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¿Quieres mejorara tu inglés antes de tu próximo gran paso?,
¿Te has dado cuenta de lo que saber inglés te puede aportar tanto a nivel profesional como personal, pero no tienes tiempo o la determinación necesaria para hacerlo? ¿te apetece hacerlo de una forma divertida y rápida? ¡Este es tu blog!
La idea es aprender inglés a través de series, películas, vídeos, charlas, canciones y pequeños documentos teóricos que a mí me han ayudado a aclarar dudas comunes. Sin más, espero que os sea de ayude y disfrutéis. Un saludo!

Si tenéis alguna duda, sugerencia,...y queréis poneros en contacto podéis mandarnos un mail a

viernes, 14 de diciembre de 2012

What are you up to this weekend?

This is a very light post. But you know, it´s one of those things: too long for "La frase del día", too short for a post, so we had to choose. Happy Friday everyone!


Present simple form. What are you up to?
Informal way of asking "What are you doing?, be it right now or in a more general way.

1 Right now:
- (Your boss) What are you up to?
- (You) I´m just finishing this report.

2. General inquiry
- What are you up to this summer/ tonight? (¿Que vas a hacer/ que planes tienes para este verano/ esta noche?)

Present Perfect form. What have you been up to?
(¿Que has hecho/ a que te has dedicado ultimamente?)

- What have you been up to this summer? (¿Que has hecho este verano?)
- (You bump into a friend that you haven´t seen in a while) So, tell me, how are you?, what have you been up to lately?

martes, 4 de diciembre de 2012

Reduplicatives, reduplicatives, reduplicatives.

Reduplicatives, sometimes called "echo words," or "echo phrases" are formulations such as hobnob, pell-mell, herky-jerky, hoity-toity, itsy-bitsy, niminy-piminy.  

Reduplicatives never travel alone. Actually, they always come in pairs and may sound rather silly. They are formed through reduplication of words, when you repeat a word to form a new one, or slightly change the vowel or consonant. These are inventive and musical words and there are hundreds of them in English.

There are three basic types of reduplicatives:

- some repeat the word exactly,
- some use rhyme for formation,
- and others, use vowel or consonant shift to come up with the other half of the pair. 

The majority of them are two-syllable words, although there are some with three syllables.

This type of word formation seems to come naturally to us. Some like hurly-burly are quite old (Shakespeare was responsible for it) and others are quite recent additions like chick-flick, a film genre geared towards (dirigido a) women.

-  Rhyming reduplicatives: hodge-podge, willy-nilly, helter-skelter, kowtow, harum-scarum, jeepers-creepers, okey-dokey, heebie-jeebie, gang-bang, hocus-pocus

- Vowel change reduplicatives: words that are formed by ablaut or vowel shift, such as ping-pong, shilly-shally, zig-zag, bibble-babble, pitter-patter, splish-splash, flim-flam. 

- There are also some lovely oddities that resist classification: dipsy-doodle, topsy-turvey, hunky-dory, tilly-valley, and, at the outer limit, hullabaloo.

Reduplicatives are not exactly easy to remember, so there´s really no point on me making a list here. I´ll give you a few of them in this post, the easiest ones so you remember them and I will be giving you more along the way in "La frase del día" section. As they say, one day at a time.

- hush-hush - confidential
- airy-fairy - nrealistic; light and delicate
- helter-skelter - adv. atropelladamente /noun tobogán
- easy-peasy – very easy
- fuddy-duddy – conservative or dull person
- chop, chop: hurry up!
- hocus-pocus – trickery; a magician’s incantation
- okey-dokey – OK
- super-duper – very pleasing
- chit-chat – gossipy talk
- riff-raff – rabble; people who are worthless
- mish-mash – a confused mixture
- flip-flop – this has several meanings, including a backward somersaut and a sandal with a piece between the toes.

miércoles, 3 de octubre de 2012

Spanish or English... which one is most expressive?"

