Search This Blog


October 02, 2015

abbreviations, acronyms

How well do you know your FAQs from your BPMs? Would you know when to RSVP? Don’t worry if these strings of letters seem baffling to you. Today we’re taking a look at 50 of the most useful English abbreviations and acronyms to help you navigate everything from official documents and friendly invitations to casual conversations in a nightclub.

Source: Pearson ELT Learning Journeys

September 28, 2015

September 26, 2015

European Day of Languages

This video was made by the Official School of Languages in Pamplona.

September 25, 2015

An Inspector calls

Would you like to go to the theater in English? This is a show by "Madrid Players"
Adults: 12 Euros
Groups/children: 10 Euros
Madrid Players members: 6 Euros

September 24, 2015

Questions about the life of Junípero Serra

The canonization of 18th-century Spanish missionary Father Junípero Serra, who was made a saint by Pope Francis in Washington on Wednesday, represents a strategic move by the Catholic Church in the United States. During a conference in May, Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gómez called Serra the “first Mexican immigrant” because “he lived and worked more than a dozen years in Mexico before coming to California.”

The Mallorca-born missionary, who lived from 1713 to 1784, traveled with Spanish expeditions to help convert the Native American communities living in what is now California to Christianity. At age 56, he arrived in the unexplored Spanish territory and later set up nine missions between San Diego and San Francisco; these missions today are preserved as important historic sites. Although he is not well-known in Spain, Father Serra is a monumental figure in California history. His biography is studied in schools and the story of the American West cannot be told without mentioning Serra’s name.

European Day of Languages

To celebrate the European Day of Languages on Sept 26th, here is an infographic about the English Language.

September 22, 2015

In the Heart of New Orleans

You may like to train your ear by listening to this document about New Orleans and the 10th anniversary from Hurricane Katrina.
Listen and write T (true) or F (false) beside these statements.
1) The French Quarter is the oldest part of New Orleans.
2) New Orleans was founded in 1780.
3) The architecture of the French Quarter is typically French.
4) Most of the tourist spots are in the French Quarter.
5) Over a thousand people were killed when Hurricane Katrina struck ten years ago.
6) Only a few of the neighbourhoods have recovered from the disaster.

September 21, 2015

Here’s Proof That You Are Wired To Be Lazy

Trying to lose weight? Your nervous system may be working against you

When you have one free evening and two competing impulses—to work out and to binge watch—which do you usually follow?
You’ll be relieved to hear that choosing the couch is only human. Humans are inherently lazy, which may be a trait left over from our ancestors’ days of conserving energy for the next hunt. Unfortunately, a small new study published in the journal Current Biology finds that even when we do choose to move, our bodies naturally do it in the most economical way possible—which is bad news for anyone trying to lose weight.
Science has already proven that our bodies naturally choose the most efficient way to walk, at a speed and step length that limits the number of calories we expend. What’s not known is whether the nervous system—responsible for movements like walking—continuously optimizes movement, in real time, to use the least amount of energy possible. “If your nervous system is working against you you’re trying to keep your calories burned as low as possible,” says study co-author Max Donelan, professor of biomedical physiology and kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in Canada. “And that’s indeed what we found.”
In the new research, the researchers outfitted nine people in a sort of motorized leg brace designed to disrupt the normal way people walk by adding resistance to their knee joints. The people in the study then walked on a treadmill while the researchers measured how their gait adapted to the device.
In just minutes, they found that people changed the way that they walked in a way that conserved the most calories—even very small amounts. “The nervous system is capable of doing this energy optimization and does it below the level of your conscious awareness to such a fine degree,” says Donelan. “This is the first real strong evidence that the nervous system even has the ability to do that.”
Though they only studied walking, the researchers think that the nervous system’s tendency to hoard calories applies to many movements. “This is good news if you’re an athlete,” Donelan says. “You’d like your body to be helping you move as cheaply as possible if you’re trying to win a race so you have as many energy reserves as you possibly can.” But if you’re exercising to sweat off calories, it’s not great news, he says.

September 15, 2015

Desperate Crossing

IN THE CLOUDLESS EARLY HOURS OF JULY 27, two tiny fishing boats drifted across the Mediterranean Sea. Crammed aboard were 733 would-be migrants, including 59 children under the age of 5. Most were from the impoverished and despotically ruled northeast African nation of Eritrea.

