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December 28, 2009

The power of words

I thought this video might be interesting to listen to just to reflect on the power of words. What do you think?

December 22, 2009

Christmas Period

I wanted to thank you all for your personal reviews on the class. They are really helpful to me.

For those who couldn't attend, we have the following for January:
- "Deseree's Baby" short story with questions on the comment below.

For more information on the writer, Kate Chopin, and other stories written by her, click here.
- A handout with extra activities on the Present Perfect
- A handout with extra activities on Collocations


PAGE 32, Wimbledon’s Unsung Heroes.
EX. 2: 1. E; 2. A; 3. F; 4. C; 5. D; 6. B
Ex. 3: 1: B; 2: A; 3: B; 4: E; 5: F; 6: D; 7: F; 8: A; 9: C; 10: D; 11: C; 12: D
EX. 1
1. Haven’t emailed; 2. Saw; 3. Has been; 4. have been doing; 5. Have taken; 6. Have joined; 7. Bought; 8. Have heard; 9. Walk; 10. have been wearing; 11. Have noticed; 12. Haven’t been working
EX 2
1. already; 2. just; 3. still; 4. yet; 5. since; 6. for; 7. ago; 8. since
<!--I’ve beaten him every time I’ve played so far.
<!--he’s got a strong competitive spirit/instinct/streak and has always hated losing.
<!--Our team were clear champions and won by a huge margin.
-Some racehorses seem to have an inbuilt desire to win/succeed.
-He’s just set a new world record with an incredibly fast time.
-I’m expecting a hard match because he’s a strong competitor.
-They came up against unexpectedly strong/intense/stiff competition today.
-I’m doing a lot of training because I’m competing in a sailing race next week.
EX. 4
<!--1. resounding; 2. admire; 3. status; 4. reputation; 5. personal; 6. models; 7. reached; 8. standards; 9. goals; 10. credit

Auld Lang Syne

I would like to wish you all good things for the holiday season and for the coming new year. Hope you enjoyed the song yesterday in class, "Auld Lang Syne.

"Auld Lang Syne" is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English- speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700's, it was first published in 1796 after Burns' death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition.
And old Scottish tune, "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long ago", or simply, "the good old days."


December 13, 2009

Casa Manolo

CASA MANOLO by Mónica Aranda
My favourite place is “Casa Manolo” restaurant. Casa Manolo has been specializing in fresh sea food from the Mediterranean Sea since 1969. It is located in the centre of Madrid, next to Metro Sol station. It is an old and established restaurant. Casa Manolo has attentive staff and a relaxed atmosphere. It hasn´t got a glitzy design neither plush.

In Casa Manolo food is exquisite, serving seasonally selected fresh fish, premium oyster and Certified Angus steaks. Casa Manolo has become known as one of the best places in Madrid for dinning. Their dishes have become favourite among both locals and tourists. The smoked salmon salad is served with guacamole and it is worth it! I would certainly recommend an excellent gazpacho. It is extremely good! Other delights are the chorizo, morcilla, two kinds of cheese (Manchego and Ibérico) and harm. The fishcake is absolutely perfect!
I was pleasantly surprised by the Casa Manolo's wine list, it is particularly excellent!

Casa Manolo proves very clearly my long held belief that restaurants should display their prices straightforward, so that customers can easily understand what they are going to be paying for when the bill arrives instead of receiving a nasty surprise.

Finally, I would recommend it to you for two reasons: its well prized menu and the fact that it is a cosy place. 

December 03, 2009

Long Weekend

We won't be having class again till Monday 14th so yesterday I sent you quite a lot of homework for the extra long weekend:
- Reading a Text: "Familiarity Breeds Contempt" (see questions on post).
- Extra exercises on modal verbs of possibility.
- Ex. 4, p. 29 and ex. 1, 2, 3 & 5 on p. 30 from the coursebook.

BTW, are you coming Thursday today to the Cultural day at school?
At 4pm we're showing The Visitor, and
Little Ms. Sunshine at 18h in room 14.
20:00 Talk about India, by Dr Deepak Prem
Prizes for the Writing Competition will be awarded as well.

November 30, 2009

A radio soap opera

I'm providing a link here to a radio soap opera called: Silver Street: daily urban soap. This daily-six-minute series is updated everyweek. Soap operas are an amazing source of conversational English while you get entertained!!

Gritty daily radio soap set in a vibrant urban community. This soap brings different cultures and generations together and isn't afraid to tackle taboo stories rocking the foundations of relationships, family and religion.

The cast reflect the cultural mix of Britain today strongly representing British Asian, Irish and Black characters in a cool non-stereotypical way.

Also check out some of your favourite tunes pumping through the drama - every song tells a story!

