Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Living in an English Speaking Country (1)

Those of you who are reading this post may have the strong desire (deseo) to conquer the English language. This may be possible in Spain, but if you want to learn quickly, the best place to acquire (conseguir) a high level of English naturally is in an English speaking country. Today we offer advice (consejo) on how you can take advantage (aprovechar) your time effectively when perfecting your English in such a country.

Working Abroad
Living in an English speaking country will probably means you will have to find work unless (a menos que)  you have a lot of savings.(ahorros) For those who are working for an international company, there may be positions advertised within (dentro de) your company. For example, a person who has worked for many years as an accountant (contable) for a multinational company in Spain may have the opportunity of working in a similar position in the UK. The company knows you already, you have the skills (habilidades) in the industry and you are given a challenge (reto) to perfect your English in an English working environment.(atmósfera)
Other Paid Work
The type of job that you can get depends on the type of training (formación) and qualifications you have already. There are always seasonal (de temporada) jobs in America, Britain and Australia at certain times of the year. For example, many Spanish people with some English may be able to take advantage of Bunacamp or Camp America, where they do various sporting or craft activities (manualidades) for American school children during their summer holidays. In Australia, you may find work on a sheep farm or fruit picking.(recogida de fruta) For both America and Australia you need to get working visas to legally work. There are no working visa requirements in the UK for Spanish nationals, who often work in hotels and restaurants. There are of course many other jobs available (disponibles) and can find the very latest jobs for English speaking countries at: (Worldwide Jobs) (Australia Jobs)

Voluntary Work
If paid employment is difficult to find, the next best thing is doing voluntary work. These experiences are likely (problable) to be very rewarding (gratificante) as you are not only practising your English, but you are also giving something back to society. Where can you work? Well, it probably best to work with the local community as you have a better chance (oportunidad) of developing relationships with local people. You should also work in something that will give you valuable experience for getting future paid work, giving you more skills and better English. Examples of voluntary work include working in charity shops, (tienda de segunda mano dirigida a causas benéficas) for the Red Cross, raising money (recaudando dinero) for local charities, or getting involved (implicándose) in environmental projects. Here is a useful website for voluntary positions: 
Finding Work
A good place to find jobs are employment centres, temporary job agencies like Manpower and Adecco, and job advertisements in national and local newspapers. In all these cases, you need to take a proactive approach (enfoque), and be prepared to telephone the company for more information about the job, send off (mandar) an English CV and covering letter (carta de presentación) quickly and do some research on the company. With this strategy you will probably increase your chances of getting the job! Another excellent way of finding work is networking (establecimiento de contactos) with people you know. They may know of positions that occur before they are advertised. With this information, you may be able to get an interview with the company before it is advertised or at least get your CV and covering letter to the human resources department (departamento de Recursos Humanos) before anyone else.

Friday, July 26, 2013

French Connection

The Influence of French Words on English Vocabulary

In England in the mid-1400s, a large castle named Herstmonceux was constructed in Sussex. How was it – at a time when England was often at war with France- that a fine English castle was given a French name?

 Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex (England)

Although we think of England today as having its own culture,history and language, the fact is that during the Middle Ages,(edad media)  French culture, introduced after the Norman Conquest in 1066 , was very important in England. For more than three centuries after the conquest, the French language was used extensively in English society and the church and it was the official language of the English courts until the mid-16th century. This is the main reason why the  English we speak today contains many French words.

French words are everywhere

You' ll find French words in all sorts of places (todo tipo de lugares)- in cooking, fashion, the military and more. Most English speakers are unaware (ignoran that many of the words they use in English came, originally, from French. People learning English are often surprised to find French words appearing again and again. It takes them some time to realise that these words are as much a part of English as “real “ English words.

" French words are everywhere..."

Why French?

French-speaking people ruled  (governaban) England from 1066 A. D. and it is from that period that we get many of the words we now think of as exclusively English (e.g. "royal" and "pork" ). As the “black death" (peste negra ) killed many of the priests (sacerdotes, curas)  who often went to visit the sick and then became ill themselves, the language they spoke, Latin became less common in Europe. Educated people then relied upon French as the official language, one that commanded respect and admiration. As English developed , it borrowed  (tomó prestado) words from French to describe cooking, fashion and the arts.

French used to be the language of the upper classes (clases altas)  , of royalty and the aristocracy. French also became the official language of diplomacy and continued to be used until very recently. Many of the words and phrases in law , war and travel , which were originally French , have been incorporated into English.

