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