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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Long live Leonard - his 10 years delayed recognition

Leonard CohenA magic song from our Leo, a Canadian icon. Cohen first rose to minor prominence in the late Fifties as a Canadian poet and novelist (he has produced 12 volumes of poetry and prose), turning to songwriting only in his thirties in an attempt to generate some income.
'I can't finish this song': Leonard Cohen (audio)
Listen to the interview where he explains the toil of writing the song.

Listen and take notes on these facts:
On 21 December 2008, cover versions song  got ....
1- which numbers on the UK Charts?  ......,   ........ 
2-  while Cohen's version reached ....... position.

He says:
I was reading a ................. of a movie called 'Watchmen' that  ............ it, 
and the reviewer said '................... have a moratorium
 on 'Hallelujah' in ......... and ...........................?'

Hors d'ouvre: A couple of reviews on the song
“Cohen spent years struggling with his song ‘Hallelujah.’ … He wrote perhaps as many as 80 verses before paring the song down.” — Janet Maslin, taken from a ‘New York Times’ review.

It's just a pop song... Who said they ever had to make sense? To quote someone i can't remember now...
" You see what you want to see...and you hear what you want to hear" Nuff said!
Main course: 
It is all there in one song in particular, an epic, gospel-tinged ballad of desire and rejection, love and sex, God and man, failure and transcendence, the inevitability of death and triumph of the spirit against the greatest odds. (NYTimes

“Hallelujah” was written by Leonard Cohen (Canadian singer-songwriter). The song was released on Leonard’s 1984 album ‘Various Positions’,
his label, CBS Records, refused to release “Various Positions,” not realizing that “Hallelujah” would become one of the most haunting, mutable and oft-performed songs in American musical history. (Telegraph). 
It ended up released by the indie label Passport. (Clashmusic)
Leonard’s version failed to earn due recognition of the momentous song.Despite “Hallelujah” poor initial recognition, after John Cale, whose cover of the song generated enormous popularity. John helped shape it with his own recording in 1991, when Cohen faxed him 15 pages of lyrics.
On 21 December 2008, "Hallelujah" became the first song in 51 years to be numbers 1 and 2 on the UK Charts, while Cohen's version reached 36th position.
Rufus Wainwright (Canadian-American singer and musician) version of the song is featured on the soundtrack to Shrek.

Following his original 1984 studio-album version, Cohen performed the original song on his world tour in 1985, but live performances during his 1988 and 1993 tours almost invariably contained a quite different set of lyrics.

As you may know, many artists performed cover versions (over 300) of the song.

Which cover versions you liked most?

       1- ...................... 2-....................... 3-.....................

“Hallelujah” was played on the accordion at Neil Gaiman’s wedding in Michael Chabon’s apartment.

Digestive schnapps
Read the sources on the previous 4 links and retell your own version of the iconic song.

BONUS track.
enjoy his voice on The sounds of Silence.

Monday, March 23, 2015


    JANUARY - EASTER package.     
 ORAL - you should have taken part in class ( two at least ) :

ORAL EXAM_-PRACTICE (groups of 3 learners)
Prepare a  4-minute speech on  …. 
unit_06.  Forgeries, fakes, -from news, films, etc
unit _07.  An important FEMALE figure.
Unit_08.1.  a BRAND of your (dis)liking
  Unit_08.2  a  Drinking BRAND -spirits better- of your (dis)liking. 
unit _09.  An important  ICON at personal level.

               UNIT 6.   CRIME
WR1. A. My report on Crime and society.
Listen to Write_06. See TEDTALK  on tech-privacy.  Mikko Hypponen on Three Types of Online Attack
                        UNIT 7. HEALTH   
WR_A. My special recovery
WR_B. Report on graph CHOOSE: Proportion people give to charity or Advertising in the UK
Listen to Write_07 See TEDTALK  by Hanna Rosin (first 10 min) on The end of men (and the rise of women)
            UNIT 8.    BRANDS
WR1. A. The importance of not being Earnest
WR1. B. Choose a graph/statistics of your choice
Listen to Write_08.  See TEDTALK  on Creating a BRAND. Sir John Hegarty at the BBH Seminar at Cannes Lions 2011
       UNIT 9.   ICONS
WR1. A. My personal icon 
WR1. B. Report on Film figures -007 Bond series or STAR WARS
Listen to Write_09.   (first 9 minutes) Interview  to D. Sasson (track and script here) PODCAST