And here are some examples ! Watch this interesting video to rapidly increase your French (an English ) vocabulary with just a few language tricks !

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's a boy !!!!

The Royal baby is here !

The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton gave birth to a healthy baby boy yesterday in London at 4.24pm weighing 8lbs 6oz.* The future king was born in the same hospital where Prince William was born, the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, central London.

William will now take two weeks of paternity leave ( baja por paternidad) from the Ministry of Defence before returning to his shift work duties as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot.
Bookmakers ( corredores de apuestas made George and James the favourites for the new prince's name. Henry , Alexander and Louis are also in the running (con posibilidades) .

*Measurements of weight   
1 ounce ( "onza" written abbreviation oz )  = 28,35 grams 
16 ounces   = 1pound  ( "libra" written abbreviation lb) = 453,6 grams
14 pounds  = 1stone  ( "piedra" written abbreviation st)  = 6,348 kilograms. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Getting to Know Sushi

Sushi is a Japanese dish made of little rolls of rice with a garnish. (guarnición) The garnish is sometimes, but not always, raw fish (pescado crudo). The taste sensations, presentation of the dishes, colours and sounds that accompany a meal at a popular sushi bar make it a special experience, especially if you are actually in Japan.
In Japanese, “sashimi” is the word for raw fish, and “sushi” actually refers to the mixture of sweet vinegar and rice. So, if some of your guests (invitados) don’t like raw fish, you can make your sushi with cooked fish instead. Try (prueba) sushi with shrimp (gambas/langostino) or with vegetables (such as cucumber (pepino) and mushrooms (champiñones)), or with egg and vegetables.

There are four basic categories of sushi:

Chirashiscattered (esparcido) sushi rice

Maki rolled (enrollado) sushi rice

Nigirifinger-shaped  (con forma de dedo) sushi rice

Oshi – pressed (presionado) sushi rice

Nigiri is the type of sushi that you usually see in sushi bars. But another popular kind, made by rolling the ingredients in a piece of seaweed, (alga) is the maki-sushi. It is easy to make.


Short-grain (de grano corto) rice, one cup per roll


Sushi vinegar, 1 dessert spoon (cucharada de postre) for each cup of rice

1 cucumber cut into slices (rodajas)

Sheets (hojas) of nori (dried seaweed)

A bamboo mat (esterilla de bambú)


Rinse (aclara) the rice for several minutes and then drain (escurre) it. Put equal quantities of rice and water in a large saucepan.(olla) Cook the rice. When it boils, cook for one minute, cover, and then simmer (cuece a fuego lento) for 20 minutes. The rice should not be too soft. Remove (retira) the rice from the heat and let it stand (déjalo reposar) for 10 minutes.

Put the rice in a large bowl and mix it with the sushi vinegar. Spread (extiende) the rice on a large sheet of aluminium foil to cool.(enfriar)

Put one sheet of nori on a bamboo mat. Spread the sushi rice on the nori. Put the cucumber slices on top of the rice. Roll up the bamboo mat so that the sushi is in a cylindrical shape. Press the mat so that the rice sticks together (se pegue) and then remove the mat from around the sushi. Cut the sushi into pieces and serve.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fantastic Shine

At Home English we always save a post  for the summer song of the year. This time we have chosen the energetic song "Fantastic Shine" by Love of Lesbian.

Practise the song in English while you watch the video and listen to the lyrics!

Happy summer!!  

Love of lesbian - Fantastic shine - English lyrics.

Passing by the crowd (multitud)

Joy can rise (alzarse) from the dark

As a flash in the forest

Hey, for once I'll tell you what's true

How special you are

You're the smile to my soundtrack (banda sonora)

Have I told you lately? (ultimamente)

We are friends through this trip of...

Time, oh, what is time?

The kind of thing that no one knows

Take a look (echa un vistazo) at who's around you

Spin in circles (gira en circulos), ring round with you

Did I ever tell you?

We are drivers through a road called...

Life, oh, what is life?

A piece of pie (tarta)

Bursting from (apareciendo de)

The seems that everything's alright

Spin in circles,(gira en circulos) jump together now

Shine, shine (brilla), you can make it grow

Grow from the summer ground (suelo de verano)

-Shining on my sorrow (pena)

-Shining and growing on my loss (pérdida) 

To the highest clouds (las nuves más altas)

-Growing on my sins (pecados)

Fantastic sun

Fantastic us

Fantastic girl

Fantastic life

Fantastic band

Fantastic rise

Fantastic light

Fantastic night

Fantastic you

Fantastic time

Friday, July 12, 2013

More Linking Words

A subordinating conjunction, sometimes called a dependent word or subordinator, always introduces a dependent clause. This establishes the relationship between the dependent clause and the rest of the sentence.The sentence with a subordinating conjunction could be expressed in the following two ways:

1. Subordinate Conjunction + Dependent Clause + comma + Independent Clause
    After she had learned to drive, Alice felt happier.

