jueves, 27 de abril de 2017

Welcome to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch is a town name really difficult to pronounce.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1. Where is the town?
2. How many people speak Welsh in the town?
3. How many letters does the name have?
4. Why was the name invented in the mid 19th century?
5. What does the name mean?
6. What is the short version of the name?
7. In what area does the town have the longest name in the world?

Any more passengers for Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch?
Nope, anybody for Fan-Merc?
Plans-clull Llanfair
It's a small town in Northern Wales.
Around 76% of the population here speaks Welsh. It's also the longest town name in Europe with 58 letters. There are literally four Ls next to each other. Right there. What is with this name?
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is not the original name of the village.
You've got to be kidding.
In the 1860s, the name was contrived by the local cobbler, and it was meant to bring in people and tourists.
Alun, help us break this name down.
The name means places within the village.
You've got the Church Mary, in the hollow of the white hazel, near to the rapid whirlpools, at the Church of Tysilio, and the red caves.
Okay, so, let's say you wanna mail a letter. Do you have to write the whole name, Postmaster Jim Evans?
You could. But you'd have to write very small. Or, you could use a shortened version, which is the first 20 letters.
If you play for the local football league, does the name fit on your jersey, team manager Steve Smith?
It does, and it's the longest name of any football team in the world. And it just about fits.
Can you say it after a pint, pub owner Kevin Bryant?
I'm sure I can.
Let's see.
God, you did it.
But, can you put it in a song?
Wow, apparently you can.
Llanfair, Llanfair, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
It might be the greatest PR stunt of the mid-1800s. I don't know, even of today. After all, we're here.
Here in  Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I think that's pretty good.

1 In Northern Wales 
2 76%
3 56 
4 to attract people and tourists 
5 places within the village
6 the first 20 letters 
7 football team

miércoles, 26 de abril de 2017

Talking point: Study habits

This week's talking point is study habits. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas come to mind more easily the day you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

Do you plan when you are going to study?
If so, how much time in advance do you plan?
Do you prefer to study late at night or early in the morning?
Do you usually find excuses to postpone starting to study? If so, which ones?
What places do you like studying in?
Do you like to be away from people or do you prefer to study with one or more friends?
Do you like studying with background music?
What sort of light do you like to study with?
Do you like studying in public places like a library?
Do you find it difficult to concentrate while studying?
If you are studying for a long period do you prefer: no breaks / several short breaks / one or two long breaks?
What do you do while you are taking breaks, have a chat, check your mobile, have a snack?
Do you quickly revise everything you have done during the study sessions when you are finishing studying?

martes, 25 de abril de 2017

What makes me different from todays Syrian refugees? Just fate and timing

As a Syrian-American journalist who has covered Syria’s refugee crisis, Alia Malek understands where they are coming from and where they’re going.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.

1. Alia Malek arrived in the States in September 2015.
2. Alia was pregnant when she left Syria.
3. Alia’s dad was already in the States.
4. Alia’s parents didn’t intend to live in USA for ever.
5. Alia’s parents are American citizens.
6. Americans had a very good opinion of Arabs back in the 1970’s.
7. The Syrian mother Alia was travelling with came from a poor background in Syria.
8. The woman’s children found it very difficult to adapt to the hardships of the journey.
9. Many American citizens followed a similar path to that of Alia’s.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: reflections on coming to the United States from author Alia Malek, who considers the various journeys Syrian refugees take on their many roads from Damascus.
ALIA MALEK, Journalist: In September 2015, I felt I had to drop everything and go to Turkey to report on Syrians as they hurriedly made their way to Europe, trying to beat the rapidly closing borders.
As a Syrian-American, their fate was one I had only accidentally been spared.
As I accompanied them on this journey, I couldn’t help thinking of how different their circumstances were from how my own Syrian family had ended up in the diaspora, of how my mother, pregnant with me, herself had left Damascus.
Unlike the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossings and the trek through the Balkans, her trip itself wasn’t treacherous, and it wasn’t undignified. She was traveling to Baltimore to join my father, a medical resident at the University of Maryland.
While emotionally painful, her journey couldn’t have been easier. She wasn’t facing imminent death or displacement, as people are today. In fact, both my parents meant to eventually return to their homeland.
But when it became clear what life would be like under the Assad regime, they gave up their dream to return. Years after all their children were born American, they too finally became naturalized Americans.
When my family arrived here in the ’70s, being Syrian wasn’t a barrier to becoming American. Even if Arabs weren’t well-perceived generally, Syrians specifically didn’t hold much of a place in the American imagination or consciousness.
In fact, I remember the best a schoolyard bully could do was tell me that, as a Syrian, I ate too much cereal. Oh, for those days.
In these past six years, as Syria has disintegrated, taken over the headlines, and as Syrians have become the foreign menace of the day, I have often thought about the vagaries of fate, of how accidental and unintended occurrences are what separate me from the Syrians unfairly maligned, banned, and banished today, how our lot depends on when we decided to leave, where we landed, and how we got there, whether we boarded flights with regular tickets and visas, or were piled on top of each other on flimsy rafts and left to drift across the sea unguided, how our future depends on what suffix happens to follow Syrian on arrival.
Is it refugee? Is it immigrant? Is it American? I’m lucky to be that last one.
A Syrian mother I was traveling with across Europe worried at each new border, what would happen to her children? In Syria, they had been comfortably working class. Her husband was a baker, and she was a stay-at-home mom.
At the beginning of the trip, her children were horrified to have to relieve themselves outdoors and in public. Within days, though, she was pained to see how they had quickly adjusted to their new reality.
I instead approached each crossing with a guilty confidence of a passport-carrying American. I was completely aware that my fortune was in large part by chance and circumstance.
But, rather than make me unique, I imagine that makes me like many other Americans whose families were also once upon the time among the lucky, favored by fate to have made it to these shores when and how we did.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And that’s a perspective we need to hear, Alia Malek.

