Happy Halloween!

Hello everyone!

Are you ready for the spookiest night of all year? Nowadays we’re all familiar with Halloween and all its traditions such as trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. But, where do these festivities come from?

The Origins…

The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows’ Evening also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve and it has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win” in English and “Samaín” in Galician).

The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. It was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

The festival would frequently involve bonfires as it was believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them but, actually, the practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2).

But then, how come the USA is now the country which celebrates it the most?

Well, Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century and it stuck. Halloween is now popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to US television and other media, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia.

The most significant growth and resistance is in the United Kingdom, where the police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the “trick” element.


As you can see, Galician, Irish and Scottish people share a very profound bond: The Celtic culture. We share cultural background and traditions which shouldn’t be overlooked! So go ahead and enjoy Halloween or Samhain, because, at the end of the day, the name is the least important thing!

Happy and spooky Halloween and Samhain folks! Watch out for ghosts!!!

Special thank you to our teacher Eoin for contributing to this post. Cheers Eoin!

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Tune in, turn on or drop out!

Hello everyone!

It’s phrasal verb’s fun day!!! These multi-word verbs are usually feared by many students but, as I told you in the previous post, today we are going to have some fun with them!

There is a little poem by our Director Terence J. Paul (aka Terry) that I’m sure you’ll find challenging as well as extremely enjoyable! 😀

Students of English, please listen to my tale

of the birth of that child who makes you wail.

Her name was Hazel, his name was Herb

the fruit of their union – a Phrasal Verb.

No one could get it, none could stand

a child so tricky, so underhand.

They studied his meanings, so deep and obscure

but for a child so tricky there was no cure.

His meanings were multiple and arbitrary at that

his particle could change at the drop of a hat.

She’d say “make out” and mean “see a distance”

he’d say “make out” – “ligar” in this instance.

He’ll say “go through” and mean “check” or “assess”

nothing to do wirh “ir” and less with “a través”.

So, what can be done with such a troublesome child

to stop him from driving all students wild?

There has to be a system, a strategy, a plan

to help you to study as best as you can.

Now such a plan I’ll give you to make a new start.

To ease all your nightmares and put hope in your heart.

So do as I say and read what I write

and all the phrasal problems will vanish overnight.

Written by Terence James Paul (all rights reserved)

So, let’s take a look at those problems!

The most common problems:

  • The amount of phrasal verbs there are
  • They usually have more than one meaning (figurative vs literal)

Solutions:

  • Don’t let just a number overwhelm you. 🙂  Remember that you have started learning them most likely at the same time you started studying English. If you think about it, aren’t “get up” or “wake up” phrasal verbs?
  • Just look at them as words, just one more part of your vocabulary list, and how do you gain vocabulary? Read! Read every single article or piece of writing you run into. Having said this, it is true that figurative meaning phrasal verbs are hardly ever found in writings or books because they are considered too informal so, how can you become familiar with them? Well, how about films and series? I can assure you that we teachers can definitely tell when a student watches TV in English (even with English subtitles) due to his/her range of vocabulary, listening skills and pronounciation.

So, what are you waiting for? Turn your TV on or surf the Internet to watch a film or an episode of your favourite series in English! And remember that at Euroschool we are opening a Cinema Club you can also join!  I promise you’ll realise it makes a big difference! 🙂

Now clic the link below for some phrasal verb’s fun!

Macmillan Games

Until the next post folks! Go hard on those verbs! 😉

The history of English

Hi everyone!

Did you know that there are over one million words in English language whereas there are (roughly) half a million in Spanish? When I found out about this I started digging, looking for the reason why there are so many as most of them are not used in daily life! And then it hit me: could it be because of all the phrasal verbs they’ve got? Afetr all, the Cambridge Phrasal Verb Dictionary has 432 pages!!!! And there are new ones coming up every year so it doesn’t look like that dictionary is gonna get any shorter!

But let’s go back to why, why does the English language have so many words? I have found a youtube video which will shed some light on this matter. Just clic on one of the links below and check it out! 😉

The history of English language in 10 minutes (with subtitles)

The history of English language in 10 minutes (without subtitles)

Awesome, isn’t it? What struck the most was the very few things the evolution of English language has in common with Spanish. Here in Spain RAE chooses the new words to be included in the dictionary very carefully whereas in English it seems, if they like a word they just add it!

That’s all for today guys! But I know some of you may be thinking: “So, why were phrasal verbs mentioned and highlighted before? What do they have to do with this post?” Well, they are related, sure, but phrasal verbs are something we will have some fun with in our next entry, keep your eyes peeled!