"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, AND that has made all the difference" The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

DREAMING IN ENGLISH. Are you dreaming in English yet?

WELCOME!!! This is a bit of a challenge for me!!! This blog is intended for all audiences. I hope you enjoy and get the most of it!!!

Here you might find resources to help you navigate the muddy waters of English. The humble aim of this blog is just to keep you in touch with different types of English and different aspects of the English culture , to increase your curiosity about English through many different fields.

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Are you dreaming in English yet? por BE se encuentra bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 3.0 Unported.

jueves, 30 de marzo de 2017

WAR POETS

 They ask me where I have been,
  And what I've done and seen. 
 But what can I reply
 Who know it wasn't I, 
 But someone just like me,
 Who went across the sea
 And with my head and hands
 Killed men in foreign lands...
 Though I must bear the blame,
 Because he bore my name.
                                                               GIBSON- Back

Resultado de imagen de the great war britainWar has always inspired poetry. 
 In the case of the WWI (The Great War), it changed the way people looked at wars. It was fought in a different way, with more advanced technology and this implied that soldiers saw  death on a huge scale with millions of casualties. 
Life at the trenches and the shock some soldiers experienced created a group of poets who wrote in protest of war and its  terrible conditions. Watch the following video and answer the following questions

1. Why was the Great War a  war of horror for soldiers more than for civilians?
2. What was the idea about war poetry at the beginning of the 20th century?
3. What type of poet is called a "war poet"?
4. What type of soldier was Sigfried Sassoon?
5. What was Sassoon ´s attitude to war and what type of information  did he include in his poems?






Resultado de imagen de sassoon
I knew a simple soldier boy 
Who grinned at life in empty joy, 
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, 
And whistled early with the lark.


In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.


You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.







Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen ( another war poet) met during active service. Both endured traumatic experiences. Owen became neurasthenic and Sassoon disillusioned with the conduct of war. In fact, he published in 1917 in The Times a declaration expressing his anger at the War Office. He critisized openly they way soldiers were treated and the living conditions in the trenches. After that,  he was sent to a hospital in Edinburgh diagnosed of shellshock. Wilfred Owen was receiving treatment in that hospital too,  so they got in touch and exchanged conversations and started a friendship.

For both poets literature was a way of expressing oneself. They wanted to show "the pity of war", the psychological effect of war, the incompetence of the Generals and Officials. Wilfred Owen was very intense and lyrical in his poems. He uses bleak realism with lots of metaphores and great technical skill. Sassoon inspired him and,  as Sassoon did,  Owen placed great emphasis on writing from experience.




In Dulce Et Decorum Est and Exposure, two of  Owen´s poems,  pay attention to the imagery used and the way soldiers are described. Look for words which are disturbing, interesting, etc. 
What sort of mood do we have in both poems?
Are these poems effective in showing "the pities of war"?
Do both poems show Owen´s view of warfare? Explain and take examples from the poems.






lunes, 6 de marzo de 2017

"We should all be feminists"

Watch the following video.



"The world has changed but the numbers remained stucked against us." Do you agree with this statement and with and the figures and statistics presented inthe video? Are we really equal?

The video below was part of a campaign to celebrate the International Women´s Day. Here you can learn about different important inventions made by women. Did you know anything about them?

In the video they also mention a group of pioneer women who began a worldvide movement to achieve equal rights. They were called the Suffragettes. Did you know anything about them?




As you can see this video presents a more positive image in the progress of  women´s rights. What do think ? Do you agree with the data and information presented? How would you compare it with the first video? 
Discuss and debate about the different ideas presented in both videos.

Resultado de imagen de celebrating women's rights 2017

Yes. It´s true. Many  things have changed since then! Many things have improved but everything is not as positive. Much has remained the same and so much still needs to be done. Despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues are still a problem. For example, women are often paid less than men; gender discrimination affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and sometimes they are the ones who suffer the most poverty. At the top of industry and government, the faces remain male.  So how can we justify that?

The Civil Right´s movement for women started long ago. In the English-speaking world it is said that it started with MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT´S A Vindiction of the Rights of Women ( 1792).  Then, in the 19th century some women became increasingly active in the quest for their own suffrage.
Resultado de imagen de emmeline pankhurst y sus hijas
 It was not until 1893 when women in New Zealand achieved the power to vote. Australia followed the next year and in Britain and America they didn´t achieve the national suffrage until the end of the WWI.

BUT WHO WERE THESE SUFFRAGETTES?
These group of women developed different strategies to be heard: they marched in demostrations, attended mass meetings, taught in schools, wrote critiques about how society was organized, they went on hunger strikes, etc.

They sent petitions to the Parliament to persuade the MPs to change the law to enable them to vote. In 1897 they came toghether to form the NUWSS (The National Union of Women´s Suffrage Societies).
Resultado de imagen de emmeline pankhurst
The results about their petitions were not very positive in the beginning. The members of the Bristish Parliament deliberately talked out bills presented and they didn´t want women to vote. As a consequence the Suffragist´s actions became more violent. Emmeline Panhurst said in a speech in 1912:
 "We have tried every way, but we have had contempt poured upon us. Violence is the only way that we haave to  get the power that every citizen should have"
Posters ridiculing the Suffragettes were made as well. Have a look at some of them. What do you think? 

A conservative leader made the following speech in 1912 about women´s right to vote:
" Women don´t have the experience to be able to vote. But there are other problems as well. The way women have been educated, their lack of strength, and the duties they have. If women did gain the vote, it would mean that most voters would then be women. What would be the effect of this on the government? I agree that there are some issues upon which the votes of women might be helpful. But these  ases do not cover the whole political life. What is the good of talking about equality of the sexes? The first whiz of the bullet, the first boom of the cannon and where is the equality of the sexes then?"
Finally in 1918 women over 30 were allowed to vote. It too another decade to abolish the age qualification.


Taking all this into account, Do you think it is necessary to celebrate March 8th? Is everything done? The United Nations have established since 2012 the celebration in October 11th of the International Day of the Girl Child. They focus on increasing awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, gender violence, unfree child marriage. So it seems there´s still lots of things to do.


The novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie makes a new definition of feminism based on inclusion and awareness. Watch her conference in TED talks and answer the following questions.
1. Accoding to what we have read and seen in this post, in what areas do you think the world needs feminism, taking into account her ideas?
2. On the other hand, we have made important progress. Find examples in our society that have brought men and women closer to an equal position.
3. Chimamanda makes the point that the concept of gender tells us how we should behave in society and tells women how they should behave and follow certain stereotypes. Do you agree with her?
4. She says "culture does not make people, people make culture". How can this be important to change some aspects about the gender issue?
5. Make reference to some ideas or situations you have felt identified with or that you agree / disagree with in the conference.






I recommend watching the movie Suffragette. It´s a good opportunity to learn something really important about our history and about how women´s fight for thier own rights started.


domingo, 5 de febrero de 2017

Writing an opinion ESSAY

An Essay is a formal text that should answer the questions given and provide a new content point showing your own opinion or view on a particular topic.

 When you are asked to write an essay you have to read very carefully the questions and prompts to understand what you are expected to do and to focus on the topic and get to the point. You have to bear in mind that if you miss any of the given prompts you may be penalised .
 You should support your ideas with examples, give evidence and explain your choices or opinions. That´s why the use of appropriate linking words and the use of cohesive devices is very important in essays.
The introduction and the conclusion should be effective and strong. Compare and contrast the information given and do not give your personal opinion until the final paragraph. Remember to structure your arguments and  include a new idea in each paragraph.

Have a look at this video with some useful information to write a good essay.



SAMPLE
Science is very important in the 21st century. How do you think it could be made more appealing to young people?
Notes
Write about:
1. television programmes
2. interactive museums
3. ________ (your own idea)
Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.
Although young people love gadgets and technology, some see science as uninteresting and 'uncool'. Over time, the number of young people, particularly girls, pursuing science and technology studies and careers has dropped.
One way in which science could be made more attractive would be to have lively television programmes presented by celebrities, with subjects which were relevant to the experience of the young. We live in a celebrity culture and children identify with well-known young people.
Another idea would be to set up interactive science museums in every town, where parents could take their children. It is much better to teach children the principles of science through hands-on experiments than to lecture them in a classroom.
Of course, there would be more incentives if the average scientit were better paid and young people were made aware of the range of jobs available. A lot of people are put off a scientific career because they think it means working in a badly paid job in a boring laboratory.
Whichever way we choose, it is vital that more young people are attracted to science, since society's prosperity depends largely on continuous scientific progress


Some useful expressions you can use are:
  1. SEQUENCINGFirstly, First of all, In the first place, To begin/start with, Secondly, Thirdly, Finally
  2. ADVANTAGES: One/Another/A further/An additional (major) advantage of… is … The main/greatest/first advantage of… is …
  3. DISADVANTAGES:One/Another/ A further/An additional (major) disadvantage/drawback of. The main/greatest/most serious/first disadvantage /drawback of… Another negative aspect of…
  4. INTRODUCE ARGUMENTS:One point/argument in favour of… / against, A further common criticism of… / It could be argued that…..often claimed/suggested / It is widely argued/ maintained that…   Some/many/most people/experts/scientist claim/suggest/argue/feel that…/support the view that…oppose the view that…are in favour of/against…are of the opinion that/convinced that…are opposed to…
  5. ADDING INFORMATION: in addition (to this), furthermore, moreover, besides, apart from, what is more, as well as, not to mention (the fact) that, also, not only … but also/as well, both
  6. CONTRAST: on the other hand, however, still, yet, but, nonetheless, nevertheless, even so,it may be said/argued/claimed that            although, though, even though, while, , whereas, despite/in spite of (the fact that), regardless of the fact that,   
  7.  CONCLUSION: In conclusion,On balance, All things considered, Taking everything into account/consideration, To conclude, To sum up, All in all, Finally/Lastly...     it can be said/claimed that..................     it seems/appears that...........   it is likely/unlikely/possible/foreseeable that ……………   it is clear/obvious that……...   there is no/little doubt that.........   it is true to say that ………   although it must be said that …… it may be concluded/said that …