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Showing posts from February, 2019


Artificial intelligence: helpful and dangerous (podcast).

Robots (listening + quiz).

Do you fear artificial intelligence? (BBC Learning English video).

The ethical dilemma of robotics (BBC Learning English reading)

Artificial Intelligence and the future | André LeBlanc | TEDxMoncton:


Humans(2015-) UK/US is a science fiction television series based on the award-winning Swedish science fiction drama Real Humans (Äkta människor). The series explores the themes of artificial intelligence and robotics, focusing on the social, cultural, and psychological impact of the invention of anthropomorphic robots called "synths".

And when/if things get out of hand, you'll need a:

"A blade runner's job is to hunt down replicants, manufactured humans you can't tell from the real thing".

This post is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from someone in the TED community.

DELIVERING A SPEECH: Speaking exam Task 1 (monologue)

Making a presentation like Steve Jobs.
Presentations: signpost language

BBC Skillwise website: giving a presentation
BBC Tallking Business: Presentations: Language Expert

How to make your presentations better without opening your mouth. Body language and voice tone account for 63% of communication (according to this article).

Tips for effective presentations

Tips on making presentations (by University of Kent, the UK's European University). 
Worth checking out the part "Advanced Presention Tips: the Art of Rhetoric": 
tricolon effector the rule of three (The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth)use of contrast(A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up. Margaret Thatcher)use of similes and metaphors (A beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion. J.F.Kennedy)alliteration(Let it be our cause to give that child a happyhome, a healthy family, and a hopeful future. Bill Clinton)quotations(An eye for an eye only end…
The short story “You are now entering the human heart”, written by New Zealand author Janet Frameis a macabre tale of an elderly schoolteacher who permits a harmless snake to be wrapped around her neck in order to demonstrate to her class that there is no reason for fear. As she sits, trying to overcome her revulsion for the sake of impressing her class, the reader sees into her inner world, her heart.
Summary ("You Are Now Entering the Human Heart - Summary" Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition Ed. Steven G. Kellman., Inc. 2009 eNotes.com18 Feb, 2019 )

Janet Frame, 79, Writer Who Explored Madness(New York Times, 2004)
Janet Frame Obituary: Reclusive, but world-renowned, New Zealand writer whose novels explored the depths of the human psyche(The Guardian, 2004)
Participle clauses exercises:
Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3
Exercise 4
Exercise 5
Exercise 6
Perfect participles

More exercises

I saw him /aɪ sɔːrɪm/

Several listening activities sharing different features of connected speech. Just click on the images below:

More practice:

Connected Speech radio programme (BBC Learning English)
Link it All Together (exercises)
Linking and more practice
In a dictionary, words are given in isolation. In natural speech, however, words are connected into sound groups: Authentic American Pronunciation
Linking in connected speech practice (from the Coursera course "Tricky American English Pronunciation" by University of California)


Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3
More practice
And a bit more...

Watch this video with extracts from TV series to be able to see this grammatical point in real context:

VALENTINE'S DAY: Idioms of the heart

Valentine's Day: Idioms of the Heart
What's Galentine's Day
Scene from Parks and RecreationTV show.

Parks and Recreation TV Series (2009) - Season 1 Trailer


Painting by Tess Recordon
I visited this artist's home and studio in 2016 during Cambridge Open Studios and I was genuinely impressed by her landscapes. If you happen to visit Cambridge in July, don't miss it. She is based in Grantchester, a nice river walk from Cambridge, now famous for a popular TV show.
Read the article: YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE AFFECTS WHAT YOU CAN AND CA'NT SEE(source: Research Digest)

“The present results show for the first time that … our native language – and the color categories we apply within it – can influence whether we consciously perceive a stimulus or not,” the researchers write.
Names of colours in English

Exercise 1 Exercise 2
What might come in handy here is the suffix "-ish", don't you think? How to express yourself in an inexact way.
Idiomatic language: your true colors

If you'd rather listen to the original song by Phil Collins:


An opinion essay (Look at the essay and do the exercises to improve your writing skills)

Writing class: Makeovers.
Writing C1.
Writing topics and reference sites online (C1).

The Essay - Mr. Bean

Extra History: South Sea Bubble (market crash, 1711). VIDEOS
Everyday English Formal English (writing) Is that the man (who) she arrived with? Is that the man with whom she arrived? Does he know the girl (that) John is talking to? Does he know the girl to whom John is talking? It is a club (which) many important people belong to. It is a club to which many important people belong.<

“I already ate. Thanks, though!”

When you use this word conversationally, it’s going to be at the end of the sentence. Her words are happy, [but look at her eyes, though. We often make a second sentence instead of using “but.” This cake looks pretty. It tastes awful, though. The traffic accident was pretty bad. I couldn’t stop looking, though.

I'm sorry. I can't stay for lunch. I'll have a cup of tea, though. Speaker 1: Would you like something to drink? Speaker 2: I've just had some water. Thanks, though! (Thanks, anyway)
Although I’ve met that man twice, I can’t remember his name. I’ve met that man twice. I can’t remember his name, though.

Video: BBC (British English)

Video: VOA (American English)

Check minutes 1:44-1:45
Quiz 1
Quiz 2
Quiz 3

UNIT 5: SNOWED UNDER WITH WORK (writing & listening)

Multiple-choice listening: Gregg and Todd debate the necessity of minimum wages. TIP: Make sure you hide the script and do the quiz and vocab exercises before you read it.

Now, let's see if this trailer jogs your memory:

Fancy another walk down memory lane? "There isn't any room at the top for local girls like us"  "I'm not giving up" Working Girl (1989) Armas de mujer in Spain.
I AM TIRED BECAUSE I AM OVERWORKED The population of Britain is 51 million. 21 million are retired. That leaves 30 million to do the work. There are 19 million in school. That leaves 11 million to do the work. Of this total, 2 million are unemployed and 4 million are employed by the government. That leaves 5 million to do the work. 1 million are in the armed forces which leaves 4 million to do the work! From that total 3 million are employed by the County and Borough Councils leaving 1 million to do the…