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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How quickly can you learn English?

That's what this week's Six Minute English Quiz is about. It's a fascinating question for us. As usual, however, the answer depends on many things. Right now, read the questions and then click on the link below to listen. But please don't read the transcript before you have listened to the conversation and tried to answer the questions.

Here's the first, official question:
1. According the last UK census taken in 2011, what percentage of the British population speaks a first language that is not English?
(a)    1.7%; (b)    7.7%; (c)    14.7% ?
More questions:
2. What seems to be the main method of learning in the 21st century?
3. How much time daily do Rob and Finn suggest you spend on the BBC's new English course?
4. What does the expert Richard Hallows say you need to get better at English quickly? Try to add to the following first words to make sentences that complete the advice:
"First..." 
"Also..."
"But don't try to ..."
5. What level do you need before the UK government will give you citizenship?
6. How many hours of study to you need to get to that level from not knowing anything?
7. What two factors can affect your ability to learn English easily?
Now click on the link and then on the 'play' control to start the recording.
I hope that as many people as possible - current and past students - will take part in this exercise. You are all strongly encouraged to post your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment. I'll post the official answers in a few days' time.
That's all for now! More soon,
Yours,
Mike

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Six Minute English on Ebola: The Answers

Good day all! As promised, here are the answers to the last 6 Minute English Quiz:

Quiz question no. 1:

The virus Ebola got its name after a river in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But when was it discovered? It was in: (b) 1976 -  correct!

2. The mortality rate from Ebola is over half.

3. Use of experimental or untested drugs is risky because they cause side effects.

4. Patients must give their 'informed consent' before untested drugs can be used to treat them.

5. Patients must sign a 'waiver' which means that they agree not to sue or take legal action if the drug does not work, or makes them worse.

Very many thanks to Fabiana and Manola for their contribution. But I'd love to see more people taking part and helping to create a real community of English learners. Both 'Rome English' and 'English, Actually' are places where where we can meet and exchange information and ideas.

Soon, I'll post another Quiz. Meanwhile, do use this blog and the links on the right to explore all the sites on the Net that can help you with your English.

Have a very nice day!
Yours,
Michael

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Six Minute English - and other essential websites

Hello everyone. Below this post you'll see the latest Six Minute English Quiz. You have until Saturday to view it and answer the questions. After that, I'll post the official answers. I am very happy to see that last year's student, Manola, has already answered some of the questions.

I'd love it if more people could join us. That way, we can form an interactive community of learners. Do use the Tag Board to post general comments as well as answers to the Listening Quizzes.

Now for a reminder of useful websites for you. There is a long list on the right of this message. Just scroll down the page and click on any, or all of them. Top of the list have to be: the British Council's Learn English (don't neglect the Learn English Teens site which, even if you are not a teenager, has some useful material); the BBC's Learning English and Michael Marzio's Real English. I'll be adding more sites in the near future.

More very soon. Meanwhile why don't you post a very brief presentation of yourself on the Tag Board? Brief means a maximum of two hundred characters, but it's enough to give a good idea of who you are.

Have a nice day!
Yours,
Mike

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Six Minute English: The Ebola Outbreak

Hello everyone. This is a Six Minute English programme from the end of last August. But the Ebola outbreak is now very much in the news. Let's listen to this programme to find out more and do the quiz at the same time.

Quiz question no. 1: The virus Ebola got its name after a river in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But when was it discovered? Was it in:

a) 1966; b) 1976 or c) 1986?

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

2. The mortality rate from Ebola is _____ _____ . (two words)

3. Use of experimental or untested drugs is risky because they .... .

4. Patients must give their '_____ _____ ' before untested drugs can be used to treat them.

5. Patients must sign a 'waiver' which means that they agree not to _____ or take _____ _____ if the drug does not work, or even makes them worse.

Now listen to the programme. Then answer the questions by using the Tag Board or the Comments form. Come in everybody - the more people who take part, the better for our learning community!

Learn English on the BBC is changing. I'll have more about this in my next post.

More soon,
Mike

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

Thursday, June 19, 2014

'Mammoni' - The Answers

Congratulations to those who listened to 'Mammoni' on Six Minute English and posted their answers to the Quiz Questions. And here are the official answers:

1) This week's question: What percentage of 20 to 34-year-olds were living at home with their parents in 2013, according to the UK's Office for National Statistics? Was it: 
a) 16%; b) 26%; c) 36% 

Answer (b) is correct: 26 per cent or 3.3 million adults.

2) Even after marriage, a couple may find it too expensive to rent or buy a house.

3) The most important reason why people live with their parents is the economic downturn.

4) What's Luke Sibson's biggest difficulty over living with his mother? There's something very difficult about being an adult but living in an environment where one is still a child. He feels it limits him socially and professionally.

5) The advantages for Alberto Balagan in living with his parents are that he doesn't have to wash his clothes, make his bed or buy anything, pay taxes or bills. You're living for free.

6)  Living at home successfully depends on your relationship with your parents.

Many thanks are due to Federica, Arthur, Martina, Manola, Gianluca, Filomena and Maria Teresa.

Watch out for the next Six Minute English Quiz. I'm not sure what I will choose but I can promise you that it will be interesting.

Meanwhile check out the right-hand column on this blog with its list of recommended sites. I suggest anything connected with Listening, such as News In Levels or elementary Video - Real English - with Michael Marzio.

There's also an entertaining Blog by the Runaway Daydreamer. In her latest post she tells us about 'Flashsticks' and how they can help us to remember new words.

More soon!
Yours,
Mike

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Six Minute English: About Being a 'Mammone'

Hello everyone. This week, we talk about 'mammoni'. In Italy, living with one's parents until well into adulthood is an old tradition. However, it's becoming more common in the UK. On Six Minute English, Rob and Finn discuss the reasons behind this perennial social phenomenon.

1) This week's official question: What percentage of 20 to 34-year-olds were living at home with their parents in 2013, according to the UK's Office for National Statistics? Was it: 

a) 16%; b) 26%; c) 36% 

2) Even after marriage, a couple may find it too ... 

3) The most important reason why people live with their parents is the economic ______ .

4) What's Luke Sibson's biggest difficulty over living with his mother? 

5) The advantages for Alberto Balagan in living with his parents are ... 

6)  Living at home successfully depends on ... 

Now listen to the programme, then answer the questions. Post your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment. 

For straight questions ending in a ?, give a short answer.
For statements ending in ..., complete the sentence according to what you hear.
An underscore, or ____ , denotes one word that fills the gap.

Don't neglect the vocabulary list. You can collect a lot of useful expressions here.

Let's see how many participants we get this week! And next week, we'll choose a more cheerful topic.

Have a good weekend!
Yours,
Mike

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

'Dark Tourism': The answers

Dear all,

Many thanks to those of you who have participated recently in this Blog. We've had two quests on the go at once: one on 'Dark Tourism', the other, on an equally dark subject: the disappearance of two people in Iceland many years ago, and the subsequent investigations and trials. But for now, let's focus on 'Dark Tourism'.

Here then are the answers to the 'Dark Tourism' quiz. Rob and Neil were speaking on this programme.

1) – Official question: Robben Island in South Africa is one dark tourism destination. It's where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Do you know in which year it finally closed as a prison?
The right answer is b) 1996.
2) In ‘dark’ tourism, travellers visit places associated with death, brutality and terror.
3) Rob has been to Auschwitz, in Poland.
4) Next month Rob is going to Chernobyl, the site of a catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986.
5) What does Dr Philip Stone say about why ‘dark tourism’ is popular? "‘Dark tourism’ isn’t new. It’s human nature to be drawn to these places. It partly depends on how it is packaged by the tourist industry."
6) In Latvia, you can stay in a former prison and pay to be treated like a prisoner.
7) In Vietnam you can crawl around war tunnels while people fire guns outside.
8) At a ‘dark tourist’ site, what kind of behaviour might be acceptable, and what might not? OK to take photographs, but probably not a ‘selfie’.
9) When visiting some ‘dark tourist’ sites, what would you not write on a postcard? “Wish you were here”.
Very many thanks to Federica, Arthur, Simona, Giovanni, Marcello, Manola and Filomena. That's a record total of seven respondents this time!
In a few days' time I'll post another Six Minute English Quiz. Meanwhile, to practise listening, why not visit TED? (Technology, Entertainment and Design). Currently there is an interesting talk about "Why Veterans Miss War". In addition, there are some short 3-minute talks on subjects ranging from "8 Secrets of Success" to "How to Tie Your Shoes".
As always, visit these sites and share your thoughts with us on the Tag Board or in a Comment. That way, our site will become a community.
Many thanks for reading this.
More soon.
Yours,
Mike

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Murders in Iceland: Did They Happen?

