Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Small Talk: The Answers

Hello everyone. My sincerest apologies for this long gap between posts.

My excuse must be that quite a long Easter holiday intervened. It saw me travelling from Rome down to southeastern Sicily and back. It was great!

But now I'm back in the flow and so I bring you the answers to March's Six Minute English Quiz on "Small Talk". Here they go:

Question 1 (Official): When do babies usually start talking? Is it when they are:

(a) 9 months; (b) 16 months: (c) 18 months  - Eighteen months

2. What expression does party expert Liz Brewer use to describe the act of attempting to start a conversation with someone you don't know at a party? "Breaking the ice"

3. What do you do if you can't remember the name of the person you're talking to? You say,  "Your name has just slipped my mind."

4. Liz Brewer says, "You have to interact with people in a charming way." 


In the next few days I'll be brining you another Quiz. Meanwhile, make sure you keep your listening skills honed. Honed? This means "sharp", like a knife. You can do this by visiting this Blog every day and doing some listening practice.

See you again soon!
Yours,
Mike

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

New 6-minute English: Small Talk

Good day everyone. Here's a new Six Minute English Quiz. It's short and sweet. It's about how to survive at a party where you know no one. 

No problem! Here are a few questions:

Question 1 (Official): When do babies usually start talking? Is it when they are:

(a) 9 months; (b) 16 months: (c) 18 months 

2. What expression does party expert Liz Brewer use to describe the act of attempting to start a conversation with someone you don't know at a party? "....."

3. What do you do if you can't remember the name of the person you're talking to? " ... "

4. Liz Brewer says, "You have to interact with people in a [___] way." (one word)

Now listen to the programme. When you have finished, post your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment.

I'll be back soon!
Yours,
Mike.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Grammar Point: Indirect questions

Good day everybody. Later today I'll post a fresh Six Minute English Quiz. But now I'd like to "flag up", that is, draw your attention to something that regularly "crops up", in other words occurs, in our English lessons. I'm talking about Indirect Questions.

We use these in various situations, notably when reporting what someone said. They are also very commonly used when we want to make a polite or delicate request, for example when asking for permission or information.

Here's an example that happened to me on the early morning flight from Istanbul to Izmir, Turkey. I had boarded the plane and taken my allocated seat. The seat next to me was empty. A British tourist asked me curtly, "Is this free?" She sounded quite aggressive. She should have said, "Could you tell me whether this seat is free?"

I should have stared up at her coldly and replied, "Yes!" Instead of this, I said mildly, "Yes, I think it is." I guess I am too nice.

To find out more about Indirect Questions, go to this page on the BBC World Service Learning English site. Pay particular attention to the word order. Which is correct:

1. "Could you tell me what time is is?"
2. "Could you tell me what time is it?"

Study the BBC page and then post your answer on the Tag Board or in a comment.

Good luck, and more soon!
Yours,
Michael

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Last year's Six Minute English Quiz: The Answers At Last!

Hello to all our readers. First of all I must apologise for this post being, on 12 February, my first since 20 December! My excuse must be that the beginning of 2015 has been exceptionally busy. I am very sorry about this and I plan, from now on, to add at least one post a fortnight, and hopefully more often than that.

Now, I must give you the answers to the quiz about Superheroes. Here they are:

1. What year did Superman first appear published in a comic? It was (c) in 1938

2. And he was originally a villain - that is, the bad guy.

3. Superheroes in real life are people who do something [good].

4. What does the Japanese superhero do? He makes his fellow-citizens [happy].

5. Why does he do it? He says that, after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, that he wanted ["to bring the smile back (to people's faces)".]

6. Interestingly, real life superheroes keep their identity [a closely guarded/secret].

7. Another Japanese man is considered a hero because he [volunteers to keep Tokyo's streets cleaner].

An honourable mention naturally goes to Filomena, Manola and Federica for taking part in our Quiz. Many thanks!

And in a few days' time I'll post another Quiz.

Finally, a very happy New Year 2015 - even if it is a little late.
Yours,
Michael Ivy

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Six Minute English: What makes a Superhero?

You might be surprised. In this episode of Six Minute English we're going to dissect the superhero and sort out fact from fiction.

Here are some questions to help you concentrate on the programme. Read them first, then click on the link to the programme, below:

1. What year did Superman first appear published in a comic? Was it:
(a) in 1930; (b) in 1934; or (c) in 1938?

And, question 2:
What was Superman's original role? He was a [___]. (one word)

3. Superheroes in real life are people who do something [___]. (one word)

4. What does the Japanese superhero do? He makes his fellow-citizens [___]. (one word)

5. Why does he do it? He says that, after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, that he wanted ["to ......"] (a short answer)

6. Interestingly, real life superheroes keep their identity [___ ___]. (two words)

7. Another Japanese man is considered a hero because he [.....]. (a short answer)

Now listen to the programme. The link should open a new tab. Then write your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment.

I look forward to seeing as many people on board here as possible!

And I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015!
I am off to the UK and France very soon. But with luck, I may be able to visit this blog from time to time.

Season's Greetings!
Yours,
Mike

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Listen and Practise (the Present Perfect)

Good day everyone! While waiting for the next Six Minute English Quiz, have a look at the BBC Learning English website and check out the Present Perfect.

This is about describing experiences. Do the collocation exercise and then listen to the interviews. What questions does the interviewer ask each person? And how do they reply?

Don't forget the Session Grammar and Vocabulary. You'll learn some new words, and get an in-depth idea of the grammar.

Post your answers and comments on the Tag Board or in a Comment. Do the same if there is anything you haven't understood.

More again soon!
Yours,
Mike

Saturday, December 06, 2014

How Quickly Can You Learn English? The Answers

Hello everyone. Here at last are the answers to the latest Six Minute English Quiz. See below:

1. The percentage of the British population speaks a first language that is not English is (b) 7.7%!

2. The main method of learning in the 21st century seems to be Online.

3. Rob and Finn suggest you spend 15 minutes a day on the BBC's new English course.

4. Richard Hallows says that to get better at English quickly:
First..." you've got to have a good range of grammar and vocabulary."
Also..."you need to think about pronunciation."
But don't try to ..."be like a native English speaker. You don't have to have a native accent."

5. The level you need before the UK government will give you citizenship is ESOL Entry 3 or B1 level.

6. You need about 360 hours of study to get to that level from not knowing anything.

7. Motivation and age are two factors can affect your ability to learn English easily.

Honourable mentions this week go to Elisa, Filomena, Manola, Federica and Riccardo. Many thanks to you all. That's a good turnout - but with so many readers out there, it should be much, much more.

Look out for the next quiz, and advice! 

Have a very nice weekend, especially if you are on holiday on Monday, 8 December.
Yours,
Mike