Silver Street is broadcast on BBC Asian Network at 12.15 Monday to Friday, with an omnibus at 4.30pm on Sundays.

November 29, 2009

Sardi's Restaurant

Tomorrow Monday we will listen to the story of Sardi's in 1960's in New York.

Who is the caricaturist?
If you want to know more about it, click here and here.

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Listen to an alternative way of enjoying Thanksgiving suggested by CNN today!
Why is it "alternative"? What is the alternative name given to "Thanksgiving"?

A Restaurant Review Guide

This guide on the comment section will help you write a more in-depth restaurant review that will please even the pickiest of readers. Simply answer the questions in detail, using full and complete sentences.Be as descriptive as possible.
You may hand in your own review on Monday 30th or Wednesday 2nd

November 24, 2009

Diet Jokes

Girl: I'd like a triple vanilla ice cream sundae with chocolate syrup, nuts, whipped cream, topped off with a slice of cucumber.
Waiter: Did I hear you right? Did ou say top it off with a slice of cucumber?
Girl: Good heavens, you're right! forget the cucumber – I'm on a diet.
For more diet jokes, click here.
For Scottish jokes, go here!

Familiarity breeds contempt

What's the meaning of this proverb?
A prize for the one answering first!

You can read a text about this proverb that we'll do in class.

Rather vs. Quite


"Quite" with gradable and non-gradable adjectives

The meaning of the adverb "quite" changes according to the type of adjective we use it with:
adjectivequite =
It's quite warm today. gradablefairly, rather
Are you quite certain?non-gradablecompletely, absolutely

Over here you can practice the use of both adverbs.
Quite vs. rather
Gradable and non-gradable adjectives

November 17, 2009

Scenes From a Marriage

I read this eye-opening article about the family life of a veteran of war in USA. It's called "Scenes from a marriage" by Michael Jernigan.
He served in 2004 with Easy Company, Second Battalion, Second Marine Regiment in Mahmudiya, Zadon, and Falluja, where he was severely injured and blinded by a roadside bomb. He was medically retired from the Marine Corps in December 2005.

BTW do you know what PTSD means?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.

A more direct Route to Spain

Here you have access to the text we'll be talking about on Wed. 18th.
You can read a New Yorkers' opinion about Pamplona restaurant in NY:
Does it contradict the Restaurant Review?

Reviewer: gwf941
Spanish, with an exciting update as to combination and presentation, still authentic and distinctive. Four of us ordered a wide variety of dishes, steering clear of the ones Frank Bruni wasn't so crazy about -- most satisfying experience. For the damage we did (incl. drinks and 2 bottles of Mano a mano -- there should be more such under-$50 Tempranillos maybe at the expense of the boring Garnachas), the bill was more than reasonable. Service prompt and competent, ambiance informal/appealing. Noise level considerable -- the place was packed.
Back for more very soon.

A LITTLE PUNCH Clockwise from top left, paella, suckling pig, chickpea fries and seared sea scallops at Pamplona.

November 14, 2009

"Waiting for her"

After reading and listening to the story of Victory, we are going to pretend we are Agony Aunts.
Imagine you received this text as a personal letter addressed to you asking for advice.
Write a letter back to Victory giving her advice about what to do, how to behave with her mother back at home, how to lead a successful life.
Bring me the composition either on Monday or Wednesday.

November 13, 2009

'Sticks and stones may break my bones,

but names will never hurt me'.
Here you can read the text Mónica and Beatriz talked to us about today. In fact, there are three parts:
1. What's in a name?
2. Who has the power?
3. Taking the power back

What do you think? Can we change attitudes towards people by changing the way we talk about them? Is politically correct language useful?

You can also listen to people talking about how it feels to be discriminated against for being "disabled" or "coloured". They have Scottish accent.

November 12, 2009

Chat-up lines

Here are a few chat-up or pick-up lines. Do you know any other? Anyone guarateed to work?

- Was that an earthquake or did u just rock my world?

- Are you a parking ticket?

cuz you got fine written all over you.

- I may not be a genie but I can make your dreams come true.
- Are you a magnet cuz im attracted to you.

- Where you arrested earlier?

It's gotta be illegal to look that good?

- I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?

November 11, 2009

CNN News

If you want to listen again to the news from today in class, click here
Have you found what a snitch is? And misdemeanor?

- A snitch is a nound used disapprovingly in slang. It refers to a person who tells people in authority when someone else does something bad. In British English "sneak" is used instead, e.g. You told Mrs. Brown that it was me who tipped the paint over, dind't you? - You nasty little snitch!

- Misdemeanor in Am or Misdemeanour in BE. A criminal offence that is less serious than a felony and generally punisheable by a fine, a jail term of up to a year, or both. For instance, Every week, as children, we were beaten for some minor misdemeanor.