I like to freak out my mid-level students by telling them that English is so weird we can even use verbs in the past tense to talk about the future!! If I had the car tomorrow I could go to your party! This makes students and even English speakers who have never studied English academically really stop and think – why is this happening? How is this possible? It all comes down to understanding one particular linguistic concept: The Subjunctive Mood.
Meaning: To receive the training necessary to do a complicated job or complete a long term task.
Have you ever wondered why Australia and New Zealand keep a British flag on their countries’ flags or why Queen Elizabeth II appears on Canadian money? Do you wonder what relationship India and South Africa have with Britain in the modern world and why English is so widely spoken around the globe? Well to understand the long historical ties between these countries one needs to know the long and complicated history of the British Empire. In modern times the common history of these countries carries on in the friendly relationship maintained through what is known as the Commonwealth of Nations, or formerly, the British Commonwealth, the topic of today’s blog.
It happens quite often that a particular company is not satisfied with simply being a market leader. They want to crush their competition so dramatically that the name of the product itself gets intrinsically tied to the company brand name. That is to say that the brand name becomes the name of that product universally. This is called an eponym in linguistics and we’ll be looking at some of the most popular examples from both sides of the pond.
Meaning: To be in a constant state of argument and seemingly on the verge of fighting each other
In a few short days, on May 19th, billions of people around the globe will watch as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot. Weddings in the British Royal Family always attract global attention and are a symbol of royal decadence and lavishness. They are also heavily steeped in tradition and protocol. In this week’s blog we will look into some intriguing facts about British Royal Weddings.
Meaning: To have all parts of a deal work in your favour without having to compromise.
I was talking to a student named Bartek after a lesson one evening about a flat screen TV that I was interested in buying. He was quite knowledgeable and talked me through all the pros and cons of the different models. Finally he told me the best value for money based on my financial budget.
At the next lesson I was chatting with the group before the lesson and I told them: “On the weekend I bought a flat screen TV.” I was quite proud. Then Bartek arrived just on time and I said to him, “Oh hey, Bartek, on the weekend I bought the flat screen TV.” Now these two sentences look almost completely the same but they differ by only a single word.
“I bought a TV”
“I bought the TV.”
What is even more interesting for me is that these two sentences could conceivably be translated into one sentence in Polish.
Well the May weekend has arrived in Poland and millions of Poles have taken the appropriate days off in order to maximize their travel and rest possibilities. May weekend happens to fall in one of the most conducive times for those needing a break from work, that is to say right in the middle of the week. Sometimes it happens that we are not afforded such a long break and have to make the most of a nice weekend getaway. In the blog this week we will look at some very popular long weekend getaway choices for people in the UK.
Of course your possibilities may be limited by the size of your family, your budget and your interests but here are 5 very pleasant getaways in the UK with a brief description of what you might see there.
April 23rd is recognized by the UN as English Language Day chosen, as it happens to be both the birth date and death date of the great Bard himself William Shakespeare. According to the UN official website, „Language Days at the UN aim to entertain as well as inform, with the goal of increasing awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each language.” At British Council we used the day to have a livestream discussion with Vlogger and English Philologist Arlena Witt on the evening of the 23rd. We discussed a variety of interesting issues concerning the English language and its long relationship with the Polish people. You can watch it at: https://www.facebook.com/BritishCouncilPolska/videos/10155783711789753/
So to get us in the mood here are 10 Fun Facts that you might not have known about the English language.