What is a week?

In the UK and several other countries, research institutes and companies are trying out different ways of working. One such project is the trial run of a four day week instead of the traditional five. Below you find an adaptation of the text from The Guardian, supplemented with a little gap-filling exercise.

One of the research institutes involved in this project is the thinktank Autonomy. On their website you find a little video titled Change the Week.

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Guess the movie

The image above is from one of my favorite films adapted from one of my favorite books that I happen to be rereading at the moment. I would say it also qualifies as a classic of film history.

I’ve been going through my collection of material – something I do every once in a while – and came across these little film synopses you find below. In the past, each of my course participants would get one to read out loud and for the others to guess. Simple little exercise, but I’m always relieved that there is at least a little common cultural ground we share, even if only some classic movies we all seem to have seen.

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Talking about the future


Very often, the verb system of English, and maybe also of other languages, is described under the aspect of time. In German, this even finds its expression in the grammar term ‘Zeiten’ for different verb structures. Though not completely incorrect, this creates a focus that places too much emphasis on ‘time’, thereby giving learners of English a distorted perspective on the various aspects and/or meanings of verb structures.

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‘Words for Nerds’

Do you know what a finial is? In one of the Spotlight issues from 2020, Judith Gilbert, writer, editor and translator, wrote a little column titled ‘Words for Nerds’. Here she lists a number of words most people probably never heard of, and which demonstrate that it is impossible to know all the words of any language. They are all nouns denoting special little items of everyday life. See if you can find out what they are with the help of internet images. Do you know the term for the thing in your own native language?

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Oscars Potpourri – a selection of ideas

The 94th Academy Awards ceremony will take place on March 27. Again a little later than its pre-pandemic February date. If you like to learn more about the award itself, wikipedia is the place to go.

This year’s nomination ceremony has already taken place and can be watched on youtube.

I always like going through the Oscar nomination ballot sheet that lists all categories and films. It offers great general vocabulary practice, not just specifically film related. Going through the titles, finding out if anyone has already watched some of the nominated films, looking at trailers and synopsies of the films – all this I always find quite enjoyable even if – in most cases – we haven’t seen so many of the films.

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Blue Zones and the Japanese Concept of Ikigai

One of my favorite TED talks is Dan Buettner’s How to Live to be 100. In this talk, he introduces us to places where a relatively high number of people live to be a hundred years old and more. He and his team, in cooperation with National Geographic, went to find out why these areas they called Blue Zones had more centennarians than others.

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Companies forced to change old structures

Below you find the link to a text that discusses changes in companies’ or employers’ attitudes towards the working conditions they offer their employees. How voluntary or not these changes are is a question worth discussing.

During the last two years, a phenomenon called the Great Resignation has been spreading. I believe it started in the US, but also seems to be affecting companies in other countries. It assumedly started during the pandemic and seems to have been triggered by the radically enforced changes in peoples’ lives. Their is a wikipedia entry devoted to the phenomenon Great Resignation that could be read in connection with the text below.

Some of the questions worth discussing in connection with the Great Resignation:

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Quiztimate Round 1

I have a quizcard board game called Quiztimate that I liked playing every once in a while in groups before we went online. Many of the questions led to further discussions on the respective topic a question referred to, which for me is the main point of all quizzes: hoping the questions are so interesting that we can talk about them, not just go for finding the correct answer.

I have found that online people are more likely to sneak out of a conversation whose aim it is to think together and discuss possible answers to questions, and instead go for ‘instant gratification’, or what psychologists and neuro-scientists call the google affect – my biggest enemy 😉

For playing online, I have scanned some cards, 9 per round; the answers will be in a separate post, perhaps. If I forget to do that, try to find the answers via internet research. But only AFTER having exhausted all conversational solution generating processes!

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Find the mistakes

(One sentence has no mistakes, some several)

  1. I have another meeting; I don’t come today.
  2. Their army is surrounding the countries havens.
  3. She borrowed her friend some money.
  4. The Office of Technical Services will continue to overlook technical support and logistics operations in the mission area (example adapted from Glosbe.com)
  5. Only 25% of the population are boostered.
  6. I cannot so good English.
  7. I was very lucky about your present.
  8. She said her to please be quiet.
  9. He is a very sympathic person.
  10. They were not happy to did all this overtime.
  11. I spoke to a friend of us.
  12. I haven’t eaten so much lately.
  13. I haven’t eaten much the whole last week.
  14. I haven’t eaten anything this week, I’m fasting.
  15. Colleagues of me say me I should ignore the problem. I do.
  16. They explain the people the problem.
  17. People switch off their cameras, because they don’t want to see oneself.
  18. I’m looking for my keys. I don’t find them.
  19. The most challenge is to find the best solution for everyone.
  20. They didn’t lost hope.
  21. They need help of the colleagues.
  22. We expect people comes once a week to the company.
  23. A) How do you feel when people don’t switch on their cameras? B) I don’t care; (or I don’t mind?)

The difference between the two sentences or expressions

I don’t care

I don’t mind

can cause confusion. In this case, a translation into German might help (Germans) understand the differences, but native speakers also sometimes seem confused as this little video demonstrates.

Guess the Movie

Recently I bought a poster: 250 Top Movies Bucket List. I had it hung on my wall and was accordingly asked by some course participants what it was they were seeing. The single movie titles were too small for them to identify over my camera, but they were interested and some wanted to find out how many they actually knew.

I found a page that shows them all. And below I put some quiz questions together. Each sentence hints to one of the films. But before you guess the films: do you know the origin of the term bucket list?

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