Thursday, 31 January 2008

Nicknames for States? II


In Spain certain cities have got special names such as "Cádiz" and "la tacita de plata" or "Sevilla" and "la sartén de Andalucía".... but the same happens with American States: for example the state of Alabama is known as the Heart of Dixie, Alaska is called the Last Frontier,Iowa's nickname, the Hawkeye State, is in honor of Black Hawk, an Indian chief who spent most of his life in neighboring Illinois! ...If you want to know about it read and listen to Voice of America

boomp3.com

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

How to Fake a Smile



Click on the image to enlarge.

"Basic Instructions" is a comic strip. Any advice contained herein is intended as humor, and should not be followed as actual instructions or advice.

Sales Time


We've been shopping and spent a lot of money recently! Where did we go and what did we spend it on?
Find out by doing these four exercises:
Exercise one Pre-listening vocabulary
Exercise two CLick on the expression you hear
Exercise three Complete and listen
Exercise four Is this exactly what you've heard?

Monday, 28 January 2008

News to Ponder



© Cam Cardow of The Ottawa Citizen 2007

Gillian Gibbons Arrested in Sudan For Naming Teddy Bear Mohammed

In November 2007, a UK teacher working in a school in the Sudan was arrested for blasphemy after complaints were filed over her naming a school teddy bear Mohammed. Ms. Gibbons had her students choose a name for the class bear in September and it appeared everything was fine until she was arrested towards the end of September. Apparently some parents had taken offense to the name and had complained to Sudan's Ministry of Education. Her punishment could have resulted in 40 lashes, imprisonment, or a fine.

After many group intervened on her behalf, Ms Gibbons was spared the lash but was given 15 days in jail by the judge. A costly price for an innocent mistake based in cultural differences. However, the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, pardoned her, allowing her to leave jail 9 days early.

Questions to Ponder
1.- Did the punishment fit the crime in your estimation?

2.- Is there some way to review the cultural differences of a country before you visit so that you do not offend the local population or step into a situation like Ms. Gibbons?

3.- Is it the travelers responsibility to learn about cultural taboos prior to arriving in a new country, or the country's responsibility to inform travelers of potential cultural land mines in an orientation upon arrival?

4.- Should ignorance of a law ever be a valid defense?



Links to read and learn:
Times on line
USA Today

And Tomorrow?

Friday, 25 January 2008

Places to Visit


One of the most charming and popular villages in the North York Moors National Park, Robin Hood's Bay is situated on the beautiful Heritage Coast, and has a strong connection with the sea. You can still see fishing boats and fishermen at work in the harbour today.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Extreme's More than Words

How to Remember the Name of That Song...



Click on the image to enlarge.

"Basic Instructions" is a comic strip. Any advice contained herein is intended as humor, and should not be followed as actual instructions or advice.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Traffic in London



Many places today have problems with too many cars on the roads. I visited London recently. What is traffic like there?
Find out by doing these four exercises:
Exercise one. Pre-listening Vocabulary.
Exercise two. Click on the words you hear.
Exercise three. Listen and complete.
Exercise four Is this exactly what you've heard?



(Thanks to Caroline Brown)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Do or Make?


The two verbs 'do' and 'make' are often confused.
The meanings are similar, but there are differences.
'Do' for Activities
Use the verb 'do' to express daily activities or jobs.
Notice that these are usually activities that produce no physical object.
do homework
do housework
do the ironing
do the dishes
do a job

'Do' for General Ideas
Use the verb 'do' when speaking about things in general.
In other words, when we do not exactly name an activity.
This form is often used with the words 'something, nothing, anything, everything, etc.'
I'm not doing anything today.
He does everything for his mother.
She's doing nothing at the moment.

Important Expressions with 'Do'
There are a number of standard expressions that take the verb 'do'.
These are standard collocations (verb + noun combinations)
that are used in English.
do one's best
do good
do harm
do a favour
do business

'Make' for Constructing, Building, Creating
Use 'make' to express an activity that creates something that you can touch.
make food
make a cup of tea / coffee
make a mess

Important Expressions with 'Make'
There are a number of standard expressions that take the verb 'make'.
In a number of cases the verb 'do' seems more appropriate.
These are standard collocations (verb + noun combinations) that are used in English.
make plans
make an exception
make arrangements
make a telephone call
make a decision
make a mistake
make noise
make money
make an excuse
make an effort

Now you are ready to try some exercises

Do Parents Exist?




Click on the image to enlarge

Monday, 21 January 2008

Nicknames for places? I



In Spain certain cities have got special names such as "Cádiz" and "la tacita de plata" or "Sevilla" and "la sartén de Andalucía".... but the same happens with American States: for example Alabama is known as the Heart of Dixie, Alaska is called the Last Frontier...
If you want to know about it read and listen to VOA.

boomp3.com

Sunday, 20 January 2008

How to Win an Argument


Click on the image to enlarge.
"Basic Instructions" is a comic strip. Any advice contained herein is intended as humor, and should not be followed as actual instructions or advice.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Nirvana's The Man Who Sold the World



The Man Who Sold The World
Artist(Band):Nirvana

We passed upon the stair, we spoke in was and when
Although I wasn't there, he said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise, I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone, a long long time ago

Oh no, not me
We never lost control
You're face to face
With The Man Who Sold The World

I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home
I searched a foreign land, for years and years I roamed
I gazed a gazeless star, we walked a million hills
I must have died alone, a long long time ago

Who knows? Not me
I never lost control
You're face to face
With the Man who Sold the World

Who knows? not me
We never lost control
You're face to face
With the Man who Sold the World

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Doubts Using Modal Verbs?


