Twelve years a slave

This book is set in the 1840s and 50s in the USA, more specifically between the states of NY and Louisiana. It tells the story of a free African-American man who is taken as a prisioner and kept as a slave for twelve years.

Even though the book follows the chronological course of events in a very tight manner, in my opinion, it is divided into three separate parts. In the first few chapters, we meet an ordinary free man living with his family. We then know that he is an skilled professional who can ven play the violin. Secondly, the bulk of this autobiographical piece of narrative is devoted to a very through and detailed account of his emprisionment years. To end up with, the author includes some official documents and events that helped his liberation.

About the style, I would say that is is written in a quite old fashioned way, but also in a rather plain and comprehensible English. In this biography of himself, he endevours to convey his own feeling and experiences in a way that it is as close to the real story as possible, but he devotes though so many pages to talk about so many places, tasks at work, seasons, memories and situations, that it eventually becomes a very neat piece of literature.

I would strongly recomment this book as a means to understand a little bit more about the evil side of human beings and let History teach us something.

Link to the official trailer of a major Hollywood movie.

Get this free book from Gutenberg Project.

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Unit 1

Gerunds and infinitives

Activity 1

Let’s get started: To begin with, we are going to watch a video to know exactly what the difference is between a gerund and an infinitive.

Activity 2

Next, I think we should read through some explanations and do some exercses together. Plese click on this link.

Activity 3

You might be interested in taking some more extra practice on this topic.

Phrasal verbs

Activity 4

In this lesson we are going to work with some phrasal verbs. Let’s get started with a video that you might find quite amusing. (10 minutes)

Activity 5

After this amazing video, I propose you to have some preatice. Please click on this link.

Activity 6

Did you think you could not play games with phrasal verbs? Try this one!

Descriptive texts

Activity 7

I chose three or four videos from tne Internet for you to understand what descriptive texts are.

Actitity 8

I came across a document with a few exaples of descriptive texts and some activites. We might work with some of them.

Tense contrast: Present Simple, Present Continuous, Past Simple and Past Continuous.

 Activity 9

First of all, let’s watch a video about the contrast between the two present tenses:

Then, we could watch a couple of videos about the contrast between the two past tenses.

Activity 10

I also found a presentation for you to see the difference between the past tenses.

Activity 11

You might like to have some practice on what you’ve just learned.

Activity 12

I also found some examples of descriptive texts recorded by students of English in other countries.

Activity 13

I found a blog with some theoretical background about descriptive text as well as (at least) one example.

Adjective order

Activity 14

This is the last topic in this unit. In this site/page we can find a very good overview of how to organise them before nouns.

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Aliens

European Portfolio level: A2.2

Textual type: Hearsay report.

Aliens are thought to have visited our planet from very ancient times. Some scholars assert that it was them who taught us to sow our seeds, grow the harvests and process the crops, make tools and survive. Aliens are even thought to be divided into several spicies depending on where they are from or what their environment is made of. The big ones who look like very tall humans are thought to be good in nature. They are also thought to be the most intelligent ones. There are also green, small and big headed aliens who are thought to be the evil ones.

On the scientific side of this issue aliens are thought to be a mere invention in order to bring us round and keep us scared about everything around us or simply they are thought to be part of human beings’ imagination.

Much has been written and discussed about this topic, but in the end nothing has been proved true so far and there is no actual evidence that they exist.

No matter what they are thought or believed, I kike to read about them as it provides me with many amusement hours.

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Ebola outburst

Europen Portfolio Level: A.2.2 or B1

Textural type: News Report

As Dan Brown asserts on his latests bestseller “if AIDS was an airborne disease, human beings would have been on the brink of extinction”. This is what US and European authorities are most scared about right now.

Unfortunately for Spain, at least one case of Ebola contamination has recently been listed there. Apparently, both misinformation and a slight failure on security protocols might have triggered this dreadful case. The first individual to be infected was a nurse who attended a priest at hospital.

According to our sources, she is now on her lane to full recovery and she will expectfully be safe and sound within the next couple of months. Doctors are dealing with some misfunction on her lungs and liver.

Hopefully, this was just one more temporary encounter with communicable diseases. It was more a moral dilemma though, rather than a health problem. There have been mutual accusations between goverment representatives and the nurse herself and her husband. Some had to apologize.

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Dan Brown’s Inferno

Level: B.1.1

Textual type: book review.

This thriller features (again) professor Robert Langdon in his extremely fascinating quest for the survival of the world.

Overpopulation and the risks looming over the world are both the main topics tackled with in this (in my opinion) Brown’s masterpiece.

Florence and Istanbul are the perfect scenery to reveal Brown’s typical mysteries frequently based on codes recorded or drawn on classical works of art.

His enemies and allies are mischievous this time. One never knows what’s going to happen in the next page. Dark as well as very well known organizations take an important part in the story as the reader never seems to discover what is actually going on.

In my opinion though, the weakest part of the plot is the other main character; Langdon’s partner. I found it quite weird that her genius partner was following him without even asking if she was going to have any kind of reward.

I had fun reading the book. It reminded me a lot of his previous thrillers. Robert Langdon is an exceptionally attractive character for me. He combines both knowledge, common sense, experience and some physical appeal.

I strongly recommend students to read this book as it is really amusing and the language the author uses is not particularly difficult.

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