Friday, May 31, 2013

The Corrs,Forgiven Not Forgotten.

A photogenic Irish  family band comprising three sisters and one brother, The Corrs  blend (mezclathe music of their Irish background with contemporary pop/rock elements. The quartet formed in 1991 and released  their  first studio album, Forgiven Not Forgotten (perdonado (pero) no olvidado)  in 1996 .

The Corrs are  Sharon (violin, vocals),Caroline (Drums, Bodhran, vocals),
Jim (Keyboards, guitar, vocals),Andrea(  Lead vocals, tin whistle)
Listen to the  song and fill in the gaps, then  do the exercise about the often confused  verbs lie and  lay.   The answers are in the comments. Finally for those of you who are fans of The Corrs and would like to enjoy more of their music,here is a  link to their full concert at the Royal Albert Hall .

Forgiven Not Forgotten

All alone, staring on
Watching her (1) ____ go by (pasar)
When her days are (2)_____
And her nights are black
Different shades of mundane
And the one -eyed furry (3) ___ (peluche)
That lies upon the bed
Has often heard  (4) ____  cry
And heard her whisper out  a name
Long (hace tiempo) forgiven, but not forgotten

You're forgiven not forgotten (x3)
You're not forgotten.

A bleeding (5) ____  torn apart (roto)
Left on an (6)____grave
In the room where they once (7)____
Face to face
Nothing could get in their way
But now the (8)______- of the man are haunting her days
And the craving (anhelo) never fades (desvanece)
She's still (9)  __________ of a man
Long forgiven, but not forgotten

You're forgiven not forgotten(x3)
You're not forgotten

Still alone, staring on
Wishing her life goodbye
As she goes searching for the man
Long forgiven, but not forgotten

You're forgiven not forgotten...

Look at the following examples and then complete the sentences:

lie /lai/ position ( lay-lain) Ex.:You  lie on the beach.
lie /lai/  speak falsely ( lied-lied) Ex.: I suspect he lies about his age.
lay /lei/ put down- (laid-laid) Ex.:She laid the baby on the bed.
lay /lei/  produce eggs  ( laid-laid) Ex.: Turtles lay their eggs in the sand.

1. She got a sunburn from__________( lying/  laying) on the beach too long.
2. Mary said that she had ____________ ( lain/  laid) the book on a table.
3. My chickens ____________(laid/lay) 20 eggs yesterday.
4.. I often _____________(lay/lie)in bed for hours on Sunday mornings.
5. Don't trust her. She's _________( laying/ lying)
6. The cuckoo______ (lays/lies)    its eggs in other bird's nests.
7. Last night I _____________  (lay/lied) awake in bed, thinking about my life.
8. The fugitive___________________   (laid/lay) down his gun.
9. Martha's cat ____________(lays/lies) next to her when she reads.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Travelling to Paris (1)

The Queen of Cities”, “The City of Modernity”, “The Capital of the Civilised World”, and of course “The City of Light”. These are all phrases commonly used to describe the French capital Paris. It is not easy being all things to all people, but Paris – a worldly (mundano) city if ever  there was one – bears the weight (lleva el peso) of this role with style and grace, and from all indications it will continue to do so throughout (a lo largo de) the twenty-first century.

Dividing up the City

 Paris sits in the northern central area of France, about 170 kilometres south of the English Channel in a geographical area called the Paris basin.(cuenca) The city has an oval shape (forma oval) that is about 13 kilometres across at its widest point (punto más ancho). The River Seine flows (fluye) from east to west in an anti-clockwise (en contra de las agujas del reloj) arc through the middle of the city. The Seine has always played a key role in the city’s life and development since its beginnings as a fishing village, and using it as a starting point is a good way to get a feel for the city’s convoluted (enrevesado) yet (aunque) intriguing layout.(trazado)

The Île de la Cité, an island in the middle of the Seine from which Paris was born, contains the Notre Dame cathedral and the old royal palace. The north or Right Bank (Rive Droite) of the river contains most of the city’s business, shopping and cultural landmarks,(puntos de referencia) while the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) is famous for its bohemian artistic and student atmosphere.

