LANGUAGE Note how the word 'actually' is used to correct somebody in a polite way. 'Actually' is a false friend for French speakers, and does not mean 'actuellement', but rather 'en fait'. See here for more on how to use 'actually'.
COMMENT I will not be buying the Apple Watch. For a start, I don't have an iPhone, an indispensable companion to the watch, and I'm quite happy with my Casio F-91W, which lasts for years on a single battery and never needs charging!
For someone like me who spends a lot of too much time browsing the web and discovers interesting new sites on a daily basis, the problem is keeping track of them all. I've sometimes created web pages listing resources for easy access (see here, for example), but adding new sites is a bit of a pain. Of course, you can always bookmark a web page in your browser, but you soon end up with hundreds of bookmarks and can't find anything.
So, I was excited to come across Pearltrees, which provides a user-friendly, super efficient way to organize all your favourites, and lots more besides. In fact, I was so impressed, I signed up for the premium version almost immediately (most people will be fine with the free version, however). My only regret is not having discovered Pearltrees before, as it's been around since 2009.
One of the best features is the way you can explore other people's collections and add their resources to your own collection. I've discovered loads of really interesting sites in this way. You can also share your own collections. Plus, there are apps for iOS and Android devices. The only thing which is missing is the ability to tag resources with keywords.
I could go on for ages about how wonderful Pearltrees is, but the best thing you can do is sign up and try it out for yourself. In the meantime, why not watch another demo video, or check out my own collection?
COMMENTARY The 'joke' is that having destroyed the palace as being a monument to 'false idols' (using sledgehammers), the Islamic State extremists then proceed to tweet a selfie of themselves standing in front of the ruins to their 'fans'. The irony is, of course, that by doing so, they are setting themselves up as 'false idols'.
ALSO SEE Chappatte has a couple of excellent cartoons on the same topic here and here.
Spring doesn't begin officially until March 20th, but the weather here in Le Havre turned spring-like this weekend with plenty of sun, and temperatures reaching 14°. What's more, the daffodils are out - a definite sign that spring is here! So, to celebrate the arrival of the season of new beginnings, here's a spring-themed crossword I made today. You can download a PDF version here, and find an alternative web-based version here, in case you have problems with the embedded one below.
It's Valentine's Day next Saturday, so here's a crossword on that theme. You can download a PDF version here, and access an alternative online version here, in case you have problems with the one below.
If you're a teacher with an interest in e-learning, you're probably familiar with the word MOOC, which stands for 'Massive Open Online Course'. A couple of years ago MOOCs were being tipped to revolutionize the world of higher education. That hasn't happened yet, but it does look like MOOCs are here to stay.
If you are interested in finding out more about MOOCs while improving your English, here's your chance. The British Council has partnered with Futurelearn to develop its first MOOC, Exploring English: language and culture. It is free for the public, and the next six-week course starts today (2 February). You can sign up here. And you can read an interview with Chris Cavey, lead educator for the MOOC at the British Council, here.
Here's a presentation I did for the new intake of FC (= Continuing Education) students at the EM Normandie, some of whom will be taking the e-learning version of our Master's Degree. Click on the logos and screenshots for more information. You can download the PowerPoint version here.
BACKGROUND Germans are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. German Chancellor Angela Merkel led several events Sunday, including the placing of a rose in one of the few remaining sections of the Wall to commemorate the 138 people killed in Berlin alone as they tried to flee the Soviet-allied state. In a speech at the main memorial site for the Wall, Merkel said that "the fall of the Wall has shown us that dreams can come true." She called the Wall a "symbol of state abuse cast in concrete" that "took millions of people to the limits of what is tolerable." Read more >>
Today The English Blog is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Yes, it's exactly ten years to the day since I wrote that first post! Anyway, to mark the occasion I thought I would organize a little competition. It's very simple. All you have to do is send me an email giving the total number of posts (including this one) there have been on The English Blog since the beginning. The winner will be the reader who gets closest to that figure. In the unlikely event of a tie, the entry received first will be the winner. And the prize? A copy of the brand new Collins English Dictionary ("the largest single-volume English dictionary available"), which retails for £45 (read my review here).
The competition closes at midnight French time on Friday 7th November, so get counting!
The project that has taken up most of my time over the past couple of years (apart from the blogging) is the EM Normandie's iTunes U site, which was officially launched in September 2103. There are now 20 video lessons in the Learn English With Photos collections on iTunes U. You can also view the videos on YouTube, but you won't get the transcripts, glossaries or word puzzles.
I'm pleased to announce that the EM Normandie is now present on iTunes U. I've been working on this project for over two years, so I'm glad it's finally seen the light of day! Although most of the resources are in French, my Learn English With Photos collection and course are proving very popular (nearly 250,000 downloads before the official launch!).