Tag Archives: Eurospeak

HOW TO MAKE NEW WORDS

Every time we create or discover something new, we need to name it. This means that we are always adding new words to our language, and it can happen in a few different ways:

  1. Adding two or more words together. For example, if we want to talk about a piece of paper that gives us news, we can call it a newspaper.
  2. Mixing words together. How do you describe a meal that happens between breakfast and lunch? Brunch, of course!
  3. ‘Borrowing’ words from other languages. We get the word ‘robot’ from Czech, ‘shampoo’ from Hindi, and ‘yogurt’ from Turkish!
  4. Using brand names. We ‘google’ information on the internet, we ‘hoover’ our houses and, if we’re lucky, we might use a ‘jacuzzi’ at the swimming pool!

Can you think of any more examples? Do you know how new words are created in your language? Tell us in the comments!

 

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:

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:

FREE APPS TO LEARN ENGLISH

Some of the best and most enjoyable ways to practise your English are also completely free! All you need is a mobile phone and an internet connection, and you’ll have access to an amazing selection of apps that can help you to improve no matter where you are. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Memrise – This app was designed by a Grand Master of Memory (Google it – it’s very impressive) and a neuroscientist to help people to learn languages more efficiently and to be able to remember more. You can choose from a set of vocabulary, or you can create your own!

www.memrise.com

  1. Quizlet – This also help you to learn vocabulary, but with flashcards. You can study the words first, and then test yourself in lots of different ways. If you have a list of words that you need to learn for class, or for an exam, then you can enter it into the app and learn in no time at all!

www.quizlet.com

  1. Wordreference – We all use Google Translate to help us understand new words, but this dictionary app is much better. It includes lots of different languages, like French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and more! It also helps you to understand more about the grammar of the word and gives you example sentences.

www.wordreference.com

  1. Macmillan Sounds – This is a great app for pronunciation, as it shows you all the different sounds we use in English. You can press on a sound and then repeat it until you are happy with your pronunciation.

http://www.macmillaneducationapps.com/soundspron/

Are there any other apps that you like? Tell us about them!

What is Pancake Day?

The time has come for one of the best days of spring – Pancake Day! But why on earth do we have a day to celebrate pancakes?

Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday, as it is also called) is celebrated 40 days before Easter Sunday, one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.

On Pancake Day we use all of the nice foods in the house, like eggs, butter and sugar, to make pancakes and then we eat very plain food for the next 40 days. One of the most popular pancake toppings in the UK is lemon with sugar, but you can have jam, Nutella, or even cheese!

An important tradition on Pancake Day is flipping the pancakes – you have to throw them up in the air and then try to catch them in the pan! It takes a bit of practice, but it’s good fun. Some towns even have a pancake race, where people have to run and flip pancakes at the same time!

You can see one of these races on Broad Street in Reading, from 12.30pm on Tuesday 5th March.

Come and join us for the Eurospeak Pancake parties this week –

Southampton – Tuesday 5th March, 1pm

Reading – Thursday 7th March, 4pm

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?

SPECULATING ABOUT PHOTOS IN SPEAKING EXAMS

Do you wonder what to say when you have to talk about photos in your Speaking exam? Speculating is the answer. “But what is speculating and how do I do it?” I hear you ask. Read on for the answer.

Speculating is when you guess something based on evidence and using modals of speculation is a great way to speculate. Here are some examples:

  • I think he must be happy because he’s smiling.

Here we use must + bare / base infinitive to show that you are almost completely certain that something is true.

  • He’s looking at a website, so he could be looking for another job.

Here we have could + be + -ing to show possibility.

  • He looks injured. I reckon he might have broken his leg.

Here we use might + have + past participle to show possibility.

  • She seems tired, so I think she may have been working very hard today.

Here we have may + have + been + -ing to show possibility.

  • She can’t have slept enough last night because she looks tired.

We can use ‘can’t’ to show that you are almost completely certain that something is not true.

The first two examples are about the present. If you are taking the B2 First exam, you can impress the examiners by using modals of speculation in the present.

The last three examples are about the past. If you are taking the C1 Advanced exam, you can impress the examiners by using modals of speculation in the past.

So, don’t be lost for words when you have to talk about photos in your Speaking exam. Speculate based on what you can see and use modals of speculation to do it.

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

Reading Strategies For Dealing With Unfamiliar Vocabulary

Vocabulary acquisition is key

One of the biggest hurdles students encounter are words they have never heard before. In order to effectively learn new words, there is a whole other set of strategies specifically aimed at understanding new vocabulary.

  • Look at the image for clues: Say they don’t understand a word in the title. Does the photo shed some light onto what it might mean?
  • Look for familiar words within a word: They may not know the meaning of “misinformation”, but they may see it contains the word “information” and try to figure out how the prefix “mis” changes its meaning.
  • Look for context: Some of the other words in the sentence might provide clues as to the meaning of a strange word.
  • Read beyond the sentence: Students should not remain stuck in a single sentence they don’t understand. Quite often clarification and context clues appear further in the reading.
  • Re-read the sentence: Once they’ve figured out the meaning of a new word (or looked it up in the dictionary if all else fails), they should re-read it and see if it makes sense.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Reading or Eurospeak Southampton, 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

Academic or General IELTS?

Academic and General IELTS – What’s the difference?

There are two versions of the IELTS exam: Academic and General. Here’s a quick guide to the differences (and similarities) between them.

Both versions of the IELTS exam have four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Listening and Speaking sections are the same in both versions, but the Reading and Writing sections are different.

For both versions, in the Listening section, you listen to a total of four monologues and conversations, and answer a variety of different questions on them. You only listen once and the test is approximately thirty minutes.

For both versions, in the Speaking section, you answer questions on familiar topics, speak continuously for one to two minutes on a topic, and answer questions on more abstract topics. You do the speaking exam individually with one examiner. It’s eleven to fourteen minutes long.

For Academic Reading, you read three longer texts and answer a variety of questions about them. The texts are more academic in nature. You have one hour to complete the test.

For General Reading, you also read three texts and answer a variety of questions on them, but these texts are more related to work and general interests. This test is also thirty minutes.

For Academic Writing, you write two pieces of writing. The first is a summary of information. You might be asked to summarise information from a chart or graph, a table, or a diagram showing a process, objects or maps or plans. The second piece of writing is an essay. You have one hour in total for both Writing tasks.

For General Writing, you also write two pieces of writing. The first task is a letter and the second task is an essay. The length of the exam is also one hour in total for both Writing tasks.

Now you know a little more about the difference and similarities between Academic and General IELTS.

At Eurospeak Language School we offer our IELTS exam students real IELTS practice material and for homework and in class.

We also have additional resources, practice IELTS exams and sample IELTS material for you to use in your own time, at home, or to study in the students’ area.

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

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

 

Effective Reading Techniques

We all know that reading in a second language can be tricky. Why is this and what can you do about it so that you can become an effective reader?

Let’s first consider obstacles to effective reading. Are you reading something you enjoy? If you wouldn’t read it in your first language, then you certainly won’t want to read it in your second language! So choose something that you actually want to read to motivate yourself to do it more.

Another obstacle is feeling that you need to understand every single word. Well, you do NOT need to understand every word to read effectively. Effective reading is possibly as long as you can understand the important words in a text.

So, how can you be an effective reader? The answer to this depends on why you are reading. You might be reading just to get the gist of a text, in other words, to understand in general what the text is about. If you are reading for this reason, try skimming, which involves reading a text quickly to understand its main ideas, but not to grasp all the details. If you are reading for details, then you should try scanning. When you scan, you take a closer look at the text to find out more information about particular points of interest.

Another key to effective reading is the ability to read at a good speed. If you think you’re reading too slowly, give yourself a time limit when you read – and stick to it! If you don’t finish within your time limit the first time, don’t give up – with practice, you will improve!

It’s also a good idea to practice reading using shorter texts. Taking on a very long text can be daunting, and you might find that you give up reading it. So, read something shorter and more manageable – you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something when you’ve finished it, which will make you feel good and encourage you to read more.

Finally, to be an effective reader you, of course, need to understand what you read. A great way to check your understanding of what you’ve read is to write a summary of it after you’ve read it. If you can do this, then you have understood; if some parts are difficult to write, you can go back to your reading text again for clarification.

So, find something that you want to read, implement these ideas and you’ll be on the road to becoming an effective reader.

At Eurospeak we offer our Cambridge exam students real Cambridge reading material and authentic exam practice material for homework and in class.

We also have a class library scheme for General English classes, so that you can choose the book of your choice, at the correct CEFR Level, and return it once you have finished!

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

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk