Archive for the ‘Language & Culture’ Category

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C1 Resource Pack!!

January 10, 2017

I just published / I’ve just published my notes to help advanced students learn to learn to become independent and resourcesful lifelong learners!

Check it all out on talkingpeople.net!

Direct link

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free ebook! Stories from My Teacher… (at last!, we made it!)

February 2, 2015

Our first ebook, in case you are into stories told by teachers in class! 🙂 ❤

Stories from My Teacher. On the English Language, Lifelong Learning & Our r.evoL.ution!
http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/ebooks.htm

portada2015

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On nonviolent struggle (2)

December 19, 2013

Interviewing Howard Clark – video 2
by Mujer Palabra (June 2013)

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Why did I become a pacifist? + On nonviolent struggle in the world (1)

December 19, 2013

Interviewing Howard Clark (Mujer Palabra June 2013)
Howard died last Dec 5, 2013

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Another suggested reading for this coming learning year…

September 1, 2013

OneCrazySummerOne Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia, three girls travel to meet their mother and deal successfully with complex questions related to love, individual and collective.

One Crazy Summer at talkingpeople.net, with info on a 2011 documentary by a Norwegian director, on Black Power in the 60s & 70s.

Chapter 1 Kind of Glossary

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Books. Rosa Parks: My Story (edited)

August 31, 2013

rosaparksmystoryIn our next 2013-14 school year one of my Reading proposals (in state-run adult language learning) will be this autobiography by Rosa Parks, the US American Civil Rights activist. I hope you can relate this to the 15M movement and all the (pragmatic, meaning nonreligious) nonviolent struggle happening today in the world. I have created three webpages on talkingpeople.net for this book.

  1. The first one includes links to the other two and a listening activity, where you will hear Rosa Parks’s voice, and find a little thought about nonviolence and violence, among other things. I should include links to a few places and some videos, and I will. Check the homepage out.
  2. Then I have selected some excerpts so students get a feel of the English used in the book, and the stories told in it! But I have also written an introduction aimed at helping students notice things they might miss. Please, let me know what you think. As you know, I’m very much into dialog and critical thinking! 🙂 Check out the excerpts.
  3. The third webpage is a Glossary of Legal Terms in Context: English/Spanish. Check the Glossary out.  I have to say I have just brainstormed a bit for the other Glossary I would like to include (see page 1), which is one on social/nonviolent struggle, perhaps even beyond the historic events depicted in this book.

Anyway, here are the links. Hope it’s useful and enjoyable!

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Update on Bradley Manning

August 6, 2013

http://deconstructingmyths.com/2013/08/06/manning-down/

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Learning about the Osage Indian rez in Pawhuska

July 27, 2013

Olivia StandingBear is the 2011-2012 English teaching assistant at the Official School of Languagaes in Fuengirola, Spain. She is from the Osage Indian reservation in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, has a degree in anthropology and Italian from the University of Kansas, and has spent her last few years in Spain teaching English to a wide range of students.

Pawhuska – Read article from COLLAGE magazine # 3: 2011-2012

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A very special book

July 3, 2013

Now that I’m kinda tipsy (celebrating the hols!) I’m going to show you something special!

What’s this? A 1938 Hogarth Press edition of Virginia Woof’s “Three Guineas”. The Hogarth Press was the publishing house Virginia and her compañero Leonard set up!

I got it in a little bookshop at Brick Lane Street Market in 1989. I’m still wondering why the book seller sold it for 10 quid (or less) to a foreigner just passing by. Oh, the pics are too small. Sorry! Anyway!

threeguineas3

threeguineas

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STORIES FROM MY TEACHER (ebook project)

July 2, 2013

NEWS JULY 2013

Asun (2 stories so far), Rosa, Ana, and Helena are intending to write stories as Guest Teachers for this little ebook project! So their names will be on the cover. We would be publishing it in October 2013. If any English-speaker wants to help with the proofreading, let us know!

One of Asun’s stories

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OLDER POST: 10 JUNE 2013

Putting together my first e-book of stories as an English teacher!!

I’m collecting (selecting, writing down, proofreading…) stories and idea-stories I’ve been telling people in class in these last year! Thanks to the eCampus I had till this last year!, where I wrote follow-up stuff on things that came up in class!

(From this year, I have Language Misperceptions, Don’t Buy Exams, So here’s a story about love, and The Casino Story... I’ll review these and see if I remember more… If you do, let me know! Oh, I’m improving these days Cruelty to Animals, too)

It would be downloadable for free but also with the request that if people like it they bought it for one euro.

I’ve designed the cover! Do you like it? 🙂

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Screenplay to work on your English!

June 13, 2013

best_exotic_marigold_hotel_ver2At last!!! Finished preparing the screenplay of the movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel!