They always say Spanish is a very rich language and it is. But so it´s English! You can´t really say which one more expressive. It´s just a different approach.
What I found is that the English language is practical, descriptive and concise. They don´t say: I´ll send you an email but I'll email you. They don´t send you a text (they text you), they don´t look up something in Google (they Google something). In English, less is more. With less words they say more.
Spanish is more vague and discursive, more flexible. We use more words to say what we want, some of them, very often adding little or none sense at all. We also say things like: pass me that, that is there, without saying what or where we´re talking about and what´s more! Our recipient understands us. Because Spanish is like that. We are laid-back and so is our language and that the way you are able to say whatever you want to say, just need to make small changes with the ending of the words or just make one up for the occasion et voilá! And yes, you´ll be understood.
English people, they are more practical and concise, and that´s why Spanish speakers miss their language in certain situation. Some times what you want to say is not expressed in the same way in English, and especially at the beginning it´s difficult because you feel like you are not saying exactly what you mean.
I, as a Spanish speaker, find gaps in the English language to express certain things. Things I want to express in English and I can´t do it, because they don´t have the words to express it exactly. For example when somebody is a pain and is making you ,nervous, we say: ¡qué pesado!. And your whole mouth is filled with relief. Well, in English you can say somebody is a nuisance or a pain but...,sorry not enough!
Also when somebody wants to say somebody is un poco borde. You can say he´s mean or impolite but that´s not it! I mean it´s not that bad. You can say he´s not friendly but, come on! That sounds cheesy! And it´s in moments like these when you realize, they are different languages, that represent a different mentality and culture. And that´s when you realize that, even though there are a lot of what I call real friends between Spanish and English, you can´t translate from Spanish when talking in English. You have to actually think in English. And that it´s something that can only be accomplish by going abroad, living in English, and THINKING in English.
My advice: try this, think in English when talking to yourself, when thinking about what you have to do, when you get home or what you have to say to that person,...If you are living abroad it´s more probable that this is happening already. It may be weird at the beginning but I assure you, it helps a lot! 
It´s important to learn to speak in English like an English person does. That´s why they always say you can´t translate because yes, probably 50% of the times, you´ll be understood but the aim is to achieve the best English command you can.
Also the sense of humour is different. While English humour is black, sharp, corrosive, smart, elegant. Some times you won´t realise you´ve been dropped a hint until you get home and go over the conversation again. Spanish humour, it depends of course of the part of Spain,but usually funnier, warmer, complacent.
But not all is different! Somethings in which Spanish and English are alike, and I really like that, are idioms. We both have them. Many of them are exactly the same:
There are plenty of fish in the sea.
Some are different in form but the bottom is the same:
When in Rome, do as the Romans: Donde fueres haz lo que vieres.
And some are different and genuine: The elephant in the room.

viernes, 10 de agosto de 2012

The dogs days are over.

Well, as it happens dogs break up too.

Watch this funny short movie. There are some expressions that might be helpful (we hope not!)

Happy Friday everyone!

- Just as tough for me as it is for you: es tan duro para mí, como lo es para ti.

- Just about all you can do: Eso es todo lo que puedes hacer.

- I was dumb enough to: fui lo suficientemente tonto.

- To have respect for someone: respetar/ mostrar respeto por alguien.

- Sacrifice (12 years) for someone.

- Thank someone for something

- Fall for something: Caer en algo, dejarse engañar.

- Stick up for someone: Dar la cara por alguien.

- Dump someone for someone else.

miércoles, 6 de junio de 2012

Dear me, a letter to my pre-expat self.

If you could send a letter to your younger self, what words of guidance, comfort, advice or other message would you put in it?

A few days ago I read this article about a book gathering fiction letters written by famous people to their 16-years-old selves telling them what they consider they should know, trying of course not to spoil the forthcoming surprises.

Dear pre-expat me,

first of all, stop packing all your "ifs and buts" in your luggage. England is not the Kalahari desert, you can find everything you need in here, sometimes even cheaper. So stop panicking about what you can fit in the suitcase or it won´t make it trough the airport!

Don´t make a big fuss about that goodbye moment, it´s totally a "see you later". It´s not like we are in the 50´s anymore. Ryanair is there for you anytime and we both now you´ll need to pop in Spain at least once every three months or so to cope with the "English Experience". Let´s say it won´t be a rose garden.

Also you will find plenty of Spanish people in your same situation. I don´t get that "Lost Generation" tag, we are literally everywhere! 
So you´ll be able to share with them your worries over a pint. Just take care with the quantities! Two of them is already a litre! And NO, you can´t eat to help the process, not even a mere packet of crisps. I mean, yes you can, but you won´t see any English person doing it as according to them "Eating is cheating". 
And yes, they drink a lot. What you used to see at the Costa del Sol or Benidorm, they weren´t English people in their "holiday mood", it was just English people. Just make sure you don´t get too British on that.

So yes, some Spanish people is recommended to easy the process but just remember why you are here, and the opportunity you have to meet plenty of new people and cultures you would have never met in Spain. You would have never thought the amount of different cultures and communities coexisting in U.K. 

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward. So make sure you keep your family and friends close and connected to you but also keep your mind open to everything that is new just in front of you. Opportunities are to be taken.
Keep in mind that this is temporal and can be ended whenever you want so just enjoy it while it last, be it 6 months, a year or ten.

Don´t get stressed with the prices, they are very similar to the Spanish prices if you pay in pounds. Just work in getting a job as soon possible. England is not Spain but still, getting a job takes time. Don´t try to do it all at once, I will recommend: house, and then job or language school, depending on your needs and aims.

Be patient about the job, before and during it.

At the beginning you´ll feel lost and will miss a lot but I assure you, you´ll love the experience and will learn a lot from it. Thanks to it, you´ll become somewhat closer to the person you want to be. They say distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.
And you won´t be alone, you´ll find good fellows and friends on the way, some of them will be in your life for good.

