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Sunday, 3 May 2020

An island in lockdown 
(Level: B2 to C1 / Upper-Intermediate / ***) 


Isle of Mull
Photo credit: lovefromscotland.co.uk

You are going to watch a BBC News report.


Before watching:

The Isle of Mull has been in lockdown now for a few weeks and closed to visitors. 
Although the residents are heavily reliant on tourism, they are confident that they can come out of this crisis stronger. 

Map credit: Macquarie University / mq.edu.au

Vocabulary
to fend for oneself: to take care of oneself without help from anyone else   
                                                      se débrouiller tout seul 
I feel a bit of a fraud = I feel a bit guilty  
to-ing and fro-ing:  movements to and fro...   allées et venues 
It was a bit of a slap: it was rather unpleasant   une douche froide / une claque
to care-take: to take care of / to manage   gérer; s'occuper de 
spooky:  ghostly / weird         lugubre / sinistre   
kind of: sort of                      pour ainsi dire / en quelque sorte 
       It's kind of / sort of spooky
       He sort of / kind of managed to stand up ...  
to line up: to queue          faire la file 
to batten down the hatches: to prepare for trouble    (lit.) fermer les portes à double tour


A hatch on the ground
Photo credit: dreamstime.com



While watching:


Answer the following questions:

1. How much do you get to know about the two interviewees in the report?
- Wayne Hamilton
-Andrew Ryan

2. They are both particularly optimistic in spite of the situation they are in.  Explain their viewpoint! 





You can also watch the report (with subtitles) on the BBC news website by clicking HERE







When you are finished, you can check your answers.

1.
Wayne Hamilton
-Il est le gardien de la petite île voisine (Inch Kenneth Island).
-Il vit seul, isolé. Il ne se sent pas vraiment concerné par la crise du coronavirus. En fait, il ne subit pas le matraquage incessant autour de la question puisqu'il n'est pas connecté, il n'a pas la télévision.
-C'est toujours la débrouille en ce qui le concerne. 
-Il s'estime chanceux d'être là où il est. 
-Pour lui, cette situation est similaire à une tempête ou quand, au coeur de l'hiver, il doit se calfeutrer et attendre que ça passe. 
-...

Andrew Ryan
-Il est le propriétaire d'un hôtel local, désormais sans touristes, mais avec quinze employés qui y résident. 
-Il estime qu'il est responsable des membres de son personnel; ils sont comme chez eux dans son hôtel. 
-...

2.
Pour Wayne Hamilton:
-Des amitiés se créent grâce à cette situation. Des liens se tissent entre les gens. Ce qui ne se serait sans doute jamais produit "en temps normal". 
-C'est un mauvais moment à passer. C'est comme une tempête: on se met à l'abri et on attend de meilleurs jours. Tout va revenir à la normale.

Pour Andrew Ryan:
-La communauté de l'île va en ressortir plus forte, plus soudée que jamais.
-Les gens se parlent davantage; ils se disent bonjour, demandent comment ils se portent, disent à autrui de prendre soin de soi etc. 
C'est en effet ce qu'il a remarqué en faisant la file avant de pouvoir entrer dans le magasin du village: il a échangé des mots avec des gens tandis qu'il ne leur aurait jamais adressé la parole auparavant! 




Song 15: Babooshka (Kate Bush)
(Level: B2 / Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate / ***)

Photo credit: lesinrocks.com 


Before listening / watching:

The following notes could be useful:

Kate (Catherine) Bush  (born on 30 July 1958) is an English singer-songwriter known for her expressive three-octave voice and eclectic and meticulous musical style.
Being so talented, she even caught at the age of 16 the attention of Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour who helped her find a contract with EMI. 
She debuted in 1978 with the surprise hit Wuthering Heights which was immediately number one in the British music charts for four weeks and became an international hit (she was the first woman ever to reach Number 1 in the UK with a self-written song!).
She had several Number 1 hits and albums.
Between each album, she was used to dropping out of the public eye for many years simply because she was trying to devote her time to her family, away from the world of show business.
Her much-appraised eighth studio album, Aerial, was released on double CD  in November 2005 after a 12-year break.
She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to music.


Babooshka is a song by Kate Bush, taken from her album Never for Ever. Released as a single on June 23, 1980 it spent 10 weeks in the UK chart, peaking at number five.

If you want to know more about Kate Bush (discography; her news; watching music videos...), get to her OFFICIAL SITE


Vocabulary    
scented letters: letters with a perfumed smell       lettres parfumées
uncanny: strange; mysterious          troublant 
she freezed on him = she froze on him.  (Probably) She didn't want to get any further after meeting him / She refused to have sex


While listening / watching:



Watch the official music video by clicking HERE 


1. What is the topic of the song?  How do you know?
(Here is a clue: it’s the chronicle of a wife... ).
If you can’t find the answer, start question 2!


2. Listen to the song and find the missing words in the gaps!


She wanted to test her ........................ (1).
She knew exactly what to do:
A ....................... (2) to fool him.
She couldnt have made a worse move.

She sent him scented ...................... (3),
And he received them with a strange ...................... (4).
Just like his wife
But how she was before the ..................... (5),
And how she was before the years flew by,
And how she was when she was ...................(6).
She signed the letter

All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!
All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!


She wanted to take it further,
So she ..................... (7) a place to go,
To see if he
Would fall for her incognito.
And when he laid eyes on her,
He got the .................... (8) they had met before.
Uncanny how she
..................... (9) him of his little lady,
Capacity to give him all he ................ (10),
Just like his wife before she freezed on him,
Just like his wife when she was beautiful.
He shouted out, I’m

All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!
All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!
All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!




In case you did not answer question 1 initially, can you now?









When you are finished, you can check your answers.

1.

Il s’agit de la chronique d’une femme qui veut tester la loyauté de son mari en se faisant passer pour une belle jeune femme (juste comme elle-même l’avait été avant les larmes, avant que les années ne s’écoulent, avant qu’elle ne se raidisse face à lui…) et en lui envoyant des lettres parfumées sous le pseudonyme de  Babooshka.

Elle finit par convenir d’un rendez-vous avec lui ; il s’y rend et il est étonné de voir à quel point cette fille lui fait penser à sa femme. Elle est exactement comme sa femme du temps qu’elle était belle.

Babooshka: grand-mère en russe - plutôt ironique! 



2.


She wanted to test her  husband  (1).
She knew exactly what to do:
A pseudonym (2) to fool him.
She couldnt have made a worse move.

She sent him scented letters (3),
And he received them with a strange delight (4).
Just like his wife
But how she was before the tears (5),
And how she was before the years flew by,
And how she was when she was beautiful (6).
She signed the letter

All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!
All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!


She wanted to take it further,
So she  arranged (7) a place to go,
To see if he
Would fall for her incognito.
And when he laid eyes on her,
He got the feeling (8) they had met before.
Uncanny how she
reminds (9) him of his little lady,
Capacity to give him all he needs  (10),
Just like his wife before she freezed on him,
Just like his wife when she was beautiful.
He shouted out, I’m

All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!
All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!
All yours,
Babooshka, babooshka, babooshka-ya-ya!






An ideal place to self-isolate
(Level: B2 to C1 / Upper-Intermediate / ***)


Photo credit: thesun.co.uk



You are going to watch a BBC report focusing on a special place.

Inventor Colin Furze had indeed an underground bunker built in his garden that he is now using as a place to self-isolate during the coronavirus lockdown. 


Before watching

The following notes and words could be useful.

Colin Furze is a British YouTube personality, inventor and filmmaker from Stamford, Lincolnshire, England. 


lincolnshire, England
Map credit: en.ikipedia.org

He has his own internet site if you want to know more about him and his inventions. Click HERE

Vocabulary
man cave:a room or other part of a home used by a man as a place to relax and pursue hobbies away from the rest of the family   antre; espace personnel (d'un père de famille par exemple...)
warmth: heat      chaleur   
the vents: small openings allowing air to enter     trous d'aération  
dingy:  gloomy; miserable       miteux; minable  
concrete: strong building material      béton 
damp: humid 
unrest: turmoil; disturbed situation       trouble; instabilité; malaise 
to sort out: to solve         régler (un problème) / arranger 
bits and bobs: objects of different kinds       babioles 
kind of: sort of    en quelque sorte    
            e.g. He kind of / sort of realised he was being laughed at. 




 While watching


Answer the following questions:

1. Colin says his place is a man cave: what does he mean?
2. Is it a perfect place if things really went wrong outside (like a war)? 




You can also watch the video on BBC World Service (You Tube.com) by clicking HERE






When you are finished, you can check your answers. 


1.
L'endroit rêvé pour se retirer du reste de la famille. Il a tout dans son "antre": une TV, une connexion internet, de la chaleur, aucun risque d'être dérangé (pas de visites impromptues / no accidental visitors), ce qui est pratique surtout dans le contexte actuel dû au coronavirus... 

2.
Même si on y est mieux en cas de guerre que dans son salon, des aménagements s'avèrent nécessaires.

-Il subsiste un risque à cause des aérations.
-Il faudrait arranger les sanitaires et trouver un moyen de produire soi-même son électricité.
...



Thursday, 23 April 2020

Song 14: You worry me (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats)
(Level: B2 / Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate / ***) 


Photo credit: rollingstone.com


Before listening / watching:

The following notes could be useful:

Nathaniel (David) Rateliff (born on 7 October 1978) is an American folk, rhythm and blues singer and songwriter based in Denver. 

