After a few harmless raindrops, twelve people gathered again at the swimming pool in good companionship and lovely weather. With three of the attendants coming from Balaguer, our Speak Up group seems to be gaining popularity. However, we hope Menarguins/ines on holidays and those attending different duties can join us again next week.
Just as promised, here is the short glossary of political terms we introduced yesterday, before a long talk and very nice discussion about projects, parliaments, politicians and historical heroes:
POLICY una política
POLITICS la política
POLITICIANS els polítics
POLITICAL PARTIES els partits
TO CALL AN ELECTION convocar unes eleccions
TO HOLD AN ELECTION celebrar
TO VOTE IN AN ELECTION
CANDIDATES STAND FOR ELECTIONS es presenten
MPs / MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT diputats
TO PASS A LAW aprovar una llei
STATUTORY LAWS estatut
DEVOLVED POWERS competències
PRIME MINISTER <> FIRST MINISTER
Next Thursday, without leaving Scotland, Maria del Mar Miret is going to talk about politics and school projects: "Catalonia and Scotland, two nations without a state within Europe”. This is the school project title that they started in 2008 with a group of about thirty students.
As a part of the project they interviewed politicians, economists and so many other experts in that matter, not only here in Catalonia but also in Scotland. They travelled to Edinburgh and they managed to be received in Holyrood Parliament by MPs for the Scottish Nationalist Party and all the other major parties.
Maria del Mar has been teaching English for twenty two years now and she has spent her last eleven years at INS RONDA, Lleida. This school strongly promotes learning foreign languages including English, French, German and even Chinese, and they usually travel abroad as an important part of their projects.
It was a wonderful evening with our first guest, Judith Munsó, who had a lot to say about life in the Scottish Highlands. She is an experienced language teacher (German, French and Spanish,...wow!) well on her way to become truly Scottish: "It is not that cold, really", we heard her say!! We could see this brave woman has really settled down and feels very much at home among friendly Scottish people. Lovely little Lydia is not to be forgotten, so well behaved and patient -for over an hour!- as she looked at her mother in surprise: It is Catalan in Scotland, now English in Menarguens! Who can understand these grown ups! (my own thoughts). Jordi Casals deserves a special mention for bringing a nice touch to the closing part of the session, in which he asked Judith to read a well-known poem by Robert Burns (from a compilation of European poetry translated by Marius Torres). Wasn't it a little present to be able to hear Burns with the proper Scottish accent?
Judith, thank you for your vivid account of life on the Isles!
My heart's in the Highlands
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer -
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the Straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go
El meu cor és als Highlands
El meu cor és als Highlands, el meu cor no és ací,
el meu cor és als Highlands, cérvols a perseguir;
caçant cérvols salvatges i daines -per això,
el meu cor és als Highlands, vaig allà on vagi jo.
Adéu-siau els Highlands, adéu-siau el Nord,
on sigui que jo vagi, on em dugui la sort,
la contrada dels nobles, el bressol del valor,
les muntanyes dels Highlands són sempre el meu amor.
Adéu-siau muntanyes ben cobertes de neu,
adéu penyes, valls tendres que als seus peus verdegen,
adéu-siau arbredes i boscúries penjants,
adéu torrents i salts d'aigua remorejants.
El meu cor és els Highlands, el meu cor no és ací,
El meu cor és als Highlands, cérvols a perseguir;
caçant cérvols salvatges i daines -per això,
el meu cor és als Highlands, vagi allà on vagi jo.
Next Thursday we’ll have a special guest. Judith Munsó, who’s living in Scotland at the moment, is having her holidays here in Menàrguens. We want to take advantage of this and we have invited her to talk in our next meeting. We are very happy that she has accepted the challenge.
As far as I know, Judith is living in Scotland, she has a beautiful daughter, and she teaches Spanish and other matters to Scottish people to make a living.
Judith is going to speak about the differences and similarities between life in Scotland vs life in Catalonia. Today, due to the political situation in our countries, we think that Scotland and Catalonia are very close, but the fact is that we come from very different cultures.
We are looking forward to hearing about Judith’s experience.
See all of you next Thursday.
Hello and thank you so much for visiting our blog.
Today we are starting a conversation group that we think can be a good place to learn and practise. But it won’t be an English classroom. We must study at home and we should have a good time here.
We have the support of the village administration to run this project and the two objectives of these activities will be to speak and practise English in a relaxed atmosphere and to foster social interaction between people of our village.
We are going to talk about a number of subjects. For example, sports, cooking, wishes, jobs, religion, dreams, fears, food, music, dancing,... whatever, it doesn't matter. First of all, we have a blog on http://www.menarguens.com where we will post the topic of the week in advance with a short introduction. You can subscribe to the newsletter’s blog and every week you will get an email with the topic of the week, so you’ll be able to prepare the meeting at home.
We have thought about the following structure for the meetings. We will meet every Thursday at 10 o’clock in summer and we’ll introduce the subject of the week.
This subject will be introduced by a video or a guest speech from 10 to 15 minutes. This guest can be anyone. Sometimes it can be a foreign guest who wants to speak about his/her experiences and join us for one single session. Other times it could be one of us. Then for forty-five minutes we could continue discussing the topic together with our guest.
At the end of the session, we can make a list on the blackboard with the common mistakes we have made.
After the meeting you’ll be very welcome to post your comments on the blog.
We'll be working on four skills: speaking, listening, writing and reading, but always focused on speaking.
On special occasions sessions we can include special activities like having English breakfast, cooking some English cake or discussing about a book or a film.
As we accept any suggestions, we may change anything from now on.
Thanks a lot.