Monday, 25 October 2010

Hugs from Julio!

Still thinking of you lot!

Get my best regards from Campo Real, yo can still follow and find me at

Take care!


Campo Real is a town just 39 km away from Madrid located by the eastern boundary of its metropolitan area,a town of recognised gastronomic prestige. It lies in the basin of the River Tajuña, very close to Arganda del Rey. It has a population of over 3,500 inhabitants.

It is well known for its high quality food products (olives, olive oil, and mainly its sheep cheese). Its church of Nuestra Señora del Castillo of a Romanic-gothic transition style dates back to the 12th century. In 1981 it was declared a provincial historic-artistic monument.

It is known that the definitive name of the municipality was coined in the late 16th century, during the reign of Felipe II.

The church of Santa María del Castillo was originally a Templar convent which dates back to the 12th c., and in 1981 it was declared a provincial historic-artistic monument. Recently restored, climbing the steps which access the temple offers a remarkable view of the surrounding area given the rise on which it stands. The other noteworthy architectural buildings in the town are also religious: the shrines of the Santísimo Cristo de la Peña, from the 18th c., and located close to the Plaza Mayor; that of Las Angustias, from one century earlier, on the outskirts of the village; and that of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, also from the 16th c., which can be found at the entrance to the historic centre of the town.

In Campo Real you can visit the Museo de Alfarería (the Pottery Museum), a true storehouse of traditional rural instruments, which is ideal for reliving the more and more distant past of the area.

In Campo Real olives are the real protagonists and the town offers all the possible varieties of this product. However, it is the dressing which enhances the quality of the olives, and it is a dual process which sweetens them and dresses them via a very special and laborious use of garlic, thyme, fennel, oregano, bay leaf and onion. The olive, which was worthy of receiving the culinary distinction of the denomination of quality,awarded by the autonomous government of Madrid, is joined by sheep's cheese, virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. And we must not forget the wines of Campo Real.

The fiestas of the municipality are very lively and it is worth paying them a visit: those of San Isidro are on 15 May; those of the Santísima Virgen de los Remedios on 8 September; and those of the Santísima Cristo de la Peña, from 13 to 18 September, are the main ones.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Things to do in Summer

Here is a list of 50 things to do the next time you are bored!

1. Gather up a few friends, and have a picnic by the Jarama River.
2. Go on a walk and take pictures of trees, flowers, dogs, etc.
3. Buy some fashion magazines, pick out a couple of really cute outfits, and try to recreate them for less!
4. Help your parents or a friend.
5. Volunteer at the local animal or homeless shelter.
6. Clean your room!
7. Bake some cupcakes and deliver them to friends and family.
8. Play some childhood games like "Sorry", "Candyland", or "Pretty Pretty Princess".
9. Take your dog (or your neighbour´s)for a walk.
10. E-mail a friend you haven't spoken to in awhile.
11. Do 25 jumping jacks!
12. Look through old family scrapbooks, photo books, and yearbooks.
13. Make a root beer float.
14. Go to the movies with your siblings.
15. Go window-shopping with a friend.
16. Write a poem.
17. Make fresh, homemade fruit juice.
18. Give your dog (or yourself) a bath.
19. Make dinner for your family.
20. Baby-sit for a neighbor.
21. Have a sleepover party and watch scary movies.
22. Plan a vacation you want to take next summer.
23. Plant flowers in your yard.
24. Sign up for a class.
25. Have a long relaxing bubble bath... home or at the Jarama river!!!.
26. Make a mixed CD of your favorite songs and title it "The soundtrack of my life".
27. Order a pizza.
28. Splash around in a plastic kiddy pool.
29. Buy some crayons and a coloring book.
30. Read a book based on a movie you have seen.
31. Make a scrapbook of your baby pictures.
32. Get a job or an internship.
33. Start a diary and write in it everyday.
34. Spend the day at the library.
35. Draw a self-portrait.
36. Make a collage out of old magazines.
37. Run around in the sprinklers.
38. Go to a museum.
39. Go out for lunch with one of your parents... or teachers!.
40. Jump in the pool with your clothes on.
41. Eat last night's leftovers for breakfast.
42. Learn to sew or knit.
43. Invite friends over and have a tea party, British? Cool in Mejorada!!.
44. Swing on the swings at the park.
45. Tie-Dye a t-shirt or bed sheets with Kool-Aid!
46. Make a smoothie.
47. Learn how to define and spell 5 new words from the dictionary.
48. Make popsicles in your freezer.
49. Put on the radio and dance.
50. Go camping in the Parque Regional del Sureste, if police come, tell them you are mejoreña/o and the park is yours!!!

