Monday, 29 December 2008

New Year's eve traditions

Colombia has different New Year's celebrations. For us is a time to drink champaign, to eat grapes and be with friends and relatives. In my case, I really do not have any traditions, but something that I always do is to fill my pockets with cash, so I will have always money all the year. What do you do? Do you do something special in this date? I would like to share this article about the English tradition for the New Year's eve.

English New Year

In England crowds of people gather in Trafalgar square, and Piccadilly Circus as well as stand around to hear the chimes of London's Big Ben announces the arrival of the New Year. Everyone stands around with arms linked to sing Auld Lang Syne.

In England the custom of first-footing is important. The reason is that it is supposed to ensure good luck for the inhabitants of the house. The first-footer must be male, young, healthy and good looking. He must be dark-haired and he should be carrying a small piece of coal, money, bread, and salt. These are the symbols of wealth.

The custom of exchanging gifts was transferred to Christmas it was originally done at New Year, when the Lord of the Manor was given samples of produce by his tenants and peasants, while he gave a valuable gift to the Queen or King. The Englishman gave their wives money to by pins for the coming year. This Tradition died, but, the expression "pin money" is still used to describe the money set aside for personal use, especially if given to a woman by her husband.

On New Year's Day children from England and Great Britain rise early to make the rounds to their neighbors singing songs. They are given coins, mince pies, apples and other sweets for singing. This must be done by noon or the singer will be called fools.

The Burning Bush is a nineteenth century custom carried into the early years of this century. In Radnorshire and Herefordshire farmhand would get up early before dawn on New Year's Day and carry a hawthorn bush to the field. They were burnt in straw on the wheat field. It was a symbol of good luck for the farmers. The bushes sometimes hung in the kitchen until the next year.

In England girls would drop egg whites into water. They thought it would form the first letter of the name of the man they would marry.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Also movies make grammar mistakes

I found this interesting article. This made me ask to myself if the language is changing for good or for bad. Soemtimes we think that the way they say it in the movies, songr or sitcoms is the best and is not all true.

Are Me and Him Ruining the Movies?
I must be getting old, because things I hear in the talkies -- oops, the movies -- are really starting to get my goat. Let's make an example out of two recent flicks: "High School Musical 3" and "Madagascar: Escape 2 [sic] Africa." An early scene in each contains the same hideous grammar error -- the use of me where I belongs. From "Madagascar": "You and me are different, son." From "High School Musical": "Me and my dad built this tree house."

It gives me the shrivels to hear this sort of dialogue. It's not English; it's Caveman (or "Cavemanglish," if you want to make a portmanteau out of it). Only two characters can get away with talking like that: Tarzan and Cookie Monster. Everyone else needs to know the difference between I and me. Actually, almost everyone else needs to know this. There are exceptions in high places, though it pains me to admit it. When Bill Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination in 1992, for example, he goofed twice, saying, "My mother was busy raising my brother and I," and "Give Al Gore and I a chance to bring America back." This is called "hypercorrection" -- he was avoiding using me to sound extra proper. It's proof, probably unnecessary, that you can be the leader of the free world even if you don't understand how to use pronouns.

What's more, you can probably also still get into the college of your dreams. I was very ready to dismiss "High School Musical 3" as wildly improbable not because of all the singing, dancing and cheek kissing, but because the main character, Troy Bolton, speaks Caveman. How could he possibly get into a school like Berkely? Then I talked to Marie Felde, director of media relations at UC-Berkeley. She set me straight. "If you used poor grammar but had something very special to bring to the student body, say you wrote an opera that was performed on a major stage, or invented a new tech tool that revolutionized communications -- that might work," she said. "High School Musical" isn't quite opera, but Zac Efron's character, Troy Bolton, did star in it, and his basketball team won the state championship, so I'm guessing this would impress the admissions committee, which looks for accomplishments like this when its members are making their decisions. So, fine. You can be president. You can go to Berkeley. Your life won't be ruined if you don't know the difference between I and me. But unless you're as cute as Cookie Monster or as loincloth-ready as Tarzan, you're going to bug people who know better. And there's no reason for that. There are just two little rules to remember when deciding between I, me and assorted other pronouns. Anyone can learn these.
Rule No. 1: I is the subject
Its official name is a nominative pronoun. All this really means is that it's standing in for your subject. So, use I when the pronoun you need is working as the subject of a clause or a sentence. I built this tree house. My dad and I built this tree house. This isn't hard to remember. If you find yourself getting confused when there are two subjects, drop one out. Everything should become clear. Even Troy Bolton probably wouldn't say, "Me built this tree house." Other pronouns can stand in for your subject, too. They are you, he and she, we, and they. So, you'd say, "He and Troy built the tree house," not "Him and Troy built the tree house."
Want More Martha?

