Friday, August 30, 2013

French Words In Cooking and Eating Vocabulary.

At a restaurant, the person who greets the customers and leads them to a table is known as the maître D (meaning maître d’hôtel). Take a seat! Let’s start with an apéritif a cocktail or a drink served before a meal while we look at the menu. You normally have a choice of two types of meal when you go to a restaurant. The “fixed price menu” is just what it says whereas A la carte means that you can choose from the entire list of dishes on offer. One of the most common terms on the menu is a la plus an adjective or noun, usually also in French, to mean “in the style of”. So, á la Américaine means “in the American way” and a la russe means “in the Russian way”. Then there is Cuisine a word to describe the style of cooking particular to a region ( For example: Spanish cuisine
For a starter, you might like Clams au naturel which means that they haven’t been cooked or seasoned and that the natural taste hasn’t been altered. So, now we have ordered... but what do we say as the food arrives? As it happens, that’s French too... because English has no expression of its own to wish people a nice meal. We say Bon appétit! .
After that, you could order a Fondue, which literally means “melted”, something cooked in hot oil at the table. The word originally came from the practice of dipping bread or biscuits into melted cheese or chocolate. Maybe you prefer a steak with something sautéed (fried) or puréed (creamed or liquefied, usually fruit or vegetables). And for dessert, what about something Flambé ? This is a dish served “on fire”.To make a dish flambé, heat a little brandy and pour it over the dish, then ignite the brandy with a match. If you don’t want banana flambé, maybe you fancy apple pie á la mode? If so, the waiter will bring you a slice of apple pie with with vanilla ice cream on top. You may not be able to manage a dessert if you ate too many of the hors d’oeuvre (snacks such as canapés) before dinner!

"a gourmet meal" ( high quality food)
Are you a gourmet or a gourmand? A gourmet is a person who knows all about food and appreciates it whereas a gourmand is greedy and simply loves to eat !

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Little Havana

In downtown (centro de la ciudad) Miami there is a very long road called Southwest 8th Street. There is nothing particularly special about it until you reach (llegas) an area between 27th and 4th Avenues. The road becomes (se convierte) simply “Calle Ocho” but now it is different and exciting. Suddenly (de repente) you are surrounded (rodeado) by all things Cuban – restaurants, cigar factories, souvenir shops, Santeria candles (velas) and offerings (ofrendas) and, of course, Cubans. You are now in “Little Havana”, the home to thousands of Cuban exiles and ex-pats.(expatriados)
Some Background Information

The story goes that in 1763 when Spain sold Florida to Britain, which was a Protestant nation, hundreds of Spanish Catholics who were living in Florida fled (huyeron) to Cuba. Approximately 200 years later many Cubans had to move to Florida when Fidel Castro seized power (tomó el poder) in 1959. At one point (hubo un momento en el que) 15,000 exiles a day arrived in Miami. The refugees (refugiados) went to Florida because of its relative proximity to Cuba. Many of them made the voyage in precarious homemade boats.(pateras) Now there are approximately 90,000 Cubans living in this three and a half square mile (milla cuadrada) neighbourhood. This area, which was neglected (descuidada) due to many Cubans moving to other areas, is now coming back to life.(volviendo a la vida) Many YUCAs (Young Urban Cuban Americans) are now returning to the neighbourhood to rediscover their Cuban roots.(raíces)

Calle Ocho

The first thing you notice when you enter the street is the large number of Cuban restaurants. These serve typical dishes such as ropa vieja (beef in garlic sauce (salsa de ajo)); bistec empanizado (steak in breadcrumbs (pan rallado) and tasajo (salted beef). There are also Cuban bakeries with their delicious specialities such as besitos de coco (coconut macaroons) and pasteles de guayaba (guava cakes). Or if you are thirsty you can enjoy a refreshing drink such as guarapo de caña (sugar cane (caña de azucar) juice) or coco frío (cold coconut juice) or a tropical fruit ice cream. There are also Cuban grocery stores (colmados) as well as the cigar stores,(tienda de puros) souvenir shops, craft shops (tiendas de artesanía) and a large shop called Lilly’s Records that sells an extensive range (gama) of Latin American music.

