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.