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  • 2017-10-24 10:12 Culture, Language

    What is the history behind Halloween?


    When most people think of Halloween, they think of trick or treating, costumes and family friendly activities. There is, however, a long history behind Halloween. Both Christian and pagan practices have evolved into Halloween as we know it today.


    Christian practices

    The word “Halloween” is a contraction of All Hallows' Evening, which is also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve or All Saints' Eve i.e. the day before All Hallows’ Day a.k.a. All Saints’ Day. A lot of people know the word “Hallows” from Harry Potter but “Hallows” is a synonym of the word “Saints”.

    Halloween is celebrated on 31 October and it begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, when Christians would honour saints and pray for souls who had not yet reached heaven.

    The pagan festival of Samhain

    Halloween also originates from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”), which means 'Summer's End' in Gaelic. This festival celebrated the end of harvest season.

    Gaels believed that it was a time when the walls between this world and the next became thin and porous enough to allow spirits to pass through, come back to life on the day and possibly even damage their crops. To appease and welcome the spirits, places were set at the dinner table or food was left outside the front door. Gaels also lit bonfires to ward off the evil spirits.

    The practice of trick or treating and dressing up originates as far back as the 16th century in Ireland, Scotland and Wales where people dressed in costume and went door-to-door asking for food in exchange for a poem or song. Many dressed up as souls of the dead, and were understood to be protecting themselves from the spirits by impersonating them.

    Souling and guising

    Souling and guising in medieval Britain were also forerunners to trick or treating. “Souling” was when poor people would go door to door on November 1, receiving food and soul cakes in return for prayers for the dead.

    “Guising” was when young people would dress up in costume and go door-to-door, accepting food, wine or money in return for performance such as singing, reciting poetry or telling jokes.

    Revived by Irish and Scottish immigrants

    In nineteenth century America, Irish and Scottish immigrants revived these traditions, laying the foundations for how Halloween is celebrated today.


    Happy Halloween to everyone from all of us at the London School of English.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 591:99 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-06-27 13:04 Culture, How to series

    How to be a great guest in English

    Have you been invited to an English speaker’s home? Knowing the appropriate responses makes for a much smoother visit and will greatly boost your chances of receiving a second invitation.

    We’ve listed some key phrases you should know and will point out potential pitfalls you can easily avoid in our next article.

    Do say

    “Thank you for inviting me”

    “How nice to meet you” (if you are meeting other family members for the first time)

    “You have a lovely home”

    “You have a charming family”

    “Could you pass me the salt/x please?” (When sitting at the table and in need of something out of reach)

    “Thank you, that was delicious”

    “It was delicious but I really couldn’t eat any more”

    “You shouldn’t have”/ “You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble”

    “Thanks for your hospitality/ a delicious lunch/ a lovely evening”

    “You’ve been a wonderful host/hostess”

    “I hope we meet again soon”/ ”You must come over to our place sometime”

    We hope you find these phrases helpful. In our second article on how to be a great guest in English we will cover some common mistakes that Swedish guests often make, both from a language perspective and also in terms of cultural differences.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-06-20 08:22 How to series, Language, Culture

    How to speak grill - the essential English glossary for barbecue enthusiasts


    Mmm...BBQ. If just thinking about barbecue brings a smile to your face, this glossary is a must-read for you.


    Indulge your passion in all things barbecue by learning to hold forth on an international level with some barbecue bravado. Our glossary covers all the essential terms you will need to speak fluent grill this summer (or year, depending on how hardcore you are!).

    Barbecue basics

    Any self-respecting barbecue expert should be familiar with the following equipment:

    • Charcoal or gas cylinder (fuel)
    • Fork
    • Tongs
    • Spatula
    • Scraper  
    • Skewers
    • Basting brush/grill brush
    • Steak thermometer
    • Gloves
    • Apron

    Barbecue types

    As far as the equipment is concerned, there are two basic types:

    • Gas barbecue
    • Charcoal barbecue

    What type are you?
    When it comes to the person manning the barbecue, you get to decide what type of griller you are. This is usually one of highpoints of barbecue bravado and self-proclaimed barbecue titles commonly include:

    • Classic griller
    • Grill innovator
    • Grill expert
    • Griller extraordinaire

    Key words for boasting about your barbecue equipment

    • Quality
    • Performance
    • Value
    • Durability
    • Proven success

    Bonus points
    For bonus points as a barbecue expert, you need to be able to describe your meat. Watch out for our next article on "How to speak rib".

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-24 07:32 Culture, Business English, Language

    The Swedish holiday calendar in English


    The months of May and June offer a host of occasions to celebrate and lots of public holidays.  But what is “Kristi himmelfärdsdag” in English and what are the big occasions called? Here’s a useful overview of all the standard Swedish holidays in English.

    Jan 1      Sunday             New Year’s Day
    Jan 5     Thursday           Twelfth Night (Trettondagsafton)
    Jan 6     Friday                Epiphany (Trettondedag jul)
    Apr 14   Friday               Good Friday
    Apr 15   Saturday           Holy Saturday
    Apr 16   Sunday             Easter Day
    Apr 17   Monday            Easter Monday
    Apr 30   Sunday             Walpurgis Night (Valborgsmässoafton)
    May 1    Monday            May Day/Early May bank holiday
    May 25  Thursday          Ascension Day (Kristi himmelfärdsdag)
    May 28  Sunday             Mother’s Day
    June 3    Saturday           Pentecost Eve
    June 4    Sunday             Whit Sunday /Pentecost Sunday (Pingstdagen)
    June 6    Tuesday            Swedish National Day
    June 23  Friday               Midsummer Eve
    June 24  Saturday           Midsummer Day
    Nov 3     Friday              All Saints’ Eve
    Nov 4     Saturday          All Saints’ Day
    Nov 12    Sunday            Father’s Day
    Dec 24    Sunday            Christmas Eve
    Dec 25    Monday           Christmas Day
    Dec 26   Tuesday            Boxing Day
    Dec 31    Sunday             New Year’s Eve

    What’s a bank holiday?
    A bank holiday is the British equivalent of a “röd dag” in Swedish

    Where does the term bank holiday come from?

    A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, some Commonwealth countries, other European countries such as Switzerland, and a colloquialism for a public holiday in Ireland. There is no automatic right to time off on these days, although banks close and the majority of the working population is granted time off work or extra pay for working on these days, depending on their contract.

    What’s the difference between a public holiday and a bank holiday?

    In England and Wales, a bank holiday tends automatically to be a public holiday and the day is generally observed as a holiday. In Scotland this may not always be the case.

    Mondays rule

    With few exceptions, Bank holidays are on Mondays. If a bank holiday is on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekday becomes a bank holiday, normally the following Monday.

    UK Bank Holidays 2017
    Please note that there are quite a number of differences between British and Swedish public holidays. If you are planning a trip or an important meeting with British colleagues or customers, it’s a good idea to check the UK holiday calendar first.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-04-10 10:58 Culture, Language

    A very British Easter

    Easter is one of the major Christian festivals of the year in the UK, full of customs, folklore and of course, traditional Easter food. From hot cross buns to Easter egg rolling, improve your English vocabulary with our Easter Guide.

    Origins of Easter

    Easter in the UK has its beginnings long before the arrival of Christianity. Many theologians believe Easter itself is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn and spring - Eostre.

    Maundy Thursday
    This is the name given to the Thursday before Easter. Christians remember it as the day of the Last Supper. The word Maundy" comes from the French word, "Mandé"  meaning "command" or "mandate” and is taken from the command given by Christ at the Last Supper, "love one another as I have loved you.”

    Good Friday
    On the Friday before Easter, Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a day of mourning in church and special Good Friday services are held.

