A great way to learn English is watching a film, but the thing is, how many of us have the time to watch films these days? I mean, I can hardly remember the last time I was able to relax on my settee with this intention, let alone watching one in a foreign language!
Definitely, present-day duties just don’t seem to understand our needs, do they? So, unless we can plug vocabulary, stress patterns and pronunciation into our brains just like those guys did in The Matrix, we’ll need a backup plan.
Why not try listening to music? It’s easy and fun. You can do this, working, cooking, driving, walking the dog, writing or whatever (as long as it doesn’t make you get up and start dancing). Music can also teach us structures that we need to get our tongues around, and a great number of songs have really catchy tunes that we’ll enjoy trying to understand and even learn.
Here I’ve exploited the soundtrack from the movie Up by Disney. The song is I’ll Keep you Safe by Sleeping at last. It´s a wonderful song along with a beautiful video (watch out! It could make you quite emotional! ) and although the title is great for dealing with ‘will’ used for promises, here I’ve exploited it to practise some of the English sounds and to help students become more familiar with phonetic symbols. If you haven’t seen anything about phonetics yet, you may want to brush up a bit on them before doing the activity (you’ll find plenty of introductory activities if you click on the menu Phonetics and English sounds).
Anyway, hope you enjoy the lesson.
PS If you don’t see me around much lately, it’s just that I’m SO STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSEDDDD OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUT!!!!!!!!!!!
No, it’s not the times I’ve been out to the gym trying to get some super abs! And it’s not the times I’ve seen the film either. I’m only celebrating that I’ve just published blog entry number 300! (after this one it will be 301). It’s been two years and some months since I set up this blog and to be absolutely honest, I never thought it would be so challenging, time-consuming, etc, etc. I can’t say it’s been a successful blog in the sense that I haven’t heard many opinions about it (except for my good-hearted friends and close family, that are obviously going to say that they love it, ha, ha, ha!!!) But I suppose I’ll have to go by the amount of visits (up to the date, over 60,000), which isn’t too bad, considering the enourmous amount of great English blogs that populate the blogosphere :-).
Anyway, this is just to thank people for sticking around and every now and then doing an activity or two and leaving a little feedback which always makes the effort worthwhile, doesn’t it?
How would you describe your best friend? Would you say he or she is kind? Does this person always treat people with great kindness? Does your friend always behave kindly in all the majority of situations? And have you ever seen this person be unkind? Here we’ve used the word kind, which is an adjective in different ways, as a noun, as an adverb and even with a negative prefix. To achieve a good level of English, you’ll have to be pretty good at noticing how a word is used or the type of word you will need to complete a sentence. You’ll also need to have a good knowledge on the use of prefixes and suffixes in order to change words from one class to another or even give them a negative meaning. The bad news is that there are quite a few rules and also quite a few exceptions to these rules, but the good news is that through practice, you’ll eventually achieve a reasonable degree of skill for this type of activity.
Every now and then, I’ll try to place some activities on the blog to cover this part of learning English. Please don’t leave this type of content until the day before your exams, as it is only through practice that word formation samples ‘will stick’.
Here’s an activity related to words that we could use to describe people’s characters and they way in which they behave.
Many students get these word wrong and since I’ve uploaded some vocabulary for ingredients, it may be a good idea to go over them or learn them.
The word dish when used as a noun and not a verb, has two meanings. One is the type of recipient we use for putting food on. A dish is usually shallow or almost flat, so for a soup we would rather use a bowl.
Nothing like a nice dish of pasta!
Who broke the glass dish?
He was awarded a silver dish for his fortieth anniversary in the company .
The second way of using the word ‘dish’ is when we are talking about a special recipe and way to prepare it. Usually these dishes have a special name that might or might not give us any information about the ingredients. Some examples are: paella, roast beef, lasagne, Welsh rarebit, haggis, etc.
What’s your favourite dish?
Paella isn’t the only Spanish dish you can have in Spain. This country has a wide variety of traditional dishes from all over the country.
I can recommend the chef’s dish of the day.
What shall we have for main dish?
There is another use for the word dish, but nobody seems to like using it after having a meal. Saying ‘doing the dishes’ or ‘ the dishes’ has a funny effect on people and it must be magical because people just seem to disappear. 🙂 Notice that here we use this word in the plural form.
Who’s going to help me do the dishes?
It’s not fair. I did the dishes yesterday!
This is a general word for the food we eat during the day, when it isn’t a snack (for instance, a packet of crips isn’t a meal no matter what some people may claim). A meal could be breakfast, luch, dinner or supper ( by the way, I’ll post something about these names for meals a little later on). And the main meal of the day depends where you are from. Some people in England have their main meal in the evening while in Spain it is usually in the afternoon.
I try not to eat between meals.
Next Saturday we’re going out for a meal at that really posh restaurant they have just opened.
Recipe refers to the way in which we choose to prepare a meal. A recipe usually is a set of instructions telling us how to cook something and what ingredients we need. For example, if I want to prepare a traditional dish like paella, because I want to serve this for lunch (a meal), I may need the recipe to make sure I do it properly.
Can I get the recipe for that delicious chocolate cake you made the other day?
I’ve lost the recipe book and I can’t remember the amount of flour I will need.
Yes, it’s January and many of us want to get back to healthy eating, after all those feasts and celebrations! It’s probably time to cut down on fatty foods and start replacing the ready-made products for healthier ingredients like fruit and vegetables.
It’s also a good time to speak in the English classroom about what we had for our special meals and learn about other people’s traditional customs and it is precisely now, when I discover (to my horror! I’m kidding 🙂 ) that my students say something like /begeteibel/ instead of /ˈvedʒtəbl/.
This is because in English you can find quite a few samples of letters in a word that are not pronounced and the word ‘vegetable’ is one of them. Another not so serious problem with this word is that the sound /v/ doesn’t exist in Spanish and all the ‘vs’ are pronounced like ‘bs’. Here’s some ‘begeteible’ vocabulary to start you off with something to use when speaking about food.
Here you have two fruit vocabulary activities with some of the most common types of fruit you’ll find at any greengrocer’s, street market or supermarket.
Look at the picture and flip the card to see the word, the card includes a phonetic transcription in British English which is a good way to become familiar with English sounds. It would be nice to include an audio with the words, but the program doesn’t allow me to upload audio files.
In the second link you can do a short quiz that will also help you learn how to give simple descriptions and learn some taste/flavour vocabulary.