Monday, 31 May 2010

The Great Song of Indifference

I don't mind if you go
I don't mind if you take it slow
I don't mind if you say yes or no
I don't mind at all

I don't care if you live or die
Couldn't care less if you laugh or cry
I don't mind if you crash or fly
I don't mind at all

I don't mind if you come or go
I don't mind if you say no
Couldn't care less baby let it flow
'Cause I don't care at all

Na na na...

I don't care if you sink or swim
Lock me out or let me in
Where I'm going or where I've been
I don't mind at all

I don't mind if the government falls
Implements more futile laws
[Más Letras en]
I don't care if the nation stalls
And I don't care at all

I don't care if they tear down trees
I don't feel the hotter breeze
Sink in dust in dying sees
And I don't care at all

Na na na ...

I don't mind if culture crumbles
I don't mind if religion stumbles
I can't hear the speakers mumble
And I don't mind at all

I don't care if the Third World fries
It's hotter there I'm not surprised
Baby I can watch whole nations die
And I don't care at all

I don't mind I don't mind I
don't mind I don't mind
I don't mind I don't mind
I don't mind at all

Na na na ...

I don't mind about people's fears
Authority no longer hears
Send a social engineer
And I don't mind at all!

Watch the Video

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Fluffy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Servings : 8

Preparation Time :1:30

1 large head garlic (split in half horizontally)
1 teaspoon of olive oil
3 large baking potatoes (peeled & quartered)
3 tablespoons of margarine
1 cup of low-fat milk or soymilk
salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Cooking instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drizzle garlic with oil. Wrap securely in foil; roast 30 to 40 minutes, or until soft. Cool, then squeeze garlic out of skins; refrigerate. Discard skins. (If desired, garlic can be roasted the day before.)

Cover potatoes with water, add salt and bring to a boil. cover; cook 20 to 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain; reserve cooking water. Mash potatoes well. Add garlic, margarine, salt, pepper and milk or soymilk. Whip potatoes, adding reserved cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time until potatoes are fluffy and light but still hold shape.


Why vegetarian?

Oftentimes when I meet someone they ask me why I’m a vegetarian (a vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat meat or fish, nor uses any animal products which mean pain). Before I list the reasons why I’ve chosen to be a vegetarian let me say that I don’t judge people who choose to eat meat. People make different choices for different reasons, and it is not my place to judge the choices that other people make. Just being alive is inevitably going to cause suffering. But anyway, here’s why I’m a vegetarian.

1) I respect animals, and I believe that a vegetarian diet causes less suffering than a diet centered around animal products. i find no pleasure in pain.

2) Animals are sentient creatures with their own wills and feelings, and it seems wrong to force our will onto another creature just because we’re able to.

3) A great deal of medical evidence points to the fact that a diet centered around animal products is terrible for you. Animal product based diets have been repeatedly proven to cause and exacerbate cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

4) A vegetarian diet is materially more efficient than an animal product based diet. By that I mean that you can feed lots more people with grain directly than by feeding that grain to a cow and then killing the cow. In a world where people are starving it seems criminal to fatten up cows with grain that could be keeping people alive.

5) The raising of farm animals is environmentally disastrous. All of the waste from animal farming gets washed into our water supply, poisoning our drinking water and fouling our lakes, streams, and oceans.

