Tag Archives: Eurospeak English Language School

St. Patrick Day – Traditions

 

St. Patrick’s Day – St Patrick day traditions

Every 7th of March St. Patrick day is celebrated, this traditional festivity comes from an ancient story and has a lot of symbolic elements. Discover the history and the meaning of them:

  • The Shamrock

The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

  • Irish Music

Music is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs.

  • The Snake

It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.

In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The “banishing of the snakes” was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

  • Corned Beef

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.

Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

  • The Leprechaun

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.”

Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

 

What’s going on with British weather?

If you’ve been living in the UK for even a short time, you’ll know that the weather is very changeable – sometimes we get four seasons in one day! Whether it’s chucking it down, or we’re having a heat wave, you should be prepared – never leave the house without an umbrella and sunglasses!

But why is the weather so unpredictable? Well, geographically, the UK sits between warm air coming from the topics and cold air from the polar regions. When the two types of air meet, the atmosphere can change very quickly, from mild to freezing in just one day.

This is one of the reasons that we love to talk about the weather so much – there’s always something new to say!

Four seasons in one day – when we experience many different types of weather in a short period of time

It’s chucking it down – it’s raining a lot (informal)

A heat wave – a short period of surprisingly hot weather

Mild ­– not cold (especially after a period when it’s been very cold)

Freezing – very cold

If you want to find out more, watch this fascinating video from the BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-17223307/why-is-british-weather-so-unpredictable

 

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

WHY ENGLISH CAN BE HARD

English can be difficult because sometimes words with the same spelling can have different meanings and / or pronunciations.

Here are some examples for you to try to figure out:

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was cultivated to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that the workers had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • The soldier decided to desert his tasty dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present to his girlfriend.
  • A bass was painted on the bass drum.
  • I did not object to the object which he showed me.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid in his hospital bed.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about who would row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer.
  • To help with planting, a farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail around the mast.
  • Upon seeing the tear in her painting, she shed a tear.
  • I has to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

MUSEUMS & EVENTS

SeaCity Museum

The exhibition shows the live of the families affected by the Titanic that left the port in Southampton in 1912.

The SeaCity Museum is open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm, including Bank Holidays.

Last entry at 4pm. Adult tickets £8.50, children £6.00, ticket is free for under 5’s.

Solent Sky Museum

Solent Sky is Southampton’s Aviation Museum giving a home to over 20 aircrafts from the golden age of aviation including the fighting Submarine Spitfire, Short Sandringham flying boat, as well as racing planes.

Solent Sky is also the home of the Hampshire Police and Fire Heritage Collection.

The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm (last entry at 4pm), with tickets: £8 adult, £5.50 children and family tickets: £18

Southampton City Art Gallery

Showing high-quality exhibitions of paintings, drawing, sculptures, photography and even film, the gallery holds an internationally important collection of over 5,300 works of art, and displays are changed regularly ensuring new experiences every time.

Accommodating around 100 people Southampton City Art Gallery can be hired for events such as weddings, drinks receptions, business events and more. And the best: it has free entrance!

Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum

The only steam driven brickworks in the UK. Opens three days a week to conserve its fragile structure. The heart of the collection is the original brick making machinery, steam engine and related smaller equipment once used at Bursledon Brickworks. The steam engine and machinery were restored about 20 years ago and are operated on special events.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

VOCABULARY NOTEBOOKS

Vocabulary notebooks are a great way of learning new words. By using them, not only can you record new words, but you can personalise and autonomise your learning too.

There are a number of ways that you can organise your vocabulary notebook. You might choose just to write down words as you come across them. Equally, you might prefer to record words and expressions alphabetically or arranged into different topics. If you record both the English word and the translation in your language, you could use different colours for the different languages. Whichever way you do it, your vocabulary notebook can become your own personal dictionary of English words you are trying to learn. You can then look back over the words and test yourself on them, which helps you to learn independently too.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

 

READING GRADED READERS

What are graded readers?

Graded readers are books written for language learners. This means that the language is kept very simple – only common words and simple grammar are used. These books also include pictures to help you understand the story.

How can graded readers help me improve my English?

