Es muy importante tener un contacto constante con el inglés fuera de las sesiones que tienes con tu coach de English Coaching Projects. Aquí tienes enlaces a nuestra revista digital 'Weekly English Practice', nuestros videos en YouTube y a recursos que nosotros creemos pueden ser útiles.

¡Usa el inglés fuera de clase! Y si sabes de otros recursos, no dudes en recomendarlos a tu English coach y a tus compañeros de clase.

Leer, escuchar, escribir y hablar. Habilidades esenciales para comunicarse en inglés. Cada semana, English Coaching Projects te enviará nuestra exclusiva revista digital - WEEKLY ENGLISH PRACTICE (WEP) - para que puedas practicar estas habilidades. Incluye un artículo con su audio (5 voces distintas), definiciones del vocabulario y preguntas que estimulan la opinión y el debate. Puedes escribir tus respuestas, y incluso grabarlas, para enviarlas por correo electrónico a tu coach. En la segunda página hay más actividades prácticas e información sobre los eventos que organizamos en English Coaching Projects para que puedas practicar tu inglés en situaciones sociales.

All previous articles

Our FRED Talks

Watch our FRED Talks, presentations done by students and coaches on a variety of fascinating themes!

From Our Channel

Weekly English Practice

WEP 280618 – Summer has arrived!!

Click on the image to download the pdf

WEP280618 Cover

My summer has begun with a relaxing day with the family down in La Rioja says ECP coach Darren Lynch

Before you read the complete article, look at this vocabulary and find it in the text:

unwind: relax

immediate family: mother, father, sister, brother

extended family: uncle, aunt, cousins etc.

founded: establish or originate 

commonplace: customary, a normal/common thing to do

archaic: commonly used in earlier times but rare in the present day

stunning: beautiful

PJs: pyjamas

without blinking an eyelid: not showing any reaction to something, especially to something strange or shocking.

bellies/belly: the stomach 

 

One of my favourite ways to unwind at weekends is to head down to a small village in La Rioja called San Millán de la Cogolla. My wife’s grandmother was from there, so it’s a place where we tend to spend quiet a lot of time and meet up with both immediate family and extended family. 

The Monasteries of Yuso and Suso in San Millán were declared a World Heritage Site in 1997 and would alone justify a visit to the region. Suso, the smaller of the two and which is located higher up in the mountain, was founded by a hermit called Emiliano (later San Millán) between the fifth and sixth centuries. During the Middle Ages it became an important cultural centre where it became commonplace for pilgrims going to Santiago to divert out of their way to visit the place where San Millán lived and was buried. It is also known for the fact that the first known written phrases in Romance – the primitive Spanish language – were found in one of the Monasteries’ manuscripts, along with some archaic words in Basque.

As well as being historically important, both monasteries are aesthetically beautiful and more so for their impressive location at the foot of the Sierra de la Demanda. Nothing is more relaxing than sitting in one of the beer gardens looking straight up the valley to San Lorenzo at the top. The view is truly stunning. 

Of course, where we spend most of our time is at the family home. Writing this, the image I have in my head is the dining room where we all sit around a large table and of course the kitchen where the food is prepared. I suppose this tells its own story. But I also love the street. There are only six houses on the street. Hours go by without a single car driving up or down it. On a fine morning we can sit out in our PJs without anyone blinking an eyelid. We literally spend hours there, chatting and playing with the kids. It’s another world.

For a change, we sometimes go to neighbouring villages, especially in summer, to enjoy the festival activities. This weekend we went to a Romería in a little village called Camprovín. My sister-in-law’s family are from this village and invited us over to walk up to the Ermita de la Virgen del Tajo with them. There, we ate under a tree where the Virgin appeared. The story goes that one day a man from the village went up the mountain to cut wood. Just as he was about to start chopping down a branch from the tree the Virgin appeared and asked him to stop, telling him that if he continued he would cut off her arm. Standing in front of the tree the man tried to catch her but she escaped by creating a hole in the trunk of the tree and all the way up through a branch.

Regarding the food, well there was no shortage and our hosts made sure that we didn’t leave the mountain with our bellies empty. 

Written by ECP coach Darren Lynch.

 

“Let’s chat about that!”

Write your answers in an email and send them to your ECP coach!

  • Chat about how you typically spend your summer holidays and describe your favourite place (or places) to visit.
  • Do you need language skills when you go on holiday?

 

WEP 190418 – Spanish makes me blush

Click on the image to download the pdf

WEP190418 Cover

It’s possible to make a fool of yourself in your mother tongue but its doubly easy when speaking a foreign language

Before you read the complete article, look at this vocabulary and find it in the text:

*blush: go red in the face from embarrassment

utterly: completely, absolutely

ludicrous: absurd

awkward: uncomfortable

wander: walk or move in a leisurely way with no exact direction or purpose

subtleties: a subtle distinction

counter: a table or area on which products can be shown or business transacted

slapped: hit or strike with the palm of the hand 

couldn’t contain themselves: couldn’t stop themselves from laughing

 

There is no doubt that language shapes the way you think and what is completely normal to say in one language seems utterly crazy in another.  I had been living in Vitoria-Gasteiz for about a month when a guy I had met through work spotted me in a restaurant. He came over to me to say hello and then said a phrase which left me not knowing what to say next. “Estoy aquí a ver si como algo”. Translated to English, “I’m here to see if I eat something”. Perfectly normal to say in Spanish but ludicrous to the mind of an English speaker. Nobody walks in to a restaurant, sits down at their table and then decides whether they will eat something or not, do they? Luckily my wife – girlfriend at the time – was there to break the awkward silence. However, she did get a little laugh out of it as it was the first time she had seen me blush.