6) Vegetarian food is nice to look at. Compare a plate with grains and fruits and vegetables to a plate with pigs’ intestines, chicken legs, and chopped up cows’ muscles.

So that’s pretty much why I’m a vegetarian. If for some reason you ever decide to become a vegetarian or a vegan, please do so carefully. Most of our conventional diets are so meat and animal product based that when we give up meat we don’t know what to replace it with.

Although a vegetarian or vegan diet is a million times healthier than a carnivorous diet, making the transition away from eating animals needs to be done wisely. Most health food stores and bookstores have good books that can help you to make the transition from an animal product based diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

We asked foreigners many things about their trip to Spain, we asked about their country, their favourite food, the differences between their country and our country, and many more things …
The people interviewed were from different countries, like for example Russia, California, USA, Japan…
Each person spoke in a different way
We looked for foreigners in the Prado´s museum, Retiro park… we got profit from the morning’s work and we rode on a boat met a lot of people from other cultures…
After the interview we went to an exposition of photography.
We enjoyed very much with this excursion and learned more English, now we know what other people think of us, and of our culture, food…We would like to repeat this experience.


Monday, 3 May 2010

Song: Nightwish - End of all hope

NightWish -- End Of All Hope

It is the end of all hope
To lose the child, the faith
To end all the innocence
To be someone like me
This is the birth of all hope
To have what I once had
This life unforgiven
It will end with a birth

No will to wake for this morn
To see another black rose born
Deathbed is slowly covered with snow

Angels, they fell first but I'm still here
Alone as they are drawing near
In heaven my masterpiece will finally be sung

It is the end of all hope
To lose the child, the faith
To end all the innocence
To be someone like me

Wounded is the deer that leaps highest
And my wound it cuts so deep
Turn off the light and let me pull the plug

It is the end of all hope
To lose the child, the faith
To end all the innocence
To be someone like me
This is the birth of all hope
To have what I once had
This life unforgiven
It will end with a birth

Mandylion, without a face
Deathwish without a prayer
End of hope
End of love
End of time, the rest is silence

Mandylion, without a face
Deathwish without a prayer
End of hope
End of love
End of time, the rest is silence

It is the end of all hope
To lose the child, the faith
To end all the innocence
To be someone like me

This is the birth of all hope
To have what I once had

It is the end of all hope
To lose the child, the faith
To end all the innocence
To be someone like me

It is the end of all hope
To lose the child, the faith

End of all hope

"Nightwish is a symphonic metal band from Finland. They formed in July 1996 playing acoustic mood music. Tuomas Holopainen came up with the idea. He asked Tarja Turunen to sing and Emppu Vuorinen to play guitar.

It was not until the beginning of 1997 that the band started playing heavier music. Jukka Nevalainen joined to play the drums and they switched the acoustic guitar for the electric guitar. In May 1997, Nightwish signed a contract with Spinefarm Records and they released their first album 'Angels Fall First'.

In 1998, Sami Vänskä joined the band to play bass. This same year they released 'Oceanborn', which was much more complicated than 'Angels Fall First'.

In May 2000 they released 'Wishmaster', which was very similar to 'Oceanborn'. They also entered the competition to be Finland's entry for the Eurovision song contest with the song 'Sleepwalker'. They won the phone vote but the judges disagreed so they came second.

Tarja left the group in 2005 after their "End of an Era" tour. In 2007, Swedish singer Anette Olzon was chosen to be the new singer, and they released a single, Amaranth, and a few months later, a new album, Dark Passion Play."

  • Current Members:

  • Tuomas Holopainen - Keyboards

    • Emppu Vuorinen - Guitar

          • Jukka Nevalainen - Drums

            • Marco Hietala - Bass/male vocals

              • Anette Olzon - Vocals

Friday, 30 April 2010

Water for life decade

Water is essential for life. No living being on planet Earth can survive without it.
It is a prerequisite for human health and well-being as well as for the preservation of the environment.

However, four of every ten people in the world do not have access to a toilet; and nearly two in ten have no source of safe drinking water. Every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.

