A BBC article on how British slang is entering into America. How important is slang?

English AmericanIf you listen to the average group of teenagers today in Britain, you’ll hear a lot of slang that originally comes from the USA, such as ‘dude’ which means ‘guy’ or ‘man’.

What slang words have you learnt on your travels or in everyday contact with native English speaking people? What’s your favourite? How important is using slang? And what’s the best way of learning it?

I really think the phrase ‘gobsmacked’ which means to be ‘lost for words’ or ‘completely surprised’, because it’s very amusingly descriptive, such as the word ‘gob’ is slang (originally from Australia) for ‘mouth’ and ‘smack’ is a verb meaning to hit with the palm, so gobsmacked is very descriptive meaning you literally can’t speak because you’ve been hit in the mouth.  “I’m gobsmacked! I can’t believe it!”

If anyone is unsure of what slang is: Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker’s language or dialect or have a different meaning. Such as ‘sweet!’ which is now often used by young people to mean ‘great’ or ‘fantastic’. So we must be careful in what situations we use it, using some of these words in a formal situation can give the wrong impression.


By Siôn

A Newspaper says that the Spanish have the worst level of English in Europe, we don’t believe it. What are your thoughts?

English is generally considered the international language of business and travel, and with more businesses looking abroad for trade and to do business, English is becoming a necessity in more and more Spanish companies every day. In the following news article in Spanish they say that the Spanish have the worst level of English in Europe:


I’d love to hear people’s opinions about the article. What is the cause of this? and what can be done?

Just to even things up a bit, I found the following article in English via the telegraph that looks into a report saying that British teenagers are ‘the worst’ in Europe at second languages.


.ingles practicar

Automatically translate what you say from Spanish to English. What are the limitations?

The following article provides a look at the latest voice translation apps:

At the end of the article it mentions that the applications are currently limited in their use, because the users have to speak very slowly and unnaturally to avoid as many translation errors and possibly and also the translations aren’t instantaneous.

translate spanish to english


In my opinion, These applications are great for those difficult situations on holiday such as when you need to explain that you don’t want mayonnaise on your burger in Vietnamese. However, I do believe that they won’t help normal conversations, because having a digital voice repeating what you just said in a different language removes the ‘feeling’ from a conversation which will also make it more difficult to build relationships. I also believe that it will be a long time before we have any device that will provide instant translations to the listener as you speak, such as in Star Trek.

What do you think is the future of learning English with applications like these? Will people become more lazy and not learn other languages?


Welcome to the new blog and the new website of Optima Communication. The old home site has served us well over the years but it is now time for  a change. Tell us what you think because we are still making a lot of improvements to this website.

In this blog I’ll write in English, and hopefully the English version of the website will be up and running in a few weeks. The translator is taking a while …..

I’m Duncan the manager and one of the teachers at Optima Communication. I’m from England and I have been living in Spain for 20 years. Professionally, I’m devoted to teaching English to adults. At Opima, we have been running English immersion courses for 11 years in our specialist centre in a small town called Valdeporres Pedrosa, located in Burgos

In this blog I will share philosophies of language learning, tips on what to do and evaluate different products with the aim of facilitating improvement for people struggling to make progress in English. In Optima, we are always open to hear your opinions about any post or product related to learning English. Everything that we have learned to teach our students and keep learning new things every week in the English immersion courses we teach.

This blog is in appreciation to the thousands of students, with whom I have had the great experience of doing the two things I love, learning and teaching during the last 20 years, here in Spain

If you want that comment on something, you just need to send an e-mail to duncan@optima-communication.com