Saturday, April 12, 2014

Six Minute English: On Freedom

Rob and Finn on the BBC bring you this week's Six Minute English Quiz.

Here are the questions. Fill the blanks with a missing word for each blank if you see ___ . Complete the sentences if you see a series of dots (……)

1. Freedom is ….
2. This week's official question:
According to the World Freedom Index 2013 by the Canadian Fraser Institute, the people of which country came out as number one, in terms of having the most freedom? Was it:
a) USA b) Sweden c) New Zealand ?
3. If you can say what you like you have …..
4. The British hostage Norman Kember, held in Iraq, survived because of his ____.
5. He was able to feel free by ….
6. Freedom came for him in a ___ ___ on [give the date].

7. The first thing he did when he returned to England was to ….

8. Many ____ have been written about freedom.

9. Nowadays many people use ____ ____ in order to protest.

Now listen to the programme and think about the answers to these questions. Post your answers in a Comment or on the Tag Board.

I hope many more people will come and join us this time! Six people left answers last time. Can we double this number? I look forward to seeing as many of you here as possible!


News In Levels

Want to improve your English listening skills? Just starting out, or not very confident? Here's a reminder of a site that could be useful for you.

It's called "News In Levels". It is updated every week. Each news story is presented on three levels. Level 3 in its original form with an accompanying video. Level 2 is more elementary, with verbs in the past simple, while Level 1 is basic, and verbs tend to be in the present simple tense. In Levels 1 and 2 you can click on a video screen and hear someone reading the text.

The accent is American, which is important as it is essential for you to listen to different accents in order to develop your skills.

There is also Level Zero, but this is very basic indeed, with just a few words displayed and pronounced in a sound recording. The Level Zero stories are not repeated in the higher levels.

Click here in order to see "News In Levels". Do please let the rest of us know what you think by leaving a message on the Tag Board or in a Comment.

Coming up - a new Six Minute English Quiz.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

TED for Advanced Listening

Hello everyone. I'm planning a fresh Six Minute English Quiz - watch this space.

Meanwhile I can highly recommend the TED site. Here, you can watch, and listen to, experts in their various fields - science, philosophy, engineering, architecture, art, finance, you name it, it's there - sharing their experiences and ideas with the rest of us.

It's video, not just audio, so you can also see the speakers. Check it out here!

More soonest!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Men's and Women's Brains. The Answers

Hello folks. Many many thanks to those of you who took part in the current Six Minute English Quiz.

Those who also posted their answers, whether on the Tag Board or in a Comment, deserve a special mention. They are:

Manola, Federica, Arthur, Antonella, Maria Teresa and Filomena.

And here are the answers:

1. How much does the average human brain weigh? (a) 1.4 kg is the right answer.

2. The Pennsylvania team examined the brains of nearly one thousand men and women.

3. The researcher says that in men, the connections run strongest within each hemisphere of the brain, while in women, the connections are stronger when they are between the two sides of the brain.

4. The result is that men are better at learning and performing a single task while women are better at multitasking or doing several things at once.

5. Women are better at remembering words and faces and information about other people.

6. Women also have longer attention spans.

7. Albert Einstein's brain weighed 1.2 kg.

Thanks once again to all those who took part. Later this week I will post another Quiz.

Here are two more important Web sites. The first is "News In Levels". Each piece of current news is presented in three different levels: Level 1 is Elementary: level 2, Intermediate, is for those who have been studying English for three to five years, while Level 3 is for advanced learners who have been studying for six years or more.

The second is a blog by a student of English here in Rome. It's called "Runaway Daydreamer" and it's by Chiara, who is an Upper-Intermediate student of English. She created her blog, she tells us, to keep herself motivated to continue learning, studying and practising English. Come and visit her blog!

And here's an update on our class magazine, "English, Actually". Come and fill in your personal profile here.

More again very soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Six Minute English: Men's and Women's Brains. Are they Different?

We're going to find out in this week's Six Minute English exercises. Are men better at reading maps? Can women park cars? 

First read the questions, then listen to Finn and Rob of the BBC's 'Learning English' team.

First, the 'official' question:

How much does the average human brain weigh? Is it:
(a) 1.4 kg; (b) 2.2 kg; (c) 3.6 kg ?

You'll hear the right answer at the end of the programme.

Here are some more questions. If you see dots (...) put in an appropriate expression. If there is a space [____] or [_____ _____], insert one word for each ___ .

2. The Pennsylvania team examined the brains of nearly [_____ _____] men and women.

3. The researcher says that in men, the connections run strongest [_____] each hemisphere of the brain, while in women, the connections are stronger when they are [_____] the two sides of the brain.

4. The result is that men are better at .... while women are better at ....

5. Women are better at remembering ....

6. Women also have longer [_____ _____ .]

7. Abert Einstein's brain weighed [_____]

Now listen to the programme and send us your answers by using either the Tag Board or the Comments.

And let's see how many people take part. Last time was almost a record - six. But I know that there are dozens of regular readers of this Blog. I would love to see many more of them listening to the quiz and writing in with their answers.

You can also post a message any time on anything connected with using the Net to discover English. This would make the Rome English Blog a real community of language learners.

More very soon! Yours,

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The News: Listening and/or Watching It

Good afternoon all. Here's a suggestion on how to practise your listening skills. This comes to you through a site someone told me about last Friday.

It's called "News In Levels" and it introduces news broadcasts to students of English. You can go directly to it here - the web site will open in a new window.

Test your level of English, and then try some news exercises.

Then - and this is very important - post a message in a Comment or on the Tag Board to tell us what you think of this site.

As I always say - all contact with English is good contact, and this is especially true of Listening.

Many thanks to Carmen for this idea. If any of you have any web sites you would recommend, send them to me immediately!

Many thanks and have a good weekend.
PS - Another Quiz Coming Soon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

About Drinking: The Answers

Dear All,
I was very heartened to see some fresh responses to the latest Six Minute English Quiz on Drinking. There have been some good answers in the last few days, since the Ides of March.

So as promised, here are the answers:

1. This week's official question, as on the BBC web site: What is the most popular pub name? a) The Red Lion - 518 pubs of this name in Britain.

2. What was unusual about the pub Neil used to drink in? [Personal service: they bought the drinks to you.]

3. What does Rob dislike about modern pubs? [They are too bright and loud, and the drinks are expensive.]

4. A 'saloon' is a drinking place you might find in ... [an old cowboy movie]

5. What was unusual about the pub Rob found in Sweden? [Everything was made of ice.]

6. Where is the highest Irish pub in the world? [On the slopes of Mount Everest.]

7. How does the BBC reporter describe the pub he went to in Greenland? [It was like a 'bunker', and with very sparse furniture.]

8. Why is only beer served at the pub in Greenland? [Because of the 'quite astonishing levels of consumption' of spirits by the local population.]

The roll of honour listing those who took part in this quiz: 
Federica, Maria Theresa, Gianluca, Manola, Roberta, Filomena.

Very many thanks to you all. Look out for the next Six Minute English Quiz, coming later this week. Let's see if even more people can come on board!

More soonest!