domingo, 25 de enero de 2015

Justice. Lexical chunks

"Thruth never damages a cause that is just"

Mahatma Gandhi



Lexical chunks

Complete the text with the lexical chunks in the box. You don't need to use all the phrases

at that time     miscarriage of justice     a surprising number of people     unjustly accused     protested his innocence     the true story of     rough justice      demanded justice      crime committed

 Wrongly convicted

Cinema loves a mascarriage of justice story. Whether purely fictional or based on genuine events, the innocent man who is  (1)_________________ appeals to (2) _________________, creating some of the best known cinematic classics, such as Alfred Hitchcock's  "The Wrong Man" or Jim Sheridan's ground-breaking "In the Name of the Father".

Although Hitchcock generally preferred to work with fictional stories, "The wrong Man" was inspired by (3) ________________ Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero, whose life fell apart after he was wrongly sentenced to life imprisonment for armed robbery, athough he strongly (4)__________________ throughout

"In the Name of the Father" is arguably one of the most high-impact (5)______________ stories ever. Based on the book "Proved Innocent", the film tells the story of th Guildford Four- four young men who were wrongly imprisoned for the 1974 bombing of two pubs in Guildford and Woolwich in the UK. During their sentence, the men endured (6)_______________ within the prison system. They later (7)_________________ for the way they had been treated and for their years of also imprisonment, thus exposing the judicial and police malpractice which they had encountered (8)______________


1. unjustly accused; 2. a surprising number of people; 3. the true story of; 4. protested his innocence; 5. miscarriage of justice; 6. rough justice; 7. demanded justice; 8. at that time

Vocabulary of justice

*life sentence: condena perpetua
*alibi: coartada
*make appeal: presentar recurso
*courtroom: sala de justicia
*The crime went unsolved and the perpetrators were never brought to justice. El crimen quedó sin resolver y los culpables nunca fueron llevados a la justicia
*The defendant had no previous convictions. El acusado no tenía antecedentes penales
*The prisoners continued to protest their innocence. Los prisioneros continuaron manifestando su inocencia
*under arrest: bajo arresto
*inmate: prisoner
*thief: ladrón
*robber: ladrón
*murder: asesino
*sexual abuse
*prison: jail
*conviction: condena
*accused: defendant (acusado)
*trial: juicio
*Kidnapping: secuestro
*to defend
*court: tribunal
*lawyer: abogado
*bribery: soborno
*jury: jurado
*rape: violación
*blackmail: chantaje
*prosecutor: fiscal
*attorney-lawyer: abogado de sala de juicios
*witness: testimonio
*released on bail: libertad bajo fianza (to release: (v) soltar)
*steal: robar
*fraud: fraude
*injury: perjuicio legal
*scam: estafa
*to blame: culpar
*shop lifter: ladrón de tiendas
*protested his innocence: "manifestar su inocencia”
*rough justice: irregularidades de la justicia
*miscarriage of justice: error de la justicia

viernes, 23 de enero de 2015

Description of a place

Blidö is an island in the Stockholm archipielago and a part of the Norrtälje Municipality

Here comes the sun: A midsummer's trip to the Swedish island of Blidö

The Stockholm archipelago consists of over 24.0000 islands and islets scattered across the Baltic Sea. The nearest to the shore are divided by causeways from the mainland and possess all the amenities of modern Sweden. Other islands are served by free and efficient public ferries. The outer islands are reachable only by private boat. The rule of thumb is that the further out, the greater the isolation. First plumbing, then electricity disappears until finally, out in the Baltic Sea, tiny huts share a few metres of exposed granite with just the wind and seals. 

The archipelago is a place of beauty at any time, but during Midsummer, it's the place to be. On the way out the archipelago from Stockholm, the road winds through the radiant green landscape of a fairytale - forest, timber houses, rye fields, fat cows. Wild flowers nod in the hedgerows (setos). Road signs warn of rogue moose (pícaro alce).

