Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Classified as a comedy, The Merchant of Venice  can be seen as being part of the group of Shakespearean plays which stand on the borderline between comedy and tragedy. It is not a true tragedy as none of the characters actually die, but it is a dark comedy which deals with some very controversial problems and it is best remembered for the character of Shylock, the Jewish moneylender who is portrayed as a greedy, wicked and revengeful individual. Without the Shylock character, however, The Merchant of Venice  might be considered a minor Shakespearean play. No other character (excluding, perhaps, Hamlet) in any of Shakespeare's plays has received as much dispute and commentary about his meaning and interpretation as Shylock.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


William Shakespeare created a lot of captivating characters, and most of them are the villains. They show the worst of human characteristics: ambition, jealousy, hatred, resentment, malignity … all of the ugly things that bring out the worst in all of us. In some cases, it is rather disquieting  to think that a fictitious character  can be capable of such horrors. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


One of the best things about the lazy days of summer is having more time to read. It is wonderful to sit outside on a beautiful day, smelling the grass and feeling the breeze, lost in a good book.  I think summer holidays and books should be  inseparable!
Here are some reading tips for your carefree summer days!

What about downloading  The Canterville Ghost? It is one of the most popular short stories by Oscar Wilde, widely adapted for the screen and the stage. 
Then you could download Kate Chopin's short story Désirée’s Baby as well as William Wilson, which is Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous character study of the doppelganger, or double, a theme explored in a similar way by the film Fight Club. 
I could also suggest reading  Henry James's ghost story The Turn of the Screw  -  this is a novella, which means that it is shorter than a traditional novel but focusing on actions of greater scope than the short story.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Pronunciation is one of the most complex problems facing non-native speakers of English. It is the principal obstacle to overcome when trying to achieve fluency. Many non-native speakers have studied grammar for many years, but are unable to speak like native speakers due to their incapability to pronounce the sounds of words correctly.
In point of fact, your pronunciation is the first and most important thing native speakers notice during a conversation. Knowing grammar and vocabulary are important but useless if you are unable to pronounce those structures or words correctly. Also, native speakers are more likely to understand you if you make grammatical mistakes,  rather than if you make mistakes in pronunciation. Mispronunciation  will keep you from effectively communicating with native English speakers. Achieving good pronunciation should be your main goal!

English is a language that has many different accents  which are different from pronunciation. In fact, pronunciation is the way in which a word is pronounced. Accent is a series of pronunciation, rhythm and emphasis that is local to a region or city. It is important to pronounce words correctly so that you are understandable.                                            
Accent isn’t necessarily important, you can speak English with a Spanish accent for example and be totally understandable if you are pronouncing the words correctly. This accent will tell people that you are from Spain and that your first language is probably not English.
Realize that the English spoken in England, Australia or Canada is different than the English spoken in the United States. Even within these countries there is a wide range of accents. People from New York speak different English than people from San Francisco. In any case, if  your pronunciation is good, you will be understood anywhere you go!

Sunday, 7 July 2013


Under the Tuscan Sun is a 2003 romantic comedy  film.  Based on Frances Mayes' 1996 memoir, the film is about a just-divorced American writer who buys a villa in Tuscany, hoping it will be the start of a change for the better in her life.

Frances is a writer in her mid-'30s who feels emotionally upset after her divorce. Unhappy and unable to write, she doesn’t know what to do with her life, and her best friend Patti decides she needs some time away from her problems - Patti gives Frances a ticket for a two-week tour of the Tuscany region of Italy; while there, Frances finds a decaying old villa. Charmed by the kindness, beauty, and charm of the small town of Cortona, she on impulse decides to buy the villa, thinking she can fix it up herself. She hires a crew of Polish immigrants to renovate the house. Over time Frances develops a new confidence as she makes friends with her neighbours and finds love with a handsome local named Marcello, but their relationship does not last. She is about to give up on happiness ...

I recommend you watch this delightful film which has an enjoyable story,  excellent scenery and charming characters ...  Just an old favourite of mine!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Monday, 1 July 2013