After a long break we are back on the blog! We will be inviting guest bloggers over the next few months, and this month it is our wonderful teacher Rebecca who has written a great post about the differences between American and British English. She has included some briliant vocabulary for you to learn too! If you want to study with the best teachers in town, check out our courses HERE, starting from only £5 an hour.
EXPRESS YOURSELF! By Rebecca Jackson
Language learners: raise your virtual hands if you’ve ever felt frustrated by not being able to fully express yourself. Being unable to convey your emotions, attitudes, and desires in the target language can certainly result in feeling defeated. I’ve felt this frustration before while studying Spanish in university and working with children in parts of South America. However, as a native English speaker, I was completely unprepared to feel it in the UK.
As some of my students know, I originally come from the USA. Specifically, I’m from Louisiana, but I’ve come by way of Baltimore, Maryland, where I lived for a few years before moving across the pond. Before arriving to Scotland I had been advised by other expats that had gone before me. I learned quickly that not all accents are the same, and that it was OK to ask for clarification when an accent was too thick for me to understand. I knew not to say “fanny” or “pants” in public. What I hadn’t been told, though, were the different uses of phrasal verbs. While this may seem trivial, it has actually resulted in a few, well, uncomfortable situations.
One of my more embarrassing encounters occurred while at a shop after I had been living in Edinburgh for nearly 2 years. I went to buy some special water-proofing detergent for my raincoat. There was a young guy working the till (20-ish years old), but he didn’t notice me approach the counter. So I asked, politely, “Hi, would you mind ringing me up?”
And he blushed. Like the wide-eyed, pink-cheeked emoji.
So there I was, holding an armful of 3 detergent bottles, and completely confused about what I did wrong. I finally asked, “Is that OK or should I go somewhere else?” To which he replied, “OH! You mean at the till… I thought you were asking me to call you.”
Then I proceeded to out-blush him and make things even more awkward and uncomfortable by saying, “That won’t be necessary.” I don’t think the pink left my cheeks until 15 minutes after leaving the shop.
Now, having lived in Edinburgh for four-ish years, I’ve definitely learned through experiences of trial and error. I’m sure there are still many “British-isms” that I’m unaware of, but, for your enjoyment, I’ve made a wee list of what I consider to be “Very British Phrasal Verbs.”
1) To come by way of: the place between point A and point B.
2) “Across the pond” is a common expression referring to the country across the Atlantic. When used by US English speakers, it typically refers to Great Britain, although it can also refer to other European/African countries.
3) A “thick” accent is another way to say a “strong” accent.
4) This is a special type of soap to use in the washing machine in order to protect your jacket against rain. In my personal experience, it doesn’t actually help that much in Scottish climate.
5)When your arms are holding something and are otherwise not free.
6) To “out-VERB” someone is when you exceed them in the given action. So, to “out-run” someone would be to run faster than them.
The Christmas Countdown has begun! To help you celebrate we have made you an extra special present this year, our very own Edinburgh Experience advent calender!
An advent calender is a tradition where you open a door which corresponds to the date and find a special treat. Our treats are all chosen to help you work on your English and learn about our Christms traditions. Check out the calendar everyday to see what we have prepared for you.
You can find a link to our advent calender by clicking the picture below. We will have a reminder on our Facebook page everyday!
We close for Christmas 18th December and open again 18th January. We are now taking bookings for next term so please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Happy Advent Calendar Opening!
The Edinburgh Experience Team
Click the picture of the calendar below to go to our one!
Great Scott! It's Back to the Future Day! It is hard to believe that we've finally arrived in 2015! We are HUGE fans of the trilogy here at The Edinburgh Experience, so we had to do an (extremely overdue!) blog entry to celebrate.
We've prepared a listening and speaking class for you all about what Back to the Future thought the future was going to be like, and the reality of it!
As always, you can find the PDF to accompny the videos pressing the PDF button. If you are doing the lesson as self study, all videos have subtitle options if you click CC.
If you have any questions about vocabulary, or would like to leave us a message, just write a comment and we will get back to you.
We still have a couple of spaces available on some of our courses, so if you are looking for an excellent English course in Edinburgh, please contact us on email@example.com. Prices starta t only £85 a month!
Video 1 Video 2
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!
A very Merry Christmas from The Edinburgh Experience! We can't believe that we have nearly reached the end of our third year!
