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F-f-f-f-fabulous Film!!

Well, it’s that time of year again – the run-up to the Oscars! Love it or loathe it, if you’re a fan of the big screen you’ll no doubt be trying to cram in as many trips to the cinema as you can before the big night on Sunday. I have to confess that I’ve only managed to see one of the nominated films so far, but I made sure it was a big one. Nominated for 12 Oscars including Best Film, Best Director (Tom Hooper) and Best Actor (Colin Firth), The King’s Speech was an absolute joy to watch. Any film that can simultaneously bring tears to my eyes and make me laugh out loud on several occasions automatically goes into my top ten! Read More →

Mince Pies anyone? It’s that time again…..

Mince pies became a regular part of Christmas celebrations in the 16th Century – the Tudor times, when mince pies had some shredded meat in them as well as sweet dried fruits. The crusaders came back from the Holy Land with spices and it was thought appropriate to celebrate Christ’s birthday with a pie containing spices from his native land. The three most important spices were cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for the three gifts given to the baby Jesus by the Kings. Read More →

Are we lost for words or simply losing words?

With over 250,000 words in the English language you’d think we would have enough words to describe just about everything, but apparently we don’t. In Portugal, where I live, there is a word ‘saudade’ which even dictionaries admit is a word difficult to translate adequately. It is said to have originated from the days when Portuguese sailors went round the world and they and their loved ones never knew if they would come back or when; a sort of ‘unrequited love’. Ironically there are words – non words or failed words - that don’t make it into the dictionary at all. According to the Daily Telegraph words like wurfing, dringle, sprogging and optotoxical have all been considered as possibly being included in the OED but didn’t make it. There needs to be enough evidence that people are using the words, but they aren’t permanently rejected and may be put in future dictionaries. Perhaps I’d better go now, time for a bit of wurfing to do a bit of lexpionage or am I a stealth-geek? Read More →

Online tuition vs Classroom tradition

Is the online tutor replacing the traditional language teacher, or is there room for both? There has been a growing debate over the past decade as to the merits of traditional face-to-face teaching methods compared to the benefits of online learning. Those in favour of the traditional classroom environment with a live teacher presence will usually highlight the importance of real interaction, student collaboration, immediate feedback, and an overall ability to respond directly to student problems or areas of weakness. This is without mentioning of course the welcome absence of technical glitches that are part and parcel of any e-learning experience, no matter how advanced the technology. Read More →

No sex please! We’re not in New York!

After reading the lame reviews of Sex in the City 2 and not being overly impressed with the first movie effort, I was reluctant to bother with it a second time. However, since I hadn’t been to the flicks for a while and was in much need of a girl’s night out, I decided to go and judge for myself. And I have to say I’m very glad I did. I sat back and let the outrageous opulence of the opening scenes wash over me and managed to be thoroughly entertained for the entire film. I could even go as far as to say I was left wanting more! Read More →

Win a FREE English Course!!

The 1st iPass video to feature on YouTube in March 2008 has now received 482,939 views and we're inviting you to guess the date when that figure will reach 500,000! The video showing Zara, from Portugal, being interviewed for a practice IELTS speaking test, can be seen at iPass IELTS videos on YouTube. The 1st person to guess the correct date when Zara's video reaches 500,000 views will win a FREE online English course from the iPass Store. Read More →

England reach an all-time Capel - low

So, as the England squad prepare for their night flight back to London under what must be a dark cloud of disbelief and disappointment, English fans will undoubtedly be discussing the future of Fabio Capello, as to whether he is the right man for the job. Read More →

Win a FREE English Course!!

Answer 20 questions about the iPass blog articles and you could win a €40 Amazon voucher or a FREE iPass English course up to the same value. All the answers can be found in the current articles published on the iPass Blog. Click here to find the questions and email your answers to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) http://www.ipass.uk.net/index.php/weblog/article/blog_competition_win_a_free_english_course/ And don't forget to complete this sentence "I like reading the iPass blog articles because ......" Hurry! Competition ends June 12th Read More →

The beauty of maps

There’s a fascinating programme on BBC TV called The Beauty of Maps in celebration of ‘Magnificent Maps’ exhibition staring soon at the British Library in London. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of maps in history. In fact the exhibition also has the title of ‘Power Propaganda and Art’, which shows their real significance. Nowadays its easy to know where you are – SatNav, Google Maps and specialist maps galore – it is hard to get really lost almost wherever you are, and its impossible to imagine a world without maps. As a pictorial representation of the world that we live in, maps were probably the earliest pictures that humans drew, but as people started to leave their own surroundings and travel around and then to other countries they needed some more accurate. Read More →

Is the art of conversation dead?

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? People not talking to each other, can this really be true? Well, ask any teenagers and they will tell you that most of them spend their time texting not calling each other and having an ‘old fashioned’ chat. And of course there's Twitter, the latest way to keep in touch with people and tell them what you are doing. Its public access means that many people are using it to promote themselves. Read More →

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Today I received the result of my Ielts test and thankfully I passed it. I've got 7.5 listening, 7.5 reading, 7 writing and 7 speaking. I would like to thank the ipass team for their great efforts in helping me to get this score, especially in writing. Really, their advice and support helped me tremendously. I have studied many many sources, but actually they could solve all my weakness areas gradually and enthusiastically.

- Hussein, Iraq

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