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Día Europeo de las Lenguas

¡Estamos de fiesta!

Celebramos el Día Europeo de las Lenguas, creado durante el Año Europeo de las Lenguas en 2001, por iniciativa del Consejo de Europa y la Unión Europea. Hay cientos de actividades en toda Europa para celebrar y promover la diversidad lingüística, el plurilingüismo y el aprendizaje de idiomas durante toda la vida.


Este día especial marca el punto de partida del descubrimiento de una cultura diferente y del aprendizaje de un nuevo idioma que está al alcance de todos y abre nuevos horizontes.

Si quieres saber mas sobre la celebración este día, pincha en el enlace siguiente: Consejo de Europa

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Primus tempus

Qu’est-ce qui commence le 20 mars et se finit le 21 juin ?


UNE PISTE ?

Les oiseaux chantent, les fleurs colorent les jardins, le soleil illumine les journées...
Oui, le printemps est là, bien installé depuis quelques semaines déjà. J’ai toujours des billets en rédaction permanente dans ma tête, qui parleraient de pédagogie, de grammaire, de phonétique... Mais je manque de temps ! Et maintenant, j’ai envie de chanter et de faire un  petit tour des festivités qui ont lieu entre le 20 mars (journée de la francophonie) et le 21 juin (fête de la musique).
En attendant, si vous voulez pratiquer le français, je vous invite à chanter « le printemps » à tue-tête avec vos vedettes préférées : « Rose de mai », »Y’a le printemps qui chante », « Dès que le printemps revient », « Rêves de printemps », « Le temps du muguet »...  Vous pouvez retrouver ces chansons sur le site de l’Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (ina.fr).

JOURNÉE INTERNATIONALE DE LA FRANCOPHONIE

Il s’agit d’un événement créé en 1988 où 70 États et gouvernements de l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie célèbrent leur lien commun -la langue française- et leur diversité.




POISSON D’AVRIL

Je vous propose de regarder et écouter la vidéo suivante, histoire d’un chat ... et d’un poisson.


Le 1er avril, en France et dans bien d’autres pays, les poissons et les blagues sont partout. Les enfants accrochent un « poisson d’avril » dans le dos d’un camarade de classe (ou d’un professeur). Ce jour-là, les médias ont aussi l’habitude de diffuser sérieusement une fausse nouvelle. Vous êtes-vous retrouvé piégé ?

LUNDI DE PÂQUES

Lundi de Pâques est un jour férié selon une tradition héritée du Moyen Âge, accordée entre le Pape et Napoléon Bonaparte en 1801. Dans la tradition populaire, ce jour est marqué par la chasse aux œufs de Pâques par les enfants.

FÊTE DU 1er MAI

Le 1er mai, en France, surtout en région parisienne, offrir un brin de muguet est une tradition royale incontournable (depuis 1561). Le muguet est une fleur porte-bonheur qui marque l’arrivée du printemps et attire les bonnes grâces pour de futures récoltes. Mais ce n’est qu’au début du XXe siècle, qu’il sera associé à la Fête du Travail qui tire ses origines dans l’histoire du monde ouvrier.

ET PUIS ?

Le 8 mai, c’est la Fête de la Victoire – Commémoration de la « capitulation sans condition » de l’Allemagne nazie mettant fin à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale.
Il y a d’autres jours fériés pendant cette saison en France, selon des fêtes religieuses, tel que Jeudi de l’Ascension ou Lundi de Pentecôte.
Et pour être bref, on ne va pas citer d’autres fêtes civiles mais non fériés qui ont lieu aussi pendant ces mois-ci, tels que la Fête des mères (dernier dimanche de mai) et celle des pères (troisième dimanche de juin), etc.

FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE

Chaque 21 juin, une grande manifestation populaire est ouverte dans les rues, les places, les jardins, les cours de musées, à tous les participants amateurs ou professionnels s’adressant à tous les publics. On propose aussi des concerts dans les hôpitaux et les prisons. La Fête de la Musique a commencé en France en 1982. Elle est présente aujourd’hui dans plus de 100 pays sur les cinq continents.

PROVERBE


« En avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil ; en mai, fais ce qu’il te plaît ». Et en juin ? De trois habits, n’en garde qu’un.
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MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Hello, everyone! I hope that you are saving enough energy for one of the most emotive moments of the year: Christmas, which we will be celebrating next week. In the Catholic world, each family and each culture has its own way of experiencing the symbolic birth of Jesus Christ to redeem the Humanity from sin. But do we know what the origins of Christmas are? And, which is more important, who is Santa Claus and why does he show such a big generosity in bringing presents to kids around the World? Let’s explore the sense and the evolution of this celebration. Will you join me?

In Ancient times the winter solstice was a crucial moment for every human community after the invention of agriculture and cattle rising: during the autumn, darkness had conquered daily life, shortening the hours of insolation and condemning the people to a season of terror, when they lived in permanent fear of being attacked by bad spirits and of not seeing the light again. As a result of increasing darkness, harvest could not go on either, so the whole community had to live on its savings, hoping that the gods were beneficent enough as to allow them to grow food again within the next weeks. December 21st marked the moment when their good hopes came true: once more, darkness would give way to sunlight, which would re-conquer its territory little by little, letting people undertake their rural occupations again until spring rewarded them for their efforts, with natural species came back to life in a whole explosion of colours. That is why the Romans institutionalised the celebration of the winter solstice as the Saturnalia, in order to honour Saturn, god of agriculture, between December 17th and 23rd. When Christianity became official in the Roman Empire, by the end of the 4th century A.D., priests and other religious authorities thought it convenient to make Jesus’ birthdate coincide with that of the Saturnalia, which was already so popular, to make it easier for the new religion to win support among Roman people. Only they moved it a few days forward, from December 21st to the 24th.
And what about Santa Claus? In him two different traditions merge: on the one hand, that of Teutonic god Odin, who was believed to give presents to children; on the other hand, that of Saint Nicolas of Bari, archbishop of Myra (in Turkey) in the 4th century A.D., who assisted a father that had not enough money to marry his three daughters by giving the latter a vast amount of golden coins, which he put into the sockets that the girls had hung out on the window of their house.  As centuries passed by, the man who had been so benevolent not only towards those three sisters, but also to every children around him, was remembered every Christmas in the shape of an elderly character, with white beard and moustache, always smiling, who gave presents to children that had behaved properly along the year.

 That is how present-day Christmas celebrations took place, adding of course the most important element: the familiar atmosphere that presides the dinner that we share with our beloved, or the love and tenderness that we provide to people that cannot spend the night with their relatives, but whom we try to make feel like home. Because the ‘Christmas spirit’ must be present in our lives not only in December, but also during the whole year. Don’t you agree?


Autor: Antonio Jesús Pinto
Profesor en 121 Conversation. Es Doctor en Historia Contemporánea. Ha vivido en Londres, Nueva York y Pittsburg. Tiene una amplia experiencia como profesor de inglés. Por su  experiencia y su formación profesional, dice estar "convencido que mis clases ayudarán al alumno a coger soltura y a tener más confianza en si mismo a la hora de hablar el inglés".
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Society and work: spaces for intercultural links

Hi everyone; in this article I wish to share with you some thoughts about the implications of today’s multicultural society in work environments, as well as in the classroom. Maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, either in Spain or in any other Western country, it was rather common to share the classroom and the working space with people that had the same culture as us. There were only a few countries with well-known imperial past that hosted some people from their former colonies, but they were an exception and they used to regard immigrants as second-class citizens. A radical shift in the situation occurred by the late 1990s and early 2000s, when economic prosperity and mass media spread the Western way of life and turned the ‘civilised West’ into de destination of hundreds of thousands of migrants that longed for a better living.
As a result of the situation, we share our everyday spaces with people from different cultural contexts and it is necessary to stress the importance of tolerance and respect to make possible a comfortable work atmosphere, specially in a moment of economic recession like the one we are living, in which xenophobic proclaims that blame ‘the other’ for our own faults gain more and more popular support. Either at the school, at the university, or at the worksite, we must regard other cultures as experiences different from our own that we have to know in order to enrich our knowledge of the world around us. In our minds, ‘the other’ must always be an endless source of information about how different peoples experience life in a broad sense: how they live religiousness, what their values are, which their main celebrations and their special rituals are, what their consideration towards the other is, etc. Getting to know these aspects will not only help us understand everyone better, even people from our same culture: it can even make us reconsider some aspects of our lives and change certain elements of our cultural discourse to adapt them to our daily life. In addition, it will enable us to use the proper expressions when talking to other colleagues and to understand better what they imply when they make suggestions or remarks, too: this is the main goal and the best result of studying and using foreign languages in our job (or any other daily routines) from a grammatical as well as from a cultural perspective. And that is why nowadays a well-respected trend in teaching and learning foreign languages is to frame them within the cultural background in which they were produced.
In the different scenarios that I have mentioned before there are always very good chances to become interested about different cultural elements: religion, celebrations and rituals, costumes... that become especially visible in certain moments. For instance, if we are dealing with a Brazilian company we will need of course to speak Portuguese, but we will also have to bear in mind that there are significant differences between our concept of time and theirs, so if you want something finished for ‘tomorrow’ you may want to clarify that you mean ‘the day after today’, not ‘a certain moment within the next few days’. Another common situation occurs when we are sent to work in a foreign country, and we receive lessons of its language but not of its work culture, that is: what their daily timetable is, whether they respect punctuality or not, to what degree they trust each person’s individual initiatives... And of course, it is crucial to know about how people tend to salute each other in other cultures: in Spain men usually shake hands, women kiss each other in both cheeks, and men and women do the same between them, since shaking hands is regarded as extra formal and rather cold. But... look out! French people always kiss each other every time they meet again, whereas the British and the Germans tend to shake hands, as do the Italians. As you can see, all the aforementioned aspects may escape our thoughts, but they can easily lead to uncomfortable misunderstandings if they are not taken into account, since they will condition our interaction with the others.

The ideal attitude towards different cultural manifestations is curiosity and eagerness to learn, as well as to empathise with them and turn them into a part of us when we need to use them in our job. Thus we will create an atmosphere of tolerance and respect, and also of reciprocal influence that makes us mentally wealthier and socially wiser. And that is the main reason why we must transmit these values to our children, so they become rooted in everyone’s minds from an early stage of their lives. One may argue that sometimes we confront intolerance when trying to know ‘the other’, but if we persevere and at the same time we show a good disposition to share our own cultural discourse, resistance will undoubtedly give way to a more welcoming attitude to dialogue and to making a multicultural society possible. 


Autor: Antonio Jesús Pinto
Profesor en 121 Conversation. Es Doctor en Historia Contemporánea. Ha vivido en Londres, Nueva York y Pittsburg. Tiene una amplia experiencia como profesor de inglés. Por su  experiencia y su formación profesional, dice estar "convencido que mis clases ayudarán al alumno a coger soltura y a tener más confianza en si mismo a la hora de hablar el inglés".