Lessons in the "2016" Category

Killer Clown Craze - Why?

Something very strange and disturbing is happening right now, around the world. We are suddenly seeing people dressed up as killer clowns. They are appearing in strange places. It’s scary and weird. The question is, why? Are these people attention seekers? Or, just nutters? What is making people want to dress up in a killer clown outfit, and go round scaring people? Worse, is that some of them are attacking innocent people; hence the term ‘Killer Clowns’.

The craze may have begun in South Carolina, USA, in August, when some clowns tried to entice children into a wood, with large sums of money. The US born craze, has seen clowns chasing children, with weapons, such as knives and baseball bats. In some instances, they specifically targeted schools.

Autumn

Today, let’s talk about autumn. What exactly is autumn? It is a season that follows summer and is before winter. Autumn starts in Britain on the 23rd September. It is on this day that daylight and night are the same length of time. The nights now get longer and the days shorter.

Autumn is probably the most colourful time of year. It is when the leaves change colour. Many leaves turn into vivid autumn red, yellow and brown colours that so many people love to see. Autumn is also conker season when the conkers fall from Horse Chestnut trees.

Autumn is the time of falling leaves. Many leaves are blown off the trees. Often they form a magnificent carpet of different coloured leaves on the ground. It is a sign that winter is on its way!

English regional accents to die out – urban accents to increase

A report analysing language trends from the past 50 years has been published by dialect coach, Brendan Gunn, and Dr Dominic Watt of York University, who is a sociolinguistic expert. The two looked at major modern cultural influences, to help predict what the future might sound like.

The analysis said that English regional accents are likely to die out in 50 years. Whereas, urban dialects are likely to rise, in big cities like Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow. The Queen's English could soon be a thing of the past, due to immigration. Multicultural London English, which incorporates pronunciations from West African, Caribbean, and Asian communities, will spread across regions.

Singapore is expats’ top place to live in 2016

For the second year running, Singapore has been voted the top place for expats’ to live and work in 2016. The country topped the list of countries, in HSBC’s ninth annual Expat Explorer survey.

More than 60% of expats earnt more in Singapore, than they did in their own country. Nearly half, felt they were healthier living in Singapore. 84% of expats said the island was safer than their own country. 75% said the level of education was better than their original country. 58% of expats felt Singapore is a good place to start a business.

Switzerland offers the best wages, with annual incomes around US$188,000. In Singapore, the average expat salary is US$139,000. This is significantly higher than the global average of US$97,000.

New Words in Oxford Dictionary

Today, we are going to look at some of the 1,000 or so new words that have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in their September quarterly update for 2016.

Ones to watch out for are ‘moobs’, ‘gender-fluid’ and ‘yolo’. ‘Scrumdiddlyumptious’ and other colourful Roald Dahl words like ‘Oompa Loompa’ and ‘human bean’ are included in the latest edition to celebrate the centenary of his birth. Another of Dahl’s words includes ‘splendiferous’, which means full or abounding in splendour.

‘Moobs’ are a term used for unusually prominent breasts on a man. ‘Gender-fluid’ describes a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender. ‘Yolo’ is the acronym for the term “You only live once”.

Would you buy the iPhone 7 or the Samsung Note 7?

Today, let’s talk about the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Note 7. Both have hit the headlines recently, ironically, for different reasons.

Apple has unveiled the new iPhone 7. It’s a waterproof smartphone, with a longer battery life than its predecessor. It has a faster processor, and improved cameras.

The most talked about feature must be the new wireless headphones. These are an expensive optional extra. They are dubbed AirPods and come with a charging case. Apple has removed the 3.5mm headphone jack, by replacing it with an adaptor to their ‘lightening’ connector.

New British notes and coins

Britain has a new £5 note. The Bank of England released the new polymer plastic £5 bank note into general circulation in England and Wales** on Tuesday. It marks the start of several big changes the Bank of England is making. The new fiver will see the Queen on one side, and Winston Churchill on the other. It will be 15% smaller than the current cotton-paper note.

For now, it’s only fivers that are changing. Plastic £10 and £20 bank notes will follow later. The new tenner will feature Jane Austin. It will enter circulation next summer. The new £20 note will arrive in 2020. The Bank has yet to decide on £50 notes. Be aware that existing £5 notes cease to be legal tender from May 2017!

**Scottish fivers will begin to change in late September and October.

Fancy a cuppa British grown tea?

Fancy a cuppa British grown tea? You might say they don’t have tea plantations in Britain. Surprisingly, yes they do. British tea is now grown in Scotland and Cornwall, and what’s more, it’s a rapidly growing business.

Climate change is one reason why this is happening. The cool, wet British climate is now ideal, as it is helping the plantations to thrive. British entrepreneurship and business is another reason. The result is, exports of British tea are now causing a stir in China and Japan.

At the Tregothnan tea plantation in Truro, Cornwall, yields are about 35% higher than in 2015. This is due to the very wet and mild winter and the perfect tea growing conditions this year.

Back to School!

Today, let’s talk about going back-to-school. It is September and the school holidays have now finished. It is time to start a new term. This could be at school, university or college, at language school, or even in the office. Students are now returning to lessons, following their summer break.

For schoolchildren, the new term may result in meeting new friends, as well as seeing old ones. It means a new school timetable. It will probably mean new subjects to learn, with exams to study for at the end of the school year.

A new term also brings new teachers, as well as some of the ones you already know and sometimes love. The new term can also include the dreaded word that no one likes – homework!

UK votes to leave EU

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. The historic vote took place on the 23rd June 2016. The result was that 48.1% of voters chose to remain in the EU while 51.9% chose to leave. The number of votes cast were 16,141,241 to remain in the EU; 17,410,742 to leave the EU.

England and Wales had an overall majority to leave the EU. London, Scotland and Northern Ireland all voted to remain. The turnout was 72.2%. It’s worth noting the vote shows that in England working class northerners revolted against cosmopolitan rich London.