2. Independent Clause + Subordinate Conjunction + Dependent Clause
    Alice felt happier after she had learned to drive.

Opposition Subordinating Conjunctions: Although, Despite, Even Though

Although (aunque ) is used before a subject + verb
Although it rained a lot, we enjoyed our holiday
I didn’t get the job although I had all the necessary qualifications
Despite (a pesar de ) is used before a noun or pronoun (this, that, what)
Despite the rain, we enjoyed our holiday
I didn’t get the job despite the fact (that) I had all the necessary qualifications
Even though( aunque ) is a stronger form of although
It is also used before a subject + verb
Even though I was really tired, I couldn’t sleep

Time Subordinating Conjunctions: For, During, While, Since

We use for  + a period of time to say how long something continues
We are going on holiday for three weeks
Maria watched television for four hours last night
We use during + noun to say when something happens
I fell asleep during the film Titanic
We met a lot of customers(X) during the conference
We use while + subject + verb to say when something happens
I fell asleep while I was watching the football match
We met a lot of customers while we were walking around the conference hall
Apart from using since (desde ) as a preposition, it can be used as a time conjunction 
I’ve known him since I was at university
You’re better since your operation

Cause and Effect Subordinating Conjunctions: Because, Because of, Due to

We use because before a subject + verb to explain the cause of something
We were late because it rained
I’m happy because I met you
Because of (poror due to( a causa de ) also explain the cause of something and have the same meaning. They are both used before a noun or pronoun
We were late due to the rain
I’m happy because of you

Conditional Subordinating Conjunctions: Unless, Whether… Or, In Case, If

Unless(a no ser  quehas a similar meaning to if not, in the sense of except if
I’ll come tomorrow unless you phone (or I’ll come tomorrow if you don’t phone)
Whether… or (tanto si... used as a double conjunction, with a similar meaning to It doesn’t matter whether… or
Whether we go by car or train, it’ll take at least(por lo menos) five hours
The price for the room is the same, whether we leave on Tuesday or Wednesday
In British English, we use in case and if in different ways
Let’s buy a bottle of wine in case Sharon comes.
(In other words, we should buy some wine now because it is possible that Sharon will come later)
Let’s buy a bottle of wine if Sharon comes
(In other words, we won’t buy any now. If Sharon comes, we will buy some wine. If Sharon doesn’t come, we don’t buy any wine.)

Can You Pass The Conjunction Test ?

Choose the correct coordinating conjunction from the two options for the five sentences below.

1. She passed the exam, ________ she didn’t do any revision. (although, despite)
2. Charles went shopping, ________ Henry did the housework (during, while)
3. Anthony’s sister has been working in Dublin _______the last six years. (for, since)
4. They go to Spain ______ the nightlife. (because, because of)
5. He’ll go to work at the weekend ______ his boss phones him. (unless, in case)
Answers in the comments.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Do You Need a Holiday? (2)

Mountain and Countryside Holidays

The mountains and countryside are the places for people to escape from the stress of city life. In the winter, snow encourages people to buy a ski-pass for alpine skiing. Skiers go down slopes (pistas) graded from the easy green and blue ones to the more difficult red and black ones. In recent years, snowboarding has become a popular alternative to skiing. In the snow-covered countryside, cross-country skiing (esquí de fondo) and snow shoeing (ir con raquetas de nieve) are also good fun. On these holidays, après-ski is the highlight (lo más destacado) of the evening, when people enjoy the entertainment organized by the hotels in the resort, including dancing, magic shows and casino nights.
At other times of the year, people decide to go mountain climbing (escalada en la montaña) to enjoy panoramic views from the top and then abseil (descender en rappel) rapidly down. Those people who love animals can go to the stables to hire a horse and go horse riding across the countryside. These normally provide riders with a protective horse riding cap and saddle. (silla de montar)
Hiking (hacer senderismo) in the countryside is especially popular in national parks where walkers can enjoy the beautiful scenery, including waterfalls, (cascadas de agua) rivers, forests, flowers and fauna. Some people travel long distances especially to go bird watching or mushroom picking in the forest. At the campsite, (lugar de acampada) hikers use a stove (hornillo) to cook food on and a sleeping bag (saco de dormir) to sleep in inside their tent. For families with children, they tend to look for authorised campsites that allow them to pitch (montar una tienda de campaña) their family-size tents or caravans. These sites have laundry (lavandería) and shower facilities as well as shops and restaurants. Other accommodation in the countryside includes country cottages (casita de campo) in England and castles in Scotland.

