Exploring George Michael’s Careless Whisper

George Michael - singing live

The pop star and esteemed singer-songwriter George Michael sadly passed away on Christmas Day. As a tribute to his song-writing talent and philanthropic work we have taken one of his most famous tracks as inspiration for language learners. Careless Whisper contains many interesting phrases that are useful to English language students, so let’s consider this classic song and use George’s clever and evocative lyrics to help EFL learners get to grips with some new vocabulary and expressions. Continue reading

It’s Freezing Out There!

thermometer - cold weather vocabularyHave you been enjoying the cold snap? With the thermometer diving towards zero over the past few weeks, it’s time to think about winter vocabulary. There are many ways to describe a cold day – certainly useful when living in a northern climate! From cool to chilly to freezing, whether the wind is breezy, blustery or gale-force – with or without a downpour – cold weather vocabulary is always handy at this time of year. Read on to explore the English vocabulary you need to talk about the cold weather. Continue reading

Do the Monster Mash This Halloween!

monster mashHalloween is an exciting holiday occasion and the perfect time to learn some new vocabulary – so why not learn with a classic song! Monster Mash is a fun Halloween-themed pop song by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Crypt Kickers, recorded in 1962. It contains lots of spooky vocabulary and is a great way to expand your knowledge of idioms – and enjoy some Halloween-flavoured language fun. This is great listening material for the EFL class. Will you do the Monster Mash?     Continue reading

Raise a Glass to the Haggis – it’s Burns Night!

Burns Night BannerBurns Night is a celebration dedicated to the life and works of the great Scottish poet Robert (Rabbie) Burns. On 25th January, many people will be throwing a Burns Night supper, featuring all the traditional elements of the night. The traditional celebration includes a piper to welcome the guests, speeches, prayers to bring in the food, a special address and toast to the haggis, lively entertainment, a ‘toast to the lassies’ and many other fun elements.

How will you be celebrating Burns Night in the EFL class? Read on to discover more about this fascinating Scottish tradition and how you might use it to create a fun, Scottish-themed EFL lesson.

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The Connection Between Sound, Language and Emotion

Sound and emotionOver 130 years ago, Darwin suggested that speech and melody have the same ancestor. Now two academics have returned to the idea and are currently researching the connection between sound and emotion in relation to language. It seems that the tone of someone’s voice can affect our emotions in the same way that other sounds in the natural world can, such as running water or barking dogs. We can feel calm, anxious, excited or happy and can even have our perceptions altered depending on the tones we hear. Read on to explore the connection between sounds and emotions as we think about what this means for language. Continue reading

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November!

Bonfire Night - Fireworks in LondonRemember, remember, the 5th of November! It’s Bonfire Night on Saturday and people all over the UK will be lighting bonfires, eating toffee apples and setting off fireworks as we all remember the night that Guy Fawkes nearly blew up the Houses of Parliament.

This annual celebration is always an exciting time of year and it gives EFL students a great opportunity to learn some more vocabulary in another seasonal EFL class. Check out our Bonfire Night lesson plans for poems, pronunciation practice, discussions and gap fill exercises all about the Gun Powder Plot – a lesson plan to thrill Guy Fawkes fans! Continue reading

Is the Scottish Accent Dying Out?

scotland-flag1Linguistics experts at Glasgow University and Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University believe that a natural change is happening in the Scottish accent. It seems that the distinctive Scottish rolled ‘R’ is slowly disappearing as young people soften the letter so much that it has become almost inaudible. The rhotic or tremulant consonants have always been a distinctive part of the Scottish accent but are they going to vanish for good? Continue reading

It’s a Scorcher! Hot Weather Vocabulary and Phrases

Thermometer - hot weather vocabularyPhew! Are you enjoying the hottest day of the year? Here in the UK we have been sweltering in the heat as hot air blasted over from Spain and turned the country into a balmy Mediterranean sauna! Temperatures were recorded as reaching 36.7 degrees Celsius at Heathrow and players and spectators were sweltering on centre court at Wimbledon as the mercury tipped the scale at 41 degrees. Join us as we dive into a cool pool of hot weather vocabulary! Continue reading

Election Fever! Voting Vocabulary for Political EFL Lessons

Signpost, political partiesThe excitement of the US presidential election has given us all the perfect excuse to slip some political discussion and voting vocabulary into our EFL lessons. As the campaigns reached fever pitch and the excitement of election night rolled into the next morning, no doubt EFL teachers around the world were frantically planning some election-inspired exercises!

If all the excitement of the US election has left you thirsty for more political chat, read on as we explore some voting vocabulary related to UK politics.

Our article will help you get to grips with UK election terms. Teachers may also like to use our article and following questions as the basis for a comprehension exercise or conversation class.  Continue reading