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

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Welcome to September 2014

Dear all,

Welcome back to Rome English in September 2014. A new year dawns. More on this in the next post but my first job is to give you the answers to July's Six Minute English Quiz on Attractive Men. Here they are:

1. (Official): How long is the first stage of the Tour de France? b) 191 km is correct!] 2. Rob enjoys cycling for fun, as a hobby and as a workout to keep fit. 3. Finn bought a bike but he stopped cycling when he got a flat tyre. 4. Dr. Erik Postma of Zurich University found that the best 10 per cent of riders were 25 per cent more attractive to women than the worst ten per cent. 5. Men are seen as more attractive when they are healthy, physically fit and successful. 6. The study also showed that women fancy men with good sporting skills. 7. How many women were asked to evaluate male cyclists? 800 8. What characteristic in men was rated as 'likeable but not attractive'? Smiling

Many thanks to Manola and Federica for their kind participation.

Keep coming back to this space for more quizzes, updates and advice.
And I hope you all had an excellent summer holiday. I certainly did.

More very soon,
Yours,
Mike

Friday, July 18, 2014

Six Minute English: What kind of men do women find attractive?

Hello everyone!

it's the Tour de France right now - possibly the biggest cycling event in Europe along with the Giro d'Italia. And it began, strangely, in Leeds in the UK, not in France.

Although I would not personally want to be a competition cyclist, I follow both the Tour and the Giro occasionally. And I have found an interesting piece on the BBC's 'Six Minute English' in which Rob and Finn discuss the question of whether women really find winning cyclists more attractive than other men, as some research suggests. 

Read the following questions and then listen to the programme:

1. (Official): How long is the first stage of the Tour de France? Is it: a) 151 km; b) 191 km; c) 221 km ? 

2. Rob enjoys cycling for [____], as a [_____] and as a [____] to keep [____].

3. Finn bought a bike but he stopped cycling when he got ___ ___ ___ (three words)

4. Dr. Erik Postma of Zurich University found that the [___] 10 per cent of riders were [____] more attractive to  women than the [____] ten per cent.

5. Men are seen as more attractive when they are [___], [___ ___] and [____].

6. The study also showed that women [___] men with good [___ ___].

7. How many women were asked to evaluate male cyclists? (Give a short answer.)

8. What characteristic in men was rated as 'likeable but not attractive'? [____]

Now listen to the programme and post your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment. Let's hope lots of people reply - the more, the merrier!

Today is my last day at work before the summer holidays. I'll be back regularly on 1 September. But I'll drop in to 'Rome English' from time to time. Watch this space!

And have a very good time wherever you are!

Yours,
Michael

Monday, July 14, 2014

Brazilian Music: The Answers

Hello readers! I can now post the official answers to the recent Six Minute English Quiz on Brazilian Music:. Rob was talking to Brazilian music expert Grace.

1. This week's Question:
When was the song 'The Girl from Ipanema' recorded commercially for the first time? It was: b) 1962.

The story goes that poet and composer Vinicus De Moraes wrote the song in honour of a real girl whom he used to observe walking along the beach at Ipanema every evening at sunset wearing only a bikini and high-heeled shoes. They were even together briefly; her parents disapproved of their relationship because Vinicius was much older than she was.

2. Rob definitely sings out of tune.

3. How does Monica Vasconcelos compare 'samba' and 'bossanova'? Samba is very energetic and full of life while bossanova is smoother, more understated.

4. Bossanova composers were into beauty.

5. The bossanova 'groove' is cool, funky and smooth.

6. What effect has rock-and-roll had on Brazilian music? It has flattened and simplified its rhythms.

7. For Rob, travelling is all about hearing local music, discovering local food, things that are different from things back at home.

Many thanks to all participants: Giovanni, Manola, Federica, Ada and Giovanni Prelli. I have removed one comment because it bore no relation to our Quiz.

I will be posting another Quiz very soon. Meanwhile, improve your listening skills by returning to this Blog every day and choosing a listening site such as the British Council's Learn English, the BBC's Learning English, and Real English by American teacher in France, Michael Marzio. Among many others.

More soon,
Yours,
Mike

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Six Minute English: Brazilian Music

Good day readers! The world's focussing on Brazil right now. But away from the football pitches, what do you know about Brazil's people and culture? Here's a chance to find out more on the BBC's Six Minute English. This week, Rob is talking to Grace from Brazil and exploring some of the history of Brazilian music.

As always, study the questions, then listen to the programme, and finally post your answers on the Tag Board or in a comment. 

Here are this week's questions:

1. When was the song 'The Girl from Ipanema' recorded commercially for the first time? Was it: (a) 1955: (b) 1962; c) 1969.

2. Rob says he definitely sings ___ ___ ___ . 

3. How does Monica Vasconcelos compare 'samba' and 'bossanova'? 

4. Bossanova composers were into ___ .

5. The bossanova 'groove' is ___, ___ and ___ .

6. What effect has rock-and-roll had on Brazilian music? 

7. For Rob, travelling is all about ....

Now listen to the programme and then post your answers. Don't forget to check out the useful new vocabulary in the special section below the BBC's link to the program.

And it would be absolutely fantastic if as many readers as possible could actively participate. Last week there were seven of you, but there could be many more. Remember, you don't have to be a current student to join in. Even if you were with us some years ago, your participation is most welcome.

More very soon!
Yours,
Mike