Archives for August 2011


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Alfonso Alfonso | 08:55 UK time, Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Hi everyone,
First and foremost, I just want to say thanks to all the BBCLE staff.

I feel, after this experience of being the blogger of the month for August, that my English is coming on in leaps and bounds. The awesome Neil´s bites and pieces on English grammar; indeed, the real drive behind this challenge.

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What is your lucky number?

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Li Li | 16:46 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2011

Are the British superstitious? I think so. You often hear people say 'bless you' when someone sneezes or 'Touch Wood' when they want to be lucky.
I found it quite interesting to learn the origins of these superstitions or beliefs as they are part of British culture.

This is what I found:

1 'Bless you'. It is thought that when we sneeze, part of our soul is leaving our body during that quick yet uncontrollable moment, and the devil would seize that opportunity to steal our soul. If someone near you says 'bless you' when you sneeze, you will be protected against the devil's will. This being the case you should always thank the person saying 'bless you as they are trying to protect you.

2 British people touch wood or knock on wood to prevent bad luck. Some believe that there is a little elf in trees and in wood. So by touching wood or furniture you stop the devil listening to what you just said, so that you keep your good luck coming in. This could explain why the British tend to love wooden furniture.

3 British people love plants and flowers if you can find a clover with four leaves instead of the usual three, then you are thought to be very lucky as you got something from God, something that can fend off bad luck.

4. Animals play an important part in British superstitions. For example, it is considered to be lucky to meet a black cat. You may notice that a lot of black cats are featured on many good luck greeting cards and birthday cards in this country. However, black cat means bad luck in North America such as the U.S and Canada.

5. According to some, one ancient British superstition holds that if a child rides on a bear's back it will be protected from whooping-cough. While in ancient times bears used to roam Britain, now they are only kept in zoos.

6. Another animal that has a superstitious colour is ravens. It was long believed that if the ravens leave the tower then the crown of England will be lost, and the Empire will be fallen. So that tradition is still kept till this day at the Tower of London which has at ravens which are taken good care of but their wings slightly cut off.

7. Finally it's numbers that are loved or hated. The number '7' is lucky whereas '13' is not, which I think is well-known throughout the world. I know that the Chinese love the number '8' but '4' is to be avoided as it sounds the same as the word death. In Italy 13 and 17 are the unlucky numbers instead of 3 and 7, which are the lucky numbers.

I wonder what is the lucky number (or unlucky number) in your country and why. And I am looking forward to hearing from you.

A good weekend to you all and I will be back next week


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Alfonso Alfonso | 10:57 UK time, Friday, 26 August 2011

First and foremost, I have an invitation for you pals: Make up your minds!

Done? Let's go, back to the mountains of Colombia. Back to that magic world where you are allowed to build countries with coffee, that magic world where one small and no so elegant butterfly live: ´The Chapolera´

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Say what you mean and mean what you say

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Neil Edgeller Neil Edgeller | 15:16 UK time, Monday, 22 August 2011

Hi Alfonso. Thanks for your latest blog. Once again, you've written with great enthusiasm and passion about your country. I like the way you try to take the reader on a journey with your descriptions.

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´Once upon a time´ where a country was built with coffee...

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Alfonso Alfonso | 11:37 UK time, Thursday, 18 August 2011

Believed or not, with coffee. I swear of God, is true! This is not a fairy tale. Let's go together through the mountains of Colombia. Now, we are in the middle of the triangle formed by the three main coffee growers regions in this country.

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Neil Edgeller Neil Edgeller | 17:15 UK time, Friday, 12 August 2011

Hi Alfonso. Thanks for the last couple of blogs you've written: the interesting history lesson and the latest one about the carnival spirit of the Columbian people.

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A Unique Memorial

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Li Li | 17:04 UK time, Friday, 12 August 2011

Hi there, how have you been? I am just back from a short holiday in the States. Did I have a good time? Yes I did. I saw some friends, did a bit of shopping but for me the most important part of my trip was revisiting New York City. I wanted to see what the 9/11 Memorial looked like.

You may have been very young when the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001.
Nearly 3000 people died and two gigantic skyscrapers were brought down .

click here to see the pictures

The idea is to build a memorial on Ground Zero, the former site of World Trade Centre in lower Manhattan.

The 9/11 Memorial features two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size, set within the footprints of the Twin Towers.

The nearly 3,000 names of the men, women, and children killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 are inscribed in bronze on parapets surrounding the twin memorial pools.

It is supposed to be one of the most eco-friendly memorial plazas ever constructed, with more than 400 trees surrounding the whole area. The design has been made to convey a spirit of hope and renewal.

At the moment the memorial is in its last stage of construction. But in 30 days' time it's going to be opened to the public.

The construction started in 2006 and has been led by architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker, whose design was selected over 5,000 other submissions.

When it opens it is expected to become one of the most popular landmarks in New York, with up to 10,000 visitors a day.

Well, New York has lots of other interesting places that I can tell you about but perhaps I will talk about them another time.

Till next time,

Yang Li

Keep up with our festive 'spirit'

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Alfonso Alfonso | 16:26 UK time, Friday, 12 August 2011

Hi everyone,
First and foremost, I just want to say Thanks to Neil by your valuables advices on English grammar, Thanks to all the BBC LE staff members for your cooperation to make this possible and the pals that did read my entries and gave me out his comments. Thanks a lot!

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Cartagena de Indias under siege ...for one ear!

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Alfonso Alfonso | 09:43 UK time, Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hello Everyone,
My name is Alfonso and first I just want to say thanks to the BBC LE Staff to give me the honor of being the blogger this month and thanks to the students for your comments on my entries as well.

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Hello Alfonso!

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Neil Edgeller Neil Edgeller | 16:09 UK time, Thursday, 4 August 2011

Hi Alfonso and welcome to the BBC Learning English Blog. A few years ago I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks backpacking in South America. Unfortunately I didn't go as far as Columbia, but your blog is full of such vivid descriptions I'll put it top of my list of places to visit!

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Farewell to Paloma

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Neil Edgeller Neil Edgeller | 11:47 UK time, Thursday, 4 August 2011

It's hello for the last time, Paloma! I'm pleased you enjoyed your trip to London and that the sun shone on you. It's been scorching for the last few days, but today it's chucking it down again. It's a good thing you came when you did otherwise your holiday snaps might have looked like this.

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Carnival of Barranquilla

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Alfonso Alfonso | 09:57 UK time, Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Barranquilla, in the Colombian northern coast and one of the main sea ports located in the Atlantic Ocean,is part of that chain of cities that make up the Colombian Caribbean, as a region full of folklore,music, joy ,magic and yellow butterflies as masterfully described by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ,in his book One hundred years of solitude,wich gave him the privilege of win , in 1982, the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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Just a little about me

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Alfonso Alfonso | 12:39 UK time, Monday, 1 August 2011

My name is Alfonso from Colombia. I have been living in Barranquilla from 1976 when I came over from Pereira, an attractive and charming city located in the middle of the mountains of my country, and well known to be part of the coffee growers´ region.

Alfonso Potes

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