Sunday, February 19, 2017

Learning English from Animation

Watching animation can be a fun way to learn English and increase your knowledge of idiomatic expressions. The language is usually simple enough to understand, and if the content is recent, it often includes idioms that are currently spoken by native speakers.

Here is an episode of Disney’s LEGO Friends for practice. Although this animated series targets older children/young teens, you can still learn a lot from the expressions. Set the CC subtitles to English to read as you watch.

Expressions to listen for (in order):

1.      Didn’t know karate would come in handy on a ranch. – to be useful
2.      Don’t worry; we’ll break ‘em in. – to “break them in” means to get them used to doing something that they couldn’t do before.
3.      I’m getting to it right now. – I’m just starting to do that now.
4.      I’m totally in. – I’ll go with you. (implies I’m excited to do it.)
5.      If you guys aren’t into riding, it’s cool. – to “be into” something means to be interested in it. "It's cool" means that's okay.
6.      I almost got stung by a gazillion bees. – a “gazillion” is more than you can count.
7.      It’s a little buggy. – There are many bugs here.
8.      Maybe you’d like to help with some chores. – “chores” are work around the house or on a farm.
9.      We just wanted to hang out. – to “hang out” means to do something relaxing together.
10.  That’s probably not what you had in mind, is it? – I misunderstood your idea.
11.  We’re real ranch hands! – a “ranch hand” is someone who works on a ranch
12.  OK, I get it. – I understand.
13.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. – This means I wish you good luck with that.
14.  The barn is a different story. – meaning the opposite of the previous adjective (in this context, it means the barn is not okay.)
15.  I’ll start rounding up the animals. – to gather all of the animals that have run away
16.  I got ya. – I caught you.
17.  You mean “like him” like him? – There are two meanings of the question, “Do you like him?” One is to like him as a friend, and the other is to like him as hoping to be his girlfriend. The second one is the meaning here.
18.  You should go for him. – Try to become his girlfriend.
19.  This rising with the chickens is for the birds. – If something is “for the birds”, it is an activity we don’t enjoy doing. "Rising" here means getting up early.
20.  Everyone calls us two peas in a pod. – bosom buddies
21.  What’s going on with you? – What’s wrong?
22.  Negative. – Another expression for just saying “no.”
23.  We are so behind schedule. – to be going much slower than we wanted
24.  This is so not my day. – to be having a very bad day
25.  I get it if you’re still mad at me. – I understand.
26.  You’re the best! – Used to show great appreciation for someone. Often after “Thank you”.
27.  Got that right./ You know it. – Two expressions to mean “Yes, that’s true. We agree completely.”

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Practice Your English Conversation with Taylor Swift

Vogue Magazine recently interviewed Taylor Swift by asking her 73 questions about her life and career. Here are the list of questions and a great way to practice your own speaking in English. 

First, answer the questions from the list that you can also answer. There are some questions that are specific for Taylor to answer (highlighted in red), but you can try to answer the others. After you write or say your answers (by yourself or with a partner), watch the video, step inside the home of Taylor Swift, and listen to her answers. Enjoy!

By the way, I only caught 70 questions on this video. Can you find more? My favorite answer from Taylor Swift was from the question, "If you could teach one subject in school, what would it be?" Listen to the video for her answer. Have fun!

1.      What’s keeping you busy these days?
2.      What’s the most exciting thing in life right now?
3.      What are you completely bored of in life right now?
4.      What is something that recently moved you? (touched your heart)
5.      What do you have going on over here (in this room)?
6.      How many guitars do you own?
7.      What’s the first song you learned to play on the guitar?
8.      What’s the first thing you do when you get an idea for a song?
9.      What’s your song writing process?
10.  What song took you the least amount of time to write?
11.  Which song took you the longest to write?
12.  Is this the room where you keep all your awards?
13.  Who is your favorite teacher?
14.  If you could teach one subject in school, what would it be?
15.  What’s your favorite beverage?
16.  What’s your favorite cocktail?
17.  What’s your favorite food?
18.  What would you order at a drive-thru?
19.  What was the best birthday cake you’ve ever had?
20.  What was the last thing you baked?
21.  What one thing do you need to have in your fridge (refrigerator) at any given time?
22.  What’s one thing you still have from your childhood?
23.  What’s your favorite TV show of all time?
24.  What’s your favorite TV show that’s currently on the air?
25.  What’s your favorite movie?
26.  What was a movie that made you cry your eyes out?
27.  Why do you think you’re the most followed person on Instagram?
28.  Have you ever googled yourself?
29.  What do you think when you google yourself?
30.  If you had a superpower, what would it be?
31.  If you were not a singer, what would you be doing?
32.  Can you show me a really cool or bizarre talent?
33.  What’s something you can’t do?
34.  What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
35.  What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
36.  What’s one habit you wish you could break?
37.  Do you have any nicknames?
38.  What surprises you the most about people?
39.  What makes you laugh no matter what?
40.  What does “creativity” mean to you?
41.  What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
42.  What are your favorite lyrics (words of a song) of all time?
43.  What is one song you wish you had written?
44.  What’s a great “fan moment” that comes to mind?
45.  What is your most memorable career moment so far?
46.  What’s one accomplishment you’re most proud of?
47.  What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?
48.  What’s your spirit animal?
49.  Where should I take my wife for our anniversary?
50.  What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a singer?
51.  Do you have any pre-show rituals?
52.  What’s the most difficult song to perform on stage and why?
53.  How many cats are in this room?
54.  If you were a cat, would you get along with your cats?
55.  How many cat breeds can you name in 10 seconds?
56.  What’s the coolest thing in this room?
57.  If you could raid one woman’s closet, whose would it be?
58.  What’s your favorite fashion trend of all time?
59.  Besides your phone and wallet, what are a couple of must-have purse items?
60.  Can you tell me what you’ll be wearing to this year’s met gala (fashion show)?
61.  What did you want to do with your life at age 5?
62.  What’s the one thing you wish you knew at age 19?
63.  What’s something you will not be doing in 10 years?
64.  What is the most important life lesson for someone to learn?
65.  What can you say in another language?
66.  What did you love the most about the town you grew up in?
67.  What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
68.  What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
69.  What’s one goal you’re determined to achieve in your lifetime?
70.  What is your favorite scented candle?