EASTER PRACTICE. PREPARE  both WR tasks  given in your GENERALITAT_mostres de les proves C1.
1. Listen to WR. Then  WR_2A or WR_2B. ONE of the  TWO tasks 

At the end of the term we will have covered  units  6-9

LANGUAGE PROJECT_02- on your second reader
REPORT 33 interesting expressions, and explain them. See files in unit 9.
SPOKEN TASK: we will exchange views on one another's novels, Read reviews at goodread/amazon websites in order to get some external ideas.

Prepare a folder with expressions related to quantities YOU have ACTIVATED.
AQuantities - study the following texts:
  • unit 6 files:  The risk Factor - by  B. Bryson
  • unit 7 files: IRELAND. Choc bars for MP
  • unit 8 files: FTimes-Another beer

 B. Study the sample texts given in class:

    Advertising in the UK  //    People with disabilites  //    STAR WARS Box Office

CONTINOUS ASSESSMENT C1- October - Christmas package.

C1 -        First term     unit 1-5
At the end of the term we will have covered  5 units 
LANGUAGE PROJECT_01- DEALING WITH LISTENING - you should have produced one task (2 proposals) :
  UNIT 4.  
TASK: Listen to 22-minute Semipermanent programmes: EXPATS in  SEOUL  (from 1 to 19),
and choose ONE programmes to prepare 10 questions to test your classmates.

ORAL - you should have taken part in two at least (= 4 proposals) :
ORAL EXAM_-PRACTICE (groups of 3 learners)
ORAL EXAM_unit 3. Prepare a  4-minute speech on ONE of these topics:
  2A.  World languages learning. Explore the webpage on 8Belts at
  2B: My experience as a reader  (Using Pullman questionaire as a model)

ORAL EXAM_unit 4. Prepare a  4-minute speech on   Changing food habits in my family.
ORAL EXAM_unit 5. Prepare for Thursday a  4-minute speech on  Cyberwars, leaks and lies. ( wikileaks, Snowden, Intelligence agencies, cloud piracy, etc)

WRITTEN- you should have handed in 8 at least (= 12 proposals) :
4  WR_Class compositions 
Listen_To_Write. Integrating skills.

  UNIT 1.   
WR1. A childhood anecdote (guidance in your workbook p. 7) 14 October
L-WR_00. Listening TWICE >> WRITING. Mementos and scraps of myself  By Elizabeth
L-WR_01. Listen to this talk on X is the unknown: TED talks
  UNIT 2.  
WR2. a  Cover LETTER (guidance in your classbook p. 25) 6th November
L-WR_02. Listen to this talk on X is the unknown. Pay attention at his control of communication with the audience: TED talks:Mathmagic with Arthur Benjamin
  UNIT 3.  
WR_03 is TO WRITE a NEGATIVE REVIEW of our novel BNW, next month.
Listen>WRITE_03.  Listen to our Interview with Matthew Tree in PuntAvui_TV (12th November 2014)
UNIT 4.  
WR_04 is an article for a food magazine -see Two hours of solitude (files in Sip a coffee )
Listen>WRITE_04.  Listen to Hans Rosling on data at the TED link below, and write a text on its content:
  UNIT 5.  
WR_05.   Retrofitting Mataró.  Write a composition on improving the town (any) following the guidlines given. Use the Ellen Dunham TEDtalk to help yr text.
Listen>WRITE_05.  Listen to the Mayor of Bogotá on transforming the city at the TED link below, and write a text on its content:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Languages IN A SUITCASE - Presidents from the far east and English


Not always true... but
This is one of those stories that 'everyone has heard', but I don't recall ever seeing it in the mainstream press or even the gossip papers. Everybody I've asked has said they heard it from a friend or a co-worker.
Another reason I suspect this is an urban legend is because it involves two beliefs very prevalent in Japan these days. The first is that PM Mori is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. The second is that even after years of study, Japanese people can't speak English (and yes, I know that's a flagrant over-simplification, but it's become the national mantra in recent years).

