Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pronunciation of -s endings

In general: /z/ e.g. pens, days, bags, photos, sews, ties, potatoes, goes, babies, universities, companies, studies, tries, wives, shelves, is, has.
After -f(e){-ph,-gh}/-k(e)/-p(e)/-t(e): /s/ e.g. books, students, photographs, works, types, laughs.
After -ce/-s(e)/-ss/-sh/-ch/-x(e)/-ge: /iz/ (extra syllable) e.g. produces, nurses, garages, buses, classes, dishes, teaches, fixes, washes.

Pronunciation of -ed endings


1) After the sounds /f/, /k/, /p/, /s/, /sh/, /ch/ or /x/, the -ed syllable is pronounced /t/: look > looked (pronounced /lukt/); watch > watched; laugh > laughed; stop > stopped

2) After other consonants and vowel sounds, the –ed is pronounced /d/: live > lived; play > played; die > died; love > loved; clean > cleaned; marry > married

3) Verbs ending in the sound /t/ or /d/, add an extra syllable, pronounced /-id/: decide > decided; want > wanted; hate > hated; visit > visited; start > started

To practise these endings, watch the following lesson on You Tube.


Do you want to know more about 1 Pablo Picasso, 2 Albert Einstein, 3 Rudolf Nureyev or 4 Wolfgang Amedus Mozart? Match each activity with one of these four celebrities. Example: G2 = Einstein couldn't read until the age of 8. Then, say which past tense is pronounced /-tid/, /-vd/, /-zd/, /-ld/, /-rd/, /-pt/ or /-st/. Finally, read each sentence aloud for pronunciation practice.

A He came from a Jewish family.

B He painted the Guernica for the Spanish Republic.
C He emigrated from Russia to Paris.
D He escaped the Nazis and survived.
E He criticised Franco’s dictatorship all his life.
F You can find his face on some 50-cent coins.
G He couldn’t read until the age of 8.
H He died of Aids.
I He failed his Physics exam at school.
J He died young and poor.
K He invented cubism.
L He was the best dancer of his time.
M He composed a wonderful Requiem.
N He discovered the relativity theory.
O He died in exile.
P He wrote music for several kings.
Q His paintings are sold for millions.
R His mediocre competitor, Salieri, hated him.
S He never danced at the Maestranza theatre.
T He had the reputation of being a Latin lover.

A Einstein came from a Jewish family.
B Picasso painted the Guernica for the Spanish Republic.
C Nureyev emigrated from Russia to Paris.
D Einstein escaped the Nazis and survived.
E Picasso criticised Franco’s dictatorship all his life.
F You can find Mozart’s face on some 50-cent coins.
G Einstein couldn’t read until the age of 8.
H Nureyev died of Aids.
I Einstein failed his Physics exam at school.
J Mozart died young and poor.
K Picasso invented cubism.
L Nureyev was the best dancer of his time.
M Mozart composed a wonderful Requiem.
N Einstein discovered the relativity theory.
O Picasso died in exile.
P Mozart wrote music for several kings.
Q Picasso’s paintings are sold for millions.
R Mozart
s mediocre competitor, Salieri, hated him.
S Nureyev never danced at the Maestranza theatre.
T Picasso had the reputation of being a Latin lover.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Man in an Orange Shirt_BBC mini-series

Vanessa Redgrave stars in the screenwriting debut of best-selling British novelist Patrick Gale that charts the challenges and huge changes to gay lives from World War II to the present. The drama follows two gay love stories set 60 years apart — linked by family, and by a painting that holds a secret that echoes down the generations. The two-hour film (divided into two episodes) explores a forbidden relationship made impossible by illegality and societal pressure, and contrasts it with present day romance as a minefield of internalized issues and temptations. 

