Wednesday, 30 July 2014 on-line dictionary

Here's quite a good dictionary - available for free - with some helpful full-sentence translations if you scroll down.
For example:

English-Spanish translation for "what do you want to know"


"what do you want to know" Spanish translation



Similar translations for "what do you want to know" in Spanish



Context sentences for "what do you want to know" in Spanish

These sentences come from external sources and may not be accurate. is not responsible for their content. Read morehere.
do not want to go into detail here but I think you all knowwhat I mean.
No quiero entrar en detalles pero creo que todos saben a qué me refiero.

want to do what is right for society, but I do not know how todo it and I want you to guide me’.
Quiero hacer lo correcto para la sociedad, pero no sé como hacerlo y quiero que ustedes me orienten».
Do you want to know what the European Union did in 2012?
¿Quiere saber qué hizo la Unión Europea en 2012?
do not know what you want to call these measures.
No sé cómo quieren ustedes llamar esas medidas.
Do you want to know what honestly annoys me?
¿Quieren saber qué es lo que me molesta de verdad?
What I want to know is this: how do you propose to build a social Europe by dismantling minimum social standards in Europe?
Lo que importa no es lo que publica la prensa, sino lo que la Comisión ha decidido esta tarde.

what do you want to know - Spanish translation - English-Spanish dictionary

Monday, 28 July 2014

the movies and ... travel, shakespeare, race, violence, inspiration, gender, business...

Postings about films and the world of movies so far:

blockbusters don't have to be stupid

The BBC film critic Mark Kermode has said that big Hollywood action films don't have to 'talk down' to its audience.

Here he is on the latest Planet of the Apes movie:

Mark kermode reviews Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - YouTube

And he really appreciated the intelligent blockbuster 'Inception':

Kermode Uncut: Inception reception - YouTube

Mark Kermode asks for some feedback, giving us another thread:

Summer Blockbusters

Post categories:
Mark Kermode Mark Kermode | 11:10 UK time, Friday, 17 August 2012
Every summer the cinemas are full of big dumb movies - but it wasn't always that way and it doesn't have to be in the future. What are the best and worst summer blockbusters since Jaws?
click on link below to see Mark...
Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.
BBC - Mark Kermode's film blog: Summer Blockbusters

Meanwhile, the Guardian made a similar point:
2012: the year of the dumb blockbuster | Film | The Guardian

Back to Mark Kermode who has a regular column in the Guardian
Mark Kermode | The Guardian

He brought out a book a couple of years ago:

1. The world is round.
2. We are all going to die.
3. No one enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Oh, I know loads of people paid to see POTC3 (as I believe it is known in the industry). And some of them may claim to have enjoyed it. But they didn't. Not really. They just think they did. As a film critic, an important part of my job is explaining to people why they haven't actually enjoyed a movie even if they think they have. In the case of POTC3, the explanation is very simple.
It's called "diminished expectations".
Mark Kermode: How to make an intelligent blockbuster and not alienate people | Books | The Observer by Michael Chanan - Memonic
Mark Kermode: How to make an intelligent blockbuster and not alienate people | Books | The Observer

He is less impressed with most of the blockbusters he reviews on the BBC News channel and the Radio 5 Live show he co-hosts with Simon Mayo. His publisher’s lawyer was worried by his claim in his book that no one in the world enjoyed the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film.
“The lawyer said ‘This is ridiculous’. They only have to find one person who enjoyed it’,” he remembers. Kermode said he’d challenge them to find that person and put them on the witness stand.
“Just because people pay to see it, it doesn’t mean they enjoyed it,” he says of summer blockbusters.
“People have got used to accepting such a rotten and degenerate level of movie-making that they kind of expect it to be like that.”
While Kermode deeply resents the kind of movie turned out by director Michael Bay – responsible for Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys and the Transformers trilogy – he insists he isn’t against blockbusters. He just thinks that since their success is guaranteed anyway, Hollywood could afford to try making some intelligent ones.
“My favourite movie is The Exorcist, which is demonstrably a blockbuster,” he adds.
Mark Kermode: 'Give us some intelligent blockbusters!' (From Bournemouth Echo)