It’s taken me two months because I did it whenever I had some free time!

I’ve prepared this screenplay for me to use in class next year with Upper Intermediate and Advanced students. Teachers are welcome to use it, of course. And if you are a lifelong learner, you might want to use at home to work on your English.

the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel-bk13 (44 pdf pages – the two last are ideas for activities!)

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In support of Turkish people. In your language!

June 10, 2013

Spread the word!

More: http://world.time.com/2013/06/08/women-on-the-front-lines-of-turkey-protests/

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Some thoughts on learning (edited)

June 8, 2013

Learning should be like a journey, an event where exploration and discovery take place, this is, where limits dissolve and we move more freely and also beyond.

A learning year should never leave you untouched, as a person, as a Some One. It should allow you to be better, both as an individual and as a social being.

Exams turn out to be a thin slice of this cake. The least meaningful part. The red tape. ADDED LATER: Though, as you can see from my notes on talkingpeople.net and here, I use exams as excuses for some meaningful learning too! 🙂

Language learning is about communicating. Communicating is about learning about oneself and others, it’s about learning to live with oneself and with others, it’s about building realities (living, life) together. Whether we like it or not, whether we have such purpose or not, the fact is that through communication we build our society, the social mechanisms that have an impact on our lives. We should acknowledge such power and use it for the general good and also to improve the quality of our daily lives.

What do you think? What’s your experience? How do you relate to learning? How much learning do you think you do in life?

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Writing Tests

June 8, 2013

In Writing Tests, like the ones that are given at Spanish EOI’s (standardized in Europe — A2, B1 and B2 CEFR certificates), you are required to respect the TOPIC you are given and the KIND of text (e.g. a letter or email, an article, etc.) and the WORD LIMIT (non-complying pieces cannot be checked by examiners). About the three points you need to mention, whenever required to do so, if you don’t mention one, for instance, that lowers your mark, but examiners can proceed to check your work. In any case, ALWAYS mention the three points, even if you don’t know how to develop one properly.

All EFL textbooks from Britain have wonderful explanations and exercises on how to write each kind of text, and with Useful Language for formal and semiformal letters, for instance. So browse through your textbooks, just to consolidate a few ideas about what you are expected to write for each kind.

Here are some of the notes I give my students, especially at the Upper Intermediate (B2) and Advanced levels (C1). http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/writing.htm

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US American and British Standards

June 8, 2013

Here are some notes on differences between US English and UK English. As you know, there is no “correct English”, just different varieties generated by the sociological and geographical fact of communities in their locations (culture). In Spain, for instance, Andalucian Spanish (the variety used by Lorca, the poet, for instance, Victoria Kent, politician during La República española, and María Zambrano, philosopher) is as correct as Castellano Spanish (the variety used by Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, the writer and thinker, for instance, or Rosa Montero, the journalist and writer). In both regions there are people who speak badly and write worse, and people who speak and write perfectly well!

Back to English, then there’s the linguistic fact of a kind of International English, which is always about picking the most understandable choices in particular contexts.

Because there is no “correct variety” you can use any, but you should try to be consistent, particulaly in Writing Assignments or Exams, of course. Have a look. (I’ll improve these notes some day — it’s a complicated issue, language and identity — but for the time being, it’ll make do!)

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/languages/us_uk/grammardifferences.html

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Free ebook: Jokes

June 8, 2013

In case you want to read jokes in English

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/212959

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Turkey – people are doing stuff whether reported or not

June 7, 2013

Let’s protect the internet! It’s the only place reporting what they seldom report on the media
Repression is still going on – as usual, against the people who demand a better world.
protectingyourself
Gezi’de her yer kütüphane.
Bus turned into library by resisters on Taksim Square (from Fb Diren Gezi Parkı)

busintolibrary

What the fuck is “forbid”?

whatthefuckisforbid

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Smashwords!

May 31, 2013

There’s a site for indie writers called Smashwords, and I’m reading the guides because I think I might put together a collection of stories based on stories I tell in class… I was thinking it might be called “Stories our teacher tells us!” 😀

The three I’ve actually written so far are: Asking Questions in Church, Dishwashers, and The Casino Story. But for publication I might work on them a bit more.

Then, I was wondering if I should have a second second for “Talks & Discussions” because in this way I might be able to include some of the Speeches I give every now and then! 😀 I’m thinking of pieces on love and living, sex (Having Orgasms is Good for People!), death, attitudes to learning, exams… and language matters, like the recent piece — I would have to review — on The language problem in monolingual communities

Well, it’s all an idea I had two days ago!!! 😀 And far too busy now to work on it!

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Why did the chicken cross the road?

May 31, 2013

chickenI’ve been looking for the sheet I wrote answering this question by women artists, thinkers and activists. At that time, the 90s, it was not that funny because people did not know these women… Still today, most people don’t know those women writers.. Sigh! Anyway… I haven’t found it in my computer, so I suppose I should start looking through my papers! But they’re all scattered in various houses where I lived, so I suppose that’ll be something I won’t manage to do!

Oh, poor women! It’s so hard to get you into most people’s minds! But that doesn’t mean they did not exist, in spite of all the injustice and obliteration…

I do remember one I wrote. It’s what GERTRUDE STEIN would say: “A chicken crossing the road is handsome and convincing.” 😀 Hey, found one on the Net: VIRGINIA WOOLF, “She wanted a room of her own.” 😀 She did, she did!!!

In the comments below I’m posting some answers I’ve found on the Net – by valuable men AND women. You can also post some if you like. Hope you enjoy them!

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New video!: What Leads to Success?

May 30, 2013

A wonderful presentation by Juancar, who in spite of being an Intermedio 2 student (B1), shows an Upper Intermediate or B2 level in this outstanding exercise! You will learn or clarify some key concepts that lead to a good life! Come on, listen to him! And if you like it, remember to send the link to more English learners! The exercise of listening and reading corrected mistakes helps you develop the skill of listening to yourself and fixing your mistakes as you speak.Thanks, Juancar, impressive work!

Btw, I posted a note under the video, on the correction included about the phrasal.

PS: I’m not sure I’ll manage to edit the videos I videoshot in the Avanzado 2 group… 😦 But I’ll try my hardest. I’ll keep you posted, don’t worry!

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Workshop on Lexical Creativity (create words in English!!)

May 24, 2013

I need to fix the broken link on Talking People, but I published my workshop on Lexical Creativity in case you want to print it. It’s an interesting workshop, and great fun too. I did it with Avanzado 2 students at that school and they created amazing words. We published some of those here.

Yesterday I heard “frenemies,” and example of what we call “blends” in Linguistics (friends + enemies). This one is quite quite recent (less than a decade?)! Do you know it? You can post the ones you know, if you like. Actually, I believe “follamigos” (which does not have the same meaning as “frenemies”) comes from imitating not only this kind of word formation in English but also thanks to this word in English.

With the Lexical Creativity workshop I help students learn about word-formation (morphology) and how we create words in a language. Morphology helps you decipher the meaning of some of the words you might not know, too… And learning about linguistic creativity also helps you get some jokes because, it’s a fact, in all languages we make up words and expressions, but in English it’s mighty easy!

The book I’m recommending (pic) is expensive because it’s specialized, but if there are any language teachers out there, they’ll surely enjoy it!

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An open letter to facebook

May 22, 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/an-open-letter-to-faceboo_1_b_3307394.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

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Improved version of the World Book Day video!

May 22, 2013

Please, spread the word. The more visits the video gets, the more people will want to see it, and the more we’ll be spreading good ideas for the classroom experience, linking academic learning with LiFE!! I included the pics of Cake Days!

If anyone appearing in the pics did not sign the permission, and doesn’t want to appear, I will downloaded and blur his or her face, OK? No problem!

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Language Misperceptions in Spain. The language problem in monolingual communities

May 18, 2013

by michelle (talkingpeople.net)

Because for 40 years we were told that in Spain people should speak Spanish, and people who belonged to bilingual cultural backgrounds were persecuted and banned from speaking their other language (which terrified everybody all the same), there is a Spanish-nationalism tradition in monolingual communities in Spain that exhibits (and exposes) this fact: those people’s very-aggressive hostility to bilingual communities. Why should they feel like that? Why such self-justified bellicose outrage? And what if there is resent among people’s whose language was banned? (Obviously, those who feel that need to overcome it, after decades of language revitalization policies and the end of past persecution.) What’s the big deal their heart warms more when they speak the language that was once persecuted? (If you were forced to stop speaking your family’s language, how would you feel?) Why should their heart necessarily love more Spanish than their community’s language? (I don’t mean to justify intolerance on anyone’s side, of course. I’m a free thinker and as such, I’m critical of all nationalisms, because nationalism is not — in my view — about collective identities but about collective impositions.)

In monolingual communities we are confronting a problem and people consistently refuse to tackle it: we need to consider, at least in Madrid, the kind of monolingual people who are always accusing bilingual people of intolerance are not aware that they are perpetuating a tradition which we should have already long overcome — the Spanish democracy re-started in 1976 and the 1978 Constitution included the acknowledgement that Spain was a multilingual country, a country where different cultures coexisted with the Spanish culture.

