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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The secrets of learning as an adult, by David Robson (from BBC Future)

It’s never too late to learn – if you go about it in the right way.

If you ever fear that you are already too old to learn a new skill, remember Priscilla Sitienei, a midwife from Ndalat in rural Kenya. Having grown up without free primary school education, she had never learnt to read or write. As she approached her twilight years, however, she wanted to note down her experiences and knowledge to pass down to the next generation. And so, she started to attend lessons at the local school – along with six of her great-great-grandchildren. She was 90 at the time.

We are often told that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” – that the grizzled adult brain simply can’t absorb as much information as an impressionable young child’s. Many people would assume that you simply couldn’t pick up a complex skill like reading or writing, at the age of 90, after a lifetime of being illiterate.

The latest studies from psychology and neuroscience show that these extraordinary achievements need not be the exception. (Continue reading)

Monday, May 28, 2018

BASIC STRUCTURES 1: THE SENTENCE

¿A quién le importa esto?

No se puede comenzar a construir una casa por el tejado.

Por eso, me parece buena idea incluir una serie de posts sobre las estructuras básicas del idioma y poner los cimientos para explicar de manera mucho más clara y simple otros temas. 

Muy bien, empecemos por lo primero: LA ORACIÓN.

❓ What is a SENTENCE?

Una sentence (= oración) es todo lo que hay hasta un punto (o signo de exclamación o de interrogación), pero para que una sentence esté completa debe:
  • tener sujeto + predicado (mínimo 1 verbo conjugado)
  • expresar una idea completa = tener significado completo por sí sola.
Ejemplo: {[Peter] + [is a lawyer].}  Sujeto: [Peter] + Predicado: [is a lawyer] y tiene significado completo por sí sola.

❓ What is a CLAUSE?

Una clause (= proposición) es una estructura que tiene sujeto + predicado (verbo conjugado), y hay 2 tipos de clauses:

1 - INDEPENDENT (= MAIN) CLAUSE (independiente o principal):
tiene SUJETO + PREDICADO y expresa una idea completatiene significado completo por sí sola.
Ejemplo: [(Peter) + (is a lawyer)]

2 - DEPENDENT (= SUBORDINATE) CLAUSE (dependiente o subordinada):
tiene SUJETO + PREDICADO, PERO NO expresa una idea completa, depende de otra estructura para tener significado.
Ejemplo: [When (Peter) + (was a child)].

Si digo: “When Peter was a child”, el significado está incompleto. (¿'When Peter was a child', qué cosa? Falta información) Necesito agregar algo para que tenga sentido. Ejemplo: {[When Peter was a child], he lived in London.}

LAS CLAUSES FORMAN SENTENCES

Según la CANTIDAD y el TIPO de clauses que tenga una sentence podemos tener 4 TYPES OF SENTENCES:

1 - SIMPLE SENTENCE: Tiene solo 1 MAIN CLAUSE 
Ejemplo: {[Peter] + [is a lawyer].}  1 MAIN CLAUSE = 1 SENTENCE

2 - COMPOUND SENTENCE: Tiene 2 o más MAIN CLAUSES
Ejemplo: {[Peter + is a lawyer]; [Mary + is a doctor], and [Tom + is a teacher].}  3 MAIN CLAUSES = 1 SENTENCE

3 - COMPLEX SENTENCE: Tiene 1 MAIN CLAUSE + 1 o más DEPENDENT CLAUSES
Ejemplo: {[When Peter was a child], he lived in London.}  1 MAIN CLAUSE + 1 DEPENDENT CLAUSE = 1 SENTENCE

4 - COMPOUND-COMPLEX SENTENCE: Tiene 2 o más MAIN CLAUSES + 1 o más DEPENDENT CLAUSES
Ejemplo: {[(When Peter + was a child), he + lived in London], but [he + lives in Manchester now].}  2 MAIN CLAUSES + 1 DEPENDENT CLAUSE = 1 SENTENCE

🔺COMMON MISTAKES = Es útil conocer estos errores para EVITAR COMETERLOS al ESCRIBIR:
  • SENTENCE FRAGMENT: Este error se produce cuando una sentence está incompleta (porque no tiene verbo conjugado o no expresa una idea completa).
Ejemplos:
Because I was tired.  Esta estructura no tiene full meaning, no expresa una idea completa, falta información y no se sostiene por sí sola. Por lo tanto, es incorrecta.
The book written by Tom.  Esta estructura no tiene verbo conjugado, no tiene predicado y, por lo tanto, no es una oración completa, es un sentence fragment.

