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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What a Wonderful World . Louis Armstrong.

I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom (florecer) , for me and you. And I think to myself,what a wonderful world.(Y me digo a mi mismo , qué mundo tan maravilloso)  I see skies of blue, and clouds of white. The bright blessed day,( el luminoso y bendito día the dark sacred night( la  oscura y sagrada noche).  And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. 
The colors of the rainbow (arcoiris) , so pretty in the sky. Are also on the faces, of people going by, I see friends shaking hands (veo amigos dándose la mano. Saying, "How do you do?" They're really saying, "I love you". I hear babies cry, I watch them grow .They'll learn much more ,than I'll ever know.( Oigo a los bebés llorar, los veo crecer, ellos aprenderán mucho más de lo que yo nunca sabré). And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. 

Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world. ...oh yeah .

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a classic Halloween tale written by American author Washington Irving in 1820. Sleepy Hollow is a quiet valley that is said to be bewitched. Its inhabitants are very superstitious and some of them affirm they have seen strange spirits. The spirit that dominates all their stories is the Headless Horseman. One day a new schoolteacher arrives, his name is Ichabod Crane. He falls in love with Katrina, the daughter of a rich farmer. He will do anything to get her love but it won’t be easy if the Headless Horseman is around.

The Headless Horseman is popularly depicted with a Jack-O-Lantern, a lighted pumpkin [1]with a face carved [2] on it, on his head, which he wears until he finds a real human head as a substitute. Nowadays, The Jack-O-Lantern, is one of the most recognizable symbols of Halloween. When the Irish came to the United States and introduced Witches’ Night,  they brought the traditional lantern [3]. Irish legend tells of a notorious drunk and a con-man [4], Jack, who was denied entry to both Heaven and Hell. So he was doomed to wander [5] in the darkness with the help of a turnip [6] and a piece of coal [7] that the devil threw at him from Hell. Jack put the glowing [8] coal in the turnip as a lantern to move around in the darkness. When the Irish came to America, the turnip was replaced by the pumpkin, which was larger and easier to empty, and the coal was replaced by a candle.

[1] calabaza, [2] grabado, [3] farol, [4] estafador, [5] condenado a deambular, [6] nabo, [7] carbón, [8] resplandeciente 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to tie a tie and prepositions.

Have you ever had problems tying a tie ( anudando una corbata) ? The following video shows you how to tie one of the most popular knots (nudos : the  double Windsor . Follow these step -by -step instructions  paying special attention to prepositions.  Read the text below  before watching the video  to help you understand them better.


-Take your collar up. (hacia arriba)
-Put the tie around  your neck .(alrededor del cuello)
-Keep the long end in your right hand and the short end in your left hand.

The Steps:

Step 1-Cross the tie over. ( al otro lado  )
Step 2-Take the long end and stick it up and behind (detrás)  , through (a través de) the little hole and then down .(hacia abajo)
Step 3-We pull it around ,switch hands and put it through the hole.
Step 4-Push it around and then push it up through the hole  and down a little "tunnel" that we have created.
          -Pull the collar down and voila  !!

Now play with it until you get it right  !!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Changing Education Paradigms

Here's an interesting presentation about the current education system, and why it should be changed. Although it's in English, what is said is mostly written at the same time, which makes the lecture more understandable. The drawing is well-done and makes the presentation flow and not bore the listener.

Do you agree that the current education system needs changing? What do you think is wrong with it? What suggestions do you have?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tennis vocabulary

Love, deuce, tie-break, umpire  ... Don't worry if you don't understand all this tennis terminology .Below is a vocabulary list  to help you enjoy a little more the next tennis match you watch in English !

ace- saque ganador  /15 all-empate a quince  /ball boy/girl -chico/chica recogepelotas /  baseline-línea de fondo/  deuce -punto de cuarenta iguales /lob -hacer un globo  love - cero /passing shot-conseguir que la pelota supere  al adversario/golpe   /serve -servicio /return -devolver/ tie-break-muerte súbita-desempate  / umpire -árbitro/volley-volea / grass court -pista de hierba/ clay court -pista de tierra batida /tennis court -pista de tennis .

He has a very good serve -tiene un servicio muy bueno.
The score is fifteen-love - la puntuación es de  15 a cero.
The two best passing shots of the tournament- los dos mejores golpes(paralelo/cruzado)  del torneo .
His final volley of the match was spectacular. -su  volea de final de  partido fué espectacular .

