Hypatia of Alexandria

Hypatia of Alexandria was a bright woman living in Egypt, during a time when women weren’t encouraged to have ideas of their own. Nevertheless, her mathematical mind overcame the general public opinion.

Hypatia was born around 350 A.D. in Alexandria, Egypt. She was the daughter of a famous mathematician and philosopher (Theo of Alexandria) who granted her more freedom than many girls and women in ancient times. Hypatia was allowed to study math, astronomy, and philosophy, and with her father’s help, she also learned how to be a brilliant speaker.

Once she grew, Hypatia worked with her father to update old textbooks with discoveries in fields such as algebra, geometry, and astronomy. She was excellent at breaking down complicated subjects for them to be easy to understand. Hypatia’s notes influenced mathematicians and astronomers for centuries. Students came from all over the city to learn math and astronomy from Hypatia. She taught people how to use a portable astrolabe
(known nowadays as a compass).

Even though her teachings became very popular, they also introduced ideas different from Christianity, which enraged the Christian bishop of Alexandria, who not only forbade Hyaptia
from teaching but ultimately caused her death.

Thanks to Hypatia, women had a public voice for the first time, and she proved that women had the same level of intelligence as men.

Meet Emmeline

Emmeline is arrested in Victoria Street, London.

By M. Jaime, AIT English Language School

Hello! I’m Emmeline Pankhurst. I was born on 14th July 1858 in Manchester. When I was a teenager, I liked reading and politics, too. I was already interested in women’s rights!

When I was 15, I travelled to Paris to study there. I learnt about many different subjects that women could not study, like chemistry. It was so exciting!

As I grew up, I decided that I wanted to make a better world for women. Women’s life was very hard. Women could not have a good education, a good job, and they could not vote.

In 1903 I formed The Women’s Social and Political Union with my daughters to fight for women’s rights. We did many things, like demonstrations, speeches, and we even published a newspaper.

Emmeline at Trafalgar Square, London.

Emmeline at Trafalgar Square, London.

A meeting for women’s rights in Manchester.

A meeting for women’s rights in Manchester.

Emmeline is arrested in Victoria Street, London.

Emmeline is arrested in Victoria Street, London.

Fighting was not easy. We were arrested by the police on many occasions, and even one of the members of our group, Emily Davison, died.

But in 1918 we won! The British government gave some women the right to vote. It was just the first step, but it was great!

Your turn!

1. Find the meaning of the words in bold.

2. Test your knowledge!

  • When was Emmeline born?
    a) July 1958
    b) July 1968
  • Where was she born?
    a) London
    b) Manchester
  • Which of these groups did Emmeline start?
    a) The Women’s Social and Political Union
    b) The Women’s Institute
  • In the UK, when could some women vote for the first time?
    a) 1903
    b) 1918

Games that England gave the world

Inglaterra fue la cuna del fútbol y el rugby, deportes que en la actualidad son populares en todo el mundo. ¿Cuáles fueron sus orígenes?

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

         Football (soccer) and Rugby are two of the most successful products ever invented in England. Today these games are played worldwide. This article looks at their early days, and at how Football was first exported to Brazil


Charles Miller, the father of football in Brazil

How football first came to Brazil

    At the end of the nineteenth century, an Englishman living in Brazil sent his son across the Atlantic to be educated in England. Charles Miller went to school, then to university, where he took part enthusiastically in all aspects of life. Sport was one of them; a hundred years ago, Britain already had an established sporting culture.
    During his English years, Charles grew passionately keen on football (i.e. Soccer), and when in 1894 he packed his bags to return to his family in Brazil, among the things he took with him were half a dozen footballs.
    Back in Brazil, he tried to get other people interested in the game. At first, he had little success; the only people who showed any interest were other expatriate Brits; thus, the first game of football in Brazil was played between two teams of young Englishmen, on a field from which the goats had first been removed. 
    Charles asked some journalists to come and see this new English game, but none came along. On the other hand, as the weeks went past, the spectacle of twenty-two young English running round after a ball began attracting spectators from houses nearby; before long, young local men began kicking balls round too. «Balls» is perhaps the wrong word – the only footballs in Brazil at the time were the ones that Charles Miller had brought back with him from England. The first Brazilian amateurs had to concoct their own balls, using whatever they could find to make them with.