Viernes Cultural

Calle Ocho is not just about food, drink and shopping. On the last Friday of every month, several blocks of the street close and there is a large street party. This is probably one of the best times to visit Little Havana because it gives you a real taste (sabor) of Cuban culture. There is live (en vivo) Latin music, usually featuring (presentando) local singers and groups and, occasionally, famous artists. Most of the musical events take place (tienen lugar) around Domino Park. Its real name is Máximo Gómez Park after the famous Cuban revolutionary hero. However, (sin embargo) it gets its local name from the fact that many old men go there to play dominoes every day. There are Cuban dance exhibitions and street theatre and it is also an opportunity for local artists to display (exhiben) their work. You may be able to find a really good painting or some ceramics for a reasonable price. Many of these artists also exhibit in the recently renovated Tower Art Center, a wonderful example of Art Deco architecture. As Cultural Friday has become so popular, local artists are now organizing a “Surreal Saturday”. This is held on the first Saturday of every month. Inside a modern theatre called Space 42 there are four performances (actuaciones) of music, dance, theatre and poetry readings, while outside there is a DJ playing Latin music.

Calle Ocho Festival

This has been an annual event for more than 25 years. It is held at the beginning of March and celebrates the end of the Miami Carnival. It is one of the largest Hispanic carnivals in the United States. In fact, they are trying to break (superar) Brazil’s record in the Guinness Books of Records for the largest street party in the world. They are already the proud (orgulloso) holders (poseedores) of one Guinness World Record – the longest conga line formed of 119,986 people in March 1988. More than 20 street blocks are closed down and over forty stages (escenarios) are erected on the street corners where some of the biggest names in Latin music perform for free.(gratis)

Friday, August 23, 2013


Moby:  D.J, guitarist, drummer, re-mixer and cyber punk and  the undisputed king of advertising music !

  Back in 1851, American author Herman Melville published a novel called The Whale, which was later called Moby Dick, and is regarded by many as the great American novel. On September 11th (yes, that date again) 1965, the novelist’s great-great-great nephew, Richard Melville Hall was born in Harlem, New York. His parents were hippies, and they gave their son the nickname (apodo ) Moby, in honour of his famous ancestor. The name stuck,( tuvo éxito) and Moby is now famous  to millions of fans around the world.

Moby is clearly a new kind of music star, able to change from one style of music to the next while sharing (compartiendo ) his thoughts on wider issues unrelated to music as well as working to make the world a better place. His vegan restaurant, TeaNY, is very important to him and he is not afraid to explain the reasons why he follows a strict vegan diet or why he believes in God.

One thing is certain about Moby: he will continue to surprise us !

Listen to the song Porcelain. The lyrics are below.

Hey, Hey, Hey, Woman, it's alright.
Hey, Hey, Hey, Woman, it's alright.

In my dreams I'm dying all the time
When I wake its kaleidoscopic mind
I never meant to hurt you
I never meant to lie
So this is goodbye
This is goodbye

Hey, Hey, Hey, Woman, it's alright.
Hey, Hey, Hey, Woman, it's alright.

Tell the truth you never wanted me

Tell me...

In my dreams I'm jealous all the time
Then I wake I'm going out of my mind
Going out of my mind

Hey, Hey, Hey, Woman, it's alright.(x4)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Holiday Slang

In today's post, Home English wants to teach you some slang expressions related to holidays. I hope you enjoy learning these new expressions!

Things to say when...... 

About being thirsty:
I’m sponged!(1) Can I have a glass of water?
I’m dying of thirst! (2)
I’m gasping for a drink!
I’m parched!(3)

About being hungry:
I could eat a horse!(4)
I’m nothing but skin and bone!(5)
I’m starving!
I’m famished!

About holiday disasters:
The holiday was a complete wash out!(6)
It was the holiday from hell!(7)
It was a nightmare of a holiday!(8)
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong!

About great holidays:
I had the time of my life!
I was in heaven!(9)
We had a whale of a time on holiday!(10)
I didn’t want it to end!