Others have made the same point:

Why Must Blockbusters Be Dumb?

download (1)
I just got home from seeing The Lego Movie. On the surface that might seem like a dumbed down piece of product designed to sell more of the titular building blocks. But surprisingly it’s full of heart, soul and humor. Definitely the blockbuster to beat for 2014.
Unfortunately, well-done blockbusters of that type seem an endangered species in Hollywood. For every Avengers, there are ten Transformers. For every one that might succeed as a one-off you then have to deal with several lesser sequels (Pirates Of The CaribbeanThe Matrix).
But there’s no law that says blockbusters must be dumb or badly written or weakly acted or poorly directed. Indeed the likes of Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Aliens, Face/off, Die Hard, Shrek, Toy Story, Lord Of The Rings, The Lego Movie and so on all prove that there can be popcorn movies with intelligence. But the majority of the ones that are released on a regular basis are the cinematic equivalent of McDonald’s.
A common myth has persisted since the mid 80s or there about that Jaws and Star Wars were the movies that created the blockbuster and reduced the likelihood of Hollywood making intelligent, idiosyncratic or personal films. I’ve always seen that as the myth that it is since good blockbusters never hurt anybody. Plus, in the 80s, there was room for intelligent blockbusters like Raiders, ET, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Aliens and others alongside well-done films outside of the popcorn range. Consider that the 80s gave us a Scorsese masterwork (Raging Bull), final masterpieces by brilliant foreign directors (Kurosawa’s Ran, Bergman’sFanny and Alexander), a sci-fi noir (Blade Runner), a searing Vietnam war drama (Platoon), a frankly adult oriented very erotic dark thriller (Blue Velvet), an effective combination of personal storytelling and social comment (Do The Right Thing), one of the best teen movies ever (Fast Times At Ridgemont High), John Hughes masterworks (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), The Coen Brothers first two films (Blood SimpleRaising Arizona) and debut features also from the likes of Michael Mann, Steven Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch and so on.
Why Must Blockbusters Be Dumb? | lebeau's le Blog

Here's a discussion thread following a basic question:

What makes a smart blockbuster? I hear this expression bandied around every summer when or two movies seemingly try to buck the trend and become a smart of intelligent blockbuster. I remember saying on these forums many years ago that there is no such thing as an intelligent movie. I said it tongue in cheek, but i was looking for the evidence of when a movie is stupid and when a movie is intelligent. When does something stop being dumb and become smart? In the summer climate it's always nice to have a movie that has a bit more going on than just FX and action etc (although i'm more than happy just to get that!). With the big successes of movies like Inception (a movie that surely in a lot of peoples opinions hold the crown for the 'smart' blockbuster) surely that proves that audiences want a well thought out blockbuster, or something that is trying to be a bit more. 

I recall last year a lot of people saying that Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a smart blockbuster. Now i disagree with this (although i loved the movie) as it seemed pretty dopey in places and required some huge leaps of logic. So what does a blockbuster movie have to do to get this kind of label? Was Sherlock Holmes a 'smart' blockbuster? Is Spiderman 2? Is The Avengers a smart movie because it has an intelligent director behind it? What movies qualify for this label and why? I know my own opinions on it but really want to gauge what people think and why certain movies get this label. 

The 'Smart' Blockbuster


linguistic relativism

Looking at more of the ideas explored in Adam Gopnik's piece:
Jay Doubleyou: how much really gets lost in translation?

... there is something called 'linguistic relativism':
that language determines thought
Linguistic relativity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sapir–Whorf hypothesis

Does language shape how we think? Linguistic relativity & linguistic determinism. - YouTube

But there's a different view:

Japanese has a term that covers both green and blue. Russian has separate terms for dark and light blue. Does this mean that Russians perceive these colors differently from Japanese people? Does language control and limit the way we think? 

