Do you want a kidnap? I put my foot in it too!

Es interesante conocer las meteduras de pata de otros alumnos de inglés, para no aprender nuevas palabras y saber qué no debemos decir a alguien. Aquí os dejamos una nueva entrada para el concurso I put my foot in it too!

My colleague Aitor arrived back last week from Canada. He came to the company yesterday to say hello to everybody with an incredible quantity of stories to tell, but one of the most hilarious was one that happened to him in a bar.

He was having a coffee with his friends one afternoon when a young woman tripped next to him, spilling some drops of her ice-cream on her blouse. He immediately rose up wanting to offer his help like only a gentleman can do. He quickly helped her to recover her balance and gently offered her a napkin from his table asking with a big smile on his face: “Do you want a kidnap?”

The young woman stared directly at him, hesitating between running away or staying frozen, when they heard all his friends roaring with laughter and shouting: “Not a kidnap! A NAPKIN!!”.

Aitor blushed realizing his mistake and the young woman neither ran away nor stayed frozen. She politely thanked him for his support and gave him a huge smile that remained on her face as she left the bar.

I think Aitor will no longer forget the difference between a kidnap and a napkin, and I will always remember to walk carefully while eating an ice-cream!


Ganadores concurso literario

Buenos días a todos,

Ya tenemos ganadores del Concurso de Relatos Breves que iniciamos el 23 de abril, con motivo de la celebración del día de Sant Jordi.

El ganador del Primer Premio y que, por tanto, disfrutará de un curso de 10 horas one-to-one (5 sesiones de 2 horas cada una) o 6 meses de clases telefónicas (1 sesión semanal de 30’) es el artículo A funny story in Ireland.

El segundo texto ganador que recibirá un curso de 3 meses de clases telefónicas (1 sesión semanal de 30’) es Sheet and shit; please clean!

Y el artículo que ha obtenido el tercer puesto y que ha ganado un curso de 1 mes de clases telefónicas (1 sesión semanal de 30’) es Little Garden.

Por último, hacer especial mención a los textos A pint of beer or my Irish experience y Introducing Willy, los cuales quedan en reserva en caso de que alguno de los ganadores rechace su premio.

Muchas gracias a todos por vuestra participación. Todos los textos han aportado un gran valor a este concurso y ha sido difícil seleccionar a los ganadores. Esperamos ver incrementar vuestra participación en futuras ediciones.

Would you accept the challenge?

Con el texto de hoy, cerramos los artículos participantes en el Concurso Literario de Ziggurat English Services. La próxima semana haremos público los ganadores y premios asignados a cada uno. ¡Mucha suerte a todos!

Over the 90’s I was standing in a queue at the cinema when suddenly a woman asked me a strange question. “Do you want to know the end of the film you are going to watch?”

I thought she was nuts and tried to ignore her but she insisted, so I was going to answer her “No, thank you I’d rather find it out on my own”, but Actually I told her “Yes”. Then she stared at me and told me: “There is no end, just a new beginning” and gave me a book. She went off.

The bookmark was an air ticket for a flight which would take off in 4 hours. There was a letter inside of the book with some instrucctions as well. I wondered if I was in a TV show or it was a joke.

What should I do? I decided to accept the challenge.

I had to do a lot of things like pack some stuffs, say good-bye to my family, talk with my boss, and take a taxi to the airport. I was the quickest of three other competitors and won the Game Show.The prize was a trip to New York.

You can guess I had mixed feelings but what’s the point of being in the other side of the world and feeling scared? I couldn’t afford to feel it.  So I was determined to have a lot of fun.

I got to New York alone without a mobile phone and a lot of free time to do whatever I wanted. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

What could I wish more? Maybe a better English level to easily speak with American people!

From that moment on I have always got in touch with English language.

Fdo MC.F.

You’ll need to bring along a helmet

Buenos días a todos,
Volvemos del fin de semana con el penúltimo artículo para el concurso, antes de saber el ganador.

At that time flying could be an exciting experience till one found oneself in a lost trying to follow flight connection signs. So after landing I felt mystified in the immensity of Heathrow Airport searching my way for my onward journey to the Republic of Ireland.

Luckily there were surveying officers around to help travellers unfamiliar with airport routines.

–        So young lady…?
–         Please, I  go Dublin.
–         If you go to Ireland you’ll need to bring along a helmet.
–         ??
–         Anyway, keep following  that way and you’ll  find your departure gate.

After  spending a month with my large  Irish family from which I learned  to appreciate a hundred different shades of green in the landscape though never found a real shamrock,  and  many other practicalities of  life in Dublin , I left for the North. I  travelled for a week by train through  the Ulster. There I was confronted with a different sort of picture such as streets cut with barricades,  riot burnt  sites  and  going for a walk  supervised by a gun. It was the beginning of the so called “ Troubles” .

