Blog de Cristina

a new language means a new vision of life

Archive for November, 2008

Word of the Day: Dig

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under The English Language, Word of the Day
Dig - verb                                                                         
to make a hole in the ground
Example Sentences
Dig the holes for the posts in the backyard.
Could you dig that hole a little deeper?

Mobile phone: friend or enemy?

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Students' Corner
Sent by Mario Peláez Fdez
Everybody knows that mobile phones have changed our society, making our communication faster, but, has it become better? 
It’s true that we’ve modified our communication habits, because now we can talk with anyone, no matter where he/se is, but: Do we know the importance of communication? Or do we just do it becauseit’s a habit, a routine?                                                            
I don’t mean mobile phones are completely bad for us: They help us to keep in touch with our friends and to ask for help in case of danger, and they help other people to find us if there’s an emergency. 
But, on the other hand, some people are starting to substitute the face-to-face communication with the mobile phone communication. I mean, they’re trying to “mobilize” our communication. For example: teenager couples send each other, on average, more than fifteen text messages per day! Are we going crazy? It’s the same kind of communication that we should eliminate between friends. A boy or a girl comes from high school. He/She’s going to meet his/her friends half an hour later, but she’s texting all his/her friends to ask them if they have any interesting thing to tell him/her!
As I see it, we aren’t caring enough about how we relate to each other . We’re addicted to our mobile phones, because we think we can’t live without them 
If you don’t believe me, ask a teenager about what he/she prefers: a week without his/her mobile phone or a weekend without going out. I think most of the teenagers would say that they prefer the second option (I wouldn’t, but I think most of the teenagers would) 
However, there’s something that I consider a very important advantage about mobile phones: nowadays, most of the mobile phones have got a camera and a MP3 player on them. I think that it’s an advantage because it’s a way to keep your music with you at all times and to take photos wherever and whenever you want. 
So, if you ask me, I think that mobile phones are a great product, but we should be careful, because we mustn’t be mobile phone addicts
What is an idiom? An idiom is two or more words with a special meaning.
Idioms are difficult, because often you can’t find them in a dictionary. For example, “to have a blast” is an idiom. What does it mean? You probably know “have”, and you may know “blast” (which means “an explosion or a bomb”)… but what does the the phrase “to have a blast” mean?
Actually it means “to have a lot of fun; to enjoy a lot”
Example: I finally tried bungee jumping, and I had a blast.

Word of the Day: Evaporate

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under The English Language, Word of the Day
Today I am opening a new category called “Word of the Day”. I must thank Kenneth Beare from  who is the person behind this new section.
Evaporate - verb
Definition :
to change from a liquid into a gas
Example Sentences
The water evaporated in the hot summer sun.
How quickly does salt water evaporate?

Justo’s DIY Cathedral

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Students' Corner
Sent by Manuel Torga Rubio 
I remember when we were studying unit 2, we talked about Rock Gardens of Candigarh in India and the name of Justo Gallego , a man from Mejorada del Campo,sprang to mind. He is believed to be a madman.He was born in 1925 and wanted to be a priest but when he was at the monastery, he came down with a serious illness and he was made redundant. Afterwards, he promised his mother to build a cathedral, to the greater glory of his God. He sold family’s lands and began to build the cathedral without an architect’s university degree.Everybody in the village laughed at him but he had a” can do” attitude, an eye for detail and he was passionate about his new job, he was keen on doing his labour of love.
Anyway, he used bits of rubbish from the buildings sites, waste material, bricks, lumps of concrete, girders; he recycled anything he could find, he had his daily job satisfaction as a workaholic. When he finished his money, he started to receive money from his neighbours. For more than 40 years he has dedicated all his physical efforts to fulfilling that vow, canvassing local support, donations and eventually some people helped him doing voluntary work When his buildings started to become real then some people changed their mind about him. Actually, he was building a cathedral, similar to other cathedrals.
In the end, he represents the perseverance, the idea that all you wish for can happen, you must onlt work hard. I was there and I know that´s true….
Cheer up, Don Justo!!!

Want to read more about Justo and his cathedral?

