Category Archives: Language & Culture

Irish Weather

WEATHER QUESTIONS

“If you don’t like the weather in Ireland, don’t worry, wait a few minutes and it will change.”

The Irish climate can be described as ‘changeable’ (it changes a lot!), ‘mild’ (there are no extremes of either cold or hot temperature) and ‘damp’ (it rains a lot).

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Let’s ask some very obvious questions about the weather and see if you know, the sometimes not so obvious, answers!

1. Why is the Equator hotter than the North and South Poles?
You know this is true but have you ever thought about the actual reason why? It’s not because the Equator sticks out and is a bit closer to the sun! 
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Sports around the world

‘Through play we reach the highest intelligence of humans.’ – Joseph Pearce

Think about which sports you most like to play or watch (if any). What do you think are the most popular sports in your country?

OLYMPIC GAMES

The modern Olympic Games feature summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. They are considered the world’s most important sports competition with more than two hundred nations participating. The Olympics are normally held every four years.  

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The creation of the modern Olympics was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games held in Olympia, Greece from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.

What events does your country compete in at the Olympics? 
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Irish Legends & Mythology

‘Myths point to the horizon and back to ourselves saying, this is who we are, this is where we came from and this is where we’re going.’ – J. Michael Straczynski
‘Superheroes fulfil a role similar to the ancient gods.’ – Christopher Nolan

Why do you think we create legends? How do they start?
One theory is that the process of legend stories being created likely began with real incidents or events that were worth recording and repeating. These were passed along by word of mouth from person to person and from generation to generation until they’d been retold thousands of times and existed in hundreds of different versions around the world.

dragon.

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Saying ‘Hello’ & ‘Goodbye’ in Ireland

NON-VERBAL GREETINGS

Which of the ways below would you normally use to greet someone in your country? (Or would you use something else?)

  1. A kiss on the cheeks
  2. Shaking hands
  3. An embrace
  4. A bow
  5. A nod of the head

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Does it depend, for example, on if it’s a formal or informal situation, or would it change if it’s between two males, or between two females, or a male and female?

Which of the ways above do you think Irish people most commonly use to greet each other?

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The Future – ‘will’ vs ‘going to’

Talking about the Future

When talking about an event that is going to happen in the future, there is more than one possibility. Most often, you will use the phrases will or going to in order to refer to an upcoming event, but sometimes students of the English language can become confused over which one to use and when.

Welcome To The Future Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dr

Both forms refer to the future and there is a difference between the two, even though in some cases they can be used interchangeably with no difference in meaning. 

So, how would you describe the difference?

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Interjection Sounds in English

Em, eh, um…

Interjection sounds aren’t even really words but they are full of meaning! The English language is full of them. In some cases, if you make the wrong interjection sound, it can give completely the wrong meaning.

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Interjection sounds can be used as a space filler or a kind of pause while speaking, like in the three examples in the title above, or as a way to express surprise, (dis)agreement, happiness, sympathy… pretty much every emotion you can think of!

You might recognise some of the sounds in the picture; there are lots more!

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Reduced Forms in English

WHA’CHA SAY?

Native speakers do not pronounce every word clearly. When speaking informally, people often reduce or contract sounds. Most commonly, the words that are important to the meaning of a statement will remain unchanged but words that link or are functional will be shortened.   

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‘Reduced forms’ are words that are not written in English but that are frequently used by native speakers in spoken English. It’s very useful to be able to recognize them so you can understand when native speakers speak English and also to sound more natural when you speak yourself.

Here are some of the most common reduced forms.

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Irish Films 2

FILM GENRES

“No art form goes beyond ordinary consciousness like film does, straight to our soul.” – Ingmar Bergman
“Cinema is universal, beyond flags, borders and passports.” – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

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Do you have a favourite film genre or type of film? Let’s look at some film genres and what genre of films are most typical in Ireland. 

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Irish Films

WHAT IS A TYPICAL IRISH FILM?

“In the world we need to talk to each other, listen & understand how we see things differently. Cinema is one of the best ways to do this.” – Martin Scorsese

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What is the most famous film from your country? Do you like it?

There are many famous Irish films. Have you ever seen any Irish films or films about Ireland? Was it very different from a typical film from your country?

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The Look of the Irish

WHERE DOES THE IRISH LOOK COME FROM?unnamed

During the last ten thousand years, many different peoples have arrived on the island of Ireland. The genetic history and make-up of the Irish has connections to Scotland, Wales and also to the Basque region and Galicia in northern Spain. Many Irish people still share an early western Atlantic genetic history which has remained relatively untouched and less affected by migration and mixing of peoples than other parts of Europe.

We know very little, however, about the physical appearance of the first pre-historic people who arrived in Ireland.

What do you imagine these pre-historic Irish people looked like?

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