Friday, December 30, 2011

Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions !

Have you made any New Year's resolutions ?  Would you like to achieve them this time  ? Watching the following video , in only 59 seconds , you will discover  5 key principles to help you achieve your New Year's resolutions .

1- Break your goal into a  series of smaller steps.
2- Tell your  friends and family what you are trying to achieve.
3- Remind yourself regularly about the benefits of obtaining your goal.
4-Give yourself a  small reward each time you obtain one of the steps.
5- Map out your progress.

As a language learner, why not try these simple principles with your English?


I tracked the lives of 5,000 people as they attempted to keep their New Year's Resolutions.Now most of them failed but 10% did obtain their aims and ambitions.What were they doing that was so different ? It all came down to 5 simple principles:
First of all they broke their goal into a series of smaller steps.
Second they told their friends and family what they were trying to achieve so they elicited fear of failure but also a sense of support.
Third they regularly reminded themselves about the benefits of obtaining their goals.
Fourth they  gave themselves a small reward each time they obtained one of their small stepsand finally they mapped out their progress in a spread sheet on the fridge door or in a journal so they knew exactly where they were.
And those are the 5 key principles to actually achieving your  New Year's resolutions.

Monday, December 26, 2011


What is Kwanzaa? In order to answer this question, I might as well quote [1] the description of the You Tube video of the same name, which you can see further below.

“The celebrations of Kwanzaa are relatively recent. The holiday was founded by Dr. Malauna Karenga in 1966 as an African equivalent to Christmas and Hanukkah. There are many different reasons for celebration incorporated into this holiday. Reconnecting to life, community, and culture are a large part of what this holiday embodies. Freedom, justice, and equality also play an enormous role in the meaning behind the festivities. The holiday lasts one week and is celebrated between December 26th and January 1st. The actual celebrations include lighting candles on the kinara [2], feasts, gift giving, and traditional African dress. The central meaning behind Kwanzaa is to reconnect to ones African roots and meditate on the world and the joys of life. Appropriately the official greeting of this festive holiday is Joyous Kwanzaa.”

The kinara, the festival candelabra, holds seven candles, one for each night of Kwanzaa. Each candle symbolizes a different principle. They are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Below is a song about the first night of Kwanzaa, called Umoja, which means unity in the Swahili language. The video has subtitles, so you can follow along.

[1] bien podría citar, [2] candelabro especial por esta fiesta. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas !!!

Christmas Carols are songs  or hymns whose lyrics are on  the theme of Christmas.  Silent Night is perhaps  the most popular of all . 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Hanukah Song

While Santa and the Kings get the majority of everyone’s attention this time of year, we shouldn’t overlook [1] another holiday that is celebrated by the non-Gentile [2] population, meaning Jews [3], called Hanukkah, an eight-day festival which commemorates the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC, after defeating the Greeks.

This year, Hanukkah starts on December 20th, and in its honor, let’s listen to The Hanukkah Song, by American comedian, Adam Sandler. As Adam Sandler says in his intro to the original song, which doesn’t appear in the live video below, “there's a lot of Xmas songs out there, but not too many about Hanukkah, so I wrote a song for all those nice little Jewish kids who don't get to hear any Hanukkah songs.” Enjoy!

Put on your yarmulke [4], here comes Hanukkah 
Its so much fun-akkah to celebrate Hanukkah, 

Hanukkah is the festival of lights, 
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights. 

When you feel like the only kid in town without a Xmas tree,
here’s a list of  People who are Jewish, just like you and me: 

David Lee Roth lights the menorah [5], 
So do James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and the late Dinah Shore-ah 

Guess who eats together at the Karnickey deli [6], 
Bowzer from Sha-na-na, and Arthur Fonzerrelli. 

Paul Newman’s half Jewish; Goldie Hawn’s half too, 
Put them together--what a fine-lookin' [7] Jew!
You don't need deck the halls or jingle bell rock 
Cause you can spin the dreidl [8] with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock--both Jewish! 

Put on your yarmulke, it's time for Hanukkah, 
The owner of the Seattle super sonic-ahs celebrates Hanukkah. 

O.J. Simpson-- not a Jew! 
But guess who is...hall of lamer Rod Carew--(he converted!) 

We got Ann Landers and her sister dear Abby, 
Harrison Ford’s a quarter Jewish--not too shabby [9]! 

Some people think that Ebeneezer Scrooge is, 
Well, he's not, but guess who is: all three Stooges [10].

