Feb
11
2016

Spanish English Parallel Texts – Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars perform at Super Bowl show

Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars perform at Super Bowl show

Coldplay, Beyoncé y Bruno Mars actúan en el espectáculo del Super Bowl

BBC News, 8th February 2016

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Use the player below to listen to this news story in Spanish:

Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars perform at Super Bowl show

Coldplay played to an estimated television audience of 100 million during the half-time show at the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

The Brits played a medley of hits but Beyonce was judged to have stolen the show, premiering new song Formation.

Bruno Mars also thrilled the crowd with a performance of 2015’s biggest selling song Uptown Funk.

Advertisers pay a premium for a slice of the huge audience, shelling out up to $5m (£3.4m) for a 30-second slot.

The game began with a performance of the US national anthem by Lady Gaga, dressed in a sparkly red trouser suit and red, white and blue striped platform heels.

The half-time show opened with Coldplay’s Chris Martin kneeling on the field singing the first lines of their song Yellow before transitioning into Viva La Vida. They also performed their single Paradise, accompanied by a youth marching band.

Beyonce performed her new track accompanied by backing dancers kitted out in black berets, reminiscent of the 1970s revolutionary political party The Black Panthers.

The artists all joined up to sing Coldplay’s ballad Fix You, accompanied by a montage of performances clips from previous Super Bowl half-time shows, including by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and U2.

Celebrities David Beckham, Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and singer Justin Bieber attended the game which saw the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10.

Coldplay, Beyoncé y Bruno Mars actúan en el espectáculo del Super Bowl

Coldplay actuó ante una audiencia televisiva aproximada de 100 millones durante el espectáculo de medio tiempo en el Super Bowl el domingo por la noche.

Los británicos tocaron un popurrí de éxitos, pero parece que Beyoncé fue la estrella del espectáculo, interpretando por primera vez su nueva canción Formation.

Bruno Mars también hizo vibrar al público interpretando la canción más vendida en 2015 Uptown Funk.

Los anunciantes pagan una elevada cantidad de dinero por una porción de la enorme audiencia, gastándose hasta 5 millones de dólares (3,4 millones de libras) por un intervalo de 30 segundos.

El partido comenzó con la interpretación del himno nacional de Estados Unidos de Lady Gaga, vestida con un traje de pantalón rojo brillante y tacones de plataforma con rayas rojas, blancas y azules.

El show de medio tiempo abrió con la actuación de Chris Martin de Coldplay arrodillado en el campo cantando las primeras líneas de su canción Yellow continuando con Viva La Vida. También tocaron su single Paradise, acompañados por una banda de música juvenil.

Beyoncé interpretó su nueva canción acompañada de bailarinas con boinas negras, evocando al partido político revolucionario de la década de los 70 Las panteras Negras.

Todos los artistas se unieron para cantar la balada de Coldplay Fix You, acompañados de un montaje de clips de anteriores actuaciones en shows de medio tiempo del Super Bowl, que incluía a Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder y U2.

Celebridades como David Beckham, Michael Douglas y su esposa Catherine Zeta-Jones y el cantante Justin Bieber asistieron al partido en el que los Broncos de Denver vencieron a las Panteras de Carolina 24-10.

Feb
11
2016

Are You a French Noob? – French Web Series

Photo by Esby licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

Modern TV shows are not always what I am looking for and it can be hard to access French TV outside of France. Heureusement (fortunately) there’s a lot of content on the internet to meet your French needs!

I have a few web-séries and Youtubers I like to watch, like Norman or NesBlog, and today I want to tell you all about une web série I stumbled on to a few years ago is absolutely formidable:

Logo of the web series, Noob

Noob logo by Fungliboss licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Le nom de la série (the name of the series), Noob is un argot anglais (English slang) for someone who is new to something. Le mot (the word) is often used in gaming in both English and French. La série was created by Fabien Fournier in 2008 and takes the idea of playing un jeu vidéo (video game) and creates a truly epic story out of it.

There are a lot of blagues (jokes) that call attention to the fact that the actors are dans le jeu (in the game), adding a lot of humor to nearly every scene. Noob has won international awards for its unique comedy and imaginative story.

La série begins with une jeune femme (a young woman) who wants to start playing un nouveau jeu de rôle en ligne massivement multijoueur (a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game, MMORPG, or more simply, a game like World of Warcraft).

The audience is then transported au monde du jeu (to the world of the game) where the story takes place. It’s an adventure that plays on many stéréotypes (clichés) familiar to anyone who has played un MMORPG.

