Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla

Who says that size is important? Pronouns might be small but they’re very useful, as shown by the School Rock video below, part of an American educational series that ran from the mid-70’s to the mid-80’s.

Now, I have a friend named Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla,
And I could say that Rufus found a kangaroo
That followed Rufus home
And now that kangaroo belongs
To Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla.

Whew! I could say that, but I don't have to,
'Cause I got pronouns,
I can say, "HE found a kangaroo that followed HIM home and now IT is HIS"

You see, (uh) HE, HIM, and HIS are pronouns,
Replacing the noun
Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla,
A very proper noun.
And IT is a pronoun, replacing the noun, kangaroo! (How common!)

Now Rufus has a sister named Rafaella Gabriela Sarsaparilla.
If she found a kangaroo I'd say to you:
"SHE found a kangaroo that followed HER home, and now it is HERS."
But I can't say that...
'Cause she found an aardvark
That fell in love with HER and THEY're so happy.

And my name's Albert Andreas Armadillo.
(No relation to the Sarsaparillas.)
Because of pronouns, I can say:
"I wish SHE would find a rhinoceros for ME, and WE'd be happy."
You see, a pronoun was made to take the place of a noun,
'Cause saying all those nouns over and over
Can really wear you down!

Now I could tell you Rafaella Gabriela and Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla and Albert Andreas Armadillo found an aardvark, a kangaroo, and a rhinoceros. And now that aardvark and that kangaroo and that rhinoceros belong respectively to Rafaella Gabriela Sarsaparilla and Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla and Albert Andreas Armadillo!

Whew! Because of pronouns I can say, in this way:
"WE found THEM and THEY found US, and now THEY are OURS and WE're so happy." Thank you pronoun!

You see a pronoun was made to take the place of a noun,
'Cause saying all those nouns over and over
Can really wear you down.

Sometimes, when we take 'em all on the bus
People really raise a fuss.
They start shouting out a lot o' pronouns at us, like
"WHO brought that rhinoceros on this bus?" and
"WHAT made that horrible noise?" and
"WHICH one of them is getting off first?"

WHO, WHAT, and WHICH are special pronouns that can ask a question
In a sentence where you do not know the name of the noun,
But I know:
I have MINE, and SHE has HERS,
and he has his. Do YOU have YOURS?
THEY love US, and WE love THEM,
That's how it is with friends,
And pronouns, you are really friends, yeah!

'Cause saying all those nouns over and over
Can really wear you down.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The most famous street in the world.

Sesame Street first started on 10th November ,1969 and is now showing season (temporada) 41 ! The show was the first preschool educational television program to base its contents and production values on laboratory and formative research.

The programme has become the most viewed children's television show in the world, with 20 international versions, and broadcasts (emisiones) in over 120 countries.

Bert and Ernie (Blas y Epi ) are the most popular of the characters (personajes) living on the most famous street in the world.

Do you want to know why you should buy an eight and hang it on the wall ? Watch the video and have fun ! ( Encontrarás la transcripción debajo del video)


Salesman -Hey bud .
Ernie-Hey who ?
E.-Hey me ?
S.Yeah, come here !
E.-What ?
S.Come here .
E-What ?
S.You look like an intelligent young man.
E-I do ?
E-Oh yeah, I do. Sure .
S.You look like someone who would be interested in a bargain.
E.-A Bargain ? Sure . Why not ?Are you a salesman ?
S.Right .
E-What do you sell ?
E-Eights ! Like the number eight ?
S.Shhhh Right, Like the number eight
E.-That’s kind of a weird thing to be selling.
S.Listen.You take this eight here, see. It is very useful. You buy it. You hang it on the wall.
E.-On the wall …Why should I buy an eight and hang it on the wall ?
S.Next time you wonder how many legs an octopus has. You look at the eight !
E-Octopus has eight legs.
E-The octupus has eight legs
S-Right , right or when you forget how many reindeer Santa Claus has ? Take the eight.
E-Eight reindeer.
S-Or When you can’t remember what time you eat breakfast in the morning ? You are ready ?
E-Ah ! I eat breakfast at eight !
S-Right ,now,you wanna buy an.. eight ?
E-No, I can’t I don’t have any money. See, just a couple of minutes ago I met this guy selling nines and bought his whole selection….

