Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Spanish Town Invaded... By Smurfs

We have discovered a new resource to practice listening, called Videopedia, which is a website that has very short videos, up to five minutes in length. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles and since the videos are short, the English is spoken fast. Nonetheless, it’s a good way to tune your ear!

Here’s an example: Spanish Town Invaded... By Smurfs. Familiarize yourself with the vocabulary below before watching the video further down.

movie release = estreno de película
stunts = maniobra, ardid publicitario
outdone itself = superado a si mismo
shores = costa
premiere = estreno
gallons = galones
feat = hazaña, proeza
execs = short for executives
mayor = alcalde
bishop = obispo
landowner = terrateniente
blue in the face = al punto de extrema exasperación
beleaguered = atribulado
launch = lanzar
canny = astuto
hot spot = sitio popular
livery = colores distintivos

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Famous Black Leaders.

Dr.W.E.B Du Bois
Dr.Martin Luther King
Malcolm X
Read the three paragraphs  and find out ( averigua, descubre) which biography below  belongs to which of the three famous men above.

A- Believed that the white man was using Christianity to keep the black people in their place. He became a Muslim and advocated separatism. He was assassinated in 1965.

B- Educated at Harvard...helped to organize the National Association for Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) . Later , disillusioned, he became a separatist and finally went into exile in Africa, where he died.

C-Preached nonviolence and Christian love. He fought for racial equality, especially in the South. He was assassinated in 1968.

The answers are in the comments below.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

Every third Sunday in June is Father's Day in the United States. And last Sunday was the special day! In commemoration of Father's Day, I think it's only fitting (apropiado) to revisit one of cinema's most famous revelations; in Star Wars, when Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he is his father! 

Darth Vader: Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke Skywalker: He told me enough... He told me you killed him.
Darth Vader: No, I am your father. 

Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!
¿Que dices?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Playing Poker

Poker has long been one of America’s favourite pastimes. It was played on the Mississippi riverboats and in the saloons of the “Wild West”.

This is how you play draw poker *

First all the players put a little money in the centre of the table to start the game. Then the dealer (el que reparte ) gives five cards to each player. After looking at his cards, the player can exchange one, two or three of the cards that he doesn’t want. Then the players bet (apuestan) . The player to the left of the dealer begins. He can say, for example: “I bet two dollars”. And he puts two dollars in the centre of the table. The next player can do one of three things:

1- If he thinks his cards are not very good , he says, “I’m out” ( me retiro) , and gives the cards back to the dealer.
2- If he thinks his cards are fairly good , he says, “Ill see you” (las veo), and puts the same amount of money in the centre of the table that the first player put there.
3- If he thinks his cards are very good, he says “I’ll see your two dollars and raise you (for example) three “ (veo tus dos dólares y subo tres más) and puts five dollars in the centre of the table.

When all bets have been “seen” , the betting stops. Then the player who bet the most money shows his cards. If any of the other players have got better cards, he shows them. The best cards win all the money in the centre of the table.
Poker hands: here is the order  of what wins from the highest (Royal  Flush) to the lowest (One Pair).

The names of the cards are: Ace, two,three,four,five,six,seven,eight,nine,ten Jack,Queen,King.
The names of the suits (palos) are: Spades(picas),Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs (tréboles) .

*Se llama "Draw Poker" porque cada jugador puede "draw", robar ,entre una y cuatro cartas después de la primera ronda de apuestas,intentando mejorar su mano.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

U.S. Travel Tips

If you go to the United States on summer vacation, it might be helpful to know some little differences that can cause confusion.

Unlike a Spanish calendar, the first day on an American one is Sunday NOT Monday, and the last one is Saturday NOT Sunday!

Also, it’s more common for us to say and write the month before the day! 
For example: 5/10 is NOT the fifth of October BUT May tenth!

If you’re going shopping, as I imagine you will, it’s important not to confuse periods, or points, and commas. Their use is just the opposite of how you Spaniards use them. We use commas to indicate thousands, and periods before fractions. And we do NOT use commas or periods in years in order to avoid confusion. 
For example:
19.99             =             nineteen (point) ninety-nine
1,999             =             one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine
1999              =             (the year) nineteen, ninety-nine 

Well, I hope that avoids some confusion for you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rebecca Black. Friday. Is this the worst song ever recorded ?

Rebecca Black's pop video has been viewed on YouTube ( visto en You Tube) more than 154 million times ! The song by the 13-year-old American teenager went viral on the internet ( se ha "viralizado ", propagado en la red ) after being described as the worst one ever recorded. It has also trended on Twitter (tema de moda , más comentado por los usuarios en Twitter) and been the subject of online comment and discussion.The song was produced by Los Angeles-based Ark Music Factory ,an independent record label (sello discográfico independiente) and was paid for by the teenager’s mother.People,among other things,(entre otras cosas) have criticised the song for its awful lyrics ( pésima letra). For example: "yesterday was Thursday Thursday, today it is Friday Friday".

And about the music...judge for yourself !


Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark) Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeahYeah, etc...

7am, waking up in the morning/Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs/Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal/Seein’ everything, the time is goin’/ Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’/Gotta get down to the bus stop/Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)/ Kickin’ in the front seat/Sittin’ in the back seat/Gotta make my mind up/ Which seat can I take? It’s Friday, FridayGotta get down on Friday/Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekendFriday, FridayGettin’ down on Friday/Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend /Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah) Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah) /Fun, fun, fun, funLookin’ forward to the weekend/

7:45, we’re drivin’ on the highway/Cruisin’ so fast, I want time to fly/Fun, fun, think about fun/You know what it is/I got this, you got this/My friend is by my right/I got this, you got this/Now you know it/Kickin’ in the front seat/Sittin’ in the back seat/Gotta make my mind up/Which seat can I take?
It’s Friday, Friday/Gotta get down on Friday/Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend/Friday, FridayGettin’ down on Friday/Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend//Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)Fun, fun, fun, funLookin’ forward to the weekend[Bridge]/Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday/Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)We-we-we so excitedWe so excitedWe gonna have a ball todayTomorrow is SaturdayAnd Sunday comes after...wardsI don’t want this weekend to end.

