New words in English- The Internet

Are we really aware of how many new words and new styles of English have been introduced into English due to the use of the internet and new technologies in general?

In one of our posts we have mentioned how Shakespeare created new words. If we look into the Oxford English Dictionary we will find over 2000 words which have their first recorded use in Shakespeare and there are approximately 29000 word attributed to him.

Nowadays new words are being introduced even more rapidly and easily than before and with the use of the internet, they catch on like a disease!

Trying to find who coined a new expression or invented a new word requires true dedication and hours of hard work.

Here we came across an article explaining the expression to surf the Internet. Did you know that before surfing the internet people cruised it, mined it, navigated it, explored it or used it?

David Crystal is a British linguist, academic and author who has authored, co-authored, and edited over 120 books on a wide variety of subjects. In the following video he talks about how the internet changed English.

Have you ever asked yourself what your favorite English word is? You will find David Cristal’s answer in the following link. We’re quite pleased with his choice!

Do you know what a “Selfie” is? It’s been named the new word of the year 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries. Check it out!

And finally, here’s an article giving a list of arguably the best 10 words the Internet has given to English.


Keep exploring and have fun!



We keep recommending   students to read in English usually saying that it doesn’t matter what they read as long as they are reading. However, this is true only if you are reading for pleasure and not in order to take an exam such as the CPE or CAE, in which case reading poor literature doesn’t really help.

In a way teachers are unfair when they say: “Just read “as there are too many recourses and it is very difficult to chose according to ones needs and interests.

Nevertheless, we will give it a try. There will be a separate category BOOKS on the side bar in which we will try to introduce you to some authors and/or books. Today we will focus on some guidelines and afterwards, every now and then, include reading suggestions.


First of all ask yourself what you have read in the last month in your own language. Was it:

–          A novel or other work of fiction

–          A non- fiction book

–          A newspaper

–          A magazine article

–          An online article or blog

–          A textbook

Then think about when and where you usually read.  Is it:

–          while commuting to work

–          during your lunch break

–          at home

–          in a library or other public space

The next question is why you read:

–          for work or study

–          for pleasure

–          to be informed

By now you should be aware of when, where and what you could replace and start reading in English. Ideally, when you read in English it should be for two reasons: for pleasure and for language practice. That’s when you are likely to reach your highest potential as a language learner.

Let’s focus on some common excuses. People usually don’t read in a foreign language because:

-they don’t have time

-it feels difficult

-they don’t know where to start

– they don’t have a habit of doing so.

If you have recognized yourself in any of these excuses, now’s the time to change your ways. We will do our best to help. It’s a promise!


Doris Lessing was born in Iran in 1919 and spent her early life in Zimbabwe. She is famous for her novels such as The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook and a series of science fiction novels. She was the oldest person who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007.She passed away in 2013.

Here is an interview with her after receiving the Nobel Price. They talk about The Grass is Singing. It is a first-hand explanation of a book well worth reading.

Here is a link to her official website. Investigate one of Britain’s great writers!



Most of us think that once you start a book you should finish it whether you like it or not. Personally, I thought so but eventually decided that time is a treasure we should treat with respect and try not to waste. Eventually I decided there are  some books just not worth finishing. The other day I came upon some articles from The Guardian that share this opinion.

Lionel Shiver the author of the fantastic “Let’s talk about Kevin” wrote about how not to read.

An opinion on how to be a smart reader:




Love was just a Glance away

Glance: a brief and hurried look ( Oxford Dictionary)

Ok. So we have written about love just recently (Expressions to Love). There were idiomatic expressions on the topic, some phrasal verbs, a song a poem. But L-O-V-E is such an inspiring topic and so much has been written and sung, filmed and recited that there is ALWAYS   something more to say and include into our language learning activities. We’ve only really taken a glance at it!

Just yesterday, while sitting in the corner café between classes, good old Frankie sang again:

” Lovers at first sight…”and I thought, “I can’t just ignore it.” There is always so much bad news around we might as well relax and be a bit cheesy, at least while studying English. At least on Valentine’s Day.