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Get Back to Basics

Get is a very versatile word. Not only does it have various meanings by itself, but get can have even more when combined with prepositions to form phrasal verbs. These phrasal verbs are very useful for talking about daily life, as you can see in the story below.

From Monday to Friday, I have to get up [1] at seven o’clock in the morning for work. This means that I get out [2] of bed and walk into the bathroom where I have a quick shower. After having tea and toast for breakfast, I get on [3] a train that goes to the city centre. Twenty minutes later I get off [4] the train at Manchester Piccadilly.

I have a very tiring day at the office, but with the help of six cups of coffee every day I manage to get through [5] the week. I get along [6] well with my colleagues, with whom I enjoy several pints of beer at the local Irish pub. In the early hours of Saturday morning, I get back [7] home at four in the morning. On these occasions, I get into [8] a taxi that takes me back home, as there are no buses or trains at that time. I feel exhausted when I get out [9] of the taxi to pay the taxi driver.

Can you understand the meanings of these phrasal verbs by their context? Let’s see if you can match them with their meanings below.

(a) arise, (b) enter a car, (c) enter public transport, (d) finish, (e) have a good relationship, (f) leave, (g) leave a car, (h) leave public transport, (i) return from somewhere.

The answers are in the comments below.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shakira !!!

But don't expect to see her singing, shaking her hips (moviendo las caderas) or snogging (kissing -informal-) her boyfriend Gerard Piqué !!

In this video Shakira speaks about the work of her charity ,Barefoot Foundation,http://barefootfoundation.com/index_en.php (Fundación Pies Descalzos) at Oxford University's Oxford Union . The Oxford Union is a debating, educational, and social society . Over the years countless (incontables) actors, writers, film stars, musicians, celebrities and politicians have spoken there. These past guests (invitados) of The Oxford Union include the Dalai Lama, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, Presidents Nixon, Carter and Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Michael Jackson, Jon Bon Jovi and Albert Einstein to name just a few.

Watch Shakira deliver her passionate speech about the importance of investing in children's education reciting from memory and in excellent English ! (the video is subtitled in Spanish).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Downton Abbey

You've always wanted to watch a series about posh(1), aristocratic Englishmen in the early twentieth century, haven't you? Well, here's your chance(2)! Tonight on Antena 3 at 10 o'clock (and I suppose every following Tuesday as well) you can watch the series Downton Abbey! And while you're at it (3), watch it in the original version. You have no excuse not to! Why not improve your listening comprehension and get a little culture at the same time?

Here's a little preview(4) of what's in store(5) for you!

(1) elegante, pijo, (2) oportunidad, (3) mientras estas en ello, (4) avance, (5) lo que te espera

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Useless kitchen appliances

I recently emptied my kitchen cupboards and found (encontré) I had a lot of useless kitchen appliances occupying valuable cupboard space .Most of them were still in their boxes unused !
Let's make a list of the most useless appliances in our kitchens . Try to use English but feel free to write the name in Spanish too !

Here's my list !

-Electric knife sharpener .

-Electric knife.

-Chocolate fondue .

- Electric yoghurt maker.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras

Most carnival celebrations involve colourful parades(1), elaborate costumes(2) and masks, extravagant parties with dancing and abundant food and drink. Carnival celebrations culminate on Shrove Tuesday(3), one day before the beginning of Lent(4), when people are supposed to(5) abstain from eating meat and from enjoying other “excesses”. As a matter of fact(6), the word carnival probably comes from “carnem levare”, which means “to take away meat” in Latin.

