Saturday, November 22, 2014

How quickly can you learn English?

That's what this week's Six Minute English Quiz is about. It's a fascinating question for us. As usual, however, the answer depends on many things. Right now, read the questions and then click on the link below to listen. But please don't read the transcript before you have listened to the conversation and tried to answer the questions.

Here's the first, official question:
1. According the last UK census taken in 2011, what percentage of the British population speaks a first language that is not English?
(a)    1.7%; (b)    7.7%; (c)    14.7% ?
More questions:
2. What seems to be the main method of learning in the 21st century?
3. How much time daily do Rob and Finn suggest you spend on the BBC's new English course?
4. What does the expert Richard Hallows say you need to get better at English quickly? Try to add to the following first words to make sentences that complete the advice:
"First..." 
"Also..."
"But don't try to ..."
5. What level do you need before the UK government will give you citizenship?
6. How many hours of study to you need to get to that level from not knowing anything?
7. What two factors can affect your ability to learn English easily?
Now click on the link and then on the 'play' control to start the recording.
I hope that as many people as possible - current and past students - will take part in this exercise. You are all strongly encouraged to post your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment. I'll post the official answers in a few days' time.
That's all for now! More soon,
Yours,
Mike

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Six Minute English on Ebola: The Answers

Good day all! As promised, here are the answers to the last 6 Minute English Quiz:

Quiz question no. 1:

The virus Ebola got its name after a river in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But when was it discovered? It was in: (b) 1976 -  correct!

2. The mortality rate from Ebola is over half.

3. Use of experimental or untested drugs is risky because they cause side effects.

4. Patients must give their 'informed consent' before untested drugs can be used to treat them.

5. Patients must sign a 'waiver' which means that they agree not to sue or take legal action if the drug does not work, or makes them worse.

Very many thanks to Fabiana and Manola for their contribution. But I'd love to see more people taking part and helping to create a real community of English learners. Both 'Rome English' and 'English, Actually' are places where where we can meet and exchange information and ideas.

Soon, I'll post another Quiz. Meanwhile, do use this blog and the links on the right to explore all the sites on the Net that can help you with your English.

Have a very nice day!
Yours,
Michael

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Six Minute English - and other essential websites

Hello everyone. Below this post you'll see the latest Six Minute English Quiz. You have until Saturday to view it and answer the questions. After that, I'll post the official answers. I am very happy to see that last year's student, Manola, has already answered some of the questions.

I'd love it if more people could join us. That way, we can form an interactive community of learners. Do use the Tag Board to post general comments as well as answers to the Listening Quizzes.

Now for a reminder of useful websites for you. There is a long list on the right of this message. Just scroll down the page and click on any, or all of them. Top of the list have to be: the British Council's Learn English (don't neglect the Learn English Teens site which, even if you are not a teenager, has some useful material); the BBC's Learning English and Michael Marzio's Real English. I'll be adding more sites in the near future.

More very soon. Meanwhile why don't you post a very brief presentation of yourself on the Tag Board? Brief means a maximum of two hundred characters, but it's enough to give a good idea of who you are.

Have a nice day!
Yours,
Mike

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Six Minute English: The Ebola Outbreak

Hello everyone. This is a Six Minute English programme from the end of last August. But the Ebola outbreak is now very much in the news. Let's listen to this programme to find out more and do the quiz at the same time.

Quiz question no. 1: The virus Ebola got its name after a river in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But when was it discovered? Was it in:

a) 1966; b) 1976 or c) 1986?

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

2. The mortality rate from Ebola is _____ _____ . (two words)

3. Use of experimental or untested drugs is risky because they .... .

4. Patients must give their '_____ _____ ' before untested drugs can be used to treat them.

5. Patients must sign a 'waiver' which means that they agree not to _____ or take _____ _____ if the drug does not work, or even makes them worse.

Now listen to the programme. Then answer the questions by using the Tag Board or the Comments form. Come in everybody - the more people who take part, the better for our learning community!

Learn English on the BBC is changing. I'll have more about this in my next post.

More soon,
Mike

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Boredom: The Answers

Hello everyone. I am sorry to have been away for over a month! It has been a busy time. Now, however, I can give you the answers to the latest Six Minute English Quiz:

1. Do you know how long the cast for The Bald Soprano was on stage for? Was it for about:

It was c) 23 hours! Aaagghhh!

2. Finn often dreams of something more exciting, such as becoming [a professional diver] or [a pilot of a really fast plane].

3. American fighter pilot Missy Cummings said she staved off boredom by [listening to Oprah Winfrey shows]

4. Tiffany Watts-Smith says boredom is a [very] [useful] emotion because it [spurs people on to change something about their environment.]

5.She says it [encourages creativity].

6. Finn says he's going to [stave off] his boredom by booking himself a [fantastic holiday], maybe in [Patagonia, Argentina] to see the [penguins].

You can still answer these questions, in a comment or on the Tag Board:

(a) What things, people or situations make you bored?
(b) How do you cope with boredom?

Another Quiz soon! Meanwhile, keep visiting this page and practising your listening skills.

Goodbye for now!
Yours,
Michael

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Boredom is a very creative state" Discuss.

OK, you can discuss the title later - after doing the latest Six Minute English Quiz. Here it is.

If you often feel bored, it's quite normal. Everybody experiences boredom at some time, some people more than others. In this episode of Six Minute English, we begin with a question on a potentially very boring theatre performance:

1. Do you know how long the cast for The Bald Soprano was on stage for? Was it for about:
a) 8 hours: b) 17 hours: c) 23 hours

You'll find out the answer at the end of the programme.

Now read the other questions.
2. Finn often dreams of something more exciting, such as becoming a ..... or a .....
3. American fighter pilot Missy Cummings said she staved off boredom by .....
4. Tiffany Watts-Smith says boredom is a .... emotion because it .....
5.She says it .....
6. Finn says he's going to ..... his boredom by booking himself a ..... , maybe in .....  to see the ..... .
And now, listen to the programme. Post your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment. I'd love evrybody to take part!

Do you have children, or do you know any? If yes, read the advice of the expert who says boredom is actually good for children, surprising though this may seem.

That's all for now! You have a week to listen and answer the questions. Fill the gaps in the sentences above with what you understand from the programme. I look forward to reading your answers.

Finally, can you answer these questions, in a comment or on the Tag Board:

(a) What things, people or situations make you bored?
(b) How do you cope with boredom?
(c) "Boredom is a very creative state". Discuss.

Goodbye for now!
Yours,
Michael

Monday, September 08, 2014

Express English

Hello everyone.

Later this week I will post another Six Minute English Quiz. For newcomers to this Blog, Six-Minute English is a short discussion between two people on a particular topic. It is on the BBC World Service 'Learning English' site and lasts for six minutes. I post a series of comprehension questions here. You listen to the programme, and then post your answers to the quiz questions on our Blog.

For the next few days, however, why not look at 'Express English'? It's also on the BBC. Here, various people talk for under a minute on a particular topic. You are then asked to post your comments on the BBC's site. However, I suggest that you post your comments here on the 'Rome English' Blog.

Here's an example: Dreams. Listen to other people talking about their dreams, read the comments that people have posted, and then post your own comments here. Use either the 'Comments' page or the Tag Board at the top of the right-hand column.

In some countries dreams are taken very seriously and are analysed in an effort to find out about the future. Are dreams part of your culture? 

And another one: Jealousy. Have you ever been jealous? What colour do you associate with jealousy? In England, green is the colour of envy. But what is the difference between envy and jealousy?

Once again, do post your ideas on our 'Rome English' site. I look forward to as many people writing in as possible!

More very soon!
Yours,
Mike