This blog has been created for you to practice your English abilities through having fun. Here you will find different topics of the English language from some serious articles to jokes and even Karaoke songs. It is perfect for both teachers and students. An intermediate English knowledge will be required


A stressed language?

Try this short exercise

Say this sentence aloud and count how many seconds it takes.

The beautiful Mountain appeared transfixed in the distance.

Time required? Probably about 5 seconds. Now, try speaking this sentence aloud.

He can come on Sundays as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening.

Time required? Probably about 5 seconds.

Wait a minute the first sentence is much shorter than the second sentence!

1.The beautiful Mountain appeared transfixed in the distance
2.He can come on Sundays as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening

You are only partially right!
This simple exercise makes a very important point about how we speak and use English. Namely, English is considered a stressed language while many other languages are considered syllabic. What does that mean? It means that, in English, we give stress to certain words while other words are quickly spoken (some students say eaten!). In other languages, such as French or Italian, each syllable receives equal importance (there is stress, but each syllable has its own length).

Many speakers of syllabic languages don't understand why we quickly speak, or swallow, a number of words in a sentence. In syllabic languages each syllable has equal importance, and therefore equal time is needed. English however, spends more time on specific stressed words while quickly gliding over the other, less important, words.

Let's look at a simple example: the modal verb "can". When we use the positive form of "can" we quickly glide over the can and it is hardly pronounced.

They can come on Friday. (stressed words underlined)

On the other hand, when we use the negative form "can't" we tend to stress the fact that it is the negative form by also stressing "can't".

They can't come on Friday.

As you can see from the above example the sentence, "They can't come on Friday" is longer than "They can come on Friday" because both the modal "can't" and the verb "come" are stressed.

So, what does this mean for my speaking skills?

Well, first of all, you need to understand which words we generally stress and which we do not stress.
Basically, stress words are considered CONTENT WORDS such as

• Nouns e.g. kitchen, Peter

• (most) principal verbs e.g. visit, construct

• Adjectives e.g. beautiful, interesting

• Adverbs e.g. often, carefully

Non-stressed words are considered FUNCTION WORDS such as

• Determiners e.g. the, a, some, a few

• Auxiliary verbs e.g. don't, am, can, were

• Prepositions e.g. before, next to, opposite

• Conjunctions e.g. but, while, as

• Pronouns e.g. they, she, us

Let's return to the beginning example to demonstrate how this affects speech.

The beautiful Mountain appeared transfixed in the distance. (14 syllables)

He can come on Sundays as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening. (22 syllables)

Even though the second sentence is approximately 30% longer than the first, the sentences take the same time to speak. This is because there are 5 stressed words in each sentence. From this example, you can see that you needn't worry about pronouncing every word clearly to be understood (we native speakers certainly don't). You should however, concentrate on pronouncing the stressed words clearly.

Now, do some listening comprehension or go speak to your native English speaking friends and listen to how we concentrate on the stressed words rather than giving importance to each syllable. You will soon find that you can understand and communicate more because you begin to listen for (and use in speaking) stressed words. All those words that you thought you didn't understand are really not crucial for understanding the sense or making yourself understood. Stressed words are the key to excellent pronunciation and understanding of English.

I hope this short introduction to the importance of stress in English will help you to improve your understanding and speaking skills.


Put your mind to work !!! and... a bit of Robbie Williams

Funny riddles are jokes really, but they still give you a chance to exercise your brain. A riddle after all, is just a form of lateral thinking puzzle. It leads you in one direction, but requires that you think in another to figure it out. Laughter, too, is good for the brain. Okay, I am waiting for the research on that, but it will be proven someday.

1. What did the instructor at the school for Kamikaze pilots tell his students?
2. Is it legal for a man to marry his widow's sister in the state of California?
3. How many times can you subtract 5 from 25?
4. What two things can never be eaten for breakfast?
5. What did the fish say when he ran into a concrete wall?
6. Imagine you are in a sinking boat and surrounded by sharks. How do you survive?
7. Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain on Earth?
8.The person who makes it doesn't want it. The person who buys it doesn't use it. The person who uses it doesn't see it. What is it?
9. While some months have just 30 days, others have 31 days. How many months have 28 days?
10. On my way to St. Ives I saw a man with 7 wives. Each wife had 7 sacks. Each sack had 7 cats. Each cat had 7 kittens. Kitten, cats, sacks, wives. How many were going to St. Ives?

Answers to the Funny Riddles

1. Watch this closely. I'm only going to do this once.
2. Probably not, since he's dead.
3. Just once, because after you subtract anything from it, it's not 25 anymore.
4. Lunch and Dinner.
5. "Damn."
6. Just quit imagining!
7. Mount Everest, of course.
8. A coffin.
9. Every month has 28 days.
10. Just one, me (I saw a man...).

Robie Williams

Robert Peter Maximillion Williams was born in Stoke-On-Trent on Wednesday 13th February 1974. From a very early age the young Robbie demonstrated his star qualities, performing 'Summer Nights' from Grease on stage in Spain when only three years old. At school, Robbie's exam scores were less than perfect, perhaps because his mind and ambition was focused on his entertainment career. He was inspired to entertain by his father who was a comedian, and though Robbie's current gift is the ability to make great music, his sense of humour is always evident.

Now let´s enjoy a couple of his songs while we sing along. The first one is
She`s the one...

And the following is called Something stupid. This song was sung by Robie Williams and Nicoll Kidman. But originally sung by Frank Sinatra and his dauhgter.
Come on sing along with them !!!


Let´s practice our pronunciation

Do you like music?
Here´s one of my best English rock bands
Play the song and try to sing along first. Follow the intonation and imitate the pronunciation:

Did you enjoy it? how did you like it?

Well, now A whole challlenge !! try to sing along the karaoke...

Well done !!!

This is another song you may like. It´s John Lennon in Imagine
Come on sing it! you have the lyrics below ...

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Do you want to know what he says in Spanish?

Her we go!!!


imanina que no hay cielo
es facil si lo intentas
no hay infierno
arriba de nosotros solo hay cielo
imagina que toda la gente
vivindo por el hoy.

imagina que no hay ciudades
no es dificil de hacer,
no hay nada por que matar o morir
y no otra religion
imagina que toda la gente
viven su vida en paz.

puedes decir que soy un soñador
pero no soy el unico
espero que un dia te nos unas
y el mundo sera como uno

imagina que no hay posesiones
me pregunto si podras
no necesito la abaricia o el enojo
una hermandad para el hombre
imagina que toda la gente
compartiendo el mundo.

podras decir que soy un soñador
pero no soy el unico
espero algun dia te nos unas
y el mundo sera como uno.

Crazy Language

English is the most widely used language in the history of our planet. One in every 7 humans can speak it. More than half of the world's books and 3 quarters of international mail is in English. Of all the languages,it has the largest vocabulary - perhaps as many as 2 MILLION words. Nonetheless, let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

If teachers taught, why didn't preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.

What are Tongue Twisters?

When most people think of tongue twisters a childhood image comes to mind: Attempting to recite a tricky rhyme or phrase as fast as possible without tripping over the verbal challenges and hurdles lurking within these tongue-tying sentences.

But tongue twisters are not only for light-hearted linguistic fun and games. They serve a practical purpose in practising pronunciation. English tongue twisters may be used by foreign students of English to improve their accent, actors who need to develop a certain accent, and by speech therapists to help those with speech difficulties.

Well, now that you know...try your best with the following video: