Happy Burns night! Well, almost! On the 25th of January, Scots and lovers of poetry around the world celebrate Robert Burns, our national poet.
Burns is best know as the writer of one of the top 3 most known songs in the English language (Auld Lang Syne), however his talents go much further! He was a man ahead of his time, writing poetry and songs about inequality, the value of money over people, and the environment. And of course, love. Rab (as he is often called in Scotland) liked the ladies, as his poetry reflects.
It's traditional to celebrate him with a Burns Supper, a night where we eat haggis, drink whiskey and read and sing his poetry and songs. We have collected some links for you to plan your perfect Burns night and learn all about him, at the same time as practising your English!
The lovely people at Visit Scotland have prepared some brilliant PDF resources explaining all about the history of Burns, and how to plan the perfect night, from selected poems to recipes.
Please click the appropriate link for your level
Listening practice No Burns supper is complete without haggis! Learn here how to hunt one down ;)
There are lots of ways to access information about Burns and his poetry. The always wonderful Scottish Poetry Library has a great summary of his life and selection of poetry which you can find HERE .
Burns wrote mianly in Scots, not in English, so it can be difficult to understand his poetry, even for Scottish people! However, you can find some translations of poems into English HERE and a useful Burns translator from The National Trust for Scotland HERE.
And to finish, the wonderful Scottish singer Sheena Wellington performing A Man's a Man for a'That at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1997. This a beautiful song and poem about how we should value the person, not their money, and that all people are equal. You can find the poem in Scots and English below.
We hope you have a wonderful Burns night! Slàinte!
There is only one thing being talked about in Scotland at the moment, and that is the result of the independence referendum on the 18th of September. On the morning of the 19th, we will know if Scotland has chosen to go it alone or remain part of the UK.
Regardless of personal opinion, it is extremely important to understand how we have arrived at this point and discuss the possibilities. So, we have put together a class all about the history before the referendum with lots of great videos and a selection of useful vocabulary.
These resources are also great for teachers to download if you'd like to use them with your class.
As always, our materials are 100% free, we just ask that you share them with your friends!
You can find the downloadable material at the top of the blog, just click for the PDF, and you can find the videos listed below.
Whatever happens on the 19th, the debate so far has been peaceful, respectful, intelligent and eye-opening. Here at The Edinburgh Experience we think that spirit will continue regardless of the result. What do you think the result will be? Leave us a comment!
Looking for English classes? Our academic year has started in Edinburgh, have a look HERE for more information.
For our ADVANCED class, you can find the 1979 referendum and mine closure videos at this link, along with a great summary of our recent history
Video of Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond
For the INTERMEDIATE level you can find the YES campaign video here
And the video from the NO campaign
You'll find the answers on page 2 of the PDF. Next, you need to watch the Irn Bru version!
After Nessie there is an homage to the famous painting, The Monarch of the Glen, and then we see the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which you can see in the Harry Potter films. They then fly over the stunning Eilean Donan Castle and finally two of Glasgow's landmarks, The Royal Concert Hall and George Square. Please click on the name of each place in red to read more information.
We're sure that after seeing all these amazing places, your New Years's resolution will be to visit Scotland in 2014, and of course you can perfectly combine your visit with our courses. In 2014 we will also be launching our course exclusively for teachers working in bilingual schools. We'll have more information on this after the holidays.
Please have a look at last year's December blog Christmas special, which has lots of information about our traditions. You can also see the full film of the Snowman HERE. And until next time.....
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE EDINBURGH EXPERIENCE
Happy Halloween to you all! At The Edinburgh Experience, we LOVE Halloween and want to share our reason why with you! Most people think of Halloween only as a commercial holiday, but it's so much more than that! Find out today about the history of the day and how we celebrate it in Scotland.
INTERESTING HALLOWEEN FACT - "Trick or treat" is translated in Spanish as "truco o trato", but this is incorrect. The word "treat" in this context means something special which you don't normally have. You could transalte it as "capricho" or "algo especial". This is a great example of why you ALWAYS need to look at the context of language.
THIS MONTH'S LESSON - Please download our PDF where you can read a text about the history of Halloween in Scotland, and also the roots of the tradition in the United States. You can listen and read at the same time, if you press the TEXT AUDIO button.
We also have lots of great vocabulary for talking about fears and phobias. Listen to the VOCAB AUDIO button where you can hear an explanation for each word and match them to the definitions on the PDF. You'll find the answers on page 3.
We've also included a list of discussion questions for teachers to use in class.
And as an extra treat, enjoy Michael Jackson's Thriller below with lyrics!
Until next time!
The Edinburgh Experience Team
Phrasal verbs are a very important part of the English language. They are informal and so people use them all the time. It’s crucial that you can incorporate them into your vocabulary in order to improve your level of speaking AND listening. However, don’t panic about learning lists of 100s of verbs! Just learn them as they appear. The most important thing is to learn them in context as they very often change meaning. Today we’re looking at them in the context of Christmas! Look at the verbs in the text and see if you can guess what they mean. Listen to the AUDIO to hear the explanation then check your answers at the end of the PDF. Don't forget to click on the links to get your little Christmas presents from us!
Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet up with friends and family. Everywhere looks lovely because all the Christmas lights have been put up and it feels like there’s magic in the air! I love wrapping up presents, lighting up the fire and getting into the Christmas spirit.
In the UK, the main holidays are 24th, 25th, 26th and 31st of December. The 24th is called Christmas Eve. It’s more common to spend this day with friends rather than family, usually having a few drinks in the pub. Children make sure they hang up their stockings on thefireplace and then they leave milk and biscuits for Santa Claus! When everyone is asleep, Santa comes down the chimney and leaves the presents.
The 25th is the day we spend with family. In the morning we open the presents and then start getting ready for Christmas Dinner. The traditional meal these days is turkey with roast potatoes, brussel sprouts and stuffing and for dessert Christmas Pudding, which is a calorie bomb! Everyone sits down and before we start to eat we have to pull a cracker. Crackers are a big Christmas tradition in the UK. Inside there is a joke, a paper hat and a present. Each person pulls one end and when it opens it makes a bang. After dinner most people watch the
Queen’s speech on the TV. In my family we usually play games and sing
along to Christmas Carols.
The 26th is called Boxing Day. Originally it was the day that the rich gave their servants a box with presents. Now it’s famous because it’s the first day of the sales. People run to the shops to try and snap up a
The last big celebration is 31stof December, New Year’s Eve. In Scotland
it has a different name, Hogmanay. For some people in Scotland this is a bigger celebration that Christmas! Hogmanay has its roots in a pagan festival. In fact, in Edinburgh on the 29th there is a beautiful torch light procession which ends with burning a Viking boat! Normally on the 31st you “see the bells in”, or celebrate midnight, and then go “first footing”. This is when you go to visit other people’s houses. To get good luck for the new year you need to have a tall dark and handsome first footer who brings you coal!
The only thing I hate about Christmas is taking down the tree! It makes me feel very sad that the holidays are over!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
Learn vocabulary and expressions while you communicate in English! Please feel free to comment on our posts or ask any questions