Here's a real life mystery for you which I found on the BBC today.

It's about two people who disappeared many years ago in Iceland. Several people were arrested for their murders. And although they could not remember doing anything, they confessed and as a result spent years in prison. How was this possible?

Read the story and watch the videos, which are almost entirely in English. Then share your reactions with us. What do you think really happened?

On another subject, there is still time for you to listen to Six Minute English on 'Dark Tourism'. See the previous post. Many thanks to Federica, Filomena, Manola and Marcello, who have already done the Quiz. So can you! We look forward to your answers.

More later this week.
Yours,
Mike

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Six minute English: Dark Tourism

With the summer holidays now on our radar, many of us are thinking about travel. But where to? Do we go to reliable places we have been to many times before? Or do we try something entirely new?

As I often say, “Forget about Ostia Lido, Tor Vaianica, Santa Marinella. Off to…” and then add the name of some exotic destination.

So if you’re wondering where to go, this week’s Six Minute English with  Rob and Neil may give you some ideas. Read the questions first, then click on the link to the programme. Then post your answers in a Comment or on the Tag Board.

How to answer the questions: after a question mark, ?, just write a short answer. If you see dots (...) complete the sentence in a logical way based on what you hear. Your sentence should be grammatically correct. And if you see __ __, answer with one word for each underlined space or ___.

1) – Official question: Robben Island in South Africa is one dark tourism destination. It's where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. When did it finally close as a prison? Was it:
a) 1991; b) 1996; c) 1999?

2) In ‘dark’ tourism, travellers visit places associated with …

3) Rob has been to …

4) Next month Rob is going to …

5) What does Dr Philip Stone say about why ‘dark tourism’ is popular?

6) In Latvia, you can stay in a ___ ___ and pay to be ___ ___ ___ .

7) In Vietnam you can ….

8) At a ‘dark tourist’ site, what kind of behaviour might be acceptable, and what might not?

9) When visiting some ‘dark tourist’ sites, what would you not write on a postcard?

Now listen to the programmeThen, write your answers in a Comment or on the Tag Board. And let’s have as many people answering as possible! Six people contributed to last month’s Six Minute English on ‘Freedom’. But there could have been many more participants. Have a very good weekend.
Yours,
Mike

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Keep On Listening

Hello everyone. It's a pleasant Saturday afternoon here in Rome and I am heading out of the office in a very few minutes.

As soon as possible, I will post another Six Minute English Quiz. I won't say what it's about, but it will have something for everyone.

Meanwhile, a student said she had found TED extremely helpful. TED - Technology, Education and .... I can't remember what the D stands for - shows presentations on a wide range of topics. The subtitle is "Ideas Worth Spreading". If you find a talk difficult, you can see the transcript to help you follow it.

This afternoon I was watching the incredibly versatile playwright and actress Sarah Jones. She can speak in any number of different accents. This is very useful indeed if you're learning English. Remember that many of the English conversations you have will be with people whose first language is not English. Therefore it is vital to get used to a wide variety of accents.

To see TED, click here... and happy listening. I will be back again very soon.

Have a very good weekend. Yours,
Mike

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Freedom: The Answers

Hello everyone. Welcome back after the Easter holidays. Welcome also to a further round of quizzes and links to useful web sites for anyone learning English.

Today I'm brining you the answers to the current Six Minute English Quiz on Freedom. Six people responded to this Quiz, which is great, but many more people could take part! Here are the answers:

1. Freedom is “the power to write, act or speak as one wants.”

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? It was ...New Zealand.

3. If you can say what you like you have free speech.

4. The British hostage Norman Kember, held in Iraq, survived because of his mind.

5. He was able to feel free by thinking about his garden.

6. Freedom came for him in a military operation on 23 March 2006.

7. The first thing he did when he returned to England was to walk in his garden.

8. Many songs have been written about freedom.

9. Nowadays many people use social media in order to protest.

Many thanks to Filomena, Gianluca, Manola, Federica, Cristina and Arturo for their kind participation. But where is everyone else??

More news coming up this week.

Kindest regards to you all,
Mike

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!

Yours,
Michael.

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.
Yours,
Mike

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!
Yours,
Mike

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!
Yours,
Mike

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,
Michael