Good luck!

martes, 29 de mayo de 2012


"You shall know a word by the company it keeps." 
J.R. Firth (1890-1960)

What is a collocation?
Collocations are common word combinations, words that often go together that just sound "right" to native English speakers, who use them all the time, such as bright idea, talk freely.

Why learn collocations?
(It´s all advantages!)
- You will be more natural and easily understood. 
- You will have alternative and richer ways of expressing yourself.
- You will express yourself as a native speaker and that´s the whole point, right?
- It is easier for our brains to remember and use language in chunks or blocks rather than as single words.
- if you are getting yourself ready for an English exam, collocations might make the difference between passing ot or not.

How to learn collocations.
- Be aware of collocations, and try to recognize them when you see or hear them.
- Treat collocations as single blocks of language. Think of them as individual blocks or chunks, and learn strongly support, not strongly + support.
- When you learn a new word, write down other words that collocate with it (remember rightly, remember distinctly, remember vaguely, remember vividly).
- Read as much as possible. Reading is an excellent way to learn vocabulary and collocations in context and naturally.
- Revise what you learn regularly. Practise using new collocations in context as soon as possible after learning them.
- Learn collocations in groups that work for you. You could learn them by topic (time, number, weather, money, family) or by a particular word (take action, take a chance, take an exam).
- You can find information on collocations in any good learner's dictionary. And you can also find specialized dictionaries of collocations.

Strong and weak collocations.
If we look deeper into collocations, we find that not only do the words "go together" but there is a degree of predictability in their association. Generally, in any collocation, one word will "call up" another word in the mind of a native speaker. In other words, if I give you one word, you can predict the other word, with varying degrees of success. This predictability is not 100%, but it is always much higher than with non-collocates. It depends on how frequent/infrequent the colllocation is.

- The predictability may be strong for example  with "auspicious" as it collocates with very few words:

auspicious occasion.
auspicious moment.
auspicious event.

- But the predictability may be weak with for example, "circuit" as it collocates with more than 20 words:

circuit collocates. 
racing circuit .
lecture circuit.
closed circuit.
integrated circuit.
printed circuit.
circuit breaker.
circuit training.
circuit judge.

Types of collocations.
They can be “grammatical collocations” or “lexical collocations”:
-  A “grammatical collocation” contains a noun/verb/ adjective plus a preposition or a particular form of the verb (-ing or infinitive).

Verb + Preposition: depend on (NOT depend of)
Adjective + Preposition: afraid of (NOT afraid at)
Noun + Particular form of verb: strength to lift it (not strength lifting it)

- In a “lexical collocations” a verb, noun, adjective or adverb forms a predictable connection with another word, as in:

Adverb + Adjective: completely satisfied (NOT downright satisfied.)
Adjective + Noun: excruciating pain (NOT excruciating joy.)
Noun + Verb: lions roar (NOT lions shout.)

These are some of the most common types:
- Adjective +preposition: keen on sports, fond of music, hungry for knowledge, angry at the children.
- Adjective+to infinitive: it´s nice to be here, it´s necessary to work on that issue.
- Adjective +that clause: They were afraid that they wouldn´t win the match.
- Noun + Noun: a surge of anger (NOT a rush of anger.)
- Noun+preposition: apathy towards, dissatisfaction with, differences with, reason for...
- Noun+to infinitive: I felt the urge to do it, It was a pleasure to see you, they made an attempt to do it.
- Noun +that clause: We reached an agreement that she would come with us.
- Verb + Noun: commit suicide (NOT undertake suicide), keep an eye on. 
- Verb + Expression With Preposition: burst into tears (NOT blow up in tears), apply for a job.
- Verb + Adverb: wave frantically (NOT wave feverishly), drive dangerously.
- Preposition+noun: by chance, at random, in pain.
- Different verb patterns in English (verb+inf) She began to cry, (verb+bare infinitive) we must do it.

viernes, 25 de mayo de 2012

Talk of the town, by Jack Johnson.

Good morning Friday!
The post today it´s short, warm and full of good vibrations as it´s Friday and actually a really warm Friday after weeks! At least here in Manchester. Hope you all enjoy it and have a great weekend!
We´ll be back on Monday.

Talk of the town.
I want to be where the talk of the town
Is about last night when the sun went down
(cuando el sol se puso)
And the trees all dance
And the warm wind blows in the same old sound
And the water below gives a gift to the sky
And the clouds give back every time they cry
And make the grass grow green beneath my toes
(bajo mis pies), (toe= dedos de los pies)
And if the sun comes out
I'll paint a picture all about
The colors I've been dreaming of
The hours just don't seem enough
To put it all together
Maybe it's as strange as it seems
And the trouble I find is that the trouble finds me
It's a part of my mind it begins with a dream
And a feeling I get when I look and I see
That this world is a puzzle, I'll find all of the pieces
And put it all together, and then I'll rearrange it
I'll follow it forever
Always be as strange as it seems
Nobody ever told me not to try
And the water below gives a gift to the sky
And the clouds give back every time they cry
And make the grass grow green beneath my toes
And if the sun comes out
I'll paint a picture all about
The colors I've been dreaming of
The hours just don't seem enough
To put it all together
Always be as strange as it seems

miércoles, 16 de mayo de 2012

Why going abroad?