According to the World Health Organization, each and every day some 3,900 children die because of dirty water or poor hygiene; diseases transmitted through water or human excrement are the second-leading cause of death among children worldwide, after respiratory diseases.

Water scarcity, poor water quality, and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices, and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. Water-related natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and tsunamis exact a heavy toll in human life and suffering. And all too regularly, drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition.

Beyond meeting basic human needs, water supply and sanitation services, as well as water as a resource, are critical to sustainable development. It is a major source of energy in some parts of the world, while in others its potential as an energy source remains largely untapped.
Water is also necessary for agriculture and for many industrial processes. And in more than a few countries, it makes up an integral part of transport systems. With improved scientific understanding, the international community has also come to appreciate more fully the valuable services provided by water-related ecosystems, from flood control to storm protection and water purification.

Water challenges will increase significantly in the coming years. Continuing population growth and rising incomes will lead to greater water consumption, as well as more waste. The urban population in developing countries will grow dramatically, generating demand well beyond the capacity of already inadequate water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services. According to the UN World Water Development Report, by 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of freshwater.

It seems there are more than few reasons to put water and sanitation at the top of the world’s agenda...


Monday, 19 April 2010


This thursday we will try to work with this two pages and the stories we may listen to in them:

English and TV:
Do you remember we talked about the Southern accent of Sawyer in "LOST"?


The news:

From voice of America, listen to

Sunday, 11 April 2010

History of the Undersea Communications

The first submarine telegraph cable, laid by the brothers Jacob and John Watkins Brett between England and France in August 1850, was of simple construction - a copper conductor with gutta percha insulation and no armoring. It worked for only a day, then broke from chafing on rocks; another version says that the cable was hooked by a fisherman and destroyed, It quickly became apparent that cables needed to be armored to withstand not only the stresses of being laid and the risks of being damaged by fishing vessels, but also the predations of aquatic life.

The first wire ropes were made with iron wire, using the same manufacturing methods as for hemp rope. By 1834 wire ropes developed by the German engineer Wilhelm Albert were being used in the mines in Germany's Upper Harz district, and it was estimated that the additional manufacturing cost was more than covered by the much longer life of the wire rope over traditional hemp ropes. The new technology spread rapidly to Britain, and by the late 1830s there were a number of companies making wire rope.

In 1837 Lewis Gordon, formerly an assistant to Brunel during the construction of the Thames Tunnel, made a career change to practical mining, and entered the Freiburg School of Mines in Germany, and then the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. In 1838 he visited the mines at Clausthal in the Harz mountains, and met Wilhelm Albert. Impressed by what he saw, he wrote to his friend R.S. Newall in Britain on June 20th, 1838, urging him to "Invent a machine for making (wire ropes)".

Do you want to know more?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Miguel Delibes

Miguel Delibes Setién, 1920 - 2010 Valladolid–, Spanish novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. Born in Valladolid, Spain, Delibes studied law and economics and from 1945 was a professor of commercial law at the University of Valladolid, also working as a journalist.

He is known for his descriptions of rural life and for his psychological analysis of middle-lower-class characters.

Among his many works are La sombra del ciprés es alargada (1947), Diario de un cazador (1955), Smoke on the Ground (1962, tr. 1972), Five Hours with Mario (1966, tr. 1988), Diario de un jubilado (1995), and El hereje (1999).

He was awarded Spain's highest literary honor, the Cervantes Prize, in 1994.

He died today, may he rest in peace.

Learn more

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

New tools!

You have two new gadgets to use:

- Weather Forecast (check under the Newspapers)

- Drama plays, dialogues, etc (check the tools)

Enjoy them!:

The weather in the World


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Did you know?

Why is blue for boys and pink for girls?
In ancient times, it was believed that certain colors could combat the evil spirits that lingered over nurseries. Because blue was associated with the heavenly spirits, boys were clothed in that color, boys then being considered the most valuable resource to parents. Although baby girls did not have a color associated with them, they were mostly clothed in black. It was only in the Middle Ages when pink became associated with baby girls.

