Tag Archives: BBC

Normal service will resume shortly

This is going to be the last blog post for a while.

However, that doesn’t mean OISE Bristol is changing and you can read all about our courses for 2014 here (and 2013 if you wish to study this winter).

Also, please remember you can always contact the school if you have any questions or suggestions for future blog topics. We would love to hear from you. Plus, if you want to challenge yourself and test your English, you can try one of our quizzes.

Check back regularly to see any new developments and click on the picture below to listen to a song in English. Some see it as optimistic and others as pessimistic – doesn’t that sum people up quite well?

See you soon!


(photo credit the BBC test card)

Is this ‘icon’ wrong?

For many people gaming is a big part of their lives. It might be playing tennis on Wii, completing a level of Candy Crush or a having a quick go at Angry Birds while waiting for the bus.

The games are world-famous, with millions of users (and millions of pounds invested into their development and marketing).

Grand Theft Auto is one such example and opinion over it is split. It is an extremely violent, frequently sexist game where the main activities are criminal. However, it is also recognised as being incredibly well made, with amazing graphics, great music and, like it or not, huge appeal.

Click on the image below to read a BBC article and try to answer these questions.

1. What is Lifeinvader?

2. How many copies of GTA have been sold since 1997?

3. Which country banned it (but has lifted the ban)?

4. Should these games be allowed or are they genuinely ‘bad’ for society?

5. Why is Elvis Presley mentioned?


Ice Ice Baby

Northern Norway can be a cold place and for centuries a region that remained largely disconnected from much of the world. It had its own culture, customs and language.

However, in the modern world, nowhere now is remote and as English spreads, older languages are fighting to survive.

Click on the image below to listen to Nils Rune Utsi, a rapper from Maze, talking about his efforts to keep his language alive and relevant for future generations.

ice ice baby


Face value?

Do you carry cash or cards mainly? Perhaps both?

I find that I have to have money, because you can never be 100% sure that every business accepts card payments (or the machine is out-of-order) and it is always awkward for those small purchases like a cup of coffee.

What about online purchases – how secure do you feel giving credit card details on websites?

Click on the image below to watch a short BBC video clip on a new development from PayPal where your face can be enough to get you a latte. Would you use it?

Face value

Ahoy hoy!

I don’t like the phone very much and I really have no time at all for landline ones.

Most people who ring are trying to sell me something and phone calls are intrusive in a way that e-mails, for example, never are.

A telephone call stops you doing whatever you are doing, but the e-mail, text or Facebook message says ‘get back to me when you can.’ A phone call doesn’t maintain a record to refer back to, doesn’t allow time for contemplation and it can still be relatively expensive, too.

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable or are we witnessing the slow death of the telephone?

Click on the image below to read an article from the BBC and find the answers to these questions:

How many names were in the first British telephone directory?

How many phone calls were received on a daily basis in 1927?

What should you keep out of the mouthpiece when speaking?

Ahoy hoy

Learning the Lingo

Many thanks to Helen Herrera-Folley for today’s guest post -

Learning a new language can be a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons, develop a skill, meet interesting people and develop an insight into a new culture and even live in a new country.For some, learning a new language is a challenge, but it is acquired very quickly and  then used to progress, to study, gain a better job and enjoy the rewards. For others the process is much longer, more difficult.There may be other factors involved, such as a lack of native speakers to practise with, isolation, personal difficulties, fear and worries. The fact is that everyone’s experience of learning a new language is different.Some languages are considered more difficult to learn than others.Do you agree?

If English is a foreign language to you, consider these questions:
  • How long does it take to be fluent in English?
  • How many non-native speakers living in The UK have difficulties speaking English?
  • What are the different factors  affecting people’s ability to learn English well?
  • How many hours/years does it take on average to speak English well?
Click on the image below to read a fascinating article about learning to speak English, and to find the answers to the questions.There is also a really interesting documentary being shown on Channel 4 at the moment, documenting the lives of four immigrants living in The UK called ‘Why don’t you speak English?’

A storm in a tea cup?

Should non-English speaking countries be concerned when English words sneak their way into everyday vocabulary? It is easy to become blasé about this when discussing the matter over tapas, but perhaps there is less angst about this than the media would have us believe. Isn’t  the adoption of words from other languages simply part of the ‘One Europe’ zeitgeist?

Click on the image below to read an article from the BBC about a bon mot from Angela Merkel. Should the Germans be worried or should they simply shrug and say, c’est la vie?