Mr Obama's biggest challenges.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
One of my favourite American writers is Nathaniel Hawthorne. So was Herman Melville's, whom dedicated his major work 'Moby Dick'.
Author of 'The Scarlet Letter' and 'The House of the Seven Gables', he wrote many stories of human imagination that can be read as moral allegories. Feathertop offers a critical view of society.
Read this short version between lines and give me your opinion about humanity and appearance.
"The long cold winter was gone at last. At first the cold nights went away slowly. Then suddenly, the warm days of spring started to come. There was new life again in the earth. Things started to grow and come up. For the first time, green corn plants began to show. They pushed through the soil and could now be seen above the ground.
After the long winter months, the crows, the big black birds, were hungry. And when they saw the little green plants, they flew down to eat them. Old Mother Rigby tried to make the noisy and hungry birds go away. They made her very angry. She did not want the black birds to eat her corn. But the birds would not go away. So, early one morning, just as the sun started to rise, Mother Rigby jumped out of bed. She had a plan to stop those black birds from eating her corn..."
Continue reading and enjoy listening below thanks to VOA
Saturday, 1 November 2008
By night, Highgate Cementery is like something out of a horror movie. Eerie crooked gravestones, headless angles covered in ivy, dark overgrown passages between the tombs, it’s no wonder this is Britain’s number-one ghost spot. Despite it’s chilling atmosphere, by day Highgate Cemetery showcases some of the Britain’s most spectacular Gothic architecture, offers fascinating guided tours. It’s also the burial place of Karl Marx, George Eliott and many other famous people.
If you are brave enough enter the Sexton' Tales , the true life stories of the Victorian men and women which four generations of grave diggers have sat and told one another.
Have a nice time!
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Friday, 24 October 2008
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Karl Marx is back in fashion again! That's the view, at least, of one of Germany's biggest leftwing publishing houses, Dietz, which says that copies of Marx's best-known works have been selling very well since the start of the current global economic crisis.
Listen to the story.
Bankers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your bonuses, big houses and Caribbean holidays; and now that so many are unemployed, you've finally got time to read Karl Marx's dire warnings about capitalism.
That's how today's London Times newspaper puts it, parodying the workers' rallying call that opens Marx's 'Communist Manifesto'.
And there may be something in it, because according to German booksellers, Marx's seminal works are suddenly in demand again after a lull of many decades.
Visitors to Marx's German birthplace of Trier have soared this year to forty thousand; the curator of the town's museum of Marxism is quoted as saying he's lost count how many visitors he's heard mutter that Marx was right all along.
Free market critics of Marxism, of course, have long argued that socialism leads to poor quality goods, authoritarianism, the gulags and the rest; but for now, certainly as long as the credit crunch lasts, the pro-lending expansionists are likely to stay under as dark a cloud as their Marxist rivals.
Words from the story:
dire = very serious , parodying = imitating in a funny way, workers’ rallying call = words which made workers unite against capitalism, seminal = original and influential , lull = period of quiet or lack of activity, curator = person who looks after a museum or exhibition, authoritarianism =
a system in which people must obey the government, gulags = prison camps, especially for people who disagree with the government, pro-lending expansionists = people who think that you can develop the economy by lending money, to stay under as dark a cloud as =be as unpopular as.
Do you want to know more of him? Read why Karl Marx is the man of the moment
Monday, 20 October 2008
Things are changing in teaching and some educational authorities are taking into account new technologies to help students improve their general knowledge in specific subjects. An example is this BBC article about educacion in Italy.
Children at a school in Italy have today begun an experiment to replace all their books with personal computers. The pupils involved will each be given a special laptop that contains their entire curriculum. From Rome BBC correspondent Duncan Kennedy reports:
Listen to the story.
Until today, the Don Milani di Rivoli elementary school in central Turin was like any other. Children turned up, got out their books and pens and began the process of learning. But now, in what's being described as a unique experiment, 60 fifth-grade pupils and a number of third-graders, will start using computers only.
The mini-laptops, which run Windows software, all have a full curriculum programmed into them. The pupils will use the computers to do all their reading and writing. Security systems within the laptops mean the children's access to the internet is strictly controlled. The machines weigh less than a kilogram, can be dropped from a height of 1.5 metres and are waterproof.
Instead of spending the equivalent of 700 dollars a year on books, the laptops, built by the Italian company Olidata, cost less than 400 dollars. One of the teachers involved in the scheme says that, for the first time, schools will be able to verify in a scientific way how a computer alone can improve the learning process. The experiment, which has the backing of parents, is due to last a year.
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Before you listen to the programme look at the following comprehension questions. You can hear the answers in the programme. Check your understanding by trying the quiz below or reading the Tapescript
1: When was the first series of Star Trek screened?
2: How did NASA commemorate the Star Trek series?
3: Which other person connected with Star Trek had his remains sent into space?
4: Gordon Cooper's remains were also sent into space. Who was he?
