lunes, 30 de mayo de 2011

Vocabulary: Construction Project management A/E-Bid Shopper

A/E - Architect/Engineer; the design professional hired by the owner to provide design and design-related services.
Activity - (1) A scheduling term (2) The smallest work unit within a project; the basic building block of a project. (see Project)
ADA - The Americans with Disabilities Act which gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.
Addendum - (Addenda) Written information adding to, clarifying or modifying the bidding documents. An addendum is generally issued by the owner to the contractor during the bidding process and as such, addenda are intended to become part of the contract documents when the construction contract is executed.
Additional Services - Services provided over and above those designated as basic services in owner agreements with A/Es and CMs.
Agency CM (ACM) - ( CM Without Risk). A contractual form of the CM system exclusively performed in an agency relationship between the construction manager and owner. ACM is the form from which other CM forms and variations are derived.
Agent - One authorized by a client (principal) to act in his/her stead or behalf and owes the client a "fiduciary duty" (Trust). Example: Construction Manager for fee but classified as an independent contractor for tax purposes. A construction manager for fee does not have any financial responsibility whereas a construction manager at-risk does have financial risk similar to a general contractor.
Agreement - A legal document that binds two or more parties to specific and implied obligations, e.g., Contract. 
Alterations - (1) A term used to describe partial construction work performed within an existing structure (2) Remodeling without a building addition.
Alternate Bid - Amount stated in the bid to be added or deducted from the base bid amount proposed for alternate materials and/or methods of construction.
always at your service
Ancillary Benefits - Subordinate secondary benefits that automatically accrue from the performance of an unassociated prime responsibility.
Apparent Low Bidder - The bidder who has submitted the lowest competitive proposal as determined by a cursory examination of the bids submitted.
Application for Payment - Contractor's written request for payment for completed portions of the work and, for materials delivered or stored and properly labeled for the respective project.
Approved Bidders List - The list of contractors that have survived pre-qualification tests.
Approved Changes - Changes of any nature in contract requirements which have been agreed upon through a change approval process and approved by the owner.
Architect - An individual who designs and supervises the professional design for the construction of buildings or other structures.
Architect-Engineer (A/E) - An individual or firm offering professional services as both architect and engineer.
Architects Basic Services - A recognized series of phases performed by an architect as follows: 1st Schematic Design Phase, 2nd Design Development Phase, 3rd Construction Document Phase, 4th Bidding or Negotiated Phase, 5th Construction Phase.
Architectural Drawing - A line drawing showing plan and/or elevation views of the proposed building for the purpose of showing the overall appearance of the building.
Arrow Diagram - Also known as the I-J method or Activity-on Arrow method. This method uses arrows, pointing in the direction of schedule flow, to represent activities with duration and circles (nodes) at each end of the arrow designating the start and finish events (dates) of each activity.
as agreed
as far as I'm concerned
as far as the payment is concerned
as follows
as per invoice
as per to the conditions
as per your request
as requested
as soon as possible to
As-Built Drawings - Drawings marked up to reflect changes made during the construction process or after construction that amend the Contract Drawings to show the exact location, geometry, and dimensions of the constructed project. It is good practice to make As-Built Drawings by marking the changes on reproducible drawings such a mylar, vellum or sepias for the duplication purposes later. As-Built Drawings are not the same as Record Drawings.
at your convenience
at your earliest convenience
at your expense
awaiting your reply
Basic Services - The services specially listed in the services agreement as basic services.
Beneficial Occupancy - The point of project completion when the owner can use the constructed facility in whole or in part for its intended purpose even though final completion may not be achieved.
Bid - A binding offer, usually expressed in dollars to provide specific services within clearly stated requirements.
Bid Bond - A written form of security executed by the bidder as principal and by a surety for the purpose of guaranteeing that the bidder will sign the contract, if awarded the contract, for the stated bid amount. The Surety is a third-party that makes a pledge to pay liquidated damages to the owner to the extent of the difference between the bonded contractor bid and the next highest bidder but not to exceed the face value of the bond; if the bonded contractor declines an award offered by the owner.
Bid Date/Time - The due date and time set by the owner, architect or engineer for receiving bids.
Bid Depository - A physical location where trade contractor proposals are fled the day before general contractor bids are to be received by an owner for pickup, opening, acceptance, or rejection by general contractors bidding the owner’s project.
Bid Division - A portion of the total project reserved for contractors for bidding and performance purposes, i.e., Division of Work or Work-Scope.
Bid Division Description - A narrative description of the concise work-scope to be bid and performed by a contractor, Division of Work Description or Work Scope Description.
Bid Documents - The documents distributed to contractors by the owner for bidding purposes. They include drawings, specifications, form of contract, general and supplementary conditions, proposal forms, and other information including addenda.
Bid Form - A standard written form furnished to all bidders for the purpose of obtaining the requested information and required signatures from the authorized bidding representatives.
Bid Opening - The actual process of opening and tabulating bids submitted within the prescribed bid date/time and conforming with the bid procedures. A Bid Opening can be open (where the bidders are permitted to attend) or closed (where the bidders are not permitted to attend).
Bid Price - The stipulated sum stated in the bidder’s bid.
Bid Shopper - A buyer or client who seeks to play one proposed supplier or subcontractor against the other for the purpose of reducing a purchase price.

domingo, 29 de mayo de 2011

English Tips Self-Taught: IAN RANKIN'S EDINBURGH

English Tips Self-Taught: IAN RANKIN'S EDINBURGH: "  Source: Language level: Advanced Speaker: Mark Worden Standard: British accent Ian Rankin published his first novel..."

Funny commercial: beauty is nothing without brains

You needed me - Anne Murray

North and South episode 1 part 1

Personality Idioms with ParoLingua


abrasive abrasivo (m.)
abutment estribo (m.) de puente
abutting joint junta (f.) a tope
accelerator acelerador (m.)
acoustical material material (m.) acústico
adhesive adhesivo (m.)
admixture agregado (m.)
adobe adobe (m.)
aerated concrete concreto (m.) aireado
aggregate áridos (m.)
air brick ladrillo (m.) hueco
air-entrained concrete concreto (m.) celular
aluminum foil insulation aluminio (m.) para aislamiento (lámina (f.) de)
anchor anclaje (m.)
anchor blocks macizos (m.) de anclaje
anchor bolts pernos (m.) de anclaje
anchor plates placa (f.) de anclaje
angle iron angular (m.)
anhydrous lime cal (f.) anhidra
annealed wire alambre (m.) recocido
annunciator wire alambre (m.) guía
arch brick ladrillo (m.) abovedado
armored cable cable (m.) armado
armored wood madera (f.) armada
artificial marble mármol (m.) artificial
asbestine asbestina (f.)
asbestos asbesto (m.)
asbestos cement asbesto (f.) cemento (f.)
asbestos lumber amianto (m.) prensado
asphalt asfalto (m.)
automatic time switch apagador (m.) / interruptor (m.) automático
backing brick ladrillo (m.) de relleno
bar barra (f.)
bar handle empuñadura (f.) de barra (f.)
base coat capa (f.) base (f.)
battery batería (f.)
beaded joint junta (f.) achaflanada
beam, girder viga (f.)
beam hanger estribo (m.) de viga (f.)
bearing plate placa de asiento (vigas)
bent bar barra (f.) curva
bevel washer rondana (f.) / arandela (f.) achaflanada
blown joint junta (f.) soldada con soplete
boiled oil aceite (m.) de linaza (f.) cocido
bottom rail cabio (m.) bajo
box frame bastidor (m.) de cajón
brace jabalcón (m.)
bracketing armadura (f.) interior (m.) de una cornisa (f.)
braided wire hilo (m.) trenzado
brick ladrillo (m.) / tabique (m.)
bridging joist jácena (f.)
brownstone arenisca (f.) ferruginosa
builder´s acid acido (m.) para limpiar ladrillos (m.)
builder´s staging andamiaje (m.) pesado