The 1978 Spanish Constitution recognizes the linguistic diversity in Spain in Article 3.3 where it states: “The richness of the linguistic varieties in Spain is a cultural heritage that will receive special respect and protection”. Co-official languages in Spain: Aranese (in danger of extinction), Basque, Catalan/Valencian and Galician. Other languages in Spain

Since the 1990s I’ve been bringing up this issue in my lessons, especially when I had Advanced level English students. I’ve tried to make people think critically about the biased opinions monolingual people help spread, distorting in this way the educational process of language and cultural respect to diversity in Spain. To this day (2013), I’m still shocked at the strength of people’s misperceptions, at how they defend these biased opinions as if this was a fundamental ideological issue in their lives, yes, a question of patriotism… Why should someone living in Madrid, an Autonomous Community in Spain, have a say about whether a Catalan person should not prefer to speak Catalan in Catalonia, another Autonomous Community in Spain? Why should they feel they can actually say / they have a “right” (!) to say that Catalans have to speak Spanish in Catalonia, when we’ve had Autonomous Communities – protecting cultural diversity – since the 1970s and 80s? From a democratic or linguistic stand, there is no way language and cultural diversity can be seen as threatening or negative for any community or any part of a community.

2009 Languages of SpainBy-default-mentality people (“ordinary” people) in monolingual communities in Spain say things as false, unfair and openly impolite as this — and it makes me feel so ashamed and overwhelmed that I can’t even react properly in spite of my knowledge and my role as a language teacher: “Galicians don’t know how to speak / write Spanish” (!! against ALL evidence!), “Catalans / Basques have to speak Spanish whether they like it or not because we are in Spain” (!! Francoist mentality!). Just two grotesque examples (grotesque, if we consider it from an informed and democratic standpoint). The fact is that monolingual communities speak only one language, and bilingual communities speak two, and they do. Why should monolingual people be unable to understand that there exists bilingualism in Spain? And that speaking your mother language or languages is a human right? And that languages that have been banned (!!) have needed language revitalization policies – which we have fortunately had since democracy started? Shockingly enough, in Madrid the educational authorities are pursuing bilingualism – not Quality Foreign Language Education, bilingualism they call it — with… English!, a language which is not in people’s cultural background, except people like myself, children from culturally-mixed marriages at the time when Franco, the dictator who isolated Spain from being in touch with the world (with the social movements in the 1960s for instance) welcomed US American airbases in the country. Except minority cases like my own, English is and will be a Foreign Language in Madrid (which doesn’t mean people can’t learn it well and also in the public education system, where we have qualified teachers like myself!)

People in monolingual communities in Spain like the Autonomous Community of Madrid should stop making the ignorant “jokes” and comments on bilingual people we hear every day. This shames us all. This speaks of people’s ignorance and prejudice, it does not “defend” any legitimate Cause. When we tackle the language issue we should exert some minimum respect, and express our questions and comments as such, rationally and with empathy (tactfully at least), because in our past there has existed a terrifying language reality that has made a lot of people suffer and we should not pretend Nothing happened. We should not use our questions and ideas as weapons for showing despise for a different language community. We should question our own perceptions and feelings (in monolingual communities), too, admitting we also have a trauma, the trauma of believing there are languages which are more important than others and should be imposed, if necessary.

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A video on World Book Day (Av 2&co)

May 17, 2013

Our second 5-minute video on the School’s YouTube channel!

I learned so much!!! I’ve learned to edit videos with iMovie!!!

If anyone wants any changes, I can download it and fix things, so just let me know.

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Asking Questions in Church

May 14, 2013

An audio story, for Upper Intermediate students on.

A childhood memory to inspire people to prepare theirs?

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A story by Alice Walker (audio)

May 14, 2013

alicewalkerFor Advanced students

How did I get away with killing one of the biggest lawyers in the State? It was easy

From the book of stories, You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down

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Learn Italian! – Terraferma (2011)

May 8, 2013

An amazing movie to get you started in Italian.

In Italy, a family of fisherpeople — a grandpa, a daughter and a son, three generations — struggle to make a living, and wonder about quitting fishing and use the boat to work with tourists.

At the same time, other human beings — like a woman from Ethiopia who has been two years journeying through Africa to face then one of the hardest things that can happen: cross a sea, get to the shores, and that because she was lucky: her husband in Milan sent her money to bribe the police officers that had enslaved her.

In Italy, if you respect the law of the country, you cannot pick those desperate human beings at sea to save their lives. However, there’s the law of the Sea, but then —

It’s urgent we trash inmoral laws and create laws that get the best out of us, not the worst!

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“to be worth” + -ing

May 7, 2013

For your List of Mistakes. This LoM material came up in Complaint Letters written by AVANZADO 2 students:

“to be worth” + -ing – IS it WORTH leanING?

