Thursday, March 29, 2012

How the Spanish Pronounce English names.

Pronouncing people's names and surnames  in a foreign language can be quite difficult sometimes. A  good tool to help you pronounce these words  is  , a free online  talking English dictionary.  Try looking up Beyonce, Peter Ustinov or Rihanna   !

Now you are  ready to watch this interpretation of how Spanish people pronounce some English names.   Have fun !

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin directed and starred in The Great Dictator, a parody of Hitler and Nazi Germany was released in 1940 before the United States entered the war. This movie was Chaplin’s first feature-length talking movie. In the film’s final speech, Chaplin as the dictator gives an inspiring, non-fascist message. This utopian message is as relevant today as it was then. The subtitled video below is a montage of the final speech mixed with modern images.

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like help everybody if possible. Jew, Gentile, black man or white. We all want to help one another. Humans are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate or despise one another. In this world, there is room for everyone. And the good Earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate and has goose-stepped us toward misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but have shut ourselves in. Machinery that has given abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need happiness. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer. The very nature of these inventions cry out to the goodness in man, cries out for universal brotherhood and the unity of us all. Even now, my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. Those, who can hear me, I say, Do not despair. The misery that is upon is but the passing of greed and the bitterness of men who fear human progress. The hate of man will pass and dictators will die. And the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers, don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to think, what to do or what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourself to unnatural men, machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers, don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the 17th chapter of Saint Luke, it is written, The kingdom of God is within Man. Not one man, nor a group of man, but in all man! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful. To make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power, let us unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give man a chance to work, that will our youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie, they do not fulfil their promise. They never will! They free themselves, but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world of science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pets' Corner

Pet birds have been popular since the time of the Romans. Millions of birds are kept as pets in Great Britain alone.
It is wonderful to have a pet bird. They give us hours of amusement (diversión) . Birds are very pleasant company . Perhaps we think it's odd (extraño) that a bird can be content to live it's life in a cage (jaula). Of course, these birds have been bred  (criados) in cages or in aviaries, so they don't know what it's like (no saben lo que es) to live in freedom. But, if at all possible, your pet bird should be given a mate ( pareja) and have the chance to nest (hacer un nido) and raise (criar) its young. If you do this, you will see the difference between a bird that accepts its captivity and a truly satisfied animal.

Around the beginning of the  twentieth century  larks (alondras) and nightingales (ruiseñores) were often captured and kept in cages. But the Protection of Birds  Act , in 1954, abolished the trapping of wild (salvajes) birds for sale as pets. Now only aviary-bred specimens can be kept in captivity.
Both wild and tame (domesticados) birds are delicate animals.They can catch many illnesses (enfermedades) or be infected with parasites. But if a pet bird becomes ill it is often caused by improper care. So if you take good care of your bird , it will probably be healthy all its life.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Father's Day Song

Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's out there! In the U.S. I would have to wait after Mother's Day in May until the third Sunday in June to celebrate. Lucky for me I live here, and I get to celebrate before my wife! Here's a funny song dedicated to Fathers that I found on You Tube by a man who goes by the name of the Wheezy Waiter. Enjoy!

It’s Father’s Day. It’s Father’s Day.
Happy, Happy Father’s Day!
What’s the matter? [1]
Can’t be bothered [2]?
Don’t you love your loving father?

United States, Zimbabwe,
All these countries, Father’s Day
But if you’re from Germany, Luxembourg, Uruguay,
Celebrate on a different day.
So you don’t care about your Dad today
Unless you live under his roof [3]
Then you better [4] be nice
Until you move away.

George Washington is a famous name
But he had no kids
So today he’s lame [5]
Tarantino has a million bucks [6]
But zero kids.
So today he sucks [7].

If you want to be number one
on Father’s Day.
You gotta work on your pecs [8]
And then you go out and have unprotected sex.
You also gotta be a dude [9].
Ladies, you can’t intrude [10].
On Father’s day.
Without a sex change.
I’m still not sure if it’s possible to be a biological father that way.

Mom shut up. It’s not your day.
Sis’ shut up. It’s not your day.
Me shut up.

If you got two dads.
I’ve heard them say
They might not get their ties that day
But double dad, means double party.
Double rainbow all the way.

My Dad looks like an older me
with a few greyer qualities.
What do I get for Father’s Day, y’all?
You get to be in my You Tube show.

George Clooney divorced his wife
But his kids don’t care because they don’t have lives.
Jay Leno is a childless bloke [8].
with the same amount of funny jokes.

If you want to be number one
On Father’s Day
And you’re having trouble making relations.
Well there’s artificial insemination.