So many Jews are in show biz-- 
Tom Cruise isn¹t, but I heard his agent is.

Tell your friend Veronica, it's time you celebrate Hanukkah 
I hope I get a harmonica, on this lovely, lovely Hanukkah. 

So drink your Gin-and-Tonic-ah,
and smoke your mara-juanic-ah, 
If you really, really wanna-kah,
have a happy, happy, happy, happy Hanukkah!­
Happy Hanukkah!

[1] pasar por alto, [2] no Judía, [3] Judíos, [4] solideo típicamente llevado por los hombres, [5] candelabro por nueve velas, una por cada noche y la novena para encender las demás, [6] charcutería, [7] guapo, [8] trompo típico de esta fiesta, con 4 lados, [9] desharrapado, [10] Los Tres Chiflados, “stooge” significa literalmente “victima de burlas”

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Another year has gone so quickly  !  You think you have just got rid (acabas de librar) of Christmas and it's upon you again with all its demands  ! 

Christmas is the most important holiday in the whole year for British and American people.It is a time when all the family meets and celebrates.

Christmas tree
This is an old Scandinavian tradition showing that Nature is still alive because the Christmas tree is a green fir tree ( un abeto verde) . The tree is decorated with lights and it usually has a star at the  top.

Christmas presents
On Christmas Day , there are presents for every member of the family. Santa Claus comes down the chimney at night and leaves presents next to the Christmas tree.

Boxing Day
In Britain, December 26th is called Boxing Day. The name "Boxing Day" comes from an old tradition when rich employers  ( jefes) used to give their servants a big hamper of food (lote de comida) , called a Christmas box as a gift.

Listen to the video to discover the greatest gift of all  !

Verse 1
Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
Verse 2
Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
Verse 3
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Time For Africa

The FIFA Club World Cup is upon us again! Once again, a Spanish team is representing Europe. Football Club Barcelona is going back to compete for the trophy for the third time in the competition's short 7-year history. Only a year and half ago,  Spain's National Team won the World Cup! You are probably familiar with the anthem of the World Cup, Shakira's hit song Waka Waka (Esto es Africa). But you might not have heard her English version This is Africa. So here's a video of her song in English with subtitles.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

British - American Differences.

Some people say that true English is spoken only in Great Britain and what the Americans speak is another language entirely.While this is  an exaggeration , there are some differences between American English and British English.Here is a list of British words with their American equivalent.

BRITISH                                    AMERICAN                                SPANISH

chemist's                                    drug store                                    farmacia
flat                                             apartment                                    piso
shop                                          store                                            tienda
hire (a car)                                  rent                                             alquilar
petrol                                         gas-gasoline                                gasolina
underground                                subway                                       metro
subway                                      pedestrian underpass                   paso de peatones 
cinema                                        movie theatre                              cine
film                                             movie                                          película
biscuit                                         cookie                                        galleta 
bloke, chap                                 guy                                             tio, individuo
bird                                             chic                                           chica, muchacha
city centre                                   downtown                                   centro de la ciudad
lift                                               elevator                                       ascensor
way out                                       exit                                             salida
crisps                                          potatoe chips                              patatas chips
chips                                           french fries                                  patatas fritas

And remember, a pub in England is a bar in the states. In the States they often say cab instead of taxi, but not always.If you order whisky in England it is automatically Scotch whisky.In America you must ask for Scotch or Bourbon, two very different kinds of whiskies.Or , of course, perhaps you prefer Irish whisky. In England you walk on the pavement (acera), but in the U.S you walk on the sidewalk.In England to go from one city to another you take a coach, in America you take a bus

Monday, December 5, 2011

The History of English in 10 Minutes!

When you first see the History of  English, your first impression might be long and boring. But here's an entertaining, short explanation by the Open University! It is made up of ten chapters. The narrator speaks fast but the illustration helps out. Anyhow, you can appreciate why English is such a hodgepodge (batiburrillo) and why so much sounds so little like it's spelled!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Something In The Water . Brooke Fraser.

Brooke Fraser  is a New Zealand singer and songwriter. This folk-pop and christian music artist   started taking piano lessons at the age of seven, wrote her first song at the age of twelve and taught herself  how to play the acoustic guitar at fifteen  !!  A natural talent, this successful   singer  and  award winning artist  has never taken any singing lessons !