Adventure Holidays

If the previous holidays are not exciting enough for you, the range of adventure holidays probably is. Animal lovers who like going on exciting wildlife expeditions (excursión para ver la fauna) do not have to look any further than a safari in Tanzania, where they can observe tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos and hippos, “the big five”, in their natural habitant habitat. On these trips, local guides in four-wheel drive jeeps escort tourists.

In the tropical rainforests or jungle, travellers often go on foot with a guide and a number of people who carry their luggage for days to see the way of life of Indian tribes deep in the Amazon or the rich fauna that is not found anywhere else.

Many adventures involve experiencing an “adrenalin rush”.(subidón de adrenalina) This often occurs in the sky when brave tourists jump out of a plane. At lower heights, (alturas) this activity is known as parachute jumping (paracaidismo) – the parachutist opens the parachute pack on his or her back just after jumping from the plane. However, for true daredevils, (temerarios) a similar activity performed at 3,000 metres is called skydiving, (paracaidismo de caída libre) which involves freefalling through the sky until opening the parachute just 500 metres above the ground.

On water, the excitement of an adrenalin rush is found on the rapids. This activity is called white-water (aguas rápidas) rafting, where about eight people wearing a crash helmet (casco anticaidas) and life jacket (chaleco salvavidas) quickly travel down the river in an inflatable dinghy. (lancha pneumática inflable)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Linking Words

Can you link (conectar, enlazar)  two sentences together when you need to? If you can’t, help is at hand.(a mano, cerca ) In the following post we look at the most important linking words or “conjunctions” if you want to use the formal grammatical term.

What Are Conjunctions?

Conjunctions are words that join (unen) clauses (oración) into sentences. In the following example we can see the relationship between the two clauses and conjunction in the sentence.
CLAUSE A CONJUNCTION                      CLAUSE B
I woke up early             because I had a flight to Dublin at 7 o’clock
There are two types of conjunctions that exist in English. The first group are the seven coordinating conjunctions, while (mientras que ) the more extensive second group are known as subordinate conjunctions. Today we will  look at the first group.
Coordinating Conjunctions
When two independent clauses that are equally important occur in the sentence we use a coordinating conjunction to join the clauses together. These conjunctions have the following characteristics:

1. Each independent clause must be a sentence (frase)  before it is linked to another clause by a coordinating conjunction.
2. Coordinating conjunctions should normally be put between the two clauses. Some, “but” or “and” for example, can be placed at the beginning of sentences. This is often incorrect, so it is better not to use them in this position.
3. Commas occur before the coordinating conjunctions when there are long clauses. However, (sin embargo) in short clauses, the comma is omitted as we can see in the examples with “and” and “nor” in the table below.

Below we can see some coordinating conjunctions with a specific function and an example of how they are used.

Function Example
And (y/o) Two similar ideas are joined together He lives and works in Dublin.
But , yet (pero) Two contrasting ideas are joined together Valerie is very pretty, but Patrick is ugly.John plays Hurling well, yet his favourite Irish sport is Gaelic football.
Or (o/u) Two alternative ideas are joined together I could buy some cans (latas) of Guinness from the off-licence (tienda de bebidas alcohólicas ), or we could have some Guinness from one of the Irish pubs in town.
So (por eso) The use of so indicates a result.  It was St. Patrick’s Day, so Norman decided to wear a green suit, shirt and tie to work.
Nor (ni) Two negative ideas are joined together. He is neither from Cork nor Belfast.
For (pues) It shows that the second idea is the reason for the first sentence. The visitors were happy resting in the shade(sombra), for it had been a tiring walk in the hilly countryside.

 Can You Pass The Conjunction Test?
Choose the correct coordinating conjunction from the box for five sentences below. There may be more than one answer possible.

      and                   but                   yet                   or                      so                   nor                  

1.       Harry will have a holiday in London _____ Manchester.
2.       Paula is short,  ________ Paul is very tall.
3.       He is neither rich _____  poor.
4.       I live ______ work in Barcelona.
5.       I’m playing football today, ________ I’ll take my football kit with me.

1.  or     2.  but, yet     3.  nor   4.  and      5.  so