Category Archives: blog

Listen and Learn

Language learning is a strange thing. We often understand what has been said, but are unable to reproduce the exact words. Listening comprehension is almost always better than oral expression. We need to force ourselves to consciously take note of structures used so we can use them again in our conversations. This is easier said than done.
In class, I often have conversations that go like this:

Teacher: That’s great, where are you going on holiday?
Student: I go to Mauritius
Teacher: Mauritius – cool! I’m jealous. Who are you going with?
Student: I go with my girlfriend
Teacher: And what are you planning to do when you’re there?
Student: I will do some hiking in the mountains and I will dive

The student has understood everything that I asked him, without noticing that I consistently used the present continuous to talk about his next holiday. If he had listened to the structure in my questions, he might have found logical to use the same in his answers. But I’m not sure if we are even able to do this – perhaps it’s too much for our brains to cope with at the same time.

My advice: listen to English as much as you can every day – on the net, download podcasts, listen to songs. You will learn to speak better by assimilating language than by studying grammatical structure. And then – practise, practise, practise!
Translation companies should be used only for complicated translations requiring research such as technical, patent research.

Travaillez votre anglais maintenant!

Vous cherchez à apprendre l’anglais gratuitement -voici quelques idées qui pourraient vous aider:

1. Téléchargez mon livre de grammaire anglaise.

Des explications en anglais faciles à comprendre.

Disponible gratuitement en version PDF.

Vous trouverez d’autres fichiers très utiles à télécharger – conversation, e-mails, jeux…


2. Suivez-moi sur Twitter

Recevez des tweets sur votre téléphone portable. Je partage mes journées ainsi que des astuces pour mieux parler anglais


3. Apprendre comment les mind-maps (cartes mentales)

peuvent vous aider à trouver et retenir du vocabulaire

4. Devenez fan sur Facebook.

Pourquoi? Répondez à mes questions et posez-moi vos questions. Ne ratez pas des mises à jour sur le site.

5. Créez des ‘flashcards’

C’est quoi? lisez, puis commencez. L’anglais ne s’apprend pas tout seul et voici une bonne façon de se mettre au travail.

Don’t learn English like this!

There’s a funny kind of soap opera on France Inter around 6pm, this one is about an English lesson about politics.
Listen to it here:

It’s not all correct:

un (homme) politique : a politician
une politique : a policy – the government’s policy on immigration has been severely criticised
voter : to vote
un député: an MP (member of parliament)
élu (adjective) : elected
conseil de ministres: the cabinet

If I’ve made a mistake with my French let me know

A History of Cocoa

In the ancient world, cocoa only existed in its purest form and was known only for its medicinal value. For many centuries this pure form of cocoa was revered by all and trusted for its beneficial use in cases like fever, heart pain, emaciation, fatigue, kidney and bowel complaints. There is historical evidence that points us to the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations who recorded their use of cocoa for medicinal purposes for over 2000 years.

More recently man has tarnished cocoa’s healthy reputation by adding emulsifying fats, sugars, milk, flavorings and preservatives, and introduced processed cocoa to the world. But this was not true of cocoa in the ancient world.

Cocoa’s Ancient Travelogue

The growing of cocoa plants dates back to 1500 BC when it is believed the Olmec Indians grew the cocoa beans as a domestic crop. At around 250 BC to 900 CE the drinking of an unsweetened cocoa drink was prevalent, but only amongst the elite of Mayan society. It was a sophisticated drink even in those days! When the Mayans migrated to the northern parts of South America, they took their cocoa beans with them. This drink was a big hit with the upper class Aztec Indians and they decided to make it their own, imposing a tax on the beans. The Aztecs were the first to call it “xocalatl”, which means warm or bitter liquid.

The famous explorers Columbus and Hernandez encountered the cocoa beans during their travels. Mayan nobles gifted Prince Philip of Spain with jars of beaten cocoa, pre-mixed and ready-to-drink. But neither Spain, nor Portugal shared this gift with the rest of Europe till a century later. In the 16th century, the Spanish began to add sugar cane juice and vanilla flavoring to produce a sweetened cocoa drink, which was more palatable to the taste buds.

Cocoa began to gain wide popularity as a medicinal drink and for its aphrodisiac value. The first cocoa shop in London was set up in 1657. At this time, too, cocoa was considered a beverage only for the elite of society. It was only in 1730 when the price of cocoa dropped that it became affordable to the common man.

In 1765, chocolate was imported to the new “Colonies” by an Irishman named, John Hanan. The beans were imported from the West Indians into Dorchester, Massachusetts, where the first chocolate mill was built in 1780. The chocolates were named after Dr. James Baker who helped in refining the chocolate for a taste similar to the one that we know today. These were known as Baker’s ® Chocolates.

In 1819, François Louis Callier, opened up the first Swiss chocolate factory. In 1828, Conrad Van Houten developed a process in Amsterdam that gave chocolate a smoother consistency by squeezing out some of the cocoa butter and adding alkaline salts. About twenty years later, Joseph Fry & Son developed a process that put some of the cocoa butter back, added sugar and created a smooth paste that could be molded into the first ever, chocolate bar. In 1861, Richard Cadbury created the first Valentine shaped chocolate box for Valentine’s Day forming an irrevocable bond between chocolate and romance. Since then, chocolate makers have been improving on the texture, taste and variations in chocolate for chocolate lovers all over the world. Back to the Historical Use of Cocoa

It was only as recently as 1998 that research studies on cocoa suggested that the historical use of cocoa may be a very healthy path indeed.. Chocolate lovers were thrilled to know that instead of discouraging people from eating chocolate, doctors and scientists were now encouraging the selective consumption of chocolate for its antioxidant strength and for its benefits to heart health! But not all chocolate is equal in its health-imparting properties. From the assortment of chocolates available today, cocoa in its purest form is the best choice. The best choice would be powdered pure cocoa that can be used to make cocoa beverages. The second best choice would be dark, bitter chocolate. Milk chocolate does not contain the high antioxidant strength of dark, bitter chocolate.


CocoPure is one the best blends of pure cocoa powder combined with two more antioxidant-rich nutrients-Resveratrol and Green Tea extracts. The combination of these three ingredients forms a relaxing beverage, hot or cold. Studies on these three nutrients have been published in prominent journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology. They note the ability of all three nutrients for supporting cardiovascular health, increased blood flow, arterial health, elevated energy levels, digestion, and the immune system.

Now, centuries later, science has finally caught up with the historical use of pure cocoa. The combination of Pure Cocoa, Resveratrol and Green tea is now available in a delicious beverage that brings the health and sophistication back into cocoa drinking! With just 30 calories per serving, CocoPure makes a great drink for those on a diet as well.

New Vitality is a health supplements company. It develops supplement and chocolate tea products which are carefully formulated under the guidance of an elite panel comprised of renowned doctors, nutritionists, chemists and researchers. Whether you want a chocolate teas, pet health supplement, a personal care product or a health care product, New Vitality is a one-stop shop for all needs

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How’s your pronunciation? (funny video)

A funny video that highlights the problem some people have pronouncing the sound “th”. The sailor says “we are sinking” (nous sommes en train de couler) to which the coastguard replies, “what are you thinking about?” (à quoi pensez-vous?)

we are sinking funny commercial