“Consequently, we concluded it would BE WORTH boardING the plane first.” (Very formal, too risky to use because then you need to sound this formal in the rest of the letter. This is why I always recommend you use semiformal language.)

“So we thought it would BE WORTH gettING on the plane first” (This can be used also in semiformal letters, like semiformal complaints at the B2 level. And it’s also OK for informal conversations, of course.)

With “it” it is very common in informal language, when you know what “it” is referring to. “It” operates as a reminder of an action you have mentioned before (ellipsis).

“So we thought it would BE WORTH IT” meaning “So we thought it would be worth getting on the plane first.”

Discussion

Can we say “So we thought it would be WORTH IT TO get* on the plane first”?

Answer: In theory you can’t, but… It is common to hear (people speaking)/read (newspapers) — although not in British English

“So we thought it would BE WORTH IT TO get…” — The “it + infinitive” is not the case of…
“So we thought it would BE WORTH TO get…” — I think this is not ever heard anywhere.

So why do we hear “worth it to” if it’s meant to be wrong? Here is my guess: in this case people tend to combine it with the infinitive because (although this is not a grammar rule) intuitively they tend to associate the infinitive to present and future events (including future in the past), and the gerund to past events (as in “Hello” = Nice to meet you; “Good bye” = Nice meeting you” or the verbs that change their meaning depending on whether they are used with infinitive or gerund, like “remember”: Pres/Fut = “Remember to get the bread”, Past = “I remember spending hours with my cousins when I was a child”). This means that even though their Grammar Mind knows you should say “So we thought it would be worth getting on the plane first” considering “getting on the plane” is here a future in the past, they might then use “So we thought it would be worth it to get”

Then, there are more meanings and uses of “worth”, so post your questions if you have any on that.

Native speakers, linguists and teachers can also post freely to discuss the matters I address here!!! Thanks! 🙂

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Books banned, guns allowed!

May 3, 2013

This is not about being politically correct. Political correctness relates to respecting somebody’s human rights. This is an example of the madness in patriarchal societies.

Moms demand action: One child’s holding something that has been banned in the USA to protect them. What is it?

momsdemandsense

12 books banned in the USA (so you see why Red Riding Hood was banned)

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15M – Málaga, March 2013 & August 2012 videos

May 1, 2013

Honesty is key. Kindness is key.

On the street we can communicate and think together. That’s what 15m means. Better thinking, collective thinking.

Culture is based on values (not on the market): the value of freedom, of justice, of solidarity.

If something is inmoral, it doesn’t matter it’s legal. We have to fight for improvements.

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Next week: Celebrating World Book Day

May 1, 2013

Next May 6 and 7, after this week’s 3-day holiday, we’ll celebrate World Book Day. Here is all the info on the raffle: May 6 & 7 Raffle (2 pdf pages)

I’ll bring varied podcast episodes / the episode “To belong” of the Baby Human Geniuses in Diapers documentary, for the first half of the lesson, for we’re done with unit 6, right?

Avanzado 2 Martes englishlings!, please remind me of giving you the stapled paper copies! Remember I’ll be on a strike on May 9!

Have a lovely 3-day holiday! 🙂
(In Spanish we call them “puentes”, “bridges”, when they connect with the weekend, but if you say “I’m on a bridge” English-speakers will never ever guess what you mean! :D)

Mentioned before…

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A listening exercise from Reel Women (Canada) – C1, Advanced

April 30, 2013

Open the audio in a new tab

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/hotpot/TPlisteningactivities/l_reviews_reelwomen_scaredsacred.htm

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Borrowings 1

April 30, 2013

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/hotpot/borrowings01.htm

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Quotes by interesting people!

April 30, 2013

How many did you know? (notice the cross or the smiley face when you mark your answer)

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/hotpot/quiz_whosaid01.htm

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Felicia’s mon on The Elderly

April 29, 2013

Avanzado 2. Listen to her 5-minute February Exam Practice exercise! Thanks, Felicia!

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Moving out, flying away!

April 28, 2013

Interinas Sin FronterasThis weekend I’ve spent all the time my back allowed me to going through papers, to see if I could throw away some, and organize them nicely for moving out next July! I’ve spent some precious time leafing through all the paperwork adults have to do in life. As some of you know, it took me 10 years to get my post as a civil servant, and two different Teachers’ State Examinations: first I tried to become a secondary teacher, and took exams every two years, passed them (except one, once) and never got the reward! Finally, I tried my luck at adult language education, where I managed to get my position as a civil servant. 15 years in all, from 1996 to 2013, in Madrid (the Autonomous Community). In this time I worked in 24 or 27 secondary schools as a substitute teacher, and then at EOI — where the employment situation used to be better — in 4 different schools. How many papers you get to pile up when you’ve been a teacher in the public system for 15 years! And how they varied, depending on who was in office! Kind of sci-fi. I’ve also found my passports, including my US American passports! And the paperwork involved in burying my mum, too. How time flies! I’ve trashed no more than 3 kilos of paper, and stuff has fitted into fewer boxes! So far, just in this house (I have a room in a house I share in Madrid, too, where I have more stuff!! eek!!), I have 7 big boxes full of paper: activities I have designed for my lessons!!! Can you believe it?, meaning, I’m not counting books, DVDs/CDs, realia (a have two boxes of that!), or boxes with textbooks and resource books. One of those boxes is called “My own language school,” which is something that could happen if the public system in the south of Spain is undergoing the same hardship and injustice.