This is a video where English Language Assistants share their experiences of living abroad. I´ve founded it useful as they talk about the advantages of living abroad and they show us some words and expressions worth knowing.

Where is the best place to do a language assistanship?
- Somewhere beyond (más allá), completely out of your comfort zone: 
- Obviously I´m slightly biased: obviamente mi opinión está ligeramente sesgada.
- Trick question: a question which is difficult to answer, because there is a hidden difficulty or because the answer that seems obvious is not the correct one.

What´s the reason of your recommendation?

How would you describe your experience?
- Challenging: que representa un reto.
- Thrilling: emocionante (a thriller!).
- Gratifiying: gratificante.
- Nerve-racking: a situation or experience makes you feel very tense and worried.  
- Enlightening: esclarecedor, instructivo.
- A life-changing experience.

What personal and professional skills did you gain?
- I was hugely lacking of confidence: tenía una carencia enorme de confianza.
- to encourage students: motivar a los estudiantes.

When we see students come back from the end of it, they really are different people: brighter, ,more engage, more culturally aware, more confident.

martes, 8 de mayo de 2012

Phrasal Verbs, by Paul Knowles.

We have a new article from Paul Knowles, our personal native English teacher from A2Z School of English ( Manchester. Phrasal verbs. Enjoy it!

When non-English speakers learn English, usually at about pre-intermediate/ Intermediate level they become aware of these things called phrasal verbs… and they then usually start to cry because these things make no sense and are completely irrational and are almost like a separate language.

But for me they are the most exciting and unique aspect of the English language, forever evolving and being invented and they are the basis of a lot of our comedy.

Everyday a new phrasal verb is invented – on the TV, in the street, in a hip-hop song, at the market. Nobody know how many there are because they are impossible to count but they make the English language what it is.

Phrasal verbs is a verb plus preposition or adverb which creates a different meaning from the original verb and often the meaning is very specific.

- I ran into my teacher at the movies last night 
(Run + into = meet by accident.)

What also happens a lot is a phrasal verb can have more than one meaning, normally completely different to each other.

- They got down to work while she got down to the music. 
Got + down = focus on something
Got + down = dance intensely to music

Sometimes phrasal verbs can be split up (separable) and some can’t. Some can be split and kept together.

-I talked my mother into letting me borrow the car.
-They are looking into the problem
-I looked up the phone number. I looked the phone number up.

Why? There is no answer, no rhyme or reason, logic or deduction they just do and you have to learn each one individually by rote. This is why learners of English start crying when they become aware of phrasal verbs.

Furthermore (or to make things worse) native English speaker use phrasal verbs all the time. We prefer them to their French, latin, greek equivalents. It is more natural and more concise and more colloquial.

- He couldn’t put up with him sounds more natural than he couldn’t tolerate him.  

For non-native speakers and English language learners it can feel like they have to start learning English again. They are difficult to find (look up) in the dictionary and hard to use correctly.

But I say embrace them and try to use them as much as possible  - get into phrasal verbs.

Top ten phrasal verbs:
1. To kick off - to start something - a fight, a football match or an argument
2. To spark up - to start a fire or open a fizzy drink
3. To wind someone up - to make someone really annoyed (derived from when you used to have to wind up a car to start it)
4. To size up (a situation) : to try to understand what is happening (going on ) in a situation
5. To super size something up - to make to much bigger (like a macdonalds)
6. To sort it out - to fix something or organise something
7. To hook up - to meet or connect with someone
8. To get down - to dance in a funky manner
9. To get into sth. - to begin to enjoy or become more involved with something
10. To big someone up - To exaggerate someone's importance  

miércoles, 2 de mayo de 2012

Why we have too few women leaders.

Good morning my friends. 
I wanted to share this talk at the risk of sounding feminist, because it´s interesting, true and has some expressions we can lean from. pay attention to the collocations more than to the actual meaning. I´ve underlined them.
¡Féliz miércoles!

- But all that aside: Pero a parte de todo eso/ poniendo todo eso a parte.

- Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world. 

- The numbers tell the story quite clearly. 

- Women face (afrontar, enfrentarse ) harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment (satisfacción personal).

- I was pitching a deal (lanzando una oferta), and I was in one of those fancy New York private equity offices you can picture (visualizadlo).

- Workforce: all people capable of working in a company/country (plantilla, fuerza laboral).

- I am convinced, is that women are dropping out (abandonar -estudios, carrera profesional,...-). 

