Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Study tips!

Hello to newcomers, hello to those of you who have survived the exam session and are back with us for more! ;)
I would like to begin this semester by wishing you a lot of success and satisfaction on your journey through the language studies you have undertaken. To get you safely on the way, I would like to remind you of a few important things you need to do to make the most of your studies.
(It's too big to fit into the blog post, so just click above to open the whole thing, and navigate from top to bottom.)

What do you think? Is this good advice? Would you like to add some more? Would you mind sharing your thoughts in the comments? Thanks! :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The New York Times's 15-Second Vocabulary Video Contest

I've come across this very creative educational project run by the NYT today. The idea is for students to make 15-second videos which present/explain/define meanings of words listed in the NYT's Word of the Day archive. Students submit their videos and once a year winners are announced. Unfortunately IFRom students cannot take part in the official contest because of the age limit (16-19), but why not make your own videos just for fun? Instead of the NYT word bank you could use some words which have come up in our course and have caught your attention for some reason. Give it a try! :)
And here are this year's winners. Some of them are really impressive!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Writing to be read

A very useful piece of advice on how to make your writing more attractive for your readers. It applies to any language, so don't forget it when writing your theses, essays and other academic assignments.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I hate goodbyes!

Dear 2MA and 3BA students,
Thank you for your blogs, your hard work, and your good vibes. Best of luck! :) 

I've decided to send you off with a song. It is performed by Joseph, a very young band of three sisters from Portland, Oregon. I love the way their voices sound together in harmony, their high energy and authenticity. I have chosen this song for you because of its message: "Burn the White Flag" - meaning: gather your strength and don't give up, don't let anybody tell you what to do. I think it's a pretty good message to take with you. I hope you like the song, too :) (Here is the Spotify link for their latest album)

And here is another one, just a beautiful, sweet song:

Monday, December 19, 2016

My favourite Christmas song (not a carol though) ;)

I hope your Christmas is as sweet as Tim wants it to be, though I don't expect "the white wine in the sun" to be part of it. To make sense of this line you need to know that Tim Minchin, one of the most brilliant and witty people on the planet, is from Australia, where it's the middle of summer now. Do you fancy Christmas in summer? Then Australia IS the place for you! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

New beginnings, big news

OK, so summer is definitely over, gone and done with. Now is the time to pull up our sleeves and get to serious work. For some of you it's the final year of your studies, so some big tasks are ahead of you. For others it is just the beginning. All of you, however, are here with me for a bit of a distraction from your main course of studies, i.e. to develop your command of English. I hope the blog project will give you an opportunity to share some experiences, thoughts, favourites of all sorts, anything you feel like talking about at a given moment.

This week, the big news in the English-speaking world is Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for literature. I was just stunned! He had been mentioned as a possible candidate by fans, but I don't think many people had considered him to be a likely choice. I am thrilled of course, and all this talk that his lyrics is not REAL literature is just hogwash, although my personal candidate in English-language literature is and has always been Philip Roth.
So far, Dylan has not said a word about his Nobel win. He held a concert yesterday just as it had been planned, but since he never speaks directly to the public - this is just his style - he made no reference to it. Those who know Dylan a bit are not very surprised. Here is President Obama's account of his encounter with the bard during his White House performance:

"Here's what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you'd expect he would be. He wouldn't come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn't want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn't show up to that. He came in and played 'The Times They Are A-Changin'.' A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage — I'm sitting right in the front row — comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves. And that was it — then he left. That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That's how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don't want him to be all cheesin' and grinnin' with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise. So that was a real treat."