Saturday, December 12, 2009

Formal language learning unncessary

This post from Steve Kaufman sure provides some food for thought:



Any ideas?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

12-hour or 24-hour clock?





Do we use the 12-hour or the 24-hour clock more?

The answer is the second.

This system is the most commonly used time notation in the world today. Popularly known as military time, astronomical time, railway time or continental time. It is also the international standard notation of time.


It is used in many areas like:
• Medicine - to record all documentation of events occurring during a patient’s hospitalization;
Timetables/schedules – to tell arrival and departure times in railway stations and airports
Astronomy/Space exploration – to record observation times and space launches
Armed forces – to refer to time in general in the army, navy and air force
Computer support - In most countries, computers by default show the time in 24-hour notation.


For example, Windows XP activates the 12-hour notation only if a computer's language and region settings are

- Albanian
- English (only in Australia, Belize, Canada, Caribbean, Jamaica, New Zealand, Philippines, Trinidad, South Africa, United States, and Zimbabwe)
- Greek
- Spanish (only in Mexico and parts of South America)
- Swahili


So how do we say it?


The 24 hour clock is similar to how we say the year in English:

1997 – nineteen ninety-seven
18:30 – eighteen thirty

With on the hour (____:00) times, we usually say:

18:00 – eighteen o’clock or eighteen hundred hours
24:00 – twenty-four o’clock or twenty-four hundred hours

Some more examples:
14:45 – fourteen forty-five
23:05 – twenty-three oh five


So the next time you ask for the time or someone asks for it, remember you can use either the 12-hour system or the 24-hour system.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Binding agreement







One word that has echoed the Copenhagen summit going on now has been "binding".

But what does it mean?

Binding is anything that is executed with proper legal authority, thus the example a "binding contract".

So many leaders are talking about a legally binding climate change agreement and a politically binding one at the same time.

Countries like Russia are pushing for a comprehensive binding agreement, which means that the agreement should include all countries.

If a document is legally binding, violation of the terms implies in penalties for those who break the contract, making the document void.

Which do you think is more binding - a handshake or a signature?

Here is one the chief blogs on the summit.

Pigeon impossible

Taking things on the lighter side...


Here is a great animation video called Pigeon Impossible by Lucas Martell.

No words are needed, but it would be a great task to get learners to come up with their own script.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Obsessed

Singer Mariah Carey's latest song "Obsessed" is great to look at how we talk about our interest in things and people.

The question that goes unanswered throughout the song is

Why (are) you so obsessed with me?

But instead of "obsessed with", we could use the adjectives crazy, mad, keen, addicted, hung up, to name a few.

We just have to be careful of those prepositions:

- obsessed with

- crazy about

- mad about

- keen on

- addicted to


- hung up on on


Wanna see the rest of the lyrics? Check it out.

Obsessed lyrics by Mariah Carey

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sending a message to our leaders


The organizers of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference have created a greetings card for all interested in sending messages to the world leaders.

It is a cheap and practical way of getting people involved and making them find out more about the whole issue.

For English learners around the globe, it is yet another chance to put their writing skills into practice.

For the real card, click here.

All that aside, how effective will this drive be? Will our leaders really listen?

Time will tell....