- Now, at the outset (al principio), I want to be very clear that...

- Just a couple weeks ago at Facebook, we hosted (albergar, ser la sede para un evento) a very senior government official...

- above all else, is...: sobre todo lo demas está...

 - And everyone's (everyone IS) nodding (asentir/ saludar con la cabeza).

-...the men are reaching for opportunities more than women.

- We've got to get women to sit at the table: tenemos que conseguir que las mujeres se sienten en la mesa.

- Who do you think drops out when someone needs to be home more? 

-...with the objective of staying in the workforce 

- How am I going to fit this into everything else I'm doing?: ¿Como adapato/ integro esto en todo lo demás que estoy haciendo?

- To look for a promotion.  (To get a promotion).

- To take on a new project.

 She starts leaning back: echarse hacia atrás (figurado). 

So, my friends:

Sit at the table. Make your partner a real partner. And don't leave before you leave. 

Studies show that households with equal earning and equal responsibility also have half the divorce rat

miércoles, 18 de abril de 2012

The Highs and Lows of Teaching English to Spanish speakers by Paul Knowles (A2Z School of English).

A2Z School of English is the most vibrant, international language school in the heart of Manchester. They have a wide range of different courses, times and prices to suit anyone needs.
I´ve been a student there myself and loved it. Great classes, teachers and classmates. But it´s not only that, as A2Z has one of the busiest social schedule in Manchester, from bowling to walks around the city.

Paul Knowles is the Internet Marketing Manager for A2Z and he´s been an English teacher himself for over 10 years, apparently he has had MANY Spanish students during these years (I don´t know how, I haven´t seen a Spanish person around Manchester for months!).
He´s sharing here in Funny English his thoughts about our highs and lows in the English learning process.

You can check more A2Z articles here!

I have been a teacher of English for about 10 years and because for most of that time I have taught in the UK most of my students have been Spanish.
Thus, I feel qualified to talk about the joys and frustrations of teaching Spanish speakers the English language.
Spanish students are great to teach. They are generally chatty, opinionated and full of fun. However, they have specific problems in learning English which can be trying for both the student and the teacher.

The Spanish Accent is here to stay
Spanish learners of English will never lose their accent. Fact. End of.  It is impossible so just don’t try. No matter how advanced a Spanish student I have taught the Spanish accent sticks like super glue. And this is not a bad thing. Every English speaker around the world and in the UK has an accent. It just tells people where you are from. Even if your accent is very strong it doesn’t mean people cannot understand you if you use the correct word stress.

There is no E in Spain…really there is no E in Spain.
Every Spanish student I have ever taught puts an “E” in front of Spain.
In fact Spanish people seem to like putting vowels in front of every word.
‘Hello, where are you from?’  ‘I am a-from e-Spain’ 
No matter how many times I have tried to stop Spanish students doing this it always will happen but it always drove me bananas!

To speak English clearly you must perfect the art of mumbling
Spanish and other Latin based languages pronounce every part of every word. The English though push words together to make them shorter and more concise. Also, we add sounds between words for no apparent reason. To the Spaniard this sounds like mumbling. To English people this is clear pronunciation.
Don’t say ‘A blue apple’ but  ‘A blue wapple’ . You might read ‘It must have been a long day’. But you say ‘It mustov been a long day’. Don’t ask ‘How are you doing? But ‘ Howyadowing? ‘ If in doubt make it into one word and omit as much as possible.

To be or to have? That is the question.
This is something Spanish beginner students always do and more advanced learners still do very occasionally.
“I have 23 years old” or “I have hunger”
Language structures are about concepts and here is way English and Spanish concepts differ. Is age and hunger a state (English) or a possession (Spanish)?
I could continue ad infinity (false friends, phrasal verbs, invented words) but these are the most memorable and common mistakes and problems Spanish students have. But please check below for some great links to help you iron out (fix) your English language problems. - difference between English and Spanish a whole load of help and advice for Spanish speakers.

viernes, 13 de abril de 2012

Playing for a change. Connecting the world trough music.

Buenos días!
Para esta mañana de viernes proponemos Stand by me, temazo donde los haya, especialmente en esta versión, acompañado de un reading sobre el maravilloso proyecto que es Playing for a change. 
Nada más, que tengáis un fantástico fin de semana. 

A decade ago a small group of documentary filmmakers set out (proponerse llevar a cabo) with a dream to create a film rooted (arraigado) in the music of the streets. Not only has that dream has been realized, it has blossomed (florecer) into a global sensation called Playing For Change, a project including musicians of every level of renown (fama, renombre), that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.

While travelling the world filming and recording musicians, the crew (equipo/personal en cine) became intimately involved with the music and people of each community they visited. Although many of these coMMunities had limited resources and a modest standard of living, the people in them were full of generosity, warmth (calidez), and above all they were coNNected to each other by a common thread (hilo): music.