Rule No. 2: Me is the object
Its fancy name is an objective pronoun. It means it's standing in for your object.

So, use me when your pronoun works as an object in the sentence or clause. A pronoun can be the object in two ways:

It can be the object of a verb. For example: The sushi (your subject) made (your verb) me (your object) sick. The movie gave Monica and me a fright.
It can be the object of a preposition. For example: She sent the letter to (a preposition) me.
Likewise, use you, him, her, us and them to stand in for your objects. There. That's it. Can you believe people get this wrong so often? And one last thing. That old tar pit -- it is I vs. it is me -- can be crossed off your list of things to worry about. Either one is fine, though the latter is best for informal contexts. In "The Second Tree from the Corner,"E:B white wrote a funny story he'd witnessed in a newsroom. Apparently a man had to identify his wife's body at the morgue. "My God, it's her!" the man exclaimed. The editor, earnest but emotionally tone deaf, changed it to "My God, it's she!" Now that's someone I'd like to go to the movies with, or, to put it in a way that would please the editor, someone with whom I'd like to go to the movies.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas Party Tips

While Christmas certainly is a time of joy for young and old, there's one person in every family who is likely to approach the holiday with a certain sense of trepidation. That person is the party host.

Holding a successful Christmas party takes a great deal of preparation, sensitivity and effort and though the rest of the family and other guests are likely to be willing to chip in with assistance in one form or another, it's still useful to know a few sure-fire Christmas party tips to help turn your event into a winner; without driving you to exhaustion in the process. The following collection of articles offers a wealth of practical advice to help you make the most of your time, budget and other resources in the lead up to Christmas, so that your concentration on the day only needs to be set on watching the smiles of your guests as they realise how blessed they have been to receive an invitation to such a successful event.

Friday, 12 December 2008

X-mas recipes for this year

Sugar Cookies


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk until combined. Add vanilla. Beat until combined.
  2. Add flour and salt. Beat until combined, scraping down side of bowl occasionally.
  3. Between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap with a rolling pin roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out shapes. Reroll and use scraps until all dough is used.
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes,depending on the size of the cookies, or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.


These cookies can be made through step 3, wrapped well, and refrigerated up to 1 week, or frozen up to 6 months.

Tips & Tricks

These cookies are also the perfect consistancy for making spritz cookies.

Preparation Time:

25 minutes, not including decorating time


About 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutters

Baking Time: 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies

Baked Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes (scrubbed)
3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon crumbled rosemary (optional)

Nutritional Information
1 serving:
Calories 219
Saturated Fat 1g
Total Fat 8g
Sodium 16mg
Cholesterol 0mg
Protein 3g
Carbohydrate 35g
Fiber 6g
Because most of their nutrients are directly beneath the skin, don't peel new potatoes. Just scrub and cook.

Makes 8 servings.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes with the garlic, oil, and rosemary, if using.

Step 2:
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast about 45 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Look for smooth-skinned solid potatoes. Avoid potatoes that are blemished or sprouting and those with a green color, which will taste bitter.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

The origins of Xmas

All this month we will have different topics about Christmas and New Year's eve 2009. Enjoy for now the story of the origins of Christmas. My best wishes xx x Liliana

Christmas (IPA: /krɪsməs/), also referred to as Christmas Day or Christmastide, is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that marks and honors the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.[2][3][4] His birth, which is the basis for the anno Domini system of dating, has been determined by modern historians as having occurred between 7 and 2 BC. The date of celebration is not thought to be Jesus' actual date of birth. It may have been chosen to coincide with the winter solstice,[5] which the ancient Romans celebrated on December 25.[6]

Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, church celebrations, and the display of various decorations—including the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes and holly. Santa Claus (also referred to as Father Christmas, although the two figures have different origins) is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas. Santa is generally believed to be the result of a syncretization between St. Nicholas of Myra and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology, and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media.

Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. The holiday is widely celebrated around the world, including in the United States, where it is celebrated by 96% of the population.[7] Some Orthodox groups celebrate Christmas on or near January 7, as January 7 corresponds to December 25 using the Julian calendar.[8] Because gift-giving and several other aspects of the holiday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, Christmas has become a major event for many retailers.