(1) Sponge significa esponja. To be sponged en slang de EEUU quiere decir tener mucha sed.
(2) Literalmente esta frase quiere decir estoy muriendo de sed.
(3) Parched significa muy seco, la frase to be parched quiere decir estar muerto de sed.
(4) Horse significa caballo. Así que la frase quiere decir que uno tiene tanta hambre que podía comer un caballo.
(5) Skin – piel, bone – hueso. La frase literalmente quiere decir que soy solo piel y hueso, sin nada de carne, y se usa como la frase en español enclenque.
(6) A wash-out, cuando se habla de un evento, quiere decir un fracaso.
(7) Literalmente unas vacaciones infernales! Es común en Inglés decir que cuando algo es muy malo viene del infierno, por ejemplo: neighbours from hell (vecinos del infierno) o boyfriend from hell (novio del infierno).
(8) nightmare – pesadilla
(9) heaven – cielo
(10) Whale es ballena. La frase to have a whale of a time es como las frases en español disfrutar como un enano o pasarlo bomba. Usamos la palabra whale porque su tamaño grande corresponde con la diversión que estamos teniendo.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Liverpool and The Beatles

Liverpool became famous throughout the world in the 1960s due to (debido a) the appearance of four young Scousers (Liverpudlians )  with the ordinary names of John, Paul, George and Richard. Richard didn’t quite sound right,(sonaba bien ) so the fourth member changed his name to Ringo because of the number of rings he wore on his drummer’s fingers. The Beatles really put Liverpool on the map and the city became the centre of attention for the whole world. They were soon followed by other local groups, some of whom also became famous: The Dave Clark Five; Gerry and the Pacemakers (with their most famous songs Ferry Across the Mersey and You’ll Never Walk Alone); Cilla Black and many others. The references to Liverpool in the Beatles’ songs are many. Just to name a few, how about taking a stroll ( un paseo) down Penny Lane or visiting the orphanage at Strawberry Fields (which no longer exists, but you can at least see where it used to be). Any visit to Liverpool should include  the Cavern Club, where The Beatles played in their early days and which was really nothing more than a very dirty and dangerous cellar.(sótano) It was knocked down (derribado) in the early seventies, but has since been rebuilt, brick by brick (ladrillo a ladrillo , as a tourist attraction. And don’t forget  to go and see The Beatles Museum. The Beatles had an enormous influence on popular culture and, even today, they remain Liverpool’s most important icon. A visit to Liverpool automatically begins with The Beatles when you fly into John Lennon International Airport!

Forthlin Road and Penny Lane
Paul McCartney was living at 20 Forthlin Road when he first met John Lennon, and it was here that they rehearsed (ensayaron ) as The Beatles. From this house he would walk to Woolton, where John lived with his Aunt Mimi. Paul and John often played truant ( hacer novillos) while Paul’s dad was away at work and went back to Paul’s house to write their early songs. They wrote Love Me Do and I Saw Her Standing There in the front room of 20 Forthlin Road.  Paul was still living in the house when the Beatles found worldwide  fame, and he used his memories of the house and the neighbourhood in writing songs: Penny Lane was nearby, the barber shop and fire station were all real places that went into his lyrics. The roundabout and the bus shelter on Penny Lane are still there, and as any Beatles fan will tell you, it’s a wonderful feeling to visit them.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summertime cocktails

Summertime means holidays, parties and spending a lot of time outside on the terrace or the beach. For this season you want food that is simple and fresh with contrasting flavours.(sabores) To go with the food you can simply drink cold beer or chilled (fresquito) white wine. But why not be a bit more adventurous this summer and make your own (tus propios) cocktails? These will make any summer evening pass in a more pleasant way.