The city is divided into twenty urban districts known as arrondissements, arranged in a spiral fashion (en forma de espiral) with the Louvre at the epicentre. The city proper (ciudad en si ) has a population of 2.1 million, but the Greater Paris metropolitan area is home to more than 11 million, making it, after London, the second largest metropolitan area in Western Europe.
Paris is a truly (verdaderamente) cosmopolitan city, with a fifth of its residents having been born outside of France. The newest waves (olas) of immigrants come from China, Africa and Latin America. Although the city proper has been losing inhabitants as people migrate to the suburbs in search of more space and lower rents, Paris continues to be one of the most densely populated places in Europe, with more than 20,000 inhabitants per square kilometre.

Greater Paris is an economic powerhouse (centro neurálgico), generating more than 25 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product of France. One reason that Paris is so important economically is because its economy is very diversified, with important business, trade,(comercio) manufacturing, education and government centres located throughout the metropolitan area.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Body Language

Today in order to improve your oral comprehension (Listening ) we recommend watching this inspiring  and extremely interesting talk by Amy Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, where she studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments ( juicio instantáneo, juzgar a la ligera)  affect people from the classroom to the boardroom (la sala de juntas) .

"Our minds change our bodies but it is also true that our bodies change our minds".

Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.

El lenguaje corporal influye cómo nos ven los demás, pero también puede cambiar cómo nos vemos a nosotros mismos. La psicóloga social Amy Cuddy muestra como las "posturas de poder" —mostrar una actitud de seguridad, aún sintiéndose inseguro— pueden alterar los niveles cerebrales de testosterona y colesterol, e incluso mejorar nuestras probabilidades de éxito. La charla tiene subtítulos en castellano para facilitar la compresión.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic (quijotesca) passion for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism resistance to change, social upheaval,(agitación) and excess, creating a portrait (retrato) of the Jazz Age that has been described as a tale regarding the American Dream.

The main events of the novel take place in the summer of 1922, narrated by Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate and World War I veteran from the Midwest who takes a job in New York as a salesman. He rents a small house on Long Island, next door to the lavish (espléndida) mansion of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire who holds extravagant parties. Nick drives across the bay to East Egg for dinner at the home of his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, a college acquaintance of Nick's. They introduce Nick to Jordan Baker, an attractive, cynical young golfer with whom Nick begins a romantic relationship. She reveals to Nick that Tom has a mistress (amante), Myrtle Wilson, who lives in the "valley of ashes" between West Egg and New York City. Not long after this revelation, Nick travels to New York City with Tom and Myrtle to an apartment they keep for their affair. At the apartment, a vulgar and bizarre party ends with Tom breaking Myrtle's nose.

As the summer progresses, Nick eventually receives an invitation to one of Gatsby's parties. Nick encounters (se encuentra) Jordan Baker at the party, and they meet Gatsby himself, Through Jordan, Nick later learns that Gatsby knew Daisy from a romantic encounter in 1917 and is deeply in love (perdidamente enamorado) with her. He spends many nights staring at the green light at the end of her dock (muelle), across the bay from his mansion. Gatsby's extravagant lifestyle and wild parties are an attempt (intento) to impress Daisy in the hopes that she will one day appear again at Gatsby's doorstep. Gatsby now wants Nick to arrange a reunion between himself and Daisy. Nick invites Daisy to have tea at his house, without telling her that Gatsby will also be there. After an initially awkward (incómoda) reunion, Gatsby and Daisy reestablish their connection. They begin an affair (relación) and, after a short time, Tom grows increasingly suspicious of his wife's relationship with Gatsby. At a luncheon (merienda)  at the Buchanans' house, Gatsby stares at Daisy with such undisguised passion that Tom realizes Gatsby is in love with her. He forces the group to drive into New York City, where he confronts Gatsby in a suite at the Plaza Hotel. Tom asserts (asegura) that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby could never understand, and he announces to his wife that Gatsby is a criminal whose fortune comes from illegal activities. Daisy realizes that her allegiance (lealtad) is to Tom, and Tom contemptuously (despectivamente) sends her back to East Egg with Gatsby, attempting to prove that Gatsby cannot hurt him.

