Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Shakespeare Lives!

As you may know, it's almost 400 years since William Shakespeare died. He died on 23 April 1616. Curiously little is known about his private life. There's even speculation as to whether he was the true author of much of his work. But whatever the case, the works attributed to Shakespeare have had an enormous influence on our language.

So here's a site that will interest you: Shakespeare Lives, sponsored by the British Council. There's lots here. Start off with the video about Romeo and Juliet. And I liked the 'Shakespeare Lives in Photography' section.

Explore the site - and leave a comment about it on the Tag Board or in a comment. Remember, this Blog is interactive - you are welcome to leave a piece of yourself here.

More soonest,
Mike

6-Minute English on Interviews: The Answers

Hello all! I am sorry to have taken my time over giving you the official answers to the latest Quiz. Here they are:

  1. "I like it when an interviewer asks a question that catches the guest off-guard ." (Neil)
  2. Use open questions that elicit a long reply.
  3. Closed questions elicit a short reply.
  4. Get some juicy details.
Who developed a method of questioning around two and a half thousand years ago that aims to discover hidden truths? Was it… a) Hippocrates?  b) Socrates? c) Aristotle? 
It was Socrates! And no, that's not the Brazilian footballer.

The secret of TV host Larry King's success:
  1. Ask good questions, listen carefully to the answers.
  2. You have to make the camera disappear.
  3. Good interviewers draw back from being the centre of attention.
  4. Ask dumb or stupid questions
Many thanks are due to stalwart student Filomena for her careful replies, posted on the Tag Board. She confesses to having peeked at the transcript for a couple of answers. But hey! (as they say in the classics), it's all good contact with the language.

Another quiz is coming up soon. Meanwhile, please do explore the right-hand column of this blog for useful web sites. Report any links that don't work. And if you have any suggestions for a useful web site, let me know at once. I will be reviewing our column later.

Have a nice day!
Yours,
Mike

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

6-Minute English: How to be a good interviewer

Hello everyone. This week's Six Minute English Quiz is about questions. Good TV chat show hosts can earn a fortune. But they need to know how to ask questions. So let's listen to Neil and Alice.

First, take a few minutes to study these quiz questions. Can you complete these:

  1. "I like it when an interviewer asks a question that _______ the guest___-____ ." (Neil)
  2. Use _______ questions that elicit a _______ reply.
  3. _______ questions elicit a _______ reply.
  4. Get some _______ _______ .


Who developed a method of questioning around two and a half thousand years ago that aims to discover hidden truths? Was it…

a) Hippocrates?  b) Socrates? c) Aristotle?

The secret of TV host Larry King's success:

  1. Ask good questions, _______ carefully to the answers.
  2. You have to make the camera _______ .
  3. Good interviewers _______ _______ from being the centre of attention.
  4. Ask _______ or stupid questions.
Now listen to the programme. Post your answers on the Tag Board or in a Comment.
It would be great to see everyone on board here!

Official answers soon!
Yours,
Mike

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Make Love Not War: The Zero Article Explained.

When don't we use the article in English? Italian and French use articles most of the time. For example, in English we say, "Let's make love, not war." But if you translated literally from, say, Italian - "Facciamo l'amore, non la guerra", it would come out as , "Let's make the love, not the war." This sounds very strange in English.

So one of the rules is: no article when talking about grand concepts such as love and war. But there are other rules: for instance, zero article in indefinite plurals. "People are saying that winters are getting warmer", not "The people are saying that the winters are getting warmer."

To find out more, go to the BBC's Learning English site on Zero Articles. Watch the 90-second presentation by Dan, then do the activity.

In the activity, you are shown five sentences. If a sentence is right, drag it into the "Correct" box; if wrong, drag it into the "Not correct" box.

When you've finished, post a comment on the Tag Board or the Comments box. Say if you found it easy or difficult, or if you learned anything new. I hope for wide participation!

Another post very soon!
Have a nice day,
Mike