Tuesday, 20 June 2017


While learning to speak English,  pronunciation is probably one of the biggest frustrations we may experience.
But here are two lovely young ladies ready to help us in our journey through awkward combinations of letters and sounds.

Monday, 9 January 2017


When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: a woman of faith? a scholar, a mom, a sister? or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media — and to choose empathy over prejudice. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016


A context of fear

The Salem Girls in The Crucible (The Old Vic, London, 2014)
Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible in the 1950s,  in a climate of fear, during the Cold War, when communist infiltration of US culture was considered a pathology, a virus that could kill their politics and their nation.  

Writers and intellectuals gravitated to communism during the 1930s Depression, either hoping its precepts could lead to social reform or as a way to protest America’s isolationism, specifically the nation’s neutrality in the Spanish War.  In the 50s, in a period of right-wing paranoia, they became Senator McCarthy’s scapegoats. They were considered Un-American. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) turned its attention to writers and actors who were  supposedly seen as a threat to the republic. Those who in the 1930s had embraced radical politics were now to be made to pay.  

In January 1952 Elia Kazan, Miller’s friend and film director, was summoned by the Committee. Although at first he refused to name names, he changed his mind, confessing what he had done and said to Miller,  who then left Kazan’s house and drove directly to Salem, Massachusetts to research what would become The Crucible.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016


Today the Internet provides people with tons of useful and interesting information. There is no need to go to the library or pay enormous sums of money in order to read desired book or article. It is possible to find great amounts of information in the vastness of the Internet. Thus, it is extremely important for modern people to read more information and apply useful reading techniques that can improve person’s reading skills. Here are some tips that can be beneficial for readers:

Monday, 19 December 2016


Task 1. Copy and translate what the little girl says
Task 2. Why is the child so sad? What is she talking about? 

Saturday, 17 December 2016


In October of 1949, a few months after the release of George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, he received a fascinating letter from fellow author Aldous Huxley — a man who, 17 years previous, had seen his own nightmarish vision of society published, in the form of Brave New World. What begins as a letter of praise soon becomes a brief comparison of the two novels, and an explanation as to why Huxley believes his own, earlier work to be a more realistic prediction.

Huxley's letter to Orwell

21 October, 1949

Dear Mr. Orwell,

It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Thursday, 15 December 2016


Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD is part of an unforgettable trilogy of masterpieces which are strictly connected each to the other. The other two novels are 1984 by George Orwell and Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451. They are all science fiction dystopian novels, not my favourite genre,  but the three of them left an indelible mark inside me. There is science fiction and science fiction. These three novels are amazingly interesting and frighteningly premonitory.

They all imagine life in a dystopian society, under totalitarian regimes, in which human beings are dehumanized and totally deprived of their freedom.

In Brave New World , set in the future year A. F . 632 ( 632 years after the advent of the American magnate Henry Ford), the stability of the World State is maintained through a combination of biological engineering and exhaustive conditioning. The citizens have not been born but "hatched" to fill their predestined social roles. In infancy the virtues of passive obedience, material consumption and mindless promiscuity are inculcated upon them by means of hypnopedia or sleep - teaching. In later life the citizens of the World State are given free handouts of soma , the Government  - approved dope. The World State's motto is: "Community, Identity, Stability". The World State is divided into ten zones, each run by a Resident World Controller. "His fordshisp", Mustapha Mond, the controller of the Western European Zone centred in London, heads a hierarchical, factory-like concern with a mass of Epsilon- Minus Semi - Moron bred for menial labour at the base and with castes of increasing ability ranked above them. Immediately below Mond there are a caste of Alpha- Plus intellectuals. Bernard Marx and Helmhotz Watson are members of this elite, but both have developed subversive tendencies, taking delight in such deviant pleasures as being alone and abstaining from sex.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