And, because we don't want to spoil the end of the story, from Home English we encourage you to see the new version by film maker Baz Luhrmann, who also directed Moulin Rouge and starred by Leonardo Di Caprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan in a thrilling interpretation of  F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.

What are you waiting for?

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Canadian English Story

Have you read anything in Canadian English before? You probably haven’t. Well, let’s read a conversation between Kevin (a Canadian) and William (an Englishman) that incorporates many examples of Canadian English slang ( highlighted  in red ). In the conversation, William already knows some colloquial Canadian, but still has problems understanding the language that Kevin uses.  

 William: Hi Kevin. How’s it going?
Kevin: Oh, I feel logey1 today. I prolly2 had too many drinks last night at The Ballet3. I don’t remember how many. Prolly half a suitcase4
William: Yes, you do look tired. What did you see at the ballet? Swan Lake? The Nutcracker?
Kevin: Oh no. It wasn’t that kind of ballet. No this was the exotic dance bar club downtown.(centro)
William: Oh right. Well, you must be starving.(muriendo de hambre ) Let’s buy something from the Loblaws grocery store.(colmado ) There’s only homo milk5 in the fridge.
Kevin: What, from blahs blahs6? That’ll take too long. I think we should decide between McRats7 and the Dirty Bird8.
William: Oh, you mean McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yes, let’s go to the Dirty Bird. 

Kevin: Good choice (buena elección ). They got some delicious desserts on the menu these days. Last time I had beaver tail9.
William: What’s that? I hope you weren’t eating part of a beaver.(castor)
Kevin: Oh no, it’s nothing to do with eating a beaver. It’s a type of pastry  in the shape  of a beaver’s tail. Some people call it an elephant’s ear10. 

William: Ah! You learn something every day.
Kevin: Oh no. I hardly ( apenas) have any money. I’ve only got a fin11. I hope you’ve at least  got a double sawbuck12.
William: I don’t know.  How much is a fin and a double sawbuck?
Kevin: Oh sorry, yes, that’s Canadian English again. Yes a fin is five dollars, while a double sawbuck is twenty dollars.
William: Oh Ok. Yeah, that’s no problem mate (colega). I’m tickey boo13 with money. I’ve just received this month’s wages.(salario)
Kevin: Excellent. I think I’ve decided what I’m going to have. A double-double14 and a jam buster15.  Well, just wait a minute. William. I’ll just get some joggers16 on before we go.

 In the table below we can see definitions of the Canadian English expressions used in the Kevin-William conversation: 

Canadian EnglishDefinition
1. LogeyTired
2. ProllyA substitution word for probably
3. The BalletAn exotic dance club or strip bar
4. SuitcaseA case of 24 bottles of beer
5. Homo milkAbbreviation form of homogenised milk
6. Blahs blahsSlang name for the Canadian grocery chain store (cadena de tiendas)  called Loblaws
7. McRatsOther name for McDonalds. Other names for this fast food restaurant are Animal Recycler, Rotten Ronnies, McDogFoods.
8. Dirty BirdNickname (apodo ) for Kentucky Fried Chicken
9. Beaver TailA dessert food basically consisting of a pastry, usually covered with lemon juice and cinnamon ( canela)  sugar. Given its name because it resembles the shape of a beaver’s tail.
10. Elephant’s EarOther name for a beaver’s tail
11. FinA five dollar note, also known as a fiver
12. Double SawbuckA twenty dollar note (billete )
13. Tickey BooEverything is going well
14. Double-doubleA coffee with double cream and double sugar
15. Jam busterA jam doughnut
16. JoggersAnother word for tracksuit bottoms( pantalón de chandal )

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blue Hawaii Cocktail

There are three parts to this post. First of all, we show (mostramos) you how to make a Sour Mix,(mezcla cítrica y ácida para cocktails) a common ingredient of many cocktails in Hawaii. Then, we show you how to make a Blue Hawaii cocktail including the sour mix. Finally, just in case you need it, we give you a few hints (pistas) on what to do if you have a hangover! (resaca).
How to make Sour Mix

It’s Sour Mix is easy to make and it only takes five minutes. You can also buy Sour Mix at the supermarket if you prefer, but it is not as authentic.