In Norrtäjle, the gateway town to the archipelago, the supermarket is packed with trolleys the day before Midsummer's Eve. The prescribed Midsummer foods of strawberries, herring (arenque), new patatoes and sour (agrio) cream are flying off the shelves. A workers complains that they're shifting (desplazamiento) a tonne of patatoes every hour. Heavely laden (agrio) cars leave the car park for the islands.

For my inaugural Midsummer Eve, I'm heading to the island of Blidö. It's not remote -just two short ferry trips to cross the bay - but the place of life soon slows. The air is luminously clear and, scoured by see freezes, feels like it's rejuvenating the lungs (pulmones). roe deer skip out of the path of bicycles on the roads.

                                                                               Adapted from Lonely Planet Magazine (may 2011) 

A. Read the travel review and answer the questions.

1. Where i s the writer describing?
2. What is the best way to get there?
3. What is a good time to visit the area? Why?
4. How does the writer describe the landscape?
5. What kind of food does he mention?
6. What does the writer say about the atmosphere of the place? What contributes to that atmosphere?

B. Underline other examples of detailed descriptions, particularly those involving the senses, that add colour to the writing

C. Write a description of a place you have visited (200-250 words). Use the text in exercise A as a model and include some of the following:

. Introduction / location
. How to get there
. Landscape / flora / fauna / atmosphere
. Food / drink / activities
. Description of a typical scene
. Particular recommendations


A) 1. The Swedish island of Blidö, in the Stockholm archipelago
    2. By boat
    3. Midsummer is a good time to visit because it is beatiful then.
    4. radiant green like a fairytale
    5. strawberries, herring, new potatoes and sour cream
    6. The atmosphere is tranquil and relaxed. He says, "the place of life soon slows". The beautiful scenary and natural landscape (with deer) contribute to the tranquil atmosphere.

B. The Stockholm archipelago consists of over 24.000 islands and islets scaterred across the Baltic Sea ( dispersos) .... free and efficient public ferries. ...tiny huts share a few metres of exposed granite with just the wind and seals... radiant green landscape of a fairytale...timber houses, rye fields, fat cows. Wild flowers nod... rogue moose. ... packed with trolleys... flying off the shelves... heavily laden cars... luminously clear... scoured by see freezes... Roe deer skip out of the path of bicycles

El archipiélago de Estocolmo se compone de más de 24.000 islas e islotes dispersos a través del mar Báltico... transbordadores públicos gratuitos y eficientes.... diminutas cabañas comparten a pocos metros el granito expuesto al viento... radiante paisaje verde de cuento de hadas... casas de madera, campos de centeno, vacas gordas. Flores salvajes.. alce pícaro...lleno de carros... volando de las estanterías... con coches cargados... luminosamente claro... fregadas por el hielo.. corzo que salta fuera de la trayectoria de la bicicleta...


Why not visit Santorini, Greece, for (1)...... now? Santorini's (2)...... was sculpted by (3)....... Come and enjoy the (4)....... It pays to visit (5)......, when you can watch (6)...... without having to battle with (7)...... keen to enjoy the scene.

a. stunning landscape
b. before the main tourist season
c. the Aegean light reflecting off the blue and whitewashed architecture
d. a series of cataclysmic volcanic eruptions
e. a two-week break
f. a thousand other eager tourist
g. spectacular sunset the island is famous for

1e; 2a; 3d; 4g; 5B; 6c; 7f


Or take a trip to the (1)...... of Amman, Jordan, where old meets now. Split between (2) , and the (3)....., Amman has something to offer (4)....... Maybe you could take (5)......, the (6)......, or visit some of the (7)......

a. dense, more traditionally Islamic downtown area
b. a day trip to Petra
c. well-organised city
d. many Romans ruins that sprinkle the city
e. everyone, whatever their tastes
f. mesmerising city carved into the rock at Wadi Musa
g. slick suburbs to the west, lined with cafés and art galleries

1.b; 2. a/g; 3 q/g; 4.e; 5 b; 6. f; 7.d

                                                           "Speakout Advanced Worbook" by Antonio Clare and JJ Wilson

miércoles, 21 de enero de 2015

Stand-up Comedy with Elon Gold. Different English accents II

Stand-up comedy is a comic style in which a comedian performs in front of a live audience, usually speaking directly to them

Elon Gold and his stand-up comedy

Elon Gold is an American comedian, television actor , writer and producer. Listen this video about different English accents:

Watch the video and answer the questions:

1.     Where does Elon live?
2.     What does Elon miss about New York?
3.     Why does he mention Ghana?
4.     What does he say about intelligence and accents?
5.     What does smart mean in this context?
6.     Why does he mention the Elephant Man?
7.     What does he say about British accents and the letter T?
8.     How does he himself pronounce the T? (For example the word literally at 0:19)
9.     What does he say about Russian and Israeli accents?
10.  What does he guess the imaginary Israeli person is asking for?

Rate the video from 0 (not at all funny) to 10 (hilarious). 


1. LA
2. The stupid/dumb people's comments
3. It won the World Cup
4. American accent is more stupid than English accent which sounds more intellectual 
5. Intelligent
6. He makes fun of the English accent
7. Sometimes they pronounce and sometimes not
8. Literally
9. They use the letter w
10. They put the letter m

Related reading: 

Relating watching: 24 Accents

lunes, 5 de enero de 2015

Hotel Crawler

When you are saying "Hotel Crawler" what do you want to say?

When Dutchman Vincent van Dijk .....(1)...... as a lifestyle trend watcher, moved to Amsterdam for his job, he couldn't find a place to live.

He'd been staying in hotels for several weeks ..... (2) ..... he hit on a great idea. Carrying nothing but the suitcase ..... (3) .... all his possessions were contained, he decided to stay in a different hotel every night for a year and a blog about his experiences. He realised that through his blogging, each hotel ..... (4) ..... he was staying could gain valuable publicity, so he began asking her managers if he could stay for free in exchange for a write-up in his blog. Most of the managers ..... (5) ...... hotels were struggling in the wake of financial crisis, were delighted with the idea.

The hotels ...... (6) ..... he wrote varied from cheap hotels to five star-luxury spots. Some hotel managers treated him like a king, greeting him personally on arrival, preparing the finest suite on offer, or letting him dine for free. He luxuriated in a 3.500 euros-a-night-room ..... (7) ..... it took him ten minutes to switch off all the lights (he joked in his blog). Another room had an en suite bathroom ..... (8) ..... would not be out of place in a royal palace. But he also stayed in cheap drives, ..... (9) ..... were barely habitable. He came across hotels that smelt fresh paint and cigarette smoke, a room ..... (10) ..... was no wider than a toilet, and curtains covering crumbling walls.

Vincent van Dijk's idea was an audacious project, but probably only do-able by someone ..... (11) ..... hotels are one of life's great pleasures. Despite offers from hotels in London, Paris and Rio, Van Dijk stayed put in Holland ..... (12) ..... he plans to write a book about Amsterdam's accommodation.

1 a) who works         b) who works          c) that works
2 a) was when          b) at which point     c) which point
3 a) which in             b) which                   c) in which
4 a) that                     b) where                  c) which
5 a) whom                 b) whose                 c), whose
6 a). about which      b) what                    c), about which
7 a) in which              b) which                  c) in where
8 a) that                     b) at which               c), that 
9 a) which some       b) some which        c) some of which
10 a) that                   b) where there        c) in which it
11) a) who                 b) for whom             c) for which
12) a) where              b) , where                c) on which

                                                           "Speakout Advanced" by Antonia Clare and JJ.wilson

1a; 2b; 3c; 4b; 5c; 6c, 7a; 8a; 9c; 10a; 11b; 12b

Relative clauses

A. Defining relative clauses

Defining relative clauses give essential information about a noun. Compare: 

  1. My uncle, who lives in New York, is coming to Oxford
  2. My uncle who lives in New York is coming to Oxford

In sentence 1, who lives in New York, is a non defining relative clause. It gives extra non-essential information about the uncle. In sentence 2, it is a defining relative clause. The speaker has more than one uncle so she identifies which uncle she is talking about. 

In defining relative clauses, we can omit the relative pronoun if it is the object or the verb

I’ve eaten the cake (which) I made yesterday

B. Non defining relative clauses 

Non-defining relative clauses give an extra information about a noun. Use a comma before and after the relative clause.

That project, which I started years ago, still isn’t finished. 

C. Relative pronouns

Use: who for people, which for things/group of people, where for places, whose for possessions belonging to people and things. That can replace any pronoun except whose in defining relative clauses

Use a relative pronoun after some of, all of, a few of, none of
She has four sister, none of whom are married

D. Fixed prepositional phrases and relative clauses

There are a number of fixed phrases which use a preposition in an non-defining relative clause.

The company ran out of money, at which point I quit my job
He may work late, in which case I’ll get home first
We watched the final, the result of which was never in doubt

In informal sentences, the preposition stays with the verb. In formal sentences we put the preposition before the relative pronoun. Compare: 

He completed the book which he’d been working on (informal)
He completed the book on which he’d been working (formal)

domingo, 4 de enero de 2015

Room for a genius

" A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?"

Albert Einstein

Francis Bacon, Henri Matisse, Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway

The English painter Francis Bacon may not have been the greatest artist in history, but he was certainly the messiest. His London studio is a bombed-out catastrophe of paint brushes jutting out of jars and cans, mouldering champagne boxes, books balanced precariously in irregular towers and photos lying on every surface. After his death in 1992, his entire studio -the walls, floorboards, boxes, drops of paint, dust, everything -was transplanted to an art gallery in Ireland. The studio itself had become a modernist masterpiece, a perfect example of the relationship between genius and chaos. Bacon once wrote that he couldn't paint in tidy rooms. Few would argue with that. It took a team of ten archaeologist and conservators three years to move and reassemble the mess. 

What types of work area do other creative genius need? Should the room be a spare, minimalist shell to allow space for the mind to wander? Or should it be cluttered with the objects of everyday life to spark off ideas and inspiration? Is big better than small? What of the light? Should the room be bursting with sunbeams or so dark and cramped that it forces the imagination to fly?

The French painter Henri Matisse worked in a famously opulent studio. The high ceilings led the eye down to his painting, which were perfectly arranged in the walls, and the room contained elaborated tapestries, vases, sculptures, potted plants, doves in a cage. 

His near-contemporany Pablo Picasso had an altogether different style. His studio was packed full of his own creations -little post and clay figures, scribbles and doodles, and all kinds of junk that would later assemble into masterpieces - lumps of iron, fragments of glass, animal bones. 

Another genius of Matisse's era, Albert Einstein, kept his office full of books and paper. His desk was spectacularly cluttered with no space for a typewriter or telephone. Behind his chair was a simple blackboard with mathematical equations scrawled in white chalk. 

Einstein once said, "A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?" The answer, judging by his office, is a pile of paper.

Ernest Hemngway's workspace in his Florida home was relatively humble: a few bookshelves, large windows to let in the light, and a tall desk made of dark wood. One thing looks wrong: the chair is too small for the table. The reason for this is that he didn't actually use the chair for working. For much of his life, Hemingway wrote standing up ( he ignored his own first "rule" for aspiring writers: "apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair"). Writing masterpieces while standing up might sound strange, but maybe not as odd as the working habits of Mark Twain, Marcel Proust and Woody Allen. All of them wrote in bed.