    Easter Sunday
    People who regularly attend church often attend special services on Easter Sunday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Unlike Sweden, Easter Sunday is the big family day when families usually gather for Easter lunch.
    Easter Holidays
    Good Friday and Easter Monday (the day after Easter Sunday) are bank holidays (i.e. public holidays) in the UK.

    Easter Eggs
    Exchanging and eating Easter eggs is a popular custom. As  in many countries, focus has shifted from hard-boiled dyed in various colours and patterns to confectionary eggs. Unlike Swedish Easter eggs, which are made of cardboard and then filled with a selection of sweets, English Easter eggs are usually hollow eggs made of chocolate, wrapped in brightly coloured foil and packaged in an elaborate box. Worthy of mention is the Cadbury creme egg, which is about as classic at Easter as a Swedish box of Aladdin is at Christmas.

    Easter Bunny and Egg Hunts
    British children believe that if they are good the "Easter Bunny" will leave (chocolate) eggs for them. An Easter egg hunt is a fun holiday activity for kids of all ages. The object of this Easter activity is to simply find the eggs that the Easter bunny has left for them.

    Egg Rolling
    The tradition of rolling decorated eggs down grassy hills goes back hundreds of years and is known as "pace-egging", from the old English Pasch meaning Pesach or Passover. Real eggs are rolled against one another or down a hill. The owner of the egg that stays uncracked the longest wins. Even today in the north of England, they still carry out the custom of egg rolling. Hard boiled eggs are rolled down slopes to see whose egg goes furthest. In other places another game is played. You hold an egg in the palm of the hand and bang against your opponent's egg. The loser is the one whose egg breaks first.

    Easter Bonnets
    Easter was once a traditional day for getting married, which may be why people often dress up for Easter. Women would make and wear special Easter bonnets - decorated with flowers and ribbons.

    Hot Cross Buns

    Hot cross buns, now eaten throughout the Easter season, were first baked in the UK to be served on Good Friday. These small, lightly sweet yeast buns contain raisins or currants and sometimes chopped candied fruit. Before baking, a cross is slashed in the top of the bun. After baking, a confectioners' sugar icing is used to fill the cross.

    Simnel Cake
    A traditional way of breaking the Lenten fast is to eat some simnel cake. These are raised cakes, with a crust made of fine flour and water, coloured yellow with saffron, and filled with a very rich plum-cake, with plenty of candied lemon peel, and dried fruits.

    DIY
    For many in the UK, Easter is synonymous with the Great DIY weekend (DIY: Do it yourself aka home renovations) as the combination of a long weekend and spring weather inspire to get things done.

    A taste of British Easter

    Watch out for our next blog post “A taste of British Easter” where we’ve comprised recipes for traditional British Easter foods from some of the country’s best known chefs.

    Wising you a very Happy Easter from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-04-07 10:53 Culture, Language

    What’s Skärtorsdag (and other Easter words) in English?


    Why not expand your seasonal vocabulary by learning the individual names of the days that make up Easter Week.

    Easter Week


    Palmsöndagen - Palm Sunday

    Dymmelonsdagen -  Holy Wednesday aka Spy Wednesday

    Skärtorsdagen - Maundy Thursday aka Holy Thursday

    Långfredagen - Good Friday aka Holy Friday

    Påskafton - Holy Saturday aka Easter Eve

    Påskdagen - Easter Sunday

    Annandag påsk - Easter Monday

    Have a great weekend!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-02-28 09:57 Culture, Language

    Happy Pancake Day and Semeldag


    Happy days for those who celebrate both English and Swedish cultures.

    Pancakes or semlor or both? Life is full of tough decisions! Today is Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day) AND Fettisdagen and therefore it is your right (or dare we say “duty”) to throw calorie caution to the wind and get stuck into some serious cream!

    For domestic divas


    If you would like to express your domestic divadom by making both, here are a few of our favourite recipes for pancakes and semlor from England’s and Sweden’s baking royalty, Nigella Lawson and Leila Lindholm.

    For everyone else

    If, however, like most people, you’re suffering from mid-week time constraints, we recommend the following establishments for pancakes and semlor: Sirap for pancakes and Vete-Katten for semlor.

    And when you’re finished scoffing


    Why not organize a traditional pancake race with some friends as a fun way to run off that excess sugar and cream. For inspiration on this great English tradition, check out the Olney Pancake Race which dates back as far as 1445, when (as the story goes) a housewife making pancakes heard the church bell signaling the start of the Shriving service and dashed with her frying pan and pancakes in hand to the church, still dressed in her apron and headscarf. These traditional clothes are still worn by pancake race participants.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-02-27 13:44 Culture, Language

    How to explain a semla in English


    The easiest way to explain a semla in English is “a cream bun” or more specifically “a cardamom-flavoured wheat bun which has its top cut off, and is then filled with a mix of milk and almond paste, topped with whipped cream. The cut-off top serves as a lid and is dusted with icing sugar”.

    What is fettisdagen in English?

    Fettisdagen is also known as “Fat Tuesday”, “Mardi Gras” (French for “Fat Tuesday”) or “Shrove Tuesday” in the UK and Commonwealth countries. The day marks the start of “Lent”, the Christian religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. The names Fettisdagen, Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras reflect the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

    The traditional food on Shrove Tuesday, however, is pancakes, which is the origin of Shrove Tuesday’s other name in the UK, “Pancake Tuesday”. Learn more about Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day at www.londonschool.se/blogg.

    Fortunately “Fat Tuesday” coincides with sportlov (the sports break) this year so it’s easy to indulge as much as you like when you can easily work off all those cream buns on the slopes.

    Looking for a recipe for semlor in English?

    Look no further. Here is a selection of recipes for you to try

    www.thelocal.se/20150123/how-to-make-the-swedish-semla-bun
    www.scandikitchen.co.uk/recipe-semlor-lenten-buns/
    www.swedishfood.com/swedish-food-recipes-biscuits-cakes/130-lent-buns-semlor

    We hope you enjoy them.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-01-25 08:00 Culture

    Happy Burns Night


    Scotland celebrates Burns Night today, 25th January. The evening is a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns, one of Scotland's most important cultural icons.

    Read more about Burns Night

    See our article 10 things you should know about Burns Night

    Know any Scots?
    Why not surprise your Scottish friends or colleagues by sending an electronic greeting card. You can send Burns Night cards from the following links.

    https://www.zazzle.se/burns+night+h%C3%A4lsningskort
    http://www.jacquielawson.com/card/for-auld-lang-syne/happy-burns-night/h-2/3274603

    Happy Burns Night from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-12-12 10:03 Culture

    Five British films that will get you in the Christmas mood


    We'd like to share some feel good Christmas movies that are guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit and help you relax and unwind over the holiday period. All of our film recommendations are set in England with Christmas themes and predominantly British casts. We hope you enjoy them.

    Love Actually

    This is the perfect Christmas feel good movie and a film that many enjoy watching over and over again. The film has multiple stories, a star studded cast and provides interesting insights into British Christmas traditions as the story unfolds over the weeks leading up to Christmas.

    The Snowman

    This Academy Award nominated animated film is just 26 minutes long and wordless like the book, except for the song "Walking in the Air". The magical song is performed by British choirboy  Peter Auty and is guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit. A sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog, was released in 2012 and is also well worth viewing.

    A Christmas Carol


    There have been many successful film adaptations of  A Christmas Carol, Charles Dicken's favourite novel, but we like this one which stars Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge.

    Bridget Jones

    The first Bridget Jones movie is framed through Christmas at the beginning and at the end and remains a firm family favorite that stands the test of time and several viewings

    The Holiday

    This romantic comedy didn't score highly amongst film critics but was a box office success and won a number of awards, doing particularly well in chick flick categories. The plot is fun and takes places in the two weeks around Christmas and features plenty of lovely English countryside, as well as England's own Jude Law and Kate Winslet

    We hope you enjoy these films


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-11-24 09:04 Language, Culture

    Happy Thanksgiving Day


    It's Thanksgiving today, a great American holiday where people give thanks for all the blessings of the past year.  It's a unifying celebration and tradition that is celebrated across the USA by all cultures and religions.