Before watching the video and listening to the song check the lyrics of  her biggest hit until now  “Something in the water “  . Try singing along  !   (Intenta cantar con ella

 Link to the video-clip : Something in the Water


Do do do do do do do do do do

I wear a demeanor ( porte )  made of bright pretty things
What she wears, what she wears, what she wears
Birds singing on my shoulder in harmony it seems
How they sing, how they sing, how they sing

Give me nights of solitude, red wine just a glass or two, reclined in a hammock (hamaca) on a balmy (agradable) evening.
I'll pretend that it's no thing that's skipping my heart when I think
are you thinking bout' me babe? I'm crazy over you ( loco por tí /enamorado de tí

Aaah Aaah Aaah
there's something in the water, something in the water
Aaah Aaah Aaah
There's something in the water, that makes me love you like –

I've got halo's (aureola)  made of summer, rhythms made of spring
What she wears, what she wears, what she wears
I got crowns (coronas) of words a woven  (entrelazadas ) each one a song to sing
Oh I sing, oh I sing, oh I sing

Give me long days in the sun, preludes to the nights to come
previews of the mornings laying in all lazy
give me something fun to do like a life of loving you
Kiss me quick now baby I'm still crazy over you

Aaah Aaah Aaah
there's something in the water, something in the water
Aaah Aaah Aaah
there's something in the water that makes me love you like I do

Give me nights of solitude, red wine just a glass or two, give me something fun to dooooo

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And You Think Understanding English is Difficult!!

And you think understanding English is difficult!! Even American have a hard time understanding their older English cousins across the puddle (charco) known as the Atlantic Ocean.

Here's an example from the animated sticom Family Guy of how English people sound to Americans.

Can you identify with that? Well sometimes, We Americans really have a hard time understanding English people. Here's a spoof (parodia) from a comedy show, showing a rude American treating English citizens as if they are speaking a foreign language.

Finally, not only do we not understand the Brits, we often say stupid things from. Here's an example from the popular American Late Night Show hosted by David Letterman. His nightly Top-10 list features the British comedian Rick Gervais, the creator of the British comedy, The Office.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spicy Chicken Nuggets

Spicy Chicken Nuggets

Are you having a party? Do you want something different to serve your guests?(invitado) Why not try some of these spicy picante) chicken nuggets? They are quick and easy to make, and after you eat one you will not be able to stop all night. Happy dipping !( to dip = mojar)
The chicken nugget, like the hamburger, has a bad reputation because of its association with fast food. But when it is freshly made (recién hecho) using different herbs and seasonings,(condimento) it makes a wonderful snack, perfect for parties. You can vary the herbs to create various flavours,(sabores ) increasing the amount of chilli if you want to make them spicier. Children especially will love dipping them into mayonnaise. You can also dip them into mustard (mostaza ) or a mixture of mustard and honey.

Ingredients for 36 nuggets 
2 lbs boneless (sin hueso ) chicken breasts,(pechuga ) cut into 1-inch (pulgada) pieces
3 eggs, beaten (batidos )
½ c plain dry breadcrumbs ( pan rallado )

1½ tsp chilli powder (en polvo)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground (molido) cumin
1 tsp thyme leaves ( hojas de tomillo
¼ tsp paprika
pinch (pizca ) of salt
oil for frying

Note on British measures: 
 lb = 1 pound = 453g   /  tsp = 1 teaspoon(20) = 5ml  / 1 cup = 240ml
First, cut the chicken breasts into pieces. Beat the eggs and dip the chicken pieces into the mixture. Next, mix the breadcrumbs, chilli powder, onion powder, cumin, thyme, paprika and salt in a bowl. Dip the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, coating (cubriéndolo) well.Heat (calienta ) the oil in a large frying pan (sarten and fry the chicken on a medium heat. Drain (escurrir) on kitchen roll (papel de cocina). Serve warm with mayonnaise and  mustard.

Monday, November 21, 2011

U Can’t Stuff This

Do any of you remember the 1990’s song by MC Hammer song, U Can’t Touch This. Well, here’s a funny animated satire of that song dedicated to the Thanksgiving Turkey (el Pavo de Acción de Gracias) called U Can’t Stuff This (No Puedes Rellenar Esto). Turkey is the centerpiece (centro de mesa) of the Thanksgiving meal, which takes places on the fourth Thursday of November. This year it falls on the 24th.

The video comes with subtitles, so it’s easy to follow. But first, familiarize yourself with the vocabulary below.

stuff = rellenar
trot = trotar
strut = pavonearse
hayseed = semillo de heno, pueblorino
roasting pan = bandeja de horno
fresh = fresco
juicy = jugoso
recipe = receta
hold on = esperar
plump = regordete
fit = en forma
free-range = sin enjaular
seasonings = condimentos
giblets = menudillos

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Alien In My Fridge !