The Noble Sangria

Sangria has a bad reputation because of its association with British and German tourists that drink litres of it with their paella. However, it is a versatile drink that goes well (combina bien) with a lot of different food. There are many variations but the basic ingredients are red wine, pieces of fruit (usually oranges and lemons), sugar, carbonated water and ice cubes.(cubitos de hielo) You can also add a little brandy or triple sec, and substitute cava for sparkling water.(agua con gas) You do not need to use expensive wine. A decent bottle of table wine will suffice.(será suficiente)

Champagne Cocktails

Champagne or cava is a good base for many different types of cocktails. A classic combination is champagne and fresh orange juice which is called a Buck’s Fizz (named after Buck’s Club in London, where it was invented). Italians like to add peach juice (zumo de melocotón) to make a Bellini, which originated in Harry’s Bar in Venice. You can experiment with different combinations of fruit blended (mezclada) together, using strawberries (fresas) or blackcurrants (moras) to give intense flavours and colours.


One cocktail that is always a success (éxito) is the Mojito. The classic Mojito originates from Cuba, where its principal ingredients – rum and sugar – are grown. Its sweet, citrusy, (con sabor cítrico) minty (con sabor a menta) flavour comes from gently mashing (moliendo) mint leaves (hojas de menta) with sugar and lime juice. When the flavours are infused together add the rum and stir,(remueve) and then add some carbonated water and ice cubes. The traditional way to prepare this drink is with sugar cane juice, which gives the drink a more intense flavour.

Cocktail Equipment

It is fun to set up (montar) a cocktail table when you have a party and let the guests (invitados) make their own cocktails. Apart from the different spirits (licores) and drinks, you will need some basic equipment: a cocktail shaker (coctelera) and strainer,(colador) measuring cups,(jarras graduadas) a whisk (batidora) and some cocktail glasses. You can give guest some ideas for drinks by printing some cocktail recipes from the Internet and leaving them on the table. You can have a cocktail making competition to see who can make the best drink!

Nibbles (cosas para picar)

The danger with drinking cocktails is that you do not know exactly how much alcohol is in them, and you can easily get drunk (emborracharse) quickly. One way to avoid (evitar) this is to ensure (asegurarse) you eat snacks and nibbles with your drinks. Savoury (salado) snacks can be olives, nuts pieces of cheese and ham, or wedges (tacos) of omelette.(tortilla) For something sweet try fruit kebabs made with grapes (uvas) and strawberries and pieces of melon and peach. Enjoy the party!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Diary of an Idiom User

An idiom is a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning  that is different from the meanings of each word on its own . Read the following diary entry and find out the meaning of the idioms used .

"...jumping for joy ! "
Friday 17th of July

Hooray1! Today was the last day of school! Now I have 6 weeks of summer holidays: no school, no teachers, and best of all- no boring work! I’m so happy, I’m walking on air2! I did feel a little down in the dumps3 saying goodbye to all my mates4, but as soon as I left the school gates I saw the sunny side of things5 again. And now I’m positively jumping for joy6! I’m as free as a bird7! I’ll see my best friends anyway because most of them live just a stone’s throw away8 from me.
Tomorrow, I’m going to celebrate my first day of freedom by having a nice, long lie-in9, and then I’ll watch cartoons all morning. Maybe in the afternoon, if it’s sunny, I’ll call round Jamie’s gaff10 and see if he wants to take the ball to the park for a knock around11. And then I’ll do the same the next day, and the next day, and the next day...! Hooray for the holidays!

  1. Hooray es una interjección y su usa como ‘¡hurra!’ en español.
  2. I’m walking on air – esta frase, traducida literalmente, significa ‘estoy caminando sobre el aire’. Se usa para decir que estás en las nubes, es decir, muy feliz.
  3. To be down in the dumps es sentirse triste o deprimido.
  4. Mate es una palabra coloquial que significa ‘amigo’.
  5. To see the sunny side es ver el lado bueno de algo.
  6. To jump for joy – dar saltos de alegría
  7. Free as a bird es una frase idiomática muy común. Significa ‘libre como un pájaro’.
  8. Stone es piedra y throw es tirar, así que la frase literalmente significa ‘a tiro de piedra’. Se usa para decir ‘a dos pasos de…’.
  9. To have a lie-in es una frase coloquial en el inglés británico que significa ‘levantarse tarde’.
  10. Gaff es otra palabra coloquial del inglés británico. Significa ‘casa’. Hay que tener cuidado de no confundirla con la palabra gaffe que significa ‘metida de pata’.
  11. Cuando se habla del futbol, to knock around es jugar de una manera muy casual.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Living in an English Speaking Country (2)

