The story of COCA-COLA

Esta semana hablamos del símbolo más reconocido a nivel mundial: la botella de Coca-cola.

Text found by Alicia Martínez (English and German Teacher at AIT)

Level: Intermediate

What is the most recognizable object in the world? Could it be a football? Or a Big-Mac? No, the answer is a Coca-Cola bottle. The famous Coca-Cola bottle is almost 100 years old!

    Footballs and big macs are certainly part of life for lots of people; but Coca-Cola is now a permanent part of world culture. People know and drink Coca-Cola all over the world.

It is said that the Coca-Cola bottle is the most recognised object in the world. Hundreds of millions of people can recognise a Coke bottle by its shape, even if they cannot see it! And the famous Coca-Cola logo is the most famous logo in the world. Unlike any other famous commercial logo, it has not changed in 100 years!

    But the story of Coca-Cola is even older than that. It was in 1886 that John Pemberton, a druggist in Atlanta, Georgia, invented a new type of syrup, using coca leaves, sugar and cola nuts, plus a few other secret ingredients! Pemberton sold it as a medicine; and with its coca (the source of cocaine), it must have made people feel good!the-story-of-cocacola

    Nevertheless, Pemberton’s medicine was not very successful, so he sold his secret formula to another druggist, Asa Candler. Candler was interested, because he had another idea; he thought that Pemberton’s «medicine» would be much better if it was mixed with soda.

    Candler was thus the man who really invented the drink Coca-Cola. At first, he sold it in his drugstore; then he began selling the syrup to other drugstores, who used it with their soda fountains. Candler also advertised his new drink, and soon people were going to drugstores just to get a drink of Coca-Cola.

    Before long, other people became interested in the product, including a couple of businessmen who wanted to sell it in bottles. Candler sold them a licence to bottle the drink, and very quickly the men became millionaires. The famous bottle, with its very distinctive shape, was designed in 1916.

    During the First World War, American soldiers in Europe began asking for Coca-Cola, so the Coca-Cola company began to export to Europe. It was so popular with soldiers, that they then had to start bottling the drink in Europe.

    Today, Coca-Cola is made in countries all over the world, including Russia and China; it is the world’s most popular drink.

    As for the famous formula, it is probably the world’s most valuable secret! The exact ingredients for making Coca-Cola are only known to a handful of people. And as for the «coca» that was in the original drink, that was eliminated in 1903. It was a drug, and too dangerous. Today’s Coca-Cola contains caffeine, but not in 1903. It was a drug, and too dangerous. Today’s Coca-Cola contains caffeine, but not cocaine!


A short history of English

Repasar la historia nos ayuda a comprender la expansión de la lengua inglesa a lo largo del mundo con el paso de los siglos.

Text found by Alicia Martínez (English and German Teacher at AIT)

The story of English, and how it became a world language  

English is the world’s leading international language. It is the principal language spoken in Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some other countries such as Uganda and Botswana. Almost 400  million people in the world speak English as their first language (estimates of the exact number vary considerably)  – about the same number as Spanish, but less than Mandarin Chinese or Hindi. 

    In addition, over 1,000 million (1 billion) people worldwide speak English as a second language. Many more can get by in English

    English is the main second language in India, South Africa and many parts of Africa and Asia. But – more and more – it is also the language of international commerce, of business, of diplomacy and of tourism. 

The short history of English

      How did English reach the special position in which it finds itself today?    Mostly, the rise of English to its position as the world’s main international language was a result of chance. Britain was the world’s most active colonial nation in the 19th century, and British explorers and colonists took their language with them wherever they went. English became the official language of most of Britain’s colonies. In the 20th century, America has been the world’s most powerful nation – and Americans have brought the English language to other countries of the world. 

     The importance of American international corporations has made sure that English has remained the international language of business; and Hollywood and the music industry have made sure that it has become the principal language for the media and showbiz. 

     The success story of English has been due partly to the nature of the language, but more to the fact that it had developed into a mature national language just when the countries of Europe were beginning to expand their influence and spread their culture all over the world. 

     Over a thousand years ago, when the roots of modern Europe were being formed, western Europe was divided into three sections: in the East there were people who spoke Slavonic languages, in the middle there were people speaking Germanic languages (including Scandinavians), and in the south and west there were people speaking «Romance» languages, derived from Latin. In the far west of Europe, there were also people speaking Celtic languages, such as Gaelic. 