A Russian woman found a weird ( raro) extra-terrestrial creature two years ago and kept it in her fridge. Marta Yegorovnam discovered the strange being ( extraño ser in a "crash site" after hearing a loud bang outside her home in Petrozavodsk , western Russia . Marta told boffins (expertos) the alien was in a spacesuit (traje espacial) when she first saw it . She then wrapped (envolvió) the creature in plastic and put it in her fridge-freezer  to preserve it .

The  Karelian Academy of Science in Petrozavodsk is now investigating Marta's story .

I have got an alien in my fridge !

Where is the spacesuit ? 

Do you believe this story or do you think this is just a  rotting vegetable ( vegetal pudriéndose) ?

(Published by The Mirror )

Monday, November 14, 2011

British Government

Since Spain is going to hold elections very soon, I think it would be interesting to have a brief view of how the British political system works. Like Spain, the UK has a constitutional government with a parliament and a royal family, or a constitutional monarchy.

In the UK, the monarch is the head of state and the head of the Church of England. The government consists of a cabinet of politicians and the Prime Minister is the head of the government. There is also a parliament which consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The government proposes laws and Parliament can either pass or reject them. If Parliament passes a new law, then the monarch has to sign [1] it.

The Prime Minister and the Cabinet
The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the political party that has the most seats in the House of Commons. The king or queen appoints [2] the Prime Minister after each general election. The monarch asks him or her to form a government. The largest political party in the House of Commons that opposes the party in power is called His or Her Majesty’s Opposition. Its main function is to criticise the government and to be ready to set up [3] a new government if they win the next general election. The leading members of the opposition party are called the Shadow Cabinet [4]. 

The House of Commons
The members of the House of Commons are called Members of Parliament (MPs). They are elected [5] in the general election which usually takes place [6] about once every five years. MPs represent a constituency [7] and everyone in the United Kingdom has his or her own MP. If they have a problem they can write to or visit their MP. Nowadays, the House of Commons is the stronger of the two houses of Parliament, and it is responsible for passing new laws and debating government policy.

The House of Lords 
The House of Lords has less power than the House of Commons. It can delay [8], but not defeat [9], the laws that the House of Commons passes. People do not elect the members of the House of Lords. Historically, most of its members came from the aristocracy and their right to sit in the House of Lords was hereditary. However, the House of Lords Act in 1999, removed this right from all but 92 of its members. The other members of the House of Lords are either Church of England Bishops, or they are life peers [10]. Life peers are appointed by the monarch and their titles are not hereditary. 

General Elections in Great Britain are usually every five years, and are always held on a Thursday. The electoral campaign [11] lasts for four weeks and the politicians make speeches everywhere in Britain. The Government, based in England, controls political affairs in the United Kingdom. However, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales also have their own parliaments. Each country in the United Kingdom is divided into counties [12], and each county has an elected council [13]. The big cities are divided into borough [14] councils (for example, there are 32 in London).

[1] firmar, [2] nombrar, [3] formar, [4] la oposición, (literalmente, el gabinente en la sombra), [5] elegir, [6] tener lugar, [7] circunscripción electoral, [8] retrasar, [9] literalmente, vencer. Aquí significa rechazar, [10] persona con título de nobleza de por vida, [11] campaña, [12] condados, [13] ayuntamiento, [14] distrito

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is This Real Life ?

David has just had his tooth removed and is suffering the after effects of the medication he received. These are some of the questions 7 year old David asks his Dad after his visit to the dentist:

Is this real life ?
Do I have stitches (puntos) ?
Why can't  I touch it ?
Why is this happening to me?
Is this going to be forever?

Watch the video to find out (averiguar) the answers. Have fun !

(puedes ver el video con subtítulos en castellano siguiendo este enlace David after dentist -subtítulos en castellano- )

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pub Music

You can often listen to music in pubs. Some pubs play the latest hits, but others have live music that ranges from traditional folk songs to rock bands, so you can choose your favourite pub depending on the type of music that you like. If you go to Great Britain and you are not very sure about which pub you should go to, you can consult a tourist guide or the Internet. Believe it or not, some people are paid for going on a pub crawl [1] and writing their opinion on the pubs they have visited!

