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Friday, 25 July 2014

Powerful Animation: Destroying the Planet, and Ourself.


This powerful animation from Mexico is about the downward spiral where the consequences of our actions are our own doom.
It’s made by Publicis México and Cluster Studio for CEMDA (Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental).

CEMDA is an initiative of a group of Mexican attorneys interested in the development, effective implementation and improvement of environmental law for the protection of the environment and natural resources of Mexico.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Hilarious Homophones with Examples and Explanations - Animals

The English language can be confusing. Homophones are especially tricky. A homophone is a word that sounds the same as another word but has a different meaning. Even native speakers often have problems with homophones!

These homophones have an animal theme. How many of these homophones can you understand? Take a look below the illustration for a vocabulary lesson.

Homophones vocabulary:

Grizzly – a large North American brown bear.
Grisly – something that causes horror or disgust.
Guerrilla – a member of a small independent group, which typically fights against larger forces.
Gorilla – a great ape found in the forests of central Africa. It is the largest living primate.
Soul – a style of popular music, combining elements of gospel and rhythm and blues.
Sole – a European flatfish.
Flee – to run away.
Flea – a small wingless jumping insect.
Dear -  used as an affectionate or friendly form of address.
Deer - a hoofed animal with bony antlers.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Monster cookies

(click on the picture for better viewing)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Let “Blurred Lines” Parody Teach You About Grammar - Video & Lyrics

The hit song “Blurred Lines” was turned  into “Word Crimes,” an entertaining ode to proper grammar. 



Everybody shut up, WOO!
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

[Verse 1]
If you can't write in the proper way
If you don't know how to conjugate
Maybe you flunked that class
And maybe now you thought
That people mock you online

[Bridge]
Okay, now here's the deal
I'll try to educate ya
Gonna familiarize
You with the nomenclature
You'll learn the definitions
Of nouns and prepositions
Literacy's your mission
And that's why I think it's a

[Chorus]
Good time
To learn some grammar
Now, did I stammer
Work on that grammar
You should know when
It's "less" or it's "fewer"
Like people who were
Never raised in a sewer

I hate these word crimes
Like I could care less
That means you do care
At least a little
Don't be a moron
You better slow down
And use the right pronoun
Show the world you're a no-clown

[Verse 2]
Say you got a "It"
Followed by apostrophe, "s"
Now what does that mean?
You would not use this in this case
As a possessive
It's a contraction
What's a contraction?
Well, it's the shortening of a word, or a group of words
By the omission of a sound or letter

[Bridge]
Okay, now here's some notes
Syntax you're always dangling
No X in "Espresso"
Your participle's danglin'
But I don't want your drama
If you really wanna
Leave out that Oxford comma
Just keep in mind
That we see

[Chorus]
R.U
Are words not letters?
Get it together
Use your spellchecker
You should never
Write words using numbers
Unless you're seven
Or your name is Prince

I hate these word crimes
You really need a
Full time proofreader
You dumb mouthbreather
Well, you should hire
Some cunning linguist
To help you distinguish
What is proper English

[Verse 3]
One thing I ask of you
Time to learn your homophones is past due
Learn to diagram a sentence too
Always say to whom
Don't ever say to who
Yeah, listen up when I tell you this
I hope you never use quotation marks for emphasis
If you finished second grade
I hope you can tell you could tell
If you're doing good or doing well
Figure out the difference
Irony is not coincidence
And, I thought that you'd gotten it through your skull
What's figurative and what's literal
Oh but, just now, you said
You "literally couldn't get out of bed"
That really makes me want to literally
Smack a crowbar upside your stupid head

[Chorus]
I read your e-mail
It's quite apparent
Your grammar's errant
You're incoherent
Saw your blog post
It's really fantastic
That was sarcastic (Oh, psych!)
'Cause you write like a spastic

I hate these Word Crimes
Your prose is dopey
Think you should only
Write in emoji
Oh, you're a lost cause
Go back to preschool
Get out of the gene pool
Try your best to not drool

Never mind I give up
Really... Now I give up
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Go Away!

Monday, 14 July 2014

This video is probably the most accurate depiction of Facebook ever made


It seems like every time you scroll down your Facebook newsfeed, somebody is having the time of his or her life on vacation, at a party, at a new job, or just hanging out by a pool.
How is everyone having this much fun all the time?
As a user, however, you’re only seeing what a person wants you to see.
You’re only reading what the person writes on Facebook for his/her “friends,” and you’re only seeing the amount of people who thoughtlessly “Like” it while scrolling through their own depressing news feeds.
With just a few exaggerations and emoticons, an event or situation can be made to seem far more exciting than it actually is.
Nothing the main character writes on his Facebook page matches what happens in real life, and the result is an amazingly well done film that chronicles how all of our lives on social media are lies.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

15 Things to STOP Doing When Learning English!

Learning a new language can be very difficult, but you can make it easier for yourself by NOT creating more barriers that will hinder your progress.  These tips (in no particular order) should help to make your learning process a lot smoother, and make learning English fun!
1. STOP translating!
stop translating

Translating should only be something you need to do in the very early stages of learning English.
Once you have a basic grasp of vocabulary, you should stop thinking in your own language and trying to translate everything, as this slows your progress down, and limits your focus!
When someone says something, concentrate on the words you DO know, and build your understanding from there.
2. DON’T be afraid to make mistakes!
DON’T be afraid to make mistakes!

