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Monthly Archives: September 2012

School Activity: End of Summer Boat Party

Maltalingua Boat Party
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Come September, many of us were already unhappy that summer was almost over. For most of us, it was a hot and busy season, but also fun. During the hot summer days, the Maltese sun shone for more than 12 hours every day but the sea was as refreshing as ever. Sadly, it was time to kiss this beautiful season goodbye.

September is a very unpredictable month, as far as weather is concerned. Usually, at this time of the year, we expect the first sign of autumn with a rainstorm. However, most days are still very hot. In contrast to summer, the evenings are cool.

To everyone’s surprise, a few days before, Malta was hit by a freak storm. No wonder everyone thought that summer was over, but definitely that was not the case. When the weather was back to normal again, we at Maltalingua took the opportunity to organise an end of summer boat party.

We booked the boat, the food, the drinks and the DJ came with the package. I met a group of students at the Sliema Ferries and together with Maltalingua’s management team Michael, Susanne and Mark, we boarded the beautiful catamaran and waited excitedly for this boat to sail off into the dark night. We were joined by our very own cameraman, Nick, ready to capture each moment on film.

The Captain announced it was time to set off, so he started the engines, pulled up the anchors and away we went to celebrate the end of summer on a beautiful September evening. The corks were already popping out of the wine bottles when the DJ pumped up the volume. Everybody started getting into it – the atmosphere was great! People were laughing, dancing and making new friends whilst sipping wine and tasting good food. The boat started sailing along Malta’s exquisite coastline, visiting harbours and creeks.

The Captain made sure to steer towards Valletta and the Three Cities. We all agreed the view was exceptional! Many of us were spellbound with the magnificence of Malta’s Grand Harbour. I even heard somebody say that it was the most beautiful scene they had ever witnessed in their lives. The fireworks lighting up the sky were definitely an unexpected bonus.

Four hours into our trip, the Captain decided to make a halt. It was a little chilly; however it didn’t hinder any of the students from diving in the dark blue Mediterranean Sea. The sea was so inviting. They all said the sea was warm but they couldn’t stop shivering when they got out of the water. The air was cooler.

The brave swimmers wrapped themselves up in towels and got back into their clothes as the ship took us back to the Ferries. Everybody was in a great mood and it was obvious that this event was a success. Our goal was reached: we ended summer with a bang.

Written by Katrin Risiott

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School Activity: We spent the night bailando

Salsa Night
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Dancing has always been one of my favourite things to do in my free time. I don’t just consider it as a hobby, it is a passion. So, the moment I came across a poster advertising free salsa lessons at a local café-bar in St Julian’s, I couldn’t resist mixing business with pleasure and I must admit I have no regrets!

I immediately designed and printed a poster advertising Maltalingua’s very own Salsa night, and stuck it on our activities notice board to tempt as many students as possible. No sooner had I put the poster up, that students started signing up. It worked. On the night, most of the students turned up for this event. Together, we headed towards the location where the free salsa lessons were taking place.

On the way towards the café-bar, I had to make a quick stop… it was an emergency! My shoe strap got torn and I couldn’t walk in them, let alone dance. Thankfully, a souvenir shop was still open and I bought a pair of shoes to make my outfit complete… again.

We finally made it to the café-bar and were greeted by the friendly salsa teacher, Edward (or should I say Edouardo!). He invited us to join the group of people who were already lined up to dance, however many of the students were reluctant at first. They were a little apprehensive but my feet were itching. I so wanted to dance to that tempting rhythm. So while the students quenched their thirst with a fruity cocktail, I managed through the first dance with two left feet. After that, the students needed no persuasion. They all joined and everybody was swaying their hips from side to side.

The Latin music filled the air, people’s laughter could be heard in the background and smiles were plastered all over the students’ faces. Two students in particular, Gabriele and Martina, didn’t stop dancing. They mamboed and rhumbaed all evening until it was time for them to drag us to the dance floor to take part in a routine designed for a big group… bachata!