As always, we have prepared a special Christmas blog post for you. This year, we couldn't stop laughing at the comedy group 4 Screws Loose's excellent telling of the nativity through pop songs. So, we decided it would be the perfect option for a Christmas listening class!
Just click on the PDF button to download the materials. First of all read through the lyrics and see if you recognise any of them. Then, watch the video and fill in the missing words. You can find the answers on page two. Remember, no cheating, or Santa won't bring you a present! You can find the video below.
It's been a great year for us here after a wonderful summer and a great start to our regular academic courses. If you are looking for excellent teaching at affordable prices in the city centre of Edinburgh, look no further! We are now taking bookings for January 2015.
But for now we will be signing off until the New Year. We wish you, your friends and your family all the best for the holidays and Hogmanay! Remember to have a look at our archives for other great Christmas themed posts, including a Christmas phrasal verb special.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY HOGMANAY -
The Edinburgh Experience Team
We make no secret of Halloween being one of our favourite nights of the year! Last year we did a great blog post about the history of Halloween and how we celebrate it in Scotland. You can find it in our blog archive. Look under October 2013.
This year we thought we'd do something a little different and get you to do some listening practice and learn some new vocabulary while you get to dance around your living room to what is probably the best Halloween song EVER, Thriller by Michael Jackson.
You can find the worksheet by clicking the PDF button, and the video is below. We've highlighted lots of excellent verbs of movement for you to learn using a dictionary. Our favourite online dictionary is Word Reference. You can find a direct link HERE. Please leave us a comment if you have any questions about how to use the verbs correctly.
And teachers, as always you are very welcome to use our materials for free!
We hope you have a brilliant Halloween and that you only meet friendly ghosts!
Until next time
The Edinburgh Experience Team
Use this video for the listening on the PDF worksheet
And below you can enjoy the full "Thriller" 13 minute movie - enjoy!
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
Due to popular demand, we are happy to announce that as of September 2014 we will be running regular courses throughout the academic year! We are continuing our policy of bringing you the best possible teaching at affordable prices, with courses at ONLY £80 a month for four hours a week! Not only that, sign up with a friend and only pay £60 for your first month.
FREE CLASSES! Yes, FREE! We are offering some free classes to allow you to come and get to know us and how we work. Places are limited so if you are interested please contact us as soon as possible. Dates are
WEDNESDAY 20TH AUGUST 5.30-6.30pm Intermediate, 7-8pm Advanced
WEDNESDAY 27TH AUGUST 5.30-6.30pm Intermediate, 7-8pm Advanced
You can find detailed information about our timetable and courses HERE
Spaces are limited on our courses to ensure you have the best possible learning experience, so please contact us as soon as possible to book your place.
Looking forward to meeting you!
The Edinburgh Experience Team
WE'VE GONE TOTALLY CRAZY!!! It must be the nice sunny days we've been having in Edinburgh, or maybe because we are so excited about our summer courses starting, but either way, we have an AMAZING offer for you!
Any of our courses in the first 2 weeks of August plus self catered accommodation in a student residence FOR ONLY £750!!!
Yes, ONLY £750!!!! But places are limited, so make sure you get in touch as soon as possible to reserve your place. You can contact us via our website by clicking HERE or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, we also offer discounts for groups, students and the unemployed, which can make the course even cheaper! We are always happy to help so please get in touch with any questions you may have.
In the meantime, here is a bit of listening practice for you from one of our favourite Scottish bands, The Proclaimers!
Hello and welcome back! This month we have a class all about the word SO. SO is an extremely common word in English with lots of different uses, and is often confused. In this post, we're looking at all the ways we can use it, the pronunciation and also expressions which use SO.
As always, download our PDF where you can also find the answers. Please share our blog with any friends you think might be interested. Our materials are 100% free!
At this time of year you're probably starting to think of what to do during your summer holidays. Well, why not come to the beautiful city of Edinburgh to enjoy one of our marvellous English courses? We combine our courses with integrated language tasks which take place in some of the most interesting cultural locations in the city. This means you get to combine excellent teaching with a brilliant holiday! Find out more about our courses HERE.
Remember, we have discounts for groups, students and the unemployed so get in touch to see if you qualify. Our classes are limited in size to ensure our students get the best possible teaching, so contact us as soon as possible to ensure your space!
Until next time!
The Edinburgh Experience
Learn vocabulary and expressions while you communicate in English! Please feel free to comment on our posts or ask any questions