You also gotta be a dude,
So ladies you can’t intrude
On Father’s Day.
Unless you make breakfast.
For the father of your child.
Your baby Daddy

Mom shut up. It’s not your day.

[1] ¿Qué te pasa? [2] molestado, [3] techo, [4] debes, [5] lamentable, [6] dolares, [7] da asco, [8] pectorals, [9] tipo, [10] entremeterte

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Do you know the difference between  Good night and the three expressions good morning, good afternoon and good evening ?

Good night is used when you leave people after that last drink and you are going home to bed  !! Good evening is a formal way to greet people after 5 o'clock. Normally , we just say "Hello" or  "Hi".

Check your social skills: What would be an acceptable way of answering these greetings ?

a) How are you ?
b) How do you do?
c) Hi !
d) Good morning .
e) How's it going ?

Check your answers:

a) Very well,/I'm fine ,   thanks .And (how are) you?
b) How do you do?
c) Hello !  /Hi !
d) Good morning !
e)  O.K .thanks. / Not bad /All right .

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oh Shenandoah

The Shenandoah River runs mostly through the northwestern part of the state of Virginia in the US. It flows from the Appalachian Mountains. This river inspired a folk song, whose author might have been a yearning [1] Confederate soldier, who finds himself west of the Missouri River far from his home during the Civil War. Here’s a beautiful accapela version by the Hanson Sisters.

Oh, Shenandoah, I long [2] to hear you, 
[3], you rolling [4] river
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Away, I'm bound
[5] away, cross the wide Missouri.

Oh, Shenandoah, I love your daughter, 
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.

Oh, Shenandoah, I'm bound to leave you, 
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I'm bound to leave you
Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to see you, 
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to see you
Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.

[1] que añora, [2] añorar, [3] en la distancia, [4] ondulado, [5] amarrado

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Quiz

A writer, a painter and a dancer are good friends.One is called Philip, another Julian and the other Gregory.They live in London, Toronto and New York. One is English, another Canadian and the other American.No one lives in his own country. The Englishman one day phones the dancer and says: "You know, I went to see the writer in London last week."  "Yes I already know, Philip" answers the Canadian,"Gregory wrote and told me a friend from Toronto had been to see him."

From this telephone conversation , guess the name , profession , nationality and place where each character lives.

                                           A                              B                              C




The  answers  are in the comments below.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Accents and vocabulary aren’t the only differences between English-speaking countries. Our cultures are very different too. It’s hard to describe the culture of a country without using stereotypes. Stereotypes are general impressions about another culture we receive from films, literature, media and word of mouth [1]. Our stereotypes about another country often prove to be false when we meet someone from there. However, they’re hard to avoid. Here are some typical stereotypes about a few English-speaking countries: 

the English 
The English are very polite (except at football matches) and are always apologising, even when someone steps on their toes! 
The English have a very strange sense of humour. 
They always talk about the weather and drink tea in their gardens. 

the Irish 
The Irish have the gift of gab [2]. They’re all very eloquent and enjoying talking and telling jokes. 
All Irish people drink Guinness when they go out to a pub. 
All Irish people have red hair and green eyes. 

All Americans love their country and have a flag hanging by their door. 
Americans love eating fast food, especially hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries and never eat regular sit-down meals. 
All Americans are terrible at geography and couldn't find their country on a map. 

They like wearing funny-looking [3] hats and have no fashion sense. 
All “Aussies” are descendants of English prisoners, taken there in 1787. 
Australians are all good-looking [4], athletic people who wrestle [5] alligators and surf. 

Are you familiar with any of these stereotypes? If you asked somebody from one these countries about these stereotypes, most likely, they would strongly disagree and tell you some stereotypes of their own! 

What stereotypes do people have of your region or country? 

[1] de oídas, [2] don de la palabra, [3] ridículo, [4] guapo, [5] luchar contra

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Limericks and Pronunciation

The limerick is a short poem with five lines.The first line , the second line and the fifth are all the same length (misma longitud) and have the same sound at the end. And the third and  the fourth lines are the same length and have the same sound at the end. The limerick is usually funny and sometimes tells  a joke about sex.The name limerick comes from the name of a town in Ireland .

Here are some examples:

There was a young lady of Crewe
Who wanted to catch the  2.02.
When she got to the gate ,
They said: " you must wait:
It's a minute or two to 2.02.
(Note: 2.02= "two-two")

There was a young lady from Riga
Who smiled as she rode on tiger.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

People who are learning English as a second language often have problems trying to get the right rhythm and intonation into their sentences. One of the best ways to improve your rhythm in English is by learning some Limericks. Try this one  with the help of the teacher !

There was  a young man from Taiwan
Who thought learning English was mafan (  = not fun
By using these rhymes 
He improved in no time ,
And now speaks better than I can.