Lots of traditional English songs are about drinking and love, but they don’t always go well together. Here are two songs about the dangerous combination of drinking and love.

There is a Tavern in the Town

This song is about a girl who is thinking about the man she loves. Unfortunately, he doesn’t take any notice of [2] her – he just sits in a pub and drinks.

There is a tavern in the town, in the town.
Where my true love sits him down, sits him down
And drinks his wine mid laughter free
And never, never thinks of me.
Fare thee well, for I must leave thee,
Do not let the parting grieve thee, [3]
But remember that the best of friends must part, must part.
Adieu, adieu kind friends adieu, adieu, adieu,
I can no longer stay with you, stay with you
I’ll hang my harp on the weeping willow tree,
And may the world go well with thee.

What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?

Here’s a funny English about a sailor [4] who is really drunk. The other sailors suggest putting him in bed with the Captain’s daughter!

What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
Early in the morning?

Put him in a cabin with the Captain’s daughter!
Put him in a cabin with the Captain’s daughter!
Put him in a cabin with the Captain’s daughter
Early in the morning!

Hey hoe up she rises
Hey hoe up she rises
Hey hoe up she rises
Early in the morning.

[1] ir de tascas, [2] hacer caso a alguien, [3] no deja que la despedida te entristece, [4] marinero

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bonfire Night !

In Britain,there's another popular event in autumn.On November 5th , all over Britain people burn a  guy (nombre dado al muñeco que queman en la hoguera) on a bonfire (hoguera) and they let off fireworks.(hacer estallar fuegos artificiales) Why do they do this ?  Well, in 1605 a man called Guy Fawkes tried to plant a bomb (poner una bomba) in the Houses of Parliament to try to kill king James I and all his ministers when they opened Parliament. However the plot failed (el complot falló) ,Guy Fawkes was arrested and executed.The British still celebrate the King's escape every year by burning Guy Fawkes on a bonfire! Children collect (recaudar) money to buy fireworks and they sing this song :
Remember, remember,
The 5th of November,
Gunpowder,treason and plot.
(pólvora, traición y complot)
I see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Watch this interesting video about  the 5 main figures behind the 1605 Gunpowder Plot that almost destroyed England's political elite:

Bonfire night in Lewes (Sussex)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

One of the most traditional and popular activities in the U.S. on Halloween (October 31) is trick or treat. Children go from house to house wearing costumes; dressed as monsters, devils or ghosts, among other things, and they ask for candy, as a treat [1]. If they don’t get a treat, then they do a trick [2]. But in reality, this happens very little. Every house is prepared with candy to give to the neighborhood kids when they call at their doors.

Curiously, this tradition has its roots in the Middle Ages in Britain. Poor people went door to door begging for food in exchange for prayers for the dead on All Saints’ Day. However, people were indignant at having to give food to children because they felt pressured. It is likely that the American tradition developed independently, and activity of trick-or-treating didn’t appear in the press until 1934.

Well, I found a groovy [3] song by Otis Redding called Trick or Treat on YouTube! Listen!.

You say you love me, girl
But you, you don't know
When I tell you I want I wanna wanna take you out [4]
And you don't want to go, girl

So if you love me
(Don't say you like me)
And if you like me
(Don't say you love me)
Cos I can't wait till Halloween to to find out [5]
If it's trick or treat

I love you, babe
But you play ............., girl 
But you know, you know, you know
That ain't where it's at, baby

Now if you love me
(Don't say you like me)
And if you like me
(Don't say you love me)
Cause I can't wait till Halloween to find out
If it's trick or treat

You can make life good or make it a drag [6]
With all them good things you got cooking in your bag

I want you to treat me, girl
Cause you got just what it takes, yeah
I've been tricked so many times baby
Of everything I've made, yeah

So if you love me
(Don't say you like me)
And if you like me
(Don't say you love me)
Cos I can't wait till Halloween to find out
If it's trick or treat

What is it?
What is it, baby?
Is it trick or what kind of treat have you got 
 [7] baby in your bag?
I, I wanna know what kind of tricks, girl
What kind of tricks, girl
What kind of tricks, baby
Say you love me
What you wanna ...
You say you need me but ....
Girl, you got to show me what 
Uh, show me what I wan
Now you got to tell me, baby
Now tell me what I want
You got tricks baby hanging out your bag
Now you got some tricks hangin out your bag
You got good tricks

[1] regalo, delicia, [2] broma, [3] genial, [4] salir con, [5] descubrir, [6] lata, [7] colgando