Showing posts from October, 2007


Ancient Origins Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvestand the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction du…

The Flatmates

The BBC has created a soap-opera to help English language learners. It's called "The Flatmates" and is updated weekly. Here is episode 37 -"The Interview".

There is a short conversation which you can read or hide and listen to.

There is a Language Point, which in this episode is the Present Perfect Continuous, followed by a quiz which tests your ability to use the tense correctly.

In the Talk section, you have the chance to discuss with other language learners a topic related to the episode.

This week is episode 115 but you can review all the episodes in the Archives.

Also in this week'sGrammar Challenge you have the chance to practice thePPC!

Catherine Tate - Translator

Source: butku5 (You Tube) Key words: Catherine Tate offensive translator A bit of humour.

Can such humour be offensive?

What languages do you find funny?

Catch Me If You Can - synopsis

Image source: Wikipedia

Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 motion picture set in the 1960s. It was co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted by Jeff Nathanson loosely from the book by Frank Abagnale Jr. and Stan Redding. ItstarsLeonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.


The film begins with an FBI agent, Carl Hanratty Jr. (Tom Hanks), arriving at a French jail in 1969 to meet an imprisoned and sick Frank, who attempts to escape. The scene flashes back six years earlier. Frank's father, Frank Sr. consa woman to lend him a suit for Frank Jr., who later guises as a driver for Frank Sr. to get a loanfrom Chase Manhattan Bank. When the loan is denied(due to IRS tax evasions by Frank Sr.), the family is forced to move from their grand home to a small apartment, with tension building between the family; it also appears that his mother is having an adulterous affair with the bank agent as well. Frank Jr., feeling he will not fit in at his new school, poses as a substitute teacher in …


I found this article about a liar who has made headlines recently:

Suspected bogus 9/11 survivor from Barcelona

The sacked head of a 9/11 survivors network alleged to have invented her experience of the attacks on New York's World Trade Center is of Spanish origin, a newspaper reported Saturday, quoting acquaintances as saying she always sought to be the centre of attention.

The Catalonian daily La Vanguardia said Tania Head was better known in Barcelona as Alicia Esteve Head, publishing a photograph of her with colleagues taken when she worked as a management secretary in the city between 1998 and 2000.

Associates told the newspaper she often recounted unlikelystories which put herself at the centre of the action, notably one of a high-speed car crash in which she was badly hurt.

Tania Head wassacked from the prominent survivors' group on Wednesday, a day before the New York Times ran a front-page story that said "the pieces just didn'tfit" in the repeated tale o…

New Vocabulary

Do you remember these words from last week's class?
to spotto give awayto get away withto fidget / fidgetyto sweat / sweatyto mess around to live offto chat upto date (someone) / to have a date with (someone)to slow downto cheer upto cheatto be in charge ofto stumblea liar/ to tell a lierudeunusuala colleaguea spokespersona neighbourhoodlikelyThis is just some of the vocabulary that you came across during lessons last week. I encourage you to organize your notes well, think how you would use the words and create some sentences with them. Get into a routine of reviewing the vocabulary regularly and send the example sentences to me.

Complete the following sentences I have created with a word from above in the correct form.
________! Surely things aren't that bad.Stop _________ and sit _____!It's really _______ weather for this time of year. Normally it's much cooler.They ________________ for about a year now but I doubt they'll ever marry.He's very stubborn; he isn&…

Classroom mistakes

Here are some mistakes that I heard in the classroom this week. Can you spot them?

I won't be here next week. I am going on a travel to Paris for work.I thought about it but I decided not to go at the end.You shouldn't lie. You should always say the true.Richard works in the informatic department.Now he's in charge of maintenance. He used to working in a different area.I'm afraid I'm not agree with you.I have a new about Sarah - she's going to get married.How many were here on Monday? We were three.It's inpolite to ask people how much they earn.People say that the Scots are mean but that is just a topic.Both of my fathers were born in Madrid.The trip to Bilbao by car takes about 4 hours.I don't like my actual job. I preferred my old one.People hasn't much time to study languages.I can't remember; could you say me again, please?

BBC Learning English / Pronunciation: "-ed" endings

Take a look at BBC Learning English. I can'tpraisethis site enough; it's great! I suggest you make good use ofit. The site is divided into various sections. There are many articles to read, and clips to listen to and watch. There are loads ofgrammar and vocabulary exercises to do. There is a series called "The Flatmates" to keep up to date with.There are quizzes and even a blog (needless to say, not as good as ours is going to be!). Every section is updated regularly but also has a large store of archives.

Have a lookatthe latestaddition to theGrammar Challengesection. It is another chance to practice the pronunciation of thetricky"-ed" endings. It is divided into 4 parts. First listen to the Grammar Challenge programme and refresh your memory of the rules. Then do Practice Quizzes 1 and 2. Finally, go to the Use the Grammar section and read the work of other students.

Once you have done all that; I'd like you to start exploring all the sections contained…