Sunday, September 10, 2017

Learning English from Interviews

Learning English from interviews can be interesting, especially if you are a fan of the "interviewee" (the person being interviewed), or if the content is something you have a passion for. 

In this pair of interviews, Katherine Schwartzenegger talks about her new children’s book Maverick and Me. She has a passion for animal rescue. This led her to get a rescue dog and write her new book.

Here is a list of vocabulary that can help you understand the videos better. Although the speaking is fast, try to listen for these words and phrases.

1.      Pet adoption – (noun phrase) the process of purchasing a pet and making it your own
2.      Rescue dog – (noun phrase) These dogs that are adopted from a pet shelter rather than from a pet store or breeder. These dogs are usually stray dogs or unwanted dogs that may not live long if they don’t find a home soon. Therefore, the term means they are “rescued” from the pet shelter and get to have a family.
3.      A local rescue (rescue shelter) – the place where rescue dogs can be adopted
4.      To have a love for fostering – to “foster” means to care for a child or a pet as a parent would for his or her own child
5.      Randomly walking down the street – to walk down the street without any goal in mind, just enjoying the walk or window-shopping
6.      We turned her garage into a kennel. – A “kennel” is a home for dogs with beds and food and toys to play with
7.      To develop a close bond with him or her – This phrase means to have a close and intimate personal relationship with someone. You could develop a close bond with children, pets, or adults.

Speaking Activity Option
With a classmate, roleplay an interview with an author. 
Classmate 1 is the interviewer asking questions. 
Classmate 2 is the author who has written a book about something you feel passionate about. 
Follow these question ideas.

1. What is the book about?
2. Why do you have a passion for this?
3. Why do you want to share this passion with the world?

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.”