English football players in 1881

    Nevertheless, even without real balls, there was plenty of enthusiasm for the new game, as «football» became the great attraction in the popular quarters of Sao Paolo, just like basketball is the great street-sport today in many world cities. By 1901, there was already a league of clubs in Sao Paolo, and the journalists who had originally laughed at the crazy English sport, were jumping on the bandwaggon, writing enthusiastically about the popular new game.
    The rest, as they say, is history.

The origins of football and rugby

    But how did English football, or soccer, and its sister-game Rugby, originate? And why did it happen in England?
    The origins of football go back hundreds of years, and there are several towns and villages in England where ancient forms of football are still played. The original game had few rules, and differed from place to place. Basically, the teams just had to try and get a ball (or some other object) past the opponent’s line. Sometimes the lines were over a mile apart, and the field was the village street…. or even a field with no limits! People could kick the ball (and their opponents), run with it, throw it – anything was allowed.


Football at an English public school in 1889

    In the nineteenth century, public schools developed fast; and since many of them were boarding schools, they had to keep boys occupied all day. Sport was a popular way of doing this; at first each school had its own games, with its own rules; but slowly fixed rules became established. In many schools, carrying the ball was not allowed; the game was called «football». Some schools however preferred a version of the game where players were allowed to carry the ball; one of these schools was in the small town of Rugby.
    In 1863, a group of enthusiasts, who had played ball games at different schools, met in London to fix rules for the game. They formed the Football Association. Eighteen years later, as the game was getting more and more popular, they organised the first F.A.Cup competition.
    Following the example of schools and colleges, the owners of factories (many of whom had been educated at public schools) began encouraging employees to form teams, and football soon became very popular in the industrial north of England. By 1888, the game had become popular enough to support professional clubs, with 12 original clubs forming the Football League.
    Since then, the popularity of both football and rugby has continued to spread across the world; and though rugby has not been adopted in all countries, there is probably no country in the world where football is now unknown. 


SOURCE: https://linguapress.com/intermediate/ball-games.htm

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.


SOURCE: https://linguapress.com/grammar/english.htm

La hora del té—la quintaesencia de tradiciones británicas

¿Sabes tanto sobre la hora del té como crees? Descúbrelo en este artículo.

Por Joseph Anthony Salazar, AIT English Language School

La hora del té es, sin duda, una de las grandes tradiciones británicas. Los ingleses empezaron a guardar la hora del té alrededor del año 1840, durante el reinado de Victoria. La tradición se convirtió en una especie de merienda para matar el gusanillo antes de la cena.


La hora del té, como merienda, normalmente consiste en un surtido de bocadillos tipo sándwich, cortados en finas tiras rectangulares o triangulares. Los ingredientes suelen incluir salmón ahumado, queso, caviar y jamón. También se incluyen pasteles y galletas, y los tradicionales “scones” con nata y mermelada. Y para acompañar, se sirven un surtido de tés y una copa de Cava.


La hora del té comenzó como un evento social para damas que querían subir escalones en la sociedad. Cuando la reina Victoria empezó a guardar la hora del té, el ritual se convirtió en todo un acontecimiento social a nivel nacional.

la-hora-del-te-la-quintaesencia-de-tradiciones-britanicas¿SE SIGUE GUARDANDO LA HORA DEL TÉ?

Muchos turistas todavía piensan que Gran Bretaña es una nación que se detiene cuando llega la hora del té. Pero ha llovido mucho desde la edad victoriana. Hoy, los ingleses guardan la hora del té en ocasiones muy puntuales—una boda, un cumpleaños o una fiesta entre amigos. Es no significa que el té carezca de importancia. Gran Bretaña sigue siendo una nación de bebedores de té. Solo que ahora beben el té a cualquier hora y en cualquier ocasión.

No obstante, la mayoría de los hoteles británicos ofrecen el té entre las 13:00h y las 17:00h. Suele ser muy popular entre los turistas, que buscan una auténtica experiencia británica. Los precios por un té completo suelen oscilar entre los 15,00€ y 40,00€, dependiendo del lugar. A veces, grandes almacenes como Harrods y Marks & Spencer también ofrecen el té, a precios más módicos.