Out of these discoveries, the Playing For Change Foundation was born and made its mission to ensure that anyone with the desire to receive a music education would have the opportunity to do so.

The Playing For Change Foundation is dedicated to creating positive social change through music education. We are driven by (lo que nos mueve) the belief that peace and change are possible through the universal language of music. By providing children a safe place to learn, flourish and express themselves, PFCF helps provide a creative alternative to the struggles many of these children face daily.

When the night has come
and the land is dark
and the moon is the only light we'll see
no I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
just as long as you stand, stand by me
and darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh now now stand by me
stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
should tumble (caerse, venirse abajo) and fall
and the mountains should crumble (desmoronarse) to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear
just as long as you stand, stand by me
and darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me,
oh now now stand by me.

lunes, 9 de abril de 2012

Couch culture.

Good morning Spaniards!
I hope you all had an amazing time this week and you are full of energy for what is yet to come!

First of all I want to strongly recommend Vaughan, as it´s a really useful method for our purpose.

As a part of this method, I just discover this, wich I think it´s great.
It´s basically two people (AN Spanish advance student of English and a native English speaker) talking about series, movies and other current issues.

A really useful series I think, as they talk about things we´ve all seen or at least know about and because the mistakes that the student does and the teacher corrects are very common mistakes, that we all have doubts about.

Let´s starts with Family Guy!

lunes, 26 de marzo de 2012

Comedy is translation.

Good morning my friends!
In the middle of this weather madness, at least here in The Island, let´s talk about something serious: comedy. I´m not joking, comedy is, first of all communication and above all, comedy is criticism. To the society, to the way the things work in our world...

Comedy takes the base metal of our conventional wisdom and transforms it through ridicule into a different way of seeing and ultimately being in the world.  

I leave you today with this talk by Chris Bliss, where he explains what comedy is, starting with his last and for me better quote:

So my suggestion to those of you out here who are seriously focused on creating a better world is to take a little bit of time each day and practice thinking funny, because you might just find the question that you've been looking for. 

"Every act of communication is an act of translation." 

- Ever since I can remember...: desde que puedo recordar.

- Time after time (una y otra vez), whenever I set out to share some great truth with a soon-to-be (a punto de ser) grateful recipient (receptor, ¡no recipiente!) , it had the opposite effect. 
Interestingly, when your opening line of communication is, "Hey, listen up, because I'm about to drop some serious knowledge on you," it's amazing how quickly you'll discover both ice (en este caso, frialdad) and the firing squad (pelotón de fusilamiento).

- Finally, after about 10 years of alienating friends and strangers alike (del mismo modo)...

- What I want to talk about is the unique ability that the best comedy and satire has at circumventing (sortear/ burlar) our ingrained (arraigadas) perspectives. It takes the base metal of our conventional wisdom (sabiduría) and transforms it through ridicule into a different way of seeing and ultimately being in the world. 

They were lifted verbatim (textualmente, palabra por palabra) from Palin's own remarks (comentario).

- It just so happens that Stewart's brand of funny doesn't work unless the facts are true. And the result is great comedy that's also an information delivery system that scores markedly (notablemente) higher in both credibility and retention than the professional news media. 

- A great piece of comedy is a verbal magic trick, where you think it's going over here and then all of a sudden (de repente) you're transported over here. And there's this mental delight that's followed by the physical response of laughter, which, not coincidentally, releases endorphins in the brain. And just like that, you've been seduced into a different way of looking at something because the endorphins have brought down your defenses. 

- And the comedy comes along, dealing with a lot of the same areas where our defenses are the strongest -- race, religion, politics, sexuality -- only by approaching (abordar) them through humor instead of adrenalin, we get endorphins and the alchemy of laughter turns our walls into windows, revealing a fresh and unexpected point of view.

- Remove it (sácalo) from your household (casa).

- Misdirection (El llevarte por el camino incorrecto) isn't the only trick that comedy has up its sleeve (have something up one's sleeve: to have a secret or surprise plan or solution to a problem.

- ...comedy has as communication is that it's inherently viral. People can't wait to pass along that new great joke. 

- But it's when you put all of these elements together, when you get the viral appeal (atractivo) of a great joke with a powerful punchline that's crafted from honesty and integrity, it can have a real world impact at changing a conversation. 

- ...when the policies necessary to aDDreSS (tratar -un tema-) climate change were unequivocally beneficial for humanity in the long run (a la larga) regardless of (a pesar de) the science. 

It´s communication that doesn't just produce greater understanding within the individual, but leads to real change. 

sábado, 24 de marzo de 2012

Recuts, what if...?

A re-cut trailer, or retrailer, is a parody trailer for a movie created by editing footage from that movie or from its original trailers. 
They generally derive humor from misrepresenting the original film.
I discovered them trough this parody of The shinning, one of the most scariest movies I´ve seen and here is presented as a romantic comedy...

This is one of my favourites. Taxi driver as a single man in "the city" looking for love...