If you are interested, you can go to N. Rateliff's official site to get more information.  Click HERE!

Vocabulary:
You gonna (very informal) = You're going to
ain't no water (very informal) = There isn't any water
to put... out: to extinguish     éteindre   (fire...) 
to get carried away: to lose (self-)control    s'emporter 
a getaway: an escape or quick departure (e.g. after committing a crime) or a short holiday       fuite    /  escapade
to be on the mend: to get better after an illness / an accident    se sentir mieux / être en voie de guérison



While listening / watching:


Watch the official music video by clicking HERE


If you want the lyrics, here is the lyric video: click HERE

No questions this time!  Enjoy the music! 

Why wouldn't you sing it along with your family or your friends? 




Chernobyl - Fire hits a post-nuclear wilderness
(Level:  B1 to B2 / Intermediate / **)


Photo credit: cnn.com


Before watching:

You are going to watch a BBC report focusing on a fire which had been raging until recently in large parts of the forest inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine...   A fact most people tended to ignore because of the coronavirus crisis...
Fortunately, it didn't reach the power plant. Yet, the conservation zone, which is home to rare animal and plant species, has been partially destroyed.


Map credit: bbc.co.uk

Vocabulary
the nuclear fallout: particles resulting from a nuclear explosion and descending onto the earth     retombées radioactives 
the red data book: a list of endangered species        livre rouge des espèces menacées 
ungulates: mammals with hooves (enlarged toenails)    ongulés  

a moose
Picture credit: ukrinform.fr 

a roe deer
Picture credit: en.wikipedia.org

A Przewalski horse
Picture credit: fr.wikipedia.org




While watching:

Answer the following questions:

1. What makes the exclusion zone in Ukraine a unique area?

2. What impact will the fire have had on the area?




You can also watch the report on the BBC site by clicking HERE







When you are finished, you can check your answers: 


1.
La zone d'exclusion autour de la centrale de Tchernobyl, désertée par l'homme depuis plus de 30 ans, est devenue un lieu où la nature a repris pleinement ses droits, avec une faune et une flore abondante. On y trouve, entre autres, toutes sortes de grands mammifères ongulés (dont des espèces rares) comme des chevaux de Przewalski, des élans, des chevreuils... 

2.
L'incendie aura un impact néfaste dans la région: 
- moins de sources alimentaires pour la faune, pour les grands mammifères;
- des plantes rares auront disparu... 
- on ignore en quoi les nouvelles pousses pourraient être différentes;
- la forêt détruite va mettre dix ans pour se régénérer.
- ... 



Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Song 13: Could you be loved? (Bob Marley)
(Level: B1 to B2 / Intermediate / **)


Bob Marley
Photo credit: rtbf.be 

Before listening:


The following notes could be useful:


Bob Marley: born Robert Nesta Marley (Feb. 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981), he was a Jamaican singer, guitarist and songwriter  He is the most widely known writer and performer of Reggae music. Much of his music dealt with the struggles of the impoverished and/or powerless. Bob Marley is also renowned for the way in which he spread faith through his music.
He recorded  his first two singles in 1962 and Uprising  was his final studio album released in 1980.
In July 1977, he was found to have a wound on his right big toe, which he thought was from a football injury but the wound would not completely heal, and his toenail later fell off during a football game. It was then that the correct diagnosis was made. Marley actually had a form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, which grew under his toenail.
But he refused any treatment (or any amputation) because of his religious beliefs that the body must be whole and also because of the impact of an operation on his career.
His cancer spread to his brain, lungs and stomach. During the Uprising Tour in 1980, he collapsed while jogging in NYC’s Central Park.

He wanted to spend his final days in Jamaica but became too ill on his flight from Germany where he had tried to find medical help and comfort and died in Miama on May 11, 1980.

If you are interested, you can find more details about Bob Marley on his official site


Vocabulary
ya = you
to stumble: trébucher
you ain't gonna... (very informal) = you aren't going to...



While listening:

This is no real music video but at least you can read the lyrics as you are listening to the song. 

No question this time!  Enjoy, and sing along with your friends or family! 


Click HERE ! 



If you are interested, here is a LIVE VERSION !








Grammar: the Simple Past - pronunciation of final -ED   + general use 
(Level: A2 to B1  / Pre-intermediate  / **) 


Final -ED is confusing for learners of English. So here is a great lesson on how to pronounce -ED correctly with the regular verbs (Simple Past and Past Participle). 

You can find a more complete lesson about the Simple Past (regular and irregular verbs), its use, the pronunciation and some exercises on this blog: click HERE


Now, watch Leila from Love English with Leila and Sabrah teaching how to pronounce properly and do the test at the end.

Note: there is a transcription mistake of one phoneme in the test: the pronunciation of "helped" is  /helpt/ and not /helpd/.










You can also watch the video (and other lessons) by clicking HERE