Dónde disfrutar de la hora del té en Londrés:


Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash
Photo by Alysa Tarrant on Unsplash

Autumn celebrations – Guy Fawkes & Bonfires

¿Quién fue Guy Fawkes? 

Halloween no es la única fiesta que se celebra en otoño. El día 5 de noviembre es el día de Guy Fawkes o Bonfire Night en el Reino Unido, un día muy especial con una noche mágica.

Aunque en nuestro país no se celebre la Bonfire Night, puede ser que ya conozcas a Guy Fawkes. Fíjate en estas imágenes:

Te suena, ¿verdad? Este personaje se popularizó en nuestro país gracias a la película norteamericana «V de Vendetta» (V for Vendetta2005), una adaptación del cómic homónimo de Alan Moore y David Lloyd publicado en los años ochenta. 

Sin embargo, actualmente mucha gente conoce este rostro porque el grupo de activistas y hackers conocido como Anonymous utiliza una máscara de Guy Fawkes para ocultar la identidad de sus miembros. 

¿Pero quién fue realmente este personaje y qué hizo? J. O’fee, profesora en nuestros centros de L’Ametlla del Vallès y La Garriga nos lo cuenta a continuación.


«Remember, remember the 5th of November»

By J. O’fee – Teacher at AIT Language School 

Remember, remember the 5th of November”. This is a typical British saying. It’s used when Guy Fawkes comes up every year. This is very popular celebration all over UK. It is to commemorate the death of Guy Fawkes. He tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament, but failed. His plot was discovered by the king’s men, so he was executed.

Several traditional rhymes have accompanied the Guy Fawkes Night festivities. Here you are one of them:

Remember, remember! The fifth of November,

The Gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason

Why the Gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes it was his intent

To blow the King and Parliament for old England to overthrow.

By God’s providence he was catch, with a dark lantern and burning match.

Holloa, boys! Holloa, boys! Make the bells ring!

Holloa, boys! Solemn boys! God save the King!

Hip, hip, hooray!

In the UK we celebrate this night by visiting local parks, burning rag dolls on bonfires and enjoying the beautiful firework display. It’s always very cold, so people wear warm clothes, stay around the bonfire to keep warm, and of course have a nice hot cup of tea!

You can find many videos on YouTube, but we have selected two of them for you. Enjoy yourself!



Historia express para curiosos

History of English

Historia de la lengua en un abrir y cerrar de ojos

Descubre la historia de cómo evolucionó el inglés con un divertido vídeo producido por The iTunes U Team de la Open University, la universidad a distancia del Reino Unido. 

Nuestros alumnos de La Garriga y L’Ametlla del Vallès son realmente curiosos. A menudo sus preguntas van más allá de la gramática y entran en cuestiones tan interesantes como la cultura, el arte y la historia del Reino Unido. Y tú, ¿te has preguntado alguna vez de dónde salió el inglés? Ahora tienes la oportunidad de aprender algo más que gramática o vocabulario y de practicar un poco de listening con este resumen de la historia de la evolución del inglés desde la Antigüedad hasta nuestros días.

Estos son los capítulos que conforman en vídeo:

  1. Anglo-Saxon
  2. The Norman Conquest
  3. Shakespeare
  4. The King James Bible
  5. The English of Science
  6. English and Empire
  7. The Age of the Dictionary
  8. American English
  9. Internet English
  10. Global English

Pincha aquí para acceder a la página web original y poder visualizar los capítulos por separado.

Por cierto, hemos añadido la transcripción para que puedas aprovechar este vídeo al máximo 😉 


The English language begins with the phrase ‘Up Yours Caesar!’ as the Romans leave Britain
and a lot of Germanic tribes start flooding in, tribes such as the Angles and the Saxons – who
together gave us the term Anglo-Saxon, and the Jutes – who didn’t.
The Romans left some very straight roads behind, but not much of their Latin language.
The Anglo-Saxon vocab was much more useful as it was mainly words for simple everyday
things like ‘house’, ‘woman’, ‘loaf’ and ‘werewolf’.

