Learning thru English

A blog for students of English at IES Llanera

“Love Me Do” was The Beatles´first single. It was released on 5th October 1962 and it still sounds amazing!

Read more about the song.

Animal Talk

Posted by Ana Cuello under General

Animals use various means of communication: smell, sound, movement or position, etc. Read more  and find interesting facts about animals and the way they communicate. Then leave a comment and share what you have learnt.

She said …

Posted by Ana Cuello under Language, Use of English

 We have done exercises in class, but if you want to revise and practise reported speech, you can click here.

Leonard Cohen

Posted by Ana Cuello under People

Maybe you know who he is and maybe you have listened to some of his beautiful songs… he has just been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Letters.  Read more…

When the English tongue we speak…

Posted by Ana Cuello under Language

Have a nice time improving your pronunciation …

April Fools´Day

Posted by Ana Cuello under General

It is said that its origin is the changing of calendars that took place in 1582. Previously to that date, the New Year celebration took place from 25th March to 1st April. With the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, the celebration was moved to 1st January.

But as the media at that time were not what they are today, in many places people were not aware of the change until years later, so 1st April continued as a reference. This resulted in the habit of playing tricks on those people on that day, custom which eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century and later to the American colonies and the rest of the world. You can read about that if you click here.

Pancake Day

Posted by Ana Cuello under General

Shrove Tuesday is the name used in English speaking countries to refer to the day before Ash Wednesday, first day of Lent. It is equivalent to our Carnival Tuesday.
The word “shrove” is the past of the verb “shrive” (confess). According to Christian tradition, the week before Lent is the time to prepare for this period of penance and fasting. Shrove Tuesday is the last day of that period. In the UK, Ireland and Australia, it is also known as Pancake Day. Eating pancakes is the last chance to eat food with ingredients such as sugar, butter and eggs, traditionally limited during the fasting of Lent. Formerly pancakes were served with a stew of meat (a luxury by then …) Now they are served sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice, but they can also be covered with syrup, jam, chocolate…

You can learn how to cook pancakes if you click here.

 On Pancake Day, “pancake races” are held in towns and cities in the UK. It is said that the custom arose in 1445, when a neighbour of Olney, Buckinghamshire, England, was so busy cooking pancakes that she did not realize about the time until she heard the church bells ringing for service. Then she left home and ran to the church still with her apron, the pan and the pancake that was in it … Olney race is famous worldwide and participants must be women resident in the village for three months at least. They must wear an apron and a hat or a scarf. The race begins at 11:55 am at the market square and the winner is the first to arrive at the church (375 meters away), serve the pancake to the bell ringer and be kissed by him. Of course the pancake has to be intact after being thrown into the air 3 times during the race … The record is 63 seconds and it was held in 1967.

You can watch the race in this video.

 We have been using these adjectives in class, so here is a list of the most common ones and the prepositions that usally follow them:

accustomed to  afraid of  answerable to  attached to
aware of  capable of dependent on  different to 
doubtful about  enthusiastic about  excited about  famous for 
fond of guilty of  interested in  keen on
opposed to  pleased with  popular with proud of 
related to   rich in  satisfied with  serious about
similar to  suitable for suspicious of  used to (= accustomed to)

You can click here to practise.

Guy Fawkes Night

Posted by Ana Cuello under General, People

British people celebrate Bonfire Night every year in memory of a famous event, the Gunpowder Plot. On 5th November 1605, a group of Roman Catholics planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in London. On the previous evening, one of them, Guy Fawkes, was caught and the plot was discovered. That is why it is also called Guy Fawkes Night. He and all the other conspirators were executed. Originally, it was celebrated as a victory for Protestants over Catholics, but the festival is now enjoyed by everyone. It involves fireworks displays and the building of bonfires on which traditionally “guys” are burnt.

There are festivals involving fireworks and bonfires all around the world. Do you know any of them?

Go for it!

Posted by Ana Cuello under General, Language

A new school  year is starting and I hope you all are eager to learn new things! Maybe one of those things is a language: English, for example could be really helpful in your life! Watch this video and I hope you decide it is not so difficult as you may think!

That is the name of a village on the island of Anglesey, Wales, People also call it Llanfairpwllgwyngyll but it is commonly known as Llanfair PG or Llanfairpwll

The long form of the name is the longest officially recognized place name in the United Kingdom and one of the longest in the world, being 58 letters in length (51 letters in the Welsh alphabet, where “ch” and “ll” count as single letters).

