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Tag: english school

Cultural Beliefs in Britain: Strange Superstitions

In honor of Halloween next week, we have dedicated this blog to superstitions; everyone has them but we don’t always know where they come from.

Every culture has their particular superstitions: don’t walk under ladders or scaffolding, black cats are unlucky, 13 is an unlucky number, seeing ravens means someone you know will die soon, horseshoes bring luck, etc. There are also certain groups of people that are more superstitious than others, for example, actors, sailors, and athletes. Actors can never whistle backstage, or say the name Macbeth – you must always call it the Scottish play. Sailors believed that an albatross was a sign of hope and killing one would bring bad luck.

The list of strange superstitions is long, and there are some strange ones.

Come and have a look at the weirdness of British culture:

General Superstitions

  1. If the ravens of the Tower of London leave, then the Crown will be lost.
  2. Black rabbits have human souls and white ones used to be witches.
  3. You will have bad luck if you spill salt. You must throw salt over your back to counteract the effect.
  4. For luck, brides must wear something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new
  5. If you say ‘white rabbit’ three times on the first day of the month, it will bring you luck for the rest of the month.
  6. Don’t eat lettuce if you want to have children.
  7. Magpies are a bird that you have to greet every time you see it; when you see a magpie say “Hello Mr Magpie, how is your lady wife today?”. There was also a children’s rhyme written about them:

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret never to be told.

Yorkshire

  1. Cutting off the end of a loaf of bread makes the devil fly over your house.
  2. Bread will not rise if there is a dead body nearby.
  3. If you visit a newborn child, put a silver coin in its hands.

Somerset & Dorset

  1. A double-yolked egg means that you will have twins. It used to mean that someone would get married quickly due to a pregnancy.
  2. A slow boiling kettle will have a toad inside of
  3. Stirring food in the opposite direction of the sun will ruin it.

Did you find any of these strange or weird? Do you want to share any strange superstitions that you believe in? Let us know about them!

[SPEAK UP LONDON] DOES THE MANNEQUIN CHALLENGE

 

SPEAK UP LONDON DOES ONE OF THE BIGGEST MANNEQUIN CHALLENGES!

 

#SpeakUpLondon #MannequinChallenge

 

 

 

The Internet is a great place to explore; communities are formed, friends are made and crazy challenges are created. In the wave of new internet fads, Speak Up London thought it best to hop on board and take part in the Mannequin Challenge.

Speak Up London is filled with over 400 students and 50 staff members, so as you can imagine, this would be an enormous task. We couldn’t wait to conquer the Mannequin Challenge.

 

11 of our morning English classes (9am- 12pm), took time out of their day to participate in this quirky challenge. Imagine not moving for minutes on end; it was definitely interesting and funny to see.

 

Each floor was posed in different positions and presented different situations. The first floor presented people paused in time whilst playing clapping games. Another situation showed people about to jump out of the window, throwing plants at each other, and even balancing plants on their heads.

 

One of the best parts of our Mannequin Challenge would be the marriage proposal taking place in a classroom. As well as a proposal, there were people sleeping on the ground and other students were watching youtube videos on their phones.

 

The Speak Up London team would like to give a big thank you to the students, teachers and team members that participated in this challenge. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

 

Speak Up London enjoyed seeing everyone’s Mannequin Challenge videos. We love seeing the creative minds of people around the world and, to be honest, we believe that Speak Up London holds the crown for the greatest Mannequin Challenge ever!

 

 

 

 

There is no need for us to explain any further. Why not click on the video and take a look at the full extended version of Speak Up London’s Mannequin Challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[ENGLISH TIPS] KARAOKE CAN HELP YOU LEARN ENGLISH!

SINGING KARAOKE CAN HELP YOU LEARN ENGLISH!

Yes it’s true!

Find out how singing Karaoke can better your Language skills.

#SpeakUpLondonBlog

 

 

poster-karaoke-01-02

 

A few months ago, we had a Karaoke competition here at Speak Up London. We encouraged our students to sing and memorise a song in class, whichever class sang the best would win boxes of pizza. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Although it was fun for our students to sing and win pizza, what they didn’t know was that we were secretly improving their English language skills… yes it’s true! We will prove it.