Redgrave plays a grandmother struggling with her relationship with her gay grandson. The superb cast also includes Oliver Jackson-Cohen, James McArdle, Joanna Vanderham, Laura Carmichael, Julian Morris, Julian Sands, David Gyasi and Frances De La Tour. On the BBC, Man In An Orange Shirt forms part of the Gay Britannia season — a program of content to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality. Two must-watch, captivating love stories. (With Spanish subtitles)

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Hablemos = Let's Talk = Parlem


Canadian Culture and Management Class Assignment

Our short film "Bonjour Ji" has been winning awards at several film festivals around North America. However, collectively, as a team, we felt it was more important to show this film about race & humanity, than to win more awards. Our true award would be for you to watch it and to share it with everyone, irrespective of race, religion, or color. Thank you for watching!

With it's unique culture, Quebec has been home to almost half a million visible minority people for decades. Quebecois are known to open their hearts and homes to people who value their language and culture. This film doesn't represent general Quebec citizens, neither it promotes or glorifies any particular ethnic group. It is just a story of two people who struggle with a hard day and finally realize there is more than what we assume about others, there is more ways to unite than to divide. Quebec is one of the most welcoming places of Canada and that was our inspiration for this film. 

Written and Directed by Satinder Kassoana 

Friday, October 06, 2017



6 July 2008. On a typical grey English summer’s day, the Centre Court at Wimbledon was packed to the rafters in anticipation of what would turn out to be one of the most nail-biting championship finals in tennis history. For the players, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, there was so much to lose and even more to gain: A win for Nadal would mean being the first since Björn Borg in 1980 to win both the French Open and the Wimbledon Championship back to back; a win for Federer would make him the first man to win six consecutive Wimbledon men’s singles titles. 

Nadal, who had been defeated by Federer in the previous two Wimbledon finals, got off to an incredible start, taking the first two sets before summer rain interrupted the third. But when the skies cleared, and play resumed, the weather seemed to refuel the Swiss. Taking the third set on a tie breaker, and repeating the tactic in the fourth, Federer made it evens with Nadal at two sets a piece. Everything rested on the fifth set, the most tense and dramatic anyone had ever seen. Finally breaking serve and nailing the set 9-7, it was the Mallorcan Nadal who finally came up trumps, breaking Federer’s 5 year winning streak and catapulting both himself, and the match into tennis history – for at four hours and 48 minutes, it had been the longest Wimbledon final ever played. 

One of Nature's Most Beautiful Homes


Walking in the woods is one of my favourite things to do. There is something truly magical about a tightly packed forest of trees. It’s almost like walking along a bustling street in Manhattan - so alive are the soaring trees with insects and birds, reptiles and rodents - and yet at the same time you feel utterly soothed by the tranquil sensation of calm which only nature can provide. When the light filters through the leaves and hits the forest floor, the fractured illumination is like a disco without sound. It can be dazzling, disorientating, mesmerising. There is nothing quite like getting lost in a vast natural hallway of trees. There is always something new to discover, to enchant the mind. 

Occasionally these walks take a turn for the unexpected, when on an energetic stroll across fallen pine needles and leaves you suddenly encounter something beautiful on the forest floor. With its branches perfectly interwoven, it is like the work of a true craftsman, or an expert milliner. But this is not the work of a human hand. It is the intricately woven handiwork of a bird. For on approaching the object which has appeared amongst a carpet of needles, you find a bird’s nest – perfectly intact, but many metres from where it should be. 

There is something utterly breathtaking about finding a nest. It fills you with all sorts of wonder as you observe the mastery of its creation, and admiration at the fragility of its perfectly balanced construct. Usually you can never get so close to a bird’s nest – these things are the preserve of the treetops way up high. So this inspection feels privileged, an exclusive moment, as you take tentative steps towards the nest to discover what lies within.

