Blog de Cristina

a new language means a new vision of life

Archive for the ‘Funny Stuff’ Category

How many bricks..?

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff

Fancy a riddle??  

How many bricks does it take to complete a building made of brick?

Related Links:
A puzzle to rack your brains
What on earth is a palindrome?
Beauty is a product of Photoshop
About books
Some interesting or , at least, unusual facts about the English Language

Only one.

the last one. :)

Understanding “some” Spanish

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Listening, Resources
What I’m about to show you is a good example of why English, after all, should not be considered such a difficult language to understand, especially if you compare it to understanding some Spanish native speakers.
Have fun!!!


No kidding now!!If you need to improve your listening skills, why don’t you visit this site? You won’t find any comprehension questions after the audio but you might consider it interesting and useful. The site  belongs to the New York Times and it’s a collection of stories of people from New York. Click on the image and it will lead you straight to their homepage.
Related links:
Some help with the speaking test.. or not?
The Italian Man who went to Malta
Bush Bloopers
Crisis Subprime- The last laugh
Hey! Hold on a sec… this is not what you think it is  but just the opposite . 
As the writing test is nearing some of you are probably beginning to wonder whether you’ll have time to finish your novel  or whether it might be necessary to find help somewhere else. In case you are considering the infinite possibilities the Internet offers , watch this video… I’ve watched it too.   ;-)
Related entries:
A book Review

The IT Crowd

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Listening
The IT Crowd is a British popular cult sitcom . The comedy takes a surreal look at the ‘underclass’ of a company - the Information Technology department set in the computer department of Reynholm Industries. The staff are IT geeks Roy and Moss, and Jen.
MOSS  lives with his mum, who also dresses him, styles his hair and buys his clothes.He’s highly intelligent, scared of spiders and has the social skills of a serial killer. The closest he’s got to a woman is Lara Croft. (in the picture the one with the laptop)
ROY is the smiling face of the I.T. Department, Roy’s spiky personality ensures he’ll always be kept away from normal people as long as possible.He’s king of the basement, indulging his love of comic books, fast food, computer games and random arguments with his best friend, Moss. (in the picture the one reading the magazine)
JEN knows nothing about IT, she only got the job because she said she had extensive experience of computers like using mices, clicking, double-clicking, and that thing that goes on the floor… the er hard-drive?As well as being their line manager, Jen is Roy and Moss’ agony aunt, relationship coach and guru about life outside the basement. Not that her life is going particularly well, it’s just better than theirs.
Now, what comes next is homework . There are two videos and this is what you have to do:
VIDEO A. Watch the video three times  B. Answer the questions  C. Send them to me  before April 14th.
1. What two reasons does Moss give Roy to prevent him from using the toilet?
2. The first time the manager asks Roy what happened, what does he answer?
3. What does he say happened to his wheelchair?
4. Does the wheelchair they finally bring belong to Roy? Answer giving details

Talking to Jen:
1. Who does he say stole his wheelchair?
2. How has he become disabled?
3.What does he order?
Talking to Lorna:
4. What does Lorna find so difficult about Roy?
Related entries:
The listening test is knocking on your door
Monty Python: silly job interview
Roald Dahl
David Beckham

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 !!!

¿ Du yu espic inglish ?

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, The English Language

Esto es la carta que escribió una señora al programa de Luis del Olmo para que la leyeran en directo:

