Let’s learn a bit more about the figures that define the population of the world. Before you watch the video by National Geographic Magazine, try to guess what the figures below refer to:
7,000,000,000 / 25% / male / 8 hours / Chinese / India
Was there anything you found surprising about these facts? How typical are you?
Fun fact about this song:
On 30 September 2005, the writer and scientist Simon Singh accused Katie Melua in The Guardian of being scientifically incorrect with the lyrics. In her song she says: We are 12 billion light-years from the edge. That’s a guess – no-one can ever say it’s true, but I know that I will always be with you.
Singh said it was an assault on the accuracy of the work of cosmologists, and the article motivated a series of letters from other readers, agreeing or disagreeing. On 15 October, Melua and Singh appeared together on the BBCs Today programme and Melua sang a new version of the song including Singh’s amendments to the lyrics:
“We are 13.7 billion light-years from the edge of the observable universe / That’s a good estimate with well-defined error bars / And with the available information / I predict that I will always be with you”.
Both sides amicably agreed that the new lyrics were less attractive for commercial success, and continued with a discussion about scientific accuracy versus artistic licence.
In class we learnt how to write short texts for social media posts. After all, it’s one of the most likely writing activities an English language learner may do sooner or later.
Why not start practising your writing skills on your own social media profiles? Here are posts we did in class: Greetings from around the world!
The only things missing are emojis and hashtags!
Check out the some words we learnt to talk about food.
Here is some vocabulary to talk about the kind of house you live in.
House and furniture.
Idioms about home.
Quizzes on QUIZLET:
In class we stopped to think about what we would like to change in 2017, and found this great opportunity using the hashtag #My4WordNewYearResolutions
And here are some of the ideas we came up with:
We learnt that we can express intentions or resolutions using -be going to
I’m going to do more exercise or I’m going to learn how to cook
I’m gonna spend less money on clothes (more informal)
But we also found it very useful to use would like to+inf . Even though it doesn’t express a resolution, we needed it to share with each other the things we wish to change.
I‘d like to stop smoking or I‘d like to drive less and walk more
What was really tricky was to express it all in only four words!
It might seem that English pronunciation is difficult to handle. But there are habits that will make it easier for you to pronounce better. Here are a few tips I usually share in class with my students:
TIPS FOR LEARNING SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION
- Keep your own pronunciation record. I always recommend dedicating a few pages on your notebooks to grouping words according to their pronunciation. This is particularly helpful with vowels and vocalic groups. When you learn a new word which has a “weird” pronunciation, write it down with other words that contain the same sound. It can be useful also when there is a word you always seem to be getting wrong.
- Learn the symbols of the IPA (international phonetic alphabet). The IPA is an essential tool for language learners. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to learn to transcribe or even be familiar with every single sound, but you should be aware of some phonemes, as it will enable to pronounce any word at all by simply looking it up in the dictionary. The interactive phonetic chart below may be of some help to get started:
3. Learn to recognize word stress and sentence stress. Stress is the most important features of the English phonological system. Being aware that some syllables and words will not be heard because they are weak forms, while others will surely stand out because they are strong, will make it a little easier for you to start prediciting certain phrases because of their stress patterns. And you’ll finally get to understand the reason why “the English seem to eat up all the words”.
4. Be patient!
Last year some students in our school took part in the #asísedi campaign, a collaborative activity to learn and raise awareness on the right forms that exist in Galician to refer to everyday aspects of our life.
Students and teachers were invited to write words in Galician on an empty piece of a paper, which remained available and public over a period of time so anyone could stop by and share a word they knew.
The first semantic field we proposed was autumn and we asked people to simply write down or share on social networks what they associated this season with. Many words that were written on the board referred to melancholy, or popular festivities like “O magosto”, “Samaín” or “Tódolos Santos”. What ideas would have added?
After checking the correctness and suitability of the words, we posted the result:
How many of these words do you know in English?
Test your knowledge of English words related to autumn with the quiz below:
It’s your turn!
Is there any word you would like to add to this glossary? Can you spot any untranslatable phrase or word? Feel free to share your comments and ideas.