1. Whisk (bate) one egg white (clara de huevo) until frothy.(espumosa)

2. Mix in one cup of sugar, two cups of water and two cups of fresh lemon juice.

3. Using a funnel,(embudo) Pour (vierte) the liquid into a bottle and store(guárdalo) it in the fridge.

Important: use within (dentro de) four days.

How to make a Blue Hawaii cocktail

Mix 25ml Blue Curaçao, 25ml Rum, fresh pineapple juice (zumo de piña) and a splash (un chorro) of Sour Mix. Shake (agita) the mixture and pour over ice in a tall glass.

If you drink too much Blue Hawaii and have a hangover…

1. Drink lots of water. The “hair of the dog” (tomar otra copa para que se te pase la resaca) is not recommended!

2. Eat something, preferably something with a lot of Vitamin B in it, such as meat or spinach.

Finally, here you have a video showing you how to make a delicious Blue Hawai Cocktail! Enjoy it!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Canadian English

As you know, the most  spoken language in Canada is English. But unless ( a no ser que ) you have had a Canadian teacher, you will not understand certain expressions that are common in Canadian English, and will also find the accent strange. Today we focus on this important variety of English and look at whether Canadian English is a dialect that is totally unique or there are similarities to British English or American English. 

 History of Canadian English

Canadian English has constantly been evolving ( evolucionando) over the last two hundred years thanks to various waves (olas) of immigration during that period. The birth ( nacimiento)  of the Canadian English language started when British Loyalists escaped from the states on the eastern ( del este) coast of the United States during the seven-year American War of Independence that culminated in 1783. The next phase of mass immigrant occurred thirty years later, when Canada encouraged  (animaron ) people from Britain and Ireland to settle.( establecerse ) This policy was initiated because the government was increasingly  worried about anti-English feelings amongst (entre) its population. In the twentieth century, the two main waves of immigration, from mainland  Europe ( continente europeoafter 1910 and Asia after 1960, turned Canada into a multicultural society. Today Canadian English is either spoken as a first or  second language by 85 percent of the 32 million Canadians that make up ( conforma ) the country’s population.

Canadian English Spelling

The spelling of Canadian English generally combines both  British and American English rules. For instance, French-derived words that end in -re (e.g. theatre) and -our (e.g. colour) use the British English spellings, although American spellings sometimes occur. This is also the situation for words that have double consonants in British English (e.g. travelling) but single consonants in American English (e.g. traveling). However, Canadian English uses only the American English -ize (e.g. organization) endings,( terminación) whilst (mientras que) British English uses both -ise and -ize (e.g. organization, organisation). From the following chart(X) you can see how Canadian English combines both British and American spelling varieties.


British English
American English
Canadian English
-re versus -er
centre, kilometre
center, kilometer
centre, kilometre
theatre / theater
-our versus -or
colour, harbour, honour
color, harbor, honor
colour / color
harbour / harbor
honour / honor 
Single or double consonant
counsellor, jewellery
marvellous, travelling
counselor, jewelery
marvelous, traveling
counsellor / counselor
jewellery / jewelery
travelling / traveling
-ity or  -ty
-ise or -ize
emphasise, generalise
emphasize, generalize
emphasize, generalize
-ue or  ue
catalogue, dialogue,
catalog, dialog
catalog, dialog
cheque, grey,
pyjamas, tyre
check, gray,
pajamas, tire
cheque1, gray,
pajamas, tire2

1 British English cheque, not the American check, is used in Canadian English because of the historical importance of British banking.
2 The importance of the American car industry in the 1920s has led to Canadians using tire and not the British English tyre.
On our next post about Canadian English we will examine its  pronunciation, vocabulary and slang,( argot) before finishing with a Canadian English conversation. Don't miss it  !

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Are you “making it” or “doing it”?

One of the most common questions that non-native speakers of English ask is: “Is it make or do?”
It’s a good question… and here are a few ways to help you learn which is right

Make has, in general, a more creative connotation. Do is used more often with words or expressions related to jobs and obligations – things that are necessary, but that aren’t particularly pleasant or enjoyable.

