lunes, 30 de marzo de 2015


Good loves each of us as if there were only one of us

Saint Agustin

Easter: Fascinating traditions around the world 

Different countries celebrate Easter in different ways – from Easter trees to dancing around eggs, we take a look at some of the unusual and interesting traditions. 

EASTER TRADITIONS VARY around the world – from dyeing eggs to dancing around them.

In some countries, huge processions take place, while in others the religious celebration is marked in more sedate ways. 
We take a look at some of the most interesting traditions worldwide. 

 People often prepared for the coming of Easter by spring cleaning their home, buying new clothes and cutting hair and fingernails. 
 In the past, a mock funeral for a herring would be held on Easter Saturday, which marked the end of the Lenten period where Catholics would abstain from eating red meat. 

 Traditional folk dancing called Morris dancing takes place over Easter. You can take a look at it clicking on the following link: 
 Easter bonnets were popular, especially in times past, when women would make and wear their own bonnets. 
Hot cross buns are served on Good Friday, while Simnel cake was served on Easter Sunday to help break the Lenten fast. 
Maundy Thursday is celebrated by Christians on the Thursday before Easter, and includes blessing of holy oils and often the washing of the feet. The Monarch offers ‘alms’ or coins to senior citizens. 
 A game called ‘egg tapping’ is sometimes played in the North of England, where players hit other players’ eggs and the winner is the one whose egg breaks last. 

 The Easter Bunny also visits Germany, and decorated eggs are popular here. 
 The summer day parade, or Sommertagszug, is celebrated three weeks before Easter. The Easter market (Ostermarket) also takes place, where people can pick up Easter-themed products and crafts. 
 The Osterbrunnen is an Easter fountain – you’ll find it in Franken in Germany, and it involves decorating a fountain with garlands and decorated eggs. 
 The ‘egg dance’ is often played – eggs are laid on the ground and people dance among them while trying not to damage them. 
 The Osterbaum or Easter tree is also popular in Germany, which involves Easter eggs being hung from trees or large branches. 

 An Easter festival is held in Antigua, a tradition brought to the country by Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. It involves a week of celebrations, including a procession travelling through the town. 
 People gather to carry huge holy statues and a shrine is constructed every year: 

 Similar processions take place in Colombia, where the Nazarenos wear purple hooded robes decorated with white crosses.
 Candle-lit processions are held and brass bands play throughout the spectacular events: 

 The crucifixion of Christ is renacted in the Philippines at Easter time. This practice is not encouraged by the church but takes place on Good Friday and involves the real-life nailing to the cross of volunteers. 

 Easter is celebrated in dramatic ways throughout Spain, from processions of religious statues to the drum chorus in Calanda. 
 Holy Week is called Semana Santa, and Semana Santa in Andalucia sees the ‘nazarenos’ in traditional hoods and masks following processions. 
 The Danza de la Muerte (Dance of Death) takes place in Verges, Gerona, on Holy Thursday and harks back to the Black Death in the 14th century. It involves five people dressed as skeletons touring the town and scaring many in their path. 

 In Florence, the Easter Sunday celebration involves a parade through the town, during which a cart is exploded to help ensure a good harvest
 Easter processions are also popular in Italy, with confraternities in traditional costumes journeying through the streets and brass bands playing in Enna in Sicily. 
 A cross of thorns, the urn of the Dead Christ and the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows are carried through Enna: 

 Dyeing Easter eggs is popular here, a tradition that is also carried out around the world. 
 The White House Easter Egg Roll is an annual event where children roll Easter eggs down the White House lawn. This was a European tradition taken to the New World by settlers. Here’s a video:

Do you have any family Easter rituals? Of course these aren’t the only customs of Easter... What’s more, we want readers to discover them for themselves and tell us about them on the forum! Let’s participate!!!

jueves, 19 de marzo de 2015

Solar eclipse

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that i will cause the sun tp go down at moon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day


Solar eclipse warning: Don't take a selfie! 

Don’t be fooled into thinking it is the middle of the night when you travel to work on Friday (March 20) morning - the unexpected darkness will be due to a solar eclipse. And the College of Optometrists is advising people not only to avoid looking directly at the sun but also not to try to get a solar eclipse ‘selfie’ on a camera phone as just lining up the projection could put you at risk of causing permanent eye damage. Camera phones were not on the market in 1999, the last time the natural phenomenon occurred. 

Top tips for a safe solar eclipse 
 Don’t forget to use your headlights if you are driving as it is likely to be quite dark during the eclipse 
 Don’t look directly at the sun during the eclipse as this can cause permanent damage to your eyesight. 
 Don’t try to snap a ‘selfie’ during the eclipse as just lining up the projection on your phone could still put you at risk 
 If you want to view the eclipse you will need to use special glasses which have a filter to protect your eyes. These must be safety tested and CE approved. Good solar eclipse glasses filter out all of the harmful ultraviolet and infrared light and almost all of the intense visible light to allow you to view the eclipse safely. 
 Don’t try to view the eclipse using regular sunglasses, as they won’t protect you. Instead it’s worth looking at other techniques, such as pinhole projection. 
 If you want to view the eclipse through a powerful camera or telescope you will need stronger filters - don’t think you can just wear the regular eclipse glasses to look through the lens. 

Adapted from: 

Do you know what a pinhole viewer is? Click on the following link and you could see how to make one! 

Myths about the solar eclipse 

Threat to the monarchy: The eclipse in 1133AD was known as King Henry's Eclipse in Britain. When Henry I died shortly after the eclipse, it reaffirmed beliefs that the phenomenon was a bad sign for monarchs. Babylonians placed substitute kings on the throne during eclipses to protect the real rulers. 

Hinduism: In Hindu mythology, the serpent demons Rahu and Ketu are believed to cause eclipses by swallowing the sun, sucking away the light that gives life. 

Pregnancy: Among modern superstitions is the belief that solar eclipses can pose a danger to pregnant women and unborn children. Some cultures suggest expectant mothers and young children stay indoors during an eclipse. 

Disaster: The Ancient Greeks believed eclipses were a sign of impending disaster and destruction, as a result of the wrath of the gods. 

Beheading: In ancient China, predicting eclipses was of high importance as they were believed to be a threat to emperors. In 2134BC, two Chinese astrologers failed to predict the solar eclipse – one of the earliest recorded in history – and they were beheaded. 

Poison: In parts of rural India, fasting still takes place among some communities who fear the eclipse will poison any food prepared during the event. 

Crucifixion: Gospels state the skies darkened during the crucifixion of Jesus, which some assumed to be a miracle and a sign of dark times to come. Historians have suggested it may refer to an eclipse in either 29AD or 33AD. 

Prophet Mohammed: The eclipse of 27 January 632AD coincided with the death of Prophet Mohammed's son Ibrahim. According to Islamic scholars, this led the public to speculate that the phenomenon was a miracle to mark the death – but Mohammed clarified that eclipses were neither the omen of birth of death. 

Dogs: Korean folklore tells of the sun being stolen by mythical dogs. 

Evil spirits: Communities in some Hindu communities across Asia greet eclipses with the banging of pots and pans or fireworks, to scare away the demon Rahu. Facts about the solar eclipse 

Sun and moon: A solar eclipse is a natural event that takes place on Earth when the moon moves in its orbit between Earth and the sun – which is also known as an occultation. It happens at new moon, when the sun and moon are in conjunction with one another. 

Distance: The reason solar eclipses take place is that the distance between the sun and the Earth is approximately 400 times the moon's distance from the sun, and the sun's diameter is around 400 times larger than the moon's. 

Total eclipse: This event occurs when the Earth intersects the umbra portion of the moon's shadow, whereas when the umbra does not reach the surface of our planet, the sun is only partially hidden which results in an annular solar eclipse. Partial solar eclipses take place when the viewer is inside the penumbra. 

1999: The last solar eclipse of equivalent significance occurred on 11 August 1999, when 100% of the sun was covered when viewed from Cornwall. 

Length: The longest a total solar eclipse can last is 7.5 minutes. 

Speed: The speed of the moon as it moves across the sun is approximately 1,398 miles (2,250 km) per hour. 

Invisible: Total solar eclipses have not always been visible from Earth. In the past, the moon was too close to Earth, so during eclipses it completely blocked out the sun's disk. Over time, the lunar orbit has changed at the rate of around 2cm per year and in the current epoch, the alignment is nearly perfect at times. 

Disappearing eclipses: Over the next few hundred million years, solar eclipses will no longer occur as the moon's orbit will continue to widen. Skywatchers in the future will only see partial or annular eclipses. 

Annual eclipses: Depending on the geometry of the sun, moon and Earth, there are between two and five solar eclipses every year. Saros: Almost identical eclipses occur after 18 years and 11 days, a period of 223 synodic months called a saros. 


American versus British English!

"The british style'? The american way? They are not so different!

American versus British English!

An American guide to British English In 1882, Oscar Wilde wrote about Great Britain: "We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language." That still rings true today. The differences are endless, from pronunciation and punctuation to spelling and slang. So here is a beginners’ guide to the differences between British English and American English. 

When you're eating: 
 If you are served a biscuit, it will be a scone, not a cookie. 
 If someone is cooking bangers on the "barbie" it is not a sacrificial use of the doll. It's another way of saying barbecue. 
 A "bitter" refers to beer. And your bitter is served on a "beer mat" another way of saying coaster. 
 When it comes to appetizers and entrees, it's all mixed up. In England -- and the rest of Europe -- the entree is the appetizer, not the main course. 
 When you're ready to pay in a restaurant, ask for the bill, not the check (or cheque as it's spelled…) 

Everyday life … 
 To get around London, you will board the "tube," meaning the subway. The tube has "carriages" not cars, and when you board one, you will be warned to "mind the gap," the space between the carriage and the platform. 
 If someone excuses themselves to go to the bathroom, they mean that literally — they are going to take a bath. To use a restroom, ask for the "loo." 
 Expect to see a lot more of the letter "u" on signs. Instead of color, it's colour; harbor is harbour — the letter must have dropped in the Atlantic on the way over. And ‘er’ is transposed to ‘re’ as in centre, theatre. 

Text adapted from: 


I love this YouTube channel and some of you already know it! Let’s see why why Brits and Americans Spell Differently!: 

And what about pronunciation? Take a look at the following video and keep learning about the differences between American and British English! I hope you enjoy it! 

And last but not least, here’s one of my favourite songs of all times! First, have a look at the song if you want to understand the lyrics first: 

Then, click on the following link in order to watch the clip: 

miércoles, 18 de marzo de 2015

How Different Cultures Understand Time

"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late"

William Shakespeare

How Different Cultures Understand Time

Time is seen in a particularly different light by Eastern and Western cultures, and even within these groupings assumes quite dissimilar aspects from country to country. In the Western Hemisphere, the United States and Mexico employ time in such diametrically opposing manners that it causes intense friction between the two peoples. Being late for an appointment, or taking a long time to get down to business, is the accepted norm in most Mediterranean and Arab countries, as well as in much of less-developed Asia. Such habits, though, would be anathema in punctuality-conscious USA, Japan, England, Switzerland, etc. In the Japanese train system, for example, “on time” refers to expected delays of less than one minute, while in many other countries, up to fifteen minutes leeway is still considered “on-time”. For that reason, a world traveler who speaks ten languages, British linguist Richard Lewis, decided he was qualified to plot the world's cultures on a chart. He did so while acknowledging the dangers of stereotypes. "Determining national characteristics is treading a minefield of inaccurate assessment and surprising exception," Lewis wrote. "There is, however, such a thing as a national norm." Many people think he nailed it, as his book "When Cultures Collide," now in its third edition, has sold more than one million copies since it was first published in 1996 and was called "an authoritative roadmap to navigating the world's economy," by the Wall Street Journal. 

Lewis plots countries in relation to three categories: 

Linear-actives — those who plan, schedule, organize, pursue action chains, do one thing at a time. Germans and Swiss are in this group. 
Multi-actives — those lively, loquacious peoples who do many things at once, planning their priorities not according to a time schedule, but according to the relative thrill or importance that each appointment brings with it. Italians, Latin Americans and Arabs are members of this group.
Reactives — those cultures that prioritize courtesy and respect, listening quietly and calmly to their interlocutors and reacting carefully to the other side's proposals. Chinese, Japanese and Finns are in this group. 

Here's the chart that explains the world: 

Some more details on the categories: 

Adapted from:

Do you have some extra time? ;) 
Calculate duration between two dates! This service calculates the duration, counting the day count and the number of days, months and years between two dates. Among other things, it can be used find how many days old you are and the weekday you were born… Would you give it a try? It could be useful! ;) 

Adapted from: 

 Share your ideas in the forum: “Cultures & Time” 
1. Look up the highlighted words if you need it (use a dictionary to help you!) 
2. What do you think? Did you enjoy the article?
3. Do you agree with the article? Why? Why not?
4. Would you consider yourself as a linear-active, multi-active or reactive person? Why.

miércoles, 11 de marzo de 2015


"If you're in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent"
Warren buffett



At the end of this unit you will be able to:

-Express yourself clearly in a business context using the present perfect, present perfect continuous, past perfect, past perfect continuous, and the first conditional with ease.
-Pronounce the numbers and use your tone of voice correctly.
-Talk about banking and finance with ease using the appropriate vocabulary and expressions.
-Use key vocabulary and expressions related to franchising and international e-commerce. 
-Talk about marketing, advertising and sales using the appropriate vocabulary and expressions.
-Plan advertising campaigns.
-Create Power Point presentations.

1 : Match the banking vocabulary and phrasal verbs to their correct definitions:
1. Pay in  A. Money borrowed from somewhere, usually from the bank.

2. Take out
 B. The act of           withdrawing money from your bank.

3. Loan

C. Putting a sum of money in something which is likely to make you more money in the future (eg the stock exchange).

4. Mortgage
D. A loan from the bank to pay for a house/flat.

5. DebtE. Money kept in the bank that you don't withdraw on a daily basis.

6. Investment                    F. The act of entering money into your account.

7. Statement

G. A document that records the dates and destinations of all the money going into and coming out of your bank.

8. Savings
H. Money owed to someone/somewhere- often to the bank.

9. Balance

I. What you have to do with your loan and your mortgage.

10. Pay off
J. The total amount of money you have in your account.

2. Fill in the appropriate titles of the five training powerpoint presentations below. You must choose between the following titles:

Balancing Priorities and Managing Projects
Leadership and Teambuilding
Motivating Employees
Managing your Time
Assertive Leadership Skills

Being a competent leader menas being able to motivate and get things done. Today's presentation will look at decision-making, diplomacy, and being sensitive to the needs of others...

Learning how to set priorities, to control your workload and to complete tasks on time are essential goals to be productive in the workplace. Today I'm going to talk about how to identify what's important and to fulfill targets and objectives more effectively in less time...

Today we're going to take a look at what you need to do to successfully lead others. Succesful leaders know how to:
1) Handle people effectively and get results.
2) Deal with conflicts and communicate confidently.
3) Earn the respect of their peer group and their superiors.

Today you're going to see how it IS possible to prioritize and keep on top of multiple projects, to manage conflicting demands, and to take control over your workload. Firstly, it's vital that you set deadlines and stick to them. Learn to get more done in less time than you thought possible...

In the next fifteen minutes I want to communicate how important it is for people to feel integrated into their workplace. Workers who feel isolated within their own company may have a damaging effect on the company's overall productivity...

3. Watch the video and said if the sentences are true o false according the video

1. Bill Clinton announced that about 400,000 Americans would be doing their shopping online over the holiday season.
2. It was perfectly believable that someone would use their credit card to purchase something over a computer.
3. E-commerce turned out to be a viable business.
4. In ten years one company has gone from no money transacted online to almost $150 billion.
5. According to the video e-commerce is still at an early stage.
6. According to the video the future of e-commerce is in the producer.
7.The internet was invented in 1994.

4. Read the following text about the language used in advertisement.


The main copy of advertising language probably uses words from a restricted sub-set of English---common words, often with some emotional as well as literal value. In advertisements aimed at teenagers, the pronouns "you" and "he/him" (for advertisements aimed at girls) are highly frequent. In other advertising domains, we can find some interesting contrasts in the use of pronouns. Leech (1966) provides a thorough overview from the point of view of a practising linguist of how language is used in advertising.

It is probably more useful to look at word usage and statistics in restricted domains of advertising, rather than to generalize across all cases. However, to give an indication of what we typically find, here is what Leech found out about the frequency of words in a sample of television advertisements (from the 1960s).

The twenty most frequent adjectives:

New, good/better/best, free, fresh, delicious, full, sure, clean, wonderful, special, crisp, fine, big, great, real, easy, bright, extra, safe, rich.
The twenty most frequent verbs:

Make, get, give, have, see, buy, come, go, know, keep, look, need, love, use, feel, like, choose, take, start, taste.

Needless to say, a powerful aspect of product marketing is the product name itself. Consequently, choosing a name for a product is very important, and companies which specialize in naming products find their services in high demand. A name can have up to three functions:

- to proclaim a benefit: DieHard, EasyOff, Inspiron, Achieva, Aspire
- to distinguish the company/product from the competition: Zest,, Amazon
- to offer a new vision: Pentium, Swiffer, Yahoo.

The colour choices advertisers make are more than aesthetic decisions; colours have been known to affect (and reflect) a person's mood or emotions, current style trends and cultural beliefs and symbols. Advertisers use people in their advertisements to create a relationship between the image and its viewer. Using properties such as a direction of a person's gaze or the size of frame, advertisements can even suggest the type of relationship between viewer and image.

A.True       B. False
1. In advertisements aimed at teenagers, the pronouns "you" and "he/him" (for advertisements aimed at girls) are highly frequent.  

2. “Delicious”, “full”, “sure” and “clean” are some of the least frequent adjectives.  

3. “Love” is one of the most used

4. According to this text, a name can have up to three functions: To proclaim a benefit, to distinguish the company/product from the competition and to offer a new vision.   

5. Advertisers never use people in their advertisements to create a relationship between the image and its viewer.


Exercise 1
Pay in: The act of entering money into your account
Take out: The act of withdrawing money from your bank
Loan: Money borrowed from somewhere, usually from the bank
Mortgage: A loan from the bank
Investment: Putting a sum of money in something which is likely to make you more money in the future
Statement: A document that records the dates and destinations of all the money going into and coming out of your bank
Savings: Money kept in the bank that you don't withdraw on a daily basis
Balance: The total amount of money you hace in your account
Pay off: What you have to do with your loan and your mortgage

Exercise 2
1. Leadership and Teambuilding
2. Managing your Time
3. Assertive leadership skills
4. Balancing priorities and Managing projects
5. Motivating employees

Exercise 3
1. False
2. True
3. False
4. True
5. True
6. False
7. false

Exercise 4
1. True
2. False
3. True
4. True
5. False