More often than not, the nest is empty. A feeling of pathos replaces the initial excitement of discovery. What has happened to the nest to make it fall so far? And what of the bird whose efforts are so visible in this craftsmanship? It feels like the discovery of a masterpiece abandoned in the middle of the effort of its creation, like a sculpture, painfully close to completion, yet forsaken by the artist when some natural disaster intervenes. For a moment you ponder, should I climb the tree, and take the nest back to the top? Is there anything I can do to put this wrong to right? But no, this is a narrative which must be left to nature’s will. This nest, now too heavy for a bird to carry, will be abandoned to the forest floor, becoming one more victim in the relentless circle of life. But perhaps it’s better that way: for it is with trepidation that we approach this perfect creation, scared to touch it, in case the fragility of the work crumbles beneath our fingers. 

But just as it did when creating this masterpiece, so the bird will commence the slow intricate process of fashioning another nest one day soon, artfully interweaving branches and forest fodder to create one of nature’s most beautiful and perfect homes.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

ERASMUS Programme 30th Anniversary

30 Aniversario Erasmus+

De Erasmus a Erasmus+

Treinta años enriqueciendo vidas y abriendo mentes

Erasmus+ es el Programa integrado de la Unión Europea para la Educación, Formación, Juventud y Deporte.

El Programa original ERASMUS (European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) comenzó en 1987 como un programa de intercambio que ofrecía a estudiantes universitarios la posibilidad de aprender y enriquecerse estudiando en el extranjero. A lo largo de los últimos 30 años ha ampliado su alcance y envergadura. Hoy Erasmus+ ofrece un mayor número de oportunidades tanto a personas como a organizaciones, como por ejemplo ir de voluntario o aprendiz a países extranjeros y cooperar en proyectos conjuntos. El Deporte también se ha convertido en una parte importante de Erasmus+ y, además, actualmente el Programa se extiende a países de fuera de Europa.
De hecho, desde el lanzamiento del programa Erasmus+ en 2014, dos millones de personas de todos los ámbitos se han beneficiado de las oportunidades que ofrece, tales como periodos de estudios, de prácticas o voluntariado, adquiriendo experiencia en el extranjero. Y durante estos últimos 30 años ya han participado un total de cinco millones de jóvenes.
Entre 2017 y 2020, Erasmus+ brindará oportunidades a más de dos millones de personas en toda Europa y resto del mundo.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017


Dunkirk serves up emotionally satisfying spectacle, delivered by a writer-director in full command of his craft and brought to life by a gifted ensemble cast that honors the fact-based story. The film of the year and one of the greatest war films ever made. Christopher Nolan's war epic is a must-see! 

Monday, October 02, 2017

My Tutoring Hours/Horas de Tutoría 2017-2018

Profesor Carlos Martín, Ph. D.

These are my tutoring hours this academic year from October 2nd until the last day of classes, May 22nd 2018:

Facultad de Comunicación

IdI Reina Mercedes
IdI Reina Mercedes

Facultad de Comunicación
                                     *Previa cita


If you miss a class and want to find out what the homework is, text or email one of your classmates or set up a Whatsapp group to stay in touch.

The IdI office at the ESI is located in the Entreplanta 1ª corridor, next to the Alumni Association and opposite the Engineers Without Frontiers office:

Level 1/A2 Course Information

Curso 2017-2018
Inglés 1 (A2)
Profesor Carlos Martín (CM) Grupo 106 (Aula B1) Facultad Comunicación
Despacho del IdI, Escuela Superior de Ingenieros, 
Entreplanta 1ª  Tel: 954 487 395

PROGRAMA INGLÉS 1 Curso 2017/18


LIBRO DE TEXTO: Christina Latham-Koenig and Clive Oxenden, English File Elementary, Third Edition (Student's Book Pack with Key). Oxford University Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-19-459891-0
  • Read the programme of this level online at: or click on link above. 
  • If you need to find out about your teacher's consulting hours, click on Tutorías above or on the permanent righthand side link.  
  • Do not email your teacher personally for homework. If you miss a class and want to find out what the homework is, contact one of your classmates. Exchange your WhatsApp number and/or email address with your classmates.
  • Written compositions must be handed in to your teacher in class on the day stipulated.