Noob goes beyond just une web-série and includes des romans, des bande dessinées et des films (novels, comics, and movies). Enough content to keep you entertained for a very long time!

If you’re interested in checking it out, it’s best to commencer par le début (start at the beginning) :

Click here to view the embedded video.

Feb
9
2016

Refugees Welcome? Germany Reacts (Pt3)

As I write this, it’s exactly 4 months since my last post on the refugee crisis in Germany. Last time I wrote about it, it seemed Germans, with the exclusion of some far-right groups, were largely supportive of the influx of refugees that had arrived in their country. However, since the sexual assaults and muggings that took place in Köln on New Year’s Eve, public opinion in Germany seems to have changed a lot.

As always, I’ve been keeping up with the news on this topic and have collected another selection of articles on it to share with you. As I said before, it can sometimes be a challenge to take in your own country’s politics, let alone another’s, so I hope that this selection of articles will give you an easy means of finding out what’s going on in Germany at the moment. Read them all, or pick and choose which ones sound interesting to you.

"FOCUS" / "DER SPIEGEL" am 25.Juli 2015 mit gleichem Thema als Aufmacher: "Die Wahrheit über FALSCHE Flüchtlinge" / "Habgierig? Hungrig. Fremdenhaß vegiftet Deutschland"

German magazines with headlines about refugees. The headline on the left says ‘The truth about fake refugees’, while the one on the right says ‘Greedy? Hungry. Xenophobia is poisoning Germany.’ Photo by hinkelstone on flickr.com under a CC license 2.0

Pubs and clubs in German town of Freiburg forbid refugees

A group of nightlife spots in Freiburg have banned refugees from entering their venues. This was a direct reaction to the attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, plus a string of other reported crimes in the area as of late.

 

Austrian government to fine refugees that refuse to learn German and integrate

Over in Austria, the government have announced plans to fine refugees who aren’t willing to learn German, contribute to society, and integrate. They hope this measure will ensure all refugees integrate successfully into Austrian society.

 

Legal learning: German and Syrian immigrants

In this interesting article, comparisons are drawn between the Syrian refugees in Germany today and the German immigrants in America during WW1.

Flüchtlinge / Immigranten beim Grenzübergang Wegscheid

Refugees in Germany. Photo: 95213174@N08 on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Polls show most Germans fear refugee burden too great

The public broadcaster ZDF has released new polls regarding public opinion on the refugee crisis in Germany. Amongst other things, it reveals that more Germans now fear refugees following the Cologne attacks on New Year’s Eve.

 

‘Refugees’ chosen as Word of the Year 2015 in Germany

The Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (Society for German Language) chose Flüchtlingerefugees – as the Wort des Jahres (Word of the Year) for 2015. Sixth on the list was Durchwinken, meaning to wave through, which referred to how other European countries ‘waved through’ migrants on their way to Germany. Here’s a short German article about it from the newspaper Die Zeit, should you want to read some German today.

 

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel. Photo by 95213174@N08 on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Could Europe’s refugee crisis be the undoing of Angela Merkel?

This article looks at how both public and political opinion has turned against German Kanzlerin (Chancellor) Angela Merkel in recent months, and how she herself is beginning to back-track on some of her previous statements about refugees.

***

To see my previous posts on this topic, click here, here and here.

Feb
9
2016

Critics of the 2016 French Language Reforms

La contre-réforme, courtesy of Romana Klee

La contre-réforme, courtesy of Romana Klee

 

As Josh detailed last week on the French spelling reform, the recent declaration by l’Académie française to implement spelling spelling changes that affect around 2,500 words was met with some resistance. Francophones (and Francophiles) have taken to twitter not only with the hashtag #JeSuisCirconflexe, but with examples of how the circumflex accent changes the meaning of words and sentences. For example:

Adam n’a plus la cote ; il est moins sûr, Eve.
Adam n’a plus la côte ; il est moins sur Eve.

Get it? Ok, moving on…

What’s especially interesting about this whole situation are the roles French critics of the reform and l’Académie have played. Traditionally, the French Academy has been a vanguard against the modernization and, in some ways, Anglicization (and feminization!) of the French language (that’s a lot of -izations!). The French Academy is composed of forty life-time members (thus, their name: les immortels) who are elected by the council itself. Les immortels are, normally, influential thinkers and writers, although academics and politicians have also been elected. Out of 726 members, only eight have been women (the first woman elected to the French Academy was Marguerite Yourcenar; recently, another famous female member passed away: Assia Djebar). Typically, decisions by the Academy have been criticized for being very conservative in regard to the modernization of the French language. And, so, the recent reforms (and the outcry it provoked) are an interesting turn of events.