    The background story
    The story dates back to the early 1620s, when the Pilgrim Fathers set sail on the Mayflower ship from Plymouth in England, seeking religious freedom and prosperity. After reaching the New World, they faced tremendous hardship including a brutal winter, disease and near starvation. Friendships forged with native Americans helped save them as they taught the pilgrims how to live off the land. The first Thanksgiving feast was held in November 1621, when the pilgrims had reaped their first successful harvest.

    When is Thanksgiving held?

    The fourth Thursday of November, not to be confused with Canadian Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the second Monday in October.

    How is it celebrated?
    This weekend is a time for meeting up with family and friends over Thanksgiving dinner. The two busiest days of the year for travel, in the United States, are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  More Americans travel to be with family at this time than for any other holiday, including Christmas.

    Eight essential Thanksgiving dishes

    The Thanksgiving menu varies around the country but usually consists of eight essential dishes; turkey, bread stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and  pie (preferably pumpkin, but apple or pecan pie are also popular).

    More recent traditions
    Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV is a tradition for many families who cannot line up in NYC to witness it in person. Thanksgiving also marks the start of the "Holiday Season" with the arrival of Santa, the main star of the parade. The other great tradition on this day is watching American football on TV. The most famous game is between the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys who have taken the field for a Thanksgiving Day game every year since 1934.

    Celebrating Thanksgiving in Stockholm?
    -Our best turkey tips: Ingelsta Kalkon has specialist turkey shops in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Lund and Österlen.
    -Menu tips: Try a Classic Thanksgiving menu from the Food Network.
    -Our top three restaurant tips: You can celebrate without all the hassle of preparation and doing dishes at American Table Brasserie & Bar or the Hard Rock Café, both of which offer Thanksgiving menus. Or why not sample Thanksgiving Dinner at Stockholms Stadsmission, organised by The American Club of Sweden.

    Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the London School of English

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-11-16 15:04 Culture, Language

    'Post-truth' named Word of the Year 2016

    After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is ‘Post-truth’ – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

    What’s the idea behind ‘Word of the Year’?

    The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is intended to reflect the passing year in language. Use of the term ‘post-truth’ increased by around 2,000% in 2016 compared to last year, driven by the era of Donald Trump and Brexit. The publisher’s US and UK dictionary teams sometimes make different choices but this year teams on both sides of the Atlantic chose the same word.

    Where does the word ‘post-truth’ come from?

    According to Oxford Dictionaries, the first time the term post-truth’ was used in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in the Nation magazine. Tesich, writing about the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf war, said that “we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world”.

    Which other words were shortlisted?


    Contenders for the 2016 title included the following choices.

    Adulting
    , n. [mass noun] informal the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

    Alt-right, n. (in the US) an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content.

    Brexiteer, n. British informal a person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union.

    Chatbot, n. a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.

    Coulrophobia, n. [mass noun] rare extreme or irrational fear of clowns.

    Glass cliff
    ,  n. used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high.

    Hygge, n. [mass noun] a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)

    Latinx, n. (plural Latinxs or same) and adj. a person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina); relating to people of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina).

    Woke, adj. (woker, wokest) US informal alert to injustice in society, especially racism.

    Previous winners

    Previous Word of the Year winners have included ‘emoji’ (2015), ‘vape’ (2014) and ‘selfie’ 2013. Last year’s winner caused quite a lot of controversy but in the wake of the American election and the EU referendum, the 2016 winner seems to be a popular choice.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2016-11-03 00:00 Culture, Language

    Bonfire Night - the UK's answer to Valborg


    Bonfire Night will be lighting up the skies across the UK this Saturday. This British version of Valborg is a much bigger event in the UK than Halloween, which is viewed by some as an American cultural import.

    What is Bonfire Night?
    Immortalized in the nursery rhyme “remember remember the 5th of November“, Bonfire Night, aka Guy Fawkes Night, commemorates the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when a group of disaffected Catholics plotted to assassinate King James 1 by blowing up the House of Lords (parliament) with 36 barrels of gunpowder.

    What was the gunpowder plot about?
    The plotters hoped to restore Protestant England to Catholicism and end the persecution of their faith. They planned to put Kings James’ daughter, Elizabeth, on the throne, returning Britain to the Catholic fold.

    Who was Guy Fawkes?
    Guy Fawkes was the most famous of the plotters.

    What happened to him?
    Guy Fawkes, along with seven other conspirators, was tortured and executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 31 January1606. You didn’t cross the king in those days! A further three conspirators who died escaping were exhumed (dug up from their graves) and decapitated (beheaded).

    How is Bonfire Night celebrated?
    A highlight of every child’s social calendar in the late autumn darkness, the night is celebrated with bonfires and firework displays throughout the UK.

    What’s that thing on top of the bonfire?
    A Guy Fawkes effigy (a home-made model of a man, like a scarecrow, supposed to represent Guy Fawkes) is burned on top of the bonfire. The burning of a “guy” on top of a bonfire has ensured the gunpowder plot endures in the national memory.

    Happy Bonfire Night from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-07-14 11:47 Culture, Language, How to series

    Neutralising Boris Johnson

    As you are no doubt aware, there has been quite a lot of political turbulence since the Brexit referendum and the UK now has a new PM with a new cabinet of ministers. As with most politicians, many of the new ministers are relatively unknown outside their own country, but few observers can have missed the former Mayor of London and leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson, who has now been appointed to the post of Foreign Secretary.

    Few currently active UK politicians divide opinion as much as Johnson, and most opinion articles are negative or positive in tone. In the interest of balance, here are some useful adjectives that are descriptive but more neutral - perhaps not great for clickability, but infinitely better in terms of diplomacy.

    Loquacious
    Verbose
    Provocative
    Contentious
    Controvsersial


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-06-30 08:33 Culture, News, Language

    Anyone for tennis?


    Wimbledon starts this week and continues through to July 10th. You can follow this wonderful and quintessentially British event at http://www.wimbledon.com/

    What to wear

    Whites only please, if you’re playing. Off court, a sun hat is recommended – games are long and exciting and you won’t want to leave. Alternatively, rain wear, depending on the day.

    What to eat

    Afternoon tea has always been a tradition at Wimbledon. Hot tea, scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam are essentials. Other Wimbledon classics include finger sandwiches and of course, strawberries and cream

    What to drink

    Champagne is never wrong at Wimbledon. When spectators aren't popping bottles, they're drinking Pimm's Cup, a gin-based cocktail with ginger ale, cucumbers, and a sprig of mint. If you want to stay
    completely alert, try tea, hot or iced.

    What to say

    Good shot!

    Bad luck!

    Game, set and match

    How to keep the score

    Scores are called as follows:

    15 , 0 (fifteen love)

    30, 30 (thirty all)

    40, 40 (deuce)

    40 +, 40 (advantage)


    Enjoy the championships!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-06-02 10:21 Language, Culture

    10 running terms to learn for the Stockholm marathon


    Are you running or supporting the Stockholm marathon on Saturday? Why not give your mind a workout too by familiarising yourself with some running terms in English.

    1. Novice

    Someone who is new to the sport of running metric mile -1500m, the international racing distance closest to the imperial mile.