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a traditional North American holiday, which is a form of harvest festival. The date and whereabouts of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention, though the earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida.[1] Despite scholarly research to the contrary, the traditional "first Thanksgiving" is venerated as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621.

Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner is done in the evening, usually as a gathering of friends and/or family. At this time you say all your thanks and wishes.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


A nice student send me this and maybe you will find it true.

1. Maybe. . We were supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the
right one so that, when we finally meet the right person, we will know
how to be grateful for that gift.

2. Maybe . . . when the door of happiness closes, another opens; but,
often times, we look so long at the closed door that we don't even see
the new one which has been opened for us.

3. Maybe . . . it is true that we don't know what we have until we lose
it, but it is also true that we don't know what we have been missing
until it arrives.

4. Maybe . . . the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of
everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their

5. Maybe . . . the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten
past; after all, you can't go on successfully in life until you let go
of your past mistakes, failures and heartaches.

6. Maybe. .. . You should dream what you want to dream; go where you
want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and
one chance to do all the things you dream of, and want to do.

7. Maybe . . . there are moments in life when you miss someone -- a
parent, a spouse, a friend, a child -- so much that you just want to
pick them from your dreams and hug them for real, so that once they are
around you appreciate them more.

8. Maybe. .. . The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a
porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like
it was the best conversation you've ever had.

9. Maybe. . You should always try to put yourself in others' shoes. If
you feel that something could hurt you, it probably will hurt the other
person, too.

10. Maybe. . You should do something nice for someone every single day,
even if it is simply to leave them alone.

11. Maybe. . Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that
they will love you back. Don't expect love in return; just wait for it
to grow in their heart; but, if it doesn't, be content that it grew in

12. Maybe . . . happiness waits for all those who cry all those who
hurt, all those who have searched, and all those who have tried, for
only they can appreciate the importance of all the people who have
touched their lives.

13. Maybe . . . you shouldn't go for looks; they can deceive; don't go
for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile,
because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the
one that makes your heart smile.

14. Maybe. . you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet,
enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and
enough hope to make you happy

15. Maybe . . . you should try to live your life to the fullest because
when you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling
but when you die, you can be the one who is smiling and everyone around
you crying.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Nor and Neither

What is the correct answer?

Nor the apples, neither the basket _________ on the table.

Is it Is or Are?

Friday, 10 October 2008

An Article about tea....

Tea Time: recipes,memories and tidbits

By Ellen Easton C. 2004 All Rights Reserved

1. Does one drink tea or take tea? One drinks tea. During the Victorian era, the term to take tea was used by the lower classes and considered a vulgar expression by the upper classes.

2. Why is the shape of a teapot different from a coffee or chocolate pot? The teapot is designed with a lower rounded body to insure the tea leaves have the proper room for expansion during the infusion process. The lower placement of the spout on the vessel allows for the tea to be poured without interfering with the leaves.

3. What is the correct placement of the teapot on the table? The spout of the teapot and the tea kettle faces the hostess or pourer.

4.Are tea urns used for brewing or infusing tea? No. Tea urns were designed to heat and hold hot water for larger quantities of water. Their function was the same as a tea kettle.Ideally, one would dispense the hot water from the urn into the teapot. “Bring the pot to the Kettle, not the kettle to the pot.”

5.How does a teacup differ from a coffee or chocolate cup? Villeroy & Boch Cottage Tea Cup Saucer Traditionally a cup equals four ounces. However, the time of day and the beverage served will dictate the proper size of the service piece. Except for demitasse cups, which are served half full, all other cups are served three quarters full. A teacup is 3 1/4” to 3 3/4” in diameter and 2” to 2 1/2” in height. the companion saucer ranges from 5 1/4” to 5 5/8” across. A teacup is shallow and wider than a coffee or chocolate cup, giving the beverage a chance to temper before drinking.

6. What is a moustache cup? A moustache cup is a nineteenth century variation of the teacup created in England by Harvey Adams. It is designed with a slit ledge projecting from the front side of the rim, allowing the tea to flow through while a gentleman’s moustache remains dry resting on the top lip.