According to Marguerite Stern in “Réformer l’orthographe ? Non, l’Académie française n’a pas à décider pour nous,” decisions made by the Academy are not representative of the French people and the real use of the French language because:

Le problème ça n’est pas que la langue française évolue, mais plutôt qu’une assemblée, non élue démocratiquement, se permette d’en décider pour nous.

Les membres de l’Académie française ne représentent en rien le peuple français car en France il y a des femmes, il y a des jeunes, des transsexuelles, des tétraplégiques, des noirs, des jaunes, des rouges.

(“The problem isn’t that the French language evolves, but rather that an assembly, which is not elected democratically, permits itself to decide for us.

The members of the French Academy do not represent the French people at all because in France there are women, youth, transsexuals, quadriplegics, and people with black, yellow, and red skin.”)

This isn’t the first time the French Academy has been called out for not being representative of the people–and, thus, the language–that it represents. And the debate over these language reforms is part of a much larger debate over what it means to be French–and how the French language can and must be inclusive of the varied experiences of French citizens. Ironically, those who have come out against these spelling reforms come from both sides of the spectrum: so-called “purists” who want France, and the French language, to remain somewhat closed to “outside” influence (and immigration), and “progressives” who decry the reforms for not being representative of the varied people who make up France, and what it means to be French.

So, what do you think about these reforms?

 

Feb
9
2016

Spot The Italian Accent

As a student of the Italian language, do you have trouble rolling your ‘r‘s? What about you aiuole and aerei … how are they?
Yes, Italian has a few tricky points of pronunciation, but things aren’t exactly easy for Italians when they try to speak English. In my experience of teaching conversational English to Italians there are several aspects of pronunciation that they find particularly challenging. When you understand how Italian pronunciation works it becomes obvious why it’s fairly easy to spot an Italian when they speak English.

Check out this hilarious (but rude – you have been warned!) video based on the problems encountered when an Italian mispronounces English.

I like your ouse!

In Italian, ‘h’ is considered ‘invisibile’, ‘muta’, and ‘fantasma’. In short, the Italian ‘h’ is silent and mostly forgotten about except where it plays the role of modifier with the letters ‘c’ and ‘g’. In that role ‘h’ transforms sounds from dolce (soft, literally: sweet) to duro (hard), e.g.: marce/marche, magi/maghi.
That’s why when you invite your Italian friend out to the restaurant, she tells you that she’s very angry! Angry … why, how have I offended her? Then the penny drops … she’s not angry, but hungry!

Tights or Thighs?

The English ‘th’ is a curse for Italians. The problem is that there is no approximation of it in Italian, hence no clue as to what to do with one’s teeth, tongue and palate in order to pronounce it.
Not being able to perform the necessary tongue yoga to pronounce ‘th’ Italians typically use the following workarounds to the ‘th’ problem.
1. ‘f’, as in “I fink it will be sunny”
2. ‘d’, as in “dis is de station”
3. ‘z’, as in “zese are very nice shoes”
4. ‘t’, as in “my tights (thighs) are aching”

I don’t kenow!

Italian is one of the few languages in which every letter is pronounced. Therefore, Italian logic when encountering the way in which an English word is spelt is: “if it’s there it must have a purpose”. Having been educated in this way it’s almost impossible for Italians to let go of the need to pronounce every letter in every word, even if that letter is silent or toned down in English.
Hence the English word ‘know’, which us mother tongue English speakers understand to be pronounced ‘no’, becomes ‘kenow’ for an Italian, and walking becomes walkin-G.
I remember an Italian friend once telling me that he’d visited Laychetser in England, and it was only when he described this Laychester as a big city south of Nottingham that I realised he was referring to Leicester (pronounced ‘Lester’ in English).

Don’t roll you r’s!

It really seems a shame to waste that lovely rolling Italian ‘r’. But the English ‘r’ (setting aside some regional accents) is a fairly bland affair, and Italians have nearly as much difficulty flattening out their lovely ‘r’ as English speakers generally do in acquiring its wonderfully tongue vibrating Italian counterpart.

Not enough vowels!

Unlike English, very few Italian words end with a consonant. This is one of the qualities that we all love about the Italian language, a quality which renders it exceptionally musical. But that vocale finale (final vowel) can be an irritating habit to loose for an Italian who wants to sound English.

How’s your Italian pronunciation?

Are there any aspects of Italian pronunciation that you find particularly difficult, or perhaps there are words that you can never seem to get right no matter how hard you practice? Please share in the comments section.