Thursday, 14 February 2013

Test your Language skills with the BBC

If you are getting bored over half-time, are missing your language lessons and have some time to kill, why don't you take the BBC language test to judge how good you really are?

especially those of you starting the countdown to GCSE and GCE exams, do have a look at this. It tests all four skills and gives you an idea of your level. 

KS 3 can try the beginner  section, KS 4 should probably go for the post-beginner level!
Good luck!

Click on the stars to get to the different language tests!

Karneval in Deutschland

It's been Karneval time in Germany again: On Monday (Rosenmontag) Germans celebrated in massive street parties and parades, wearing fancy dress and catching the sweets (or 'Kamelle') being thrown from the colourful floats.

One of the best known areas for these fun events in the Rheinland, the very place many of our German learning pupils have travelled to for their Year 7 trip. They will remember the city of Koblenz (with the huge statue of Kaiser Wilhelm on a horse overlooking the confluence of the rivers Moselle and Rhine - you might remember the piece of the Berlin wall and/or the generous shopping/lunch-finding time, when you all searched for American Fast Food chains...)

Here are some impressions of the Rosenmontagszug (or parade) in Koblenz. Olau!!


Can you spot Shaun the Sheep and the Lego People?

El Carnaval de Cádiz

Here is another article from Natalia, our Spanish assistant:
El Carnaval de Cádiz, fiesta de Interés Turístico Internacional, se desarrolla entre el 7 al 17 de Febrero.

Es es uno de los más importantes del mundo, congrega en la ciudad de Cádiz a miles de visitantes durante su celebración. Su concurso de Coros, Comparsas, Chirigota y Cuartetos tiene fama en toda España. El concurso oficial de agrupaciones carnavalescas se realiza en el Gran Teatro Falla y los protagonistas son la gente de Cádiz (gaditanos).

Hay desfiles de cabalgatas, tablaos, eventos de comidas y espectáculo de fuegos artificiales.
This is an example of Comparsa (It is an association that makes a social critic ironically while they are singing with costumes). Comparsa Los Válidos - Final COAC 2013:

For more information in English, have a look here:


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Chinese New Year 2013 - the Year of the Snake

Chinese New Year is a very colourful celebration and the most important festival for Chinese people.

The dates follow the moon calendar, and the New Year could be any time between mid-January and late February. 
This year, the new year starts on the 10th of February, and it is going to be the Year of the Snake!

It's a 15-day celebration for the whole family and the house gets decorated in red and gold, because those are lucky colours. There are parades and fireworks, as well as feasts!

Many traditional dishes and decorations are based on puns:
For example, this sign means 'Fortune'.

It is written on cards and then hung upside down, because the words 'fortune upside down' sound very similar to 'fortune has arrived'.

Favourite foods for New Year are those that sound similar to good fortune, such as chicken, fish and vegetables: The Mandarin for chicken sounds like luck, fish sounds like abundance and the word for vegetables sounds like money!

If you're curious about the other traditions and the history of the New Year celebrations, watch this lovely short clip!

Happy New Year!

German Play at Royal Holloway

Year 11 and sixth formers who are interested in German culture and up for a challenge get your parents to take you to Royal Holloway university on the 4th, 5th or 6th of March. The university's German society are staging their annual play.This year it is a comedy called 'Bandscheibenvorfall' which translates to herniated disc, a comman spinal injury. The subtitle is 'Ein Abend für Leute mit Haktungsschäden' (an evening for people with posture problems). The play was written by Ingrid Lausund and first brought to stage in Hamburg in 2002

If you're not yet 100% fluent, don't dispair. Usually they provide a synopsis of the scenes in English to make comprehesion a bit easier.  

Follow this link for more information:

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Fantastic Chinese Work

After just one term of Chinese lessons, Ed Thomson in 9H has managed to produce this fascinating and highly impressive piece of work, describing himself, his family, school and hobbies.
His proud teacher Mrs Cole assures us that Ed's pronunciation in Mandarin is also extremely good! Well done!

    (That's wonderful in Mandarin!!)