Go to the webpage:

Watch the video: Did you kow?

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Spanish Scientist, co-discoverer of the human oncogene

Mariano Barbacid Montalbán spent most of his professional career in the United States. In 1998, his return to Spain after a 24-year absence was greeted with extensive coverage in the media, not just in the medical trade press, but in the mainstream newspapers and magazines as well. His return, he said at the time, was not due to a sudden bout of homesickness but came after receiving an "offer no researcher could refuse".
The Spanish Minister of Public Health gave Barbacid the chance of heading a no-expense-spared national cancer research facility, the "Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas Carlos III" (CNIO). With 100,000 square feet of lab space the center, the first of its kind in Spain, occupies an old disused hospital in Madrid, restored and converted at a cost of some $25 million and due to open in 2001. Meanwhile, his team's initial work was being carried out in borrowed lab space, with a grant from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

It is a personal triumph for Barbacid, co-discoverer of the human oncogene, who had criticized the lack of funding for cancer research. In modern Spain "this is one of the last remaining challenges", he has said. Half the center's annual budget of $30 million is paid out of Spain's National Health System and the other half from research grants.

Mariano Barbacid was born in Madrid in 1949. At age 25, shortly after receiving his doctorate in Science and with work offers from six American research centers, he moved to the United States. Between 1974 and 1988 Barbacid worked for the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland, first as a basic scientist investigating molecular and genetic oncology, and later carrying translational research into early diagnosis of cancer. In 1982 the team headed by Barbacid was one of three to first isolate a human oncogene, a major breakthrough which shed new light on the molecular basis of cancer.

Barbacid later worked for the Department of Molecular Biology at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey, until March 1998 when, turning down another offer from the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, he returned to Spain.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Biographies of important people

Rosa Louise Parks was nationally recognized as the "mother of the modern day civil rights movement" in America. Her refusal to surrender her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, December 1, 1955, triggered a wave of protest December 5, 1955 that reverberated throughout the United States. Her quiet courageous act changed America, its view of black people and redirected the course of history.

Mrs. Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley, February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama.

After the arrest of Rosa Parks, black people of Montgomery and sympathizers of other races organized and promoted a boycott of the city bus line that lasted 381 days. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was appointed the spokesperson for the Bus Boycott and taught nonviolence to all participants. Contingent with the protest in Montgomery, others took shape throughout the south and the country. They took form as sit-ins, eat-ins, swim-ins, and similar causes. Thousands of courageous people joined the "protest" to demand equal rights for all people.

She was voted by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most Influential people of the 20th century.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Interviewing a Foreigner:

Hello! Could I ask you a few questions?

1. Where do you come from? ________________________________________________________________

2. What did you think of Spain before your visit? (Have you been deceived or not?) ________________________________________________________________

3. How long have you been in Spain?/ How long have you planned to stay here? ________________________________________________________________

4. Why are you here in Spain? Why did you choose Spain? What things did you know about Spanish life, culture, sports… before coming? ________________________________________________________________

5. Who are you here with? ________________________________________________________________

6. What places have you already been to?/ What place do you already know about? ________________________________________________________________

7. What do you like most of Spain (from your experience or from your previous data)? ________________________________________________________________

8. What is the food that you enjoyed most (or you would like to try)? ________________________________________________________________

9. Are Spaniards too different to the people in your country? Which way? ________________________________________________________________

10. What do you think about bullfighting? ________________________________________________________________

11. What do you miss from your country? (food, people, landscape…) ________________________________________________________________

12. Are you planning to stay, would you visit Spain again? Why? ________________________________________________________________

13. What do people think in your country about Spain? ________________________________________________________________

14. Would you live here? Why? ________________________________________________________________

Thanks for your time!!!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

What can Spain offer to a tourist?