Four of our days of the week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were named in
honour of Anglo-Saxon gods, but they didn’t bother with Saturday, Sunday and Monday as
they had all gone off for a long weekend.
While they were away, Christian missionaries stole in bringing with them leaflets about jumble
sales and more Latin.
Christianity was a hit with the locals and made them much happier to take on funky new
words like ‘martyr’, ‘bishop’ and ‘font’.
Along came the Vikings, with their action-man words like ‘drag’, ‘ransack’, ‘thrust’ and ‘die’,
and a love of pickled herring. They may have raped and pillaged but there were also into
‘give’ and ‘take’ – two of around 2000 words that they gave English, as well as the phrase
‘watch out for that man with the enormous axe.’

The Norman Conquest

1066. True to his name, William the Conqueror invades Britain, bringing new concepts from
across the channel like the French language, the Doomsday book and the duty free Galois’s
French was de rigeur for all official business, with words like ‘judge’, ‘jury’, ‘evidence’ and
‘justice’ coming in and giving John Grisham’s career a kick-start. Latin was still used ad
nauseam in Church, and the common man spoke English – able to communicate only by
speaking more slowly and loudly until the others understood him.
Words like ‘cow’, ‘sheep’ and ‘swine’ come from the English-speaking farmers, while the a la
carte versions – ‘beef’, ‘mutton’ and ‘pork’ – come from the French-speaking toffs – beginning
a long running trend for restaurants having completely indecipherable menus.
The bonhomie all ended when the English nation took their new warlike lingo of ‘armies’,
‘navies’ and ‘soldiers’ and began the Hundred Years War against France.
It actually lasted 116 years but by that point no one could count any higher in French and
English took over as the language of power.


As the dictionary tells us, about 2000 new words and phrases were invented by Shakespeare.
He gave us handy words like ‘eyeball’, ‘puppy-dog’ and ‘anchovy’ – and more show-offy words
like ‘dauntless’, ‘besmirch’ and ‘lacklustre’. He came up with the word ‘alligator’, soon after he
ran out of things to rhyme with ‘crocodile’. And a nation of tea-drinkers finally took him to their
hearts when he invented the ‘hobnob’.
Shakespeare knew the power of catchphrases as well as biscuits. Without him we would
never eat our ‘flesh and blood’ ‘out of house and home’ – we’d have to say ‘good riddance’ to
‘the green-eyed monster’ and ‘breaking the ice’ would be ‘as dead as a doornail’. If you tried
to get your ‘money’s worth’ you’d be given ‘short shrift’ and anyone who ‘laid it on with a
trowel’ could be ‘hoist with his own petard’.
Of course it’s possible other people used these words first, but the dictionary writers liked
looking them up in Shakespeare because there was more cross-dressing and people poking
each other’s eyes out.
Shakespeare’s poetry showed the world that English was a language as rich vibrant language
with limitless expressive and emotional power. And he still had time to open all those
tearooms in Stratford.

The King James Bible

In 1611 ‘the powers that be’ ‘turned the world upside down’ with a ‘labour of love’ – a new
translation of the bible. A team of scribes with the ‘wisdom of Solomon’ – ‘went the extra mile’
to make King James’s translation ‘all things to all men’, whether from their ‘heart’s desire’ ‘to
fight the good fight’ or just for the ‘filthy lucre’.
This sexy new Bible went ‘from strength to strength’, getting to ‘the root of the matter’ in a
language even ‘the salt of the earth’ could understand. ‘The writing wasn’t on the wall’, it was
in handy little books and with ‘fire and brimstone’ preachers reading from it in every church, its
words and phrases ‘took root’ ‘to the ends of the earth’ – well at least the ends of Britain.
The King James Bible is the book that taught us that ‘a leopard can’t change its spots’, that ‘a
bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’, that ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ is harder to spot
than you would imagine, and how annoying it is to have ‘a fly in your ointment’.
In fact, just as ‘Jonathan begat Meribbaal; and Meribbaal begat Micah. And Micah begat
Pithon’, the King James Bible begat a whole glossary of metaphor and morality that still
shapes the way English is spoken today. Amen.