This short, opinionated book addresses the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which argues that the language we speak shapes the way we perceive the world. Linguist John McWhorter argues that while this idea is mesmerizing, it is plainly wrong. It is language that reflects culture and worldview, not the other way around. The fact that a language has only one word for eat, drink, and smoke doesn't mean its speakers don't process the difference between food and beverage, and those who use the same word for blue and green perceive those two colors just as vividly as others do. 

The Language Hoax: John H. McWhorter - Oxford University Press

Adam Gopnik explores these ideas in his piece - and takes us to George Orwell, who was no fan of how politicians would manipulate language:
Jay Doubleyou: eschew obfuscation

Curiously, McWhorter only briefly dismisses the author who continues to give linguistic relativism its greatest cachet among literate people: George Orwell, whose essay “Politics and the English Language” (1946) made the claim that the debasement of thought cannot be separated from the debasement of language. Criticizing Orwell is as offensive to most humanists as criticizing Aquinas is to Catholics, but the essay gives mere obfuscation a cognitive power it never had. Orwell rightly detested double-talk, cheap euphemism, and deliberate obscurity—the language of “strategic hamlets” and “enhanced interrogation,” and all the other phrases that are used to muddy up meaning. But euphemism is a moral problem, not a cognitive one. When Dick Cheney calls torture “enhanced interrogation,” it doesn’t make us understand torture in a different way; it’s just a means for those who know they’re doing something wrong to find a phrase that doesn’t immediately acknowledge the wrongdoing. If the strong form of linguistic relativism were true, then not having the correct phrase or being forced to use a weird one would change our perception of what’s taking place. There’s no evidence that this happens. Whatever name Cheney’s men gave torture, they knew what it was. A grotesque euphemism is offensive exactly because we recognize perfectly well the mismatch between the word and its referent. It’s an instrument of evasion, like a speeding getaway car, not an instrument of unconsciousness, like a blackjack.

Word Magic - The New Yorker

See also:
Jay Doubleyou: propaganda, public relations and manufacturing consent
Jay Doubleyou: plain guide to english
Jay Doubleyou: turn off your tv

how much really gets lost in translation?

A really interesting article in the New Yorker by Adam Gopnik:
Word Magic - The New Yorker

With a nice little overview here:

Adam Gopnik gets it

Adam Gopnik, "Word Magic", The New Yorker 5/26/2014:
These questions, about the hidden traps of words and phrases, are the subject of what may be the weirdest book the twenty-first century has so far produced: “Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon,” a thirteen-hundred-page volume, originally edited in French by the French philologist Barbara Cassin but now published, by Princeton University Press, in a much altered English edition, overseen by the comp-lit luminaries Emily Apter, Jacques Lezra, and Michael Wood. How weird is it? Let us count the ways. It is in part an anti-English protest, taking arms against the imperializing spread of our era’s, well, lingua franca—which has now been offered in English, so that everyone can understand it. The book’s presupposition is that there are significant, namable, untranslatable differences between tongues, so that, say, “history” in English, histoire in French, and Geschichtein German have very different boundaries that we need to grasp if we are to understand the texts in which the words occur. The editors, propelled by this belief, also believe it to be wrong. In each entry of the Dictionary, the differences are tracked, explained, and made perfectly clear in English, which rather undermines the premise that these terms are untranslatable, except in the dim sense that it sometimes takes a few words in one language to indicate a concept that is more succinctly embodied in one word in another.
The whole article is worth reading — subscribe to read it online, or buy that issue of the magazine. Gopnik also discusses John McWhorter's "The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language" (2014).
And for more of the same, you could check out our "No word for X" archive…
The title of the French version is Vocabulaire européen des philosophies: Dictionnaire des intraduisibles. There's some discussion in the French-language Wikipedia here.
Language Log » Adam Gopnik gets it
Adam Gopnik, Word Magic, The New Yorker: entirely out of context but so good :) | Veooz 360

