False friends! Can they really be your friends?

First impressions.  It’s a topic that is explored by a number of course books at a variety of levels and it is often interesting  how different people contextualise it.  Most people think of a professional environment – such as a job interview or starting a new job.  This is not always the case.

“I made a bad impression when I met my boyfriend’s family.” 

Having spent time with this particular student, I found it difficult to comprehend that such a positive person would make anything less than an exemplary first impression.  So I asked her how.  The answer is not too surprising.  There was a discussion between her and one of the members of her boyfriend’s family and she translated a Spanish phrase into literal English where the meaning was the opposite of what was intended.

Está bien si yo no te caigo bien‘ she said, which translates (literally) to ‘It’s ok if I don’t like you’ but what it actually means is ‘It’s ok if you don’t like me.’ A small difference, but one which drastically changes the meaning.  Needless to say, the conversation went downhill after that.

It got me thinking about other situations where there could be a potentially catastrophic misunderstanding. One of the most common culprits are False Cognates (false friends) and they can lead to some difficult situations.  Here are some that have appeared in class:

Spanish

One the student’s friends was embarazada, but she wasn’t ’embarrassed’ by anything.  In fact, she was pregnant.  I asked her if she had recently bought a new carpet and she said yes, and pulled out her carpeta – which turned out to be a ‘folder’.

German

We learnt about a brav friend of one of our students.  We asked her why she was brave, and she told us that was wasn’t, she was ‘honest’. We asked her if she ever gave her friend a present, or a gift, and she was shocked!  She wanted to know why she should ‘poison’ her friend.

Italian

One student remarked how his friend was very educato, so we asked if he had a PhD.  It turns out that he left school early but was very ‘polite’.  He had some dry skin on his wrist and another student asked him if he wanted some moisturizing ‘cream’.  He laughed, wondering why he was offered crema (custard) for his skin.

French

At the end of class, we were told to have a bonne journéebut we weren’t going on a journey.  We were just told to have a nice day. One of the other students remarked that he was going to have a grand day, which caused confusion. Why was his day big?

To recap:

Original Word English False Cognate Meaning
embarazada (Spanish) embarrassed/ashamed pregnant
carpeta (Spanish) carpet/rug folder
brav (German) brave/courageous honest
gift (German) gift/present poison
educato (Italian) educated/schooled polite
crema (Italian) cream/ointment custard
journée (French) journey/trip day
grand (French) grand/expensive big

 

 

Teacher Training at ELA-Edinburgh

This August we will run the latest in our hugely successful series of ELA Teacher Training Programmes – and it’s not too late for you and your colleagues to benefit from our expertise in professional development of teachers.

Options on the programme include:  Special Needs, Business programmes, CLIL.

At ELA-Edinburgh we specialise in courses for non-native teachers of English. These courses are a chance for teachers to review their language skills but also develop techniques and review the methods they use in the classroom.

What does the course involve?

  • A pro-active review of the different methodologies
  • Lesson planning: Aims, Timing, Components, Class Layout, Types of Tasks, Supplementary materials
  • Input sessions on how best to teach writing, speaking. reading and listening skills
  • Games: discussion on their use. Designing fit-for-purpose and adapting ‘known’ games
  • Error Correction and Teacher Talk Time Workshop

    Improve your error correction

Of course, the list goes on. Our courses are bespoke and designed to suit the needs of our trainees.

 

 

 

Why choose ELA-Edinburgh?

  • Learn from our DELTA qualified and experienced teacher-trainer
  • Enjoy our modern classrooms and interactive smartboards
  • Have access to our extensive library of teaching materials
  • Study in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic new town
  • Experience the unique buzz of Edinburgh’s festivals in August
  • Meet students from all over the world and be part of our international community

Come to Edinburgh in August and experience the world’s largest performing arts festival

If you would like some more information on the course or discuss your requirements, please email dos@elacademy.co.uk or give us a call on 00 44 131 226 6182

“10 Things to do in Edinburgh” by ELA-Edinburgh students, Matteo and Paola

1 GRASSMARKET

Two of Paola and Matteo’s star attractions: Edinburgh castle and the grassmarket

Let’s say you just arrived in Edinburgh. You still have time before returning to the Hotel, but is getting late and you are a little bit tired. Still, you want to take a walk around the city and get something to eat. The perfect place to aim for is the Grassmarket. It is an old square in the Old Town, just south of the Royal Mile, so you can get a glimpse of old medieval Edinburgh. They used to hang people there, and a lot of pubs are “in theme” (you can even have a pint at The White Hart, the oldest pub in town).

2 VISIT ROSE STREET

The Rose street is the perfect place to visit some pubs and restaurants with local food. There are a lot of different places where you can go for local specialities like ginger beer, haggis or whiskeys. Rose street is pedestrianized zone, so it is quite easy and relaxing to go through.

3 MARY KINGS’ CLOSE

The Edinburgh Old Town is probably the best place to understand how the life in the 16th century was. The best place to do it is Mary King’s Close, which is on the Royal Mile. Situated below the Edinburgh City Council, it’s perfectly preserved, and the spooky mood certainly adds something to the experience, if you are into that kind of thing. Mind that the tours are usually pretty crowded, so booking a spot in advance could be a good idea.

4 EDINBURGH CASTLE

The Edinburgh castle is the second highest point in the city and you can see it from a great distance. It looks impressive because you can see it from all over the town and if you walk the way up to the castle on the hill you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city.

5 PARLIAMENT OF SCOTLAND

All the way down the Royal Mile you can find the modern center of power for Scotland. The most recent center of power, the Parliament of Scotland, was built in the last decade, following the Devolution, so if you appreciate contemporary architecture you will probably enjoy it. Also, since the Scottish are pretty proud of their fight for freedom, you can learn all the details of their parliamentary quest. The most interesting part of the exhibition is visiting the Debate Chamber (you can also watch a public debate).