When we use do, it often implies (implica) things that are routine, repetitive, monotonous, boring, tiring, or difficult. Things we do may require (exigir) discipline, concentration, and perseverance. For things we make, we need to use imagination, talent, creativity. When we use the word make, we might be referring to something that we can finish or complete, leaving us with a product, a creation, a piece of art, an accomplishment.(realización) What we do seems to be more continual or never-ending. We usually have to do things over and over again because they are necessary or required. An obvious exception to this general “rule” is that we say to make the bed. Most people would agree that making the bed is not particularly creative and that it is a necessary part of our daily routine.                                      
You can usually remember which verb is right if you make a list of similar words that use either one or the other.

We use the verb DO with :

work gardening              farm work                rescue work

tasks homework            charity work             police work

jobs schoolwork            field work                dirty work

  housework                    book work              volunteer work    
the ironing                    the vacuuming           the washing up

the dishes                     the dusting                the bathroom

the cleaning                  the baking                 the mopping

  the sweeping                the sewing                 the chores        projects                        business                   inventories

marketing                       tasks                 promotions planning

  campaigns    presentations   market studies      statistics  

Now compare the do expressions (above) with the following make expressions (below). Can you see the difference between the types of expressions they use?

Food preparation

a salad       a dessert     cookies     bread

breakfast    tea    a sandwich   scones   pies

lunch      coffee    spaghetti    bacon and eggs  dinner 

a cake    toast     a drink     a cocktail     soup    biscuits

Passion / conflict / cause / performance

trouble plans    a scandal     a mistake

an impression    a reservation     a phone call    love

a comment       a decision     an exception    a noise


clothes      a picture (draw, paint)     pottery (cerámica)

a sweater   a chair     decorations     a movie

a jacket      a sculpture     a poster     a CD

Expressions that mean “get” or “obtain”

money     contacts    advances     friends

peace      enemies     millions       progress

Complete the sentences in the exercise with the correct form of either make or do. Later, check your answers in the key to see if you’ve made the grade.

1. The teacher told us to ...................... pages 50 and 51 in the workbook.

2. If you................. the bedrooms, I’ll....................the kitchen.

3. Something smells good! Oh, you’re.....................popcorn.

4. Your homework looks good, but you still have to................your maths.

5. Clean up your workspace. The boss is going inspection.

6. How many mistakes did you...................on the exam?

7. Have you..................any plans for the summer?

8. Spike always tries to....................the right thing.

9. It would be better not to................any comments about the war.


Answer key
          1. do 2. do / do 3. making 4. do 5. make 6. make 7. made  8. do  9. make

Friday, May 3, 2013

Playing Chess in English

Chess (ajedrez) has fascinated people for hundreds of years and some very great people have been chess players, including emperor Napoleon.

Where and when did it start ?  No one knows for certain, but it is now widely believed that it was invented in India about the sixth century AD, and spread (extendió) from there to Western Europe. Some changes were made to the rules in the fifteenth century, giving us the game in its present form.
The game itself is a medieval battle between two royal families, each trying to trap the other's king. It is played by two players only, on a board with sixty-four squares . It should be placed so that each player has a white square in the bottom right-hand corner of the board. One player has the white pieces and the other has the black ones. The players move alternatively and the player with the white pieces always has the first move.No one is allowed to miss a move at chess.
Another important rule of chess is the touch move rule. Once a player has touched a piece he must move it, and if he has put it down and taken his hand off it, then the move is complete and he cannot change his mind.
Each player has sixteen chessmen: eight pieces and eight pawns.

Now check this vocabulary and  its equivalent in Spanish and start playing chess in English !

pawn = peón.
The pawns are the least valuable of the pieces.
knight =  literalmente"caballero" .  En el ajedrez español "el caballo".
The knight moves three squares in the shape of an L.
bishop = literalmente "obispo"  . En español "el alfil".
The bishops move diagonally .
rook =  la torre .
Rooks move in straight lines .
queen= reina.
The queen can move in any direction.
king = rey.
The king can only move one square in any direction.
castling =enrocarse.
It is better to castle early in the game
pawn promotion=transformar un peón en otra pieza.
The pawn was promoted to queen.
check = jaque.
"Check ! Your king is under direct attack."
checkmate=jaque mate.
"Checkmate !   You lost the game! "
stalemate= tablas ( por "ahogar" al rey) .