O   Our first link is devoted to the famous Strangers in the Night. Don’t forget to read the lyrics and notice all the expressions related to looking : “Lovers at first sight”, “Love was just a glance away”, “Exchanging glances” etc.


Below you can find a link which will take you to the definitions of the word “sight” and various idiomatic expressions where it is used.

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Talking about cheesy, I came upon a video with a choice of Hollywood’s best kisses. You might not agree with the picks but it is kind of nostalgic.


St. Valentine vs. “St.” Shakespeare

There are quite a lot of students who ask if Shakespeare is good to read  in order to improve their English. The most common answer is NO, especially at lower levels, although it just does not seem right to deprive foreign language students from reading one of the greatest figures of world literature. After all, one might enjoy English and not only use it as a practical tool to survive modern life.

Already having a solid grasp of English grammar and structure, you might  start exploring the new words Shakespeare  introduced into English and his everlasting quotations, which have been exploited ever since his genius was revealed.  If you look in the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary, you’ll find over 2,000 words which have their first recorded use in Shakespeare, such as assassination, outswear and weather-bitten. Some he coined himself,others he simply helped to popularise. In a way Shakespeare is a an ideal advanced teacher, because he shows us how to exploit the resourses of a language to maximum effect.

Therefore, we found a slight connection between today’s celebrated St. Valentine and Shakespeare. You might just  guess what it is after seeing the folowing video, an animated version of the History of St. Valentine.


Now, remember what happened in Romeo and Juliet? They were secretly married, weren’t they? This fun video shows Shakespeare’s DATING TIPS. The two lovers of Verona are mentioned, of course.

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Simplifying Shakespeare can only go so far. Now you should try to read and understand one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets. And maybe give it to your Valentine this evening!



Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course un-
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Practice English in Barcelona

In our first post we promised to look for places where you can practice English in Barcelona.If you look at our last post, you’ll find a fun video with bar expressions, just in case you want to show off! Have fun and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

New Language exchange group in Barcelona We meet every SUNDAY to exchange culture & practice different languages like English, French German, Italian Spanish Catalan with different people from all over the world.
Tel: 627 32 38 31 . email:

Language exchange and other English speaking activities in a new café. English Oasis Café
C/Sotstinent Navarro, 18. Metro: Jaume I (L 4)

English speaking club. Would you like to practice your English and make friends? We go out once a week for dinner and dancing, organize chats, cinema and excursions.

Have a Brain for English

The brain is still a mystery for us. We think we know how it works and there are countless explanations of its limitations and possibilities. It has fascinated us ever since we noticed that the heart is not the organ that thinks.

At our school there are learners of all ages and our teachers are constantly challenged by how to teach elderly students as well as toddlers.

Nevertheless, we will leave cognitive theories and advice on how to learn depending on your age for some other lengthy post.

What we will do today is take the word BRAIN as our main thread and leading word of the day.

1.      1. Let’s start off seriously with a video from the Guardian on brain decoding. Next time you are having a brain scan be sure to stop thinking while inside the scanner!

2.      2.  How much of our brain capacity are we really using?  It looks like we are using more than we think. That isn’t good news, is it?

3.       3. Stephen Hawking is considered to be one of the brainiest people alive. Here he meets Sheldon Copper. If you are into nerds and geeks, The Big Bang Theory must be one of your favourite sitcoms.


4.       4.Some idiomatic expressions with the word BRAIN. If you explore this website further you will find interactive activities ( press “scatter”) to help you remember them.


5.       One of the collocations not mentioned on the list above is TO BE PISSED OUT OF YOUR BRAINS. As you can imagine it means “to be very drunk”. So this last video is from one of our favorite teachers online: James. In our second post he was the one giving you advice how to improve your listening comprehension.

Today his lesson is on BAR LANGUAGE.  Here’s some vocabulary for all of you travelling around the English speaking world trying to relax after a hard day of work or sightseeing.