Level 2/B1 Course Information

Curso 2017-2018
Inglés 2 (B1)
Profesor Carlos Martín (CM) Grupo 206 (Aula B1) Facultad Comunicación
Despacho del IdI, Escuela Superior de Ingenieros, 
Entreplanta 1ª  Tel: 954 487 395

PROGRAMA INGLÉS 2 (B1) Curso 2017/18

LIBRO DE TEXTO: Philip Kerr, STRAIGHTFORWARD Pre-Intermediate Student’s Book & Webcode N/E. Macmillan, 2012. ISBN: 9780230424463. Este libro del estudiante viene con un código personal e intransferible que permite el acceso a una gran variedad de recursos online: audios interactivos, ejercicios de vocabulario, gramática, lenguaje y pronunciación.

LIBRO DE EJERCICIOS: Mathew Jones & Philip Kerr, STRAIGHTFORWARD Pre-Intermediate Workbook with answer key (2nd edition) Macmillan, 2012. ISBN: 9780230423169. Este libro de ejercicios viene con un CD de audio que incluye las grabaciones de todos los textos de lectura de este libro.
  • Read the programme of this level online or click on link above. 
  • If you need to find out about your teacher's consulting hours, click on Tutorías above or on the permanent righthand side link.  
  • Do not email your teacher personally for homework. If you miss a class and want to find out what the homework is, contact one of your classmates. Exchange your WhatsApp number and/or email address with your classmates.
  • Written compositions must be handed in to your teacher in class on the day stipulated.

Level 3/B2 Course Information

Curso  2017/2018         
Profesor Carlos Martín (CM) Grupos 319 y 324 (Aula 201)
Despacho del IdI, Escuela Superior de Ingenieros, Entreplanta 1ª Tel: 954 487 395

BIBLIOGRAFÍA OBLIGATORIA: LIBRO DE TEXTO: Chris Redstone and Gillie Cunningham, face2face, Upper Intermediate Student’s Book. Cambridge University Press (2013).  ISBN 978-1-107-42201-8 
Como complemento, también obligatorio, el Workbook with Key del mismo título. ISBN 978-1-107-60956-3
  • Read the programme of this level online at: or click on link above. 
  • If you need to find out about your teacher's consulting hours, see Tutorías above.  
  • Do not email your teacher personally for homework. If you miss a class and want to find out what the homework is, email or phone one of your classmates. Exchange your WhatsApp number and/or email address with your classmates.
  • Written compositions must be handed in to your teacher in class on the day stipulated.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Love Machines

Why do we feel so compelled to seek out emotional attachments with mechanical life forms? JOHNATHAN BELLS reports.

Few technologies have been so extensively foreshadowed as robotics. For nearly 100 years, we’ve indulged in an array of speculative fictions that have defined the form, function and social impact of robots far in advance of the available technology. As a result, automation is treated more as a cultural trope than an economic threat. All the while the robots are fermenting the stealthiest industrial revolution in history.

We delved behind the scenes at the London Science Museum’s recent exhibition about our obsession with mechanical life forms. As well as asking the big questions about robotic pasts, presents and futures, the show offers up a rogue’s gallery of android approximations of specialist applications, from healthcare through to entertainment.

Popular perception of robots rarely aligns with reality. Large swathes of modern industry are automated beyond the point of no return. Cars, white goods and electronics all depend on robotic manufacture, and the huge labour populations deployed to assemble iPhones, laptops and sneakers are also being usurped by robotic alternatives with no need for dorms or unions. China is the largest buyer of industrial robots in the world. Yet, for most consumers, it matters not a jot if an assembly shop is powered by sweat or sparks; the end result is the same. Instead, we seem hard-wired to seek out emotional attachments with robots, happily ignoring the irreplaceable mechanical ballet of the robotic production line.

