Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Migrants: A Listening Quiz

Once more, migrants are sadly in the news after four hundred died recently on a crossing from Egypt to Italy.

On the BBC, you can hear the stories of five ordinary Sicilians who have had extensive contact with migrants. Some are on the island of Lampedusa, the first landfall for many migrants. Others are on the mainland. 

On the linked page here, listen to their stories and match a statement with a profession: the Chef, the Optician, the Hospital Director, the Gravedigger or the Carpenter.

Which person...

1. became a volunteer after going on a sailing excursion 
2. became a volunteer after her mother died
3. doesn't understand why no one in their own countries helps migrants 
4. feels the presence of the migrants in the material he uses for his work 
5. finds some aspects of his job "sad"
6. gets his material from wrecked migrants' boats 
7. has had to find three hundred extra beds for migrants 
8. saved forty-seven migrants 
9. says "tiredness is not in our contract"
10. says helping migrants is a blessing 
11. says that Italy and Europe are not doing enough to help migrants 
12. says that until two years ago the media never talked about migrants 
13. says there are many more children and teenagers than in the past
14. sells his work all over Europe
15. took some Eritrean survivors out to sea to revisit the area where they were rescued 
Post your answers preferably in a Comment. You could use the Tag Board, but you are limited to 200 characters per message.

I look forward to as many participants as possible!!

More soon,
Yours,
Mike

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

6 Minute English: The Commute and Answers

Dear all,
Sorry to have taken this long to get back to you. It's 5 April and the latest 5 Minute English Quiz was posted on Arch 11, nearly a month ago. It's too long of course, but my excuse is that the Easter holidays intervened. But now I can reveal the answers.

1) The official question: What did the word 'commuter' originally describe? Was it someone who…
a) travelled with other people? b) paid a reduced fare to travel? c) travelled by train to work?

The correct answer was (b). It comes from the Latin "commutare" which means "to change". In this context, the change related to the reduced train fare that passengers paid if they often travelled the same route.

There is a legalistic usage of "commute", in which the word means to change or reduce the severity of a punishment, usually known as a "sentence". For example, a person sentenced to death may have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

2. What counts as unusual behaviour on the Tube? When people start talking to each other!

3. Why do you need to be "alert" in Nairobi? In case someone runs away with your belongings. You need to expect the unexpected!

4. What is "trip-chaining"? To make one or more stops along your route.

5. What are the dangers of longer commutes according to the American researcher? Putting on weight and suffering from high blood pressure.

That's all for today. I'll be back very soon with another quiz. Meanwhile, do continue with your listening practice. We can do some in class, but you must do as much as you can privately. I suggest ten minutes every other day.

Here's an example: "The ordinary Italians facing the migrant crisis" In this programme, the BBC's Emma-Jane Kirby talks to Italians who have been in contact with migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

Listen to as many as you can and choose the best clip (programme extract). Say why you like it. Was it easy or difficult? Did you learn any new words? Write your comments in a Comment (preferred method) or on the Tag Board.

Good listening - and more soon!
Have a good day,
Mike