Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Six Minute English: Social Media Scams

Good day readers!
Recently, everyone has been talking about Social Media - Twitter, Facebook to name but two. They help people find old friends, make new friends, keep in touch and share various aspects of their lives. I use Facebook to share some of my experiences, especially travel.

But there is a darker side. Stephen and Alice, the presenters on this week's Six Minute English, focus on one unpleasant aspect of social networks: the criminals who try to persuade you to reveal your password. Once they have this, they can do you a lot of damage.

Let's have a look at the questions:

1. This week's official question: Who was the first celebrity to have more than 10 million people following his or her updates on Twitter?

a) Ashton Kutcher
b) Lady Gaga
c) Stephen Fry


2. Social media offer an _____________ and _____________ way of staying in contact with those they _____________ and _____________. (one word in each space.)


3. Alice uses social media especially with friends who _____________ _____________.

4. BBC Technology Correspondent Mark Gregory mentions that social networking sites are an obvious target for scams involving _____________.


5. From how many computers has Microsoft taken its information?

6. What exactly are “phishing” frauds? What do they encourage you to do?


7. How can you protect yourself from a scam?

Now listen to Six Minute English. I suggest you give your answers in a comment since, especially for questions 5 to 7, you may go over the 200-character limit for the Tag Board.

I look forward to everyone's answers!

Have a very nice day,
Mike

60-second Word Challenge on your i-Phone

Here's something for readers who have an i-Phone. An app has come out which helps you with your English vocabulary.

It's called "60 Second Word Challenge". It has been released this week for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It is a fun vocabulary quiz with 10 topics, three difficulty levels and 600 questions.

Download it now while it's free. Search iTunes for '60 second word challenge' or 'british council'.

Or you can download it from here:
http://itunes.apple.com/app/60-second-word-challenge/id432488501?mt=8

Please do share your experiences of the app with the rest of us, by leaving a message on the Tag Board. For comments over 200 characters in length, click on 'Post A Comment' after this post.

And you will help us enormously if you answer the 'poll' (survey) question just above the Tag Board and tell us what kind of mobile device you possess.

Coming soon: another Six Minute English Quiz.

Kind regards,
Mike

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Six Minute English on British Republicans: The Answers

Hello everyone. First of all may I sincerely apologise for not having posted anything since the 11th of May!

But I would like to make up for it by posting the correct answers to the last Six Minute English quiz. Here they are:

This week's official question:
Why were British royals put to death by beheading rather than hanging?

a) It was quicker, because gallows – a special wooden structure - weren't needed.

b) It was less brutal to the prisoner as they died more quickly.

c) More executioners preferred to use the axe.

The correct answer is b): It was less brutal to the prisoner as they died more quickly.

Complete the sentences:

2. King Charles I was executed in 1641.

3. How many people are in favour of the monarchy? 70 to 75%.

4. Republicans believe that a country should be governed by someone who has been elected by its citizens, not by someone who was born into the position.

5. “By 2025 we want to see the monarchy gone or going.” (British republican.)

6. Professor Justin Champion says that the British national identity is built around castles and kings and queens when really it ought to be about being a free born Englishman.

Very many thanks to Margherita, Gianluca and Gabriella for posting their answers in a Comment.

And thanks to Tommaso, Antonio, Irene, Daniele and Alessia for posting to the Tag Board.

Another message very soon!
Yours,
Mike

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

6 Minute English: British Republicans

Good day everyone. It's mid-week at the British Council Rome, and we are overdue for another episode of Six Minute English.

Looking through the episodes on offer at the BBC, I figured that 'British Republicans' might attract interest from our readers, even though the Royal Wedding is long over and the couple are reportedly on their honeymoon in the Seychelles.

So here is this week's quiz. Read through the questions first before you listen:

This week's official question:

1. Why were British royals put to death by beheading rather than hanging?
a) It was quicker, because gallows – a special wooden structure - weren't needed.
b) It was less brutal to the prisoner as they died more quickly.
c) More executioners preferred to use the axe.

Listen out for the answer at the end of the programme!

Complete these sentences using a word, a phrase, a number or a date:
2.King Charles I was executed in ___________________.
3. How many people are in favour of the monarchy? ___________________
4. Republicans believe that a country should be governed by someone who has been ___________________, not by someone who was ___________________.
5. “By ___________________we want to see the monarchy gone or going.” (British republican)
6. Professor. Justin Champion says that the British national identity is built around ___________________ when really it ought to be about being a ___________________.


Now listen to the programme. When you have finished, write your answers on the Tag Board, or, if your answer is long - over 200 characters - in a comment.
 
Note that to leave a comment, you do not need to be signed in to Google, or have a Google ID. Simply choose the "Name/URL" option, or the Anonymous" option. But if you choose "Anonymous", please do put your name at the end of your comment. That way, we can all appreciate your answers.
 
Many thanks! Another message will follow very soon.
Have a very good week,
Mike

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Mobile English

Good day everyone. This week's question: do you have a Smartphone? Do you possess, for instance, an Apple i-Phone, Samsung, LTC, Sony Ericsson, other phone or Apple i-Pad which can do almost anything your home computer can do?

If your answer is Yes, read on. The British Council is 'rolling out' - in other words producing, a series of useful apps that can work on your phone and help you with your English, any time, anywhere.

Examples:

1. "MyWordBook", which is an interactive vocabulary notebook for language learners;

2. "Johnny Grammar's Quizmaster", in which you test yourself against our resident expert Johnny Grammar with this app for Android™ Smartphone.

3. "Big City Small World", an audio soap for learners of English. This app is for iPhones, iPod Touches and Android devices.

4. "Sounds Right", the British Council's first pronunciation chart for learners and teachers worldwide. This app is for the iPad.

Where to find all these and more? On the British Council's LearnEnglish site in the Mobile Learning section.

So navigate over there and have a look. Keep visiting, because new apps are appearing almost evey fortnight.

And please do leave a comment or a Tag Board message in order to tell everyone about these apps: are they easy to use? are the instructions clear? do they help you with your English?

Meanwhile, I will survey my students here at the British Council Rome to find out how many people have a smartphone. I am guessing that they now form the majority.

Coming up: more recommended sites for practising English, plus a further Six Minute English Quiz.

See you online!
More soon,
Mike