sábado, 28 de mayo de 2011

Vocabulary, phonics, Aachen-abscess

| ˈɑːkən | Aachen: 1. Aix-la-Chapelle
| ˈɑːdvɑːk | aardvark cerdo hormiguero
| ˈɑːdvɑːks | aardvarks cerdos hormigueros
| ˈɑːdwʊlf | aardwolf
| ˈɑːrhuːs | Aarhus | ˈerən |
| aˈbrɪdʒd | abridged
| aˈbrɪdʒɪŋ | abridging
| aˈbrɪdʒɪz | abridges
| aˈbrɪdʒmənt | abridgment n. A condensed form as of a book or play.
| ˈæb | ab prefijo que indica separacio/n
| æbˈdɑːmɪnl̩ | abdominal
| æbˈdɒmɪnl̩i | abdominally
| ˈæbdəˌkeit | abdicate : renounce; give up (position, right, or responsibility)
| æbˈdəkʃn̩ɪz | abduction's el secuestro de
| æbˈdəkʃn̩z | abductions secuestros
| æbˈdəkt | abduct | æbˈdəktəd |
| æbˈdəktər | abductor | æbˈdəktərz |
| æbˈdəktər | abductor raptor
| æbˈdəktərz | abductors secuestradores
| æbˈdəkts | abducts rapta
| ˈæbdəmənz abdomens abdomenes
| ˈæbdəmənz | abdomens
| ˌæbdɪˈkeɪʃn̩ | abdication
| ˈæbdɪkeɪtɪd abdicated abdicado (participio de abdicar)
| æbˈdomən | abdomen | æbˈdomənɪz |
| æbˈdomənɪz | abdomen's
| æbˈdʌktəz | abductors secuestradores
| æbˈdʒekʃn̩z | abjections
| ˈæbdʒekt | abject miserable (poverty); rastrero (apology)[Adjective]
| ˈæbdʒektli | abjectly abyectamente
| ˌæbdʒʊəˈreɪʃn̩ | abjuration
| ˈæbˌə | abba
| ˈæbəˌɡel | abigail doncella
| ˈæbeɪ | abbe abate
| ˈæbəkəs | abacus frame with balls for calculating
| ˌæbəˈlɪʃənəst | abolitionist
| ˌæbəˈlɪʃənəsts | abolitionists
| ˌæbəˈlɪʃənˌɪzəm | abolitionism
| ˌæbəˈlɪʃn̩ | abolition n. abolishing or being abolished
| ˌæbəˈloʊni | abalone abulón
| ˈæbəlsən | Abelson | ˈæbəˌɡel |
| ˈæbərˌdin | Aberdeen | ˈæbərˌnæθi |
| ˌæbəˈreɪʃənəl aberrational aberrante; desviado[Adjective]
| ˌæbəˈreɪʃn̩ | Aberration (n) – Deviation from a right, customary, or prescribed course.
| æˈberənt | aberrant | ˌæbəˈreɪʃn̩ |
| æˈberəntli aberrantly aberrantemente
| ˌæbəˈrɪdʒəni | aborigine | ˌæbəˈrɪdʒəniz |
| ˌæbəˈrɪdʒəniɪz | aborigine's
| ˌæbəˈrɪdʒəniz | aborigines
| ˌæbəˈrɪdʒn̩əl | aboriginal : being the first of its kind in a region; primitive; native; indigenous; N. aborigine
| ˌæbəˈrɪdʒn̩əli | aboriginally
| ˈæbərˌnæθi | Abernathy
| ˈæbes | abbess
| ˈæbˌəˌsi | abbacy Abadía
| ˈæbət | abad
| ˈæbət | abbot | ˈæbəts |
| ˈæbət | Abbott
| 'æbˌəˌtis | abatis barricada
| ˈæbəts | abbott's
| æbˈhɔːr | abhor to hate to detest
| ˈæbi | abbey | ˈæbiz |
| ˈæbi | abby
| ˈæbiɪz | abby's
| ˈæblaʊt | ablaut quesontes
| æbˈleɪʃn̩ | ablación ablation
| æbˈleɪʃn̩ | ablation ablacio/n
| æbˈleɪt | ablate extirpar
| æbˈleɪtɪd | ablated extirpado
| æbˈleɪtɪŋ | ablating
| æbˈleɪts | ablates
| ˌæbnɔːrˈmæləti | abnormality
| ˌæbnɔːrˈmælətiz | abnormalities
| æbˈnɔːrməli | abnormally
| æbˈnɔːrml̩ | abnormal | ˌæbnɔːrˈmælətiz |
| ˈæbnər | abner
| ˌæbnɪˈɡeɪʃn̩ abnegation : renunciation; self-sacrifice; self-abnegation
| ˈæbrəɡeɪts | abrogates
| ˈæbrəˌɡet | abrogate | ˈæbrəˌɡetəd |
| ˈæbrəˌɡetəd | Abrogate (v) – To abolish, repeat
| ˈæbrəˌɡetɪŋ | abrogating
| ˌæbrəkəˈdæbrə | abracadabra n, interj meaningless word said as a supposedly magic formula esp by conjurors while performing magic tricks
| ˈæbˌses | abscess absceso, flemon

viernes, 27 de mayo de 2011

A Memory Unchained

Gloria Graham

Chapter one

The delicate old lady with snow white hair sitting next to Pamela counting her prayer beads never
missed a beat as the Jumbo Jet broke ground and darted upward. “Oh my,” she gasped. Her wrinkled face grimaced with fear. Pamela reached across the seat and patted the
old woman’s shaking hand. “First flight?” she asked, trying to show a great deal of calm herself. The old lady nodded, never skipping a count on her beads!
“Everything will be just fine, try to relax a little.” Pamela’s friendly smile captivated everyone she came into contact with and the shaking little old woman was no exception.
She returned her smile a little reluctantly as she asked in her broken English, “Are you Catholic Mon Ami?”
Pamela smiled realizing the old lady was very much a Frenchman. “Baptist,” she answered shaking her head, and smiling again as she said, “Same God.” With that the old
lady nodded in agreement and continued her prayers.
Pamela sat quietly looking out the window deep in thought, as New York passed under her and quickly only
blue sky was visible.
“Are you visiting someone in my Parie?” the old lady spoke. Pamela turned in her seat to answer her question.
“Not exactly,” she said. “I’m traveling on business. I am a dress designer and I am going to Paris for the new
fashion showings.” Pamela shivered as she uttered those words, it was a dream come true.
The Captain’s reassuring voice came over the intercom.
They were at altitude and could unbuckle the seatbelts and move about the cabin. Pamela thought how wonderful it was to hear him.
Pamela adjusted her seat back and gave a sigh of relief.
The magazine in the pocket in front of her had a beautiful colored picture of the Eiffel Tower on its cover. She
smiled as she gently touched the cover. “I’m really on my way and I will see you soon,” she said to herself staring at the picture.
As she closed her eyes she remembered the note her daughter Jill had tucked into her pocket with instructions not to read until she was airborne. She wasted no time in
opening it.
Inside the note read, “I love you Mom, have a wonder time. Watch those fabulous Frenchmen!” She added, “Ha Ha. You deserve this trip! Love, Jill”
Leaving Jill was definitely the hard part of the trip. But she was a grown woman now and Pamela hated to admit that. She still liked to think of her as her “little girl.” Jill often had to remind her that she had her own job, her own apartment and doing quite well at college. It hadn’t
been long that Jill left for College and the apron strings had to be broken.
Pamela thought of her daughter and the wonderful friendship they had developed since that time. Jill was a
young lady with a definite mind of her own. She recalled their conversation just two days before. “Who will keep you in line in Paris Mom if I’m not with you? I think I should go as your chaperone,” she teased. It was a natural thing for Jill to worry about her Mother. She hated her living
alone and never doing anything. She knew her Mother was never going to get over the death of her Dad until she
began socializing and meeting people again. That’s why this trip to Paris was so important to Jill. This was going to be her Mom’s “coming out again” trip!
“I can’t believe you are actually going to Paris. Maybe you’ll meet some handsome, exciting Frenchman who will sweep you off your feet!” Jill was only half teasing. It was really her dream for her Mom.
“Is that all you ever think about young lady?” Pamela scolded her. She too was only half teasing. Jill was not afraid to tell her Mother her feelings. Pamela had taught her to always be truthful. Jill smiled at her Mother sweetly and replied, “You need to start living again Mom!”
Pamela closed her eyes as the quiet hum of the jet engines filled the air. It was hard to swallow the lump that
had developed in her throat as she thought about leaving Jill behind.
“It’s only a month, thirty days, get a hold of yourself,”
Pamela thought to herself. It was her “reality” check on herself. She learned that lesson a long time ago from a very famous pastor who reminded her that Jesus suffers when
we suffer. He feels our hurts; he knows our thoughts – so talk to him. That was how she had survived this past year without her beloved husband. God came alongside and
filled her heart when it was in such pain. Pamela breathed deep and thought, “God is good.” She glanced at the little old lady next to her who seemed to be a little more relaxed.
“That’s good,” she smiled.
Pamela jumped as the “fasten your seatbelt” sign went on and the announcement came over the speaker. She felt a few bumps and looked out the window to see a very cloudy sky. Staring out the window Pamela began thinking of how it all happened that she was even on the plane, heading for Paris.
It had only been a few weeks since her boss, J.P. Orland had surprised her with the news of the Paris trip. There had been some very catty remarks going around the office as to why she had been chosen to take this trip. She overheard one of the girls at the copy machine saying, “She’s sleeping
with J.P., that’s how she got the trip.” That remark hurt her deeply. She thought she had always tried to present herself in a better light than that!
J.P. was so caught up in his business he wouldn’t give her a second look. She had almost decided to ignore the
remark but decided to face it head on. She prayed as she decided just how to approach Sally in a Christian way.
This took a lot of prayer on Pamela’s part, she had to get over how she really felt, mad.
The office was the open style with at least 50 desks placed around the room. There was an obvious silence
that fell over the room as Pamela walked around Sally’s
desk and placed her hand on her shoulder. Sally winced as if she were expecting to be hit.