1F 2F 3T 4T 5T 6T 7F 8F 9T

lunes, 24 de abril de 2017

Listening test: Entertianment News April 2017

Listen to some news related to the world of entertainment and choose the heading A-G which goes with each extract. There are two headings you do not need to use.

A - And they lived happily ever after
B - Battling a long-term addiction
C - Long battle to recover artist’s own creations
D - Social media addiction
E - Star sentenced to prison term
F - Stormy relationship
G - Wrong identity

1 Stormy relationship
Spice Girl Mel Brown, also known as Scary Spice or Mel B, has filed for divorce from her husband of 10 years, Stephen Belafonte. Citing irreconcilable differences, the performer filed the papers on Monday March 20 at the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles. The couple married on June 6, 2007 and the court papers specify the pair separated on December 28, 2016. They have one child together, Madison Brown Belafonte. Belafonte is a film and television producer behind films such as ‘Thank You for Smoking’, and, with his wife, recently invested in Serafina, an Italian restaurant in West Hollywood. No statements from either party have been given regarding the split.

2 Wrong identity
Grammy award-winning hip hop artist Wyclef Jean said he was handcuffed and treated like a criminal when he was briefly detained by law enforcement officers in Los Angeles as they investigated a robbery. In tweets and video of the incident posted on his Instagram and Twitter feed, the Haitianborn former Fugees singer said he appeared to have been the victim of “another case of mistaken identity” and threatened to sue. Jean blamed the Los Angles Police Department for the incident, which occurred around 1 a.m., but in fact it involved sheriff’s deputies, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. The department said Jean was
briefly detained while deputies were looking for a suspect matching the description who had carried out an armed robbery at a gas station in West Hollywood. The singer was placed in handcuffs and released without charge when it was determined he was not the suspect. Jean emigrated to the United States from Haiti at the age of 9, but has maintained his Haitian citizenship. Tuesday’s incident comes amid heightened sensitivity about racial issues and the US justice system following shootings by police of unarmed black people.

3 Social media addiction
Pop star Selena Gomez said she cancelled her world tour last year and went to therapy because she was depressed, anxious and her self-esteem was shot. 24-year-old Gomez, who has more than 113 million Instagram followers, also said in an interview with Vogue magazine that she was freaked out by her social media obsession and no longer has the Instagram app on her phone. “As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out. It had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict,” Gomez explained in a cover story of its April edition. The former Disney Channel star and actress made headlines last August when she abruptly quit her “Revival” world tour, saying she needed to take time off to deal with panic attacks and depression. She told Vogue she had entered a treatment program for three months saying: “My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting on stage, or right after leaving the stage. Basically I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable. I felt I wasn’t giving my fans anything, and they could see it - which, I think, was a complete distortion.” Gomez said that she also found it hard - as have other young stars like Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan - to shake off her perky “Wizards of Waverly Place” persona from her Disney days. “For a guy there’s a way to rebel that can work for you,” she said. “But for a woman, that can backfire. It’s hard not to be a cliché, the child star gone wrong.”

4 Long battle to recover artist’s own creations
Paul McCartney’s potential hold. The singer has waited decades to reclaim ownership of hundreds of Beatles’ songs and Sony/ATV Music Publishing says he should wait a little longer rather than continue his US lawsuit. In a filing with the US District Court in Manhattan, a lawyer for Sony/ ATV said the publisher had never challenged the validity of McCartney’s notices to terminate its copyright in the songs, starting in October 2018. As a result, McCartney’s lawsuit “impermissibly seeks an advisory opinion on a hypothetical claim” and
should be dismissed for the time being, a lawyer wrote. McCartney was outbid in 1985 for the rights to the songs he created with John Lennon such as “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude” by pop star Michael Jackson. The rights were rolled a decade later into Sony/ATV, a joint venture with Sony Corp. Jackson’s estate sold its stake in the venture to Sony for $750 million last year. Lawyers for McCartney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

5 Battling a long-term addiction
Hollywood star Ben Affleck says he’s completed treatment for alcohol addiction. The ‘Argo’ director posted on Facebook on Tuesday that the treatment was the first of many steps towards recovery. He also said he wanted to be the best father he could be and thanked his ex-wife Jennifer Garner for her support. The Batman actor wrote I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront. The two-time Oscar winner is currently working on upcoming film The Batman, in which he stars as the caped crusader himself.

