what do you like about where you live?

(speaking: pt 1)
four teachers were asked: what do you like about where you live?

audioscript and variations on the same question

Well I like it because it's quite quiet, I prefer small towns than big cities in general, and particularly because I've got kids
so a small town is better for kids; lots of places to walk or they've got the beach to play on or run around on.

I like it because it's near the ocean, they have a wonderful Paseo Maritimo,
and great places to go and have pinchos in the Casco Viejo.
It's a quiet town except during times of the fiestas that they have near the port.
The sense of community the people have a lot of pride in the community,
lots of cultural activities and things that people can get involved in.

I used to live in San Ignacio so it's a lot more colourful,
and of course like going for pinxos on Sunday morning, it's great
and just that the buildings and the streets, it's lovely walking home from the metro through the Casco Viejo.

It's 15, 20 minutes from Bilbao, there're three metros so it's very easy to get from Algorta to Bilbao and they come every 5 minutes, that's brilliant.
also it's right on the coast, my house is 3 minutes from the beach.
it's relaxed, quiet, no problems.....it's like a little village really

Note: Ann lives in Plentzia, Kyle in Castro, Gary lived in Algorta (now Kiev) Stanners lived in Casco Viejo (now Prague)
Many thanks to all!

What's it like?

What is there to do? What amenities are there?

Where is it? How far to/from ..? Is it easy to get to and from where you work or study?

Do you live in the centre, on the outskirts?

Do you live near eg. the beach, the shops, the countryside, your friends?

What's it like where you live eg. quite quiet, noisy, relaxed, hectic?

How about the neighbours?

Are there any general or particular reasons you like where you live?

Are there any places to go eg. for walks, to take the children, to relax, hang out with friends?

Are there some good places for pinxos, cafes, restaurants?

Do people feel like they belong to your neigbourhood?

Is it lovely walking around?

What's the nightlife like?


pisa topping

(use of english: pt 3 word formation)
Singapore has been ranked as having the highest-achieving schools. The (0) globe rankings, are based on the Pisa tests taken by 15-year-olds in more than 70 countries. Singapore has replaced Shanghai - there had been debate over whether Shanghai was (1) represent of school standards across China.
transform the blue words into the appropriate form write your answers in the boxes
0. 1.
read on
OECD education (2) direct Andreas Schleicher chief said that Asian countries such as Singapore managed to achieve excellence without wide differences between children from wealthy and disadvantaged families. But the UK has failed to make any (3) substance improvement - despite education ministers in England making the Pisa rankings an important measurement of progress.
Mr Schleicher highlighted concerns about the impact of a (4) short in teachers - saying that an education system could never exceed the quality of its teachers. So why is Singapore so (5) success at education? Singapore only became an independent country in 1965. From being among the world's poorest, with a mix of ethnicities, religions and languages, it has overtaken the (6)wealth countries in Europe, North America and Asia to become the number one in education.
All teachers are trained at the National Institute of Education, and Prof Sing Kong Lee, vice-president of Nanyang Technology University, said this  single route (7) sure quality control and that all new teachers could "confidence go through to the classroom".
This had to be a (8) consist, long-term approach, sustained over decades, said Prof Lee.
Education was an "eco-system", he said, and "you can't change one part in isolation".
bbc12/12/16 By Sean Coughlan


taking the nick?

(reading and use of english pt 2) write your answers in the boxes

A 20-year-old Spanish law student who apparently passed himself 0. as a spy and gatecrashed the King's coronation is waiting to find 1. if he will be prosecuted. Francisco Nicolas Gomez Iglesias, dubbed "Little Nicolas", 2. thought to have fooled dozens of Spain's elite by impersonating various government officials, such as a secret service agent and an adviser to the deputy prime minister. read on

Mr Gomez was arrested in October 3. suspicion of fraud, forgery and impersonating government officials but was bailed while police investigated the case. According to Spanish publication El Confidencial, Mr Gomez has been studying at one of Madrid's top universities but was also lunching with business executives and politicians, even joining 4. in the VIP box at Real Madrid's stadium.

Mercedes Perez, the judge overseeing the investigation, wrote in a report that she could not understand 5. "a young man of 20, using only his own word, could have access to government conferences, places and events 6. his behaviour causing any alarm". Her report was also quoted as saying he received thousands of pounds from a businessman in return 7. arranging a property deal while claiming to be a government adviser.

Mr Gomez has claimed he received text messages from King Juan Carlos, telling Spanish channel Telecinco: "The day of his abdication, I sent him a message and he replied '8. a million, JC'."

A Facebook page dedicated to him has more than 37,000 fans.

Dec 1, 2014 sky news


how i became a UN interpreter

(reading and use of english 2015: pt 6)

I got a first in my French and Russian degree, but it was only when I went back to Russia to teach English after graduating that my skills really improved. I was out there on my own in a flat, and when things went wrong as they inevitably did, I had to call the workmen to sort it out. There were no other native English people to call on, so I was properly immersed. 1.. read on
choose from A-H, there is one extra.
A It was a blast – you learn lots about the world.
B My husband came out to Geneva with me to look after her at that point.
C It's always intense and it's often stressful, because these are communications that matter to people's lives so you have to get it right
D I passed first time, which I wasn't expecting.
E Working as an interpreter can sound like a glamorous life.
F I never know what's next, and that's the fun of it.
G I had to make friends, get stuck in and get over the embarrassment of making mistakes.