While the famous Mediterranean climate exerts its influence over much of the peninsula, the landmass of Spain and Portugal gives it a continental climate, i.e., extremes of temperature, hot summers and cold winters, with short spring and autumn. Western Andalusia and the Algarve are warmed by the Gulf Stream, and in summer south winds from the Sahara can be suffocating. Portugal's west coast and Galicia, though also bathed by the Gulf Stream, face the Atlantic and can be cold and rainy. The Cantabrian regions of Spain (Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country) have a temperate climate with a great deal of rainfall. The Levante (Castellon, Valencia and Alicante) often suffers from tremendous rainstorms, usually in autumn, which can cause a great deal of material damage. In the Pyrenees, too, flash floods can be a hazard. The peninsula as a whole, though, is extremely dry, especially in those long, hot summers which are its main attraction for many tourists.

Fiestas and Traditions
All Spanish towns and cities have their own special celebrations, as well as the national holidays such as Christmas, Easter Week, All Saints Day etc. The way in which the national events are celebrated also varies from place to place. Most festivities are of religious base, mainly Catholic. See our full listing of holidays.

Food, art, culture, fun, beaches... Anything else???

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Interview- Noe y Raquel

What would you ask a foreigner coming to visit Spain?

Make your comments:

Hello! Can I do some questions?

1.Where are you from?
2.How much time have you been in Spain?
3.Do you like Spain?
4.What did you like more of Spain?
5.What have you eaten in Spain?
6.What is the food that you have enjoyed most?
7.What do you prefer: the food of you country or the food of Spain?
8.What did you visited in Spain?
9.What places would you like visit?
10.Do you appear interesting our museum...?
11.What are the difference with you country?
12.What is the thing that most impress when you came to Spain?
13.What did you think of Spain before of visit? Have you deceived or you have like more?
14. where there is more party in your country or in Spain?
15.would you come to Madrid or you visit other city of Spain?

Interview -- R. Dorel , M. Claudio

Interview To A Foreigner
  1. Hello, Can I make you some cuestions about my country ?
  2. Where are you from ?
  3. Do you speak spanish ?
  4. It's a difficult language ?
  5. How old are you ?
  6. When did you come to our country ?
  7. For how long are you going to stay ?
  8. Do you have family here ?
  9. If you had a children they will go here to live and to school ?
  10. What do you like most about spanish food : Paella, Spanish Omlette, or both ?
  11. What did or do you like this kind of food ?
  12. Does you family like this kind of food ?
  13. Do you like spanish people ?
  14. What do you like about it ?
  15. Are the spanish people like people in your country ? or are they look like most of people from your country ?
  16. Talking about sports, what kind of sports do you like ? (he like football)
  17. What team do you like ? (Liverpool)
  18. What do you think about they new player "Maxi" who come from Athletico de Madrid ?
  19. What do you think about Real Madrid ? And Barcelona ?
  20. Talking about your visit to our country, what are you going to visit ?
  21. Which city would you like to visit ?
  22. Are you satisfied with our country ? (Yes i like it very much )
  23. Are you going to visit our country again ?
  24. Thanks for your amability and your patience.
  25. ( For nothing thanks you to ) Good Bye
  26. Bye Bye

Friday, 15 January 2010

History of the English Language

History of the English Language

The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what today is Denmark and northern Germany. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders - mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The Angles came from Englaland and their language was called Englisc - from which the words England and English are derived.

Old English (450-1100 AD)
The invading Germanic tribes spoke similar languages, which in Britain developed into what we now call Old English. Old English did not sound or look like English today. Native English speakers now would have great difficulty understanding Old English. Nevertheless, about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots. The words be, strong and water, for example, derive from Old English. Old English was spoken until around 1100.

Middle English (1100-1500)
In 1066 William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy (part of modern France), invaded and conquered England. The new conquerors (called the Normans) brought with them a kind of French, which became the language of the Royal Court, and the ruling and business classes. For a period there was a kind of linguistic class division, where the lower classes spoke English and the upper classes spoke French. In the 14th century English became dominant in Britain again, but with many French words added. This language is called Middle English. It was the language of the great poet Chaucer (c1340-1400), but it would still be difficult for native English speakers to understand today.