The English of Science

Before the 17th Century scientists weren’t really recognised – possibly because lab-coats had
yet to catch on.
But suddenly Britain was full of physicists – there was Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle – and
even some people not called Robert, like Isaac Newton. The Royal Society was formed out of
the Invisible College – after they put it down somewhere and couldn’t find it again.
At first they worked in Latin. After sitting through Newton’s story about the ‘pomum’ falling to
the ‘terra’ from the ‘arbor’ for the umpteenth time, the bright sparks realised they all spoke
English and could transform our understanding of the universe much quicker by talking in
their own language.
But science was discovering things faster than they could name them. Words like ‘acid’,
‘gravity’, ‘electricity and ‘pendulum’ had to be invented just to stop their meetings turning into
an endless game of charades.
Like teenage boys, the scientists suddenly became aware of the human body – coining new
words like ‘cardiac’ and ‘tonsil’, ‘ovary’, and ‘sternum’ – and the invention of ‘penis’ (1693),
‘vagina’ (1682) made sex education classes a bit easier to follow. Though and ‘clitoris’ was
still a source of confusion.

English and Empire

With English making its name as the language of science, the Bible and Shakespeare, Britain
decided to take it on tour.
Asking only for land, wealth, natural resources, total obedience to the crown and a few local
words in return.
They went to the Caribbean looking for gold and a chance to really unwind – discovering the
‘barbeque’, the ‘canoe’ and a pretty good recipe for rum punch. They also brought back the
word ‘cannibal’ to make their trip sound more exciting.
In India there was something for everyone. ‘Yoga’ – to help you stay in shape, while
pretending to be spiritual. If that didn’t work there was the ‘cummerbund’ to hide a paunch
and – if you couldn’t even make it up the stairs without turning ‘crimson’ – they had the
Meanwhile in Africa they picked up words like ‘voodoo’ and ‘zombie’ – kicking off the teen
horror film – and even more terrifying, they brought home the world’s two most annoying
musical instruments – the ‘bongo’ and the ‘banjo’.
From Australia, English took the words ‘nugget’, ‘boomerang’ and ‘walkabout’ – and in fact the
whole concept of chain pubs.
Between toppling Napoleon (1815) and the first World War (1914), the British Empire gobbled
up around 10 millions square miles, 400 million people and nearly a hundred thousand gin
and tonics, leaving new varieties of English to develop all over the globe.

The Age of the Dictionary

With English expanding in all directions, along came a new breed of men called
lexicographers, who wanted to put an end to this anarchy – a word they defined as ‘what
happens when people spell words slightly differently from each other’.
One of the greatest was Doctor Johnson, whose ‘Dictionary of the English Language’ which
took him 9 years to write.
It was 18 inches tall and 20 inches wide – and contained 42,773 entries – meaning that even
if you couldn’t read, it was still pretty useful if you wanted to reach a high shelf.
For the first time, when people were calling you ‘a pickle herring’ (a jack-pudding; a merryandrew;
a zany; a buffoon), a ‘jobbernowl (loggerhead; blockhead) or a ‘fopdoodle’ (a fool; an
insignificant wretch) – you could understand exactly what they meant – and you’d have the
consolation of knowing they all used the standard spelling.
Try as he might to stop them, words kept being invented and in 1857 a new book was started
which would become the Oxford English Dictionary. It took another 70 years to be finished
after the first editor resigned to be an Archbishop, the second died of TB and the third was so
boring that half his volunteers quit and one of the ended up in an Asylum.
It eventually appeared in 1928 and has continued to be revised ever since – proving the
whole idea that you can stop people making up words is complete snuffbumble.

