Blog de Cristina

a new language means a new vision of life

Archive for March, 2009

Word of the Day: Ditto

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under The English Language, Word of the Day
I bumped into this word  and my first thought was: Gosh!! I have so many things to learn. So, here it is. I wouldn’t dare not sharing it with you.
“Ditto”, what a strange word to be used in English!. In fact, you can use so many other expressions with the same meaning as Ditto , that that must have been the reason why I’ve never felt the need to use it.
But let’s not ramble and get to the point, the point being the meaning of this word .
You use it ,informally, to agree with what someone has just said.
A: What a nice teacher!  B: Ditto
Or as stated in the cartoon to avoid repetition.
It is said that the English language has more words than any other language in the world and it seems it might be true .According to the editors of the Oxford Dictionary there are at the very least, a quarter of a million distinct English words, excluding inflections, and words from technical and regional vocabulary , but have you ever wondered how a word gets into a dictionary?
The British do not have a Real Academia de la Lengua to be proud of , so how do they choose the words they need to include in a dictionary? The answer is simple: people need to use it. Basically editors watch the word for several years to see how it is used in both spoken and written English. They check to see that the word is used to express an idea clearly, and that the idea is understood. Then when the word is seen in writing and speech regularly, it can go in the dictionary.
That was the way for new words such as “pescatarian” ( a person who eats fish but not meat) or “infinity pool” to refer to a type of swimming pool with an edge that makes the water appear to flow into the horizon.
The English language is constantly growing, developing and changing. Nowhere is this more true than on the Internet. There are new words phrases and acronyms being invented all of the time. Many of these disappear very quickly, but other stay and become part of the language, so it can be really useful to know some of them.
Have you ever tried reading the posts on My Space and had such a hard time understanding it that you had to stop after only a few sentences? Not anymore, just go to this site and copy and paste  what  you cannot understand into No and they’ll tell you what the heck they’re talking about.

Now, things such as f@ or n1 won’t be a mystery to you anymore.

The Italian Man who went to Malta

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Listening
The written version of this hilarious sketch has been in my power for years , as many as 15 probably. With the speaking exam at your doorstep I thought it was a good opportunity to show you what you must not do if you want to pass this test with flying colours.
Have fun and study hard !!!

The listening test is knocking on your door.

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening
Do you feel you need further practice for your listening test, why don’t you try this site? What you’ll find is an interview with a teacher nearing retirement age with all the wisdom and experience gathered in all these years of teaching people. Very interesting from my point of view .
Related links:

Do you need to write a CV?

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Resources
If you need a resume, why don’t you check this site?

I have tried it and it is fun and very visual. You only need to register but don’t worry, it’s free.
Go to
Related Links:

Food for Thought

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under General, Listening
I have just received this email from a colleague and I have felt the urge to share it with you although you have probably seen it or heard about it. It has certainly made a deep impression on me… suffice to say that I couldn’t help crying. I am not ashamed of it but I would be  if it hadn’t stirred me in some way or other.
We live in the First World surrounded by luxury and superfluous things. We only care about our present even though we are  all well aware of the consequences of all our excesses but we feel no remorse by thinking that all these hot issues should be discussed and dealt with somewhere else and by politicians . We always think we can do nothing and we keep on living , putting the blame on others when we see wars, famine and  destruction  and then , we listen to this 13-year-old girl and realize that we could do something only if we wanted to.  Watch the 7:53 minutes ; it is worth it.
I want a world for my children and for my grandchildren but also for my great-great…and all the generations to come. Don’t you want the same?

Memories to Share

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Music
Good memories , bad memories but memories anyway.

Only this week I asked my students to reminisce about the past and ,because we are on the lucky side of the world, all their memories were great. Most of them remembered their childhood with nostalgia , which is a good thing to do.
They remembered and talked about memories they will always cherish : about fighting with siblings, wonderful holidays when the family used to stick together, inventing tall stories to tell your parents so as not to be grounded, giggling with your classmates after mocking the teacher… you have given me lots of material to bribe you with.
We  all have memories that are  persistent throughout most of our life. Sharing them provides others a precious window to who we are.

Now, I have found and done with my students this song by James Morrison , food for thought I should say, which both fits the grammar we have been studying to refer to the past, namely : “would” and “used to” and also the topic “Memories”.
I hope you enjoy it!. If you want to see the Lesson Plan , click here
Have you got any memories to share?  So, come on , send them

Tracy Chapman : The promise

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Music
Why is that that some songs stay forever and some others slip away.It is just the same with all the people you have loved. Sad  beautiful song filled with hope for the future.

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