“Can we go somewhere and talk?” Pamela said in a quiet tone. “I need to clarify something for you and I don’t
want to do it out here in front of everyone.” She smiled at Sally.
Sally looked pale but agreed to go with Pamela to the ladies lounge. Pamela could see the pain Sally was going through. She knew what it was all about, that was obvious.
It would be so easy to really light in on her, put her in her place, show her who’s boss, but Pamela knew in her heart that would not be right, not the Christian way, not a way she could show she was a Christian.
“Sally,” she said calmly, “I’m so happy to be going to Paris to represent Mr. Orland in this years fashion designs,
I know you’re happy for me.” Sally swallowed hard.
Pamela continued, “I don’t know if you know it or not but this was a joyous surprise for me since I hardly know Mr. Orland personally. But I know you know all that. I know how hard it is to keep a secret around here,” she laughed.
Sally laughed a little shyly, dropping her head.
“I would love to bring you something back from Paris, do you like perfume?” she asked.
Sally sputtered as she said, “That would be real nice of you, Miss Pamela.”
“It would be my pleasure, perfume it is. I do hope you will have a wonderful day today, there’s lots to do before I am ready to go. I really appreciate all you do for Orlands
and for me especially!”
Pamela leaned close to Sally and whispered in her ear,
“The tongue can be a very wicked thing, if not used properly.
I really try to remember that.” She smiled at Sally.
“Yes Ma’am, I will remember that too.” She answered sheepishly.
Pamela patted her gently on the shoulder and said, “I will see you when I return.”
Sally was obviously impressed with the way Pamela had taken care of the situation. Tears filled her eyes as she
thanked Pamela for understanding.
As Pamela turned and walked away she couldn’t help wonder why J.P. had picked her for this trip. She did have seniority and she was the head of the Fashion Department at Orlands, but J.P. definitely had his favorites and she never saw herself as one of those girls.
Pamela had looked at the ticket she held in her hand that made her trip a reality. She didn’t know why but she
was going to the fashion capital of the world, Paris!
Pamela had a few second thoughts as she listened to J.P.’s blistering voice. “Get over there – get the scoop on
the fashions for next season! Get us some new ideas! New ideas, that’s what we need,” he spit out the orders never looking around to face her.
Pamela thought to herself, “He wouldn’t recognize me if I ran right into him in the hallway.” She wanted to ask him to turn around but she thought better of it! After all,
he was the boss.
She wondered as she began gathering up the things she needed to take with her on the plane how she would
ever change J.P.’s conservative ways. She had tried before during this past year as head Fashion Coordinator for Orlands Department Store Chain but it hadn’t worked. He just couldn’t get “modern” and that was really hurting his business. He always laid her ideas aside and took the least line of resistance, staying with designs he was absolutely sure would sell. Now he wanted her to go to Paris and get
the “scoop” as he called it. Would he be open to the new ideas she would bring home? She wondered.
The clouds had disappeared and beautiful blue sky was all you could see out the window of the plane. She glanced again at the in-flight magazine and the picture of the Eiffel
Tower on the front.
“Are you alright Mon Ami?” The little French lady had been watching Pamela deep in thought. She added quickly, “You are so elegant, your clothes, so lovely. Paris should
be honored to have such a guest as you.”
Pamela smiled as the old lady added, “I have never met a celebrity before.”
“Just a very lucky lady,” Pamela answered. She reached over to squeeze the woman’s wrinkled hand that still clutched the prayer beads tightly in them. Pamela had
a special feeling for the old lady. It struck her as strange since she just met her. The old lady had a way of making Pamela feel special and a bit important. She had not had that feeling in a long time. Jill always tried, but no one took the place of her late husband.
Tom had a way of doing just that, making her feel special all those twenty-two years. Now, without him so much was missing. She paused and memories began to flood her mind. She felt emptiness, loneliness. She missed having him to depend on. Tears streamed down her cheeks
as she sank into her thoughts even more.
She remembered the feel of his warm body close to hers. She loved the salty taste on his lips and shoulders.
She felt a knot in her stomach. She hadn’t let her thoughts go back in a long time. Now she quickly wiped away the tears and realized again how much she missed his warm, loving understanding.
She began working with her notebook, shuffling all the papers she had to go over but it seemed to be for no purpose. “Will this terrible feeling ever go away?” She remembered
the bible verse Pastor Smith had given her to hang onto, Proverbs 5:3, “Trust in the Lord with all your
heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your pathway straight.” She sighed, feeling much better. “I have almost
worn that verse out. I wonder if God ever gets tired of my repetition?” She knew the answer to that before she said it. He doesn’t.
“Where did that itinerary go anyway?” she muttered to herself trying to get her mind off her memories.
She began to read:
Monday: 9:00 AM – Rex Dupar’s office.
2:00 PM – Lunch at Care Deux-Magets – Left Bank.
“Hum,” she whispered, “Rex Dupar, the most eligible bachelor and most sought after designer in all of Paris and I get to have lunch with him.” Pamela’s pulse raced with
excitement. “He has to be very tall, thin and just a touch of gray hair around his temples.” At least that was the picture she had of him in her mind.
As she shuffled her papers, an envelope caught her eye.
“Another good-luck message from Jill?” she wondered as she ripped it open. If she hadn’t been in such a hurry she might have realized from the return address that the envelope
was from Jeff Desmond!
She began to read: “Good Luck! I’ll be waiting for you.
Sorry about everything. Lets start over. I love you, signed Jeff.”
Pamela paused. She read the message over and over.
Then she accidentally repeated the message out loud. She shook her head in disbelief.
“Start Over? Not a chance! Who does he think he is anyway?”
Pamela was embarrassed when she noticed everyone turning around to see what the commotion was all about.
Her face flushed. She glanced at the little old lady and was glad she had fallen asleep. She quickly pulled the magazine over her face and scrunched lower in the seat, hoping no one would notice her.
“He is so full of himself it’s down right disgusting!” she mumbled quietly to herself. “Count to ten, count to ten,”
she reminded herself. “Why am I always counting to ten when it comes to Jeff?” she sighed again, pretending to read the magazine.
It wasn’t long before her thoughts drifted back to their first kiss. Her hands began to perspire as she remembered how powerful, yet sweet and loving that kiss was. Jeff was about the biggest catch of the season. He had looks, money, and was single. Every woman had her eye on the
single heartthrob of the year! The gossip columnists had a field day with him.
Pamela closed her eyes and reminded herself that was not what she was looking for. She wanted more, a deep,
caring relationship built on faith and trust, a relationship like she had with her late husband. “I don’t think that
would ever be possible with this ‘man of the world’,” she sighed.