After nine months my Russian was probably as good as it's ever been, and once I'd come home, it wasn't long before I saw that GCHQ were looking for linguists. The bare bones of it is that material will come in, either written or as audio, and you have to translate and transcribe it. (2).. You also get to use your languages all day: even if something isn't of any intelligence value, you're always improving your skills.

I'd taken a year out to do a masters in interpreting at the university of Bath, and then I did the UN interpreting test. It's renowned for being incredibly tough. (3).. It meant that a whole new career opened up, working on UN missions abroad. I had to give it a go, so I took myself off to Geneva to see if anyone would book me.

There aren't many of us interpreting from Russian to English, and I work from French as well. Interpreters work in pairs, doing half an hour before swapping over. (4).. The aim is to be 100% accurate but often you can't translate literally, so it's about interpreting idea by idea. If I don't understand I try and hang back a bit, think about the context and try to pull together an idea that fits the situation. You have to think on your feet – I drink a lot of coffee.

My working life four years on is, well, complicated! I have an 18-month-old daughter, and I started back at work when she was five months old. (5).. We're back in Gloucestershire now, and I mostly try to arrange bookings so I'm away for a few days at a time.

Fortunately it's well paid, and I aim to work 10 days in a month. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are a lot of single interpreters, but for our family it works well – I like the flexibility of being freelance, I love the stimulation of the work and I like being able to have time at home with my daughter. Luckily, I've never liked planning too far ahead: in this job, my language skills have taken me to Bali, Nairobi, Vienna, around Europe, and I may soon be off to Copenhagen and Moscow. (6) .

by Helen Reynolds-Brown. Helen is a Russian and French interpreter, and works for the UN and other international organisations the guardian


seeing red

(reading: pt 2)

RIO DE JANEIRO — The chants at the game between Spain and Chile began slowly, first from one side of Estádio do Maracanã, then from the other. 1.

“E-lim-i-na-do! E-lim-i-na-do!” — eliminated — said those fans, who were leaping so wildly in their red shirts that they made the stands look like a supersize swath of roiling scarlet cloth. But those fans were not wearing the red jerseys of Spain, the defending World Cup champion and two-time European champion. They were wearing the red shirts of Chile, which eliminated Spain from this tournament in the first round, after Spain had played two games. 2. read on
choose from A-H, there is one extra.
A.But when you think about it, was it simply because they didn’t have any great soccer left in them?
B.Besides, a younger generation is waiting.
C.They were led out by the police.
D.It was a beautiful day for it with the sun shining brightly above.
E.By the time the final minutes had ticked off the clock Wednesday, tens of thousands had joined in
F.Maybe Spain saw it coming; maybe it didn’t.
G.No past World Cup defending champion had been knocked out of the tournament so quickly.
H.It all happened so fast

Watching Chile’s 2-0 victory unfold was like seeing a prizefighter hit in the face again and again, then seeing him fall to the canvas and struggle to rise as the referee counts to 10. There’s a sense of pity in seeing a legend fall so unexpectedly, and appear so helpless.

3. First came the Spaniards losing to the Netherlands, 5-1, on Friday in their opening game. Then came Wednesday’s match, in which a death knell clanged for most of the game’s 90-plus minutes. No one expected the Spanish to show up in Brazil looking so tired and slow. Compared with the Chileans, they looked as if they were in slow motion. 4.

Seven of Spain’s 23 players competed in the all-Spanish Champions League final a few weeks ago. Ten played in the semis. In the longer view, the team has been playing and playing since winning the 2008 European championship, and several of this World Cup team’s key players — including Casillas, Xabi Alonso, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas and Xavi Hernández — were on that squad. Xavi, the key figure in their midfield is 34; Casillas is 33; Xabi Alonso is 32. After so many miles on their legs and so much pressure to stay on top, their bodies might have had enough of it. No one ever said it’s easy to be the best. 5.

Afterward, Casillas said he couldn’t explain what happened and apologized to the team’s fans for disappointing them.
“They should know that we gave all we had,” he said. He added, “This squad didn’t deserve to go out like this.”

6. But for every amazing athlete and every great team, there comes an end. Sometimes, it comes slowly, the way it did for Michael Jordan when he couldn’t dazzle us with his spectacular play as much as before. And sometimes, it comes fast, like one day waking up to a pair of creaky knees that refuse to do anyone’s bidding.

Only one thing is certain: Even the best can’t avoid the end.

The Chilean fans were so riled up before the game that nearly 100 of them stormed one gate of the stadium, broke fences and sprinted into the news media center, knocking over a temporary wall in the chaos. They were led out by the police. Spain’s team went out much more quietly.

After a few final tries to control the ball, they tripped over themselves and realized their efforts were pointless. 7.. Spain’s grand squad, which had been a marvel in the sport for so many years, walked off the field in silence.

by juliet macur nytimes