American English

From the moment Brits landed in America they needed names for all the plants and animals
so they borrowed words like ‘raccoon’, ‘squash’ and ‘moose’ from the Native Americans, as
well as most of their territory.
Waves of immigrants fed America’s hunger for words. The Dutch came sharing ‘coleslaw’ and
‘cookies’ – probably as a result of their relaxed attitude to drugs. Later, the Germans arrived
selling ‘pretzels’ from ‘delicatessens’ and the Italians arrived with their ‘pizza’, their ‘pasta’ and
their ‘mafia’, just like mamma used to make.
America spread a new language of capitalism – getting everyone worried about the
‘breakeven’ and ‘the bottom line’, and whether they were ‘blue chip’ or ‘white collar’. The
commuter needed a whole new system of ‘freeways’, ‘subways’ and ‘parking lots’ – and
quickly, before words like ‘merger’ and ‘downsizing’ could be invented.
American English drifted back across the pond as Brits ‘got the hang of’ their ‘cool movies’,
and their ‘groovy’ ‘jazz’. There were even some old forgotten English words that lived on in
America. So they carried on using ‘fall’, ‘faucets’, ‘diapers’ and ‘candy’, while the Brits moved
on to ‘autumn’, ‘taps’, ‘nappies’ and NHS dental care.

Internet English

In 1972 the first email was sent. Soon the Internet arrived – a free global space to share
information, ideas and amusing pictures of cats.
Before then English changed through people speaking it – but the net brought typing back
into fashion and hundreds of cases of repetitive strain syndrome.
Nobody had ever had to ‘download’ anything before, let alone use a ‘toolbar’ –
And the only time someone set up a ‘firewall’, it ended with a massive insurance claim and a
huge pile of charred wallpaper.
Conversations were getting shorter than the average attention span – why bother writing a
sentence when an abbreviation would do and leave you more time to ‘blog’, ‘poke’ and
‘reboot’ when your ‘hard drive’ crashed?
‘In my humble opinion’ became ‘IMHO, ‘by the way’ became ‘BTW and ‘if we’re honest that
life-threatening accident was pretty hilarious!’ simply became ‘fail’.
Some changes even passed into spoken English. For your information people frequently
asked questions like “how can ‘LOL’ mean ‘laugh out loud’ and ‘lots of love’? But if you’re
going to complain about that then UG2BK

Global English

In the 1500 years since the Roman’s left Britain, English has shown an unique ability to
absorb, evolve, invade and, if we’re honest, steal. After foreign settlers got it started, it grew
into a fully-fledged language all of its own, before leaving home and travelling the world, first
via the high seas, then via the high speed broadband connection, pilfering words from over
350 languages and establishing itself as a global institution. All this despite a written alphabet
that bears no correlation to how it sounds and a system of spelling that even Dan Brown
couldn’t decipher.
Right now around 1.5 billion people now speak English. Of these about a quarter are native
speakers, a quarter speak it as their second language, and half are able to ask for directions
to a swimming pool.
Modern hybrids of English have really caught on. There’s Hinglish – which is Hindi-English,
Chinglish – which is Chinese-English and Singlish – which is Singaporean English – and not
that bit when they speak in musicals.
So in conclusion, the language has got so little to do with England these days it may well be
time to stop calling it ‘English’. But if someone does think up a new name for it, it should
probably be in Chinese.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Getty Images

El 17 de marzo es el Día de San Patricio (Saint Patrick’s Day), un día de fiesta nacional en Irlanda en el que se conmemora a St. Patrick, santo patrón del país.

Este día no sólo se celebra en Irlanda, sino en muchos otros países como, por ejemplo, los Estados Unidos o Argentina, donde encontramos población de origen irlandés.

¿Quién fue San Patricio?

Según la leyenda, San Patricio fue el hijo de dos ciudadanos romanos que vivían en alguna región de Britania, la provincia romana que ocupaba lo que hoy en día es Gran Bretaña. Nació en el siglo IV dC y a los dieciséis años fue secuestrado y llevado a Irlanda, donde pasó los siguientes seis años en cautividad.

Pero tras escuchar la voz de Dios en un sueño, consiguió escapar y regresar a Gran Bretaña. Una vez allí, decidió convertirse en sacerdote y, pasados unos años, volvió a Irlanda para convertir a los paganos al Catolicismo. Para lograrlo, utilizaba un trébol (shamrock) de tres hojas para explicar la Santísima Trinidad, por eso el trébol es uno de los símbolos del santo y, por extensión, de la propia Irlanda.

Se dice que San Patricio murió el 17 de marzo del año 461 y que su sepultura se encuentra en la catedral de Downpatrick.