She tried to push the thought of Jeff Desmond out of her mind. “It’s over, finished!” she whispered. The handsome department store manager was a closed subject.
Pamela began tearing the note in tiny shreds. By this time the little French lady moved her wrinkled hand across
the seat and patted her hand. “It will be alright,” she smiled.
Pamela realized she had probably heard the sighs and the paper tearing but really needed someone to give her a little comfort at that moment.
Pamela reached across the arm of the seat and gave the old woman a kiss on the cheek. The thought crossed her
mind, “A kiss is the same in any language!”
The “Fasten Your Seatbelt” sign came on. People began buckling their belts as the steward announced, “We will be arriving in Paris in a few minutes.” Pamela glanced out the
window to see the land appear below. Her heart began to flutter as she anticipated what would be happening next.
She watched as the bags began to circle the ramp. It was a good feeling to see her bags come around. “One,
two, three,” she counted. They were all there! “Yes,” she smiled.
As she looked around, nothing looked familiar. The signs, all in French, made her realize more than ever that
she was the foreigner in this country. She opened her book to try and translate! This was not a simple task. It seemed to take hours to find out how to say, “where is the…”
Just as she began to feel very frustrated, a very French voice startled her. “Ms. Thornton?” he asked.
“Yes.” She whirled around to see a very tall, handsome Frenchman stood smiling at her.
“Oh,” she said, sounding a bit like a schoolgirl lost on her first day at high school. “Did Mr. Dupar send you?”
“Oui,” he answered. His French accent was very evident.
She knew that it meant, “Yes.”
“Thank heavens! I was beginning to feel very lost! I really didn’t know what to do next!” She smiled and he
smiled back. She was sure he didn’t understand one word she said!
She pointed to the beautiful aqua bags that were on the ground beside her. “These are mine.”
“This way mademoiselle,” he said as he led the way through the crowded lobby to the exit doors. A maroon
limousine pulled alongside the entrance. The chauffeur jumped out quickly and opened the door for her. He turned to look at the handsome Frenchman, “Your car Mr. Dupar,” he said. Bowing a bit.
Pamela looked shocked! “Dupar?” she quizzed.
“Rex Dupar, at your service Chéri.” He bowed slightly too and laughed.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” Her face turned a bright pink which made her blue eyes sparkle
even brighter.
“How wonderful, a woman who can still blush!” he smiled.
“I feel so foolish, I never expected a busy man like you to meet me,” she had a perplexed look on her face. Pamela had wanted his first impression of her to be one of elegance and refinement. She knew she had just blown that away.
“Please, do not be embarrassed, it is I who should apologize.
It was a little joke, but perhaps not a very good one?”
He raised his eyebrows a bit waiting for a response.
“It’s really okay, it was really a good joke on me.” She smiled.
“Mon Ami, you are so very kind. Do forgive my little joke and let me repay it. If you will allow me, tomorrow
I shall show you my Paris!” He bowed again.
“That would be wonderful, I can’t wait.” Her excitement was evident in her voice.
“You have not seen Paris until you see it with a French man!” he laughed.
Pamela didn’t feel like going to bed, even though the clock on the wall said it was time. She glanced at her watch
and was reminded of the time difference. “Jet lag, that’s what I have, jet lag.” She smiled as she began changing the time on her watch. She was completely mixed up and the
excitement she felt finally got the best of her. She whirled around in a circle repeating over and over, “Can this really be happening to me? Paris?” When she finally settled back to the job of unpacking, she thoughtfully thanked God for making all of this possible. “God is so good,” she
whispered and then followed it with the saying she had grown up with in church, “all of the time.”
Pamela had just finished hanging the last of her clothes in the closet when there was a knock at the door.
Puzzled, she opened the door. A short, pale-faced man stood holding a huge bouquet of yellow roses.
“Oh, for me?” She said in surprise.
“Oui Mademoiselle.” He handed the bouquet to Pamela waiting for her response.
“Oh yes, the tip,” she sputtered as she tried to find her purse in the mess she had still laying on the bed. She opened her purse and grabbed a handful of coins. She had no idea how much each coin represented. The deliveryman
smiled and acted very grateful. As Pamela closed the door she wondered how much she had given him. “I must learn this money,” she muttered. Pamela smelled the roses and
pulled the card from the holder.
The enclosure read:
“I can’t believe him. He knows how I feel about Back Bay Harbor.” Her jaw flexed as she read the note over and over. She couldn’t imagine how he could stoop so low,
to refer to her hideaway overlooking Back Bay Harbor, Maine. Jeff was bringing out feelings of anger, rejection, and disappointment. She had just gotten over all of that
but at that moment they came flooding back!
Jeff had shaken her, unsettled her emotions. Emotions that she thought she would never have again. “How can I ever be free to love again?” She sobbed as thoughts of Jeff came flooding back in front of her eyes. She remembered how Jeff held her close in his arms so firm and loving. She
remembered the touch of his lips on hers and the warm glow she felt.
Pamela regained her composure and muttered to herself.
“Never again! He’s no good for me, I know it!” she began a conversation with herself. “How could I have
been so taken in? Didn’t Tom’s memory deserve better?”
Pamela felt pangs of guilt sweep over her. She tossed the card into the wastebasket but couldn’t bring herself to discard the roses. Pamela softly touched one of the petals
as she thought about Jeff Desmond, a man she needed to forget! She quietly prayed, “Help me God, I’m so weak
and he is so handsome!”
The next morning bright and early Rex was at the door. Paris was everything she had dreamed of and with Rex as her guide it was especially wonderful. She had a hard time taking in all the sights as Rex pointed out the different sights. She loved the tree lined streets and all the artists painting along the banks of the Seine. She had seen movies of these places all her life but to be there in person
was special.
“Over there,” he pointed to the Eiffel Tower jetting up into the sky. “Would you like to go up inside?” he asked.
Pamela hesitated, “Well if it’s all the same to you I would rather not. I am not too good with heights and I am still trying to get my feet on the ground from that long flight,”
she smiled.
“I understand completely,” he smiled back. Rex motioned for his chauffer to stop the car so they could get out.
“Let’s walk a while, you can do some window shopping!”
Rex knew what every woman wanted, Shopping!
Pamela was in 7th heaven. They walked down the treelined street to the end, not missing a store. She had piled presents up on Rex’s arms so high he couldn’t hold one more. They began to laugh as he bent down to retrieve one of the gifts off the top of the pile.
“I think I’d better quit,” she laughed. “I don’t think there is an empty spot in your car!”
Rex motioned for his limousine to pick them up. The chauffeur had been driving slowly following them as they
walked. “One more thing you must do Chéri, toss a coin into the river,” he handed her a coin. “We shall drive to a spot you can do that!” he said, giving the driver instructions.
“I guess you want me to make a wish, right?” She held the coin tightly in her hand thinking of what she should
“One thing for sure, Chéri, once you do that the magnetic love of Paris will bring you back again!” Rex sounded
very sure of that fact.
“It’s all so wonderful, like I am having a beautiful dream. I don’t want to wake up!” She sighed.
“We have seen so much today, I can hardly keep it all straight!” She smiled.
“I am afraid I have tired you,” he said as he took off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders. “You are having a chill. It gets very cold as the sun begins to set.”
Pamela couldn’t help remember her daughter’s words,
“Maybe you will meet a handsome Frenchman!” A tiny smile crossed her lips.
“You are thinking something funny?” he asked.
“Well,” she stammered, wondering if she should really be telling him how she felt.
“You sound a bit uppity,” she paused watching for some kind of expression on Rex’s face. “You know, stuck
on yourself.” Rex looked puzzled.
“Oh, as you American’s say, a Jerk!” he smiled.
“Well, yes, I guess that’s what I was trying to say,” she gulped.
Rex broke out in a loud uncontrolled laughter. Pamela stared at him waiting for his next remark.
“Perhaps, a few years ago, Chéri, Oui, - but not any more. My success has been sweet and rewarding but also
very humbling. I learned the hard way that no man is an island and certainly no man becomes a designer without a lot of friends to help him along the way!” He smiled and
continued, “I am so fortunate to have many good friends and I feel I have again met another good friend today!”
He bowed gently and kissed her hand.
“I feel that way too,” she placed her hand on top of his.
“Tomorrow I have someone I want you to meet. He is a very special friend of mine. Someone who can help you here in Paris!” he said.
“I would consider that an honor,” she replied graciously.
“He’s young, handsome and a very ambitious man. He is also an American in Paris!” He smiled.
“That’s wonderful. When do I get to meet this fellow American?” she asked.
“I shall plan a small dinner party for you, then you shall meet Grant Mondane. He has control of one of the
largest chains of department stores in Europe. He is only thirty and is one of the youngest entrepreneurs in all of
“Sounds very impressive. Actually, just about right for my daughter!” She laughed. “She just turned 21.”
“I know you mentioned your daughter but there is no way you have a daughter 21!” He looked shocked.
“My you do know all the right things to say Mr. Dupar!”
she teased, making a polite nod.
“All I can say, Chéri, if she is as beautiful as her mother well—ooh lala!” He smiled.

“You are so good for my ego, and I do thank you for the compliment. Jill is truly beautiful inside and out and
the love of my life,” Pamela added quickly.
“And your husband, Chéri, is he also the love of your life?” Rex watched her face. Pamela paused and looked
down for a long moment not speaking.
“Forgive me, Chéri, I am intruding,” his voice cracked with embarrassment.
“No need to feel that way,” she smiled softly, “My husband passed away last year very suddenly. I was completely
devastated. I thought my life was over. This is the first time I have been away since then.”
“I am so sorry, Chéri,” he said softly.
“Jill loved her father as much as I did. The loss was hard for both of us. But, she was young and had an exciting life in college so she has been able to go on. For me it was not so easy. One very good thing came out of this tragedy.
My daughter and I have become closer than ever. We are very good friends.”
“How very lucky you are to have her,” he smiled and added, “Will Jill be joining you in Parie?”
“I wish she could but she is very busy with her schooling.
She makes sure she comes home on vacations and summer but not often enough for me,” Pamela sighed.
Pamela couldn’t believe she had opened up so quickly to Rex. It was not like her to share her feelings so openly with anyone, especially regarding her late husband. She
took a deep breath and waited for Rex to speak.
“You miss your husband very much don’t you Chéri?”
“More than I can ever say. His memory is with me constantly. We were married twenty-three years,” Pamela’s eyes showed the sadness she felt inside. “We were constant
companions. It was a very special relationship.” She paused a moment and then continued, “It was an unselfish love.
He always wanted the best for me and I wanted the same for him. I do miss him so,” her voice trailed off.
Rex touched her hand softly. His understanding was electric. Pamela felt that electricity and knew she had a new friend in Rex.
That evening Pamela was still remembering the conversation
with Rex and how the memories were flooding back even as she had tried to put it all behind her. Just talking
with Rex about it made it all seem as if it were yesterday.
She felt alone and sad as she sat in the hotel room. Her life had changed so much this past year. She hated it without her Tom.
Where had the years gone? There were so many things left undone, so many things they planned to do together.
Pamela slipped into deep thought.
Pamela thought back to the day she married her Tom. It seemed so long ago and yet as only yesterday. Her thoughts reeled as she remembered the day she spotted Tom across the hallway from her design class in High school. She recalled how she always made a special detour so Tom could
get a good look and give a wolf whistle so she would look around.
Pam had a special little twist of her hips and a toss of her long black hair that caused the guys to turn around.
Tom was no exception. With Tom she always managed to give him an enticing smile.
Tom was on the varsity football team as an end and Pamela was a majorette so when the season started they
found themselves together. Tom had been just an average player but Pamela thought he was the only one on the team. Tom spent time watching her as she pranced around,
twirling her baton to the music of the school band.
Pamela recalled how she almost gave up on Tom. He was so shy she wondered if he would ever get up the courage to ask her for a date. When he finally asked her out, she about fainted.
Pamela smiled as she remembered that first date. She loved the way Tom always teased about that first date and their courting days. His favorite remarks were, “I was a real nerd I think. Never dated before, a real backward kid.”
Pamela remembered too what a change came over Tom when she got him to go to youth group at the church with her. It wasn’t long until Tom was the favorite of everyone.
They shared the same faith and God smiled on them as a couple from the very beginning.
Pamela wanted to stop remembering but the memories just kept coming back. She could see Tom pulling into her driveway for their first date. His cute customized Chevrolet,
the one he worked on constantly, made her heart skip a beat.
Her parents liked him right away. “Home by twelve,” her dad reminded them as they went out the door.
“Sure thing Sir,” Tom answered firmly. They were home by twelve she recalled. Pamela realized she was in love before Tom did. It took him a while to realize he couldn’t live without her. Tom didn’t know it but Pamela had her mind made up from the moment she laid eyes on him.
He was doomed! Tom and Pamela dated for a year before he asked her to marry him.
Pamela’s eyes were filled with tears of joy when Rex’s voice made her jump. “You have been away in your
thoughts, Chéri,” Rex sat quietly in the chair next to her.
“Forgive me,” she smiled.
“What shall we do tomorrow Chéri?” he asked, realizing it was time to change the mood of the moment.
“I would love to see your salon and some of your designs.
Is that possible, or do you worry that I’m a spy?” she flashed him a questioning look.
“For you Chéri, anything is possible. We shall have our very own showing of my most beloved designs. Tomorrow it is!” He bent over and kissed her hand softly.
Pamela waved as Rex’s limousine pulled away from the curb. “How lucky I am to have this new friend!” she sighed as she walked toward the hotel steps. A gust of wind caught her skirt and in that very moment she felt a sudden loneliness overwhelm her.

Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Phrasal Verbs

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Wedding Idioms with ParoLingua

Whats new at ASCD 05/27 by EduTalk | Blog Talk Radio

Whats new at ASCD 05/27 by EduTalk | Blog Talk Radio

miércoles, 25 de mayo de 2011

Some Techniques for Teaching Pronunciation

David F. Dalton
ddalton [at]
Chiapas, Mexico

When I did my initial training as an E.F.L. teacher, one of the course tutors always described pronunciation as "the Cinderella of language teaching", i.e. she never got to go to the ball. By this he was referring to the often low level of emphasis placed on this very important language skill. We are comfortable teaching reading, writing , listening and to a degree, general oral skills, but when it comes to pronunciation we often lack the basic knowledge of articulatory phonetics (not difficult to aquire) to offer our students anything more than rudimentary (and often unhelpful) advice such as, "it sounds like this ; uuuh".

There is also a tendency for us to focus on production as the main problem affecting our learners. Most research however, shows clearly that the problem is more likely to be reception - what you don't hear, you can't say. Moreover, if the "English" sound is not clearly received, the brain of the learner converts it into the closest sound in their own language . Thus the dental English fricative / th / (sorry, phonetic symbols can't easily be displayed) in "those" ,becomes converted by Spanish speakers into the denatlised Spanish /d/ , producing "dose" as this is what the speaker hears. Given this reality , it would seem logical to place a heavy emphasis on listening (reception) as a way into releasing appropriate pronunciation (production).

Apart from using knowledge of our students and our ears in order to be aware of their pronunciation problems, it is also useful to have some prior knowledge of what elements of English phonetics and phonology are likely to cause problems. This is one area of language learning where few people would question the use of contrastive analysis. For instance, to give some simple examples, we can predict that Arabic speakers will have difficulty distinguishing between / p / and / b / , Japanese speakers will not perceive the difference between / l / and / r / and Spanish speakers will hava a problem realising consonant clusters like [ sts ]. Having informed him or herself of some of the main areas of contrast between native language and target language and what difficulties students have, it then remains for the teacher to build this information into some meaningful classroom exercises.
Techniques :
Exercise should be simple, accessible , fun and combine reception and production. Some students (usually adults) do feel embarassed to pull ridiculuous faces when practising vowel sounds (this may be personal or cultural or both) but I have generally found that this soon passes and students enjoy the pronunciation work. Where possible, exercises should be communicative in that they should (and do generate differences of opinion and disagreement about what was said/heard. Below are two examples.
Exercise A :
After having taught or exposed the students to long and short vowels through listening and oral work, the teacher can check recognition, retention and ability to discriminate in the following way. This could also be used simply for teaching.
Stage 1 :
The teacher writes a variety of words containing the target sounds (long and short vowels) on the board. The following is just one possible set.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Here, the only difference in sound is that of the vowel - familiar to anyone who has done minimal pair work. As in these examples, the word should begin and end with the same consonant. 0, 3, 8, and 9, are long vowels and the rest are short.
Stage 2 :
The teacher then models each word and individal repetition follows. The vowel sound can be isolated and the procedure repeated until the teacher is reasonably sure that there are no major problems. He or she then tells the students that they are going to hear one of the words and must write the number which corresponds to the word they hear. What the students have written is then checked and compared.

This automatically leads into a discussion of what they heard and what sounds they are confusing. If student X heard1 when the teacher said 9, they are confusing the short vowel / I / with the long vowel / i: / . The teacher gives feedback and the sounds may then be modelled again and practised.
Stage 3:
Two or three words are then presented together and the procedure repeated. The teacher then tells the class they are going to hear six words and that the numbers correspond to an important telephone number. The teacher delivers the words and asks , "What's my number?". Again there will be differences in what was heard. This allows a focus on which sounds are not being discriminated effectively by which students and where their problems lie. Later discussion may revolve aroud what strategies students may employ to improve their discrimination skills - songs, minimal pair games with friends, movies, radio, etc.
Stage 4:
Learners are then invited to model the telephone number. This stage usually generates much discussion and disagreement along the lines of - "You said ...... ", "No I did'nt ", "Say it again" and so on and is usually very lively. The teacher is, of course, the final arbiter of what was really said. The important thing is that the learners are thinking actively about their pronunciation and how to repair it if necessary. They also begin to hear themselves (often for the first time) and this is of immeasurable importance in the retention of sounds.
Exercise B:
This exercise was designed for a multi-lingual class, but is equally effective with monolingual groups. It is more communictive in nature than Excercise A as it involves giving and carrying out instructions.
Stage 1:
Having identified some problem areas for the class, the teacher makes a list of instructions containing these. Below is such a list.

Draw a sheep on the board. (Spanish speakers often draw a ship).
Write the letter "P" above the sheep. (Arabic speakers often write " B").
Use the "P" as the start of the word "pleasant" and write the word (Japanese speakers often write "present ").
Write "light" next to pleasant. (Japanese speakers often write "right").
Draw a mouse next to the word "light". (Spanish and Japenese speakers often draw a mouth)
Draw a pear next to the mouse. (Arabic speakers often draw a bear)

Other examples can be added.
Stage 2:
After presentation and practice of the problem areas, each student is given a piece of paper with an instruction containing such sounds. The papers are given so that a student will hear an instruction containing a sound which they have a problem hearing. The instruction is then whispered in the ear of the receiving student and they carry out what they hear. They sit down and read their instruction to the next student. This continues until all the instructions have been carried out and there is something resembling a picture on the board. No comments should be made as the work is in process.
Stage 3: Feedback
There will be reactions from laughter to dismay as the students see how ther instructions were carried out. The teacher needs to focus the students on what went wrong. Was the problem production or reception? What did Miko say and what did Joel hear? The dilema pushes the students to correct themselves and hear what they are saying. The discussions are often very animated and again the teacher must abitrate. The learners also see the real-life consequences of not producing or not hearing appropriate English sounds as well as getting personal and class feedback on their problem areas. As in exercise A, discussion can take place on strategies for pronunciation.
Some Conclusions

The exercise allows clear practice in production and reception and gives concise feedback to individual learners as to where their problms lie in these areas and how to repair them. Often these are very simple physical questions such as not roundig the lips as in / u: / in fool , which the teacher can help them focus on.
This, in turn, allows discussion on learning strategies for pronunciation which can be drawn up it the classroom.
It is a communicative exercise as it involves disagreement, repair and ( hopefully !) agreement among other things.
Many language learners feel self concious and negative about their pronunciation . To effectively deal with this question in the class and enable learners to see an improvement, is invariably a great psychological boost.
I have used these activities with learners from many different cultural and language backgrounds and they have invariably been seen as both very useful and fun.
As teachers, we are often not the best judges of the accuracy of our students' pronunciation . We are accustomed to it and usually very tolerant when in general, native speakers are not. Such exercises help us to be more aware of real problems learners have in their oral production and to help to correct them.
Such activities should be an integral part of any language teaching programme as they make pronunciation an active element of the learning process and focus learners on the language they are producing.

Thanks to Ray Parker of Sheffield Hallam University; England for the gelephone Game. Some useful and very accessible constrastive analysis can be seen in the " Ship or Sheep" and "Three or Tree" series.

