Sunday, October 30, 2011

The History Of Halloween

Halloween is one of the world's oldest holidays, dating back to pagan times. But it is celebrated today by more people in more countries than ever before. There's a simple reason: it is fun and it is good, clean, harmless fun for young and old alike! Also see Halloween around the world and see this page of current Halloween facts and statistics.

Since much of the history of Halloween wasn't written down for centuries; some of it is still sketchy and subject to debate. But the most plausible theory is that Halloween originated in the British Isles out of the Pagan Celtic celebration of Samhain. It goes back as far as 5 B.C. It was believed that spirits rose from the dead and mingled with the living on this day. The Celts left food at their doors to encourage good spirits and wore masks to scare off the bad ones. Some historians believe that the Romans who invaded England added a few of their own traditions to the celebration of Samhain; such as celebrating the end of the harvest and honoring the dead; others say that since the Romans never conquered the Celts (Ireland and Scotland) there was no mingling of cultures, and that the Celts celebrated the end of the harvest and honored their dead in this way, anyway!

Many centuries later, the Roman Catholic church, in an attempt to do away with pagan holidays, such as Halloween (and Christmas, which had been the Roman pagan holiday of Saturnalia) established November 1st as All Saint's Day (in French, la Toussaint), in celebration of all the saints who do not have their own holy day. This attempt to detract attention from the pagan celebration of Samhain didn't work. The celebrations on the eve of All Saint's Day continued to grow and change! During the massive Irish immigration into America in the 1840s, Halloween found its way to the United States, where it continued to flourish!

It is also believed that the Christian practice of celebrating the evening before a holiday, such as Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, etc. came from the Jewish traditions. Jewish days and holidays begin with the evening before. Always have, as Judaism follows a lunar calendar in which the sunsets begin the new day. Many Christian groups now observe holy days from sundown on one day until sundown on the following day.

The modern name, Halloween comes from "All Hallows' Evening," or in their slang "All Hallow's Even", the eve of All Hallows' Day. "Hallow" is an Old English word for "holy person," and All Hallows' Day is just another name for All Saints' Day, eventually, it became abbreviated to "Hallowe'en" and then "Halloween."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jack O'Lantern

Legend has it that an Irish blacksmith called Jack shared drinks with the Devil on a Halloween night. Jack was an evil and stingy man, but he was also very clever, and he knew that the Devil had come to claim his soul. So, he quickly devised a plan. When it came to paying the bartender, Jack told the Devil, “You can take any form you wish; just change yourself into a silver coin, let me use you to pay for the drinks, and then you can change yourself back and take my soul.”

The Devil agreed and changed himself into a silver coin. Jack, however, quickly put the coin in his pocket where he also kept a little silver Cross. The Devil wasn’t able to change back to his original form, so Jack offered him a deal, “If you leave me alone for 10 years, I’ll set you free.” The Devil had no choice but to agree.

Ten years later, the Devil came back to claim Jack’s soul. “Okay, you can have my soul now,” Jack said, “Could you just climb that apple tree first and give me an apple?” The Devil thought he had nothing to lose and climbed the apple tree, but Jack quickly pulled out his knife and carved a Cross in the trunk of the tree. Thus the Devil wasn’t able to come back down again, and Jack offered him another deal, “If you promise never to come back to claim my soul, I’ll set you free.” Again, the Devil had no choice but to agree, and he never came back to claim Jack’s soul.

Many years later, Jack finally died. When he went to Heaven, he was denied entrance, because he had been so evil and stingy all his life. Then Jack went to Hell, but, as he had tricked the Devil, he wasn’t allowed to stay there either. Instead, the Devil sent Jack back to earth and gave him a burning coal as a light to guide him. Jack placed the piece of coal inside a turnip, and went back to earth, where, ever since, he has been wandering alone in the darkness.

Jack and his lantern became the symbol of a lost or damned soul. To scare these souls away on Halloween, people in Ireland carved or painted faces on turnips and placed them in windows or doorways. In America, Irish immigrants discovered that turnips were hard to get. So they started to make their lanterns out of pumpkins, a fruit native to America.

Questions on the text:
Go here!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Halloween Mystery

In a horrible castle (not too far away from your home) there lived a horrible Duke with his horrible wife and their horrible servants. One morning the Duke was dead–murdered by one of the other horrible people living in the castle.

When the residents of the castle were interviewed by the police, every person gave two correct answers and told one lie.

This is what they said:

Follow this link to continue the mystery

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gulliver's Travels

Paramount Pictures presents this everlasting story from 1938.

Watch this charming tale of Gulliver in the land of Lilliput. Timeless and wonderfully done!

To view the movie follow this link.

Key Word Transformations

Cambridge English: CAE Use of English 5

We dread this task.

But the more we practice the better we get!

Here are some examples:

The results show attendance has risen dramatically during the last year.
The results show a dramatic rise in attendance during the last year.

You probably won't find a better deal for a holiday.
The chances are you probably won't find a better deal for a holiday.

Ready to give it a go?

The Mini

Watch a report on the mini from International Express Upper Intermediate.
Begin here

Monday, October 17, 2011

Global Warming

Finally - scientific proof!

Read about global warming on Simple English Wikipedia

It's not SNOW!!!

The Oregon coast is where I come from. Florence Oregon to be specific.

Check this out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Simple English Wikipedia

This is an excerpt the front page of the Simple English Wikipedia. Wikipedias are places where people work together to write encyclopedias in different languages. We use Simple English words and grammar here. The Simple English Wikipedia is for everyone! That includes children and adults who are learning English.
Follow this link

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rest in Peace Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, 1955–2011: Mourning Technology's Great Reinventor

Read more here

Monday, October 10, 2011


- so fragen Sie richtig Even those who have a good command of English have trouble with questions – and some of them don’t even know it. The little things can trip you up. Check the following rules to correct any of the errors you might unknowingly be making. Begin here Thanks to business English trainer



Write the sentence again, using the word in brackets. The meaning must stay exactly the same.