September 10, 2015

How to speak so that people want to listen

Have you ever felt like you're talking, but nobody is listening? Here's Julian Treasure to help you fix that. As the sound expert demonstrates some useful vocal exercises and shares tips on how to speak with empathy, he offers his vision for a sonorous world of listening and understanding.
Source: TED Julian Treasure

September 08, 2015

English is the queerest language


I'd like to wish you all good luck tomorrow 9th at the exam. In the meantime, this poem will entertain you with some pronounciation reflections.

September 02, 2015

'Migrant' Or 'Refugee'? Why The Distinction Matters

As Europe debates how to deal with the influx of people landing on its shores, the language used to describe them is subject to its own dispute.
This is an example of how language can be misleading and used to manipulate voters and listeners.
Source: Newsy

August 31, 2015


Sara would like to say hi and thank you for the nice outfit she's wearing today. She's very happy about it, can't you tell?

August 29, 2015

The English we speak


This BBC series The English we speak is a fantastic source of new expressions. I recommend you dowload its programs and listen to the definition of for example red tape.

Have a good day

August 26, 2015

Where does English come from?

When we talk about ‘English’, we often think of it as a single language. But what do the dialects spoken in dozens of countries around the world have in common with each other, or with the writings of Chaucer? Claire Bowern traces the language from the present day back to its ancient roots, showing how English has evolved through generations of speakers.

August 24, 2015


Over 40% of people in the U.S. say they are not doing enough to manage their stress, and the consequences of that could lead to all sorts of health-related problems. A recent study published in the journal Neuron showed people who are stressed have more difficulty with self-control and are more likely to choose to eat unhealthy food. If you’re like many Americans, you often be stressed about work and money, but there are good reasons to take time out of your day to relax. Here’s some examples of how stress affects your entire body. Source: Time magazine
How about you? Do you think Spaniards are equally stressed? How does stress affect you?

August 22, 2015

Were you a picky eater when a child?

picky, adjective, Informal. Very difficult to please, choosy, fastidious
Mac and cheese: macaroni prepared in a cheese sauce

Despite the fact that many doctors dismiss picky eating as just a phase, a new study shows it may be a sign of deeper issues

Rare is the child who will eat pretty much anything. Most toddlers develop specific favorite foods and, of more concern, absolute no-go foods.

To a certain extent, that’s normal. But when eating preferences make it difficult for the child to eat with others, that could be a sign of more serious sensitivities, say scientists in a report appearing in Pediatrics.

August 17, 2015

The incredible history of China's terracotta warriors

In 1974, farmers digging a well near their small village stumbled upon one of the most important finds in archaeological history – vast underground chambers surrounding a Chinese emperor’s tomb that contained more than 8,000 life-size clay soldiers ready for battle.
Source: TED Ed            

  1. What insights can the Terracotta Warriors provide us about Chinese history?
  2. Why would some emperors wish to have “company” in the afterlife? What might that reveal about their beliefs about life and the world?
  3. What might the emperor have been considering in burying more than just soldiers in the tombs?
  4. The Terracotta Warriors were discovered in __________ by ____________ who were digging a ________.
  5. Terracotta, or also known as “_______” is a type of ______ clay.
  6. _____________ commissioned the building of the Terracotta Warriors.
  7.  The reason he had the Terracotta Warriors built was because he was obsessed with his _________

August 14, 2015

Richard Blanco's poem Matters of the sea


At the reopening of the American Embassy in Havana, I though it would be nice to listen to Richard Blanco's poem written for the occasion, “Matters of the Sea” or ” “Cosas Del Mar.”

Blanco, who is the son of a Cuban exile family, said that the poem was one of the most emotional and complex poems he’d written:

August 13, 2015

Here’s Why Email Puts You in a Nasty Mood

A combination of anxiety for work during non-work hours and emails make for stressed out workers.

It’s already been shown that emailing after business hours can be psychologically damaging, but new research published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology confirms what you probably know in your gut to be true: workers who are expected to be available even when they aren’t at work experience an elevated stress response.
Psychologists from the University of Hamburg asked 132 people from 13 workplaces to complete a daily survey over a period of eight days—four on which they were expected to be available for work, four on which they were not. They were all surveyed, and half the the participants also provided saliva samples that were measured for cortisol. (Cortisol is the hormone released in response to stressful situations.)

The results showed that during times when a person was expected to be reachable, people had elevated cortisol levels and reported being stressed. While that might be expected, what is interesting is that when a person is not required to be physically available at the office, there’s still a significant uptick in cortisol.