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domingo, 22 de mayo de 2011

Art History from Romanic to Impressionism

Some English expressions

"If an argument or discussion CLEARS THE AIR" - it causes bad feelings to disappear". 
"If information COMES TO LIGHT" - it means that it is discovered. 
"If it GOES AGAINST THE GRAIN to do something" - it means that you would not normally do it because it is unusual or wrong. 
"If people meet FACE TO FACE" - it means that they are in the same place together.
"If someone BOWL SOMEBODY OVER" - it means that someone surprise or shock somebody.
"If someone CHASES A DREAM" - it means that the person slowly moves forward attaining an important goal.
"If someone CRASHES A PARTY" - it means that the person goes to a party without haven't been invited.
"If someone CURLS UP AND DIE" - it means that the person withdraws from a situation because of sadness or embarrassment.
"If someone DRIVES YOU CRAZY" - it means that the person irritates or annoys you. 
"If someone is BENDING OVER BACKWARDS to help you" - it means that they are trying their best to help. 
"If someone is BOILING MAD" - it means to be very angry about something.
"If someone is BREATHING DOWN YOUR NECK" - it means that they are watching what you do all the time.
"If someone says that it IS EARLY DAYS YET" - they mean that it is too soon to make a judgement about something. 
"If someone says: ACT YOUR AGE!" - it means that his or her behaviour is immature.
"If someone says: CUT IT OUT" - it means that the person asks someone to stop something.
"If someone says: DON'T YOU DARE" - it means to tell someone very strongly, not to do something.
"If someone says: I BEG YOUR PARDON" - it means to ask someone to repeat what he or she said.
"If someone says: I DIE OF BOREDOM" - it means that the person is very bored.
"If someone says: I'LL CHEW ON IT" - it means that the person will think about some decision.
"If someone says: TO BRING SOMEONE or SOMETHING UP" - it means to mention a certain person or topic.
"If someone says: TO NOT BREATHE A WORD ABOUT SOMETHING" - it means to keep a secret.
"If someone says: YOU'RE ASKING FOR IT!" - it is used as an expression of anger when someone is being irritated.
"If something DRIVES you ROUND THE BEND" - it means that it makes you angry. 
"If something happens FOR GOOD" - it means that it happens for ever. 
"If something is IN THE PIPELINE" - it means that it is being developed.
"If something is OUT OF THIS WORLD" - it means that it is extremely good.
"If something is PLAIN SAILING" - it means that it is very easy.
"If something TAKES THE EDGE OFF something" - it means that it makes a feeling have less effect on you. 
"If something you do BEARS FRUIT" - it means that it gets successful result.
"If someone says: CALL ON TOMORROW" - it means to visit someone.
"If someone says: I HAVE MONEY TO BURN" - it means that the person has a lot of extra money.
"If someone says: IT'S A COVER UP" - it means that someone hides the truth about something.
"If two people don't SEE EYE TO EYE" - it means that they do not agree with each other. 
"If you are AHEAD OF ONE'S TIME" - it means to have an idea which is advanced beyond the time.
"If you are at A LOOSE END" - it means that you have nothing to do.
"If you ARE IN someone's GOOD BOOKS" - it means that they are pleased with you.
"If you are OUT OF YOUR DEPTH" - it means that you do not know how to deal with something.
"If you are SNOWED UNDER" - it means that you have too much work. 
"If you BEAR SOMETHING IN MIND"- it means that you remember it because it will be useful in the future.
"If you BEND THE RULES" - it means that you allow a rule to be broken in a small way.
"If you BET YOUR BOOTS" - it means that you express absolute certainty about something.
"If you BLOW something OUT OF PROPORTIONS" - it means that you behave as if it is much worse than it is.
"If you CAN'T MAKE ENDS MEET" - it means that you do not make enough money to pay all of the bills.
"If YOU CATCH A COLD" - it means to get a cold.
"If you CATCH SIGHT OF something" - it means that you see something suddenly.
"If you COME TO TERMS with a sad situation" - it means that you accept it.
"If you COULDN'T BELIEVE YOUR EYES" - it means that you were very surprised by something you saw.
"If you do NOT HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON" - it means that you cannot prove that something is true.
"If you do something BY THE SKIN OF YOUR TEETH" - it means that you only just succeed in doing it. 
"If you do something ON THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT" - it means that you do it suddenly without planning. 
"If you don’t LIFT A FINGER" - it means that you don’t help someone. 
"If yo don't STAND A CHANCE of doing something" - it means that you have no possibility of success or achieving something. 
"If you EARN YOUR KEEP" - it means that you work to pay your bills or to help at home in return for food and a place to live.
"If you FALL APART" - it means to get very emotional or very upset when a situation is difficult.
"If you FALL ASLEEP" - it means that you go to sleep.
"If you FEEL DEFLATED" - it means that you feel disappointed after feeling excited.
"If you FEEL LIKE DOING SOMETHING" - it means that you want to do something.
"If you FIND FAULT IN SOMETHING" - it means that you find something wrong with someone or something.
"If you GET HOLD OF THE WRONG END OF THE STICK" - it means that you do not understand the situation. 
"If you GET THE UPPER HAND over someone" - it means that you get in a stronger position so that you can control them ". 
"If you GIVE someone THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT" - it means that you decide to belive what they say even though it might be wrong. 
"If you HAVE A BEE IN YOUR BONNET" - it means to be upset about something, usually for a long time.
"If you HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH someone" - it means that you want to talk to someone about something they have done that annoyed you. 
"If you HAVE A SHOT at something" - it means that you try to do it although you have not tried it before. 
"If you HAVE YOUR WORK CUT OUT" - it means that you have something difficult to do.
"If you KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE" - it means that you manage to stop yourself from laughing. 
"If you KEEP someone ON their TOES" - it means that you make sure they give something all their attention.
"If you KEEP TRACK of someone" - you understand what is happening to them.
"If you KNOW something INSIDE OUT" - it means that you know everything about it. 
"If you MAKE FUN OF someone" - it means that you make an unkind joke about them. 
"If you MAKE IT UP TO somebody" - it means that you do something good for them because you did something bad before.
"If you MAKE THE MOST OF something" - it means that you take full advantage of it because it may not last. 
"If you PAT SOMEONE ON THE BACK" - it means to give someone credit for a good job.
"If you PUT YOUR FINGER ON something" - it means that you understand it exactly. 
"If you START OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT" - it means that you start something badly. 
"If you START THE BALL ROLLING" - it means that you begin an activity that involves a group of people.
"If you STICK YOUR NOSE INTO something" - it means that you show too much interest in it although it does not involve you. 
"If you TAKE SOMEONE FOR GRANTED" - it means that you do not show that you are grateful for them. 
"If you TEACH someone A LESSON" -  it means that you punish them so they will not do something again.
"If you WOULDN'T BE CAUGHT DEAD in a place" - it means that you would never go there.
"If you WOULDN'T PUT IT PAST someone to do something" - it means that you are not surprised because it is typical of them. 
"When you GET TO THE BOTTOM OF something" - it means that you discover the truth about something. 
(UK) If a woman is up the spout, she is pregnant.
(UK) If things are as black as Newgate's knocker, they are very bad. Newgate was an infamous prison in England, so its door knocker meant trouble.
(UK) If you "Break your duck" you score for the first time.
(UK) If you beat somebody by a long chalk, you win easily and comfortably.
(UK) If you box clever, you use your intelligence to get what you want, even if you have to cheat a bit.
(UK) If you break your duck, you do something for the first time.
(USA) If someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding, they're beating a dead horse. This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beating a dead horse will n
(USA) If you blow off steam, you express your anger or frustration.
(USA) If you can bet your bottom dollar on something, you can be absolutely sure about it.
(USA) The Big Apple is New York.

Confusing Words

Confusing Words

There are many words that sound similar but have different meanings and are spelled differently. Then there are other words that even sound exactly the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Here are some examples:

1) custom vs. costume:

Custom refers to repetitive, traditional activities e.g.
The celebration of the Day of the Dead is a typical Mexican custom.
A costume is something that you wear e.g.
The costumes in Shakespeare in Love are very well made.

2) loose vs. lose:

Loose is the opposite of tight. It's an adjective. Imagine Michael Jackson in Pavarotti's clothes.
Lose is a verb and refers to objects that have disappeared. Example:
"I can't find my wallet, I have lost it."

3) guy vs. gay

This one can cause a lot of confusion. The mistake normally occurs in writing only, because students know the difference in pronunciation between guy and gay. They also know the difference in meaning:

guy = boy/ young man as in: he's a very nice guy.
gay = homosexual (it used to mean something like: lively or bright, but that's old fashioned and common in the works of, say, Charles Dickens.

4) earn vs. win

The problem with these two is that they are both translated into Spanish with ganar. Thus, you get questions like: "How much do you win?" when referring to your salary. However, you win money in the lottery and you earn (or make) money at your job.

5) I am agree

A common error among Spanish speakers is the translation 'I am agree for Estoy de acuerdo. One should keep in mind that agree is a verb, whereas de acuerdo, as in estoy de acuerdo, is an adjective. Therefore, one should say:
- I agree
- He agrees
- We agree

And in past for example:

- I agreed

Now try this exercise on Spanglish.

Here are some examples of 'Gringo' influence on our students:

- hackear
- deletear
- vacumear
- mailear
- inclusionar
- votear
- parquear
- echar un spich

And a new English word:

- clonation (instead of cloning)

Perfect Tenses

I believe it's necessary to briefly discuss the concepts of the present perfect and simple past. The problem is that students tend to use simple past only, or simple past and present perfect at random. What follows is just a short explanation, by no means complete. To practice these tenses, I recommend you look at some of the links with grammar quizzes.

The concept (when to use it) of simple past is:

'A completed action at a definite time.'

Definite means that you know exactly when the action happened, either through context or with the help of a time expression. Time expressions for simple past are for example:

- yesterday
- __________ ago
- last__________

The two concepts of present perfect are:

1) A completed action at an indefinite time in the past.
2) An action that started in the past and continues in the present.


1) Have you ever been to Canada?
2) She has lived here for 4 years.

