Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Royal Soap Opera, Part 3

When we left off in the last episode, there were three contenders [1] for the throne of England when Henry VIII died, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth. Well, Edward became king but he died when he was 15. Mary Tudor, or Bloody [2] Mary, became queen but she had no children either. She was called Bloody Mary because she killed lots of people. When Mary died, Elizabeth became Queen of England.

Edward, Mary and Elizabeth
During Elizabeth I’s reign [3]m England began to look to America. The Spanish already had their colonies in South and Central America and stealing gold from their ships was an English national sport! This rivalry culminated in the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

But the English wanted colonies too, and they started to explore North America. Sir Walter Raleigh established one, and called it Virginia after The Virgin Queen, Queen Elizabeth I. She was called The Virgin Queen because she never married. Later, in 1607, the first settlement [4], Jamestown, was established. 

[1] aspirante, [2] sangriento, [3] reinado, [4] asentamiento

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Royal Soap Opera, Part 2

In the last episode, Henry and Elizabeth from the Houses of Lancaster and York respectively united in matrimony and occupied the English throne. Their successor was  Henry VIII, who’s main claim to fame was his six marriages.

Henry VIII

Henry VIII’s first wife was Catherine of Aragon. They had six children, but only one lived, Mary Tudor. Henry desperately wanted a son and he wanted to divorce Catherine and marry the beautiful Anne Boleyn. But the Pope[1] wouldn’t give him permission. Henry’s response was simple: he started the Church of England and made himself its Head.[2] All British monarchs since Henry have been the Head of the Church of England.

Catherine, Anne and Jane
Henry married Anne and she had a child, but it was a daughter! Henry still wanted a son, and he thought Anne was a witch. He thought about divorcing her to marry Jane Seymour, but in the end he accused her of treason [3] and cut her head off [4].

Henry married Jane Seymour and they had a son, Edward. Now there were three contenders [5] for the throne: Mary, Elizabeth and Edward. Don’t miss the next exciting episode of the Royal Saga!

[1] el Papa, [2] se proclamó el jefe, [3] acusar a alguien de traición, [4] decapitar a alguien, [5] aspirantes

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ArcelorMittal Orbit

"I wanted the sensation of instability" Anish Kapoor

The ArcelorMittal Orbit was inaugurated last Monday ( 15th May).This spiraling 376 foot lattice (entramado)  of dark-red tubular steel (acero)  was designed by artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond.The tower sponsored by ArcelorMittal ( the world's leading integrated steel and mining company) is taller than the Statue of Liberty and Big Ben and has cost 22.7 million pounds. During the 2012 Olympic Games the tower will be a visitor attraction and will be reopen in the first half of 2014 . "I wanted us to make a work that's really about experience," Kapoor says."It's about going in, going up, being part of it."
What do you think about London's Olympic sculpture ? Watch the video and have your say ! (dinos lo que opinas).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Royal Soap Opera Part 1

To understand the culture of a country you need to know a little about its history. And the hstory of the English royal families are very interesting, so full of intrigue and revenge [1] that they are like soap operas [2]. What goes on now is nothing compared to what happened in the past!

Let’s start in 1485. The Earl of Richmond, after defeating [3] Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field, became Henry VII, the first Tudor Monarch. England had been destroyed by a war, the famous War of the Roses. The roses were the two noble houses that fought over [4] the kingdom of England: a white rose for the House of York and a red rose for the House of Lancaster.

The succession of Henry VII to the throne [5] of England ended the War of the Roses. Henry was Lancastrian but he married Elizabeth of the House of York. As a result of this marriage, the two houses were finally united. Elizabeth gave birth [6] to a son, Henry VIII, who became famous because of his six wives.

[1] venganza, [2] culebrón, [3] derrotar, [4] luchar por, [5] trone, [6] dar a luz

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Fire Of London

The old city of London had narrow,crooked streets and wooden houses. It was a dirty city, too. In 1665  75,000 Londoners died from the plague.  On September 2nd 1666 a bakery in Pudding Lane near London Bridge caught fire. 
Painting of the Great Fire (Artist unknown c.1700)

After a long hot summer the wooden houses were very dry. A wind was blowing from the river.It blew the flames from house to house, and in the narrow streets the fire spread quickly. The fire burned for four days.It destroyed 80% of the city. Amazingly, only six people died in the fire. The people of London built a new city.The houses were made of brick or stone not wood.The new streets were straight and they were wider and cleaner too. Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt St.Paul's Cathedral.

Now complete the following sentences:

The opposite of wide( ancho)  is______________.
The opposite of straight (recto)  is________________.
The opposite of  clean (limpio) is_______________.

Read the text again and find the past of the following verbs:

have  , to be  , catch ,blow, spread, burn, die, build, make

(Answers in the comments)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Word Watching

Some people enjoy observing birds, or bird watching, I enjoy word watching. Occasionally, while wandering [1] the through the Twitter jungle, I have spotted [2] some interesting tweets about curious English-language facts, which I’m going to share with you now.

The shortest English word that contains the letters A, B, C, D, E and F is feedback [3].

Almost is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.

There are only four words in the English language which end in -dous: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous [4].

There are only three words in the English language with the letters uu are: vacuum [5], residuum [6] and continuum.

Underground is the only word in the English language that begins and ends with the letters und.

Raise (lift, pick up) and raze (tear down and destroy) are homophones (words that are spelled differently but pronounced the same) and antonyms (opposite in meaning) at the same time!

Resign (pronounced reSign means sign again) and resign (pronounced reZign means quit) are both heteronyms (words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciation) and antonym at the same time!

[1] deambulando, [2] divisar, [3] comentario critico, [4] peligroso, [5] vacío, pasar la aspiradora, [6] residuo

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Merry Month of May

The "merry month of May" is an expression that we in modern society often forget about.In the old days, May was the beginning of fine sunny weather, a time of joy and celebration. We had May Day when families came together to celebrate the coming of summer and we had May Dances when young men  and women got to know each other. Some of the most popular celebrations are Morris Dancing ( a traditional English form of folkdancing, performed by groups of men or women) ,crowning a May Queen (a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade  for May Day celebrations. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins) and celebrations involving a Maypole ( a tall pole decorated with ribbons and flowers that forms a center for the spring festival held on May 1 )

In keeping with the spirit of this merry month we hope you will enjoy this  !!!!