The name is Welsh for “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave”.

You can see the size of the sign at the train station in the picture below.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch station sign (cropped version 1).jpg

 And wouldn´t you like to try with the pronunciation?

Do Re Mi!

Posted by Ana Cuello under General, Music and films

Have a look at this, isn´t it amazing? 

More than 200 dancers perfomed their version of “Do Re Mi”, in the Central Station of Antwerp, Belgium. Those 4 fantastic minutes started on 23rd March 2009, 08:00 AM. It is a promotion stunt for a Belgian television programme, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role in the musical of “The Sound of Music”.

Manchester United anthem

Posted by Ana Cuello under General, Music and films

Most people consider this chant as Manchester United anthem. Have you ever listened to it?

The Busby Babes are mentioned in the lyrics, but perhaps you do not know who they were.

Matt Busby became manager at Old Trafford in 1945. Busby adopted a policy of bringing in players from the youth team whenever possible. The team won the league in 1956 and 1957 with an average age of only 21 and 22 respectively. The youth policy set in motion by Busby has now become a hallmark of the most successful periods in the history of the club (the mid-1950s, mid-to-late-1960s and 1990s). Busby’s original “crop” of youth players was referred to as the Busby Babes.

The Busby Babes were notable not only for being young and talented players, but for being developed by the club itself, rather than bought from other clubs, which was customary then, as now.

Eight of the Busby Babes died in 1958, when the plane carrying the team home from a European Cup match crashed on take-off at a refueling stop in Munich, Germany. The last remaining player of that group, Sir Robert (”Bobby”) Charlton, is considered to be one of the greatest English players of all time. He retired from playing in 1975, though he had left Manchester United two years earlier. He became a member of Manchester United’s board of directors in 1984.

England or Britain?

Posted by Ana Cuello under General

You have sometimes asked this question in class. I think most of you can see the difference now, but maybe you can understand it better if you click here.

King Arthur

Posted by Ana Cuello under People

King Arthur was a leader who, according to medieval stories and romances, led the defense of Britain against the Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.

His legend is really fascinating and I have always loved it! I am sure you have seen films or read about it, but if you want to have more information, you can click on the following links:

King Arthur  (elementary)

King Arthur  (intermediate)

The Union Jack

Posted by Ana Cuello under General

Union Jack is the popular name of the Union flag, which is the British flag. It incorporates the national symbols of three of the four countries which form the United Kingdom: St. George’s Cross, the flag of England; St. Andrew’s Cross, the flag of Scotland; and St. Patrick’s Cross, the flag of Ireland (Ireland became an independent country in 1922, but Northern Ireland has remained being a part of the United Kingdom). As Wales was not a Kingdom but a Principality, it could not be included on the flag.

The cross represented on each flag is named after the patron saint of each country.

You can read about the story of the flag if you click here.

Blue jeans

Posted by Ana Cuello under Language

The expression “blue jeans” comes from the French phrase “bleu de Gênes”, literally “the blue of Genoa”.

 During the Renaissance, denim trousers were made in Chieri, a town near Turin, Italy. Traditionally, they were dyed to a blue colour using natural indigo dye.

They were sold through the harbour of Genoa and they became very popular in the 16th century. They were especially worn by workers and sailors in the Genoese Navy, as they required pants that could be worn wet or dry, the legs of which could easily be rolled up.

Could you imagine people wore jeans so long ago?

Listen to Antonio Banderas

Posted by Ana Cuello under People

You may think English is difficult, but you can do quite well if you work and practice. Have a look a this video and you´ll listen to Antonio Banderas talking about the first time he had to speak English. Do you think he has improved since then?

Celebrating Easter

Posted by Ana Cuello under General

Easter is a time of springtime festivals. In Christian countries Easter is celebrated as a religious holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God. But the celebrations of Easter have many customs and legends that are pagan in origin and have nothing to do with Christianity.

Do you know Easter symbols and customs?

If you want to read more, click here.

A lesson on rhythm and intonation

Posted by Ana Cuello under Language

You know that I always tell you to speak and read slowly and give a proper intonation to your speech. Perhaps you would like to practice on your own, so why don´t you pay attention to this video?

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