 

The Scottish parliament in front of Arthur’s Seat

6 VISIT WELLINGTON COFFEE SHOP

The Wellington coffee shop is a lovely place for recover from the first daily english session. The great Italian coffee and the tasty scones with his different ingredients makes the life easy going.

7 HOLYROOD PALACE

The other seat of power down the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace. Built during the 15th century, it was the residence of Scotland’s Royal Family. Now it is the Royal Residence during official visits of the British Royal Family. When the Queen is not visiting Scotland, you can visit most of the palace, and in summer also the gardens. In particular, in the gardens you can visit the ruins of the St. Augustine Abbey.

8 ROYAL MILE

One of the most beautiful and famous streets is Royal mile. The architecture of the buildings is typical for Edinburgh with its old churches and houses with the gothic style. You can also look for some souvenirs or some pretty little things to buy. Furthermore there are some fudge kitchens where you can buy the best homemade fudge in very different flavours. They also show you how they produce this special Scottish candy.

The Royal Mile: home to Mary King’s Close and Holyrood Palace

9 CLIMB ARTHUR’S SEAT

The sleeping volcano just behind Holyrood Palace is the highest point of Edinburgh (ca. 250m), and the potential panoramic view that this fact implies should be enough to convince you to climb all the way up. You can actually see all of Edinburgh, south to the Borderlands, the Kingdom of Fife and all the way out to the North Sea. Also, if you appreciate archeology and paleontology, you can find the remains of three Prehistoric Forts. The tracks are easy, but remember to bring a jacket (it’s very windy) and sturdy shoes.

10 PORTOBELLO BEACH

The Portobello beach is a few miles away  from the city center and if you are there you have a beautiful view over the sea. You can go there if you need some variety from the crowded city. If you are as crazy as some Scottish people you can do some sunbathing.

 

Free English Lessons at ELA-Edinburgh in June

Would you be interested in receiving free English lessons from enthusiastic teachers in top class facilities? Normally it would be too good to be true but at ELA-Edinburgh this June it is our reality!

Those of you who regularly read our blog will know that ELA-Edinburgh is putting on a Trinity CertTESOL course from June 5th-30th. This teacher training course will give our trainees a great qualification as they start their teaching careers.  An important part of the course is teaching practice; our trainees will do at least 6 hours of teaching during their course. This is where you and your friends can benefit!

We are offering free lessons for students who will be taught by our trainee teachers. Every weekday from June 6th -June 29th you could benefit from two hours of free lessons! This is an offer that we can only run during CertTESOL courses so don’t miss out! We only have a certain number of places available so don’t wait too long before applying.

All levels of English are welcome, when you apply we will send you a level test to complete and find the right class for you. All you need to do is pay a £30 deposit, which you will get right back if you attend all the classes! Plus, as a bonus, you will get an hours’ free lesson with a highly experienced teacher at the end of your course!

This is a unique opportunity to get lessons in one of Edinburgh’s premier private language academy and benefit from our fantastic teaching resources. As the saying goes, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

For more information, or to ask for a placement test, email dos@elacademy.co.uk phone 0131 2266182 or come and see us at 71 George Street!

Learn to Learn to with ELA-Edinburgh

Here at ELA-Edinburgh we see helping our students become better students as one of our main goals. With this in mind we include ‘learning to learn’ sessions at the start of all of our courses and the feedback from them is always great.

Make sure this isn’t you!!

Earlier this year we brought you tips on how to study more effectively, just look back in our blog to check out the details. Today we present some advice on how to learn vocabulary. If you sit at your desk and repeat irregular verbs to yourself, we are here to help!

  • Flash cards

You can make them at home and study them on the bus, at lunch or in front of the TV. Here is an example to get you started that shows some of the information you might want to include.

 

Don’t forget to mix up the order of the cards and take a moment to guess before you turn over your card!

If you’re more into technology you can try some of the great learning apps, such as Quizlet, which let you build your own personalized vocabulary lists

 

 

  • A notebook
  • Perhaps the next stage from flashcards is a notebook with your organized class notes. Teachers often notice that students write down vocabulary in a lesson but then do not organize it. Successful students generally have a well ordered notebook with different sections for phrasal verbs, idioms or grammar notes. This involves re-writing your class notes at the end of every week but you will soon notice the benefits.
  • Dictionaries

    Whether online or print, dictionaries will define a word, help you spell it and explain how to pronounce it.

     

  • Word Maps

Word maps give you the freedom to link words in groups or categories and the chance to illustrate your diagrams. If you’re a visual learner and enjoy learning through pictures, they could be             perfect for you.

  • Learn ChunksMany people find it easier to learn phrases rather than individual words. For example, ‘do homework’ or ‘make your bed’ are chunks of language. Other examples of chunks might be phrasal verbs, ‘to get on well with somebody’, or idioms, ‘to get on like a house on fire.’
  • Learn to take words apartMany language students find that analysing a word helps them to guess it’s meaning without turning to a teacher or dictionary for help. For example; the word ‘unimaginable’ might look long and complicated but let’s try taking it apart:

    Viewed like this the word has three clear parts; the prefix, the stem (or route) and the suffix. If we remember that ‘able’ refers to ability and that ‘un’ is a general prefix to make something negative, we can guess that unimaginable means impossible to imagine. This technique is particularly useful for speakers of other European languages.

  • Review OftenYour goal is to transfer your new vocabulary from your short term to your long term memory. There’s no point learning words in class today and not being able to use them a week later so make sure you look back over your notes regularly. With the help of a well-organized workbook you can make sure that vocabulary doesn’t slip out of your head.