7.Why in older pictures of tea settings are spoons placed across the top of a teacup? Tea was very expensive during the early years of its popularity. As such,the actual tea wares were small in size. There was no room for a teaspoon to rest on the saucer. A guest rested their teaspoon on top of their teacup as an indication they had had sufficient tea. This was a signal to the hostess to stop pouring tea. Today, to indicate the same signal, due to the larger size of the teacup and saucer, the proper placement of the spoon would be across the top of your saucer, not the cup.

8. What is a tea plate? Native to England and Europe, tea plates were customized to hold a teacup without a saucer.The plate was embedded with a shallow well to secure the teacup. The foods and tea were served together on one plate. When one is using separate tea service pieces the customary size today is either a salad/dessert plate of seven to eight inches or a bread and butter plate of six to seven inches.

9. Where does the expression”not my cup of tea” come from? To refer to one as “not my cup of tea” derives from the fifteenth century Japanese Teaism. “No tea to him.” As one “insusceptible to the seriocomic interests of the personal drama.” It is used to describe those one does not care for.

10. How is a traditional English trifle made? Ruth Darley’s advise ,whether made from scratch or not, for an easy and quick English trifle recipe. Preferably set in a large footed bowl, alternate layers of the following ingredients:sponge or pound cake moistened with Sherry, egg custard or pudding, sliced strawberries, whipped cream and slivered almonds, repeat layers until bowl is filled. Fruit juice may be substituted for Sherry. Custard and pudding flavors may be changed to taste as well as seasonal berries.

11.When drinking tea does one lift the teacup and saucer or just the teacup?

If one is seated at a table, the proper manner to drink tea is to raise the teacup only,placing it back into the saucer in between sips.

If you are at a buffet tea ,hold the tea saucer in your lap with your left hand and hold the tea cup in your right hand. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer and hold in your lap.

In either event, never wave or hold your tea cup in the air.

12.What are the proper protocols for wearing gloves at an afternoon tea?

The protocols for wearing gloves are the same, whether one is attending an afternoon tea or any other event where foods and beverages are served.

While gloves are often highly designed with decorations and adornments, their sole purpose is to cover and protect ones hands from the elements.

When greeting another, remove the glove from the right hand, place the removed glove in your left hand and shake hands skin to skin.

It is improper to dine with ones gloves on. Remove your gloves before sitting down to dine. The exception is for long, formal gloves with buttons at the wrist. It is acceptable to unbutton, remove ones fingers and hands and fold back, to the wrist ,the lower portion of the glove without removing the upper portion from your arm. If the gloves have no wrist buttons, the gloves should be removed in their entirety before dining.


About the Author:
Ellen Easton, author of TEA TRAVELS(TM), TEA PARTIES and Good $ense For $uccess(TM) published by RED WAGON PRESS, 45 East 89th Street, Suite 20A, NYC, NY 10128-1256: (212) 722-7981,is a consultant and designer of related products, to the hotel, food service ,special event and retail industries. She is also available for speaking engagements. Please contact her for more information.

No copyrighted materials may be reproduced in any other format, now known or unknown, without prior written permission by Ellen Easton/ RED WAGON PRESS. All copyrights and trademarks remain the sole property of Ellen Easton/ RED WAGON PRESS with all rights reserved. (212) 722-7981

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Do you really want to learn English?

I have been teaching English for seven years, and I have discovered many different kinds of students. Ones are really keen on learning. Others they do it (as mandatory) because they have to, and this is the main reason for abscence and quitting.

The ones that they really want to learn, they learn it in a very fast way. They think is more like a pleasure to do it. Usually, I have seen that they are the ones who have travelled to other countries and they use it in their daily lives;listen to music, watch tv, have friends from other countries, like to travel etc. For them is a constant interest to have a every day a better level of English. Of course for an English teacher this is completely an ideal group. Everybody participating, interest in new words etc. But this is not the real truth.

The second group is usually common to find. They go to learn because of their work or because of their studies but they don not feel it. They usually had a a bad experience with other teachers and methodology. For them is a like a "karma" to do it. As a teacher for me this is the challenging part. It is important to motivate them to do it but how? Firstly, all is your attitude as a teacher. You must be optimistic and really feel it as a passion to teach. Secondly, methodology is important. I think you must teach in an easy way with out using so much terminology, and also to have good material such as good books, activities; lots of them!!! and be interactive. Actually, I have discovered that students are interested in applying technology to their language learning process. Trying to use mobile phones, internet, email etc motivate them more to learn. Finally, find a catchy topic and apply it to the class. You must understand that person feelings, interest, daily life.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Culture - the fifth language skill

This is the first in a series of articles by our third Guest Contributor Barry Tomalin.

What do we mean by 'culture'?
Many teachers quote the Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstede’s maxim ‘Software of the Mind’, the subtitle of his 2005 book ‘Cultures and Organisations’. What culture covers is the commonly held traditions, values and ways of behaving of a particular community. It includes what we used to call ‘British and American life and institutions’, ‘daily life’ and also cultural artefacts, such as the arts or sports. This is all interesting and sometimes useful knowledge and it is often included in textbooks.

However, there is also another level of understanding, of culture. This is how you develop cultural sensitivity and cultural skill. This covers how you build cultural awareness, what qualities you need to deal successfully with other cultures, and how to operate successfully with people from other cultures. This is often considered to be a business skill for adults, such as international sales managers or explorers. But if you think about it there is a set of skills also needed by refugee kids, ‘third culture kids’ following their parents as they are posted around the world, and students going abroad on gap years before university or overseas study grants. Therefore we could argue that the teaching of culture in ELT should include these things:

  • Cultural knowledge
    The knowledge of the culture’s institutions, the Big C, as it’s described by Tomalin and Stempleski in their 1995 book ‘Cultural Awareness’.
  • Cultural values
    The ‘psyche’ of the country, what people think is important, it includes things like family, hospitality, patriotism, fairness etc.
  • Cultural behaviour
    The knowledge of daily routines and behaviour, the little c, as Tomalin and Stempleski describe it.
  • Cultural skills
    The development of intercultural sensitivity and awareness, using the English language as the medium of interaction.

Culture – the fifth language skill

Why should we consider the teaching of a cultural skills set as part of language teaching and why should we consider it a fifth language skill, in addition to listening, speaking, reading and writing? I think there are two reasons. One is the international role of the English language and the other is globalisation.

Many now argue that the role of the English language in the curriculum is a life skill and should be taught as a core curriculum subject like maths, and the mother tongue. The reason for this is globalisation and the fact that to operate internationally people will need to be able to use a lingua franca. For the next twenty to thirty years at least, that language is likely to be English. That means that English will be a core communicative skill and will need to be taught early in the school curriculum. Many countries now introduce English at eight years old and many parents introduce their children to English at an even younger age, using ‘early advantage’ programmes.

The second argument is globalisation itself. You could say, ‘We are all internationalists now’. We are or will be dealing with foreigners in our community, going abroad more, dealing at a distance with foreigners through outsourcing or email, phone and video-conferencing. And this isn’t just for adults. Kids are interchanging experience and information through travel, keypal schemes and networks like Facebook. This is the time to develop the intercultural skills that will serve them in adult life.

Up until recently, I assumed that if you learned the language, you learned the culture but actually it isn’t true. You can learn a lot of cultural features but it doesn’t teach you sensitivity and awareness or even how to behave in certain situations. What the fifth language skill teaches you is the mindset and techniques to adapt your use of English to learn about, understand and appreciate the values, ways of doing things and unique qualities of other cultures. It involves understanding how to use language to accept difference, to be flexible and tolerant of ways of doing things which might be different to yours. It is an attitudinal change that is expressed through the use of language.

These are some of the big picture issues I would be delighted to exchange ideas on with you. In the next article we can look in more detail at some of the ‘nitty gritty’ operational issues that teachers and materials developers have to deal with in their daily lives.

I look forward to meeting you on the Net.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Tudors month- Charles Brandon

Charles Brandon was the third son of Sir William Brandon who, as Henry VII's standard bearer, had been killed by Richard III in person at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was brought up at the court of Henry VII and became a favourite of Henry VIII. He held several posts in the royal household and distinguished himself in the French campaign of 1513. In 1515 he privately married Mary Tudor, Louis XII's (king of France) widow and Henry VIII's sister, to avoid the political difficulties surrounding the marriage — Henry was keen to acquire the gold plate and jewels which Louis had promised Mary before his death and he made it clear he would only sanction Suffolk's marriage to her if he did indeed get them. Wolsey brokered a deal, however and the couple were able to have a public wedding some months later. Suffolk supported Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon, in direct opposition to Wolsey, and after the latter's disgrace, his influence increased rapidly to the point where he acted as High Steward at the coronation of Anne Boleyn. He died in 1545, a year after commanding an English army invading France. Through his daughter by Mary, Frances, he was grandfather to Lady Jane Grey who would reign for nine days in 1553.

Actor's Bio

Henry Cavill began his career as an actor in Stowe Boarding School in England where he appeared in many student productions. He has appeared in several films, including The Count of Monte Cristo, I Capture the Castle, Riding Hood, Hellraiser: Hellworld, and the film adaptation of the myth of Tristan & Isolde. He will soon be seen alongside Robert DeNiro and Claire Danes in the magical-realist fantasy Stardust.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Tudors Month - Anne Boleyn


Anne Boleyn began her court life as one of Katherine of Aragon's ladies in waiting, and went on to become Henry VIII's second wife, bearing him one child, Elizabeth. She was a very powerful figure at court and found herself actively promoting the cause of Church reform; Henry's divorce from Katherine had been "legalised" through the Act of Supremacy which placed the King at the head of the Church in England, freed from Papal authority. In 1532 Henry made Anne the Marchioness of Pembroke, making her the first English female commoner to become a noble in her own right by creation rather than through inheritance. However, her relationship with Henry was volatile: she was upset by his string of mistresses and he felt betrayed by her apparent inability to produce a son. On May 17th, 1536 she was accused of adultery, incest (with her brother who was also tried and found guilty), witchcraft and high treason and two days later she was executed in the French style, with a sword.

Natalie Dormer

A native of Reading, England, Dormer had her breakthrough big screen debut opposite Heath Ledger in the period comedy Casanova, a film The New York Times described as, "...a lively, sly and altogether charming farce."

Along with considerable experience in British theatre, she lists appearances in such television series as "Rebus" and "Distant Shores" among her credits.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The Tudors Month - Characters from the TV series Thomas More

Sir Thomas More was a scholar, author and a statesman. During his political career he was secretary and personal advisor to Henry VIII, Speaker of the House of Commons, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Lord Chancellor. He refused to sign a letter asking the Pope to annul Henry's marriage to Katherine of Aragon and did not accept Henry's claim to be head of the Church of England. In 1535 he was tried for high treason and was beheaded. His body was buried in the Tower of London while his head was hung over London Bridge for a month from where it was rescued by his daughter Margaret. He was canonised in the Catholic Church in 1935.


Jeremy Northam made his American film debut in The Net, but has appeared frequently in British period films such as Carrington, Emma, The Winslow Boy, An Ideal Husband, Enigma, and as famed actor and singer Ivor Novello in Robert Altman's Oscar®-winning Gosford Park.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Tudors Month - Characters from the TV series King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII

Henry was never intended for the throne of England. However, the death of his older brother Arthur at the age of 15 and his taking of his dead brother's bride, propelled the young prince into the limelight and laid the foundations for one of the most spectacular reigns in English history. The young Henry VIII was an artist, musician, theologian and sportsman — the perfect Renaissance prince — but the failure of his first wife Katherine of Aragon to produce a male heir brought out his darker side. Henry could be cruel and capricious, using arbitrary execution as an instrument of Royal policy. In his bid to produce an heir he would dismantle the established church in England, loot its possessions, and set himself up as an absolute monarch. By the time of his death, his desire to maintain his own magnificent dynasty had seen him marry six times, deplete the nation's coffers, and cut a swath through the English nobility. Yet a new age had been born in the fires of change and though the years had transformed a Renaissance prince into a sickly, overweight tyrant, his rule marked a sea-change in the fortunes of England.

Actors Biography

Jonathan Rhys Meyers first gained international attention for his starring role in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine opposite Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale and Toni Collette. Rhys Meyers' daring performance as ex-glam rocker Brian Slade garnered him a London Film Critics Circle Award nomination. Since then, Rhys Meyers has landed leading roles opposite today's hottest film actors and directors, and has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men.

In 2006, Rhys Meyers received a Golden Globe Award for "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie" for his portrayal of the young Elvis Presley in the television miniseries "Elvis." In addition to this honor, he received an Emmy® nomination. The flawless portrayal of "The King" by a young Irish actor floored critics and audiences alike.

Next spring, Rhys Meyers will be seen in August Rush, alongside an all-star cast, including Terrence Howard, Robin Williams and Keri Russell. The film will be directed by In America's Jim Sheridan.

Rhys Meyers was most recently seen in the much-anticipated action sequel Mission: Impossible III, in which he co-starred with Tom Cruise, Laurence Fishburne and Philip Seymour Hoffman, under the direction of J.J. Abrams.

