jueves, 28 de julio de 2011

Verbling, conversation exchange for language learners

If you are a native Spanish speaker who are looking to learn English, Verbling links you up with native English speakers through live video chat.
Verbling means free on line conversation exchange. You only need a microphone and a webcam and of course, to sign up.
So if you are interested in this way of improving English conversation, contact verbling.com and see how it works.

Small talk in English

What´s small talk? Informal conversation about things that are not important.
In most English-speaking countries, it is normal and necessary to make" small talk" in certain situations. Small talk is a casual form of conversation that "breaks the ice" or fills awkward silence between people.Even though you may feel shy using your second language, it is sometimes considered rude to say nothing.
When you first meet someone it can be difficult to know how to start a conversation, especially if your first language is not English.
Small talk has been going on for ages, and an Armstrong and Miller sketch about cave men discovering small talk, may be a funny proof of it.

And focussing on the prospective oral  PAU exam, practicing the art of "small talk" would be of great help to you.
What about learning about safe topics and those best avoided for small talk?:
 To have a bit of more fun, watch and learn Misterduncam´s small talk lesson:

If you prefer listening exercises on Introductions and small talk:

miércoles, 27 de julio de 2011

Air travel and relating to air travel

Summer, holidays and flights are expected by holiday makers and travellers all through the year, but apart from the usual enjoyment these involve, people suffer from some troubles and disappointment  when they arrive.
Air travel and relating to air travel terms have become "buzzwords": Jet lag, the feeling of being very tired and some times confused because you have travelled quickly on a plane across parts of the world where the time is different o Social jet lag, the feeling of being very tired when you return to work after a holiday.
Both are some of the very popular words relating to the activity of travelling. Let´s take advantage of the Macmillan  Thesaurus dictionary and  learn air  travel vocabulary:

jueves, 21 de julio de 2011

The final voyage of Atlantis

Atlantis´s final mission, an extra flight to deliver more space station supplies and spare parts, which are expected to help the station continue operations through 2020, finished today when the orbiter and its crew of four astronauts landed at Cape Canaveral.
This was the 135th space shuttle flight and with it, NASA´s space era officially came to a close.
After NASA´s shuttles are retired, astronauts headed to the station will have to rely on Russia´s Soyuz spacecraft for transportation.

You can watch the shuttle last launch and the landing videos and try to understand this important event.


Exercises on the topic:

miércoles, 6 de julio de 2011

Running with the bulls in Pamplona, Hemingway´s love affair

Festival of San Fermín.
The opening of the fiesta is marked by setting off pyrotechnic chupinazo. The rocket is launched at 12:00 noon on the 6th of July from a City Hall balcony with thousands of people celebrating the act in the city hall square in Pamplona.
The Festival lasts nine days, and each morning at 8 o´clock, the bulls are set loose on the city streets. Spanish bullfighting funs, "Mozos", run with the bulls in Pamplona and respect the bull, because this animal represents power, life and the great wild.
Hemingway understood this and he wrote that he enjoyed watching town wild animals run together, one on two legs, and the other on four.
Pamplona was his obsession and because of that he travelled to this town on nine ocassions for San Fermín fiesta of bullfighting.
Hemingway with Mary at Pamplona´s bullring

There is no doubt that many of the thousands of people who enjoy the Festival at present, come from America and England, influenced by Hemingway´s work, decided to experience the running with the bulls on these narrow streets and anxious to stay where Hemingway himself watched the corrida.

Test your knowledge of Hemingway, one of the finest American novelists, short story writer and journalist, and take a quiz or play a game about his life and work:      

sábado, 2 de julio de 2011

Ernest Hemingway died on 2nd July 1961. Today is his death aniversary

Hemingway's obituary ran on the front page of The New York Times on July 3, 1961.

      Ernest Hemingway was found dead of a shotgun wound in the head at his home in Ketchum, Idaho, on 2 July. His wife, Mary, said that he had killed himself accidentally while cleaning the weapon. A double-barrelled, 12-gauge shotgun lay beside him with one chamber discharged.
Hemingway, whose writings won him a Nobel Prize and a Pullitzer Prize, was also a great traveller, who loved Spain and wrote about it and about bullfighting in Spain .

     Since his first visit to see the bullfighting at the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona in 1923, Hemingway was fascinated by the sport; he saw in it the brutality of war juxtaposed against a cruel beauty. In June 1925, Hemingway and Hadley left Paris for their annual visit to Pamplona accompanied by a group of American and British expatriates. The trip inspired Hemingway's first novel, The Sun Also Rises, which he began to write immediately after the fiesta, finishing in September. The novel presents the culture of bullfighting with the concept of afición, depicted as an authentic way of life, contrasted with the Parisian bohemians, depicted as inauthentic. Hemingway decided to slow his pace and devoted six months to the novel's rewrite. The manuscript arrived in New York in April, and he corrected the final proof in Paris in August 1926. Scribner's published the novel in October.
Apart from this, he wrote Death in the afternoon, his second book on bullfighting, a non-fiction perfect companion piece to the fictional The Sun Also Rises, mentioned before.
Source: Wikipedia

Spanish bullfights, vocabulary and everything you need to know: