Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Cycling For Food" - Six Questions for Six Minutes

Hello everybody. It's a rainy Tuesday morning here in Rome. So to cheer you up, here is another listening comprehension exercise from Six Minute English. This time, it's about an idea in Copenhagen, Denmark, initiated by a new hotel there.

As usual, read the questions, then listen to the dialogue.

1. Official question: according to the Copenhagen government's statistics how many kilometres are cycled in total, every working day, by people living and working in Copenhagen?

a) 1.2 million km; b) 1.6 million km; c) 2.1 million km

2. What are Callum's two favourite pastimes?

3. Why is the new hotel making its unusual offer to cyclists?

4. What can be done with ten watts of electricity, as a practical example?

5. What other form of renewable energy does Denmark produce?

6. And what proportion of Denmark's energy does this alternative form provide?

Now listen to the programme. And as usual, post your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment.
And let's participate in Massive Numbers! I'd like to see the Tag Board and Comments Section absolutely flooded with your messages! I look forward to it.

More very soon and have a nice day!
- Mike

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Six Minute English with Malcolm McLaren: The Answers!

Hello everyone.
And many thanks to all those people who answered last week's Six Minute English. They include Olimpia, Chiara, Simona, Gianluca, Giovanni, Silvia, Paolo, Lorenza, Leonardo, Carlo and Simone!

That's a longer list than before, and very encouraging. But I long to see everybody (!) leaving their answers on this Blog.

And now the answers:

1. Johnny Rotten - of course.
2. "iconic"
3. (a) "a real charmer" (b) "a total spieler" (c) "incredibly articulate" (d) "very well-educated"
4. The word is "spieler" and it has come into English from German and Yiddish.
5. Neil Spencer's attitude to Malcolm McLaren is positive, even admiring.

I'll be back soon with another listening exercise based on Six Minute English. Meanwhile, there is a lot that you can do. Lorenza, Corrado, Simona and Elisabetta, to name a few, have been visiting other sites such as Randall's Cyber-Listening Lab and Michael Marzio's Real English.

I very strongly encourage you to follow their example - and leave a message on the tag Board, as they have done.

More very soon!
 - MIke

Friday, April 16, 2010

Five Questions for Six Minutes: Malcolm McLaren, the Godfather of Punk

Good day everyone. As promised, here is a further listening exercise based on Six Minute English. Today it is very short. It's about Malcolm Mclaren, the promoter of the group The Sex Pistols, who died recently.

As usual, read the questions first, then listen to the talk. Then post your answers in a Comment or on the Tag Board.

1. The real name of the lead singer of the Sex Pistols  is John Lydon. What is his stage name?
(a) Johnny Terrible (b) Johnny Rotten (c) Johnny Awful

2. The Sex Pistols were the most __________ punk band. (insert one word)

3. The journalist Neil Spencer uses four different expressions to describe Malcolm McLaren. Insert one word into each space:
 (a) "a real __________ "
 (b) "a total __________ "
 (c) "incredibly ________ "
 (d) "very well-________ "

4. One of these words has come into English from another language. Which word and which language?

5. How would you describe Neil Spencer's attitude to Malcolm McLaren?

Now listen to the talk. Then enter your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment. A Comment is better if you are writing a longer answer, or if you want to put all your answers together rather than in separate messages on the Tag Board.

Official answers next week.

Have a good weekend!

But don't forget to visit this Blog at least twice, if not three times, a week.

 - Mike

Thursday, April 15, 2010

British Council "Learn English" site gets a new look.

Hello everyone.

Many many thanks to those of you who have recently marked your visit by leaving a message on the Tag Board. Some of you have done last week's "Six Minute English" exercises and posted your answers. Others have visited sites linked to this Blog and reported their reactions. This is how to create a vibrant community of learners.

Honourable mentions go to Simone, Lorenza, Gian Piero, Elisabetta, Alessandra, Giovanni, Paola, Simona, Bruno, Savina and Chiara.

Very soon, I'll be posting a further Six Minute English listening exercise. I'll also be recommending specific exercises to try in some of the other sites such as Go4English and In2English. Scroll down the list in the right-hand column to find these sites.

Meanwhile, here is the redesigned British Council Learn English site. There is something for everyone here: listening practice, grammar practice and games, business English and exams practice and information.

Explore this site and please do report your experiences with it in a Comment or message on the Tag Board. More very soon indeed!

- Mike

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Truth about Lies

Dear All,

Welcome back from the Easter holiday, if you had one. I went to Turkey to see my mother and have a drive round. Paolo has asked for some information and advice about this remarkable country, so I hope to have something for you all soon. Meanwhile, here are the answers to the questions in the latest Six Minute English listening exercise:

That's all for now! More next week. But do continue to explore this Blog and all its links. And do continue to leave messages on the Tag Board. I would like to see some new names!
1. Surprisingly - teachers! Especially if they feel they have to manipulate someone. Clearly this profession is not all that it may appear to be.
2. Many people tell two important lies a day.
3. "an unavoidable part of human nature".
4. You can identify liars because they tend to: (a) be more general when they answer a question; (b) pause more; (c) be more structured in their answers; they tend to plan their lies.
5. The lie detector measures your breathing, your pulse and your "galvanic skin repsonse", or increased sweating.
6. Control questions are those to which you are expected to lie, such as "Have you ever lied to anyone in authority?"
7. A "white lie" is one that you tell to make someone feel good. An example is "You've lost wieght!" - when the person clearly hasn't. Flattery might be another word.
Many thanks to Paolo, Simona, Bruono, Giovanni, Chiara and Savina.

- Mike