In 2006, Rhys Meyers earned critical acclaim for his role in the highly anticipated Woody Allen film Match Point. Dubbed as Allen's "comeback," the film was nominated for three Golden Globes, including "Best Picture." Match Point, which co-starred Scarlett Johansson, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, with Rhys Meyers winning the festival's Chopard Trophy for Male Revelation.

Rhys Meyers is also recognized for his role as the girls' soccer coach in the award-winning sleeper hit Bend It Like Beckham, in which he starred alongside Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra. Rhys Meyers recent film credits include starring roles in Oliver Stone's epic Alexander, with Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie; and Mira Nair's Vanity Fair, with Reese Witherspoon.

On the small screen, Rhys Meyers has starred in a wide range of long-form projects, both in the U.S. and U.K. Among his television credits are the Showtime presentation of "The Lion in Winter," with Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart; Alfonso Arau's "The Magnificent Ambersons"; "Gormenghast"; "The Tribe"; and "Samson and Delilah."

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Rhys Meyers made his film debut in A Man of No Importance, and then played the young assassin in Neil Jordan's biopic Michael Collins. His subsequent film credits include The Maker, Telling Lies In America, starring Kevin Bacon; The Governess, opposite Minnie Driver; the thriller B. Monkey; Mike Figgis' The Loss of Sexual Innocence; Ang Lee's western Ride With the Devil; Julie Taymor's Titus, with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange; Prozac Nation opposite Christina Ricci; The Tesseract; the crime drama I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, with Clive Owen and Charlotte Rampling; and The Emperor's Wife. Rhys Meyers currently resides in London.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Tudors Month - The Family Tree

This month I want to present you a fascinating story...................... The Tudors. I hope you have seen the TV series presented in Colombia by People and Arts. Who are they? Why they were so important in the English Monarchy?

Tudor Family Tree

The Tudor Family Tree
Who were the Tudors? The Royal Tudors family tree traces the rise and the fall of the Plantagenet dynasty and the start of the Tudors dynasty with Owen Tudor. The Tudor family tree ends with Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth I died childless, thus ending the famous dynasty of the Tudors, and she was succeeded by King James I (1603–1625) and the dynasty of the Stuarts. Who did the Tudors marry? The six wives of Henry VIII immediately spring to mind. Who were the children of the Tudors? And who were the close relatives of the Tudors? Full details of the Tudors and their family tree is available in this section. King Richard III was defeated by Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 which started the House of Tudor. It is interesting to note that Edmund Tudor married Margaret Beaufort who was a descendent of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford.

The Tudor Family Tree

Edward III

The Black Prince
( Duke of Clarence)
(No Issue)
(Duke of York
John of Gaunt
(Duke of Lancaster)

Richard IIRichard
Duke of York

Henry IV

Edward IV and Richard Duke of York

Henry V

Edward V and Richard Duke of York
were murdered
Princes in the Tower

Henry VI
Married Catherine of Valois

Succeeded by their uncle who became Richard III

Catherine of Valois
( widow of Henry VI)
Owen Tudor

Edmund Tudor

Henry Tudor
King Henry VII
Elizabeth of York

King Henry VIII

Edward VI

Bloody Mary

Elizabeth I

Tudor Family Tree - The Tudor Kings and Queens
The Tudor Family Tree and the House of Tudor reigned from 1485-1603. The Tudor family tree included three Kings and two Queens:

  • King Henry VII who reigned 1485-1509

  • King Henry VIII who reigned 1509-1547

  • King Edward VI who reigned 1547-1553

  • Queen Mary I who reigned 1553-1558

  • Queen Elizabeth I who reigned 1558-1603

Tudor Family Tree - The End of the Tudor Dynasty
The Tudor Family Tree and the House of Tudor started with the defeat of the last Plantagenet, King Richard III, at the Battle of Bosworth Field when he was defeated by Henry Tudor who became King Henry VII, the father of King Henry VIII who was the most famous Tudor King. The Tudor family tree then continued with his children: Edward VI, Bloody Mary and Queen Elizabeth I. The Tudor Dynasty and Family tree then ends as all of the children of King Henry VIII were childless.

The Start of the Stuart Dynasty
The next English royal dynasty were the Stuarts who started with James I who was the son of Mary Queen of Scots, the cousin of Queen Elizabeth I.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

False Friends? Actual and Actuality

Have you listened about this word? False friends are all those words that in English have a completely different meaning from Spanish (as an example) but they sound very similar in appearance.