Bring it to me for checking-or email it if you prefer! Good Luck.

1. She is a very good English speaker.
You would think it was her native language.

2. There were so many people in the room that we couldn't move.

3. We missed the film because there was such a lot of traffic.

4. I can't wear this coat in winter, It's not warm enough.

5. When he speaks English, I can't understand what he says.

6. We lost the match although we were the better team.

7. In spite of not having eaten for 24 hours, I didn't feel hungry.
(even though)

8. Despite her injured foot, she managed to walk to the village.

9. The football match is still going on.

10. Has Jane got divorced yet?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fairy Tale Time

The Princess and the Pea
There was once a prince, and he wanted a princess, but then she must be a real Princess. He travelled right around the world to find one, but there was always something wrong. There were plenty of princesses, but whether they were real princesses he had great difficulty in discovering; there was always something which was not quite right about them. So at last he had come home again, and he was very sad because he wanted a real princess so badly.

One evening there was a terrible storm; it thundered and lightninged and the rain poured down in torrents; indeed it was a fearful night.

In the middle of the storm somebody knocked at the town gate, and the old King himself sent to open it.

It was a princess who stood outside, but she was in a terrible state from the rain and the storm. The water streamed out of her hair and her clothes; it ran in at the top of her shoes and out at the heel, but she said that she was a real princess.

‘Well we shall soon see if that is true,’ thought the old Queen, but she said nothing. She went into the bedroom, took all the bed clothes off and laid a pea on the bedstead: then she took twenty mattresses and piled them on top of the pea, and then twenty feather beds on top of the mattresses. This was where the princess was to sleep that night. In the morning they asked her how she slept.

‘Oh terribly bad!’ said the princess. ‘I have hardly closed my eyes the whole night! Heaven knows what was in the bed. I seemed to be lying upon some hard thing, and my whole body is black and blue this morning. It is terrible!’

They saw at once that she must be a real princess when she had felt the pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. Nobody but a real princess could have such a delicate skin.

So the prince took her to be his wife, for now he was sure that he had found a real princess, and the pea was put into the Museum, where it may still be seen if no one has stolen it.

Now this is a true story.

Fairy tales are classic fictional stories with a moral or lesson and usually have a happy -- or fairy tale -- ending. They usually take place in a far away land and include one or more make-believe characters such as:
• Princesses
• Princes
• Fairies
• Goblins
• Talking animals
• Mythical animals
• Giants
• Trolls
• Elves
• Humans with special or magical powers
The stories are usually far-fetched and are very attractive since they are easy to understand and can identify with the characters. Shorter tales usually have fewer characters and the morals are usually simple:
• Good triumphs over evil
• Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
• Don't be greedy
• Don't take things at face value
• Be careful what you wish

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Much and Many - jedes Mal richtig!

When to use much and when to use many can be confusing.
Some help for German speaking learners.

Begin here

Special thanks to business English trainer

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Prefix/Suffix Multiple Choice

Choose the best available answer for each of the following:

1) This newspaper is a BIWEEKLY.
a) the newspaper is published once a week
b) the newspaper is published three times a week
c) the newspaper is published twice a week

2) This medicine is a nasal DECONGESTANT.
a) the medicine helps to reduce nasal congestion
b) the medicine causes nasal congestion
c) the medicine makes your nose bigger

3) That shopping bag is REUSABLE.
a) throw the shopping bag away, we won’t need it again
b) don’t throw away the shopping bag because we can use it again.
c) if you throw the shopping bag we cannot use it again

4) I’m sorry I MISREAD the notice and therefore MISUNDERSTOOD the message.
a) Did not read the notice correctly and therefore did not understand correctly.
b) Read the notice and understood the message correctly
c) Did not read the notice and therefore did not understand the message.

5) We usually do not publish articles we don’t PREVIEW.
a) we usually read articles before publication
b) we do not read articles after publication
c) we read articles the day we publish them

6) REFORESTATION will help to RESTORE our environment.
a) planting trees again will REPLENISH our environment.
b) cutting down trees will further help to worsen the environment.
c) forests should be cut to improve the worsening environmental pollution

7) DEFORESTATION will cause environmental DEPLETION.
a) Means planting trees will help our environment from DEPLETION
b) Means cutting down trees will cause further environmental DEPLETION
c) Means too many forests will cause further environmental DEPLETION

8) Why is it called “OCTOBER” when it is not the eighth month of the year?
a) Because this is an exception with the OCTO prefix.
b) There is no reason why.
c) Because October used to be the eighth month of the Roman Calendar.

Now scroll down to check your answers.

1. = c
2. = a
3. = b
4. = a
5. = a
6. = a
7. = b
8. = c

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Does Your Homework Help You Learn?

Feedback please.

Leave a comment on if you think homework:

Helps you learn more?

Not enough?

Too much?

Quality of assignments?

Anonymous comments appreciated!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Have something done

If you 'have something done', you get somebody else to do something for you.

•I'm going to have my hair cut.
•She's having her house redecorated.
•I'm having a copy of the report sent to you

In informal English, we can replace 'have' by 'get'.

•We're getting a new telephone system installed.
•They will be getting the system repaired as quickly as they can.
•I got the bill sent direct to the company.

We can also use 'have/got something done' in situations where something bad has happened to people or their possessions. This is not something they wanted to happen.

•John had all his money stolen from his hotel bedroom.
•We had our car damaged by a falling tree.
•I got my nose broken playing rugby.

Exercises here