Desde que las insignias se llaman pins, los maricones gays, las comidas frías lunchs, y los repartos de cine castings, este país no es el mismo: ahora es mucho, muchísimo más moderno.
Antaño los niños leían tebeos en vez de comics, los estudiantes pegaban posters creyendo que eran carteles, los empresarios hacían negocios en vez de business, y los obreros, tan ordinarios ellos, sacaban la fiambrera al mediodía en vez del tupper-ware.
Yo, en el colegio, hice aeróbic muchas veces, pero, tonta de mi, creía que hacía gimnasia. Nadie es realmente moderno si no dice cada día cien palabras en inglés. Las cosas, en otro idioma, nos suenan mucho mejor.
Evidentemente, no es lo mismo decir bacon que panceta, aunque tengan la misma grasa, ni vestíbulo que hall, ni inconveniente que handicap… Desde ese punto de vista, los españoles somos modernísimos.
Ya no decimos bizcocho, sino plum-cake, ni tenemos sentimientos, sino feelings. Sacamos tickets, compramos compacts, comemos sandwiches, vamos al pub, practicamos el rappel y el raffting; en lugar de acampar, hacemos camping y, cuando vienen los fríos, nos limpiamos los mocos con kleenex.
Esos cambios de lenguaje han influido en nuestras costumbres y han mejorado mucho nuestro aspecto. Las mujeres no usan medias, sino pantys y los hombres no utilizan calzoncillos, sino slips, y después de afeitarse se echan after shave, que deja la cara mucho más fresca que el masaje.
El español moderno ya no corre, porque correr es de cobardes, pero hace footing; no estudia, pero hace masters y nunca consigue aparcar pero siempre encuentra un parking. El mercado ahora es el marketing; el autoservicio, el self-service; el escalafón, el ranking y el representante, el manager.
Los importantes son vips, los auriculares walkman, los puestos de venta stands, los ejecutivos yuppies; las niñeras baby-sitters, y hasta nannies, cuando el hablante moderno es, además, un pijo irredento.
En la oficina, el jefe está siempre en meetings o brain storms ¡casi siempre con la public-relations!, mientras la assistant envía mailings y organiza trainings; luego se irá al gimnasio a hacer gim-jazz, y se encontrará con todas las de la jet, que vienen de hacerse liftings, y con alguna top-model amante del yogurt light y el body-fitness.
El arcaico aperitivo ha dado paso a los cocktails, donde se jartan a bitter y a roast-beef que, aunque parezca lo mismo, engorda mucho menos que la carne.Ustedes, sin ir más lejos trabajan en un magazine, no en un programa. En la tele, cuando el presentador dice varias veces la palabra O.K. y baila como un trompo por el escenario la cosa se llama show, bien distinto,como saben ustedes, del anticuado espectáculo; si el show es heavy es que contiene carnaza y si es reality parece el difunto diario “El Caso”, pero en moderno. Entre medias, por supuesto, ya no ponen anuncios, sino spots que, aparte de ser mejores, te permiten hacer zapping.

Estas cosas enriquecen mucho. Para ser ricos del todo, y quitarnos el complejo tercermundista que tuvimos en otros tiempos, sólo nos queda decir con acento americano la única palabra que el español ha exportado al mundo: la palabra “SIESTA.”
Espero que os haya gustado… yo antes de leerlo no sabía si tenía stress o es que estaba hasta los cojones”.
Comment:In English you never go footing or puenting , you go jogging or bungee jumping
by Nancy Heiges an ESOL Instructor
There’s an old joke about a missionary’s wife. She and her husband recently arrived at their new church in a South American country. The congregation held a dinner to welcome them, and the local pastor invited them to speak. The wife was reluctant because her Spanish was rudimentary, but after much encouragement, she went up to the podium and began apologetically, “Estoy muy embarazada, y él” - she indicated the local pastor - “tiene la culpa.” Instead of friendly laughter, she was met with stunned silence because, of course, what the congregation understood was, “I am very pregnant, and it’s his fault.”

“Embarrassed” and “embarazada” are examples of ‘false friends’ between Spanish and English: words that look or sound like they should mean the same thing in both languages but really don’t. As a student of Spanish and teacher of English, I’ve run across a few ‘false friends’ which have caused some pretty amusing mistakes. The following examples are real cases of confusion I’ve had with students and friends. The definitions of the Spanish words represent the particular usage I learned in each case.
1. Spanish “molestar” (to bother or annoy) and English “molest.” Imagine my shock when a student told me, “I no finish my homework because my brother molest me.”
2. Spanish “constipado” (congested) and English “constipated.” My Spanish friend was really confused when I urged him to eat prunes for a stuffy nose.
3. Spanish “coraje” (anger) and English “cour-age.” My class looked worried when I bragged I had “coraje” after I killed a spider.
4. Spanish “Tengo frío” (I’m cold) and English “I have a cold.” I told some students I’d missed class the other day because “tuve frío” and they looked at me like, “You big baby, it’s 65 degrees.”
5. Spanish “papa” (potato) and English “Papa.” I thought my Mexican friend was bringing her father over for dinner, so I was puzzled, but nonetheless pleased, when she gave me a dish of mashed potatoes instead.
6. Spanish “sopa” (soup) and English “soap.” I still make the mistake of asking the Hispanic children I work with to please wash their hands with soup.
7. Spanish “sensible” (sensitive) and English “sensible.” My class watched a movie together and several of us were quite misty-eyed by the end of it. I was really pleased when one of the Hispanic students praised us for being “sensible.”
8. Spanish “carrera” (major subject in school) and English “career.” When my 18-year-old Colombian student told me about his career in business, I was amazed that he’d gotten such an early start.
Fortunately for language students, Spanish and English are very friendly languages; most words that sound the same do have similar meanings. ‘False friends’ like these are exceptions, and it comes in handy to know them.

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

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.

eBlog | Login
Subscribe to Blog de Cristina