“Any teacher that can be replaced with a computer, deserves to be.” – David Thornburg

19 April 2013


English idioms: Health & Fitness

20 idioms based on Health

Compulsive exercise post: listening practice and vocabulary

Healthcare post: vocabulary and healthcare debate

Parodies of "Need You Now", "Dynamite" and "Bad Romance" for a school project about universal health care (beware: not professional singers but the lyrics are worth reading, anyway.)

11 April 2013


Catherine Tate Show characters

In the following video with English subtitles, you can learn more things about Cockney such as when and where it originated (17th century, can you adam and eve it? (believe):

Now, this is the video we saw in class this morning (with English subtitles too). Please, do notice the examples from Old English Lauren uses:
for sooth (indeed)
thou (subject 'you')
thee (object 'you')
thy (possessive 'your')
looketh (look)
wench (girl or young woman)
You'll take the high road and I'll take the low road (from a traditional Scottish song):

Oh, ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll get to Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet (from Romeo and Juliet):

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

Are you up for more Lauren Cooper? Lauren and her school mates and preparing to go on a field trip and like all teenage girls, that's no excuse to ignore fashion and style. Lauren's teacher, however, doesn't agree.

God, what is she wearing?
Looking forward to a slice of culture?
We are all in for a treat today.
Are you a Christian, miss?
Is the Lord your shepherd?
Have you got Jesus in your heart, miss?
Are we your flock?
Get your things together or I shall suspend you from this trip.
Am I bovvered?

And finally, Lauren's famous sentence is thrown back in her face...

I'm here for work experience.
Ryan had this party last night and he didn't invite me or nothing.
Is he a Prime Minister?
He's on a very important call so you just take this in and come straight back out.
Was that someone famous?
Who is the most famous person you've ever seen?

09 April 2013


February 1st, 2011 post on British accents: Welsh

QI is a comedy panel game in which being quite interesting is more important than being right. Stephen Fry is joined week by four comedians to share anecdotes and trivia and to answer some questions as well.

QI: Welsh racism with comedian Rob Brydon

Rob: Now, this is another example of the institutionalised racism--
Stephen: That's true.
Rob: --which is accepted when it's directed towards . . . the Welsh. As it has . . . Is this a reference to the joke about the . . . about: "What is a sheep tied to a lamp post in Cardiff? . . . It's a leisure centre." Now, because . . . because--
Stephen: It's awfully good--
Rob: [pointing to the audience, who is laughing] No! No! No! No! No! [points at Stephen] And . . . and you, no!
Stephen: [puts on stern face and pushes glasses to face] No.
Rob: [still pointing] You, no--
Stephen: Mm. No.
Rob: [points to Alan] And you . . . no! No. "What is the difference?" The only thing I have knowledge of is the sheep ti— . . . no, no, I  me— . . . sorry, I have knowledge of Cardiff! I don't . . . Well, I'm not really aware what . . . what a "Carlisle Surprise" is, other than the shock of finding yourself at Carlisle, erm . . .
Alan: Sounds like, sort-of, an ice cream, I'd have thought--
Rob: --which, surely is more of a delight, than anything else--
Stephen: Yes, a total delight.
Rob: Erm, a Reverse Canterbury . . .
Stephen: The full name is a "Reverse Canterbury Pleasure Place Double". It's an ancient English pastime.
Bill: Erm . . .
Rob: A Morris dance. Is it . . . is it a type of Morris dance?
Stephen: It's not Morris dancing, no. It has musical nature--
Rich: Break-dancing.
Stephen: It's not a dance. It's really big . . . as big a musical instrument as you could ever find.
Bill: A whale. See, with a whale, you just put your hand over the blowhole; You--[mimes playing a whale, with whistling and bass noises].
Stephen: He's making jokes about Wales!
Rob: [points at Bill in an "I've got your number" way]
Stephen: Erm, no.
Bill: Cheeky.
Stephen: The name for this pastime comes from, originally, the Latin for "countryside", but a particular part of the Latin countryside called Campana. And so it's--
Bill: Oh, bells, bells.
Stephen: --called Campanology.
Bill: Ah, it's bells.
Stephen: Absolutely right. It's bell-ringing.

03 April 2013


Where's Miranda?

Miranda, Series 2 Episode 4


Stevie is angry about Miranda having a new friend:
Miranda: Right, I am off to the restaurant.
Stevie: Off to meet Tamara, are we?
Miranda: What do you mean "are we"? I'm just going to meet Tamara for a coffee.
Stevie: Going for a coffee with Tamara, are we?

Remember that sometimes we use an affirmative tag after an affirmative statement to express anger, interest, surprise, and so forth. Once again, intonation is very important here.

You can find different exercises about question tags here, here or here.

Fancy some grammar review?


Did you find the reading exam more difficult that you'd expected? Well, this means you need more practice. Make the most of the next two months before you have to take the real exam in June!





Listening practice also available in the above-mentioned links and here:
Listening (multiple choice)
Listening (fill in the gaps)
Listening (multiple matching)

So if you are not going to the theatre tomorrow with the rest of your classmates, you'll have plenty of free time in the morning. Use it well!