Over all the next years I was on the watch for events and it was with joy that I became acquainted with the negotiations that led to the end of the conflict with the Belfast “Good Friday” Agreement of 1998.

In my return journey to barna , I searched  at the London airport for the officer with the scornful smile. I missed the opportunity of thanking him for  such a valuable piece of advice.

Fdo G.B.

In an English Class

Aquí tenemos una breve anécdota en London.

This is an anecdote that happened to me in an English class. I used to live in London six years ago and I was in a rush to go to my English class, so as the weather was pretty hot, when I got into my class everybody was sat and my first words that I said to the teacher was, ufff and sorry but I was running and I am sweeting instead on telling that I was sweating. So the teacher explained to me that I had to pronounce like sweat and not like sweet.

So I realized that the way to correct your pronunciation was thorough the people you see every day and they correct to you

Fdo A.Y.

Bed, Bath and Beyond

De nuevo, podemos ver otro ejemplo de cómo la pronunciación de algunas palabras nos puede llevar a malos entendidos.

I would like to participate in the Ziggurat Literary Competition with this anecdote which I will explain. It is not too interesting but it happened to me and I think it’s funny.  Also, it is nice to contribute with these initiatives that Ziggurat gives us to keep improving our English.

My English is not as good as to throw fireworks (I don’t know if this expression exists in English… in Spanish is translated as “no es para tirar cohetes”), but I try to do my best and, as I like this language so much, I try to learn everyday although, many times, I make meaning mistakes…

When I visit Los Angeles (California) I like to go shopping to a large store that I love and where you can find household goods, bedding, bathroom accessories and electronics. That is Bed, Bath and Beyond. I do not know why, but I always called it Bed, Bath and “Behind”.

So I always was telling everybody that I liked Bed, Bath, and “Behind” so much, that in that place you could find everything you needed for the house, that in Spain there was not a store as fantastic as Bed, Bath and “Behind”, that if a product is not there it not exist … This store is well known and everyone knew that my “Behind” was actually “Beyond”, but nobody ever corrected me!

I did not realize that “Behind” was a mean mistake…but, one day, I was talking with a good friend of mine, an Italian man called Adriano, and he said: “Oh! I like to go shopping to Bed, Bath and “Behind”…And when I heard Adriano say “Behind” I realized that I had been saying the word incorrectly. Since then, I say Bed, Bath and…Beyond (but I have to thing about it and don’t say “Behind” again). I never told Adriano that he was also saying the wrong word.  What a story!

Fdo A.R.

Sheet and shit; please, clean!

Otro relato más para el concurso y cada vez falta menos para decidir quién es el ganador… aquí os dejamos una divertida anécdota en Vienna.

Once upon a time I was in a hotel in Vienna. I had gone there to attend a Conference with my boss. The hotel was pretty and refined, probably one of the most expensive in the city. On the first night, when I went to bed and pulled down the sheets, I found a mark in the middle. I didn’t like it, and decided to call reception and ask for someone to come to remake my bed.

The moment I picked up the telephone, I realized that I was having trouble with two words that Spaniards have difficulties to pronounce, and which are always the example of the short and long “e”: sheet and shit. At that moment, I couldn’t remember how I should pronounce such a word in the sentence in my head: “Could you please come to change my sheet/shit?”…  Luckily, I didn’t say the sentence out loud. When the receptionist was asking me the typical “Can I help you?”, my mind went blank. I answered, “I don’t know, I’m not sure… I don’t remember, wait a moment… “.  Oh! How stupid! Feeling very nervous and unable to think properly, I just said very quickly, “Well, I’m going to be clear: sheet and shit, do you understand? Please, clean!” But I don’t know how I’d pronounced the words: “sheet and sheet, shit and shit, sheet and shit, or shit and sheet?”  The receptionist clearly didn’t understand because a waiter came with a menu to choose something to eat or drink!

The next morning, my boss, who always says he knows less English than me, gave me a useful tip: you had 50% chance of guessing the right word. If you want to increase the probability don’t use “sheet”, use the word “linen”.

 I won’t ever forget it!

Fdo N.S.

Snow in Sant Cugat

Volvemos a publicar un nuevo relato de los que hemos recibido para participar en el Concurso Literario. Recordad que durante la última semana de junio haremos público los artículos ganadores.

Once upon a time, i was working in an american multinational, whose name is well reputated and has a leadership in electronic facilities among several countries; i don´t want to disclouse its name but if i explain that the site is located in Sant Cugat del Valles, nearby Barcelona, perhaps you could  discovers which it is.