Fear can become a huge barrier, which makes it difficult to progress. If you know the rules of grammar, but struggle to hold a conversation – that doesn’t mean you should avoid talking in English!
STOP thinking about how people might react, and what they’ll say. Everyone makes mistakes, and then they learn from them – that is how you get better at it!
3. STOP negative self-talk!
Having a negative attitude doesn’t help improve your learning, it makes it worse. If you find you’re saying negative things to yourself like:
“Why do I always get it wrong? I’m so stupid.”
“I always make mistakes; I’ll never get better at this.”
“I don’t know what to say, it’s so hard to speak in English.”
This needs to change! Try to turn them into positive statements, you can rephrase them to show positivity. Instead of saying “I’ll never get better at this”, you should say “I’m going to keep trying, I’m sure I’ll get better at it soon.”
Instead of saying “Sorry, I don’t speak English, I can’t understand you”, say “Sorry, I’m still learning how to speak English, so could you speak a bit slower please?”
Positivity helps you to learn much quicker!
4. STOP being nervous!
STOP being nervous

Speak in English every time you have the opportunity. If you think about speaking, then you’ll just feel even more nervous. Just put yourself out there, and speak!
The more you speak, the more confident and comfortable you will feel, and the quicker you will learn how to communicate in English properly!
You may need to step out of your comfort zone a little bit, but the more you speak in English, the more you will begin to feel relaxed.
5. STOP taking it personally when people don’t understand you!
taking

At some point, you will meet someone who, no matter how hard you try, just can’t understand you. This happens all the time.
Due to the large number of English speakers in the world, there is a wide range of accents, some of which, can be hard to understand!
Eliminating your mother tongue from your accent completely, is extremely difficult, so don’t be too hard on yourself!
6. STOP apologising!
No one knows everything – so don’t apologise for not speaking English perfectly! You’re still learning, everything takes time.
The more you speak and practice your newfound skills, the more you will improve. Even native English speakers didn’t learn how to speak in a few months!
The main thing is that you are trying, most people will understand and appreciate that. So just relax, and start talking!
7. DON’T just learn in class!
online English class and course

Learning in a classroom environment is great because you get to ask questions, pick your teacher’s brain, and share ideas with classmates, but you also need to implement the English language into your daily life, and communicate with people in English at every opportunity you get.

If you don’t practice speaking English outside the classroom, then your ability to progress will remain very limited. This is one of the most important things you need to remember.
It is the best way to learn, and will definitely influence how quickly you improve!
8. DON’T give up!
don't give up learning english

At first, it always seems hard when you’re learning something new, but if you keep at it – it will become easier!
You have to keep practising if you want to get better, otherwise it’ll get harder to improve.
Professional athletes have to do the same, they train hard all the time, because if they didn’t – their skills would just get worse!
9. STOP worrying!
STOP worrying

Don’t waste a chance to speak English because you’re worried about whether they will understand you or not. Be confident, and have an ‘I can do it’ attitude.
Don’t be shy! Least of all, don’t worry about learning, because it’s supposed to be fun. The more fun you have, the easier you will learn!
10. STOP comparing yourself to other English speakers!
STOP comparing yourself to other English speakers

No matter what level of English you are on, you worked hard to get there. Be proud of what you have achieved.
Everybody is different, some people learn languages more easily than others, and some people spend more time working to improve their English. Just because your friend is learning faster than you, doesn’t mean you’re not on the right path!
11. STOP using outdated, inefficient methods! (please)
STOP using outdated, inefficient methods

Grammar-translation methods, and memorisation of rules have been standard practice for a very long time, but they’re probably not the most effective ways to learn.
Some students study English for many years, and know all the rules of grammar and sentence structures, but still struggle to communicate properly and hold a conversation in English.
It is important to have a significant amount of time focusing on conversational, functional language use, and learn in context through interaction with other people!
12. DON’T work too hard on one skill and neglect the others!
working hard

If you just want to be able to speak to people, then you might place less emphasis on reading and writing, but you shouldn’t neglect them too much, as they are also crucial for fluency.
You should concentrate on improving your speaking skills, but also dedicate a suitable amount of time practising your reading, writing and listening skills. You shouldn’t underestimate the benefits all these skills have on each other!
13. STOP spending too much time studying!
STOP spending too much time studying

If you sit in front of a book or screen for hours, going over the same rules and flashcards again and again, it won’t make you learn any faster!
You should have short study periods of up to 30 minutes, then spend a generous amount of your available time putting the language skills you’ve learnt, into practice.
It’s okay to study for up to 30 minutes, take a break, then go back to studying if you really need to, but studying for a long period of time, without taking a break, is quite exhausting for your brain!
14. STOP thinking of learning as a chore!
be positive

Learners sometimes associate study with something that is unpleasant, which turns it into ‘boring homework’, and ‘boring exercises’.

Even if they realise that learning is important, they may not be self-motivated enough to do it all the time! It needs to be something you want to do, not have to do. Make it interesting so you have fun when you’re learning.
- If you’re walking down the street, build simple English sentences in your head about the things you see around you
- Learn a new word each day and try to use it in conversation
- Watch a funny video on the internet and tell someone what it’s about
- Read an article about your favourite band (or something else that interests you)
- Communicate with people on a discussion forum.
Soon you will stop thinking of boring classes, difficult grammar rules or lengthy homework – instead you’ll be thinking about a funny English TV show, your favourite band, or interesting conversations with different people – in English!
Only one kind of person would do these sort of things – the kind of person who enjoys them! If you want to learn how  to speak English well, you have to be that person. Have you ever heard of anyone who became successful by doing something they hated?
15.  DON’T disregard the culture!
Language is made up of so many intricate expressions of culture, that it is impossible for books and courses to cover them adequately.
For example, the way an average, ordinary person interacts with other people in his or her community. All cultures and small communities have different gestures, intonation, slang terms, proximity, interjections, fillers, and short cuts!
If you are focusing on learning the tongue of a certain community then it would be best to integrate with them, and learn from them!
12 to Stop Doing When Learning English

By Nadia Ilyas – English Teacher and Blog Writer