{November 22, 2012}   On Language


{November 22, 2012}   Great Video for “Team Work”

One of the videos I watched the most this year came from TED. Whenever you need to work with the idea of team work, be sure to have this video at hand – students love it, and they engage in great discussions departing from it.

The speaker, Tom Wujec, became known here in Argentina some 15 years ago with his book, “Five Star Mind – Games and Puzzles” (Mentalmanía in Spanish). I read it while I was a high school student myself, and it became one of my favourite books whenever I needed to be “creative.”

Hope you enjoy this video as I did!



{December 5, 2011}   Fun Time

Did you ever hear about “The Offensive Translator”? If not, this is your chance to have fun together with Catherine Tate:

{November 19, 2011}   Development of the English Language

Hope you like this video! I’ll be back for good in some weeks (truly, I promise!)

Development of the English Language


{July 28, 2011}   “The Letter”

Today I came across this EXCELLENT monologue by @stephenfry and I couldn’t help sharing it.

Hope you enjoy it too!


The day the letter arrived, I was due in court on the intricate case of Melchett vs The Vatican, which was coming to a delicate and potentially explosive stage.  The letter then came as a welcome diversion, and I tipped the delivery boy out of the window with more than ordinary generosity.  Even then, I fancy I gave a momentary shudder as I unfolded the letter, but it was a cold morning, and in accordance with Mr. Talcinghorn’s instructions w/ regard to Melchett vs The Vatican – I was naked.

    The letter read as follows:
    ‘If Mr. John Lawson Particle will travel immediately to Transylvania, as the honored guest of Count Dracula to personally advise his Excellency on a matter of great legal delicacy, Mr. Lawson Particle will be handsomely remunerated.  He is to bring on his journey no garlic, no crucifixes, no wooden stakes.  Neither is he to look up in a dictionary, the word “vampire.”’

    It seemed innocent enough.  Excited at the prospect at escaping a dreary London August, I rushed into Mr. Talcinghorn’s office.  He read the letter through and eyed me carefully – then he looked at my face.

    ‘You don’t find anything strange in this letter, Mr. Lawson Particle?’
    ‘Ah, you noticed it too, sir.  The split infinitive in the first sentence, yes.’
    ‘Uh, no, I was thinking… nevermind.  You plan to go on this sui- on this fascinating journey?’
    ‘With your permission, sir, I will go straight home, dress, and take the first train to Southampton.’

    Four days later, saw me standing at the gates of Castle Dracula, weary and travel-stained.  Prudence had demanded that I leave her behind, so I was alone.  Night was just falling as I knocked on the mighty oaken door and heard the answering echoes ring through the castle.  After what seemed a cliché, iron bolts were drawn back, the portal swung open, and Count Dracula’s manservant stood before me.  Of all the hideously disfigured spectacles I have ever beheld, those perched on the end of this man’s nose remain forever pasted into the album of my memory.  Bowing low, this loathsome wretch introduced himself.

    ‘Travolta, sir, at your servile. If you will follow me, I shall tell the master you have arrived.’

    Walking with a pronounced limp, L-I-M-P pronounced ‘limp,’ he showed me into a waiting room – Sorry, into a ‘waiting-room,’ and vanished.  Presently, he returned with his master.

    ‘Ah, Mr. Lawson Particle,’ cried the Count, ‘welcome to Castle Dracula.  Dinner is in half an hour if you would care to change.  We can leave business until tomorrow.  Travolta will show you to your room.  Tell me, what blood type are you?’
    ‘I said “what blood type are you?”’
    ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘B.’

    I tried to question Travolta as I dressed for dinner.  I asked him the nature of the count’s business, but he made the sign of the cross and said nothing.  I asked him why there were no mirrors in the castle, but this time he made the sign of the very cross indeed and spat openly.  This was puzzling.  I couldn’t see myself spending a month in a house without mirrors.  The man was either mad, or both.

    ‘Cape on for dinner, sir,’ said Travolta as we descended the vast stairway.
    ‘Capon!  Yummy!’ I replied.
    ‘No, sir, the count always insists that his guests put a cape on for dinner.’

    And what a dismal repast it was.  I passed a fitful night in my vast bedroom.  Below me I could hear the count’s footsteps echoing in the hallway.  I arose early, made my toilet, sat on it, then came down for breakfast.

    Travolta informed me that his master had gone to bed at dawn, and would expect me in his study later that evening.  It was a dreary morning.  The greatest excitement I had to look forward to that day was the prospect of a total eclipse of the sun, which was expected during the afternoon. When the time came, I watched through a fragment of smoked glass, as the moon slid slowly across the surface of the sun, and darkness shrouded the Earth.  I started at the sound behind me.  By the dim light of a candle I had prudently placed on the table, I could see that it was Count Dracula – my client.

    He seemed a little excited.  A tendril of spaghetti appeared to be protruding from either side of his mouth.

    ‘Why, good afternoon, count,’ I cried, ‘I wasn’t expecting you until this evening!  Have you come to enjoy the spectacle?’
    ‘The solar eclipse!’

    He looked out of the window.

    ‘Solar eclipse?’
    ‘Yes, it’s the first total eclipse I’ve ever seen! Exciting, isn’t it?’
    ‘Oh…. Shit….’
    ‘Um… is there something wrong, Count?’
    ‘How much longer is it going to last?’ he cried, and I could see fear in his blood-red eyes.
    ‘Well, it’s just ending now!’ I replied, ‘look at that!  Splendid isn’t it?’

    I turned in time to watch the moon moving slowly away from the sun, and light once more flooding the scene.

    ‘Have you ever seen anything so… Oh.  Count?’

    But he had disappeared, leaving his cape behind him.  In his hurry, he must have upset the ashtray on the floor beside him.  I never saw him again.



{March 25, 2011}   Accents – a compilation (!)

While doing my research for the previous post, I came across three very interesting videos where native English speakers show us some of the accents of the English language.

Here they are!


My adult students LOVED this fragment from Top Gear. Using authentic material with your advanced students is a great idea to make them live the language they are learning.

My secondary school students loved this short video where Inspector Clouseau tries to learn how to speak in an English accent.

et cetera