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🇫🇷 French animal idioms

Andrew
16th Oct 2018
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In our advanced French class last week we had fun looking at some animal-related idioms. Learning idiomatic expressions in a foreign language poses a series of cumulative challenges: even if we understand the basic vocabulary, sometimes the unfamiliar imagery can make the real meaning unclear. And then once we have fully understood the meaning, we are tempted to show them off, only to be greeted by polite smiles. “Sorry, mon ami, but we wouldn’t usually say it like this…” Knowing the cultural reference points can


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🇬🇧 T for two

Andrew
15th Oct 2018
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How many ways are there to pronounce the letter t? If you learn words one at a time, the pronunciation is easy – but can be very different from natural speed English. Let’s look at this sentence: It takes more than twenty minutes to get across London by train. Depending on the speaker’s accent there are at least three ways of pronouncing the letter /t/. For many people, Londoners and Americans for example, the second /t/ of twenty disappears. The /t/ in train becomes more


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🇩🇪 Falsche Freunde

Andrew
7th Sep 2018
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False friendships between English & German. German and English are related languages with many words in common, but here are a few to be careful of: Bald means soon, not bald Chef means boss, not just in a kitchen Fast means almost Gift means poison


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🇬🇧 Phrasal verb practice

Andrew
6th Sep 2018
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Which phrasal verb fits best – and do you have to change the form? Choose from the following: come round            go off            knock out            make up            pass on            run away (run off)          run over             take off            turn out            work out 1. I’ve … … a joke. Do you want to hear it? 2. He was … … in a rugby match. He was unconscious for a few seconds but then he … … 3. The plane … … from Heathrow on time, but there was


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🇫🇷 Des faux amis

Andrew
3rd Sep 2018
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The false friendships between English and French words. At the end of a meal you might want to say: “I’m full.”  Google translate suggests “Je suis plein”, but saying this to your host will raise eyebrows. If a man says it, it means “I’m drunk.” The feminine version (Je suis pleine) means “I’m pregnant.”   So, you go back to your semi-trusted online dictionary and try it another way. “I’ve had enough” comes back as “J’en ai assez.” This is true, but only in the exasperated sense:


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🇬🇧 Their, there and they’re

Andrew
30th Aug 2018
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What are the differences between their, there and they’re? They’re really not very difficult; when you learn about their differences, there shouldn’t be too many problems. Their is the possessive form of the pronoun they, like the more common possessive forms: my, your, his and her  “They bought their car on eBay.” Their is generally plural, but increasingly it is accepted in place of the singular his or her in some situations: “Someone’s left their book on the table.” There is an adverb which means “in, at or towards that place,” as in “He


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