The OK symbol

The OK symbol

The OK symbol, made by connecting the index finger and thumb in a circle, means that everything is all right - in most of the world. However, in at least three countries, this sign means something completely different. In Japan, it means money; in France, it means something is worthless, while in Brazil it is a really rude gesture which could land you in big trouble. Be careful!     You’ll find lots of titbits concerning the English language and general knowledge about the world in Colorful Media's new edition - 365 Days with English Matters:     Czytaj dalej …
Similiar but not the Same

Similiar but not the Same

  We all know about the differences between American and British English, but what about the disparities found in the various forms of American English?   The most obvious varieties of American English are based solely on geography. In certain cases, Americans in some parts of the country simply speak different from their compatriots who hail from other locations. Nowhere is this divide more prevalent than when northern and southern states are compared. An American from the extreme north of Minnesota won’t be entirely incomprehensible to a southerner from Texas, but different words…Czytaj dalej …
Breakfast ideas  –  peanut-butter coated frozen banana with sprinkles

Breakfast ideas – peanut-butter coated frozen banana with sprinkles

    This breakfast definitely gets the award for the fanciest name! Sprinkles, in case you are wondering, are any topping that is small and numerous, and added using a sprinkling action (basically you drop the small bits of something on the bigger something and call it ‘sprinkles’ to make it sound nice…which it is). They are sometimes chopped nuts and sometimes flakes of chocolate. You can even buy ‘sprinkles’ in the shops – this type are small pieces of sugar, processed with colouring to make them all the bright colours of the rainbow that children can’t get enough of. Whichever sprinkle you choose, to…Czytaj dalej …
What can be set?

What can be set?

A very useful verb in the English language is the verb to set. Here are a few examples of things that all can be set: • a date • guidelines • standards • a fashion • an alarm clock • the table • something on fire • your jaw (when it’s broken) • sail • the scene (for sth)     More tidbits about English available  in English Matters special edition entitled 365 Days with English Matters - 365 mini lekcji na każdy dzień roku.                     …Czytaj dalej …
Christmas Dialogues – Let’s Practice

Christmas Dialogues – Let’s Practice

    Discussing Presents   Peter: Now that we’ve all finished eating, we’d like to welcome you to the gift-giving part of our celebration. Mark: I’ll volunteer to pass out the gifts. Let’s look at this gigantic box. What could be in here? Susan: That one’s from me. It’s actually for you Mark. Merry Christmas! Mark: Aw, thanks Susan. What about this gift? This has to be the most dazzling wrapping paper I’ve ever seen. Peter: I’d also like to know who brought that present here tonight. It outshines all the others under…Czytaj dalej …
White Elephants for Christmas

White Elephants for Christmas

    To galvanise any Christmas gathering, many Americans turn to what is known as a white elephant gift exchange. Here are the basic rules: each person arrives at a party with one wrapped present. Preferably, all the gifts are of similar value. After selecting an order, one person opens up the first gift. Each subsequent person has the option to either unwrap a new gift or steal another person’s present. If your present is stolen, then you can steal another gift or choose to unwrap a new one. Generally speaking, more people…Czytaj dalej …
How to learn effectively

How to learn effectively

  Victory is just around the corner, just remember that in order to get there you need to befriend your own brain and ‘boost’ your neurons in the appropriate way. So, let’s see what can help you to learn words in a foreign language faster. To begin with, study the list below. ·           engaging emotions ·           engaging senses ·           movement ·           engaging different learning styles (auditory, visual and kinaesthetic) ·           creating mind-maps ·           building associations between new words and ones you already know ·           personalisation ·           looking for associations between new words and…Czytaj dalej …
Acronyms

Acronyms

One linguistic tool used every day is acronyms – names or words consisting of abbreviations of the initial letters or syllables of a phrase. The top 50 acronyms include short forms used for popular film genres. Rom-coms (romantic comedies) make you LOL (Laugh out loud) and sci-fi (science fiction) incorporates many hi-tech SFX (Special Effects). Some countries and organisations also use acronyms, e.g. the USA, EU, UN (United Nations), UK or GB and NATO. The leaders of the G8 or G20 nations are VIPs who meet to discuss global issues like CO2 emissions.…Czytaj dalej …
How Do Americans Celebrate Death?

How Do Americans Celebrate Death?

For many Americans, 31 October is the most important day in the calendar. For children and adults alike, Halloween is a time when society’s constricting norms don’t apply and you’re free to dress, eat and act as you please. Americans get to celebrate without being tethered down by the family obligations or religious solemnity that mark many other holidays. This modern interpretation of Halloween, though, is nothing like the Halloween of centuries ago. American pop culture is chock-full of references to Halloween, but the day’s roots can be traced across the pond, back…Czytaj dalej …
So Long Summer?

So Long Summer?

Here at English Matters, we always like to keep you on your toes. So here’s a question for all our readers out there - just where has the summer gone? Less than two weeks ago I was walking around in my klapki and T-shirt, yet here we are and I’m already dusting down my jackets and wondering when I’m going to have to buy a new pair of gloves. I know we had a decent summer, but is the winter creeping up on us that quickly? I’m not quite ready for it! Are…Czytaj dalej …