The sticker is one some of us (“interinas”) secondary teachers who were substitute teachers made! Interinas Sin Fronteras (ISF, subs teachers without frontiers). It’s based on a cartoon by Nicole Hollander, the cartoonist I have on the Talking People Like Page, “That woman must be on drugs” (1981). I have linked the pic to her site.

Andalucía, do welcome us! We’re two adorable teachers, committed to the building of a fairer, happier world! (Demented laughter)

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How to read Einstein’s Equation

April 25, 2013

To answer Juan Carlos’s question! It includes the short (e equals m c square) and the complete forms.

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Speaking Activity – Spain on holidays – Audio

April 24, 2013

We recorded the Listen & Repeat of useful language at the Intermedio 2 group, so you can practice sentences about planning a holiday in Madrid, Spain for English-speaking people.

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/usefullanguage/speakinginteractions/spInteractions_02.htm

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Speaking Activity (visiting Madrid, Spain)

April 22, 2013

In class, we’ll only have classroom copies (15! to share in pairs), so you can print it if you want to have your own copy! Thanks! And sorry about that. Cuts are getting inbelievable!

speaking-activity-Spain (2 pages)

Remember that English-speaking friends can come from different countries! Canada / Canadians (French Canadians / English-speaking Canadians), US Americans, Hawaians, people from Trinidad & Tobago /tobeigo/, Australians (Aussies) and New Zealanders (Kiwis), Irish people, British people (Scottish, from Wales, English), Indian people, South Africans…

If you think it’d be useful, I can record a Listen & Repeat episode.

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Cruelty to Animals – read, listen, speak!

April 17, 2013

Our societies are incapable of living together with other animals, of respecting animal rights. Although I am an omnivore (and do not feel guilty or ashamed for that) I believe that vegans are raising very important issues we should all consider, meditate, discuss. It’s true it’s annoying when they resort to guilt-tripping, like religious leaders did in the past to keep people obedient and quiet. Vegans shouldn’t resort to that because their reasoned points are powerful. On the other hand, I think “ordinary citizens”, this is, the majority that understands things in the exact same way, should stop insulting and making fun of vegans — they’re fighting for a world where the rest of the animals are on an equal footing with humans, they’re not fighting to abuse anyone(I’m not linking to the most famous animal right group in the USA because in my view their campaigns do not respect women’s rights and they refuse to overcome their sexism. I would like to see the men in those groups playing the part the women in those groups play in their poster campaigns. They — the men — are animals, too.)

Some vocabulary:

  • I’m a vegetarian: I don’t eat any kind of meat (beef, chicken, fish, seafood…, jamón serrano or Spanish ham). I have dairy products (vegetarian cheese, milk, butter), honey, this is, food coming from animals that remain alive, and then all the things a vegan eats.
  • I’m a vegan /vígn/: I don’t eat anything from animals, whether dead or alive. Furthermore, I don’t use products that have been tested on animals, I don’t use clothing and footwear made from animals. I consider myself an animal, like the rest of the animals on the planet, so I don’t feel I have the right to mistreat them, exploit them, or kill them.

What do vegetarians and vegans eat?

  • I’m an omnivore: I eat anything, everything. Still, I don’t agree with cruelty against animals, and our food production system is extremely cruel to animals. To make matters worse, we kill to throw away, and this is immoral towards animals and other human beings who are starving in the world. The meat industry is also a main cause of damage to the environment.
  • And what’s a ‘freegan‘?!

More informed definitions: What do ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’ mean?

A blog with informative articles on Animal Topics

Animal rights vegans raise important issues in society, about our relationship to (other) animals:

Videos:

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Oral Herstory at the British Library

April 14, 2013

http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/sisterhood/index.html?ns_campaign=What%27%27s+On+newsletter+-+April+2013&ns_mchannel=email&ns_source=newsletter&ns_linkname=sisterhood_image1&ns_fee=0

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Talking about the crisis

April 9, 2013

EFL students should not say

The main responsible for the crisis is the government

The responsible is…

Also the responsible are business people / multinationals / the wealthy (“the wealthy” is correct, yes)

This is WRONG in English

What can we say?