The precise origins of carnival are unknown, but this festivity came to symbolise the death of winter, the start of a period of fertility, and it was a time when people could temporarily ignore the strict social, moral and religious codes. Masks gave slaves and servants the opportunity to be on a level with their masters, socially speaking, at least for a while. Behaviour, which would normally be looked down upon(7) or even punished, was allowed; lively street celebrations and elaborate parties were held everywhere.

Needless to say(8) the Church didn’t like the idea of carnival. But they could do nothing to stop such celebrations, so they finally gave in(9) and incorporated this and other “pagan” festivals into their own religious calendar. Carnival celebrations which had originated in Italy soon became popular in other Catholic countries such as France and Spain. The Europeans brought their festivals with them to their American colonies.

French colonists introduced Mardi Gras, which translates as Fat Tuesday, to the U.S. and it quickly became popular in New Orleans. The earliest organiser of balls(10) was the Boeuf Gras Society, which was formed in 1710 in the town of Mobile. They held their first parade in 1711. The boeuf gras (which means fatted ox(11)) was paraded through the streets on Shrove Tuesday, and this is where the name Fat Tuesday came from.

Mardi Gras is 47 days before Easter, so it can occur on any Tuesday from February 3rd to March 9th. This year’s Mardi Gras is on March 8. The festivities start at 8 in the morning and end at sunset and they get ever more spectacular as the days go by. Thousands of people line the parade routes to see the floats(12 )and try to catch one of the many gifts thrown to the crowds. The famous bead necklaces and coins called doubloons(13) are among the most sought-after(14) items. Other gifts include stuffed(15) animals, artificial flowers, cups and hats. And of course, people attend costume balls.

Bourbon Street is where the party stays in full swing(16) throughout the celebration. It’s the place to hear some of the best jazz music anywhere but, if you go there on the night of Mardi Gras, don’t be surprised to see plenty of wild revelry(17). On Ash Wednesday(18), many of the revellers go to church with their hangovers(19) to ask for absolution. During this special service, ashes, symbolising death, are rubbed(20) on their foreheads to mark their commitment to return to a “normal” life!

(1) desfile, (2) traje, (3) martes de Carnaval, (4) Cuaresma, (5) supuestamente, (6) de hecho, (7) espreciar, (8) no hace falta decir que, (9) rendirse, (10) baile, (11) buey engordado, (12) carroza, (13) doblones, (14) buscado, (15) de peluche, (16) baile, (17) estar muy animado, (18) miércoles de Ceniza, (19) resaca, (20) untar

Friday, March 4, 2011

A short history of Britain .Part 5.

The Vikings in England

The vikings who attacked England between 750 and 1050 were called “ Danes” by the Anglo-Saxon but in fact there were also Norwegians among them. In 865 a great army of Danish vikings attacked and nearly conquered the whole of England but king Alfred “The Great” held (retuvo) the south and west against them. The Danish named their territory “Danelaw”(see map) . Finally, in the tenth century the West –Saxon kings reconquered the north and the east.

The Vikings and the English language

The English and Scandinavian were accustomed to the same kind of rural life and had a similar Germanic background (trasfondo) in consequence many of the Scandinavian loan words (palabras prestadas ) are ordinary every day words. Some examples are window, sky,knife,bag, cake,sister,egg,leg,law,skirt and the adjectives wrong ,low and ugly. The conjunction though is Scandinavian and also the pronoun they,them and their (which were hie,him and hiera in Old English (inglés antiguo)) .

If you want to know more about the Vikings in England watch this brilliant documentary "Blood of the Vikings" produced by the BBC.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Salem Witch Trials

This day in history, March 1st, 1962, the first witch trials were held in Salem, Massachusetts. The two videos below are made by students for their school projects. The first video gives a short history of the trials, and the second one is a cartoon recreation of a witch trial.

Both of these videos are subtitled in English. I suggest pressing pause if the text goes by too quickly.