What are the mistakes in these sentences?

  • What do you think about the actual crisis?
  • In the actuality he's living abroad.
The mistakes are in actual and actuality.

Actual is truthful, real.
Actuality is reality.

Correct sentences:

  • What do you think about the present crisis?
  • At the present he is living abroad.
Correct sentences with Actual and Actuality.

  • Those were her actual words.
  • His novel blurs the division between dreams and actuality.
More false friends soon in this blog or in our English classes.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Accent reduction

This is a complete issue for people who are learning another language. Communication is no only how well you use the grammar, vocabulary etc but also how is your accent. By your accent you can tell where the people is from. I found this useful guideline from and I hope it will help specially to spanish speakers.

Common Mispronunciations
for Spanish Speakers

Because Spanish is your native language, you may find that the following sounds are particularly difficult for you to pronounce.

1. The “b” and “v” sounds are often confused
You may notice that you pronounce “b” like “v” and “v” like “b.” These are important sounds to practice and master.

To form the "b" sound, place your lips together, then force out the sound.

For the "v", you will need to lightly bite your lower lip and continue the sound so that you can feel your lower lip vibrate.

The word “vet” may sound like “bet.”
he word “boat” may sound like “vote.”

2. The “sh” and “ch” sounds are often confused
The “sh” and “ch” sounds are often interchanged in words. The difference between these two sounds is this: The "ch" is actually made up of two sounds: "t" and "sh." For this sound, you will need to remember to begin by placing the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth; then finish with "sh." Pay special attention to learning how to hear and feel the difference between these two sounds.

The "sh" sound still begins with the tip of your tongue near the spot for the "t" sound, however you continue this sound.

The word “sheep” may sound like “cheap.”
The word “chop” may sound like “shop.”

3. The “z” sound is pronounced like “s”
This sound may be very challenging for you because you naturally pronounce “z” in Spanish like the American English “s” sound. The difference between the sounds is in what we call “voicing.” We use our voice to say “z” but don’t for “s.” The tricky part is that most of the time, the “z” sound in English is represented with the letter “s.” Devote a lot of time to this sound. Let’s look at how it can affect your English.

The word “was” may sound like “wuss.”
The word “busy” may sound like “bissy.”
The word “zoo” sounds like “Sue.”

"z" sound

Smile and place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth. Use your voice as you continue the sound.

"s" sound
This is what we call the "snake" sound because it sounds like hissing. It is formed just like "z" but you do not use your voice.

"sh" sound

Round your lips and gently place your tongue tip behind your upper front teeth. It is a gentle sound that continues. We say this when we want someone to be quiet.

"ch" sound

This is made up of "t" and "sh." Begin by rounding your lips, then place your tongue tip behind your front teeth and say "t" followed quickly by "sh."

"b" sound
You must begin with your lips together, then separate your lips as you force out the sound.

"v" sound

If you lightly bite your lower lip and continue the sound, you will create a "v" instead.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

NEW vocabulary word/From scratch

Taken from

This is a phrase which means from the beginning or zero.
This expression is derived from the line scratched or drawn in the ground that people used as the starting line of a race. The phrase also means starting from raw ingredients.
For example, you can say, “My sister baked a cake from scratch for my birthday; she didn’t use any of those pre-mixed ingredients.”

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Multi-word verbs - MWVs

taken from

‘Get on' and ‘turn off' are multi-word verbs.

In the classroom
Recording MWVs correctly can help learners understand and use them. Verbs can be grouped together according to the particle, e.g. verbs with ‘up', according to meaning, e.g. verbs about feelings, or according to the main verb, e.g. verbs beginning with ‘turn'. However verbs are grouped, it is useful to encourage learners to include an example of the verb in use.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Text messages and the Internet

The increasing use of mobile phones and the Internet has had a significant impact on the lives of learners. I have found it really easily to use internet in my classes, but as a student how can you find it useful the usage of the internet when you are learning a language? How can you think you can learn English using your mobile phone?

Sometimes I feel that I have so much bookmarks in my internet explorer that I feel surprise when I don't remember the name of that webpage where I saw an interesting exercise. Also, I really don't know if using the mobile is a good idea. I have listened that many people feel annoyed when they receive so many text messages. I really think technology is useful but it has become more and more an important tool when learning a language that the day that occurs a black out I will really freak out!

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