Post freely! We’ll appreciate! 🙂 And you could also be helping us improve this section on Talking People. Thanks!

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/usefullanguage/everydaylang/responsibility.htm

Apart from this I have a question:  There’s widespread corruption among politicians, apparently. Well, that should be fixed, and we should fight to get that fixed. And get the money back. Then the political system needs relevant improvements. Consequently, we should put pressure so that this happens. But if we discard Politics as our way of organizing societies, which are the options? Should we go back to the military organizing our society (dictatorships)? Or further back to having religious leaders organizing society (they still have too much a say considering we are meant to respect women’s human rights. Anyway)?

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It’s patriarchy that says…

April 5, 2013

itspatriarchy

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Spanish speakers and the use of ‘will’ – or the question on expressing the future

April 4, 2013

“Spanish speakers and the use of ‘will’ – or the question on expressing the future” by michelle ford[1] (talkingpeople.net, 2013 – copyleft, just quote this line: authorship and website project)

This article is meant to be one in a series intended to explain why Spanish-speakers, particularly Spanish people, may sound impolite in English, particularly in Britain or Ireland – my explanation being it’s a language (& culture) problem. For EFL Spanish-speaking learners this article will help them improve their use of English and overcome this communication problem.

One thing is certain: English speakers, especially British speakers, have a way of approaching the notion of future action that is completely different to the Spanish-speaking way of approaching the future! For one thing, English speakers do not have future tenses (except the “Future Simple” or “Will” future), just different ways – based on verbal and prepositional phrases – to indicate – mark my words here – the degree of likelihood of occurrence of a future event. In other words, whether we can expect an event to happen and to which point. This entails a kind of commitment, too – when expressing plans or intentions, English speakers indicate a commitment to that happening. And that is actually why English speakers have this sophisticated system of expressing things about future events.

For the Spanish-speaking mind, none of this applies. In Spanish grammar, there exists a complete set of future tenses, but Spanish speakers do not feel committed to the future happening or not for their choice of tense! The use of a tense doesn’t mean anything in terms of how likely it is for the action to happen – at least as if compared to the case in English. The use of futures in Spanish is similar to the use of prepositions in Spanish: we have a great deal of prepositions, but manage with a few, which means, we’re not particularly concerned with accuracy. And this is something that relates to culture: if English-speakers rely on language uses and structures to mean a great number of things, Spanish-speakers rely on paralinguistic features (stress, rhythm, pitch, intonation) and body language including facial expressions. To illustrate this, in Spanish we can use the imperative with social relationships (the woman working in the neighborhood/neighbourhood bakery) and be perfectly polite, even affectionate.

So let us now consider what happens when Spanish speakers confront the task of having to express a future event. Even if their teachers explain how the “system” works for the futures (see my notes for Elementary/Pre-Intermediate students at http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/func_gram/gramwebs/future01.htm), it will take them time to assimilate the information, time and practice! – which is understandable, because the frame of mind in terms of understanding “the future” is completely different in both languages. Until they reach the stage of deep understanding, they will tend to use “will” for expressing any kind of future. This puts them in awkward situations:

British host family: “Would you like to visit the British Library tomorrow?”

Spanish reply: “Yes, I will go.”

This is puzzling to hear for a number of different reasons. First, the way to reply to Invitations/Offerings (this is the language function that we need to consider) is not correct. For “Would you like…?” questions we can use “I’d love to,” “I’m terribly sorry. I can’t,” “Yes, please,” “No, thank you,” but not “Yes, I will.”

Then – what does this “Yes, I will go” mean? Is it indicating a spontaneous decision? The context is not quite right, so that’s not what would be understood in a first impression.  Is it indicating a promise? “Yes, I promise to go.” It doesn’t sound right either! It’s kind of extremely dramatic! For the Spanish-speaking mind this is the future tense, just indicating a future, but for the English-speaking mind this, if sorted out it must be a future, is a future for predictions, and replying with a prediction on your involvement in the action when you are invited or offered something sounds awkward, or impolite.

Spanish student in Britain, to British host family: “What will you do tomorrow?”

This can be puzzling to hear, because it could be interpreted as connoting things the Spanish speaker doesn’t really want to mean! The unmarked question for adults about their future actions is always with “going to” because we know that adults have plans and intentions. If we use “will” this could feel like we think those adults are incapable of having plans or intentions! These are OK sentences:

To a child: “What will you be when you grow up?” (here, “will” is not exactly about a future very much ahead, as Spanish speakers tend to interpret when they manage considering proximity in time, but as a future we know is just wishful thinking! (Actually I think adults should never ask this question to children!)