Perhaps this is our species’ great mistake; we want robots to be familiar and friendly, whereas their uglier, more adept relatives are quietly doing the heavy lifting we’d rather not deal with. As a result, the path to automation is unstoppable, with global industrial robot sales rising year on year. Change will come with the robotic shift from physical to emotional labour. Projects like Komodroid, a ‘robot newscaster’ that reads headlines without inflection or emotion, letting you project your own feelings, or ROSA (Rob’s Open Source Android) with its imitation of human muscular structures and spooky face-tracking ability, only scratch the surface of our desperation to love, and be loved, by the machine. Many generations of cultural representation have given robots direct access to our heartstrings, and we haven’t even touched on the thorny issue of sex, let alone death.

It’s safe to say that every conceivable human interaction (and form of fluid exchange) will eventually be subcontracted to a machine. Along the way, we’ll take the mandatory trek to the ‘uncanny valley’, a dive into the awkward intersection between true-to-life human features and the skin-crawling consequences of getting it a bit wrong. This partly explains why humanoid, but not human-like, robots generate the most affection among those who interact with them. 

A robot is still best at doing a single thing exceptionally well, be it sifting, sorting, sweeping, welding or stamping. And yet technologists and consumers seem compelled to empower our metal friends to do much, much more. Unfortunately, we have little idea of what will happen once they actually can.

After being shown at the London Science Museum, "Robots" will be showing at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester from 19 October 2017 to 15 April 2018 as part of the Manchester Science Festival. [Wallpaper Magazine, September 2017]

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The United States vs Spain: a graduate’s dilemma

EL PAÍS English Edition summer intern Henry Hahn reflects on his time abroad and the differences between interning in Spain and in the US

As I wrap up my final week of an incredible internship at EL PAÍS (and a life-changing summer abroad), preparing to return to the United States for my final year of college, I can’t help but fixate on one of my favorite films of all time: Mike Nichol’s 1967 classic The Graduate. More specifically, I’m compelled to think of its opening title sequence, in which Dustin Hoffman, returning home from college, drifts along a moving walkway against a bland white wall at LAX airport, set to Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.” The opening scene is a portending metaphor for how adolescent life in America can be viewed as a forced pathway – a straight line, on which you are almost vacuously propelled forward from the time you are born, with little purpose and little choice for direction – only to be thrown out into the wild upon graduating from college.

Henry Hahn at the EL PAÍS office in Madrid.
Henry Hahn at the EL PAÍS office in Madrid.

Though the film was made 50 years ago, the statement feels more pertinent than ever. Through the succeeding decades, it seems that the capitalist obsession on fixed paths in America has only intensified – that the infamous walkway of adolescence has only been elongated and accelerated.
Today, American students seeking admission to prestigious universities are advised to spend their high school summers engaged in an assortment of jobs, internships, and academic programs. The expectation continues through college summers, as students strive to secure coveted internships to bolster their resumes in time for graduation. The ideal maneuver is to land a gig at a large corporation the summer before your senior year – say, at a bank, a consulting firm, or a tech company – in the hopes of being given a return offer on your last day, saving you from the job search frenzy of senior year. Hence, the smoothest of transitions that allows the moving walkway to carry on, unimpeded.
After years of adhering to the process myself, I eventually burnt out. Just as I was approaching my final college summer – the most pivotal one of a young job seeker’s life, I rebelled and sought an unpaid internship in Spain – a land stereotyped in my mind by fiesta and siesta.

But during the months I’ve spent here, I’ve also gotten to see a more nuanced picture. Through the friends I’ve made, I’ve been given a privileged perspective on the difficulties surrounding the culture of work for young Spaniards. While, by contrast, there’s little to no pressure here for students to work internships during their college summers, whether or not they choose to do so ultimately has little impact on the reality they face upon graduating: in some sectors, it’s nearly impossible to find jobs straight out of college.
Two of my initial roommates when I arrived in June were biology students who had just graduated from the Autonomous University of Madrid, which boasts the best program in the field. One had just received her undergraduate degree, the other, his master’s. Both were working in coffee shops. Lacking nearly perfect grades, they were left jobless and contemplating grad school (yet, understandably, struggling to find the funds to pay for it). They resentfully attributed the absence of available jobs to a lack of investment in the sciences by the ruling PP party.

