Showing posts from May, 2014

Twitter and freedom of speech

Bullfighting groups cry foul over Twitter abuseSpain's major bullfighting organizations have called on authorities to take action against people making "despicable" comments on Twitter about a bullfight on Tuesday which was cancelled after all three bullfighters were injured. Five groups made a joint statement declaring their "complete repulsion" towards what they described as "unspeakable" comments made on the social media network after Madrid's San Isidro bullfighting festival was cancelled.

They claimed that the comments incited hatred towards both the injured bullfighters "who shed their blood in the arena of Las Ventas" and bullfighting in general, which they described as "fully recognized" as a legal activity of "ethical and cultural value".

Source: The Local Vocabulary: to cry foul - to injure / an injury - to make a statement - joint (adj) - to claimhatred (n) - to shed (blood, tears) -
a coward / co…

FCE Speaking (Part 2)

Here is an example of the picture comparison. Complete the missing words.

FCE Test 3 (2008) Pictures 4C and 4D

Q: In this part of the test I'm going to give each of you two photographs. I'd like you to talk about your photographs on your own for about 1 minute and also to answer a short question about your partner's photographs.
Q: (Candidate A), here are your photographs. I'd like you to compare the two photographs and say why the people have chosen to go to these places.
Q: All right?

Well(a) pictures show outdoor activitites.

In the first picture, we can see(b) of hikers taking a rest and admiring the view (c) in the second there is a group of people who are travelling fast down a river.

They look (d) if they are having fun (e) in my opinion it (f) be a little dangerous.

In the two pictures they are wearing clothes that are appropriate for what they are doing. In the first they are wearing boots and in the second they (g) life vests on.

In the firs…

Animal expressions A - D

There are many animal expressions in both English and Spanish.


Source: Wikipedia
Someone who can't keep still because they are so nervous or exited is said to have ants in their pants. (In Spanish you'd probably say you have wasps in your bum)

Can you call someone who is a hard worker / saver an ant in Spanish??

Is "tener hormigas" the same as "tener hormigueo"?? We call this sensation "pins and needles" ("alfileres y agujas") in English.


Source: Wikipedia (User:Simm)
There is a verb "to bear" which is similar to "to tolerate" or "to endure" ("soportar / aguantar"). It is often used with "can't" to describe something you find unpleasant.
Tell us if we have passed the exam. We can't bear the suspense.I can't bear the sight of Francisco Rivera. Everything about him disgusts me.She couldn't bear to talk about it.He couldn't bear it if she had to leave.The pain was too …

Safe, secure or sure?

Many students get confused when they have to translate "seguro".

It can be translated as safe, secure or sure, depending on the context.

Safe is the opposite of dangerous. It suggests that you are protected from harm or that there is no risk.
I don't feel safe when I walk along this street at night.Madrid is one of the safest capital cities in Europe.Don't lose these keys whatever you do. Keep them in a safe place. I can safely say that we won't have to go to work next Friday.These steps don't look safe. Be careful when you stand on them.Have a safe journey. Give me a ring when you get there.The government launched a new campaign promoting safe sex.The airline maintained that the safety of passengers was their priority.

Secure describes a place which is protected - difficult to enter or exit.
Check that all the windows and doors are securely locked.They say it's a secure site but I still don't like using my credit card on the internet.Instead of a prison …

Kisses on the pitch

Footballers' kiss captures world attention
Two footballers from Spanish club Sevilla caused a stir on Wednesday when they shared a "passionate" kiss during celebrations to mark their club's victory in the Europa League final.

Among all the excitement following Sevilla's victory over Portuguese club Benfica on Wednesday, one gesture has come in for special attention. While the club's players celebrated their win on penalties in Turin, midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Daniel Carrico leaned in to each other to share a kiss.    Source: the Local Vocabulary: to cause a stir - to come in for (attention) - to lean in - unheard of - a media outlet - to go a step further - cheeky (adj) cheekily (adv) - to draft - to pick - to come out - to stick (stuck, stuck) - manly (adj) - bitchy (adj) - a poll - to survey - to release - 

Russian bear v bearded lady

Eurovision's 'bearded lady' winner divides Russia In his spare time, Communist MP Valery Rashkin likes climbing mountains. Back in the USSR he was a champion alpinist.
Today, though, Mr Rashkin faces an uphill battle of a different kind: to liberate Russia from the Eurovision Song Contest.

"I watched the results of last Saturday's Eurovision with deep pain," Valery tells me. "Giving first place to a bearded lady is a slight on humanity and suicide!"

The bearded lady in question is Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst. At the Eurovision final in Copenhagen, Conchita triumphed with 'Rise Like a Phoenix'.

Source: BBC News Vocabulary:

spare time -

an MP -

to face (a problem) -

an uphill battle -

a slight -

to sink (sank, sunk) -

to sink like a lead balloon -

decay (n) -

to rant -

to rot away -

to have your way -

a request -

to pull out of (a competition) -

to back sb/stg -

sensible (adj) -

to support (an idea) -

to assure -

to claim -

to prevent  -

Get on your bike

Madrid bike scheme faces uphill battle
The Spanish capital is seeking to match rival Barcelona, as well as Paris and London, by providing hundreds of bicycles for public hire — with the added feature of electric motors to help riders up slopes.

The self-service stands that will hold the 1,500 electric bicycles started appearing around the centre of the Spanish capital this week, but the planned May 1st start has been pushed back to an unconfirmed date.

Source: The Vocabulary: to face (a problem) - an uphill battle/struggle - to provide - a slope - a (bike) stand - to push back (a date) - to shake (shook, shaken) - narrow (adj) - to knock sb down - a passerby - to set stg up - a city hall - awareness (n) - to be keen to do stg - reluctant (adj) - due to (= because of) - a lack of stg - a cycle lane - so-called - to crack down on stg - to lack - Have you ever used a bike to get around Madrid? What was your experience? Would you use one on a regular basis? 

How do you get from A to B?

Smarter, cheaper and greener ways to get around town From car sharing to power walking, there have never been more methods of mobility Mobile technology is making it easier to access new alternative means of transport in Spain’s cities Ever-more costly gasoline, gridlocked traffic, global warming and, above all, the need to save money are just a few of the harsh realities facing the Spanish automobile sector, which is going through its worst slump since 1986. Young people are no longer interested in owning a car, especially if they live in a large city.

But that, of course, doesn’t mean they still don’t need to get around. One answer could be car sharing. BlaBlaCar is one of the most popular car-sharing sites in Europe. The company has grown three times faster in Spain than it has in the other 12 countries in which it operates.
Source: El País in English Vocab:

smart /(adj) -

to get around -

means of transport -

gridlocked (adj) -

above all -

harsh (adj) -

to face (a problem) -

a slump -

a to…