Monday, 29 October 2012

The Lumineers- "Ho Hey"

Listen to this song only once and it won't get out of your head anymore!The Lumineers are an innovative US band promoting a simple style (see for instance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ The_Lumineers) that is "simply" catchy!

Level: beginner

Grammar focus on: present perfect continuous

Activity: put the verbs into the correct form of present perfect continuous


Ho Hey

Lyrics taken from:  http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Ho-Hey-lyrics-The-Lumineers/669FAB16FAB5BA5848257A27005E2691

Video:


Note for teachers:
  • if you are looking for an activity involving physically your class, you can form groups and ask them to rehearse the video of the song on their own using a video camera. They can as well add the lyrics (through karaoke or bubbles, etc.).
  • An other interesting activity is to start your lesson from Bing's commercial so as to elicit the song's theme:

Linguistic aspects:  let's start from the places listed in the song. Chinatown is a famous district in New York. Here you can find the Canal and Bowery thoroughfare mentioned in the lyrics, i.e. a special place for those lovers who want to buy engagement rings, etc. (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/331476634/).
And now let's pass and finish with two verbs used in an unusual way:
  • to bleed out means to bleed to death. So if you bleed out, you are going to die of exsanguination (for this medical term see http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-bleeding-out.htm).
  • To belong to expresses possession, but in this song you will listen to the sentence: "You belong with me", a romantic way to say that "You can go together with me" or  "You are right for me".

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Kate Perry- "Wide Awake"

Today's song will guide you through Kate Perry's fantastic world, as "Wide Awake" starts from her live performance to go to a younger version of herself, but only if you watch the "The Making Of...", which I'm going to post, you will appreciate it for once!

Level: intermediate


Grammar focus on: adjectives


Activity: gap fill (no items provided)


Wide Awake

Lyrics taken from:  http://www.lyricsfreak.com/k/katy+perry/wide+awake_21005238.html

Video: 


Linguistic aspects: let's pay attention to the idioms of "Wide Awake". Firstly, if you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy. On the contrary, you are in a dangerous, threatening and unpleasant situation when you find yourself in the lion's den (literary a den is a shelter or lair for animals). 

Secondly, one is in the dark when he/she is in a state of ignorance (the opposite is to see clearly).
Thirdly, you can replace the expression with an open heart with the adjective open-hearted, meaning that someone is willing to express his feelings spontaneously.

Lastly, click on the following  "The Making Of" if you wish to improve your listening and learn more idioms, as well: 





Friday, 19 October 2012

Muse- "Madness"

I confess that I am extremely delighted every time a new song by Muse is broadcast on air as a new hit, because I think that this band exceeds in speaking about complex situations and feelings in a very simple way. Take for instance the video of "Madness": it will capture your imagination because it is set in a rather contemporary urban landscape, where a few colours, like blue, yellow and green prevail over the primary ones. What's more, from a linguistic point of view, the text is accessible even to beginner students!

Level: beginner

Grammar focus on: verbs

Activity: predictions and fill in the gaps

Madness

Lyrics taken from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/m/muse/madness_21025326.html

Video: 



Linguistic aspects: The song offers many examples of phrasal verbs, but there are also other useful phrases to focus on.
Let's start from I have finally seen the light, i.e. a metaphor used when you realize or understand something after a prolonged thought or doubt (see the Oxford Dictionaries' entry) or you undergo a religious conversion. 
Then a situation keeps sb. afloat (afloat literaly means floating in water) when one feels that he/she is out of debt or difficulty.
Last, but not at least, let's consider the verb capture. As said above something can capture one's imagination or attention if it fascinates him/her; this is Formal English (being the verb to catch more commonly used in everyday language) and if you want to know more about the origin of this word, please go to: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/capture?q=capture.



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Alicia Keys- "Girl on Fire"

Welcome back to one of the most gifted contemporary singers, Alicia Keys and her "Girl On Fire"! The key word of our song today is absolutely "fire" and its connotations, therefore get ready to know more about it!

Level: beginner

Grammar focus on:  present/ present continuous 

Activity:  put the verbs within brackets into the correct form.


Girl on Fire

Lyrics taken from: http://www.directlyrics.com/alicia-keys-girl-on-fire-lyrics.html

Video: 


Linguistic aspects: to be on fire literary means burning; here this expression is referred to an unstoppable flow of emotions and feelings. Likely to it, I walk on fire means that I am ready to go through any dangerous situation. If I get my head in the clouds, I am absent-minded and perhaps I don't even know the facts of a situation. Opposite to it, if I get my feet on the ground, I am a very practical person and I see things as they clearly are. Finally, when you back down (Phrasal verb), you admit that you were wrong or that you have been defeated and, consequently, you are ready to retrace your steps.