To a teenager in her/his last year of secondary education: “What are you going to do when you finish your studies here?” If you ask them, “What will you do when you finish here?” it’s because you know the person has no plans and intentions and you just want to know about her/his predictions!

To an adult: “What are you doing tomorrow?” or “What are you going to do tomorrow,” never “What will you do tomorrow?” if we’re thinking of ordinary life situations.

My mother to me when I told her I was going to travel the world when I was in my twenties: “Where will you sleep?” etc. This meant she knew I did not travel like tourists do, but like wanderers do!!

Well, I’ll stop here. Please post your comments, especially if you disagree with any of this, or you wish to add to it in some way, and feel free to post your questions, too!


[1] I am an EFL teacher in Spain, in public/state-run adult language education, and although I’m a Spanish/US American English speaker, as a I live in Europe, I have to include British English in my curricula.

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Women have human minds

March 31, 2013

So here’s the poster in English. We need to stop this nonsense explaining human intelligence in terms of our sexual organs! 0_0 How can this have been so popular? It’s a crime against humanity, some profound damage to human intelligence.

womenhavehumanminds_poster (1 doc page)

Recommended reading: Delusions of Gender, by Cordelia Fine but just looking around in societies where women are free to develop their minds and lives can do.

And in case you want to repost and stuff, here’s the text — the “wimmin” is to help EFL students to remember how to pronounce the plural of “woman” /woomn/, but it’san actual alternative spelling of th word too:

WIMMIN HAVE HUMAN MINDS
STOP IT: THE PENIS & THE VAGINA
are reproductive and sexual organs
unfit to measure our intelligence
establish our emotional & social functions
or our dreams & ambitions

(WHY) HAVEN’T WE MISSED
women thinkers, artists, activists, explorers, inventors, adventurers…
in the history of HUMANKIND?

The history of Man is not the history of Humankind

Patriarchy to court
for Crimes against Humanity

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BACK!!!! (bye bye spring hols! ♥)

March 31, 2013

Hiya, dear all! Just back from being locked up in nature due to non-stop rain! I couldn’t even go for a quick stroll!!!

ghoststoriesmarujamalloshirleymanginiBUT — I’ve been reading a bit: ghost stories by women writers (I’ll bring a few copies of this one for the end-of-course goodbye raffle! because they are GREAT and the weeny presentations of the authors are like pebbles shining in crystal clear river waters! 😀 !) and about the Spanish painter and revolutionary (!) Maruja Mallo and the Avant Garde in Spain (you’ve got to get a copy of her bio by this US American woman. In Spanish it’s published by Circe but it costs about 30 euros!! It’s originally in English, yes! BUT IT COSTS 70 EUROS!!!). Then I’ve done a bit of translating for social activism: on Feminist Curiosity (bits of the intro) by Cynthia Enloe (it’ll get published on Mujer Palabra, in Activismo – Pacifismo feminista). Finally, I’ve been doing some writing (a poem on friendship lost, which turned out to be feminist as an accident, 😀 , well, when you develop a feminist intelligence it’s like when you understand something: you cannot stop using that understanding!) and a new feminist postcard (you can color it: 1 pdf page: cartel_colorear. I’ll do it in English soon-ish) which I think will help humanity to overcome all the hurt patriarchal values have done to human intelligence!).

Yes! Yes! And done a bit of work for you! I’ve written 1,000 words on Mainstream or Alternative Medicine so that Avanzado 2 people can listen to an example of a monolog on that (I need to record the audio now).  Then, I’ve prepared two special speaking activities. (Btw, remember to bring the handout with Three Proposals.) Here’s one: Next Tuesday, when we’re back to school (eek!!!!!!!!) I’ll order 50 copies of this one-page handout for a Timed Speaking Activitiy in the Avanzado 2 groups! I’ll give it to people in our first lesson together and you’ll do the looking up stuff before the lesson when you’ll actually “improvise the interaction.”

I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I also FUCKING HOPE YOU WILL FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS!!! 😀

TIMEDSPEAKINGACTIVITYFORAVANZADO2  (FIXED LINK) – traveling to Greece ♥, Iceland ♥♥ or Cyprus

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday and hope it’s not a Rainday! Next Monday I’ll try to send my feedback on the recordings I did not manage to finish working on last week!

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African proverb

March 25, 2013

together

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About dashes, hyphenation and capitalization

March 22, 2013

Here are the notes I wrote in 2011, related to what we were talking about today in Avanzado 2!

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/writing/noteswriting/capitalizhyphendash.htm

Rubén, yummy cramberry cake! 😀 Scroll down a bit and read about the Installation I wrote on you! See if you like it.

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Language is powerful! (audio)

March 18, 2013

Listen to this at Talking People Podcast episode

Here is the transcript

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