Modals are special verbs which behave very irregularly in English. Englishpage.com has created one of the most in-depth modal tutorials in print or online. Study the modal explanations and complete the associated exercises and take another step toward English fluency. If you want to use the Modal Verb Tutorial as a reference only and do not want to complete the tutorial Click Here .

Modal Exercise 1 Can , Could , Have to , Must , Might and Should
Modal Exercise 2 Have to and Must
Modal Exercise 3 Might , Must and Should . Afterwards, you can repeat the exercise using Could , Have to and Ought to
Modal Exercise 4 Couldn't and Might not
Modal Exercise 5 Have got to , Had Better , May and Shall
Modal Exercise 6 Could , Might , Should and Would
Modal Exercise 7 Modal Verbs Forms
Modal Final Test Cumulative Modal Test


If you want to have a revision of each modal expressión enter Englishpage and click on every form.
BUT remember:
Modal verbs are special verbs which behave very differently from normal verbs. Here are some important differences:

1. Modal verbs do not take "-s" in the third person.
Examples: 
•He can speak Chinese.
•She should be here by 9:00.

2. You use "not" to make modal verbs negative, even in Simple Present and Simple Past.
Examples:
•He should not be late.
•They might not come to the party.

3. Many modal verbs cannot be used in the past tenses or the future tenses.
Examples:
•He will can go with us. Not Correct
•She musted study very hard. Not Correct

Modal Verbs with Abba's The Day Before You Came




The day before you came Abba

I must have left my house at eight because I always do
My train I'm certain left the station just when it was due
I must have read the morning paper going into town
And having gotten through the editorial no doubt I must have frowned
I must have made my desk around a quarter after nine
With letters to be read and heaps of papers waiting to be signed
I must have gone to lunch
at half past twelve or so The usual place the usual bunch
And still on top of this I'm pretty sure it must have rained
The day before you came

I must have lit my seventh cigarette at half past two
And at the time I never even noticed I was blue
I must have kept on dragging through the business of the day
Without really knowing anything I hid a part of me away
At five I must have left there's no exception to the rule
A matter of routine I've done it ever since I finished school
The train back home again
Undoubtedly I must have read the evening paper then
Oh yes I'm sure my life was well within it's usual frame
The day before you came

I must have opened my front door at eight o'clock or so
And stopped along the way to buy some Chinese food to go
I'm sure I had my dinner watching something on TV
There's not I think a single episode of Dallas that I didn't see
I must have gone to bed around a quarter after ten
I need a lot of sleep and so I like to be in bed by then
I must have read a while
The latest one by Marilyn French or something in that style
It's funny but I had no sense of living without aim
The day before you came

And turning out the light
I must have yawned and cuddled up for yet another night
And rattling on the roof I must have heard the sound of rain
The day before you came

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Urban Legends



A tooth left into a glass of coke will disolve overnight.
Man died in his sleep, killed by his own farts.
Australian programmers included armed Kangaroos to a military defense simulation programme.
Albert Einstein switched place with his chauffeur during a speech.

There are some stories which we have listened to for a long time but...
are they really true?

If you want to know click on Urban Legends on the Funny Things Section on your left.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

The Pub


For many people – natives and tourists – the pub is the very image of British national social life. The traditional atmosphere of the English pub, with its informality and all-round cosiness, has made it an internationally unique institution.
The occupying forces of the Roman army established the first places that sold food and wine to travellers. These were succeeded in later centuries first by alehouses, and then by roadside inns that catered for those undertaking long journeys for reasons of business or Christian pilgrimage. The era of horse-drawn coach travel made the inns altogether more splendid, and then there were the Victorian gin palaces...up to the present-day theme pub.
Enter Icons at a Glance here or on your left (Understanding them section)to know more about other symbols, or about the history of the pubs.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Choosing the Right Calendar for New Year



The New Year is the time for new beginnings. It is also the time to buy a new calendar. Yet it can take a lot of time just to choose the right one. There are lots and lots of choices. There are small ones. Big ones. Calendars that sit on a desk. Calendars that hang on the wall. Calendars to carry around. Calendars that show a whole month or one day at a time. Calendars with pets, women, men, flowers, cars...have a nice time choosing yours, and listen and read about it.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

France Introduces Smoking Ban

Sometimes using the news is really useful when learning English or any other language. It is important because we know the topic thanks to our sources of information and so we can guess the meaning of new words from that well-known context.
France has joined several other European countries in imposing a ban on smoking in bars, cafes and restaurants.... Read or listen to more information.

Hi, again!



After such a long and relaxing Christmas break... are you ready to come back to school?

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Listening to Cartoons

Emphasis, stress and intonation are the key to understanding and being understood when speaking a foreign language.
Spanish, Italian and other languages are syllabic: we pronounce each syllable in each word but English is different.
English is considered a stressed language. What does that mean? It means that, in English, we give stress to certain words while other words are quickly spoken (some students say eaten!).
For example the modal verb "can" is hardly pronounced in:
"They can come on Friday"
On the other hand, when we use the negative form "can't" we tend to stress the fact that it is the negative form by also stressing "can't".
"They can't come on Friday"
(Click to get more information from ESL-About.com)

A good way to practice and get a foreign language stress is repeating short structures such as the following cartoons from the British Council.

Have fun and select your topic!


Tuesday, 1 January 2008

History Channel and Christmas


In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.
Learn more about the history of Christmas all around the world at History Channel

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