Showing posts from December, 2009

A merry Rio Christmas!

I chose the picture above to show how wonderful and (hot!) our Christmas is down here in marvelous Rio. The day has passed but we still have eleven days more according to the twelve days of Christmas.

So wishing everyone all the best and that we make our hearts the manger in which Christ can find rest!



A look at the use of the comma and how it can change the meaning of the sentence:

When Shakira sings:

It's a suicide, waiting

She's saying that the act of waiting is a suicide. But in another line, she chants:

It's a suicide waiting, all the time.

Is the meaning of the two sentences the same?

My top ten words of 2K9

As we are counting down the last days of 2009 or 2K9, some blogs like this one have decided to make a list of the Top Ten Words of the year. Here is my list:

1. Lula - This year consolidated what was already a political phenomenon never before seen in the history of Brazil. Nothing can shake him and his popularity is a case study for many world leaders.

2. Twitter - Definitely made blogging look like a tedious task. Simple but yet so much fun!

3. Obama - The first year is always a trying one - this one was not diferent. But it seems that the right man is in the right place at the right time.

4. H1N1 - After losing its identity (swine flu) the virus seemed to be under control but then scared everyone.

5. King - A word to summarize the muscial and artistic legend that graced us for 50 years with his presence among us mere mortals.

6. Kobe - The coming of age of a potential star who seems to almost float on the same air as MJ, Sir Air himself.

7. Vampires - Always mysterious and enticing, girls…

Formal language learning unncessary

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

Any ideas?

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, Unite…

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.


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 onon

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

Obsessed lyrics by Mariah Carey

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....

Better writing with technology

A new BBC survey shows that children that read and use blogs and other social media tend to write better.

It seems that they essential writing skills get better as they are more exposed to forms of language and get involved at the same time.

According to Jonathan Douglas, of the British National Literacy Trust, the more forms of communication helps students learn the difference between different types of writing and knowing when to use "yours sincerely" instead of "love and kisses" for example.

The results are striking given that most people believe that social media doesn't help students write at all, making them actually lose interest in writing as a whole.

This goes to show how important it is to consider how technology can and should be used in education and learning.

For the full article click here.

Homage to pure Brazilian football magic

I couldn't help but posting this video here.

As an avid lover of football and an aficionado of Brazilian football artistry, I was delighted to watch this video and revive wonderful memories of a team that needed no trophy to win my heart and eternal admiration.

Even those who are not very fond of the game will have to give in to such mastery and finesse.

Sorry might be too late

Still on the Copenhagen Conference, now being referred to as COP 15.

NGOs Greenpeace and Tcktcktck have created photos of current world leaders apologizing for not doing anything about the environment in the year 2020.

The question is: will anyone really be sorry?

Language note:

In the posters, Presidents Obama and Lula and other world leaders are confessing their mea culpa by saying they could have done something but they didn't.

What should they have done before in the recent past?

What should they do now?

Imagine we are in the year 2020. What would have happened if the world leaders had/had not done something about climate change when they had the chance?