Music is something that everyone listens to; we enjoy the lyrics and the rhythm, of songs. When we really enjoy a song, we may even sing a-long to it, and embarrass ourselves by doing Karaoke. No matter how bad we may sound, we enjoy the feeling that music gives us.

However, what if I was to tell you that singing Karaoke is very helpful when learning a language. Would you believe me?  Well, it’s true! Remembering the lyrics to a song helps you remember the words of that song. It also helps in terms of constructing sentences properly and pronunciation.

 

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When you learn a new language, you are not only learning new words and sentences, you will also learn about the culture. Karaoke will make you fall in love with a culture.

Learning the lyrics of a song helps you expand your vocabulary. Songs aren’t always very formal, so it is a good way for you to learn slang words that are commonly used in the language you are learning.

Singing can actually help you reduce your foreign-sounding accent. For example, if your favourite singer has a London accent when they sing, it is something that you will imitate and copy as you sing.

 

 

greg

 

Your pronunciation will change to match the singer’s own and you will understand the ways in which the rhythm of a sentence is supposed to flow.

Linguistic research from the University of Edinburgh found that adults, who sang karaoke from a different language whilst learning, were twice as good at speaking it later.

It is believed that by listening to the words of a song, and by singing them to yourself, the technique takes advantage of the strong links between music and memory.

Therefore, you will remember all of the words to a song that has been in your head for a long time.

So, you see! Karaoke is good for you, so sing, even if you’re terrible at it.

 

 

 

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[HALLOWEEN] SCARY STORIES FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES

SCARY STORIES FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES

Cultures all over the world are filled with different foods that we have never tasted before, clothes we have never worn before, and stories that we have never heard before.

But, have you ever thought about the urban legends that fill different cultures and the scary creatures that fill people with fear? Well, here is a list of the scariest stories of different cultures from around the world. Right on time for Halloween right?

1.) The Slender man | Origin: USA and The Internet

The Slender man is a thin and silent stalker who is commonly known for stalking and abducting children. He is extremely thin and tall, with a blank face.

He stalks his victims at first, and whilst you are sleeping he will kidnap you. He will ask you a random question and if you get the answer right, he will break both of your arms and legs.

But, if you get the answer wrong, he will pull your heart out of your body.

2.) El Viejo del Saco | Origin: Chile, Cuba, Mexico

This story is based on a true crime that occurred in the village of Gador, Spain in 1910. The crime was committed by a man named Francisco Ortega who had tuberculosis. He was very sick and went to seek help from a healer.

The healer said he would be healed if he drinks the blood of a young child and uses the blood as a body-rub to rub on his chest. Francisco kidnapped a 7-year-old boy, placed him in a cloth sack, and eventually drank his blood.

The legend of El Viejo del Saco comes from this dark true story. El Viejo del Saco kidnaps misbehaving children and eats them.

3.) The Banshee | Origin: Ireland

The banshee is said to be a bad omen and a sign of someone’s death. When a person hears the loud screeching of a banshee, shortly after, they will die a horrible death.

Legends of the banshee seem to have originated in Ireland.

The banshee is also often said to be seen before a tragic death. Banshees are sometimes depicted as ugly old hags. They can sometimes transform themselves into a beautiful young woman.

4.) The Weeping Woman | Origin: South America

The tale begins with a woman named Maria who drowns her children in a river as revenge to her unfaithful husband.

Filled with sadness about what she had done, she ends her own life.  Maria was not allowed to enter heaven because her children were not with her.

Some legends say that The Weeping Woman will kidnap other boys and girls who resemble her own children and will kill them.

She appears by the lakes and rivers screaming the words, “Oh my children!” Anyone who hears her saying these words will die soon after.

5.) The Tokoloshi
Origin: South Africa

The Tokoloshi is a zombie of short stature. These Zombies can be created by removing the eyes and tongue out of a dead person. Life is breathed into the zombie with a special white powder.

They live in the houses of witches and are known for stealing milk from cows and bringing harm to people whenever its master asks. They are usually small, brown and hairy.

We hope that these Halloween stories haven’t scared you all too much. Have a great Halloween guys, and retell these stories to your friends and family, to frighten them.