Time expressions are:

1) Ever, never, already, yet, just.
2) Since______, for______, so far, up to now.

If there's no context of time , you should use present perfect:

- Have you seen that movie?
- Yes, I have.
- When did you see it?
- I saw it last week.

Notice that the tense changes halfway the conversation, because the question when is for a definite time

This/ These

First of all, there's the problem in pronunciation. Spanish speakers tend to pronounce this and these the same. Therefore students frequently use only this in writing. They don't seem to realize that there is also a plural form. This may look very obvious, but it is a recurrent problem. Examples:
incorrect: "I think all this problems are related to poverty".
correct : "I think all these problems are related to poverty"
This is singular, whereas these is plural.

Adjectives vs Adverbs.

Students may know their adjectives, but the main problem is: where to place them in the sentence. The thing is, in Spanish you generally place the adjective after the noun. In English it's the opposite. A simple example:

Incorrect: A house beautiful.
Correct: A beautiful house.

Incorrect: This is a course very interesting.
Correct: This is a very interesting course.

Now something about adverbs:

DefInition: an adverbs modifies

a) an adjective
b) a verb
c) another adverb


a) She has an incredibly beautiful voice!
b) He always drives fast.
c) He always drives terribly fast.

How can you know when you have to use either an adjective or an adverb? Simple: look at the word that needs to be modified. Is it a noun, then use an adjective. Is it a verb, adjective or adverb, then use an adverb.

It's easy to distinguish adverbs from adjectives: they generally and with -ly, e.g:
He is a bad student: bad is an adjective; it modifies the noun student.
He sings badly: badly is an adverb; it modifies the verb sings.

There are some exceptions of course, for example:

adjective adverb

fast fast
hard hard

Note: hardly also exists, but it has a different meaning, i.e. almost not.
Look at these sentences: do you feel the difference?:
a) He works hard.
b) He hardly works.

Now try this exercise on adjectives and adverbs.

Omission of Subject

Omission of the subject is a very common and understandable mistake that speakers of Spanish make when studying English. Just keep in mind that, unlike Spanish, a subject is always necessary in English. Here's an example of what I mean:

Students often write( or say):"Is important to talk to the teacher." whereas they should write:It is important to talk to the teacher. The word it may not refer to anything in particular, but it is absolutely necessary to make this sentence grammatically correct.

Other/ Another/ Others

Here's how to use them:
- I have a book about Egypt; I have another book about Mexico (indefinite/ adjective/ singular).
- I have a book about Egypt; I have another about Mexico (indefinite/ pronoun/ singular).
- I found one of my shoes; have you seen the other (definite/ singular)?
- I don't like horror movies; don't you have other movies (indefinite/ adjective/ plural)?
- Some students will pass the course; others won't (indefinite/ pronoun/ plural).
- Some students will pass the course; other students won't (indefinite/ adjective/ plural).
- You are the first to arrive; where are the others (definite/ pronoun/ plural)?

Spanish speakers often get confused with other and others. They say/ write for example: "I have others books." The mistake is understandable as adjectives can take plural forms in Spanish, unlike English.

False cognates


Actually is similar to Spanish actualmente; however, actualmente is better translated with e.g. currently, as actually actually means in reality. Confusing, eh?
embarrassed is not the same as embarazada. A translation for embarrassed could be apenado. In some situations it can be embarrassing to be embarazada, i.e. pregnant!
realize should not be confused with Spanish realisar. When Mexican students use the English word realize, they normally use it meaning to say something like: to give an idea physical form. They mostly don't realize that realize also means that you become aware of something.
approve is sometimes confused with aprobar:"Teacher, did I approve the exam?" aprobar means pass as in 'pass an exam', whereas approve means to agree to something.
eventually is not the same as eventual(mente). Eventually could be translated with finalmente, as it means: in the end, in the long run. The Spanish cognate eventual is in meaning similar to English temporary or conditional.
Mexican students often use the word career to refer to their studies (Spanish carrera):"When I finish my career, I want to go to United States (sic)". Career, refers to professional work. When you finish your career you'll be an old person!
lecture is not the same as lectura. A lecture is a talk about a particular topic. A translation for lectura could be reading or simply text.
apartment in Spanish is departamento; department is also departamento. Therefore it is understandable that speakers of Spanish frequently use department when referring to an apartment.
Spanish speakers often confuse by and for in passive voice. The reason is that they use por and that looks and sounds like for.
another 'false friend' is try with Spanish tratar, as in this sentence:"the movies tries with the problems of a strange man," or:"in business, you have to try with people." Again, the confusion is understandable. In Spanish you would use tratar in both cases; however, in English you might consider using is about and deal with respectively.
Speakers of Spanish also tend to confuse win with ganar. Teachers frequently read or here things like:"They win a lot of money," instead of "They make/earn a lot of money." You win money in the lottery. Making or earning money refers to your salary/ income.
Now that we're talking about win, we should also mention the difference between win and beat. Here's how they should be used:
América beat Guadalajara 9-0! (beat the opponent)
América won the game (win the game)

Politics/ Politician: When referring to the authorities, speakers of Spanish normally confuse Spanish politico(s) with English politics. A politician is a person who has a job in politics. Politician = politico. Politics refer to, say, the regulation of a country.

Here's another good one: the other day I bought a bookcase and on the box it said: library with three shelves. Now, where's the mistake?
The problem is that library is not the same as librero. Look:

library = biblioteca
bookstore = libreria
bookcase = librero

Compromise and compromiso aren't equivalents either. Compromiso should be translated with commitment. Compromise refers to making concessions to come to an agreement, a settlement.

The word familiar exists both in English and Spanish; however, the meaning is completely different. Familiar in Spanish refers to a member of your family (in English you would use the word relative(s)). It's a noun. Familiar in English is an adjective and it means that you know something about something eg:
- Are you familiar with Shakespeare's work?

The Spanish word cientifico is both noun (profession) and adjective. Therefore students often use the word scientific to refer to the person:
He is a famous scientific.
However, scientist should be used to refer to the person:
He is a famous scientist.

Parents only refers to your father and mother.
parientes, on the other hand, refers to your extended family, cousins, uncles, aunts etc. Therefore, parientes is relatives in English.


The exotic roots of English vocabulary

The exotic roots of English vocabulary
English has a rich store of vocabulary that originates in Ancient Greek and Latin and, more recently, in French. Greek gives us words like politics, telephone, ecology and drama, while Latin is responsible for agriculture, family, order and ambulance. Words derived from French include disease, patrol, riot and basket. As a member of the Germanic family of languages, English clearly has numerous words of Germanic origin, examples being house, honey, half and hair.
But words have not only arrived in the English language from these most prominent sources. In everyday use we find hundreds of examples of words that have derived from some of the world’s smaller languages and from some exotic sources. Britain’s colonial history meant that its inhabitants journeyed to all four corners of the world and brought back terms and expressions for items and concepts that were unknown in their native islands. From the Indian sub-continent we have words as diverse as shampoo, bungalow, thug and pyjamas, while Malay gives us bamboo, caddy, cockatoo and ketchup.
From African languages we have the names of various animals, including chimpanzee, zebra and, after a long etymological journey, gorilla. North American Indian languages provided moccasin, moose, skunk and toboggan, while words ultimately of Arabic origin in English include alcohol, algebra, carafe and syrup. Persian (Farsi, its modern version, being the language of present-day Iran) is the original source of numerous words in English. Some common examples are: paradise, bazaar, sandal and magic. Amongst the European languages, many English words have entered the language from Dutch, amongst them brandy, bumpkin, frolic, gas and skipper. Words of Scandinavian origin include tungsten (Swedish), floe (Danish) and geyser (unsurprisingly, in view of the geological conditions prevailing in the country, Icelandic). From Spanish we have cockroach, guerrilla, mosquito, sherry and tornado, while, apart from the obvious musical terms such as allegro, piano and soprano, Italian gives us volcano, influenza, miniature and umbrella.
Words originating in Eastern Europe are comparatively rare, although some words describing food and drink are in regular use, including vodka (literally ‘little water’, from Russian) and goulash (from Hungarian). Another word ultimately of Hungarian origin is coach, from the Hungarian word kocsi originally used to describe a cart or carriage from the village of Kocs in northern Hungary. A common word that has entered English via Czech is the word robot. This term derives from the Czech word robota, meaning ‘drudgery’, and was first coined by the Czech writer Karel Capek in his 1920 play R.U.R (or Rossum’s Universal Robots), in which he anticipated a world in which menial tasks would be performed by mechanical people. The Czech city of Plzen (via its German name Pilsen) has also made a significant contribution to the English language in the form of the word pilsener, used to describe a generic form of beer which was first brewed in that city.
Words originating in the native Celtic languages of the British Isles are surprisingly rare, but prominent examples include whisky (literally ‘water of life’ in Gaelic), slogan (from the Gaelic word for ‘war cry’) and flannel (one of the few Welsh contributions to the English language). Perhaps the most interesting word in English that derives from Irish is the word Tory, now used as an alternative name for members of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. Originally, it was used as a term to describe landless Irishmen who fought a guerrilla war against the English in Ireland in the 17th century. It then became a term of abuse to describe Irish Catholic supporters of King James II and finally it began to be used as a term to describe politicians who had opposed the removal of James and his replacement by a Protestant monarch.


