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Brit it! - Blog o brytyjskiej kulturze i języku Brit it! - Blog o brytyjskiej kulturze i języku Brit it! - Blog o brytyjskiej kulturze i języku

27.08.2018
poniedziałek

Too Shy to Speak English?

27 sierpnia 2018, poniedziałek,

Do you blush at the very thought of having to speak English? Do you dread the idea of making a mistake while speaking to a native speaker? Then this blog post is for you. Read on to find out what you can do to get rid of your anxiety when speaking English.
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20.08.2018
poniedziałek

London Underground (is it really underground?!)

20 sierpnia 2018, poniedziałek,

Some people truly love it while others truly hate it. Some just ignore it, treating the Tube as simply one more way of getting from point A to point B. It’s eccentric, old, smelly, sooty (ok, it used to be like that), stifling, enigmatic and spellbinding (I’m afraid the list of adjectives describing the London Underground is endless…). Whether you live in London or just visit it for a couple of hours, you’re bound to use it. If you think the Tube is just another system of rails and trains located underground just give it a go and keep reading to find out more about this absolutely fascinating transport system.

  • One date: 1863. The world had never seen anything like that before. That was when the Metropolitan Underground Railway opened in London. The very first time in history people could travel longer distances underground. Of course there were no electric trains yet so steam locomotives were in use. And steam means smoke, soot and pollution. So a ventilation system was installed and you can still see some of its elements at the Baker Street station.
  • One more number: 55. Number of tube stations? No, there are 270 stations. Number of passengers who use the Tube every day? Nope, it’s about 5 million. Surprise, surprise, 55% of the London Underground is …. actually over ground.
  • Harry Beck. Thanks to this gentleman we can buy today a whole array of souvenirs with the Tube map. Ok, he probably didn’t think about all those mugs, bags and magnets while designing it back in 1933. To be honest, it’s not a real map since it doesn’t show real distances between stations. We should rather call it a diagram. At first the design was rejected and considered to be too radical but it finally made its own way to Londoners’ hearts. Reproduced ever since 1933 it’s one of the London icons. It’s hard to imagine Beck was paid peanuts for his design …
  • Giving birth on the Tube? It doesn’t sound very appealing, I know. But it turns out it’s sometimes inevitable. The London Underground takes pride in having 3 girls and 2 boys born there! I wonder if the kids will have a free transport pass for life.
  • Busking places for talented artists. The Tube is not only about transport but also about art. There are 39 busking pitches across the stations where licensed performers can give their shows. As a passenger you can enjoy professional music played on your way to work/ next landmark. Stay tuned and keep your eyes wide open – some buskers become world-famous stars. Ed Sheeran used to sing his songs on the Tube as well!
  • The shortest distance between the Tube stations? It’s only 260 metres and the journey goes from Leicester Square to Covent Garden. Still, you have to pay a standard fee of 4.60 pounds. Well, maybe you should consider a short walk?
  • Flora and fauna of the Underground. Let’s face it – not only people travel on the Tube every day … Insects and bugs find their homes there as well. Mosquitoes living in the tube tunnels had to adapt to unique living conditions and are genetically different from their cousins living elsewhere. They are ‘so distinct that they can no longer interbreed with other mosquitoes!’ *

So the next time you top up your Oyster card and hop the Tube train look around carefully – maybe you’ll discover more London Underground mysteries?

*http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160323-the-unique-mosquito-that-lives-in-the-london-underground

** My knowledge (and inspiration) comes from: Andrew Martin ‘Underground Overground’ and a fantastic guided tour across the London Underground (thank you, Fiona!)

 

8.08.2018
środa

Idiom: don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

8 sierpnia 2018, środa,

Meaning: Don’t be judgemental or critical of a present.  (It comes from the practise of checking the age of horses by looking at the length and quality of their teeth.  So if someone gave you a free horse, you shouldn’t ‘inspect it.’)

Polish meaning: darowanemu koniowi nie zagląda się w zęby

 

6.08.2018
poniedziałek

In Defence of Business English

6 sierpnia 2018, poniedziałek,

I used to be very sceptical of courses that purported to teach business English.  Even a long time ago when I had ‘only’ 10 years of teaching experience I wrongly believed that the English language was just that – a uniform language and who would possibly have the audacity to categorize and separate certain lexis of English and call it somehow ‘different’ from English itself? I admit that I was wrong and I would like to discuss the authenticity and merits of business English.

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30.07.2018
poniedziałek

Passive

The Passive Voice

30 lipca 2018, poniedziałek,

Oh yeah! It’s grammar time! Today I would like to talk about teaching the passive voice to students and most importantly the utility of focusing on the ‘WHY?’ instead of the ‘HOW?’  In learning the passive voice students will naturally ask their standard question: Do people really use this form? I believe it is very important to go over the various times when the passive voice is preferable to active voice so that students have a better understanding.Passive Czytaj całość »

16.07.2018
poniedziałek

Are You Ready to Get Pumped?

16 lipca 2018, poniedziałek,

I have been going to the gym ever since I was a teenager.  I don’t do it with any intentions of getting huge like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson but I do enjoy challenging myself and maintaining a relatively good standard of strength. Recently, it occurred to me that there is a certain jargon in the gym that only the initiated will understand. The necessity of a unique lexicon for a particular activity is similar to other hobbies such as fishing or Yoga or professional careers i.e./ law or medicine. Today let’s look at the words and phrases you may hear in the “Iron Paradise” – The Gym!

Published under CC0 Public Domain license. Source: pxhere.com

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9.07.2018
poniedziałek

Stand-Up for your English!

9 lipca 2018, poniedziałek,

English writer J.B. Priestley said, „Comedy, we may say, is society’s way of protecting itself with a smile.” We all love to smile and we all love to laugh. Jokes and the world of comedy have a very large potential to help English language learners perfect their story telling skills, as well as gain new vocabulary and heighten their cultural awareness.

Donovan Strain performing stand-up at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, author: Catpiccatpic Published under CC 3.0 licnese. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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2.07.2018
poniedziałek

What Is This Upside-Down ‘e’?

2 lipca 2018, poniedziałek,

ə  – If you’ve ever wondered what this peculiar looking little symbol is, you are probably not alone.  It is a phonetic symbol for the most common vowel sound in English! It is called ‘schwa’ and it is heard EVERYWHERE in English. So even if you didn’t know what it was called or where it is used you are nevertheless using it all the time when you speak English. Let’s have a look at this ubiquitous sound.

© Mat Wright, British Council

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25.06.2018
poniedziałek

Get ready for a Summer Road Trip

25 czerwca 2018, poniedziałek,

The summer is the perfect time for an age old tradition for the young and free – the road trip.  Even young families will load up the family car and go wherever the open road can take them.  „Are we there yet mom?” constantly shouted from the backseat while dad plays his old-timey music and kids play on devices in the backseat.  Whatever the demographic there’s no better time to talk about language connected to vehicles and driving, so let’s get to it.  Quick Tip – We are going to cover a HUGE amount of vocabulary (mostly nouns) in this blog so if you aren’t sure what something is from the brief context provided then just pop the term into Google Images and you’ll get all sorts of pictures.

Published under CC0 Public Domain license. Source: https://pxhere.com

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20.06.2018
środa

Future tenses review

20 czerwca 2018, środa,

Are you ready for a grammar blog? Today I would like to discuss the very confusing future tenses in English.  Students rely very heavily on the key word ‘WILL’ as if it is the only future tense marker and a one-stop fix-all for all your future needs.  But imagine my students’ shock when I tell them that it is statistically not even close to being the most common future form.  The rules about how and when to use English future forms are extremely murky and a source of confusion for many people who learn English.  So let’s have a quick review of them.

© Mat Wright, British Council

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