Now  watch the video and  enjoy the highlights of one of the best matches  ever in Wimbledon.

Wimbledon 2008 The Best Final Ever Nadal vs Federer

Monday, October 10, 2011

British Pubs

British people love going to the pub, where they meet friends, have a drink and play darts. Pubs open at about 9 o’clock in the morning and they usually close at eleven o’clock at night. You can order [1] drinks until a quarter to eleven. Then the landlord has to tell everyone that it is closing time [2]. He rings a bell [3] and shouts: “Last orders!”. When everyone hears this, they know that the pub is going to close and so they go to the bar to buy a last round of drinks.

You have to remember two very important things about pubs in Britain: you have to order your drinks at the bar because there is no table service and you have to pay for your drinks when you order them! If you go with friends, everyone usually buys a round [4] of drinks.

There are lots of different kinds of beer; such as lager, bitter or stout for example. Lager is light in colour and body, bitter beer has a strong flavour of hops [5] and is obviously bitter [6], and stout is strong and dark, made with roasted malt or barley [7]. When you want a glass of beer, you can order a pint or half a pint.

In British pubs, when you buy spirits [8] the barman gives you a very small amount [9] of alcohol. He measures the amount of alcohol (0.0284 litres) that he puts in each glass. In Britain, the law says that pubs have to do this. If you want a bigger drink, ask for a double – but remember you have to pay double as well. If you want, for example,  with ice, you can ask for it “with ice” or “on the rocks”.

Did you know that you can also eat there? In fact, some pubs serve very good meals and lots of people go there to eat. This is affectionately called “pub grub”, and you can bet you will get your fill of meat and potatoes.

You are now ready to survive in a British pub!

[1] pedir, [2] la hora de cerrar, [3] tocar la campana, [4] ronda, [5] lúpulo, [6] amargo, [7] cebada, [8] bebidas alcohólicas, [9] cantidad

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Football vocabulary

Here is a vocabulary list to help you talk  about one of the world's most popular games.Once you have  checked the list watch the highlights of the Champions League Final 2011 Barcelona vs Manchester United played in Wembley while  you listen to the commentary in English. ( My apologies to all  R. Madrid fans ! )

a match- un partido  /a football pitch - un campo de fútbol / 6  yard box / 18 yard box or penalty area - el área pequeña / el área grande /first half/second half- primera parte/segunda parte /a referee - un árbitro / a goalkeeper -un portero/  a defender -un defensa  /  a midfielder -un centrocampista/ an attacker /a forward / a striker -un atacante/delantero/goleador / a manager-un entrenador/     a foul -una falta / 
to take a free kick-  lanzar un tiro libre  /  a booking -targeta amarilla (yellow card)/ offside -fuera de juego  / the score -el resultado /an own goal - un gol en propia puerta/ an equaliser -gol que hace el empate / keep possession- mantener posesión del balón / a draw -un empate  / a clinical finish - culminar la jugada con un chut colocado que acaba en gol.

Now read these phrases taken from the commentary in English of the match.

A great ball by Giggs....First real opening !............. What a good chance  !
Barcelona  scored in the 27th minute ... Pedro finishes so clinically...
Equalizer ...
He (Messi) can do everything inside or outside the box .
Definitely a team...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Have You Ever?

Have you ever had a funny or interesting experience?
Have you ever done anything stupid?

Do you know what have you ever means? We use ever with the present perfect (have + past participle) to find out if something has been done before. So…

Have you ever climbed a mountain?
Have you ever sailed across an ocean?
Have you ever cheated on an exam?
Have you ever won a competition?
Have you ever been in trouble?
Have you ever had a tattoo?
Have you ever played hopscotch?
Have you ever studied in another country?

Of course, one thing is asking a question, another is answering. You can simply use the auxiliary verb in a short answer: 
Yes, I have. / No, I haven't.

Or you can give a little more detail with a frequency adverb, like never, often, once, twice, three times, etc. For example:
I’ve never been there before.
I’ve done that once.

Notice, we place the frequency adverbs like never before the main verb (or past participle) but we place the adverbs that tell us a specific quantity after the complement.

So don’t be shy! Share your experiences!