Some other extracts and ideas from the article:

'spiritual' and 'spirituel' (French)
'know-how' and 'savoir faire'
'longing' and 'dor' (Romanian) and 'Weltschmertz' (German)
'drive' and 'Trieb' (German)
'liberal' (English and French)

'The Making of the English Working Class' (note the '-ing' form) would be translated
into French as 'The Formation of the English Working Class'

“Some pretty good equivalencies are always available. . . . If there were a perfect equivalence from language to language, the result would not be translation; it would be a replica. . . . The constant recourse to the metaphor of loss in translation is finally too easy.” 
Word Magic - The New Yorker

Sunday, 27 July 2014

how to ask indirect or polite questions

It is difficult enough to ask questions in English...

Here are a couple of helpful websites:
English Grammar Asking Questions 1
Questions - English Grammar

Here is Elvis asking a few questions:

Elvis's all-time classic ballad from 1960 (set ingeniously to video from his 1968 'comeback special' - whoever you are, nice job!) - lyrics in English have been added. The song also poses several questions, which are perfect for practicing direct and indirect questions. There is only one indirect statement and many direct questions; can you change the indirect statement to a direct question, and the direct questions to indirect questions or statements? Good luck! 

For a complete worksheet focusing on the Direct/Indirect statements in this song, visit - "Sound and Vision" page.

*I do not own the copyright to this song or video and hope it can be useful for encouraging ESL students to learn and study English with some great music.

Direct-Indirect Questions-Are You Lonesome Tonight? - YouTube

It's even more difficult to ask 'indirect' or 'polite' questions in English...

Here are some good links:
BBC World Service | Learning English | Grammar Challenge
Direct and Indirect Questions in English
How to ask indirect questions | ESOL Nexus - British Council

Friday, 25 July 2014

vocabulary myth 6: "the best vocabulary learners make use of only one or two effective specific vocabulary learning strategies."

The next in our series looking at the research from Keith Folse:
Jay Doubleyou: vocabulary myths: applying second language research to classroom teaching

Myth 6: The best vocabulary learners make use of one or two really good specific vocabulary learning strategies.

In the real world

Folse relates an incident from his own teaching when a student made him realise that often a simplistic word attack strategy can be superior to a more sophisticated and specific approach.

What the research says

Folse discusses numerous studies on the various vocabulary learning strategies. His conclusion is that there is no specific strategy that can be recommended above all others. There are several strategies that may be effective depending on learner and context variables, and there are also strategies that likely to be ineffective.

What you can do

  • No vocabulary strategy or training is a substitute for knowing vocabulary.
  • There is no one strategy or training that is better than another.
  • Some students are totally ignorant of strategy use; others use only a handful.Folse states that this implies teachers should make learners aware of as many strategies as possible. He then outlines three different strategies to teach the words review, valleyand call off.
  • Your students may have strategies that are related to their cultural or educational background. If these startegies are successful, then encourage their use - even if it goes against what you would normally do or how you were taught.
  • Teach learners how to keep a neat and spacious vocabulary notebook
  • Teach learners how to keep a vocabulary notebook in such a way that it actually promotes student retrieval practice.Folse outlines what such a notebook could look like and how it could be used.
Vocabulary Myths: Applying Second Language Research To Classroom Teaching

In other words, there are several ways to build up your vocabulary
- and you should try a few out to see what you are most comfortable with:
Ten Best Vocabulary Learning Tips
Center for Language Education
Vocabulary Strategies - Learning Tasks
Vocabulary Strategies
Effective Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary

learning english with anglo-link

Another fine place to go for language learning on-line:

0:09 / 0:30

Learning English - Anglo-Link Trailer 

579,864 views 11 months ago
Anglo-Link teaches all aspects of the English 
language, from important grammar and 
vocabulary topics to ways of improving your 
fluency, pronunciation and listening skills.

Subscribe to Anglo-Link:

Visit our website: 
Read more
Anglo-Link - YouTube