Hello Miguel, hello everyone!
First of all, I have a confession to make - I've been both shirking and lurking! Just a bit! (By the way, those words rhyme... and here's a clue - with working!)
A man lurking outside a window looking in
For shirking, I'm sorry - I hope you'll forgive me when I tell you later about what I've been up to and why I'm coming to this blog a little late... and I hope you can be part of some exciting new plans for BBC Learning English...
Enjoying chocolate cake instead of working!
For lurking, I'm not sorry at all! It's been fascinating to read Miguel's amazing posts and fantastic to read all the comments from everyone around the world. By now, you're probably wondering who I am. Well, you'll have to wonder a little longer because I'd like to keep the spotlight firmly on Miguel and his posts. I have to say I am very, very impressed. Miguel, not only is your English nearly perfect but you also write with great style and flair. I can honestly say my job here as Teacher to 'give tips and advice to improve your writing' is going to be a hard one! There is very little to be improved! I absolutely loved your introductory paragraph. You gave us so much information about yourself in such a succinct and witty way - it was no surprise to me to see that you are a journalist but I was surprised you don't have a boss! I'm pretty sure that won't last long as you'll be in great demand. In fact, can I apply for the job as your boss?! ;-)
Not only have you given us a vibrant image of yourself, Miguel, but you have also given us such a rich picture of Peru. You have taken us on a breathtaking tour through over 500 years, from the indigenous wonder that is Machu Picchu, through the founding of Lima in the 16th century with its rich Spanish heritage, to the moving (spiritually and quite literally!) story of the 17th century mural of the Black Christ, saved in the earthquake of 1655. But that's not all. You have brought us right up to date with religious images of the annual procession through the streets of thousands of Peruvians celebrating the Lord of the Miracles. I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to that in a week's time. Talking of 'literally' and 'up to date' - your last post couldn't be more topical with the news that Mario Vargas Llosa has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Many congratulations! Clearly, Peruvians know how to write!
Of course, good writers shouldn't plagiarise... but you may have heard of the expression "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" so I hope you'll be flattered if I say that I can find no better way to introduce myself (yes finally!) than by imitating your introductory paragraph...
I'm (not saying how) old (but I'm young at heart!). I speak English, French, German, Spanish and a few words of Arabic, Chinese and Swahili (just a few!) . I'm learning about Peru! I'm not a footballer (but I have been to a World Cup Final and the final of the African Cup of Nations).
So that's me. I am delighted to be the guest Teacher blogger this month. Before I joined the BBC as a freelance writer (of strange drama about an alien called Antenna who could 'Tune into English'), I taught English for about 7 years in London, Switzerland and France. My first 'proper job' with the BBC was as a radio producer many years ago. I made lots of different programmes - one I particularly enjoyed was 'Lead Vocals' which was about singer-songwriters (Phil Collins, Ziggy Marley, Adam Ant to name a few) talking about the English they use in their songs. I then became an Editor - first for Europe and EurAsia, then for Online (when back in the mid 90's we launched this site!) and most recently for the Arab World, when we launched BBC Xtra English and BBCe! the first BBC programme on Egypt Radio! You can visit the website at and see the Facebook group BBCe! fans have set up here - http://on.fb.me/bc1yr0
My job now is as Multimedia Editor, BBC Learning English, - so the teams that work so well and with such creativity and success on this website (www.bbclearningenglish.com) and interact with people via Facebook (http://on.fb.me/ddTuVE) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/bbcle) on a website for China (www.bbcukchina.com) and in radio and online for Egypt and the Arab World (www.bbcarabic.com/learningenglish) - as well in other language services - all now form part of a new Multimedia Team... and over the past few weeks we have been planning and working together to try and bring the best of what we do to the most number of people around the world, in all kinds of ways. I'll tell you more about that later but it's been a busy time (that's my excuse!) and an exciting one - and we'd like you to share in our plans as they develop. We'll be looking more and more at how we can make Learning English more topical, relevant and interactive. In fact, last week we just re-organised our teams and output to focus more on English News, English Now and English Network! As in social networking... so I'd be delighted to hear from you and to know what it is about what we do that you value and what it is you would like to see us develop!
Finally, - putting my teacher hat back on - I've noted below a few (very few!) corrections from Miguel's blog... but frankly, there are hardly any worth mentioning because so far it's not only a joy to read but the English is excellent. As for my English, I've added some of the highlighted words below too with an explanation for each. I hope you read on and enjoy!
See you soon
Some notes on Miguel's English -
Overall, excellent! We would say 'Let me introduce myself' rather than 'introduce me'. I think when Miguel said "Neither the Spanish could find the lost city" he meant "Not even or none of the Spanish could find it". Also we say 'called a Lost City' rather than 'called as'. A few 'typos' or spelling mistakes: mistery should be mystery..., cost should be coast.., and skeptical should be sceptical, although the noun is a sceptic. That's it really! As Mariana from Slovakia said "I suppose there won't be find a mistake by no teacher." Almost right, Mariana! But you should have said "I suppose no teacher will find any mistake." ;-)
Some explanations of my English
when you're shirking, you're avoiding doing your work!
when you're lurking, you are hiding and watching!
what I've been up to
means what I've been doing
to keep the spotlight on someone or something
means to focus on that person or thing
is a natural talent, usually creative
means to the point, clear and precise
means funny in a clever way
means fairly certain
be in great demand
lots of people want you or your services
means full of energy, life and colour
a breathtaking tour
a tour that takes your breath away, that amazes you
looking forward to (something or doing something)
means to anticipate with pleasure - be careful it's always followed by a noun or verbal noun (I am looking (or I look) forward to visiting Peru NOT look forward to visit Peru)
to take someone else's writing or speech without giving them credit
imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
to imitate someone is to compliment them
working independently or occasionally, not on a long term contract
a full-time job, employed on a contract
refers to the singer who takes the main role in a group
started, set in operation; often used with reference to ships meaning to put to sea
currently of interest, of the moment
with meaning or significant to people or a situation
acting with others, a two-way system