La catedral de Downpatrick

La catedral de Downpatrick es el lugar donde, según la leyeda, fue enterrado San Patricio.

¿Cómo se celebra?

El día de San Patricio se celebra de muchas maneras. Lo más habitual es organizar desfiles, como en Estados Unidos, o festivales, como en Dublín.

Desfile del Día de San Patricio en Dublín.

Desfile del Día de San Patricio en Dublín.







La gente suele salir a divertirse vestida de verde o llevando consigo un trébol. Los más atrevidos se disfrazan de leprechaun, un personaje típico del folclore irlandés, o se visten con los colores de la bandera irlandesa.

Desfile del Día de San Patricio en Dublín.

Desfile del Día de San Patricio en Dublín.

La bebida típica de este día es la cerveza Guinness, que acompaña platos tan deliciosos como el Corned Beef u otros asados increíbles. ¡Echa un vistazo a estas recetas recogidas por la BBC!

Guinness beer

Getty Images

Getty Images








¿Quieres saber más? Pincha aquí y descube una interesante colección de artículos y vídeos del canal Historia sobre St. Patrick’s Day (en inglés).

Sin Roosevelt no existirían los «Teddy bears»

¿Qué relación hay entre los «Teddy bears» y Theodore Roosevelt?

En inglés, los osos de peluche se conocen como «Teddy bears». Este nombre se lo debemos a Theodore Roosevelt, presidente de los Estados Unidos desde 1901 hasta 1909. Pero, ¿por qué?

En noviembre de 1902, Theodore Roosevelt viajó a Mississipi para mediar en un conflicto entre los estados de Louisiana y Mississipi por una cuestión de fronteras. Durante el tiempo que estuvo allí fue invitado a participar en una expedición para cazar osos pero, tras cuatro días, Roosevelt no había sido capaz de cazar ni uno solo. Entonces, algunos de sus ayudantes decidieron atar un enorme oso negro a un sauce y le sugirieron que le disparara. Roosevelt, alegando que eso era una práctica poco deportiva (¡recordad que la caza se considera un deporte!), se negó a dispararle. Según se dice, estas fueron sus palabras:

«I’ve hunted game all over America and I’m proud to be a hunter. But I couldn’t be proud of myself if I shot an old, tired, worn-out bear that was tied to a tree.»

Este incidente, que podría haberse quedado en una simple anécdota, se hizo popular gracias a la viñeta del dibujante Clifford K. Berryman publicada en el periódico Washington Post el 16 de noviembre de 1902, un día después de que este mismo periódico se hiciera eco de la notícia.

‘Drawing The Line In Mississippi’, de Clifford K. Berryman, donde vemos a Theodore Roosevelt negándose a disparar a un adorable osito (The Washington Post, 16 de noviembre, 1902).

Poco después de la aparición de la viñeta en la prensa, un comerciante del distrito de Brooklyn (Nueva York) llamado Morris Michtom tuvo una idea que lo catapultaría al éxito. Michtom se dedicaba principalmente a la venta de dulces pero él y su mujer Rose también fabricaban animales de peluche. Tras ver la viñeta, Michtom se inspiró para crear un oso de peluche al que llamaría «Teddy’s Bear» («el oso de Teddy») en honor al presidente Roosevelt, ya que «Teddy» es uno de los diminutivos de Theodore. Después de conseguir el permiso del presidente para usar ese nombre, Michtom empezó a fabricar «Teddy bears» en masa y muy pronto se convirtieron en un éxito de ventas. Al cabo de poco tiempo, con los beneficios obtenidos gracias a los «Teddy bears», Morris y Rose Michtom fundaron la Ideal Novelty and Toy Company, la primera empresa que fabricó y distribuyó osos de peluche en Estados Unidos.

Uno de los «Teddy bears» de Michtom, de alrededor de 1903, conservado en el Museo Nacional de Historia Americana del Smithsonian / National Museum of American History.

La popularidad de los osos de peluche fue creciendo con el tiempo y se convirtieron en uno de los juguetes favoritos de millones de niños, algo que no ha cambiado hasta el día de hoy.

Theodore Roosevelt abrazando un cachorro de oso negro / Clifford K. Berryman




Ponte en contacto con nosotros