In 2000, Eight Countries Leaders Conference was held a in Okinawa, Japan. 
When the Japanese premier Yoshiro Mori met American president Clinton, he greeted him actively in English: 
Clinton: - How are ya?  
Because of Mori nonstandard pronunciation, he confused the compound vowel [ou] and simple vowel [ue],  he said 
MORI:  - Who are you?   instead of  How are you?  
Clinton was surprised by hearing that and wondered why Mori asked him such a question. He then answered humorously:  
Clinton: -  I am Hillary's husband!  
Mori didn't understand what Clinton said. He thought of the words his teacher told him---after you said how are you?  the other part would answered:  I am fine. Thank you, and you? Then you could say Me too. Then Mori said to Clinton with a full smile: 
MORI:  -  Me too.
Clinton astonished and wondered how could Mori said he was also Hillary's husband. He stopped talking to Mori immediately and turned away from the reporters.


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaking mandarin at APEC 2007.

The speech began in English. Then, breaking into Mandarin, Mr Rudd said: 
  • "Together with my wife and little daughter, I went to work in Beijing in the 1980s.
  • "My wife and I have a particular love for Beijing . We love the feeling of Beijing . We love the people of Beijing , and of course, its culture.
  • "Twenty years later, the little girl that we took to Beijing this April married a young man from the Australian Chinese community.
  • "My son has already been to Shanghai 's Fundan University to study. 
  • I also have a little boy, our youngest, who is in his early years of high school. He is really, really naughty -- he doesn't like doing his homework. But he has already begun his study of Chinese."
Under the gas deal, China 's biggest energy company will buy up to $45 billion of liquefied natural gas from Woodside Petroleum over the 20 years.While Wednesday was George W. Bush Day at APEC, yesterday belonged to President Hu -- and Kevin Rudd.
FOOTNOTE: Rudd resigned after losin' elections - sept 2013


Somehow India's been recognised as the nation of diversity: a macrocosmos in the microcosmos of a NATION.That means, with 325 recognised Indian Languages,

A dozen (or so) alphabets or scripts are used to write these languages: 
Devanagari (meaning "god of the city": Sanskrit writing), Bengali, Arabo-Persian, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Latin and Tibetan.
Whereas Hindi is spoken as a first language by about 20% of Indians, English holds that status with fewer than 2% of the population (Anglo-Indians). 
Other MINORITY languages spoken by more than 25M  people include Bengali (70.5 M), Telugu (69.6 M), Marathi (68 M),Tamil (61.5 M), Urdu (48 M), Gujarati (45.4 M), Kannada (35,4 M), Malayalam (35.3 M), Oriya (31.6 M) and Punjabi (27 M). 
Together, these languages total 636 million speakers, or 64% of India's population.
the problems of overstating the importance of English in India as a force for economic growth. Still, despite its problematic nature as a vestige of colonialism, English remains useful in unifying such a linguistically diverse country.  (SEE NEWS HERE )

  • Government sources said Modi will have written points on which he will build his address. 
  • A big team of officials from Press Information Bureau, along with a team of translators, have been lined up for immediate conversion of the address into a written transcript.
  • Traditionally, the Prime Ministers read out a prepared text while addressing the nation on the Independence Day. However, Modi is known to deliver speeches extempore.

Following is the English rendering of the full speech, delivered in Hindi (FIRST TIME):

       My dear countrymen,   ........

Read more at:
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisted national flag at Red Fort on Friday and delivered an Independence Day speech that was being closely watched for announcements of major reforms, amid growing scepticism about his chances of quickly transforming the struggling economy.
Modi won the biggest mandate in 30 years at national elections in May on promises of creating much-needed jobs, attracting investment, cutting red-tape and cleaning up corrupt government.

But he has yet to deliver on the promised reforms,