  • RUN-ON SENTENCE: Este error se produce cuando conectamos mal 2 o más MAIN CLAUSES dentro de una sentence.
Ejemplo:
{[Peter + is a lawyer], [Mary + is a doctor] and [Tom + is a teacher].}   Aquí temenos un ejemplo de “run-on sentence” porque:
 no puedo usar solo coma entre MAIN CLAUSES
 no puedo usar solo conector entre MAIN CLAUSES
 Puedo corregir este error de la siguiente manera:
{[Peter + is a lawyer]; [Mary + is a doctor], and [Tom + is a teacher].}  uso semi-colon (;) en lugar de la coma, y agrego coma al conector.

(Explicaré en más detalle este error y la manera correcta de unir main clauses en un próximo post.)

💡 More on sentence structure:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 1

This post offers you a selection of recommended free online exercises, games, videos and resources so that you can improve your English language skills while having fun! ENJOY!

📜 READING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

Article from MindTools: What’s Empathy Got to Do with It?, by Bruna Martinuzzi
Indeed, empathy is valued currency. It allows us to create bonds of trust, it gives us insights into what others may be feeling or thinking; it helps us understand how or why others are reacting to situations, it sharpens our "people acumen" and it informs our decisions. (Continue reading)

QUIZ: Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire (Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman) North Carolina State University

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
💬 VOCAB PICKS – Confusing words:
💡 GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:


MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Friday, May 25, 2018

The common words that companies are banning, by Mark Johanson (from BBC Capital)

Can banning some corporate terms and replacing them with buzzier or more positive-sounding alternatives do any good?

Apply for a job at Davio’s, a small chain of Italian-style steakhouses in the US, and you’ll never hear one extremely common workplace term: employee. That’s because CEO Steve DiFillippo has banned its use.

“I think ‘employee’ is an awful word,” he says. “Who wants to be an employee? It just isn’t something you strive toward.” Instead, those who work for DiFillippo are known as ‘inner guests.’

“A lot of servers and cooks go from restaurant to restaurant trying to find their way; we stop that,” he explains. “They come here and realise they’re in a different place where they’ll be treated differently.”

For DiFillippo, banning the word is both a way of empowering his ‘inner guests’ and explaining the company’s core values to its ‘outer guests’ (the diners). (Continue reading)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Dead, by James Joyce

LILY, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet. Hardly had she brought one gentleman into the little pantry behind the office on the ground floor and helped him off with his overcoat than the wheezy hall-door bell clanged again and she had to scamper along the bare hallway to let in another guest. It was well for her she had not to attend to the ladies also. But Miss Kate and Miss Julia had thought of that and had converted the bathroom upstairs into a ladies' dressing-room. Miss Kate and Miss Julia were there, gossiping and laughing and fussing, walking after each other to the head of the stairs, peering down over the banisters and calling down to Lily to ask her who had come.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The secret to working overseas, by Maddy Savage (from BBC CAPITAL)

Is cultural knowledge more important than language skills?

Does cultural knowledge trump language ability in international companies and start-ups where English is dominating?

Learning the local language might seem an obvious goal for anyone moving abroad. But in an increasingly globalised world, whether this is an effective use of time is increasingly up for debate.

Growing numbers of multinationals and start-ups are adopting English as their official company language, even if they’re not based in an English-speaking nation. And internationally, millennials seem to have a much higher tolerance for using the global language than older generations, meaning it’s potentially easier to socialise with young locals by speaking English than in the past. The British Council estimates that by 2020, two billion people will be using it, well over a quarter of the world’s population.

Plus, while the idea that millennials are job-hopping much more than their parents is something of a myth, being able to work flexibly in different locations remains a core goal for many. In 2017, the Global Shapers Annual Survey, funded by the World Economic Forum, showed that 81% of respondents aged 18 to 35 from over 180 countries said they were willing to work abroad. The “ability to work and live anywhere” was one of the most important factors they identified in terms of making them feel freer in their society. (Continue reading)

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