Parts of speech

Burn one's boats/bridges

Burn one's boats/bridges - stake everything on success
Or, more accurately, destroy one's own means of retreat should a venture fail - an occasional practice of some Roman generals to stiffen the resolve of their troops against the possibility of any such failure. Curiously, both expressions are recorded in English no earlier than the last 20 years of the 19th century.

Burn the candle at both ends - exhaust oneself
In the days when candles were a customary form of lighting, burning them at both ends was synonymous with wastefulness. The modern meaning is milder; in some contexts, it implies anxiety for someone's state of health rather than a criticism of his or her extravagance.

Burn the midnight oil - sit up or work late, especially to study
Midnight oil appears to have been coined by Francis Quarles (1592-1644) in his successful and popular Emblems (1635): 'We spend our midday sweat, our midnight oil, / We tire the night in thought, the day in toil'.
...Other verbs besides 'spend' were subsequently used in adaptations of the quotation, but 'burn' has been invariable since the latter part of the 19th century.
...The expression may owe something to an earlier one of the 16th century: something was said to 'smell of the oil' if it bore the marks of laborious study, i.e. of working long into the night by the light of an oil-lamp.

Bury the hatchet - end a quarrel
An American Indian custom was to bury a tomahawk or other weapon on the conclusion of a peace. The expression is found in writing as early as the 18th century and came into general use by being popularised is such works as Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha (1858).

martes, 17 de mayo de 2011

Telephoning in English

Articles from About.

Telephone English - Important Phrases

There are a number of phrases and idioms that are only used when telephoning. Let's first take a look at an example dialogue: Here are the most common:

Operator: Hello, Frank and Brothers, How can I help you?
Peter: This is Peter Jackson. Can I have extension 3421?
Operator: Certainly, hold on a minute, I'll put you through...
Frank: Bob Peterson's office, Frank speaking.
Peter: This is Peter Jackson calling, is Bob in?
Frank: I'm afraid he's out at the moment. Can I take a message?
Peter: Yes, Could you ask him to call me at . I need to talk to him about the Nuovo line, it's urgent.
Frank: Could you repeat the number please?
Peter: Yes, that's , and this is Peter Jackson.
Frank: Thank you Mr Jackson, I'll make sure Bob gets this asap.
Peter: Thanks, bye.
Frank: Bye.

As you can see, the language is rather informal and there are some important differences to everyday English. Look at the chart below for key language and phrases used in telephone English:
Introducing yourself
This is Ken.
Ken speaking

Asking who is on the telephone
Excuse me, who is this?
Can I ask who is calling, please?
Asking for Someone
Can I have extension 321? (extensions are internal numbers at a company)
Could I speak to...? (Can I - more informal / May I - more formal)
Is Jack in? (informal idiom meaning: Is Jack in the office?
Connecting Someone
I'll put you through (put through - phrasal verb meaning 'connect')
Can you hold the line? Can you hold on a moment?
How to reply when someone is not available
I'm afraid ... is not available at the moment
The line is busy... (when the extension requested is being used)
Mr Jackson isn't in... Mr Jackson is out at the moment...
Taking a Message
Could (Can, May) I take a message?
Could (Can, May) I tell him who is calling?
Would you like to leave a message?

Exercises for Practicing Speaking on the Telephone

The most important thing about practicing telephone conversations is that you shouldn't be able to see the person you are speaking to on the phone. You may ask, 'How can I do that if I am practicing with a friend or another classmate?' Here are a few suggestions for practicing phone calls without looking at your partner:

If you are in the same room - Put your chairs back to back and practice speaking on the phone, you will only hear the other person's voice which will approximate a telephone situation.
Use the telephone - This is pretty obvious, but really not used that often. Give your friend a call and practice various conversations (role plays).
Use internal office phones at work - This is one of my favorites and great for business classes. If your class is on site (at the office) go to different offices and call one another practicing conversations. Another variation is for the students to go into another office and have the teacher telephone them pretending to be a native speaker in a hurry. It's then up to the students to make sure they have communicated what they need, or understood what the caller wants. This exercise is always a lot of fun - depending on how good your teacher is at acting!
Tape yourself - If you are practicing alone, tape standard answers and then practice using the tape recorder stopping and starting to simulate a conversation.
Real life situations - Businesses are always interested in telling you about their products. Find a product you are interested in and research it over the telephone. You can ...
call a store to find out the prices and specifications.
ring the company representative to find out details on how the product works.
telephone a consumer agency to find out if the product has any defects.
call customer service to find out about replacement parts, etc.

domingo, 15 de mayo de 2011

The Gates of Hell by Auguste Rodin - The Thinker

Not far from The Thinker stands Rodin's monumental masterpiece, The Gates of Hell, installed in the garden of the Museum in 1937. By a decree of 16 August 1880, Rodin received a commission from the Directorate of Fine Arts for a monumental door which was to be decorated with low reliefs inspired by The Divine Comedy of Dante. This door was intended for the planned Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris to be built on the site of the Cour des Comptes, demolished in 1871 (this site is now occupied by the Musée d'Orsay). The subject was probably suggested by Rodin for it is known that he admired Dante and used to keep a copy of his book in his pocket. He started to work feverishly in a studio specially allocated to him for the purpose at the Dépôt des Marbres in Rue de l'Université. His initial idea was a composition in panels similar to the Door of Paradise in the Baptistery of Florence by Ghiberti (1425-1452). However, he soon changed his mind about dividing the door into sections, preferring the example of Michelangelo's Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel. The third maquette (exhibited in room 10) shows that already in 1880 its composition was close to the one finally adopted.
He ignored two thirds of the poem by Dante to concentrate on its darkest side, the part about Hell. The first year was primarily devoted to sketches which followed the text of the poem closely, but once he started modelling, he only retained a few identifiable characters, such as Paolo and Francesca, Ugolino and his Children, The Shades, and The Thinker, a portrayal of Dante himself, among a host of figures in different sizes. These figures or groups invade the traditional underlying structure, sometimes replacing the architectural components, and were made independently of one another. They were tried out on a wooden frame in 1882, then set aside.

PARIS: Auguste RODIN. Interpreti veneziani

The Hôtel Biron stands below the dome of the Invalides at 77 rue de Varenne. It is not located between a courtyard and a garden like most of the large houses in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, but is detached like a real château, surrounded by three hectares (7.4 acres) of grounds.
The house was built between 1728 and 1730 by the architect Jean Aubert, who later designed the magnificent stables of the Château de Chantilly, and commissioned by Abraham Peyrenc de Moras, a wig-maker who had made his fortune through speculating in paper money. Although Peyrenc de Moras was one of the nouveaux riches, he demonstrated unerring good taste, calling on Aubert who created one of the masterpieces of rocaille architecture in this house. The beauty of the façades, the south pediment and the masks above the windows is equalled by the refinement of the internal decoration, particularly the skilfully carved panelling in the suite of five interconnecting rooms overlooking the grounds to the south. Fortunately the museum was able to buy back much of the original decor after World War II, the panelling of the oval drawing-rooms to the east and west in particular. François Lemoyne, First Painter to the King, was asked to supply the painted decor, sixteen medallions or overdoors ; shortly afterwards he was to undertake the decoration of the ceiling of the salon d’Hercule at Versailles. Recently the museum was able to buy two overdoors, Venus Showing Cupid the Ardour of his Arrows and the Labours of Penelope, and restore them to their original positions ; a third is in Nancy museum.
As we can see, the house in 1730 was notable for its magnificence and refinement. However, Peyrenc de Moras did not enjoy it long as he died in 1732 ; his widow subsequently rented it out to the duchesse du Maine, Louis XIV’s daughter-in-law, until her death in 1753. The property was then sold to the maréchal de Biron, who had distinguished himself at the Battle of Fontenoy, and from then on it bore his name. Biron made very few changes to the internal layout of the house, but be completely transformed the grounds, turning them into one of finest parks in Paris, commented on by all the guides of the period. In 1782 the comte and comtesse du Nord - actually the future Tsar Paul I who was travelling incognito using this pseudonym - visited the Hôtel Biron: “Their Imperial Highnesses studied the garden which is one of the wonders of Paris, admiring the beauty of the flowers and the variety of the borders. They walked among the flower beds and the shrubberies, marvelling at the boldness and elegance of the trellis work forming gateways, arcades, grottoes, domes, Chinese pavilions..."

Istanbul 3 Hagia Sophia

Justinian’s Hagia Sophia is the one that stands today. It is an architectural intelligence and the first masterpiece in Byzantine architecture. It has been the largest cathedral for 1000 years until the Seville Cathedral was built.

The church has a rectangular shape, and the square vast square nave measuring 31m (102ft) is covered with a central dome that is carried on four pendentives. The arcade around the dome is unbroken with 40 arched windows to bring the light inside. Excluding the two narthexes and the large atrium, the basilica measures 70 x 75 m (229 x 245 ft) . The atrium measures 48 x 32 m (157 x 106 ft) and the total length of the construction measures 135 m (442 ft).

The narthex outside at the eastern part of atrium is enclosed, and the inner narthex is entered by 5 doors, and from this inner narthex there are 9 doors to the nave.

The accesses to upper galleries are provided by ramps, which are traditional feature of Constantinopolitan church planning.