English in the Time of the Pandemic 1 – Postcards from confinement

No parties, no yoga courses, no concerts, no football, no aperitifs…

It’s the perfect time to work on your English.

No excuses.

Welcome to English in the time of the Pandemic, ETP, (l’anglais au temps de la pandémie). Fingers-crossed, we’ll be finished by ETP #12, but this seems increasingly unlikely (de plus en plus improbable).

We, (The Language House team), will publish regular articles, exercises and advice for those who speak English as a foreign language and wish to improve and practise their English communication skills. The content will range from A2 level (pre-intermediate) through to C2 level (high-advanced), for those of you who like a challenge. We will cover general and professional English communication skills. Choose the level that is right for you. We’ll try and offer something for all the family.

We welcome your feedback and questions and we will do our best to respond to your “homework”, questions and requests. The email address for all correspondence is [email protected]. You can also leave your comments and questions below.

If you wish to subscribe to English in the time of the Pandemic, please add your email address on the right-hand column of this blog above abbonez-vous.

Resources: We suggest you have a dictionary on hand, and some time and patience. This is an excellent online dictionary: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/

Let’s go!

Write a postcard

Write a postcard to us (100-150 words), describing what is happening in your city or your street, and in your life in this very unusual time. Use present continuous for actions in progress (for example, I am reading the news), present simple for state verbs (for example, the city is quiet) and permanent situations (for example, I live in this city).

The best postcards will be published in our future blogs. Open to all ages and all levels.

 

 

Send your postcard to: [email protected]. Please write “postcard” in the subject line.

Remember: This is an English writing exercise.

Describing current events (present simple + present continuous)

(levels A2 – C2)

A postcard from France

Dear friend,

I hope you are well.

In neighbouring France, where I and all the frontaliers live, all is peaceful. There are still a few cars and lorries going around, no doubt driven by essential workers. Only the grocery stores and supermarkets are open to rare visitors. There are no human sounds, no conversations to be heard. My whole city is eerily quiet, although the silence is punctuated by the birds singing and chirping here and there. They seem so happy in this early spring. Sometimes it feels like humans have locked themselves indoors so that the rest of nature can have a holiday.

I haven’t seen many policemen and I think most of them are in large cities such as Paris or Lyon, working to keep everyone in. A thankless job.

At home, I am doing all sorts of things to keep myself occupied. House arrest, which is what confinement can feel like, does not have to be boring.

What are you doing at the moment? Please send me some news of yourself and of what is happening in your city in Switzerland, France, Italy or anywhere…

Best wishes

Benedicte

 

Vocabulary

eerily: (adverb) from the adjective eerie: strange, mysterious and frightening

chirping: (verb) to chirp; the sound of small birds and some insects that make short high sounds

thankless – (adjective) to describe an unpleasant or difficult thing to do that is unlikely to bring you any rewards or thanks from anyone; you get no thanks for doing it.

house arrest – the state of being a prisoner in your own house rather than in a prison. The former dictator is under house arrest in his country mansion.

 

For children

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

(7 minutes) All levels.

 

Reading

(3 minutes) Level: B2 +

What is your favourite moment in Bible? Nick Cave writes about Mary Magdalene.

Read here

 

Today’s song

The Flaming Lips – Do you Realize? (a happy sad song)

 

Lyrics (paroles de chanson):

Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face
Do you realize we’re floating in space,
Do you realize that happiness makes you cry
Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do you realize, oh, oh, oh?
Do you realize that everyone you know
Someday will die?

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face
Do you realize?

 

 

Garry Littman

Garry Littman est le fondateur de The Language House à Genève. The Language House propose des coachings d'anglais à Genève pour les particuliers et les entreprises, ainsi que des cours intensifs d'anglais dans les pays anglophones. Garry a été journaliste en Australie et en Asie, il a travaillé pour World Radio Switzerland.

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