English Friends
Your choice of accommodation can affect your progress in perfecting your English. Many people fall into the trap (caer en la trampa) of living with people from their own country. This is very tempting as they speak your language and share (compartir) your cultural values. However, you will be missing out (perderse) on the golden opportunity (una oportunidad de oro) of practicing your language skills with people who normally speak English. One option is having English friends who already have a room or know someone with a spare room (cuarto para las visitas) or flat to rent. Of course our lucky readers with a girlfriend or boyfriend from an English speaking country have the wonderful opportunity to practise English during the day and with some pillow talk (conversación íntima) during the night.
Rented Accommodation
Most of us, however, do not have the advantage of an English speaking boyfriend or girlfriend. Don’t despair (desesperes) – it is not the end of the world! A more common way is looking for rented accommodation. Maybe this is difficult at first as you may have to temporarily stay in cheap bed and breakfasts or youth hostels.(albergues) This gives you time to look for a room or flat to share with English speaking people who have similar interests. Where can you find rented accommodation? Well, the best places have traditionally been advertisements in a local newspaper, library or shop window.(escaparate) Alternatively you can log on (acceder) the following web sites for rented accommodation: (for the UK), (for USA) and (for Australia). 
Socialising and Getting Involved In Society
Apart from work and chatting to your flatmates,(compañeros de piso) there are other opportunities to improve (mejorar) your English. One easy way is taking advantage of the different kinds of media around you. For example, regularly listening to radio programmes at certain times of the day like while you cook your meals or get up in the morning etc, going to the library to read specialist magazines related to your interests, or reading the local newspapers that give valuable information on the activities happening in your neighbourhood.(vecindario) Watching television programmes is another good way to help your English.

In every English speaking country will also be numerous clubs and societies that do activities you like. It is therefore (por lo tanto) a great idea to join a sports club, the amateur dramatics society, the local rambling (excursionismo) club, and so on. Another option worth (que vale la pena) investigating are organisations with links (vinculadas) to Spain. In the UK, this type of society is likely to have the words Anglo-Spanish in its description. These organisations will have English people who are generally interested in your culture, and there will probably be a notice board (tablón de anuncios) with people who are looking for somebody to do a language exchange with. Get in touch (ponerse en contacto) with them, because it a great chance to talk to English speakers, speaking in English for half of the time and in your own language for the other half. Apart from this you can put your own advertisement on the notice board, in a free ads newspaper, a local internet website or the local library. I’m sure by the end of the week you will have received many emails and phone calls from people eager (ansiosos) to meet you.

Other people who you could talk to are those with free time. These include people waiting for a bus, walking their dog in the park or having a pint in the local pub. Obviously, it is important to be cautious when meeting strangers (desconocidos) and only choose those who appear to be open and receptive. If you don’t know what to talk about, here are some suggestions:

  1. Reasons why you came to the city
  2. The weather
  3. Something in today’s local newspaper
  4. Popular television programmes or personalities
  5. Traditions from your country
  6. A description of the place where you live at the moment
  7. Plans for the future
  8. Language you have heard that you don’t understand, such as jargon and slang (argot)

Well, if you decide to live in an English speaking country to perfect your English, even for a short time, good luck! It is time well spent and it will probably be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

French Words In English.Pronunciation.

 The -et ending in " ballet " is pronounced with a Spanish /ei/sound 

Pronunciation of French words varies a great deal , depending on when and where the word was introduced into English. Words brought to English by intellectuals usually keep the correct French pronunciation. Words used by less educated people have become distorted and are often mispronounced but , even so (aún así) , people usually know that French words ending in -et are pronounced with a Spanish /ei/ sound (ballet, parquet, filled, bidet) and that French words ending in -au , -aux, -eau, -ault, -aud, -auld, and -ot are pronounced with a Spanish /o/ sound ( Bordeaux,Rimbaud, beaud, nouveau, Renault, Perrot, argot ) These are just two examples of how the pronunciation is affected.

Watch the video below and practice  a few  more  !

Learn to include French words in your English. It's chic  !