Adjectives to describe landscapes 

  • shabby, dilapidated, in a bad state, run-down
  • calm, quiet, peaceful, tranquil
  • stunning, breathtaking, magnificent
  • old, historic, ancient
  • unchanged, not altered by tourism, unspoilt
  • busy, full of people and noise, bustling
  • beautiful, lovely, pretty, attractive, pleasant, picturesque
  • empty, uninhabited, deserted
  • roomy, spacious
  • shady, cloudy
  • gloomy, dark, depressing
  • whirr, murmur
  • gaudy, ordinario
  • dreary, bouring
  • poky, very small 
  • chilly: helado
  • shady: sombreado
  • shadowy: perezoso

Adjectives to describe spaces

  • roomy: spacious
  • shady: sombreado
  • shabby: lamentable
  • gloomy: dark, depressing
  • whirr: noise of something moving on the ground
  • gaudy: chillón
  • dreary: boring
  • poky: very small
  • airy: aireado
  • airless
  • dreary: adorable
  • peaceful
  • spacious
  • comfortable
  • wondered
  • uninhabited
  • bustling: bullicioso
  • magnificent
  • stunning: maravilloso
  • breathtaking: sorprendente
  • damp: humidity
  • quiet chaotic
  • wonderful
  • lovely
  • vast: extremely large
  • overpopulated, 
  • secluded village: very private and quiet
  • awe-inspiring: extremely impressive in a way that makes you feel great respect
  • scenic: surrounded by views of beautiful countryside
  • sprawling: spreading over a great area in a untidy or unattractive way
  • quaint: unusual and attractive, specially in an old-fashioned way
  • ramshackle: in a bad condition and in need of repair
  • jokey: en broma


1A Read the article and match statements 1-14 with people a)-f)

1. His workplace was large
2. His desk was technology-free
3. He ignored his own advice
4. he worked in bed
5. He had livng creatures in his workspace
6. He worked with chaos around him
7. He made art out of things in his studio
8. His workpace was not especially exciting
9. His studio is on display
10 He displayed his work in his studio
11. There is something strange about the furniture in his room
12. He had expensive things in his workspace
13. He had a teaching tool in his workspace
14. His workpace was not dark

a) Francis Bacon
b) Henri Matisse
c) Pablo Picasso
d) Albert Einstein
e) Ernest Hemingway
f) Woody Allen

B. Circle the correct option

1. jutting (paragraph 1)
   a) Making bright colours          b) Sticking out
2. precariously (paragraph 1)
   a) beautifully          b) likely to fall
3. spare (paragraph 2)
   a) full of objects          b) basic, with nothing unnecessary
4. spark off (paragraph 2)
   a) cause          b) basic, with nothing unnecessary
5. opulent (paragraph 3)
   a) with expensive decoration       b) with a good smell
6. doodles (paragraph 3)
   a) large, completed paintings       b) unplanned drawings
7. scrawled (paragraph 4)
   a) written           b) written carelessly
8. humble (paragraph 5)
   a) modest          b) large

Vocabulary adjectives

2. Underline the correct alternative

1. It was a dark, poky/ jokey/ gaudy room with a broken door and no windows
2. This room is too gaudy/ chilly/ fiery for my taste. The colours are too bright
3. The house is really shady/ roomy / spacy. There0s lot of space
4. The town is very roomy/ weary/ dreary. All the buildings are grey and there's nothing to do
5. this flat is nice and poky/ chilly/ airy in here. Can you close the window, please?
6. Come and sit under this airy/ shadowy/ shady tree and talk to me. 
7. It's quite gaudy/ chilly airy in here. Can you close the window, please?
8. the weather's looking a bit roomy/ shady/ gloomy. I think it's going to rain.

                                                         "Speakout. Advanced" by Antonia Clare and JJ.Wilson


1b), 2d), 3e), 4f), 5b), 6a), 7c), 8e), 9a), 10b), 11e), 12b), 13d), 14e)

1b), 2b), 3B), 4a), 5a), 6b), 7b), 8a)

1 poky, 2 gaudy, 3 roomy, 4 dreary, 5 airy, 6 shady, 7 chilly, 8 gloomy

1a), 2b), 3c), 4b), 5c), 6c), 7a), 8a), 9c), 10a), 11b), 12b)