    2. Hamstring
    The muscles found just above your knees.

    3. Cushioning (or shock absorption)
    The ability of a shoe to absorb the impact of foot strike.

    4. Mile
    1609 meters, 5280 feet, or 1760 yards. Note: 1600m is not a mile.

    5. Metric mile
    A metric mile is 1500m, the international racing distance closest to the imperial mile.

    6. Dehydration
    Loss of water in the body.

    7. Hitting the wall
    The dreaded point (and awful feeling similar to what your body would feel like if you ran into a wall) during a race when your muscle glycogen stores become depleted and a feeling of fatigue engulfs you.

    8. Splits
    Refers to your times at mile markers or other pre-planned checkpoints along the way to the finish line.

    9. Lactic acid
    A substance which forms in the muscles as a result of the incomplete breakdown of glucose. Lactic acid is associated with muscle fatigue and sore muscles.

    10. Cool-down
    Slow running or jogging done after a workout or competition to loosen muscles and rid the body of lactic acid.

    Good luck!


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-05-26 12:43 Culture, Language, How to series, Business English

    How to weigh in on the Brexit debate


    There is no escaping the subject of Brexit
    It’s the second time the British electorate has been asked to vote on the issue of European Union membership: the first was held in 1975, when it was known as the EEC. Membership was approved in that referendum by 67% of voters. On 23rd June, it’s up to the British voters again to decide their relationship with Europe.

    Taking sides in English

    Discussing politics in another language is usually a lot harder than other subjects. Whatever your opinion, it’s important that you can express it clearly. The easiest way of doing this is to take the lead from what has already been said and to agree or disagree with this. There are numerous different ways of doing this and this article outlines some ways of weighing in and sounding good in the process.


    1. In favour of vs Against
    E.g. I am in favour of Brexit/ I am against Brexit

    2. Pro vs Anti
    E.g. I am pro- EU/ I am anti-EU

    3. Supporters vs Opponents
    E.g. I am a staunch supporter of Brexit/ I am a staunch opponent of Brexit. Alternatively, I support/oppose Brexit

    4. To Welcome vs To find unacceptable
    E.g. I welcome the proposed terms/ I find the current terms unacceptable

    5. Accept vs Reject
    E.g. I  accept the idea of a unified Europe/ I reject the idea of a unified Europe

    6. Agree vs Disagree
    E.g. I agree with most of what you said but…../ I completely disagree with you because…..

    7. Praise vs Criticise
    E.g. I praise the new initiatives/ I am very critical of the new initiatives

    8. Applaud vs Condemn
    E.g. I applaud David Cameron’s stance on Europe/ I condemn his stance on Europe

    9. Celebrate vs Denounce
    E.g. I think the new proposals should be celebrated/denounced

    10. Allies vs Detractors
    E.g. Allies of Brexit would agree with that /EU detractors would slam those proposals

    Check out our previous article: How to talk Brexit – 10 Rs that you should learn

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-29 12:02 Language, Culture

    This weekend in the UK – Morris Dancing, Maypoles and May Queens

    Forget Valborg
    If you’re in the UK over the weekend, forget about Valborg (or Walpurgis Night). This weekend is all about May Day and the Early May Bank Holiday.

    Holiday season has begun
    It’s usually very hard to compete with Sweden for public holidays in May but this year the UK compares well with its two May bank holiday weekends (public holidays). The next one is the Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 30th May. (Bank holidays are usually on Mondays in the UK, regardless of the date of the occasion they are celebrating)

    How is May Day celebrated?
    May Day (May 1st)  has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. The day is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility (of the soil, livestock, and people). There are usually plenty of  village fêtes, celebrations and community gatherings.

    What you can expect to see
    Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing and crowning a May Queen.  Perhaps the most significant of the traditions is the maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons – Probably the closest thing Britain has to Sweden’s mid-summer celebrations!

    Happy May Day from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2016-04-28 09:47 Language, Culture

    Valborgsmässoafton - named after a British saint.


    Ironically, even though the night is named after a British Saint and is celebrated all over Europe, it’s not widely known or celebrated in the UK.  

    Where does the name come from?
    Walpurgis Night (Valborgsmässoafton) is the English translation of Walpurgisnacht, one of the Dutch and German names for the night of 30th April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga.

    Who was St. Walpurga?
    Walpurga or Walburga (Old English: Wealdburg) was an 8th-century English missionary to the Frankish Empire, which included large parts of modern day Germany and France. She was born in Devon in the UK in 710 AD and moved to Francia to assist Saint Boniface, her mother's brother, in evangelizing among Germans. Walpurga became a nun in the double monastery of Heidenheim am Hahnenkamm, later became the abbess (head person) and died in Bavaria aged 69. She was canonized on 1 May ca. 870 by Pope Adrian II. Walpurgis Night is the name for the eve of her day, which coincides with May Day.

    Has she any special powers?
    St. Walpurga is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors.  In simpler terms, this means that it’s supposed to be a good idea to pray to her if you get caught in a storm at sea or suffer from an irrational fear of water.

    Witches night
    The night is also called Hexennacht in German or heksennach in Dutch, literally "Witches' Night". As with most European traditions, Walpurgis Night has roots in ancient pagan customs and festivals. Most festivals on 30th April celebrate fire and the coming of the spring, as well as warding off evil spirits.

    How to explain Valborgsmässoafton to a Brit

    As most British people have never heard of Walpurgis Night let alone Valborgsmässoafton, the best way to describe the occasion is ‘a bit like bonfire night in Britain but without a guy on top of the bonfire and fewer fireworks’.

    Congratulations!
    If you manage to remember the name “Walpurgis Night”, you’ve one up on the average British person.

    Happy Walpurgis Night from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-26 08:38 Culture, Business English, Language

    Advise or advice?

    What's the difference between advise and advice?

    Quite a big difference actually, as one is a verb and the other is a noun. Both words sound and are spelled very similarly, which is the reason that many native English speakers also confuse them. Take our quick quiz to test your English and see if you can make the important distinction between 'advise' and 'advice'.

    Take our quick quiz


    1. The doctor did not________me of the  possible side effects of the medication.
    2. The company's legal representative would like to offer you some ________.
    3. The travel agent ________them not to travel to Brussels.  
    4. Following a number of break-ins, the police sent a letter to all home owners  __________them to be vigilant.
    5. What sort of ________ would you offer to your friend in this situation?
    6. The bank issued a debit _______after he withdrew the money.

    Answers

    1. advise
    2. advice
    3. advised
    4. advising
    5. advice
    6. advice

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-19 13:36 Language, Culture

    Is your English good enough to follow Shakespeare?

    Test yourself with Shakespeare Solos
    To mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death, the Guardian newspaper has brought together a line of outstanding actors who each perform a key speech from one of Shakespeare's plays. Eileen Atkins, Adrian Lester and Joanna Lumley are among the stars involved in this innovative project, which includes some of Shakespeare's most famous soliloquies.

    Two sets of films - A superb crash course in Shakespeare
    Not only do these short films offer wonderful acting, they also provide the opportunity to follow some of the greatest English dialogue of all time at your own pace, using video controls, as well as a wonderful overview of Shakespearean plays.  

    You can watch the first set of six films here

    Hamlet
    ‘To be or not to be’
    Romeo and Juliet
    ‘The mask of night is on my face’
    King Lear
    ‘Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks’
    Othello
    ‘I do think it is their husbands’ faults’
    Richard III
    ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    ‘These are the forgeries of jealousy’

    The second set of films is available here
    Twelfth Night
    ‘I left no ring with her’
    The Tempest
    ‘Our revels now are ended’
    Macbeth
    ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me?’
    Henry V
    ‘Upon the king’
    All’s Well That Ends Well
    ‘Are you meditating on virginity?’
    King John
    ‘Thou art not holy’

    Happy viewing!

