lunes, 27 de septiembre de 2010

A wise republican

Eisenhower warns the Americans about the military industrial complex.

Try to understand Eisenhower's warning message. It was his farewell address to the Nation. Pay special attention to the end of part one and the first half of the second. Why does Eisenhower worry about liberties? Where does the threat for those liberties come from?

In President and General Dwight David Eisenhower 's farewell Address to the Nation he warned Americans about the persistant threat to liberties by the "military industrial complex". This was the first known use of that expression.

Eisenhower on the use of the nuclear bomb:

here you have a letter Ike wrote to his brother concerning the use of the Atomic Bomb in Japan.

letter to his brother Edgar, November 8, 1954

"I voiced to him (Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson) my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the (atomic)bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."



Why do the babies starve
When there's enough food to feed the world?
Why when there're so many of us
Are there people still alone?

Why are the missiles called peace keepers
When they're aimed to kill?
Why is a woman still not safe
When she's in her home?

Love is hate
War is peace
No is yes
And we're all free

But somebody's gonna have to answer
The time is coming soon

Amidst all these questions and contradictions
There're some who seek the truth

But somebody's gonna have to answer
The time is coming soon
When the blind remove their blinders
And the speechless speak the truth

Tracy Chapman

Hurricane Hits England

English has many different accents. We can even think of Englishes. Here we have an example of a poem read by Grace Nichols, a poet from the Caribbean who lives in Britain.

Poem: Hurricane Hits England
Written and performed by: Grace Nichols
Animation by: Jake Robinson

© Grace Nichols Media 2004

It took a hurricane, to bring her closer
To the landscape
Half the night she lay awake,
The howling ship of the wind
Its gathering rage,
Like some dark ancestral spectre,
Fearful and reassuring:

Talk to me Huracan
Talk to me Oya
Talk to me Shango
And Hattie,
My sweeping, back-home cousin.

Tell me why you visit.
An English coast?
What is the meaning
Of old tongues
Reaping havoc
In new places?

The blinding illumination,
Even as you short-
Circuit us
Into further darkness?

What is the meaning of trees
Falling heavy as whales
Their crusted roots
Their cratered graves?

O Why is my heart unchained?

Tropical Oya of the Weather,
I am aligning myself to you,
I am following the movement of your winds,
I am riding the mystery of your storm.

Ah, sweet mystery;
Come to break the frozen lake in me,
Shaking the foundations of the very trees within me,
come to let me know that the earth is the earth is the earth.

viernes, 24 de septiembre de 2010

BBC pronunciation

Here's one of the 44 videos to review one by one the Sounds of the English Language -and often comparing them to other similar sounds-.
You have the link to the BBC site on your right. All these videos are downloadable for free.

miércoles, 15 de septiembre de 2010

Little Red Riding Hood - English Talking Book

This is an example of how to read a tale. As it can happen in the case of a play, there can be a narrator (check here the transcript of a short play about Little Red Riding Hood), but there are also dialogues, which must not be read as a plain text. Try to imitate the entonation and pronunciation of the reader.

There are more English Talking books here.


Practice Obama Speech

For those who are fond of political speeches and want to practice, here you have a Speech by Barack Obama in Prague. If you click on the links below the transcription of the first part, you'll be able to watch them with english subtitles, which is very convinient to practice reading.


Thank you for this wonderful welcome. Thank you to the people of Prague. And thank you to the people of the Czech Republic. Today, I am proud to stand here with you in the middle of this great city, in the center of Europe. And - to paraphrase one my predecessors - I am also proud to be the man who brought Michelle Obama to Prague.
I have learned over many years to appreciate the good company and good humor of the Czech people in my hometown of Chicago. Behind me is a statue of a hero of the Czech people - Tomas Masaryk. In 1918, after America had pledged its support for Czech independence, Masaryk spoke to a crowd in Chicago that was estimated to be over 100,000. I don't think I can match Masaryk's record, but I'm honored to follow his footsteps from Chicago to Prague.
For over a thousand years, Prague has set itself apart from any other city in any other place. You have known war and peace. You have seen empires rise and fall. You have led revolutions in the arts and science, in politics and poetry. Through it all, the people of Prague have insisted on pursuing their own path, and defining their own destiny. And this city - this Golden City which is both ancient and youthful - stands as a living monument to your unconquerable spirit.
When I was born, the world was divided, and our nations were faced with very different circumstances. Few people would have predicted that someone like me would one day become an American President. Few people would have predicted that an American President would one day be permitted to speak to an audience like this in Prague. And few would have imagined that the Czech Republic would become a free nation, a member of NATO, and a leader of a united Europe. Those ideas would have been dismissed as dreams.
We are here today because enough people ignored the voices who told them that the world could not change.
We are here today because of the courage of those who stood up - and took risks - to say that freedom is a right for all people, no matter what side of a wall they live on, and no matter what they look like.
We are here today because of the Prague Spring - because the simple and principled pursuit of liberty and opportunity shamed those who relied on the power of tanks and arms to put down the will of the people.
We are here today because twenty years ago, the people of this city took to the streets to claim the promise of a new day, and the fundamental human rights that had been denied to them for far too long. Sametová revoluce - the Velvet Revolution taught us many things. It showed us that peaceful protest could shake the foundation of an empire, and expose the emptiness of an ideology. It showed us that small countries can play a pivotal role in world events, and that young people can lead the way in overcoming old conflicts. And it proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.
That is why I am speaking to you in the center of a Europe that is peaceful, united and free - because ordinary people believed that divisions could be bridged; that walls could come down; and that peace could prevail.
We are here today because Americans and Czechs believed against all odds that today could be possible.
We share this common history. But now this generation - our generation - cannot stand still. We, too, have a choice to make. As the world has become less divided it has become more inter-connected. And we have seen events move faster than our ability to control them - a global economy in crisis; a changing climate; the persistent dangers of old conflicts, new threats and the spread of catastrophic weapons.
None of these challenges can be solved quickly or easily. But all of them demand that we listen to one another and work together; that we focus on our common interests, not our occasional differences; and that we reaffirm our shared values, which are stronger than any force that could drive us apart. That is the work that we must carry on. That is the work that I have come to Europe to begin.





"Look up Hanna" (The great dictator - Final Speech)

(With Spanish subtitles)

"Look up Hanna"

Final Speech of "The Great Dictator" by Charlie Chaplin - Compiled by Reza Ganjavi

Written and delivered by Sir Charles Chaplin

General Schulz: Speak - it is our only hope.

The Jewish Barber (Charlie Chaplin): I'm sorry but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others' happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say "Do not despair." The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men---machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

[Huge hurray from the huge crowd – scene changes to Hanna (Paulette Goddard) a refugee on the floor with eyes still in tears from having been beaten down by the Dictator’s soldiers. Romantic string music in the background. Hanna’s beautiful face and eyes are in awe as to how her Jewish barber friend who was imprisoned by the Dictator’s troops is not speaking as the Great Dictator!]

Hanna, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hanna! The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world; a kind new world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed, and brutality. Look up, Hanna! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow. Into the light of hope! Into the future! The glorious future! That belongs to you, to me, and to all of us. Look up, Hanna! Look up!

Hanna's Father: Hanna! Did you hear that?

Hanna: Listen! [as her great acting and incredible cinematography turns her face into a goddess as the music takes the movie to conclusion.]

(No subtitles).