Blog de Cristina

a new language means a new vision of life

Archive for December, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Listening, Music
It is the time of the year when you start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.
But what is a New Year’s Resolution ? It is our determination to accomplish something over the next year such as enjoy life more, quit smoking, lose weight, do exercise.

I always try and think of some New Year’s Resolutions to accomplish next year but ,let’s face it , I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the number of times I have broken them and then I think why bother? Do you know anyone who keeps their New Year’s resolutions? Or even remembers them after January 15? I sure don’t.
Anyway, this is how you can express your Resolutions , being number 1 the weakest and 10 the strongest. So, depending on how  willing you are to keep your promise , use one or the other.
Ten expressions to use in speaking and writing
1. I guess I’d better stop overspending..
2. I suppose I really ought to go to the gym
3. I really should diet, but then again…
4. There’s nothing for it. I’ll have to do it
5. I promise I’ll try harder to arrive early
6. I have every intention of passing the test
7. Never again will you catch me snoring..
8. Nothing is going to stop me finishing..
9. No matter what happens, I’m going to win..
10. Come hell or high water, I’ll pay it back
Now , you are going to listen to a funny song about resolutions .This is what you can do:

1. Before you listen .Predict some of the promises you might hear
2. Then, write down at least three of the ones you hear
3. Check here

Resources: Fancy doing a dictation?

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Resources
I want to show you this wonderful site to practise listening and spelling
How does it work?
1. Go to
2. Register: Don’t worry. It is free
3. Choose your level. I would say for advanced learners , start with level 14
4. And then it is fairly simple. .You just listen to parts of a sentence and then have to type in the words of the sentence to a text field which only allows the words if they are correct. You are able to listen over and over again and also get some help by setting the activity to auto complete the words as you type them in .

Hope you enjoy it !Laughing

Guessing Historical figures

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Students' Corner
1. You are going to read about a historical figure or/and listen to someone reading about him/her. To    listen, click on the icon.

2. Guess who this person might be and then click to see the answer
3. You are to post a comment writing about a historical figure that you like/dislike. I’ll correct it and post your comment for everybody to guess. I don’t have to guess, so please send me the answer to your post.


He was the leader of the National Socialist party in Germany and, subsequently, Chancellor. He was known by the title of Der Fürer. He wrote a book entitled Mein Kampf. He was an admirer of the composer Richard Wagner. He dreamed of forming an Aryan race. He committed suicide in 1945 when he realised that he had been defeated in World War Two. Can you guess who that was?

He was a lawyer, born in Gujarat in India. He became the leader of the Indian Nationalist movement against the British rule. He worked for over 20 years in South Africa, fighting the cause of Indians there. He said that nonviolence was the most powerful weapon in the hands of mankind. He believed in pacifism, nonviolent protest, religious tolerance and the right to life. He was assassinated at the age of seventy-nine, a year after India gained her independence from Britain. So, any guesses?

Now it is your turn….
Read all the comments to this post and write down your guess for each description. Then , click here to see the answers.

Talk to Santa

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff
As Christmas is fast approaching I have thought this seasonal site would be a good stimulus for you not to forget your English this holidays.
You are going to use theThis is Santa website to have a text chat with Santa. You’ll have to be very careful about your spelling and punctuation though as Santa can only understand grammatically correct sentences.
I hope you enjoy this activity. Merry Christmas!!
I think we all feel very much the same about oral tests, they are really stressful. I m not that old to have forgotten the ones I did while training to become a teacher  facing ,more often than not, a three member board of unsympathetic professors jumping at their chance to make you feel utterly miserable.They were my personal crossing of the Rubicon or, at least, this is how they are stored in my memory.
Having said that much, you all have to see the necessity of these tests or rather you don’t , but this is, I am afraid, not open to discussion.

What I wanted to show you is that everybody gets nervous when they have to answer a question in public; moreover, if they cannot use their native language, which would be your case , But.. Miss South Carolina is American, isn’t she?
Well, she did what some students do when they are not very confident. She learnt ,by heart ,an answer she thought might suit every possible question and so, when asked one that didn’t quite fit in with this answer she struggled to make it fit. Unfortunately , ….
The only two coherent utterances are:

1. The judge’s question : Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?
2. Miss south Carolina’s final sentence: …so we’ll be able to build up our future for our children.
Fancy watching it?

And now the hilarious explanation Jimmy Kimmel gives analysing her words on a blackboard.