When I arrived in June, two of my roommates had just graduated with degrees in biology. They were both working in coffee shops

Others I met, who did manage to secure work (usually in more business-oriented sectors), seemed only slightly less unfortunate – plagued with low wages and long working hours. As I learned from them, many companies try to pigeonhole young prospects into internships or part-time roles for as long as possible to save on costs (typical intern salaries in Spain range from €600 to €900 per month). Given the higher-than-average unemployment in Spain as a result of the 2007 economic downturn, the market of young professionals is easily exploited.
One friend told me that it’s almost impossible to secure a full-time job with less than two years experience as an intern first. If you try to switch companies in the middle of this process, you’re often forced to start from square one. As a result, he ended up staying on an extra year as an intern at a company he didn’t enjoy working at to avoid demotion. He also took issue with the quality of work offered to young employees here. While applying for internships at many large American tech companies, he noticed that their Spanish branches often merely wanted interns to do dirty work – number crunching and basic data analysis – a notable contrast from the more educational and holistic internship programs offered in the US and elsewhere.
Another friend, working a low-salary job in Spain from Sweden, noted the difference in the daily schedule of a Spanish office. While Spaniards are accustomed to working long hours – often 12 hour days from 9am to 9pm – they are typically less productive, taking long lunch and coffee breaks. Though he didn’t necessarily enjoy this alternative system, he said the group mentality of his office made it difficult to do anything other than go along with it. If you wanted to be accepted socially by your co-workers, you were staying until 9pm.

Many Spanish companies pigeonhole graduates into internships, paying as little as €600 a month

Though he had hoped to transition to another job with a better salary, he was unsuccessful in his search and forced to return home. Even a bachelor’s degree and EU papers, fluency in three languages (English, Spanish, and Swedish) and previous work experience in the country were apparently not enough to expect a living wage in a high-skill job.
Nor can young Spaniards easily just pick up and move to another European country. I initially had just assumed that EU nations function exactly as states do in America, but it’s not a perfect analogy. Without the right connections or superior grades, it’s often difficult for a Spanish student to secure a well-paid, high-skill job in another country without prior work experience first. So moving abroad after school often just means waiting tables in a different country.
While some remain optimistic despite the difficulties they face, the recent biology graduate had a terse and despairing tone when I inquired about her possible options. “We’re screwed. We’re stuck here, and we’re screwed.” Addressing my situation directly, she continued: “America may not be a perfect country, but you have no idea how much I wish I could have been raised there.” Naturally, the comment struck me. There I was – sharing a tinto de verano with my friend at a quiet bodega late on a Wednesday night (something I would never do back home), enchanted by this country and its way of life, but also, in that very instant, humbled and reminded that I was only a tourist. Perhaps I had taken for granted all the opportunities I had been afforded back home.

If you want to be accepted socially by your co-workers, that can mean staying at work until 9pm

Still, I remain perplexed and defiant. Can there really be no compromise between the rigorous grind in America, which I felt deprived me of my adolescence, and the system in Spain, which limits many adolescents in their ability to transition to adulthood? (Most Spaniards live at home with their parents until their late 20s, a considerable number of them not by choice.)
Regardless, I find myself in quite the predicament. I would love to return to Spain when I finish school. It’s been a remarkable experience, and I don’t think I’ve had enough. But I only want to come back on the pretense of having a comfortable job – an aim that seems unattainable as a Spaniard, let alone an American lacking EU papers.
Perhaps it’s time to step off the moving walkway for real, entering the real world without concern for how much money I’ll make and without an immediate answer to what I’m going to do with my life. We’ll have to see if the work-obsessed American in me is up to such a task. I still have a year to decide. Until then, I’ll just be drifting along – like Dustin Hoffman – bleakly contemplating the void that not only awaits me, but that awaits many of the friends I have made here as well. Despite whatever sobering realities it has forced me to confront, the time I’ve spent in Spain and the people I’ve met here are far too special to ever forget. (El País English edition,30.08.17)