By the way, it happens that in february for certain year, one morning in a non specially hard winter, it started to snow very shy and calm in all places around Barcelona and Vallès. It is very rare because the sea level measurement is very low and below 100 meters and almost never is possible to see snow in such places.

But this morning the snow was a nice and happy presence for all employees who were working at the site and some of them went out to the garden to touch it and take pictures for the ocassion.. all were happy excepts the new Human Resources Manager, come from Oregon, in the United States only two weeks ago ; she was really afraid and worried about snow consequences and ask for an especific Steering Committe to talk about the situation.

 I was part of this Steering committe and i never forget her face wrinkles and comments about how we could arrange and solve  the weather conditions; we did a brainstorming of several ideas and suddenly , she looked everybody and said to all:

–        the best solution is find  a radio broadcast office near Sant Cugat and i will send a message to all employees working in evening or night shift that suggests they won´t come today due to snow, do you ?

–        Iah… but i heard a radio broadcast… in Catalunya there are a lot of them and it is a very low snow ( non more than 2 centimetres…), argue my colleague from Health and Safety..

–        No, no, in the States many times i went to the radio broadcast to give advices !!! she was really furious …

 Suddenly, our General Manager stopped the conversation saying to her that Oregon is not Sant Cugat and if we were following her indications, sure we will appear in the TV news for ilariuos and funest comments…

 Fdo R.B.

Little garden

¿Cuántos os sentís reflejados en esta historia? Seguramente muchos hayáis vivido algo similar.

Recordad que en nuestra página de Facebook podéis contarnos vuestros métodos de aprendizaje y contactar con otros estudiantes de inglés.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who hated to learn english. She had long curly hair, and never brushed it properly every morning before going to school. She was a bright girl, always cheerful, playing around with every children on the neighborhood. She didn’t need to pay much attention to learn new subjects, so her teachers where always worried about her, seeing how she was having her head in the clouds.
Her mother, middle aged housewife who takes care of the most beautiful little garden in the whole world, was always yelling at her: “English is an important subject, you’ll need it if you want to be somebody in the future! Not only English, but  it will be also necesary – and useful – to learn how to use a computer…” and so her mother went on and on for decades with these arguments.

Until one day, the young lady –not a little girl anymore, she grew up – got the opportunity to travel to Wales, the land of King Arthur! How excited she was! And so grateful! If her mother doesn’t have pushed her and insisted so much on her adquiring and improving her english skills, she will never would have gotten this chance in her life.

And there we are, following her footsteps through castles and landscapes, dancing with the people in small towns, visiting old churches, singing on her way through churchyards and graveyards – although not everybody liked this, her voice is pitiful and she sings out of tune, poor lady.

By the end of the day, she is ready to go back home. She can’t wait to be there, next to her mother on “their” little garden, drinking a cup of tea together, and talking about her adventures.

Fdo. Nodami

A funny story in Ireland

Volvemos del fin de semana con otra anécdota.

La historia que leeréis a continuación es un claro ejemplo de lo importante que es desarrollar las habilidades de listening y practicar. Y es que no sólo es necesario saber expresarse en inglés, sino que hay que saber escuchar y entender al interlocutor para evitar situaciones embarazosas como la siguiente.

“I remember a funny story that happened to me nine years ago when I went to Cork (Ireland) in order to do an English course in July. I contacted the school Cork Language Centre by Internet and I enrolled in an intermediate-level course with a stay in an apartment. So I flight to Dublin and moved by bus to the city of Cork.

When I arrived to the apartments I knocked the first door (on the ground floor) and opened the door a man with a tanned face and eyes looking inquisitors to me. I said: I’m a Spanish student. I want to stay here because tomorrow I’ll start a English course in the Cork Language Centre for two weeks.

After looking at me shaking his head as if he had not understood what I said, quickly he replied: Have you booked this place in advance? Let me see the sheet, please … In truth, the whole phrase that he said only I understood the words “book” and “sheet” and I thought… This silly man is questioning if I’m a English student and he wants to see my English books and the class notes… So I opened my briefcase and pulled out my English book “Headway Elementary” . Here is my book! I said: Is it correct ?

Suddenly, I saw his face lit up and a smile appeared friendly … and this time with slow voice he said: No Sir, I would like to see the apartment ‘re-ser-va-tion. One paper where is writing that you will stay in those apartments for two weeks. Oh Yes! I said, and I opened the briefcase again and got the leaflet where my name, details and price of the stay were writing. Since that time I learned that the name “book” could also be a verb and meant to stay, hire, etc. ”

Fdo. L.V.