Linking Words

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Music, The English Language
There are many differences between Spanish and English pronunciation. English is a time stressed language, as opposed to Spanish , which is a syllabic language.
This is important because we, as Spanish, try to give equal importance to each syllable but in English, only some words in a sentence are considered important and therefore pronounced with more emphasis (Content words) while others are quickly spoken (Function words) some would say ,swallowed.
Look at these two sentences. Although the first has 7 words and the second 12 , it should take you the same amount of time to read both sentences. Why? Because as English is a time stressed language there is always the same distance between two stressed words.
Peter said horrible things about your mother.
He left after dinner taking most of his books in his suitcase.

Another thing to take into consideration is Linking .Words , when they are pronounced in isolation do not sound the same as when pronounced in a sentence. Why? Because of this linking.
Linking occurs in English in these situations:
Consonant+ vowel : when a word ends with a consonant sound and the next one starts with a     vowel sound , we , very often , link them
  Ex: Liked it /laiktit/
         And I /∂nai/
Vowel+ Vowel : when one word ends with a vowel sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound, we link the words with a sort of W or Y sound.
To simplify :
♥ If our lips are round at the end of the first word, we insert a W sound:
   Ex: do it /du:wit/
♥ If our lips are wide at the end of the first word, we insert a Y sound:
   Ex: Ray is /reiyiz/
And then we have the Linking “r” for example, the “r” in “here” would not be pronounced in “Here they are ” (because it is followed by a consonant), but it would be pronounced in “Here I am”. Likewise, the “r” at the end of “far” would only be pronounced if the next word begins with a vowel, as in “far away” /fa:r∂wei/ or” far off”. /fa:rof/

Listen to these sentences and repeat after them paying attention to the linkings.
Not at all
Isn’t it a pity Ian’s wearing odd socks?
Was ever a bride so pretty?
Here is a song to practise linking. Pay special attention to the chorus where linkings are much more noticeable. If you want to to an exercise with this song click here.

A Pirate Cake

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Cooking

I sometimes wonder when my passion for cooking started and I cannot truly say but it cannot be a very long time ago as I remember when I left home to go to university I didn’t even know how to fry an egg (well, maybe I knew how to fry an egg but certainly not how to cook rice) and then when I got married and didn’t have children I cooked rice on Monday and then I spent the whole week eating it (my husband wasn’t eating at home, lucky him !I should say and he might think). My husband was so encouraging that if you ask my friends about the early stages of my cooking they will surely  tell  you about a cheese cake I took to a dinner party. When they tried to eat the cake it was so uneatable they didn’t know what to do . I had just  realized they were all chewing very slowly when my husband said. “Well, this is very nice , indeed !” And all of them burst out laughing. This is something they keep reminding me every now and then.

Anyway, this is the birthday cake I did for my son’s birthday. I hope it gives you an idea if you have a kid’s birthday coming soon. You only need a bit of imagination and a lot of love.
This is how I did it. I bought a round three-layer cake at the supermarket  and cut it down at the center. I glued the layers together with some sort of chocolate mousse and cut the bottom of these layers to make it sit level (you don’t want it rocking while you are decorating it). Finally , I covered with chocolate icing and the rest is up to your vivid imagination.

Converting text into speech

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Resources
Type any word and choose either a male or female voice. The choice is all yours!!

  • Facetious and abstemious are the only words that contain all the vowels in the correct order.
  • Adcomsubordcomphibspac” is the longest acronym. It is a Navy term standing for Administrative Command, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet Subordinate Command.
  • Almost” is the longest commonly used word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.
  • “Canada” is an Indian word meaning “Big Village”.            
  • “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.
  • “Asthma” and “isthmi” are the only six-letter words that begin and end with a vowel and have no other vowels between.
  • “Fortnight” is a contraction of “fourteen nights.” In the US “two weeks” is more commonly used.
  • “Ma is as selfless as I am” can be read the same way backwards. If you take away all the spaces you can see that all the letters can be spelled out both ways.
  • “Ough” can be pronounced in eight different ways. The following sentence contains them all: “A rough-coated, dough-faced ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing thoughtfully.
                                                                                                                                    Adapted from

Obama’s Victory Speech

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening
Barack  Obama  is President-elect of the United States of America.He is expected to take office as the forty-fourth President of the United States  on January 20, 2009.  Obama is the first non-white politician to be elected President of the United States, the first African-American to sit in the Oval Office . I only hope he doesn’t like wars as much as Bush.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference. Read the rest of this entry »

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