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El inglés no es el único idioma indigena del Reino Unido: practicar el inglés online

Aquí podrás practicar el inglés online con un artículo que ha salido últimamente en las noticias. Leerlo y después darnos tu opinión:

The UK has ten, indigenous languages, how many can you name?

This article discusses why it’s important to learn indigenous languages and not just the main language spoken of a country.

I was originally from Wales and even though Welsh isn’t my first language, I do tend to agree with most points put across in this article.

Languages in the UK: practicar el inglés online. gales, irelanda, escocia

I think that it’s important to not let these old languages die because they provide a link to the past, help us to understand our culture, heritage and even our humor.

However, I think that it’s important to keep progressing, integrate with other cultures and their languages and traditions, and not close ourselves off.  Yes, I love my country, Wales, and the Welsh culture and I’d love for my children to be able to speak Welsh, but at the same time it’s important to let people from outside in.

Anyway, it’s also nice to be able to speak a little of an unusual language.

Finally, as the article says, the ten indigenous languages that are still spoken in the UK are:  English, Scots, British Sign Language, Welsh, Gaelic, Irish, Cornish, Manx, Angloromani and Shelta.

I’d love to know your opinion, do you think these old languages have a place in the 21st century? What is your first language?


By Siôn ( Teacher at Optima Communication)

Spain in the news: Equality between men and women, a 2013 report

I came across this article about equality between men and women on the BBC website; It is about a new survey that classifies rates of sexual equality around the world and compares them on a country wide basis.

equality men and women

Progress around the world in terms of equality, is one of the most important ways of getting more talent to participate in resolving the issues that we need to deal with as a society.

I think statistical information is one of the keys to informed debate, so I invite you to visit the original report that can be accessed on line.  This is obviously more in-depth than the BBC article and it contains information by country, and divides equality into 4 areas of considerations. As talent knows no gender distinctions and we would all benefit, both women and men, from more equality, that way the most talented people would be able to make a greater contribution to our societies.

Spain and the UK: how do they compare?

In the report a score of 1.000 represents equality for women; less than 1 inequality against women. The two countries I am most linked to are Spain, where I have been living for the past 20 years and the UK where I was born. Overall Spain comes out 30th in the world, out of the 136 countries under consideration, with an equality ratio of 0.727 and the UK 18th with an equality ratio of 0.774

  1. Economic Participation and Opportunity;  Spain comes out 76th with a disappointing equality ratio of just 0.652;  UK 35 th with an again disappointing equality ratio of 0.732
  2. Educational Attainment; Spain comes out 40th with a respectable equality ratio of  0.997;  UK 31st, and also with almost exact equality 0.999
  3. Health and Survival; Spain comes out with a perhaps surprising position of 75th with an equality ratio of  0.973; UK 92nd, with a similar equality ratio of 0.970
  4. Political Empowerment; Spain comes out 27th with a disappointing equality ratio of just 0.284; UK 29th, also with a disappointing equality ratio of 0.275

Comparing countries versus comparing against inequality

To me it is clear that it less important a countries position, with respect to other countries and more important the absolute levels of equality. Perhaps the league tables are more journalistic, as we all like to compare our countries with others. However, to be higher up the country comparison chart could be argued to be a negative thing in some extreme cases. Perhaps if it means that there is inequality against men in order to achieve it. For example, Iceland which tops the survey with an equality ratio of 0.873 has the following results in one area;

  1. Educational Attainment; Joint 1st with a equality ratio of , although I don’t understand this figure because for all sub areas the score is 1 or more, in one area the inequality is as much as 1.79. that is the ratio of women to men in terciary education (ie universities) Is it positive for a society to have 1.79 times more women at university than men? What do you think?

Political Empowerment and Economic Participation and Opportunity the two areas with biggest opportunities

However, this only occurs in a few countries in two areas; health and Survival (where 23 countries share the top score of 0.9796 )and Educational attainment (where 26 countries have the same 1.000 score). The bigger picture is that all countries of the world can improve in the other two areas, where Iceland is number 1 for Political Empowerment with a score of 0.754 ; and Norway number 1 for Economic Participation and Opportunity with a score of 0.837.

The report also compares the results with previous results from other years, this is interesting in Spain’s and the UK’s cases. Spain has dropped from it’s position of 10th in the world, with a score of 0.7444 in 2007 and the UK has dropped from 9th in the world with a score of 0.7365 in 2006. Has been Spain and the UK being going backwards in terms of equality?

Well I invite you all to have a look at the data and please feel free to leave a comment below,


Talking about Spain: What makes your city great?

Here is another chance to improve your English by getting involved and discussing a topic.
The following article is about how a British man who was impressed with the facilities for disabled people, on a recent trip to one of Spain’s biggest cities:

Little things like wheelchair access, bicycle routes and a fun atmosphere can make a city feel so much more open to everyone, and with Spain being a major tourist destination, with over 13 million British people visiting last year, these little things or little touches can make all the difference to someone’s experience.

Every week, we meet students here who have come from all over Spain and enjoy listening to their stories. We think that Spain is a wonderful and diverse landscape and country and we are interested in hearing about your opinions. What makes your city or town special for you? Is it the culture? The architecture? Or is it a peaceful place to relax?


What makes your city great? practice your english in spain

When I’m not teaching here at Optima, I usually live in Bilbao.  What I like the most about living here is the food, whether it’s the pintxos on a Sunday morning or the seafood, which I love, because I am from the coast of Wales.


Please come and join in the discussion by writing your opinions in the comments below.when I eat out in a restaurant.

By Siôn
(An English Teacher at Optima)

Spain in the News: Is Spain in the wrong timezone?

The following article argues that Spain is in the wrong time zone, and that because the Spanish working day follows daylight hours, many workers are exhausted, or feel jet-lagged, because they wake-up earlier and go to bed later than they should.

What do people think of this article?
Do you think that it should be changed? Would businesses want to adapt to the change?

In my personal opinion, in the past when I have worked in places following the traditional ‘businesses’ hours, I always preferred to have 45 minutes or an hour for lunch, so that I could get home early. But maybe, my opinion could be because I didn’t enjoy some jobs in the past, and now I have a job here at Optima Communication, that I enjoy a lot I don’t mind working longer hours.

Practica Inglés Noticias España

By Siôn
(An English Teacher at Optima)

Spain in the News: The Tomatina Festival

Last month one of Spain’s most famous local fiestas, took place. Not the one with bulls, the other one with tomatoes, La Tomatina. This year, for the first time, the organizers charged non-local residents to take part in the festival. Not a lot, just 10 Euros, which is the same as probably most discos and also it seems to be a lot more fun! Most of the buyers of the tickets where foreign such as from Australia, Japan, Britain and the USA.

This story was reported in the Telegraph

Obviously, Spain is going through some slightly difficult financial times, so it’s difficult to pay for these things, but do you think that this will be the first of many? Will people have to pay for other fiestas such as in Pamplona?

We’d love to hear peoples opinions

Wow, that’s a lot of tomatoes!

aprender ingles vacaciones y fiestas

By Siôn
(An English Teacher at Optima)