Early Modern English (1500-1800)
Towards the end of Middle English, a sudden and distinct change in pronunciation (the Great Vowel Shift) started, with vowels being pronounced shorter and shorter. From the 16th century the British had contact with many peoples from around the world. This, and the Renaissance of Classical learning, meant that many new words and phrases entered the language. The invention of printing also meant that there was now a common language in print. Books became cheaper and more people learned to read. Printing also brought standardization to English. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the dialect of London, where most publishing houses were, became the standard. In 1604 the first English dictionary was published.

Late Modern English (1800-Present)
The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. Late Modern English has many more words, arising from two principal factors: firstly, the Industrial Revolution and technology created a need for new words; secondly, the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the earth's surface, and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries.
Varieties of English
From around 1600, the English colonization of North America resulted in the creation of a distinct American variety of English. Some English pronunciations and words "froze" when they reached America. In some ways, American English is more like the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is. Some expressions that the British call "Americanisms" are in fact original British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost for a time in Britain (for example trash for rubbish, loan as a verb instead of lend, and fall for autumn; another example, frame-up, was re-imported into Britain through Hollywood gangster movies). Spanish also had an influence on American English (and subsequently British English), with words like canyon, ranch, stampede and vigilante being examples of Spanish words that entered English through the settlement of the American West. French words (through Louisiana) and West African words (through the slave trade) also influenced American English (and so, to an extent, British English).
Today, American English is particularly influential, due to the USA's dominance of cinema, television, popular music, trade and technology (including the Internet). But there are many other varieties of English around the world, including for example Australian English, New Zealand English, Canadian English, South African English, Indian English and Caribbean English

A brief chronology of English

BC 55 Roman invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar.Local inhabitants speak Celtish
BC 43 Roman invasion and occupation. Beginning of Roman rule of Britain.
436 Roman withdrawal from Britain complete.
449 Settlement of Britain by Germanic invaders begins
450-480 Earliest known Old English inscriptions. Old English
1066 William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invades and conquers England.
c1150 Earliest surviving manuscripts in Middle English. Middle English
1348 English replaces Latin as the language of instruction in most schools.
1362 English replaces French as the language of law,it's used in Parliament.
c1388 Chaucer starts writing The Canterbury Tales.
c1400 The Great Vowel Shift begins.
1476 William Caxton establishes the first English printing press.
1564 Shakespeare is born.
1604 Table Alphabeticall, the first English dictionary, is published.
1607 The first English settlement in the New World (Jamestown) is established.
1616 Shakespeare dies.
1623 Shakespeare's First Folio is published
1702 The first daily English-language newspaper is published in London.
1755 Samuel Johnson publishes his English dictionary.
1776 Thomas Jefferson writes the American Declaration of Independence.
1782 Britain abandons its American colonies.
1828 Webster publishes his American English dictionary.
1922 The British Broadcasting Corporation is founded.
1928 The Oxford English Dictionary is published

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Designing a questionnaire

Questionnaires are an inexpensive way to gather data from a potentially large number of respondents. Often they are the only feasible way to reach a number of reviewers large enough to allow statistically analysis of the results. A well-designed questionnaire that is used effectively can gather information on both the overall performance of the test system as well as information on specific components of the system. If the questionnaire includes demographic questions on the participants, they can be used to correlate performance and satisfaction with the test system among different groups of users.

It is important to remember that a questionnaire should be viewed as a multi-stage process beginning with definition of the aspects to be examined and ending with interpretation of the results. Every step needs to be designed carefully because the final results are only as good as the weakest link in the questionnaire process. Although questionnaires may be cheap to administer compared to other data collection methods, they are every bit as expensive in terms of design time and interpretation.

The steps required to design and administer a questionnaire include:

Defining the Objectives of the survey
Determining the Sampling Group
Writing the Questionnaire
Administering the Questionnaire
Interpretation of the Results

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