Two weeks later, I met the same guy at the supermarket. “Estoy aquí a ver si compro algo”. I quickly translated the sentence. I’m here to see if I buy something. Oh no. This time there was nobody to save my blushes. The experience has left me thinking that the Basques just wander into a supermarket in case they decide to buy something and I have to say, me too.

There is also the problem of learning how to say things correctly, understanding double meanings and little subtleties that can mean something totally different to what you want to say. One day when leaving the house to go to the bakery to buy bread, my wife Maria asked me, in English, to buy two cartons of milk. On my way to the shop, I realised I didn’t know how to ask for two cartons of milk in Spanish. Was it “dos leches” or “dos de leche”?

Back then, I couldn’t just google it. I was going to ring Maria to ask her how  to say it but I decided that I couldn’t call Maria every time I needed a word in Spanish. I had to get out there and do it myself. Live the experience. When I got to the bakery, I successfully ordered the bread. Now it was time to ask for the milk. I had a decision to make and I made the wrong one. I decided to ask for “Dos leches, por favor”. The girl behind the counter reached out and jokingly slapped me across the face. The people queuing behind me couldn’t contain themselves. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. 

Making these mistakes is part of the learning process. Believe me, you don’t forget and I got very used to it from a very early stage. During my first weekend in Vitoria, we spent the Saturday morning walking around the medieval market in the old quarter. Having worked up a thirst, I went into a bar with my brother-in-law to buy a round of drinks. Feeling brave, I decided to order the drinks and then I asked the barman, “Puedo pegarte por favor”. He politely replied, “Are you sure you want to do that?” My brother-in-law laughed before telling me that I had just asked the barman if I could hit him. That’s when I learned “Me cobras?”

 

“Let’s chat about that!”

Write your answers in an email and send them to your ECP coach!

  • Do you enjoy speaking English? Why/not?
  • Are you comfortable making strange movements with your mouth to pronounce well?
  • Do you have the same personality when you speak another language? If not, how are you different?
  • Have you had an embarrassing moment when speaking English? What happened?
  • What are your expectations of learners of your language? Are you happy to listen to their foreign accents and their basic errors?

 

WEP 120418 – Three pleasant surprises for a Spaniard living in Britain

Click on the image to download the pdf

WEP120418 Cover

Ex-ECP student Nacho Goicoechea describes 3 things he misses after returning from 7 months living in Brighton

Before you read the article, check you understand this vocabulary:

to miss (something): to feel the absence of something (and feel sad or nostalgic)

workaholic: a person who is addicted to work

to quit: to stop doing an activity

to enrol: to register for a course

mash: crushed vegetables or fruit – in this case potatoes

to bump into: to make accidental contact with somebody (or something)

to withdraw: to take money out of a bank account

cashpoint: a machine that dispenses cash (also: automatic teller machine or ATM)

to dare: to have the courage to do something, to take a risk, to defy or challenge

to rip: to pull something forcibly and/or quickly from somebody (or something)

 

Nacho, an old friend of ECP and the reason we work as interpreters for Baskonia, is a journalist who, according to his own confession, was a workaholic with no appreciable life outside his job. One day, he realised that working six days a week, 12 hours a day was not the way forward and he quit, determined to make a fresh start. 

After taking that dramatic decision, he slept well for the first time in ages and came to the decision that spending some months away from home would help him find himself again. So, on the advice of a good friend (and using his precious savings and the generosity and support of his family), he enrolled on an English course in Brighton (in the south east of England).

From September to March, he recounted this adventure via a weekly connection with ‘Los Madrugadores’ on Radio Gorbea. When he returned a few weeks ago, they asked him a seemingly simple question: “What 3 things do you miss from the UK?” His answers will surprise many people.

At the top of his list, and to the amazement of the Madrugadores, was “the food”. Yes, now that Nacho is back in Spain he misses some of the food he tried, and enjoyed, during his time in England. He cites some simple, classic English dishes such as fish and chips, sausage and mash, Coronation chicken and the wide variety of curries, as examples of tasty food that he’d love to be able to eat back here in Spain. Britain is full of great places where you can eat lovely food, you just need to be a little adventurous and follow the advice of the locals.

The second thing he’ll miss is the inescapable politeness of people that permeates everyday life. From the unobtrusive helpfulness of shop assistants to the constant use of the expressions ‘sorry’, ‘excuse me’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in mundane acts such as bumping into someone in the street or when a person holds a door open for you. It’s something you don’t miss until you’ve experienced it on a daily basis.

Number three on his list was being able to pay for everything with your bank card.  Now back in Spain, he has had to get back into the habit of regularly withdrawing money from the cashpoint. Here, he says, it’s impossible for a group of people to eat in a restaurant together and then all pay for their part of the meal individually with their cards, something that has become standard practice in the UK. 

And he adds an interesting point: nobody dares touch your card, ever. Here, he laughs, they almost ’rip it out of your hand’. Newer, ‘contactless’ cards are beginning to change that he admits, but the advantages of technological change always seem to take longer to become accepted in Spain he laments.

After seven months abroad, Nacho is back home feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world again. Thanks to some ‘amazing’ teachers (Justin and Steve), he has not only improved his English but he has also had “the time of my life”. He has done many things he would never have imagined doing and Brighton will be in his heart forever. Fortune favours the brave, and this brave man misses Coronation chicken!

Written by Rob Hextall, based on an interview with Los Madrugadores

 

“Let’s chat about that!”

Write your answers in an email and send them to your coach!

  • Have you ever studied abroad? If so, where and why?
  • What do you think of Nacho’s decision to quit his job?
  • What do you think of Nacho’s list? Explain your opinions.
  • Name three things you would miss if you lived abroad.
  • Do you think you are polite? And the people around you?

 

All previous articles

Follow Us