And the scary Mrs Doubtfire...

martes, 20 de marzo de 2012

Try something new for 30 days, do you dare?

¡Muy interesante propuesta, oye!

Is there something you've always meant to do, wanted to do, but just ... haven't? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days.

¿Te ha pasado alguna vez?...Osea, ¿cuantas veces?, ¿cuantas cosas llevas postponiendo desde que tienes uso de razón? 
Desde Funny_English te proponemos que sigas esta idea de Matt Cutt, que pruebes a hacer algo nuevo durante 30 días! Es el tiempo perfecto para que te de tiempo a hacer algo de provecho, sin ser demasiado como para rechazar la propuesta de plano, ni aburrirse del asunto.
¿Quien sabe? Igual te sorprende el resultado.

- I felt like I was stuck, in a rut: sentí que estaba atascado, anquilosado.

- It turns out: resulta que...

- Memorable: memorable, notable.

- To do/start something from scratch: empezar de cero.

- Sleep-deprived: privado de sueño, sin dormir.

- I learned that when I made small sustainable changes, things I could keep doing, they a¡were more likely to stick (quedarse, mantenerse).

- Give it a shot!: Give it a try/ give it a chance!

And for those of you interested in SEO, Social Media,...

Matt Cutts is an engineer at Google. He works on search at Google, specializing in search optimization. He's a friendly and public face for helping webmasters understand how Google's search actually works, making hundreds of videos that answer questions about SEO. 

jueves, 15 de marzo de 2012

The clues to a great story.

Andrew Stanton has made you laugh and cry with movies like Toy Story and WALL-E, he sure knows how to tell a story and in this TED talk he shares it with us.

I think this is the better talk I´ve come across in Ted. It contains great revelations about story telling and about life, that can also be extrapolate and applied to the social-media world in wich we are living in today. It can be used in the construction of the Internet image of your company and in the construction of the relationship with your audience.

A major threshold is passed when you mature enough to acknowledge what drives you, and to take the wheel and steer it.
I really firmly believe that you are born with a temperament and you are wired (programado) a certain way, and you don´t have any say about it. All you can do it´s learn to recognize it and own it (adueñarte de ello, hacerte cargo).

Enjoy it!

- ...and an old man nursing a beer: un hombre mayor cuidando de una cerveza.

- to point out: señalar (literal y figurado).

- punchline: gracia/remate de un chiste.

- that deepens (profundiza) our understandings of who we are as human beings.

- Mr Roger always carried in his wallet a quote from (una cita de) a social worker.

- probably the greatest story commandment (precepto/mandamiento) wich is make me care (haz que me importe).

- but something has caught you (atrapado) and you´re drawn in (involucrado) and you care (y te importa). That´s not by chance (eso no es por casualidad).

- So it got me thinking: así que me hizo pensar.

- and he is summoned (llamado, convocado) by his rich uncle.

- to pass away. morir.

- making a promise that this story will lead somewhere is worth your time (te llevará a un sitio que merece la pena/ que le deciques tu tiempo).

- A well told promise is like a pebble (piedrecita, chino) being pulled back in a slingshot (siendo estirada hacia atrás en un tirachinas) and propels you foward through the story to the end (te impulsa hacia adealnte a través de la historia hasta el final).

- It´s the most inclusive approach you can take: es el enfoque más inclusivo que puedes tomar.

- It confirmed something that I kind of have a hunch on (tener una corazonada), that the audience actually wants to work for their meal.

- We are born problem solvers (nacemos siendo solucionadores de problemas).

- engaging the audience: captando, atrayendo a la audiencia).

- Editors and screenwriters have known this all allong (todo el tiempo, desde el principio, fue frase del día, ¿recordáis?).

- widget (chisme, artefacto).

- all well-drawn characters have a spine: todos los personajes que están bien dibujados tienen una espina dorsal (una esencia).

- the character has un unconscious goal that they are striving for (to strive for something: esforzarse por lograr algo).

- Michael Corleone, his spine was to please his father (agradar a su padre).

- I took to this like a duck to water (take to something like a duck to water: to learn how to do something very quickly and to enjoy doing it).

-...but a major threshold is passed (pero un enorme umbral es transpasado...)

- and I was completely hooked on screenwriting (¡frase del día!)

- outcome: resultado.

- we were just a group of guys just going on our guts (siguiendo nuestros instintos).

- and I thought that epitomized (personificaba, tipificaba) perfectly...

- we had naively thought (habíamos inocentemente pensado).

- Off to bed: I´m going off to bed/ to work (me voy a la cama/ al trabajo...).

- We all live our lives conditionally, we´re all willing to play by the rules, as long as certain conditions are met.

- the vail was lifted: el velo era levantado.

- A strong theme is always running through a well-told story.

- you are compelled to pass it on (te ves forzado a compartirlo).

- the best stories infuse wonder: las mejores historias te infunden admiración, asombro.