Try the quizz
Vocabulary from the programme
the final frontier =the last unexplored area - space. The phrase was used at the beginning of each Star Trek episode.
iconic = very famous, well known and respected
in its infancy =a new thing
catching on = becoming popular
NASA = acronym for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the government organisation responsible for the space programme in the US
cremation =the burning of the body of someone who has died. After cremation what is left is called the person's 'ashes'.
remains = the ashes or body of somebody who has died
a will =the legal document in which people write what should happen to their money, possessions and remains after they have died
a growth industry =a new business which is getting bigger and becoming more popular
an unmanned rocket =a rocket which does not have any crew, there are no (living) people on it
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Octopus to the party (pulpo a feira)
Corageous potatoes (patatas bravas)
Huge air spray with grelos (lacón con grelos)
Canes and little ones (Cañas y chiquitos)
Drink from the boot and the big joint (beba en bota y en porrón)
Thin Uncle Joseph (Fino Tío Pepe) and Thin Fifth (Fino Quinta)
They will pass from Navarra (Pacharán de Navarra)
Wines from the River Ha and the Valley of Rocks (Vinos de Rioja y Valdepeñas)
Female Jews with Thief (Judías con chorizo)
Pretty to the Iron (Bonito a la plancha)
Special Opening Promotion:
One mug of bleeding if you buy a Little Joseph of Veal (Una jarra de sangría por pedir un pepito de ternera)
Little Football Contest (Concurso de Futbolín)
He-dominated Tournament (Torneo de dominó)
Primitive Lottery Cudgel (Porra de lotería primitiva)
Youyou contest by couples (Concurso de tute por parejas)
Madrid Aiport available to play on the tables (Barajas disponibles para jugar en las mesas)
Monday, 13 October 2008
old-fashioned = not modern, more typical of a time in the past
pace = speed, vintage = old, and of high quality and lasting value
delivery = way of speaking, superb = excellent
to end up = to finally be, a changed person = someone whose behaviour and character has changed a lot, especially improved
Sunday, 12 October 2008
A court in Macedonia has convicted a bear of theft and criminal damage for stealing honey from a beekeeper. However, there was an empty dock, and no handcuffed bear. This report from BBC Paddy Clark:
Listen to the story (Click on the right button to open the audio player in another window while you read)
The case was brought by an exasperated beekeeper after a year of vainly trying to protect his beehives from the marauding bear.
For a while, he kept the animal away by buying a generator, lighting up the area, and playing thumping Serbian turbo-folk music. But when the generator ran out of power and the music fell silent, the bear was back and the honey was gone again.
The beekeeper decided to go to law, and the bear was tried in absentia. The court agreed he had a case and found the bear guilty. But because the animal had no owner and belonged to a protected species, it ordered the state to pay for the damage.
The bear, meanwhile, remains at large -- somewhere in Macedonia.
Friday, 10 October 2008
The Sheriff and his henchmen rule Nottingham with an iron fist... One hope remains, Robin Hood and his gang of outlaws have a plan up their sleeve and only you can help them make it work. Play the game
This is a BBC series full of excitement, if you want to watch the interviews, learn about the characters, the episode guide and much more enter its site.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Don't be afraid of this new language pronunciation and try BBC pronunciation tips, it is never too late!
Here you will find information about:
The sounds of English
There is a system of symbols for writing the sounds of English. We have a guide to these symbols and also videos to show how to pronounce each of the sounds.
There are also activities to practise identifiying the difference between certain sounds which may sound similar.
Features of English
Information about different elements of English pronunciation.
There are also interactive and downloadable exercises to help you build your understanding of these areas.
Interactive quizzes to test your knowledge of and help you learn about English pronunication.
Three radio programmes from 2005 on the topic of pronunciation. You can download the full programmes along with the script and audio examples.
Monday, 6 October 2008
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Sunday October 5th is World Teachers’ Day, a day to celebrate teachers and teaching.
This September, hundreds of thousands of teachers will be meeting a new group of students in the classroom.
One of them is 21-year- old Nicky Blair, the son of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Nicky is going to be part of Teach First, a charity organisation in Britain.
Teach First sends top university graduates to work in deprived and difficult areas in Britain. Nicky will be facing a group of tough students from Manchester’s inner city. Teach First says that their program helps develop leadership skills for the teachers, and provides good role models for the students.
Have you ever thought what it’s like to be a teacher with a difficult class?
What kind of teacher would you be?
Click on this activity and and you'll find out.
Saturday, 4 October 2008
After your first essays last week I think you should take into account these instructions:
1.- Use black or blue ink, never use pencils.
2.- Don't write between lines; your ideas need more room to surprise your teacher.
3.- Clear handwriting; your mark depends on your teacher's ability to read and understand your text (no cap letters nor even a mixture: you know about it)
4.- Use margins; your time at primary school finished a long time ago. Please, use wide margins so that your teacher can leave helpful comments and suggestions.
5.- Be serious: fifteen-minute-essays are not enough for 2nd BAC. Use a draft before the final version.
6.- Your dictionary is also your friend: look for new words and synonyms (you know your teacher loves them).
7.- Each essay is a new step to improve your writing, so revise your mistakes to avoid them next time, and ask your teacher about them if you have any doubt.
8.- Your teacher doesn't enjoy nightmares: after so long studying English you mustn't make such terrible mistakes.
9.- Write a list of your Do's and Don't's (things I do well/ things I won't do again).
10.- Read as much as you can: learning is your goal.
Have a look on a selection of your first essays. Find out those mistakes YOU ALL have and enjoy some original ideas.
Remember you can change the the view size of this PDF.