jueves, 23 de febrero de 2012

Improve your listening skills and vocabulary

Hi everyone!!
Today´s post is to tell you about a very interesting website to improve your listening skills and vocabulary.Its name is http://www.listenaminute.com/ . You´ll find a list of topics: cosmetic surgery, climate change,books, bullying,internet,etc, you´ll find a listening,its tapescript and exercises.Apart from improving your listening skills you´ll find ideas to use in your speaking tests.
Hope you enjoy it!

domingo, 19 de febrero de 2012

New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras

"Mardi Gras" is French for “Fat Tuesday”. It is the name of a celebration that takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the 40-day period of Lent. Mardi Gras is the final day of a three-day period, which starts on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. In Catholic countries, people fast during lent. People eat well the day before Ash Wednesday and hold celebrations. These can be wonderful, colourful carnivals all over the world. The most famous are those in Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans and Venice. The tradition of Mardis Gras goes back hundreds of years in Catholic Europe. Explorers, settlers and missionaries exported the tradition worldwide.

Mardi Gras History

The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to Medival Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the current Mardi Gras of today. But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today -- with Kings, Mardi Gras colors, and brass bands -- are traced to New Orleans.
Although we can trace its history to the Romans, a French-Canadian explorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it "Pointe due Mardi Gras." He also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the very first Mardi Gras.
In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile) ... similar to those who form our current Mardi Gras Krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the "Boeuf Graf Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull's head pushed alone on wheels by 16 men. This occurred on Fat Tuesday.
New Orleans was established in 1718 by Jean-Baptise Le Moyne. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans.. but not in parade form. In the early 1740s, Louisiana's Governor The Marquis de Vaudreuil established elegant society balls -- the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.
The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association is the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.
By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback to celebrate Mardi Gras. Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance.
In 1871, Mardi Gras's second "Krewe" is formed, the Twelfth Night Reveler's, with the first account of Mardi Gras "throws."
1872 was the year that a group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival -- Rex -- to parade in the first daytime parade. They introduced the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold; the Mardi Gras song, and the Mardi Gras flag.
In 1873, the first floats were constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth of Louisiana signs the "Mardi Gras Act" making it a legal holiday in Louisiana, which is still is.
Most Mardi Gras Krewes today developed from private social clubs that have restrictive membership policies. Since all of these parade organizations are completely funded by its members, we call it the "Greatest Free Show on Earth!"

You can watch a video about Mardi Gras here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfBqLGImy14

martes, 14 de febrero de 2012

The Beatles All You Need Is Love (Lyrics).wmv


Dear readers!
Today´s Valentine´s day, probably the most romantic day of the year or, for some people, just a marketing strategy that leads to consumerism: spending money on expensive bunches of roses,a romantic dinner by candlelight,a perfume,a trip to Paris for the lucky ones.......
Anyway,what are your plans for this day?are you going to take your love one for dinner?are you going to treat him/her to something special?or do you think that when you are in love you have to show it 24/7?One way or another,even if you are single and have no one to celebrate with,here I leave a video,maybe the ideal plan is a dvd,a blanket and the company of a glass of wine...
Click here:

jueves, 9 de febrero de 2012

Word on the street British Council

Hello everyone!
Today I want to write about Word on the street,an exciting new English Language teaching programme co-produced by the BBC and the British Council.

Word on the Street looks at how English works in everyday life and presents lively aspects of young British culture. Each half hour episode is filmed in a different place in the UK and features drama, interviews and reports to help you improve your English language skills.

You can find a video below called Camden Scene.Camden Market is one of my favourite parts of London, it´s crowded on Sunday mornings but still it´s worth a visit!http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/word-street/camden-scene-1
Hope you enjoy it!
You can watch more videos here http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/word-street

martes, 7 de febrero de 2012

Charles Dickens

Hello everyone!

As you may know,we´re celebrating today the 200 th anniversary of Charles Dicken´s birth as he was born on 7th Feruary 1812. What do you know about this great author?Have you read any of his books?What´s your favourite?I´m especially fond of the unforgettable Oliver Twist. Have you visited Charles Dicken´s museum in London? if you plan to visit London, you can´t miss it! and if you don´t have the opportunity of travelling to london, click here for a tour: http://www.dickensmuseum.com/
You can find more about Dickens clicking here: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/dickens
You can also see a video about Dicken´s relationship with London below or follow this link and learn more about Dicken´s world http://www.euronews.net/2012/02/06/enter-the-world-of-charles-dickens/

Hope you  enjoy reading Dickens!!

sábado, 4 de febrero de 2012

Freezing weather in Spain

Hi dear readers,
I guess you are fully aware of the freezing temperatures that are hitting Spain. I live in Cuenca and the temperature here has reached -6ºC!!It may even snow tomorrow and we may find this beautiful scenery,the Hanging Houses,Cuenca´s must-see monument,surrounded by snow.
Read more about Cuenca here: http://www.travelinginspain.com/cuenca.htm
Apart from this, you can find more info about Europe´s cold snap clicking here http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/wordsinthenews/2012/02/120203_witn_cold.shtml
And if you feel like finding out more about extreme weather conditions,listen to 6 minute English here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/general/sixminute/2012/02/120202_6min_english_scott_story.shtml

Improve your listening: National Geographic

Dear readers,
A good way of improving your listening skills and learning interesting aspects of different cultures at the same time, is visiting National Geographic website and watching its cultural videos about travel,ancient cultures,science, environment,etc.
Click on this link and watch the video about a robot child that is programmed to learn and think like a human infant.

Have a go at it!!


viernes, 3 de febrero de 2012

Asking and giving directions

Hi guys!
How are you?I haven´t been able to post anything for a while because I´ve been pretty busy but.... I´m back!
Today´s post is about asking and giving directions,one of the first things you need if you want to survive abroad (not quite sure since the arrival of the iphone,though ;).Anyway, let´s imagine you don´t have an iphone, go to the UK and need to find out where the British Museum is, you´ll need this vocabulary to get by, click here :http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/vocabulary/directions.
You can also see a couple of interesting videos regarding this topic,click here:
To learn useful structures, click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1212_how_to_instruct/page2.shtml

Hope you enjoy them and ....don´t get lost!!