The Wishgranter

In class we watched this animated short film The Wishgranter to talk about hypothetical situations. After you watch you’ll be ready to do the exercise below!

 

Fill in the gaps and answer the questions.

What would have happened if the waiter                          (not throw) the coin in the well?

What would have happened if the coins                       (not got) stuck?

What would have happened if the wishgranter                           (not have) an emergency kit?

What would have happened if the waiter                       (not come across) the dandelion or the wishbone?

What would have happened if the waiter                           (not give) the coin to the wish granter?

For some help for using the third conditional go here and for mixed conditionals, here.

What other superstitions do you know for making wishes come true? In this article  you have a few ideas!

How to…stop multitasking

Multitasking has become a natural way of approaching almost anything we do nowadays.

We’ve been talking about this in class, and becoming more aware of its effects: we spend more time carrying out our tasks, we do them worse and, on top of all, feel anxiety most of the time. In a former blog post you can find out more about multitasking. But  if you are looking for solutions, we have some for you!

In class the students came up with some wise advice:

Can you think of other tips?

Feel free to reply or share your opinions on Twitter using #occeoic

Words of Autumn

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:

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How many of these words do you know in English?

Test your knowledge of English words related to autumn with the quiz below:

https://quizlet.com/156646924/flashcards/embed

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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.

How sound affects us

Even when unnoticed, sound plays its part in our well being and mood. If you are curious about how it can be so, watch the TED talk by Julian Treasure and find out how sound actually affects us.

You can click here to access the lesson that features the talk and a multiple choice listening comprehension exercise.

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If you are interested in the topic of sounds and noises and you’d like to learn more vocabulary related to the topic this blog post might be right up your alley.

What makes people successful?

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Richard St John spent 10 years trying to find out what traits successful people had in common. It took him 500 interviews and listening to more than a thousand success stories to come up with the answer.

On a TED talk he explains his findings. Click on this link to access the talk and a multiple choice listening task to do while you watch: http://ed.ted.com/on/kUEoaB9w

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What do you think about it? #occeoic

Taking into account what you just learnt after watching the TED Talk, and your own experience, what advice would you give to people in the situations below?
1) Imagine a friend of yours wants to change their career but they are full of self-doubt and are wondering if it will be worth it. What would you say?
2) Imagine a co-worker of yours is full of brilliant ideas to improve the workplace but won’t communicate them for fear of being turned down or unwelcomed. Could you give them some advice?
If you need extra help to describe personality in English, you can click on this blogpost, which features a short film and a list of websites where you can learn or revise adjectives of personality.

 

Mind your spelling

On a former post I had written about how weird the English language was and this text by Richard Leverer proves it once again. But, among all this jungle of weirdness, probably one of the big challenges for most English learners is spelling and pronunciation. It is even a big issue for native speakers who may have difficulties spelling correctly.

Some words have different meanings, but are pronounced the same (homophones); others share the same sounds but are spelt differently, and there are silent letters (debt) and disappearing syllables (as in strawberry, because of word stress)….enough to make anyone go crazy!

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There is a poem that illustrates this wonderfully. The title is ‘The Chaos’ (by the way, are you sure you know how “chaos” is pronounced?) and it was written by  Gerard Nolst Trenité in 1922. You can read the whole poem on this post . How do you feel about it? Do you agree with the Frenchman who said he’d rather spend six months of labour than reading six lines aloud ever again?

The Spelling Reform

Watch the following video and find out the speaker’s main argument.

There are many people who advocate a spelling reform, in fact many proposals have been put forward to bring English up to date, arguing that the current spelling system has a significant economic and social cost.

What do you think about this? Would you like English spelling to be easier? Do you think there is no point in changing it ?

TIPS FOR LEARNING SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION

  1. 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.
  2. 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!