miércoles, 1 de junio de 2016


ENTRY N° 8.  A well written paragraph.

The video " Parts of a paragraph-English Academic Writing" gives a clear explanation of how to write a good paragraph.
Site "engvid Free English video lessons".

A well written paragraph should have:

1) A topic sentence.
Introduce an interesting topic and your opinion about it.

2) A body.
 It´s the heart of the topic sentence.
Give supporting details (in specific order) and arguments.

3) A closing sentence.
 It has two functions: Re estate the topic sentence in a different way.
                                   Keep the audience thinking.

Examples of Topic Sentences:

1. Many politicians deplore the passing of the old family-sized farm, but I´m not so sure.

I saw around Velva a release from what was like slavery to the tyrannical soil, release from the ignorance that darkens the soul and from the loneliness that corrodes it. In this generation my Velva friends have rejoined the general American society that their pioneering fathers left behind when they first made the barren trek in the days of the wheat rush. As I sit here in Washington writing this, I can feel their nearnness. (from Eric Sevareid, "Velva, North Dakota")

2.There are two broad theories concerning what triggers a human´s inevitable decline to death.

The first is the wear-and-tear hypothesis that suggests the body eventually succumbs to the environmental insults of life. The second is the notion that we have an internal clock which is genetically programmed to run down. Supporters of the wear- and-tear theory maintain that the very practice of breathing causes us to age because inhaled oxygen produces toxic by products. Advocaters of the internal clock theory believe that individual cells are told to stop dividing and thus eventually to die by, for example, hormones produced by the brain o by their own genes. (from Debra Blank, "The Eternal Quest" (edited).

3.We commonly look on the discipline of war as vastly more rigid than any discipline necessary in time of peace, but this is an error.

The strictest military descipline imaginable is still looser than that prevailing in the average assembly-line. The soldiers, at worst, is still able to exercise the highest conceivable functions of freedom- that is, he or she is permitted to steal and to kill. No discipline prevailing in peace gives him or her anything remotely resembing. The soldier is, in war, in the position of a free adult; in peace he or she is almost always in the position of a child. In war all things are excused by succes, even violations of discipline. In peace, speaking generally, success is inconceivable except as a function of discipline. (from H.L Mencken,"Reflections of war") edited.

4. Although the interpretation of traffic signals may seem highly standarized, close observations reveals regional variations across the country, distinguishing the East Coast from Central Canada and the West, as surely as dominant dialects or political inclinations.

In Montreal, a flashing red traffic light instructs drivers to careen even more wildly through intersections heavily populated with pedestrians and oncoming vehicles. In starting contrast, an amber light in Calgary warns drivers to scream to a halt on the off chance that there might be a pedestrian within 500 metres who might consider crossing at some unspecified time within the current day. In my home town in New Brunswick, finally, traffic lights (along with painted lines and posted speed limits) do not apply to tractors, all terrain vehicles, or pick up trucks, which together account for most vehicleson the road. In fact, were any observant Canadian dropped from an alien space vessel at an unspecified intersection anywhere in this vast land, he or she could almost certainly oriented him or herself according to the surrounding traffic patterns.

martes, 17 de mayo de 2016



Within Literature there are different types of genres. Some of them are fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction and media, each one with its own characteristics.

 A good fiction has a stirring plot, a vivid setting, compelling characters and also themes or messages about life. It may be inspired by real events and people, and build a story around them. There are three different forms of fiction, short stories, novels and novellas. In the case of a short story, it often focuses on a single event or incident. A novel is a longer one and has many different events, storylines and characters. Finally, novellas are longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, and feature a limited number of characters.

 Poems are made up of lines arranged into groups or stanzas whereas sounds and language are just important as form. Poets search for the perfect words and then arrange them in such a way that they provoke specific effects. Other common characteristics are rhythm and rhymes.

A drama is any work that is written to be performed on a stage.  It is primarily written as dialogue between characters, where the author describes the setting, character´s movements and props as stage directions. However, a great deal is left to the imagination of the director, the actors and readers. A drama has all the elements of good fiction-plot, characters, setting and theme, but it is usually divided into scenes grouped into acts.

In nonfiction, the events actually happened, and the characters are real people. Biographies and true-life adventures are good examples of this. Informational - nonfiction, however, is nothing like fiction. It includes texts such as news articles and sources that you consult for information.

Media messages influence people´s belief and opinions, that´s why it´s important to interpret all their messages. They include feature films, news media, TV shows, advertising and web sites for all kind of audience. 

martes, 10 de mayo de 2016

ENTRY N° 5. How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it) - Katherine Hampsten

Portfolio n° 5.

 Summary of Miscommunication video.

The human communication is incredibly complex. Even in a conversation between friends, face to face, in the same place and speaking the same language, the misunderstandings may happen. So, what can we do to avoid it?
 According to the researchers, the first step is to understand what happens when we communicate. In order to do this, they have developed two models. The Transmission model, which views communication as a message that moves directly from one person to another and the Transactional model that considers communication as a game of catch. The way as people throw the ball each other is the way they speak. If one of them throws the ball in a rude way, probably the other one does the same…or not. It all depends from their family background, experience, age, culture and religion.
The researchers also advice some points to take into account: 1) Recognize that an active hearing and an active listening are not the same. 2)  Listen with your eyes and ears as well as with your instinct; communication is more than merely words. 3)To be open to what other person might say. 4) To be aware of your own personality. Elements of your experience influence on how you see the world. Don´t think that you have the absolute truth.

sábado, 16 de abril de 2016

ENTRY N° 2 How did English evolve?

This video narrates the history of English language from the ancient times to our days. The author, Kate Gardoqui, explains that the evolution of this language was the result of several invasions of Britain. The Roman invasion in 400 CE and then the Germanic tribes, such as the Angles, the Saxons and Jutes, contributed in the formation of Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon.
Later, in 1066, the Norman led by William the Conqueror, colonized the British Islands and French became the most important language spoken by the aristocracy whereas the English was only spoken by the peasants or poor people.
According to the author, the expressions " a hearty welcome" and a "cordial reception" evoke different pictures and connotations. The first expression written in Old English, suggests ordinary people laughing and drinking beer, while the second one, could be associated with rich people. As Gardoqui claims, "history lives in the words we speak and hear", we are aware of this or not.