1F 2G 3D 4C 5B 

domingo, 23 de abril de 2017

Extensive listening: Know your worth, and then ask for it

Your boss probably isn't paying you what you're worth — instead, they're paying you what they think you're worth. Take the time to learn how to shape their thinking.

Pricing consultant Casey Brown shares helpful stories and learnings that can help you better communicate your value and get paid for your excellence.

Casey Brown is a pricing geek and professional speaker. She leads an organization that helps companies improve profits through better pricing. She speaks at conferences, trade associations and networking groups around the world. She is on a mission to correct the injustice of underpricing.

You can read the full transcript here.

sábado, 22 de abril de 2017

Reading test: The economics of beard popularity in the US

In this week's reading test we are going to practise the insert-the-word kind of task.

In the Vox article The economics of beard popularity in the US, a number of words and phrases have been taken out. Insert the word A-M in the corresponding blank. There are three words/phrases you do not need to use. 0 is an example.

The economics of beard popularity in the US

You (0) … think people grow beards (1) … their fashionability or warmth, but author and professor Stephen Mihm says there might be (2) … reason. In a New York Times piece, he claims that in Western countries, trends in beard popularity often closely follow (3) … in capitalism.

(4) … the mid-19th century, communists and labour radicals grew thick Karl Marx–style beards as a form of protest. Members of the business community viewed these movements (5) … scary and threatening to the establishment, and as a result, beards became not allowed in general society. But (6) … these protests ended and capitalist enterprises could safely show their supremacy again, beards came back into fashion, and titans of the business world began to put on impressive displays of facial hair as a means of showing an image of strength and masculine individuality.
In the early 20th century, beards again began to be associated with anti-capitalist movements, and for (7) … a century they were nowhere to be seen in corporate boardrooms and many parts of society.

Then along came the tech boom, (8) … made many untidy computer geeks in Silicon Valley rich and powerful members of the capitalist landscape. People like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Jack Dorsey redefined (9) … we view powerful business heads and have helped bring in a new period of beard acceptance and popularity.

A - another
B - as
C - because
D - because of
E - during
F - how
G - like
H - may 0 Example
I - nearly
J - once
K - other
L - trends
M - which

1D 2A 3L 4E 5B 6J 7I 8M 9F

viernes, 21 de abril de 2017

China's Baby Boom

China has abandoned its controversial one-child policy because of concerns about its increasingly elderly population.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1. How old is the woman who is about to have a child?
2. When did she have her first child?
3. What sex is the child?
4. Who was worried about the sex of the baby?
5. How many good embryos does Yemin have?
6. When did China’s one child policy change?
7. Which women are at an advantage with the new policy?

Heartbeat of an imminent arrival, a last ultrasound scan for a 48-year-old mother-to-be. She had her first child through fertility treatment 16 years ago. The hospital kept her frozen embryos, and now that China's one-child policy has become a two-child policy, she's about to have her second miracle baby. More good news for Fan-fun-nian, it’s a boy.
She tells me she’s thrilled. She's got a daughter already and would be happy with another, but the in-laws want a grandson. A two-child family is still a great novelty here, so a big fuss at the clinic for a special visitor, especially as this miracle was conceived here in a petri dish, and frozen as an embryo for years, until China's policy changed and she could become somebody's little sister.
As soon as I heard about the policy change, I was terribly excited. I ran to the hospital immediately. My second child had been frozen there for too long. I couldn’t wait to take her home.
Not everyone is so lucky. Yemin is desperate to have a second child, but there are questions over
whether her embryos are viable.
I only have three embryos left and the doctor says one is good, one is average and one is poor, but I'm staying optimistic. I hope heaven will give me this gift.
Blessings born from frozen embryos, many of them second children, after last year's policy change. Older mothers with fertility problems are now suddenly at an advantage, because they have frozen embryos to fall back on, where other older women don’t. Fan-fun-nian back home and getting ready
for the new arrival. Baby clothes from the first time round, 16 years ago. Hospital bag ready for the birth, and she's already decided if the two-child policy becomes a three-child policy, she’ll go for a third.
Carrie Gracie, BBC News.

1 forty-eight years old
2 sixteen years ago
3 a boy
4 her in-laws
5 only one
6 last year
7 older women with fertility problems