    More on Shakespeare
    You may also be interested in reading the following articles on our blog.
    Shakespeare for business: 10 quotes every business leader should read
    Shakespeare on Friendship
    Shakespeare As you Like It - In Stockholm, Uppsala or even London

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-11 10:16 Language, Culture

    Spring is in the air - Test your English gardening vocabulary


    Have you joined the rush to spruce up your garden or balcony for the season? For those without a garden (and also less motivated owners who want to escape gardening duty) there’s a stampede to the nearest park or green area to enjoy nature as the first buds and spring flowers start to appear.

    Whether you’re working in your garden or happily watching someone else get on with the work in a park, you’ll proably come across the following gardening equipment. See how many items you know in English before turning to the translations provided below.

    In English
    1. a pair of secateurs
    2. a rake
    3. patio furniture /garden furniture
    4. a wheelbarrow
    5. a lawn mower
    6. a spade
    7. a pitch fork
    8. a pair of clippers
    9. a hoe
    10. a hose
    11. flower pots/ planting pots
    12. a watering can
    13. seeds
    14. a shed
    15. grass
    16. weeds
    17. leaves
    18. weed killer
    19. a trowel
    20. compost

    In Swedish
    1. en sekatör
    2. en kratta
    3. utemöbler / trädgårdsmöbler
    4. en skottkärra
    5. en gräsklippare
    6. en spade
    7. en pitch gaffel
    8. en häcksax
    9. en hacka
    10. en slang
    11. blomkrukor / planteringskrukor
    12. en vattenkanna
    13. frön
    14. ett skjul
    15. gräs
    16. ogräs
    17. blad
    18. ogräsmedel
    19. en planteringsspade
    20. kompost

    Tips for garden lovers
    Don’t miss the Chelsea Flower Show, Britain’s most famous gardening event held on the 24th – 28th May this year. Even if you can’t make it over to London, you can see some of the fabulous show gardens online. Much closer to home and also well worth a visit is the four day garden fair Nordiska Trädgårder, which opens on 21st April at Älvsjö in Stockholm.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-06 10:08 Culture, Language

    Shakespeare As you Like It - In Stockholm, Uppsala or even London


    2016 is the 400th year anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare – playwright, poet, actor, and arguably the greatest writer the English language has ever known. Theatre companies all over the world are gearing up to celebrate the occasion with performances of his work, with a focus on April 23rd, the date of Shakespeare's death.

    Why not take the opportunity to see Shakespeare played live at some of the many venues in Sweden this year, or ever further afield in London or Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace and the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

    Stockholm

    SEST -Stockholm English Speaking Theatre: The programme features a performance of Macbeth and some of Shakespeare’s most fascinating female characters take the stage in the performance Angry Shrews and Merry Wives.  Playing in the historical venue of Musikvalvet Baggen, the celebrations kick off on Friday the 22nd of April and run for two days.  See www.sestcompany.com


    Uppsala

    Uppsala stadsteater: Marie Göranzon stars in a production of King Lear in Swedish, which opened in January to great critical acclaim and has its final performance on April 23rd. Tickets are still available for seven performances. See www.uppsalastadsteater.se

    Other Shakespeare productions in Sweden

    A full list of Shakespeare productions to be held throughout Sweden in April May and June this year is available here.

    London

    The Globe Theatre is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work and the playhouse for which he wrote. This theatre is running an extraordinary collection of special events and performances marking  Shakespeare's 400th anniversary, which is worthy of a trip to London alone. See www.shakespearesglobe.com for full details.

    Stratford-upon-Avon

    Shakespeare’s hometown will host daylong celebrations on Saturday April 23rd, with events including live music, stage fighting workshops and a Blood, Guts and Gore demonstration (which shows how fake scars and bruises are created) all building up to a grand firework finale. You can also see the Royal Shakespeare Company's  full program of events here.

    To mark Shakespeare's anniversary, we will have a special focus on his works over the next few weeks in our social media channels. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn to keep updated.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-05 10:32 Language, Culture

    Shakespeare on Friendship

    In honour of Shakespeare's 400 year anniversary on April 23rd, we've gathered some of the great bard's timeless wisdom and insight into friendship, as relevant in today's relationships as ever before.

    "Be to yourself as you would to your friend"
    -King Henry VIII

    "I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends"
    -Richard II

    "I am wealthy in my friends"
    -Timon of Athens

    "A friend should bear his friend's infirmities"
    -Julius Caesar

    "Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find"
    ―  The Passionate Pilgrim

    You might also be interested in reading Shakespeare As you Like It - In Stockholm, Uppsala or even London or 10 Shakespeare quotes every business leader should read.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-01 09:30 Language, Culture

    5 Charming Words for Fools & Idiots

    We all know the straightforward and downright crude words for fools and idiots. But language skills are required for creative put-down material that doesn’t resort to profanity. In honour of April Fool's Day, we’ve listed our top 5 alternative words for fools and idiots.

    1. Nicompoop

    Meaning: “not of sound mind” from Latin “non compos mentis".
    More information: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/nincompoop

    2. Ninny

    Meaning: A foolish and weak person
    More information: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ninny

    3. Nitwit

    Meaning: a silly or foolish person
    More information http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/nitwit

    4. Blatherskite

    Meaning: A person who talks at great length without making much sense.
    More information: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/blatherskite

    5. Lummox

    Meaning: A clumsy stupid person
    More information: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/lummox

    Happy April Fool's Day


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-25 08:25 Language, Culture

    A Taste of British Easter


    Delectable and doable traditional Easter food - we’ve comprised our favourite recipes from some of Britain's best known chefs. Why not try something different this year or try a second Easter lunch on Easter Sunday, the day on which British families celebrate?

    For starters
    Jamie Oliver's Spring Pie

    For the main course
    Gordon Ramsay's Leg of Lamb

    For dessert
    Nigella Lawson's Easter Egg Nest Cake

    And perhaps some fika for a little later on
    Mary Berry's Easter Simnel Cake

    Don't forget to check out our guide to A very British Easter

    Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-02 12:17 Language, Culture

    In celebration of World Book Day


    World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

    The main aim of World Book Day in the UK is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

    Find reading inspiration in English for your child
    Check out the World Book Day website. This inspirational site feature news and events, reading resources and even the latest book trailers.

    Wondering what to read next?
    The site also has a Parents’ Bookfinder to help find the best reading recommendations for your child and offers ideas for all ages, organised by age range and popular themes.

    Costume ideas for World Book Day

    Getting into costume is also a fun and inspirational way of encouraging children to read. If you are wondering what your child could  wear and would like some ideas, look no further than The Guardian newspaper’s guide for costume ideas on World Book Day.  

    Best children’s books of all time
    For some further reading inspiration,  we recommend the Telegraph's list of the 100 best children’s books of all time and BBC Culture’s 11 greatest childrens’ books as highlighted below. Pippi didn’t make the shortlist as unsurprisingly, the list favours books written in English. If, however, you are looking for an English language book recommendation for your child, it’s a great list.

    1. EB White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)
    2. CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
    3. Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
    4. Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
    5. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868)
    6. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (1943)
    7. AA Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
    8. Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
    9. Ursula K Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
    10. Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time (1962)
    11. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie (1935)

    Looking for more grown up reading inspiration?
    Have a look at our article on the 100 greatest British novels of all time which should keep you busy over Sportlov and the rest of 2016.

    Happy World Book Day from us all at the London School of English!

    Footnote: In most of the world, World Book Day is held on 23rd April. In the United Kingdom, however, World Book Day is held annually on the first Thursday in March, as 23rd April clashes with Easter school holidays; 23rd April is also the National Saint's Day of England, St George's Day. In Sweden, the day is known as Världsbokdagen and is normally celebrated on 23rd April but is sometimes moved to avoid a clash with Easter.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-11 09:12 Language, Culture

    The English Theory of Love


    If you've seen The Swedish Theory of Love at the cinema recently, you may be wondering how things work in other countries.  Are your chances of meeting a life-long partner better elsewhere and how is it in England?