Improving your writing skills

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under The English Language
You know that I have been for some time now trying to improveLaughing your written work making you aware of the fact that you always tend to use the same simplistic words when you write ,even though we both know that you have a wider range of vocabulary. So why not use it?
Look at this text and try to replace the verbs “say” and “look” with some others.
Click here when you finish to see my suggestions.
Watch out” ! I said at the top of my voice; but it was already too late. Jim and I both stood there looking at the cyclist flying off his bike and hitting the enormous hole  in the road. “Is he hurt?” Jim said quietly, trembling with fear. “I don’t know” I said softly. At that moment the young man slowly lifted his head and looked at us in confusion. “What happened?” he said, in pain. “Where am I?”
Here’s another one. This time replace the words underlined to make it more interesting to the reader. Click here when you finish to see my suggestions.
It was a nice sunny morning when we set off on our journey. The sky looked very blue with only a few small clouds on the distant horizon. The ship we travelled on was big and had good cabins. We must have been halfway there when I was roused from my nap by a bad scream. It took me a while to come to my senses, but then I saw a small woman in front of me, looking very scared.
And now an entertaining task online that shows you how you can develop a simple sentence like ‘I made tea.’ into a detailed text.  Go to the website: You will see the sentence with shaded words, click ing on a shaded you’ll see that part of the sentence expand. Read the new sentence and then choose another part to click on
Homework: Create your own detailed sentences from one of these:
- I went to the beach.
- I saw a film
Once you have finished your sentence you can post it in the comments below and I’ll publish it.


Alive and Kicking…

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under General
… and ready to see you on Monday, although I very much doubt you would like to see me with the same level of enthusiasm  considering all the exams I am about to give you.


This is my plan:
Monday: Listening and Reading
Wednesday: Writing and Speaking
Thursday: Speaking
Anyway,I am aware that some of you might have problems to fit in on one of these days but I am in the right mood to be flexible, so do not worry; we will work something out within this same  week. You see, I need to have your marks in SAUCE before Christmas.

Down with the flu

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under General

Dearest students.

The flu has got me. I won’t be able to see you till Monday when hopefully you will be taking the Listening and Reading test. Visit this blog  on Sunday again and I’ll let you know how I am feeling.

Meanwhile, have a look at this video to celebrate Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the UDHR.

Stand up with people all over the world who want to make human rights a reality for everyone!

Word of the day: Fuck you

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under The English Language, Word of the Day
It is my firm belief that you can never learn too much. But if you feel this is too much or if you are under 18 , stop reading right now. 
Perhaps one of the most interesting and colourful words in the English language today is the word FUCK. It is the one magical word which, just by its sound, can describe pain, pleasure,love and hate. In language “fuck” falls into many grammatical categories.It can be used as a verb , both transitive and intransitive (I’m not going to give you an example , in case my mother ever reads this), as an adverb ( Mary is fucking interested in John), and as a noun ( also ,and for the same reason above I am not going to give you an example) and as an adjective ( Mary is fucking beautiful). As you can see, there are very few words with the versatility of “fuck”.
Beside its sexual connotations , this incredible word can be used to describe many situations:
  • Greetings               How the fuck are you?
  • Fraud                      I got fucked by the car dealer
  • Dismay                   Oh, fuck it
  • Trouble                  Well, I guess I’m fucked now
  • Aggression            Fuck you!
  • Disgust                   Fuck me
  • Confusion              What the fuck…?
  • Difficulty                I don’t understand this fucking business
  • Despair                  Fucked again
  • Incompetence     He fucks up everything
  • Displeasure          What the fuck is going on here?
  • Disbelief                Unfuckingbelievable
  • It can be used in an anatomical description - He is a fucking asshole
  • It can be maternal - as in motherfucker
  • It can be used to tell the time- it’s five fucking thirty
  • It can be used in business- How did I wind up with this fucking job?
  • It can be political - Fuck George Bush
And never forget General Custer’s last words: “Where did all these fucking Indians come from?”
And the famous last words of the Major of Hiroshima:”What the fuck was that?”
And last but not least , the Captain of the Titanic: “Where is all this fucking water coming from?”
How can anyone be offended when you say FUCK? Use it frequently in your daily speech; it will add to your prestige.
Today , say to someone- “FUCK YOU”

James Morrison: Songs for you, truths for me

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Music
Now that exams are heavily knocking on your doors   and you may be thinking that you cannot take anymore ,I don’t feel like teaching you another Word of the Day that would  probably be the straw that breaks  the camel’s back. So , I have thought about you enjoying some “quantum of solace”.
Probably one of the best albums so far this year. I have fallen in love with his music, full of soulful blues that seem to come straight from the heart. The album is full of beautiful songs worth listening to.
“Broken strings” is probably my favourite . Lyrics here
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