Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Night Watch

Night Watch by Rembrandt is a painting of enormous cultural significance to the Dutch people. It inspires both artists and the millions of visitors who stand before it every year.
Rembrandt completed the painting in 1642, which marked the beginning of a more difficult phase of his career. In the following years the artist would see fewer commissions and financial difficulty so great that he would eventually be declared bankrupt.
Yet these later years were actually some of the most creative of his career. Did the Night Watch mark the end of an era?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Winter is Coming

This is a photo I like, taken a few years ago in Long Beach California.

I wouldn`t mind being there now. The bright blue skies, warm sunshine all year around.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Brighton Pavilion

I had a look around here the other day. It has quite a number of interesting displays and spacious cafe too. Well worth a visit if the weather is not suitable for walking along the beach.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Light of My Life

In Brighton by the sea.

The girl is taking a photo of her friend looking out to sea. I am taking a photo looking out to sea also but the picture also captures two images in the shiny balls. The balls are the focus of the picture but so is the girl. Who is this girl and where is she from? It would be great if she contacted me and we could maybe talk about who and what she was taking a photo of last Saturday at 4.30 pm. in Brighton.

Friday, 19 September 2014

The calm before the storm

The Calm Before The Storm

What do you think of when you view this photo. I like it because it is a calming scene, nobody is doing anything and there does not seem to be a big rush.
What image comes to mind when you think of the storm.? 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

English speaking with better intonation and stress.

Correct intonation and stress are the key to speaking English fluently with good pronunciation. Intonation and stress refers to the music of the English language. Words that are stressed are key to understanding and using the correct intonation brings out the meaning. 
Say the following sentence out loud and count in seconds how long it takes you....

The beautiful Mountain appeared transfixed in the distance. 
Time required? Probably about 5 seconds. Now, try speaking this sentence aloud. 

He can come on Sundays as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening. 
Time required? Probably about 5 seconds. 

Wait a minute the first sentence is much shorter than the second sentence! 

The beautiful Mountain appeared transfixed in the distance 
He can come on Sundays as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening 
You are only partially right! 

This simple exercise makes a very important point about how we speak and use English. Namely, English is considered a stressed language while many other languages are considered syllabic. What does that mean? It means that, in English, we give stress to certain words while other words are quickly spoken (some students say eaten!). In other languages, such as French or Italian, each syllable receives equal importance (there is stress, but each syllable has its own length). 

Many speakers of syllabic languages don't understand why we quickly speak, or swallow, a number of words in a sentence. In syllabic languages each syllable has equal importance, and therefore equal time is needed. English however, spends more time on specific stressed words while quickly gliding over the other, less important, words. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Some handy Idioms

hassle (noun): a troublesome situation; something troublesome that interrupts one's normal routine.

"I know it's a hassle to complete this form now, but Mr. Rogers
needs it in his office by the end of the day."

hard feelings: anger; animosity; bitter feelings.

A: "I'm sorry that Jim got the job instead of you."
B: "I have no hard feelings toward him; I know that he had stronger qualifications."

hard-headed: stubborn; inflexible; unwilling to change.

"I don't think Julie will change her mind. She's pretty hard-headed."

hassle (verb): annoy; bother; interrupt one's normal routine.

"If you'd stop hassling me, I might get this finished on time!"

have one's hands full: be extremely busy.

A: "Will you be able to help us this afternoon?"
B: "I'm afraid not. I'll have my hands full trying to finish my research paper."

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Learning English Slang and Colloquialisms

English slang / colloquialisms

1:If someone goes to the loo in a bar, where are they going?
       The bar
A bar
       The cigarette machine
       To talk to someone
       The toilet
2:Which of the following does NOT mean money?
3:What's the problem? "We'd better take John home, he's absolutely legless."
       He's drunk
A taxi
       He's tired
       He's ill
       He's upset
4:How does she feel? "When she said she was leaving, I was gobsmacked."
An airport
5:If you have belly ache, where is the pain?
       In your head
A doctor
       In your leg
       In your stomach
       In your back