     In those days, England was a Germanic country; its people spoke a variety of Germanic languages including forms of Danish and Anglo Saxon, as well as some Celtic languages. 
     In 1066, England was conquered by the Normans, from France, who brought with them their own langage – Norman French – a Romance language.

     In the years that followed, the nobility of England spoke French and read Latin, while the ordinary people spoke varieties of old English; but since they existed side by side, the two languages immediately began to influence each other. Norman French became Anglo-Norman, and Old English, picking up lots of vocabulary from Anglo-Normans, evolved into Middle English. Middle English was thus rather different from other European languages. It was partly Germanic (particularly the vocabulary of everyday life, the grammar and structures), and partly Romance (a lot of the more litterary vocabulary). It was even influenced to a small degree by the Celtic languages which remained alive in Cornwall and other parts of the British Isles.

      Eventually, since Middle English was spoken by far the largest part of the population, it became the dominant language in England; and by the 14th century, it was well on the way to becoming the national language, not just for everyday life, but for administration and literature too.

      Finally, English also replaced Latin as the language of the church. The Bible had been translated into English in the 14th century; but it was not until the Protestant reformation of the 16th century, the age of Shakespeare, that  English became the language of church services. From then on, its position as the national language of Britain, was firmly established. And it was just at the right moment.

     English became the established national language just at the point in history when colonial expansion was beginning. It was the spoken and written language of the first men and women from Britain to settle in  the Americas; and it was a language that went round the world with England’s early traders, commercial adventurers and missionaries.

     By the year 1700, England had become the world’s leading nation  in terms of international trade, ensuring that the English language was taken all over the world as the principal language of international commerce.


Understanding English

     Since English is at the dividing line of the two principal families of language used in Western Europe today, most people from Spain to Scandinavia can recognise something of their own language in English. 

     For example, if you speak a Germanic language (German, Dutch, or a Scandinavian language), you do not need to have learned much (or even any) English to understand this sentence: 
     The man forgot to water his garden last night 

Anyone who speaks French or Spanish or Italian, should be able to understand this English sentence without too much difficulty: 
     Indicate if you have a difficult problem.   

As English is half way between two different language groups, speakers of other languages have often found it easy to communicate in English, even without paying attention to grammar!  

     Nevertheless, grammar is important; for without grammar, no language can survive. Grammar is the cement with which the bricks of language are held together. Without it, even messages in simple English can be quite impossible to understand.

     Just look at the importance of word order in these simple examples, which are entirely different in meaning:  
     The man the woman saw was hungry. 
     The man saw the woman was hungry. 

Or look at the radical difference in meaning between these two sentences: 
     This is a story forgotten by Charles Dickens. 
     This is a forgotten story by Charles Dickens.      

Modern English

In recent times, as English has become a global language, used in different places all over the world, it has become a much richer language than in the past. It has picked up new words from other cultures, other languages, such as bungalow (from India),  détente (from French), kebab(from Turkey), potato (from American Indian) – plus a lot of modern slang from America. 

     Today, both grammar and vocabulary are still changing. There is no such thing as «official English»; neither Britain nor the USA has anything official like the «Académie Française» to decide what is acceptable and what is not. The most accepted sources of reference are the famous English dictionaries – Websters for the USA and the Oxford English Dictionary for British English. Like other dictionaries however, they are descriptive not prescriptive – i.e. they describelanguage as it is used, they do not tell people what they can or should say or should not say. 

     Today’s English is different from the English of 100 years ago; it is pronounced differently too – and no doubt, it will be even more different in 100 years’ time.



Why are exams useful for language learning?

¿Por qué los exámenes son beneficiosos y útiles para los niños? Te lo descubrimos en este artículo.

<em>Text written by Alicia Martínez</em>

How can exams help children with their language learning?

Assessment and learning go hand in hand. Our exams test all four skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening). This encourages teachers and learners to take a balanced approach to language learning.

All our exams focus on real-life communication skills. By preparing for a Cambridge English Qualification, we hope your child will develop their communication skills in English, not just for the exam but for life. 

Our level-based exams are also really useful because they help you to find out:

  • where your child is on their learning journey
  • where your child is going on their learning journey
  • what your child will do next.