    When is the right time to settle down?
    English mathematician, Hannah Fry of Head Squeeze, takes up this key question in her entertaining video. She's worked on the mathematics of love and how to find the perfect partner and come up with some interesting answers.

    Optimal Stopping Theory
    Hannah presents Optimal Stopping Theory, which addresses  how long  you should look and when you should  stop looking. It makes interesting viewing for anyone currently dating.

    But how do you get started?  
    If you are not a fan of office romance, should you believe in fables of folk finding love in supermarket aisles or are you more likely to just click with someone in cyberspace? In this sense, England is no different to Sweden; Cash rich, time-poor professionals now see a search engine as the obvious gateway to love.

    How to win at online dating

    Good news!  Following the publication of her video on Optimal Stopping Theory, Hannah Fry took on the role of maths-matchmaker and released another video which offers smart, scientific and rational advice on how to win at online dating and how maths can help you get ahead.

    Good luck and Happy Valentine's day from us all at the London School of English!

    PS. When you do finally meet your perfect partner, you may want some help with expressing this. Why not check out our article on the Top 10 ways to say "I love you".

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-08 15:11 Culture, Language

    10 things you should know about the Year of the Monkey

    1. What is the Chinese New year?
    It's the Chinese festival marking the start of the new year, beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ending on the full moon fifteen days later, so the date changes from year to year.  The new year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by visits to family and friends, special meals, fireworks, and gift giving.

    2. When does it start?

    Officially today, 8th February but the festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.

    3. How is the symbol for the year chosen?
    Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month.

    4. When was the last year of the monkey?
    2004 - The Year of the Monkey is the ninth animal in the cycle of 12 animals which means that the next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028.

    5. What's the personality of the monkey?

    Characteristics for the zodiac sign of the Monkey : Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart.
    Strengths: sociable, innovative, enthusiastic, self-assured
    Weaknesses: suspicious, cunning, selfish, arrogant, jealous

    6. What's the best time for monkeys?
    Monkeys are most lively between 3 and 5 pm. You call also check out the best time for your Zodiac sign here.

    7. Famous people born under the monkey sign

    Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Michael Douglas, Celine Dion, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, Owen Wilson, Daniel Craig, Mick Jagger, Bette Davis, Annie Oakley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Miley Cyrus,

    8. Lucky Signs for the Monkey
    • Lucky numbers: 1, 7, 8
    • Lucky colours: white, gold, blue
    • Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, alliums
    • Lucky directions: north, northwest, west

    9. How do I find out the Chinese symbol for my year of birth?
    Try this handy zodiac calculator

    10. How do you say Happy Chinese New Year?

    Here's one way:
    新年好 / 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo)
    'New Year goodness!'
    In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen haoww/
    In Cantonese: /sen-nin haow/

    Happy Chinese New Year from us all at the London School of English!


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-01-22 11:06 Language, Culture

    After FOMO: 5 trending acronyms for 2016


    FOMO (the acronym that stands for "Fear Of Missing Out") has some new cousins - five related acronyms that describe feelings of social media angst and pleasure.  If you haven't already stumbled upon them, you're almost certain to do so some time soon.

    MOMO
    This stands for the mystery of missing out. You are suffering from MOMO if you suspect that you are missing out on events that are not documented on social media, possibly because people are too busy enjoying the experiences IRL (In Real Life) or are just too cool to publish them.

    FOJI

    The fear of joining in. The premise of FOJI  is that fear of no-one following you or not knowing what to post is what's actually keeping you from joining in on social media.  

    BROMO
    A kinder approach to social media. BROMO describes the thoughtful act of your bros (i.e. friends) not posting pictures of the party or event you missed, so as to avoid “rubbing things in”.

    SLOMO

    Slow to missing out.  SLOMO is what happens when you've checked out of social media for a number of hours and reconnect to find your feeds littered with other people's fun and conversations.

    JOMO
    The joy of missing out. Arguably, nirvana for social media addicts.

    Does your English need some updating or refreshing?
    Why not have a look at our range of English courses  or contact us.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test  to check your English level.
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  • 2016-01-11 13:43 Culture, Language

    The 100 greatest British novels of all time


    New year's resolution to improve your English in 2016?  Or perhaps you would just like to read more? Then the 100 greatest British novels is a must read list for you.

    An international perspective on British novels

    BBC Culture recently polled book critics outside the UK to give an outsider’s perspective on the best in British literature. The critics invited to participate were book reviewers or editors from well known newspapers, magazines or literary blogs and literary scholars. From Australia to Zimbabwe, the results are now in.

    Middlemarch is No. 1

    Middlemarch won the top spot. Author George Eliot was followed closely by Virginia Wolfe whose novels  'To the Lighthouse' and 'Mrs. Dalloway' ranked number 2 and 3 respectively. Unsurprisingly, Charles Dickens also had two novels in the top 10 with Great Expectations edging in at number 4  and David Copperfield ranked number 8. You can see the full list of the 100 greatest British novels here.

    Women on top

    Women writers performed particularly well and dominated the top 10 with the Brontë sisters and Mary Shelly joining George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) and Virginia Wolfe in the top rankings. Books by women also make up nearly 40% of the total 100 novels on the list.

    The classics rule
    Only 13 novels from the top 100 originate in our own century and not a single one from this century made the top 10. Most of the top 10 were written in the 1800s with just two written last century (To the Lighthouse, 1927 and Mrs. Dalloway, 1925).

    What's so good about Middlemarch?

    Want to find out a little more about this book before you commit to reading it? Or perhaps you'd like to suggest it for your book club and need to sell the idea. Try reading Michael Gorra's explanation of why Middlemarch is the greatest British novel and see if you agree.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2015-11-27 09:01 Culture, Language

    Buy Nothing Day (BND)

    There is an alternative to flexing credit cards today - The  Black Friday counter-movement Buy Nothing Day (BND), which is our acronym of the week. The movement promotes locking up your wallets and purses, cutting up your credit cards and dumping the love of many people's lives- shopping.

    A 24- hour shopping detox
    The self-imposed shopping ban should last the whole day and  means no meals out, no coffees, no Friday drinks or Fredagsmys (unless of course you've already bought a variety of snacks during your weekly shop!)

    The background story
    The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption. In 1997, it was moved to Black Friday (1). The campaign was the brainchild of Kalle Lasn, the founder of a Vancouver-based magazine, Adbusters, "the journal of the mental environment", and author of Culture Jam, an exploration of consumerism, globalisation and advertising (2). Critics of the day, however, say that Buy Nothing Day simply makes people postpone their shopping until the next day.

    Intentional living
    A one day shopping ban is something most people would probably benefit from and is part of a growing movement of people who are turning their backs on consumerism.  The minimalists, for example, have taken this concept further and focus on an alternative approach,  "A rich life with less stuff". Living in  Missoula, Montana, their lifestyle has already attracted considerable media attention and makes for interesting reading, especially on Black Friday /BND.

    References
    1. The Online Dictionary
    2. The Guardian
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  • 2015-11-26 14:29 Language, Culture

    Swedes rush to embrace Black Friday


    A new day has become established in the Swedish calendar as Swedes have rushed to embrace Black Friday. Introduced to Sweden a few years ago by a number of larger retailers, the concept is now widespread and fast becoming part of the Christmas shopping season.

    What is Black Friday?
    Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Since the early 2000s, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US, and most major retailers open very early and offer promotional sales. It has been the biggest shopping day of the year in the US since 2005.

    Born in Philadelphia
    The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it was originally used by the Philadelphia Police Department to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving, with massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.  Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975.

    "In the black"-  an alternative theory
    Many merchants objected to the use of a negative term to refer to one of the most important shopping days in the year. By the early 1980s, an alternative theory began to be circulated: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January - November) and made their profits during the holiday. The expression" in the black" means  making profit, just like "black figures" in Swedish.

    Gaining ground as an unofficial public holiday
    Black Friday is not a public holiday in the US, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the day after off, followed by a weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. With the Swedish penchant for holidays, who knows where this could lead!

    Black Friday in the UK
    The UK was an early adopter of Black Friday, with retailers Currys launching a sale on electronic devices as early as 2003. The concept has continued to gain momentum  and this year  police forces were called to stores across the United Kingdom to deal with crowd control issues, assaults, threatening customers and traffic problems.

    Reaching critical mass in Sweden
    An increasing number of stores in Sweden are cashing in on the concept. Elgiganten, Media Markt and BR-Leksaker led the way two years ago and had an overwhelming response, even leading  to crashed websites. The magazine Leva & Bo has put together a handy list of Swedish retailers who are running Black Friday offers.  Black Friday seems to be here to stay!

    Happy bargain hunting from us all at the London School of English.
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  • 2015-11-24 10:47 Language, Culture

    Are you a lumbersexual?

    Photograph: StockRocket/Getty Images

    Bearded? Prone to wearing plaid shirts? Generally on trend? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you tick the main boxes for our word of the week, which has been shortlisted by Oxford dictionary for word of the year 2015.

    Oxford dictionary's definition
    A young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress (typified by a beard and checked shirt) suggestive of a rugged outdoor lifestyle.

    The word lumbersexual—bridging the vast gap between lumberjack and metrosexual —was coined as early as 2008, as beards and checked shirts began to be de rigeur among urban males, but it wasn’t popularized until late 2014. Usage was high in early 2015 and now seems to be plateauing. The word metrosexual itself turns 21 years old this month.

    Who are the top lumbersexual celebrities?

    Don't worry if you're unsure of what they may look like as Urban dictionary cites George Michael and Don Johnson as prime examples. We also found the following convenient list of celebrity lumbersexuals
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  • 2015-11-07 15:59 News, Language, Culture

    ‘Binge-watch’ declared word of the year 2015 by Collins Dictionary

    CollinsDictionary.com defines the verb as “to watch a large number of television programmes (especially all the shows from one series) in succession”.

    According to Collins, usage of the term is up 200% on 2014.

    Helen Newstead, Head of Language Content at Collins, said: “The rise in usage of ‘binge-watch’ is clearly linked to the biggest sea change in our viewing habits since the advent of the video recorder nearly 40 years ago”.

    Subscription services such as Netflix and digital video recorders services such as Tivo enable watching of what you want, when you want for as long as you want.

    “It’s not uncommon for viewers to binge-watch a whole season of programmes such as House of Cards or Breaking Bad in just a couple of evenings – something that, in the past, would have taken months – then discuss their binge-watching on social media.”

    Got a marathon TV session lined up this weekend? Then we wish you happy binge-watching from us all at the London School of English.
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  • 2015-10-28 10:30 Language, Culture

    10 great ways to celebrate Halloween

    Do you love Halloween too? Here’s our guide to getting the most out of Halloween, from classic ghost stories to Halloween hoots. Or perhaps you’d like to create your own haunted house? However you decide to celebrate, we wish you a very Happy Halloween.

    1. Make a weekend of it
    The timing couldn’t be better this year as Halloween falls on a Saturday. You have a whole weekend to make the most of this fun festival. (Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October, not to be confused with All Saints Day on November 1st).

    2. Stock up on sweets
    There’s rarely a better excuse for stocking up on pick and mix (English for lösgodis) and sampling all those weird and wonderful colours, shapes and flavours you don’t usually select. Just don’t forget to leave a few for neighbourhood kids who come trick or treating.

    3. Half bury a skeleton in the garden
    This can cause a bit of a stir in the neigbourhood and has great entertainment value, especially if you have glow in the dark eyes.

    4. Get a new costume

    If you don’t feel like making one and you’ve left it a bit late to order online, help is at hand in the form of Buttericks on Drottningsgatan in Stockholm where you can pick up a costume right until the last minute.

    5. Trick or treat
    What better way to show off costumes than to go trick or treating. If you don’t have kids or fancy going out, you can always prepare a great welcome for those that call to your door, perhaps with some scary Halloween tricks of your own.

    6. Carve a pumpkin
    Never carved a pumpkin before or looking for inspiration? Here are 19 Seriously Spooky Pumpkin-Carving Ideas, or alternatively, 21 Creative Ideas for No-Carve Pumpkins.

    7.Create a haunted house
    Why not transform your home into a haunted house? You’ll find lots of tips from eerie lighting effects to easy sound effects at http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Haunted-House.

    8.Throw a Halloween party

    A great way to celebrate with family and friends and a wonderful show case for all your talents and creativity from costumes to themed foods and cakes . To help jumpstart the Halloween mood and instantly set the tone, check out Timeout’s 20 best Halloween songs. No prizes for guessing that Michael Jackson’s Thriller is number one but the others might surprise you.

    9. Watch your favourite scary movies

    Whether you revisit one of your old favourites or prefer new thrills, watching a scary movie is sure to set the tone for Halloween. If you’re looking for new film tips check out the following list of the Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released In 2015.

    10. Tell ghost stories
    A classic way to spend Halloween and why not try some in English? If you’d like some inspiration, check out the website for Scary stories to tell in the dark.

    Best wishes from us all at the London School of English Stockholm
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  • 2015-10-12 10:37 Culture

    Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian friends


    Wondering how it’s celebrated? Here’s a quick guide to Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

    What is Thanksgiving? A celebration of the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

    When is it held? The second Monday in October. While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians may gather for their Thanksgiving feast on any day during the long weekend.

    Do Canadians get the day off work? Most of them do with the with the exceptions being the Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, where Thanksgiving is an optional holiday.

    How is it celebrated?  It’s common for people to take a weekend getaway to nearby tourist spots or, for those who have cottages, Thanksgiving is the last long-weekend they have to enjoy the cottage before winter. Thanksgiving dinner is usually celebrated with family and friends.Traditions such as parades can be a part of Thanksgiving and The Canadian Football League holds a nationally televised doubleheader, the Thanksgiving Day Classic.

    What’s on the menu?
      Roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, various seasonal vegetables (mainly various kinds of squashes but also Brussels sprouts), and pumpkin pie. Baked ham and apple pie are also commonly served, as well as regional dishes such as salmon or wild game.

    Do say: Happy Thanksgiving to any Canadians you know.

    Don’t say: I thought it was held in November (That’s American Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November).

    If you need any help with the differences between British and North American English  please do not hesitate to contact us on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-10-02 10:43 Swinglish series, Language, Culture

    “Bort med svengelskan del 1-999….” – Red Days

    Swinglish: red day,
    English:
    bank holiday or public holiday

    Where does the term bank holiday come from?
    A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, some Commonwealth countries, other European countries such as Switzerland, and a colloquialism for a public holiday in Ireland. There is no automatic right to time off on these days, although banks close and the majority of the working population is granted time off work or extra pay for working on these days, depending on their contract.

    What’s the difference between a public holiday and a bank holiday?

    In England and Wales, a bank holiday tends automatically to be a public holiday and the day is generally observed as a holiday. In Scotland this may not always be the case.

    Regional differerences
    A handy list of national and regional Bank Holidays in the United Kingdom is provided below which shows regional differences.

    Mondays rule

    With few exceptions, Bank holidays are on Mondays. If a bank holiday is on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekday becomes a bank holiday, normally the following Monday.

    Don’t forget to check out the following list if you’re planning meetings or trips in the UK

    Upcoming bank holidays in England and Wales
    2015
    25 December Friday Christmas Day
    28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)
    2016
    1 January Friday New Year’s Day
    25 March Friday Good Friday
    28 March Monday Easter Monday
    2 May Monday Early May bank holiday
    30 May Monday Spring bank holiday
    29 August Monday Summer bank holiday
    26 December Monday Boxing Day
    27 December Tuesday Christmas Day (substitute day)

    Upcoming bank holidays in Scotland
    2015
    30 November Monday St Andrew’s Day
    25 December Friday Christmas Day
    28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)
    2016
    1 January Friday New Year’s Day
    4 January Monday 2nd January (substitute day)
    25 March Friday Good Friday
    2 May Monday Early May bank holiday
    30 May Monday Spring bank holiday
    1 August Monday Summer bank holiday
    30 November Wednesday St Andrew’s Day
    26 December Monday Boxing Day
    27 December Tuesday Christmas Day (substitute day)

    Upcoming bank holidays in Northern Ireland
    2015

    25 December Friday Christmas Day
    28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)
    2016
    1 January Friday New Year’s Day
    17 March Thursday St Patrick’s Day
    25 March Friday Good Friday
    28 March Monday Easter Monday
    2 May Monday Early May bank holiday
    30 May Monday Spring bank holiday
    12 July Tuesday Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day)
    29 August Monday Summer bank holiday
    26 December Monday Boxing Day
    27 December Tuesday Christmas Day (substitute day)

    Do you need help with Swinglish issues or guidance on professional communications with the UK or internationally? Please do not hesitate to contact on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se.
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  • 2015-09-27 15:07 Culture, Language

    Can you name the world's top 10 languages?


    English is often thought to be the world's most spoken language, but in terms of native speakers, it only ranks third. Other surprises are that French, usually deemed to be a world language, doesn't even make the top 10. As for Swedish, it comes in at place 91, outranked even by such exotic languages as Zulu and Kinyarwanda (Rwandan).

    Language    Native Speakers (millions)   Fraction of world population

    1. Mandarin                               935                                              14.10%
    2. Spanish                                 390                                               5.85%
    3. English                                  365                                               5.52%
    4. Hindi                                     295                                               4.46%
    5. Arabic                                   280                                                4.43%
    6. Portuguese                            205                                                3.08%
    7. Bengali                                  200                                                3.05%
    8. Russia                                   160                                                2.42%
    9. Japanese                               125                                                1.92%
    10. Punjabi                                 95                                                1.44%

    You can see the complete list of fact and figures here

    We're not experts in all of these languages but we would be delighted to help you with any questions you have about communicating professionally in English. Please do not hesitate to contact us at The London School of English on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se.
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  • 2015-06-10 16:17 Language, Culture

    Your essential guide to English wedding vocabulary


    With just a few days left to the royal nuptials on Saturday, wedding excitement is reaching fever pitch in Stockholm and in the Swedish media. We’ve compiled an essential guide to English wedding vocabulary and idioms which we hope you find useful if you are invited to an English speaker’s wedding, or if you are planning a wedding abroad.

    Getting engaged

    Getting down on one knee (the traditional way to propose marriage)

    Popping the question (asking someone to marry you)

    Introducing your fiancée or fiancé (wife-to-be or husband-to-be)

    Selecting engagement rings

    Shot gun wedding (the term traditionally used for a wedding that is hastily planned and brought about due to pregnancy)

    Wedding planning


    Choosing a wedding dress and possibly a train (material from the dress that covers the floor behind the bride), a veil (to cover the bride’s face) or a tiara for her hair

    Selecting a bouquet of flowers

    Choosing a morning suit (traditional wedding suit for men – a coat with tails and a waist coat)

    Avoiding pre-wedding nerves or pre-wedding jitters (doubts about getting married and wedding stress)

    Drawing up a guest list

    Booking a reception venue (the place where the wedding will be held)

    Compiling a wedding list (a wish list for wedding presents)

    Choosing bridesmaids, maid of honour (chief bridesmaid, also called matron of honour if she is married)

    Choosing the best man

    Organising a stag night (pre-wedding party for men) or hen night (for women)

    A traditional white wedding (usually held in a church)

    A civil ceremony (usually conducted at a Registry Office)

    Booking a honeymoon (the holiday after the wedding)

    The big day

    The groom (the man who is getting married) usually arrives first

    The father of the bride (the woman getting married) usually walks her down the aisle (the passage way in the church leading up to the altar where the wedding ceremony is performed)

    The priest asks if there are any objections to the wedding and says “Speak now or forever hold your peace”

    Exchanging wedding vows (the promises that the bride and groom make to each other during the ceremony)

    The couple exchange rings at the altar and are proclaimed “man and wife”

    The couple sign the marriage register

    Confetti (small pieces of coloured paper) is thrown at the newly wed pair by guests

    And finally, some wedding vocabulary for word nerds

    Bridaller: If the expression "wedding guest" feels too impersonal or generic for your tastes, perhaps you'd like to call your beloved revelers bridallers. The singular of this rare word means "a guest at a wedding”.

    Epithalamion: Defined as "a song or poem in honor of a bride and bridegroom." It is very close in meaning to the word prothalamion; both words are built on the Greek word for “bedroom” or “bridal chamber,” thalamus. The difference lies in their prefixes: epi- means "upon," and pro- means "before."

    Paranymph: One lesser-known wedding word with unisex applicability is paranymph, meaning "a groomsman or a bridesmaid." It translates literally from the Greek paránymphos as "the person beside the bride."

    Need help with wedding speech preparations?

    Among our most unusual and challenging assignments for clients are requests to help them write or edit wedding speeches in English or to translate them into English”, usually when a son or daughter is marrying an English speaker. If you are interested in finding out more about this service or if you need help with other English communications, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-03-30 12:12 Culture, How to series

    How to be a great guest in English (II)


    The second part of our 'great guest' article offers advice on what NOT to say or do if you’ve been invited to an English speaker’s home? Part 2 covers some mistakes that Swedish guests often make, both from a language perspective and also in terms of cultural differences.

    Don’t say

    “May I have a look around your house?”
    This is a cultural difference. English speakers will not necessarily expect to show you around their homes, especially upstairs and may not wish to. Never ask if it is not offered.

    “How big is your house?”
    Again, this is a cultural difference. Swedes have a penchant for quantifying things. English homes are usually described in terms of house type and number of bedrooms e.g. a 3 bed semi-d or a 4 bed bungalow. Even if the host knows the exact square footage, it’s unlikely he/she will know the area in metres squared which raises a further round of unnecessary complications.

    “I’m satisfied”.

    This is not the appropriate answer if asked if you would like some more food. To say” I’m satisfied” sounds like a judgement on the quality of the food.” It was delicious but I really couldn’t eat any more” is the best way of declining more food.

    “Is there coffee?”

    Unlike Sweden, coffee is usually served after dessert. Expecting coffee to be served simultaneously may stress your host.

    “It was nice to see how you have it”
    This direct translation of a common Swedish phrase can come across as rude, as it gives the impression that seeing the host’s home was as/more important than spending time in the host’s company.

    Just don’t


    -Forget to RSVP. This acronym (which comes from the French “répondez s'il vous plait”) is used in English as the equivalent of OSA).

    -Arrive early, or even bang on time if you can avoid it. Few things stress a host more than guests arriving early. Unless specifically requested to come on time, it is usually considered polite to come 10 to 20 minutes late.

    -Expect to make eye contact with everyone in the room/at the table if a toast is offered, as is the Swedish tradition.

    -Look puzzled if your host asks more than once if you would like a second helping or “if you are sure” if you decline more food. In some societies, it is considered polite to refuse when first asked and you should wait until the host offers a second or third time before accepting.

    -Forget to mind your Ps and Qs. English speakers generally make more frequent use of the words “please” and “thank you” than Swedes.

    -Forget to send a thank you card/email/text the following day

    You can read the first part of this article here

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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