Reading graded readers is a good way to increase the amount of time you spend using English, which can help you develop the knowledge and skills you need to use English. Reading graded readers can help you:

  1. Develop your reading skills. You will become a faster reader and understand texts better.
  2. Learn vocabulary incidentally. You will consolidate vocabulary you already know and learn new vocabulary while your focus is on reading. This is, in part, because the same vocabulary is often used repeatedly throughout a story.
  3. Consolidate grammatical knowledge. You will find grammatical structures you have learnt in class in context, which can help you develop a better understanding of these structures. You may also learn new grammar.
  4. Improve your writing skills. You will be better prepared to write in English, as reading is closely linked to writing.

Which level should I read?

You should be able to read fast and without a dictionary. This means that the books you read should be easy to understand. The objective is not to learn new vocabulary, but rather to read quickly for general understanding and pleasure.

How much should I read?

For graded readers to be most effective, you need to read regularly. It is generally recommended that learners read about one book a week. Note that graded readers are very short and can often be read in about two hours or so.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29A Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589 599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING

When you’re trying to improve your listening, it’s important you listen to things you’re actually interested in – if you wouldn’t listen to it in your first language then you’re not going to want to listen to it in English.

  • Song lyrics: Find an English song you like the sound of; look for a video with the lyrics on YouTube; listen to the song and sing along with the lyrics on the screen.
  • Films / TV Shows: Think of a genre you like; find a film or TV show in that genre in English; watch it!
  • BBC Radio 4: If your English is already good, try listening to BBC Radio 4. There’s no music, just lots of talk with the type of shows you find on the TV.
  • Language exchanges: Find somebody you can practise English with; meet up and have conversations – when you’re speaking to somebody, you also need to listen to what they’re saying!
  • TED Talks: TED Talks is a website with lots of presentations in English. The presentations are on lots of different subjects, so you can choose something that you’re interested in. It’s also often possible to turn on and off the subtitles too. It’s a good idea to listen to the presentation once without the subtitles, then listen to it again with the subtitles to check for anything you missed or didn’t understand. Here’s the TED Talks website: www.ted.com.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29A Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589 599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

LINKING WORDS & EXPRESSIONS

When you speak and when you write, it’s important to link what you say together. One way that you can do this is by using linking words and expressions, so here are some that you can try out.

To add more information:

in addition

furthermore

moreover

For contrast:

but

though

however

nevertheless

To introduce reasons:

for this reason

it follows that

on account of this

To introduce results:

as a result

in consequence

arising from this

For purpose:

for this purpose

to this end

with this in mind

in order to

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589 599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Improving Your Listening by Having Conversations

Why are you learning English? For most people, the answer is to be able to speak to others. But when you speak, you also need to listen. Therefore, a great way to practise listening is to have conversations with people in English.There are a number of steps you can take to do this successfully.

  1. First, consider the situation where the conversation will happen. What kind of vocabulary are you likely to hear in that situation? If there are words that you don’t already know, try to learn them beforehand so you can recognise them when somebody says them.
  2. Next, when you’re having the conversation, don’t worry about trying to understand every single word – you will not be able to do this and it’s also not necessary! What’s more important is to listen for the specific information that you need to continue the conversation. So just listen for this.
  3. But what if I still don’t understand enough? That’s okay too because you can ask people to repeat themselves and you can even sound like a native speaker by using some of these expressions:
  • Sorry, I didn’t catch that.
  • Huh?
  • Come again?
  • What was that?

So, go out, speak and listen to people. Try to implement these three steps and when you have conversations in English, you may well find that listening is easier.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589 599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

IDIOMS & ANSWERS

Do you know the meaning of these frequently used English idioms?

Let’s see!

  1. Idiom: See eye to eye
  • Meaning: to agree
  • Example: My finacé and I really saw eye to eye on the wedding arrangements.

2. Idiom: Once in a blue moon

  • Meaning: something that happens very rarely.
  • Example: I don’t really like fish so I only go to seafood restaurants once in a blue moon.

3. Idiom: When pigs fly

  • Meaning: something that is very unlikely to happen or will never happen.
  • Example:  I’ll get a pay rise when pigs fly.

4. Idiom: To cost an arm and a leg

  • Meaning: to be very expensive.
  • Example: Houses cost an arm and a leg these days.

5. Idiom: A Piece of Cake

  • Meaning: something that is very easy.
  • Example: Speaking English is a piece of cake 😉

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589 599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk