W e l c o m e
Welcome to this page of English-related links and things. As an EFL teacher I am often asked about resources to help with people's English studies outside the classroom.
Often I find myself sending links to internet websites like the BBC's excellent Learning English site, or to GuardianUnlimited (my online paper of choice), to Sky News Video or even just to Wikipedia.
The net also offers a plethora of other sites focusing on the more complex areas of the language like phrasal verbs, false friends and so on. As internet can be constantly updated (on a virtually daily basis, unlike most dictionaries) new vocabulary and cultural trends in the English-speaking world can also be more readily assimilated online.
- As I am based in Madrid, sometimes students are curious to discover how British or American correspondents see Spain and Spanish current affairs, and often report facts more impartially than the local media.
- I try and update the links column weekly if I find any new and potentially "useful" sites!
- Also, these pages will save me sending out long links by email!
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
If I remember rightly, one of my first posts here some years ago was about some riot or other that kicked off in Alcorcón, a suburb to the south of central Madrid. And, early this month of August, London was besieged by rioting youths in an eruption of violence and looting following an initially peaceful protest following an incident where a twenty-something young man was killed by a policeman in Tottenham, North London. The area is probably best known to non-Londoners as being the home of Tottenham Hotspurs (or simply Spurs) football club, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid last season. Juande Ramos was once manager there, and former Madridista Rafael van der Vaart and gangly ex-Liverpool striker Peter Crouch are in the team. Spurs ground White Hart Lane could be seen from helicopter footage surveying the damage, and, although the stadium escaped unscathed, players were terrified.
Youths excited by the adrenalin of breaking glass, burning buildings, pack mentality and the prospect of free tracksuits, trainers and mobile phones spread the word by text, tweet and Facebook and pretty soon there was "copycat" rioting going on in Croydon (a suburb south of London... the picture above is the before and after image of a Croydon family business going up in flames), Brixton, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Oxford (!) and other cities.
British newspapers being what they are, the victim whose death sparked the riots was alternately described as a loving father-of-four (or father-of-six in some places) and a dodgy drug-dealing member of a family of hardened criminals whose best pal - a fellow who went by the unsavoury nickname of Smegz - was killed by a broken champagne bottle in rather suspicious circumstances earlier this year.
Here's a BBC news video from the morning after the night before, with some extra "history" on the former troubles in Tottenham that have apparently returned, to shed light on the tension in the area...
...and here is a Sky News interview with a cheery gang of "masked" teenage looters...
...and finally, the unfortunately bumbling Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, "comes to the rescue" with a broom
Obviously you've already clicked on a number of links in the article (you did click the
- Trainers and mobile phones: the objects of our disaffection (The Guardian)
- The Clockwork Riots (New York Post)
- UK Riots: How the drugs war fits in (Huffington Post)
- Holiday boredom fuelled riots (London Evening Standard)
- Celebrities unite on Twitter to condemn riots (Daily Mirror)
- Rap responds to the riots (The Guardian)
- How BlackBerry Messenger was used to plan two nights of looting (Daily Telegraph)
- What isn't behind the riots (Washington Post)
- How the UK newspapers headlined the riots (The Guardian)
Monday, 18 July 2011
Here it is:
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
They think it's all over, it is now!. Yes, Spain have won the World Cup.
The country who have waited longer than Nelson Mandela waited to get out of jail for true international glory for their national side have proved the statisticians and pundits wrong again.
Whether it was true or not, many people (including Maradona himself) claimed that the pre-tournament favourites never went on to win the trophy, while others said that no team had ever won a World Cup after losing the opening match.
David Villa, Busquets, Piqué, Jesús Navas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Capdevila, Cesc Fabregas, Marchena, Arbeloa, David Silva, Puyol, Llorente, Pedro, Iniesta, and captain Iker Casillas (yes, that's him giving the world's new favourite WAG Sara Carbonero a kiss live on TV - as reported by Sky News - above) beat a rather "dirty" Dutch team headed by a couple of rejuvenated Real Madrid rejects (Sneijder and Robben) and a bunch of brutal ex-Barcelona bruisers (van Bommel in particular) to bring the cup to Spain for the first time, where the team received a rapturous welcome from an overjoyed crowd of thousands.
Well done lads, and when I've got time I'll post some links to what the world's papers said.
Thursday, 17 June 2010
- BBC News
- The Guardian
- The Sun
- Daily Mail
- Daily Telegraph
- Sky News
- Bild (Germany)
- This Is London
- Kickette (and previously..)
- New York Times (a little late with the story)
- New York Post (USA)
Thursday, 13 May 2010
The Guardian - Britain's finest newspaper (IMHO) - started by taking an exclusive snap of Nick Clegg's scrawled notes for his clinch meeting with David Cameron, and then proceeded to try and interpret it. Now the Guardian journos have sent a body language expert to analyse the... er... body language between the new PM and his deputy.
Friday, 7 May 2010
(Graffiti courtesy of street artist T.Wat - not, as one might suspect, the inimitable Banksy. Or not so inimitable, if you see what I mean.)
Post election analysis:
* Private Eye
* Daily Mirror
* Der Speigel (in English!)
* The Times
* Financial Times
* Times of India
* Straits Times Malaysia
* New York Times
* LA Times
* Good Times
* Good Times Bad Times
* Daily Mail (humour)
Thursday, 6 May 2010
Don't forget to click on the links!
But unlike in previous years it's not just another predictable re-run where the incumbent gets re-elected because the opposition are even worse. Oh no.
This time it's anybody's game. A few weeks ago outsider Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat) was seen to be the winner of the first ever UK three-way (!) pre-election TV debate, with some journalists touting him as a British Obama. while Conservative David Cameron has bounced back despite various gaffes and potentially embarrassing accusations.
Even Gordon Brown, Tony Blair's successor as leader of the ("New") Labour Party has apparently regained some lost support following his "bigot-gate" faux pas.
Labour, Tory (that's Conservative) and LibDems all Twittering away... David Cameron has been showing us what a regular guy he is despite his Eton-Oxford education on his "pioneering" Webcameron (clever wordplay there, Dave) since 2006 or so, when most people thought YouTube was best left to a plumber.
MyDavidCameron.com" where you can make your own customised mickey-take of any of a series of Conservative election posters, as on the right. Sheer genius... go on, have a go... you know you want to.
Also, YouTube is a great source of information on candidates... Cameron has his own "channel" of course, but you can also scrutinise this revealing clip of Gordon Brown picking his nose. Nick Clegg's Spanish wife Miriam "don't call me Mrs. Clegg" González is featured on this clip comically entitled Leaders' Wives.
the best compendium of typically savage and sarcastic election campaign posters while the good old BBC have a great "as-it-happens" live feed. The Guardian have compiled the election morning front pages (of the newspapers, obviously) here, from the former Blarite Sun's "In Cameron We Trust" to the Communist Morning Star's blunt "Vote Labour".
Other election news involves former leader of the (thankfully minority) UK Independence Party (UKIP to its friends) who crashed his light aircraft after it became entangled in a VOTE UKIP banner, the daft banana. Remember Rajoy, La Espe and a helicopter? A bit like that.
As the votes slowly trickle in it seems that Clegg-mania was over-hyped, and that Cameron may be the biggest recipient of votes but that a hung parliament is looking increasingly likely. However it seems that a large turnout has lead to people being turned away from polling stations. Doesn't that happen in places like Iran and Zimbabwe?
As are endless yawnsome jokes about a well-hung parliament.
Here is the first of what I fear may be many.
And finally... a poster to remind us to Vote for Gordon (or not)..
Oh dear... I've just seen Joan Collins on the BBC telling the nation that she believes David Cameron has a "presidential look".
I honestly didn't realise she was still alive.
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Rafa's English - despite being still peppered with a handful of unforgivable mistakes - does seem to have improved somewhat since his early attempts to express himself in the language. Although nowhere near as good as Federer's English, Rafa still needs to work out his infinitive / -ing ending confusion, but he has made a fair bit of progress, so credit where credit's due.
Fellow sporting Spaniard and namesake Rafa Benitez seems to have mastered the language more quickly, but maybe several years living in Liverpool may have something to do with it. The Liverpool manager seems a little more relaxed speaking in English than the Wimbledon champ... so let's have a look at the two of them.
This first clip of Rafa Nadal shows him answering a few very simplistic questions about his life on and off the tennis court.
Oh, and here's what the papers had to say about Rafa (Nadal) and his victory:
- Daily Mail
- The Sun
- Daily Mirror
- Daily Express
- Daily Telegraph
- The Scotsman
- The Sporting Life
- The Independent
- International Herald Tribune (USA)
- The Times (Rafa's Blog)
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
After scoring the winning goal for Spain in the Euro 2008, ex-Atletico Madrid and current Liverpool golden boy Fernando Torres is once more the centre of attention for the British press.
Here are a few clips of him and his gradually improving English.
Did you catch that awful "can to" though?
(Is the interviewer Spanish in this final clip?)
Sadly nothing on the Spanish Euro triumph, but here's what some of the papers said:
- The Mirror - Germany: Torres not Nº 1 Striker
- The Sun - Spain Will Reign for Years Now
- The New York Times - Slumping Striker Helps Spain Win
- The Guardian - Spain Reign with Beautiful Game...
- Daily Telegraph - Iker: Win is for All Spain
- The Times - Global Rule Next for Torres
- BBC News - Moment of Unity as Spain Win
- The Guardian (again) - How Luis Did it
- Liverpool Echo - Villa: Torres Vital to Team
- Daily Mail - Torres Snubs Chelsea
- Sky Sports - Aragonés: We Were the Best
- Football365 - What the Papers Said
- Australian Daily Telegraph - Sydney's Spanish Quarter Celebrate
- IOL South Africa - Spain's Euro Glory...
- Goal.com - Spain's Most Hated is Vidicated
- Bild (Germany) - Crazy Euro 2008
- The Local (Sweden) - Spain's Euro Win bad for Swedish Economy (?)
Finally, as connoisseurs of the great British pun, let us leave you with a selection of Euro 2008 wordplay courtesy of the tabloid press:
- - of course in the UK commentators pronouce Güiza as "Geezer"
- - Think of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady
- - the quarter-finals curse, of course
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
How he made the cover of Nature is beyond me...
Anyway it seems as if the Elvisly-coiffed comedy singer will have a bit of an easier ride in Saturday's final as Ireland's much-trumpeted entry - Dustin the Turkey - was knocked out in the first round. The first round that both Spain and the UK bypass as main sponsors of the event along with Germany and France. However, the BBC has a poll on who could win the contest this year, and Spain doesn't even make the top 30! (Just behind the United Kingdom, cough cough).
For more English-speaking news on Chikilicuatre and this year's contest, try these:
- BBC News: Ireland's turkey exits Eurovision
- The Independent: "Kitch Elvis" takes on turkey
- Irish Independent: Ireland has a "Chiki rival from Spain"
- The Guardian: "Eurovision - Sillier than ever"
- Eurotopics: "A Spanish joke with a European ring to it"
- Tecnotertulia: "Viva Eurovision"
- Official Website in English
- Daily Telegraph: How Franco cheated Cliff Richard out of Eurovision victory
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
- Say no to pie and yes to paella!
- Now you're Mr. Maracas, Señor Flamenco!
- Local traditions will be respected because Spain always mess up too!
Can you catch them all?
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Once again, Spain - like the USA - is gripped by election fever.
Or are they?
- BBC News on the "heated" first debate
- BBC News on the "angry" second debate
- The Financial Times on the second "showdown"
- Typically Spanish: No More Mariano Mr. Nice Guy
- The Financial Times on "Spain's Choice"
- Newsweek on "Zapatero: Spain's Dud"
- The Washington Post on a "testy" debate
- Bloomberg on Zapatero's "lead over Rajoy"
- The Times on how Zapatero is struggling "to stay in office"
- Canada's Globe & Mail on "Spain's Big Question"
- BBC News Euroblog on Rajoy's "imaginary friend"
- Bloomberg on how Rajoy's attacks on Zapatero may backfire
- The San Diego Tribune on how Rajoy is trying to compensate for a blunder
- The Guardian on how "bad economic news" is "heating up" the campaign
- The New York Times on the murder of Isias Carrasco
- BBC News Euroblog: Were politicians right to stop campaigning?
- The Observer: Vote to foil ETA, victim's family pleads
- The Guardian on Spain's "unconvincing choice"
- The Times on how Spain is voting in the shadow of terrorism
- 5Spaniards.com: A brief analysis at poll-closing time
- BBC News: Socialists win Spanish elections
- Bloomberg: Zapatero reelected, gains seats
- ITN News (UK): Socialists win, close to absolute majority
- The Washington Post: Socialists win, but short of absolute majority
Friday, 29 February 2008
That's what happens if you don't practice, Espe!
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Best Supporting actor for his role as a serial killer in the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men, which also picked up a few other gongs including Best Picture. Love him or hate him you've got to admire someone who told his director bosses before filming that he couldn't speak English and then only made one mistake in his acceptance speech.
But he still couldn't help speaking Spanish at the end!
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Mobile phone operator Orange somehow persuaded Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard to share his own pre-Christmas celebrations. Curiously, Lampard's partner Elen Rives is Spanish and so there may be a Christmas Crib hiding somewhere in the background... his daughter is called Luna for goodness sake (isn't that a dog's name?).
More on Frank's favourite Christmas traditions and more:
Oh, and don't think of getting Frank a video camera for next Christmas, eh?
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Satirical mag El Jueves - a sort of cross between Britain's Private Eye and America's Mad magazine - has found itself in the dock after a court ordered the seizure of all unsold copies of last week's issue.
Well, the cover featured Crown Prince Felipe and missus engaged in what The Guardian called an ardent session of lovemaking. Under a banner headline that referred to PM Zapatero's one-off €2,500 lump sum handout to parents of newborns (thanks Thetta-pé, virtually a year too late for me to qualify...), the Prince quipped that if he was able to get his wife pregnant (for a third time) it would be the nearest he had come to earning money in his life.
Now, for anyone who has ever browsed this magazine on the newsstands or read the spin-off book "Tocando los Borbones" (the pun doesn't translate very well, so I'll leave the title in Spanish), the aforementioned vignette would not really seem shocking in the slightest (and most "naughty bits" were kept well out of sight), but Judge Juan del Olmo (that's him on the left) seemed to think so and ordered the confiscation of the remaining copies of the mag.
I don't recall any legal action there!
A story of international import nonetheless, and here are just a handful of the reports from around the English-speaking press.