- to pinpoint (localizar, ubicar con exactitud).

miércoles, 14 de marzo de 2012

Dive in: Word.

Muy buenos días de miércoles!
Hoy vamos a sumergirnos en la misma palabra.
Let´s dive in the word "word"!

1. Palabra (sustantivo femenino).
- 'greenhouse' se escribe todo junto: `greenhouse' is written as one word.

- una palabra de seis letras: a six-letter word.

- ¿cómo se dice `perro' en alemán?: what's the German ~ for `dog'?

- dame un sinónimo de `holiday': what's another ~ for `holiday'?

- en otras palabras, es decir (introducing a reformulation): in other words.

- un anuncio mal redactado:  a badly worded advertisement.

- en toda la extensión de la palabra: in every sense of the word.

- no son más que palabras: it's all talk.

- en pocas palabras, es un cobarde: in a word, he's a coward.

- palabra por palabra: word for word.

- yo no sabía ni una palabra del asunto: I didn't know a thing o anything about it.

- no entendí (ni) una palabra: I didn't understand a (single) word.

- sin decir (una) palabra: without a word.

- comerse las palabras to gabble.

- ¡estás tergiversando lo que dije!: you're twisting my words!

- tragarse las palabras: to eat one's words: I was forced to eat my words: me tuve que tragar lo que había dicho.

- gastar saliva: to waste words.

- medir las palabras: to weigh one's words.

- con (muy) buenas palabras: in the nicest possible way.

- decirle a alguien cuatro palabras bien dichas: to tell somebody a few home truths.

- eso ya son palabras mayores:
        - (refiriéndose a un  insulto, acusación): those are strong words.
        - (refiriéndose a una propuesta excesiva) that's taking things too far.

- quitarle las palabras de la boca a alguien: to take the words right out of somebody's mouth.

- tener la última palabra: to have the final say.

- tener unas palabras con alguien: to have words with somebody (coloquial).

- dirigir la palabra a alguien: to address somebody.

- recomendar a alguien: to put in a good word for somebody.

- lo resumió en pocas palabras:, she summarised it in a few words.

- Juan es hombre de pocas palabras: Juan is a man of few words.

- corre el rumor, se dice, se comenta: word/rumour has it that...

- hacer correr el rumor: to put the word out/ about that.

- si quieres que te ayude no tienes más que pedirlo: if you need a hand just say the word.

- a palabras necias oídos sordos: take no notice of the stupid things people say.

- las palabras se las lleva el viento: actions speak louder than words.

-de palabra: by word of mouth: In local business success what really works is the word of mouth (el boca a boca).

- es el último grito en moda: it´s the last word in fashion.

- palabra clave: key word.

- palabra compuesta: compound word.

- palabrota: bad o naughty o rude word.

- juego de palabras: wordplay, pun.

2. Promesa (sustantivo femenino).
- (compromiso) me dio su palabra: he gave me his word.

- no tiene palabra: she never keeps her word.

- una mujer de palabra: a woman of her word.

-cumplió con su promesa: she kept her word.
 rompió su promesa: she broke her word or she went back on her word.

- nunca falta a su palabra: he never breaks o goes back on his word.

- te lo aseguro: you can take my word for it.

- se lo devolví, ¡palabra!: I gave it back to her, honest! (coloquial).

- tomarle la palabra a alguien: le tomé la palabra y le pedí un préstamo: I took him up on his offer and asked for a loan.

- palabra de honor: word of honor, without a word of a lie.

3. Habla (speech).
- el don de la palabra: the gift of speech.

- un acuerdo de palabra: a verbal agreement.

- no me dirigió la palabra: she didn't speak to me.

- dejar a algn con la palabra en la boca: me dejó con la palabra en la boca (me interrumpió): he cut me off in mid-sentence.

- (no me dejó hablar) he didn't give me a chance to open my mouth.

- me quedé sin palabras: I was (left) speechless.

- no encontrar las palabras, no saber qué decir: to be lost for words.

- poner en boca de alguien (algo que no ha dicho): to put words into somebody's mouth.

- una advertencia: a word of warning.

- ¡yo no dije nada!:  I didn't say a word! 

- se fue sin decir nada: she left without a word.

- no me creo una palabra: I don't believe a word of it.

- no habla ni una palabra de inglés;she doesn't speak a word of English.

- pedir la palabra (en ceremonia, asamblea, formal): to ask for permission to speak.

- pido la palabra: may I say something?, I'd like to say something.

- tener/tomar la palabra: to have/to take the floor (formal).

- ceder(le) la palabra a alguien: to give the floor to somebody (forml), to call upon somebody to speak.

- (turno para hablar) right to speak.

- hablar con alguien de or sobre algo: to have a  word with somebody about something.

4. Mensaje, recado.
- enviar un mensaje (mensaje no como sms!):  to send word.

- dejó un mensaje/recado a su secretaría: she left word with her secretary that...