[Rap Verse]
R-B, Rebecca Black So chillin’ in the front seat (In the front seat)In the back seat (In the back seat)I’m drivin’, cruisin’ (Yeah, yeah) Fast lanes, switchin’ lanesWit’ a car up on my side (Woo!)(C’mon) Passin’ by is a school bus in front of meMakes tick tock, tick tock, wanna screamCheck my time, it’s Friday, it’s a weekendWe gonna have fun, c’mon, c’mon, y’all
It's Friday, Friday/...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Present Simple or Present Continuous ? -2-

Hoy vamos a hablar de cómo estos tiempos verbales también pueden expresar futuro. Lee el ejemplo y fíjate de qué modo utilizamos el Present Simple para hablar del futuro.

What time does the train to Liverpool leave? The train leaves tonight at 8 P.M

Al referirnos a un horario de un medio de transporte utilizamos el Present Simple. Recuerda: un horario (timetable) - Present simple. Aunque no es tan frecuente también se usa con otro tipo de eventos programados:

The concert starts at eleven.
When does the class begin tomorrow ?

El Present Continuos lo hacemos servir para hablar de planes en un futuro no muy lejano . Por ejemplo , si quieres preguntarle a un amigo qué tiene planeado hacer la siguiente semana dirías:

What are you doing next week ?

Tu amigo abre su agenda y te contesta:

On Monday I am visiting some clients.
On Tuesday I am travelling to Paris.
On Wednesday at three I am playing tennis with the new manager...

Es lo que has decidido planeado hacer en un futuro próximo. LLegados a este punto muchos alumnos dudan entre utilizar la forma continua o el "going to", pero mantendremos el suspense y hablaremos de ello la semana que viene.
Completa las frases colocando el verbo entre paréntesis en el tiempo correcto.
1-When _________  (visit ) Mary ? Next week.
2-What time_______________ (leave) the  train to London  ? At half past seven.
3-What time _________________(leave) today ? At seven.
4- Do you want to have dinner with me tonight?  I am sorry. I can't. I______(go) to the cinema with some friends.
5-What ______(do) in the morning ? I_______(go) to the gym.
6- Where _________(go) on holiday this summer ?  I don't know. We haven't decided yet.

1- are you visiting  2- does the train to London leave 3- are you leaving 4- am going 5- do you do /I go 6- are you going .

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This Land Is Your Land

Woody Guthrie was a folk singer-songwriter, who lived during the first half of the 20th century. He wrote about the social injustices of his time. His most famous song, and probably the most popular American folk song ever, is This Land Is Your Land. In 1938, the patriotic song God Bless America, written by Irvin Berlin in 1918, was popularly revived by the singer Kate Smith. Sick of hearing the song, which he viewed as too unrealistic, played constantly on the radio, Woody Guthrie wrote This Land Is Your Land in 1940. The obvious egalitarian message of the song is summed up by the last line of each verse: This land was made for you and me.

You can hear the song in the video below. The lyrics are further below. And even further below, you can find a newer version by a young Bruce Springsteen.

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled (1) and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling (2),
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling (3),
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing (4)."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple (5) I saw my people,
By the relief office (6) I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

(1) vagao y paseado, (2) pasear, (3) rodar, (4) propiedad privada, (5) campanario, (6) agencia de auxilio

Friday, June 3, 2011

Present Simple or Present Continuous ? -1-

Es frecuente entre los estudiantes de inglés de habla española utilizar el Present Simple cuando en realidad se debería utilizar la forma continua Present Continuous . Veamos algunos ejemplos:

I send you my Progress Check . Cuando debería ser: I am sending you my Progress Check.
I write to tell you... en vez de : I am writing to tell you...

En estos casos se debe utilizar la forma continua pues estamos realizando la acción en el momento de hablar o escribir , no es una rutina ni un hábito.

El Present Simple se utiliza para hablar de rutinas, hábitos, (I go to work every day ) algo que es verdad durante un período de tiempo largo (I am married. I live in Spain ) , un hecho científico o realidad permanente (The sky is blue) , al hablar de sentimientos, opiniones, características ( I like football, I believe in God ).

Asi que sí es correcto decir:

I send my teacher a Progress Check every two weeks.
I write a letter to my friend on Fridays.

Utilizamos el Present Continuous para hablar de lo que está sucediendo ahora ( You are reading this sentence now) o una acción que se desarrolla en el presente y/o futuro inmediato (Barça is playing very well this season) .

Veamos algunos ejemplos más. Imagínate que estás residiendo en Londres una temporada por motivos de trabajo y te preguntan: Where do you live ? . Contestarías: I live in Spain.Sin embargo a la pregunta: Where are you living ? Responderías: I am living at 12 Baker St. in London.

Y para terminar un ejercicio . Completa las frases colocando el verbo entre paréntesis en el tiempo correcto.
1- My father likes watching tv .He ________(watch) tv most evenings.
2- Peter and Mary are in London. They _______(stay) at a beautiful hotel.
3- The class _________(start) at 9:00 every morning .
4- Caroline______ (like) sports. She _________(play) tennis at the moment.
5- Shhhh! Be quiet ! The children___________ (sleep) .
6- It often______(rain) in England.


1- watches 2-are staying 3- starts 4- likes /is playing 5- are sleeping 6- rains