A sheer pleasure to have YOU as a reader of my blog. At present my main teaching area is English so you will find that most of my posts are in English -my second language of communication. I promise to publish posts related to Spanish eventually; in the meantime, those of you interested in Spanish will find some interesting links regarding my native language. Truly hope you will visit my blog now and then; will try not to disappoint you!


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GÄVLE, Sweden
I am an English/Spanish language trainer who thinks communication is a key issue in human interaction. Good sensible communication is needed whatever the language. On the personal side I strive for happiness by keeping love, respect and honesty as main ingredients. Last but not least, my smile is my trademark :O)

7 de junio de 2009

Listening activities for all levels

I've added a new website in the USEFUL LINKS list for all those who are interested in doing activities to improve their listening skills:


The activities cater for all levels ranked as EASY / MEDIUM / DIFFICULT / VERY DIFFICULT so it makes it easy for the student to know where to start or which listening to pick. Besides, they are sorted out in different headings:
  • General Listening Quizzes (the longest list)
  • Basic Listening Quizzes
  • Listening Quizzes For Academic Purposes
  • 20-minute ESL Vocabulary Lessons
  • Language Learning and Life Tips
  • Long Conversations with RealVideo

The multiple-choice exercises designed for listening comprehension are user-friendly and dynamic with immediate feedback to check your performance. You can also read the script of the listening activity for further study.

5 de junio de 2009

The well-worn "brotes verdes" phrase in Spanish politics

I don't know about you but I'm getting sick and tired of the latest linguistic coinage in the Spanish discourse of politicians, political analysts and journalists in general these days. The well-worn phrase: brotes verdes can be heard or read almost anywhere, to the extent that it's becoming a cliché or a source of mockery depending on who words the phrase.

I've just googled the Spanish phrase now and I've been given 1,560,000 results, so the figure just speaks by itself.

I was chatting via twitter with Juanma Roca (please click on http://www.elreinodelahumildad.com/ if you want to know more about him and his latest book) and asked him if he knew the original English phrase, as I had already tried the literal translation from Spanish and it didn't match. I did my own research on the Internet and, bingo!!!

The English phrase is green shoots and it was Ben Bernake who used this term some time at the beginning of April. I got this info via Paul Krugman as he has a post in his blog dated, April, 16th commenting on B. Bernake's words at the time. Click on: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/opinion/17krugman.html?_r=1 if you are interested in reading more about it. You can also further your interest by clicking on:

Furthermore, you will be able to listen to the direct source here:

Since I wondered if it was really B Bernake who firstly coined the phrase "green shoots", I went on with my net research and AskOxford.com supplies the precise information on http://www.askoxford.com/quotations/393?view=uk

The green shoots of economic spring are appearing once again. Norman Lamont 1942- : speech at Conservative Party Conference, 9 October 1991; often quoted 'the green shoots of recovery'

So it was politician Norman Lamont who coined the phrase in 1942:

Asked at his first appearance as chancellor at the Treasury Select Committee whether he agreed with his predecessor's view on the depth and duration of the recession and not wishing to contradict Major, Lamont replied that "there are reasons why one could believe that it will be relatively short-lived and relatively shallow."[11] In October 1991, based on CBI and Institute of Directors business surveys, said "what we are seeing is the return of that vital ingredient - confidence. The green shoots of economic spring are appearing once again."[12] Early in 1992 one of the Sunday newspapers ran a "Green Shoots Index" of signs of recovery, only to have to drop it when few such signs could be found. However Gavyn Davies, then chief economist at Goldman Sachs, wrote in a newspaper article at the time of Lamont's removal from the Treasury that the "green shoots" speech had turned out to be "remarkably prescient. From that moment onwards, output stopped declining, and within a few months, it started to rise.[13] Estimates of Gross Domestic Product show the trough of the recession occurring in the fourth quarter of 1991, with sustained growth resuming in the third quarter of 1992, when GDP grew 0.4% compared to the second quarter.[14]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Lamont

2 de junio de 2009

Free online library

Just added this magnificent website that offers free books online (essays, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short-stories, plays); simply a jewel!!!


My recommendation to get started is Chejov's short-story The Lady With The Dog http://www.readprint.com/work-386/The-Lady-With-The-Dog-Anton-Chekhov

And Fitzgerald's short novel The Great Gatsby http://www.readprint.com/work-679/The-Great-Gatsby-F-Scott-Fitzgerald


Apart from the fact that they are very good pieces of writing, they are not too long, so if you are a learner of English and not so used to reading unabridged versions, you will feel quite encouraged to tackle the reading without feeling put off because of its length.

I guess reading online is still not at all appealing if you're a classic reader who likes to feel the book in their hands, but you can set yourself to the task by reading a chapter periodically while having www.wordreference.com open online to check vocabulary.