“If they banished you from your country, where would you go? Would you like to find a nation as barbarous as yours who would spurn you like dogs?”
This does not come from Amnesty International, nor from Unhcr. This is William Shakespeare 400 years ago, in a passage from the historical play “The Book of Thomas Moore”. The fragment has been digitalized by the British Library and is one of the few manuscripts we have in Shakespeare’s own hand. It is part of a play written by different authors based on the life of Henry VIII’s chancellor, Sir Thomas More . The play dates presumably back to around 1600  but it was censored and never staged for fear of further disorders in London due to the theme it dealt with.  
Sir Thomas More (1478 - 1535)
It is not only a historical literary important discovery, but also a socially important message which comes right in a time when those words are relevant and painful. The tragedy of the migrants and refugees is an open wound in nowadays Europe, characterized by the fear of the foreigners and the misery of the newcomers.
 In the play,  set in 1517, Thomas More as the Sheriff of London, speaks to the crowd enraged against the migrants, merchants coming from the North of Italy, whom they accused of wanting to steal their jobs and money.  Doesn’t this sound very familiar and contemporary? Haven’t you heard this refrain in the media?

Friday, 14 October 2016


By the early 1590s, we know for sure that Shakespeare had become an actor. He was working very closely with a group of actors. They moved between a number of different companies, but it  rapidly became apparent that the leading figure among them was Richard Burbage. He would go on to become Shakespeare's closest friend and the man for whom he wrote all the great parts (Romeo, King Lear, Richatd III)

Shakespeare and those actors, such as Burbage, were just establishing themselves as some of the leading players in the early 1590s when disaster struck. There was a major outbreak of plague, and the theatres had to be closed. The point of that was that public places with large crowds in close proximity to each other were very dangerous from the point of view of the spread of infection. So,  whenever a bad outbreak of plague hit London, immediately the theatres were closed. That was a problem for the actors. What they had to do was get out on the road, tour in the provinces, and the takings were always much poorer there than they were in the city with its huge population.
It seems, though, that in 1593 and 94 while various acting companies were out in the country, Shakespeare didn't go with them. It would seem that just as he was establishing himself as a playwright, he decided on an alternative, or an additional course, for his writing. He decided to write poetry.

Sunday, 21 August 2016


The Olympic Games 2016 in Rio, Brazil, end today. What about celebrating the many emotions and athletic achievements we have witnessed with a compelling story from the past connected to the 1968 Games in Mexico?

The picture above is  perhaps the most iconic sports photograph ever taken. Captured at the medal ceremony for the men's 200 meters at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, U.S. sprinter Tommie Smith stands defiantly, head bowed, his black-gloved fist thrust into the thin air. Behind him fellow American John Carlos joins with his own Black Power salute, an act of defiance aimed at highlighting the segregation and racism burning back in their homeland. It was an act that scandalized the Olympics. Smith and Carlos were sent home in disgrace and banned from the Olympics for life. But they were treated as returning heroes by the black community for sacrificing their personal glory for the cause. History, too, has been kind to them. Yet few know that the man standing in front of both of them, the Australian sprinter Peter Norman who shocked everyone by powering past Carlos and winning the silver medal, played his own, crucial role in sporting history.  (from The third man: The forgotten Black Power hero

Read his story in this article from CNN and complete the tasks in the worksheet

Tuesday, 9 August 2016


1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

“Harry: This book belongs to Harry Potter. 
Ron: Shared by Ron Weasley, because his fell apart. 

Hermione: Why don't you buy a new one then? 

Ron: Write on your own book, Hermione. 

Hermione: You bought all those dungbombs on Saturday. You could have bought a new book instead. 

Ron: Dungbombs rule.”

This movie will come out in November 2016. It is based on the adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. The screenplay has been written by J. K. Rowling herself. 

Within the Harry Potter universe, Newt Scamander's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" was first published in 1927 and became a massive bestseller, as well as an approved textbook at Hogwarts. By the mid-1990s, when the Harry Potter series is set, it was in its 52nd edition. Scamander also has the distinct honour to have his own Chocolate Frog Card.