Where your child is on their learning journey – why is this useful to know?

Your child will make the best progress when learning activities are at the right level – not too difficult and not too easy. They will be more motivated if they have the right amount of challenge.

Cambridge English Qualifications are available at different levels. They clearly show the skills that need to be mastered at each level. Our research suggests that level-based exams are motivating and children enjoy moving up the language learning ladder one step at a time.

We have lots of free learning activities available at each level:

To help you choose the right activities, encourage your child to find their level with our:

Of course, tests are only one way of finding out where your child is in their learning. It’s also important to encourage them to check, assess and reflect on their own work, as they become independent learners and more involved in the learning process.

After an activity, take some time to think about the results. Did your child find anything difficult? Is there anything they need more help with? If the whole activity was too easy or too hard, ask your child to try an activity at the next level up or down.

Where your child is going on their learning journey – why is this useful to know?

It’s hard to move forward with learning if you don’t know where your child is going. Exams give your child something to aim for.

Our level-based exams provide a clear path for developing English language skills, step by step. At each level, your child can work towards getting a Cambridge English Qualification. It’s a great way to reward achievement and build confidence for the next step in their learning journey. Our research suggests that learners feel less test anxiety if they have taken an exam at the previous level.

It’s also helpful to talk to your child about why they are learning English. Why do they want to improve their English? It’s good to have reasons for learning English, other than test results. This will help drive your child forward and is very important for motivation.

What your child will do next – what information do our exams provide?

Our exams test all four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening), giving you detailed information on how to move your child forward in the next stage of the learning journey.

Your child is probably stronger in some skills than others – that’s normal. Discuss the results with your child’s teacher. What do they show about your child’s strengths and needs, and what can you work on at home?

Doing well in an exam can be hugely satisfying – the hard work has paid off. Remember, it is important to recognise what has been achieved, as well as how your child can improve.

Sky Garden—Los jardines más elevados de Londres

Hoy te presentamos el mejor mirador gratuito de Londres con vistas 360º de toda la ciudad.

Sky Garden—Los jardines más elevados de Londres

Por Joseph Anthony Salazar, AIT English Language School

¿Qué es Sky Garden?

En pocas palabras, Sky Garden es un invernadero que se encuentra en la azotea de uno de los rascacielos más elevados de Londres. Los londinenses cariñosamente lo llaman el Walkie Talkie, debido al parecido del rascacielos a este dispositivo electrónico. Toda la azotea del edificio es acristalada, y además de contener un precioso jardín, el invernadero también acoge varios bares y un restaurante. Lo más impactante de Sky Garden, sin embargo, son las vistas. Desde lo más alto de este impresionante rascacielos el espectador tiene las mejores perspectivas de 360º de la ciudad, superando incluso a las de la mismísima London Eye—la noria más famosa del mundo.

¿Cuánto cuesta ver el Sky Garden?


Esto es lo mejor de todo—no cuesta nada. Es absolutamente gratis. Eso sí, previamente debes sacar una entrada para subir a la azotea. La entrada se consigue accediend

o a la página oficial del rascacielos. Una vez que tengas la entrada, tendrás derecho a una visita de 90 minutos de duración—suficiente tiempo para tomar un refresco y contemplar las maravillosas vistas.

¿Cómo llegar a Sky Garden?

Sky Garden se encuentra en el edificio 20 Fenchurch Street, en La City—en el centro financiero de la City La Londres. Hay varias maneras de llegar al edificio:

  • Metro: paradas Monument, Tower Hill, Tower Gate, Aldgate, Bank y Mansion House de las líneas Circle y District.
  • Tren: paradas London Fenchurch Street, Cannon Street, y London Bridge.
  • Autobús: la línea 40 es la más práctica y cercana.

Para hacer una reserva

Página web oficial:

Es necesario reservar con antelación a través de esta página web, pinchando la pestaña Book a Free Visit. Las entradas salen cada lunes, y normalmente sólo salen entradas para las siguientes tres semanas. Una vez que hayas elegido día y hora, recibirás una confirmación de reserva a tu email que debes imprimir y presentar en la entrada. Al entrar deberás pasar por un arco de seguridad, y después montar en un ascensor hasta la planta 35, donde se encuentra el Sky Garden.

Ponte en contacto con nosotros