Our salsa night lasted about three hours. We spent the evening dancing with merry faces and happy feet to the upbeat rhythm. The event was a great success, so much so, that we couldn’t stop talking about it. In fact, it was another topic we discussed in class the following Monday.

Written by Katrin Risiott

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English Vocabulary – Personality adjectives

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“What is he/she like?”

This is the typical question used in English to ask about someone’s character/personality. We all have different personalities and here is a list of adjectives which are commonly used to describe someone’s personality:

hard-working – a person who always works diligently
lazy – a person who is happy doing nothing
– Children who usually behave badly because they are given everything they want
sensible – a person who has common sense and is practical
– a person who likes giving orders
reliable – people who you can trust and depend on
vain – people who like looking at themselves in the mirror all the time
impulsive – a person who does things without thinking
– a person who is unwilling to change his mind
affectionate – a person who is very loving and caring
sympathetic – a person who is understanding and feels for other people
ambitious – a person who is determined to succeed

What adjectives would you use to describe your personality?
And now let’s see how good you are solving the quiz 😉

created by Tess Giordmaina

[ssquiz id=’10’ all]

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Useful English expressions – At the airport

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These are some of the phrases you are likely to hear next time you take a flight.

Check in

  • Can I see your passport?
  • Would you like an aisle seat or a window seat?
  • How many bags do you have to check in?
  • Do you have any hand luggage?

Airport announcements

  • Please proceed to gate number 8
  • Please do not leave any bags unattended.
  • Flight KM 106 is now boarding
  • Flight KM106 has been delayed
  • Flight KM 106 has been cancelled
  • Would passenger Tom Smith please come to the information desk?
  • This is the final call for flight BA204 to New York

Getting through Customs/Immigration

  • May I see your passport please?
  • Do you have anything to declare?

Other important words

  • Once you check in, you will have to pass through security where they will check your passport and your hand luggage. You will also need to walk through a metal detector, which will check for illegal items
  • At international airports there is duty free shopping, where you can buy goods without paying taxes.
  • Once a plane lands, passengers usually go to the Baggage claim which is the area where you pick up your baggage after a flight is called
  • Boarding pass is a printed card, which you must have to get on the plane
  • A steward (male)/stewardess (female)/flight attendant is a man or woman who provides service for passengers during a flight

Now have fun with the quiz 😉

created by Tess Giordmaina

 [ssquiz id=’9′ all]

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School Activity: Mdina Excursion and sinful Chocolate Cake!

Maltalingua excursion Mdina
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The sun was still shining as we all gathered at school and set off for our evening excursion to Mdina. All the students were looking forward to tasting the renowned and scrumptious chocolate cake from Fontanella Tea Garden that us teachers were all recommending them to try. Students were certainly not lost for words on the way to the well-known Silent City, as everyone chatted away enthusiastically.

Gabriele was always thirsty for knowledge about everything and anything about Malta and the Maltese language. Luckily for him, we sat next to each other for the entire ride before we arrived to this breath-taking place and I was able to fill him in on as many questions he had.

Finally we arrived at our destination and the keen students jumped off, ready for our next adventure. They were all instantaneously mesmerised by the traditional, tall buildings and the old-fashioned style streets that surrounded this place. Everyone started taking photos from the very beginning. The entrance alone was enough to seize everyone’s attention.

Nowadays, most of Mdina’s palaces are private homes. The Cathedral of the Conversion of St Paul is impressive and overlooks a large square in which people stop to look around and take photos of their surroundings. Only a limited number of resident and emergency vehicles, wedding cars and hearses are allowed within Mdina, which makes it all the more special and unlike any other urbanized part of Malta.

I decided to ask everyone what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go. Janett mentioned that her teacher, Tess recommended Mdina Glass, where they have beautiful jewellery (amongst other glass ornaments) for sale, so we decided to go there to satisfy our curiosity. In the meantime, Lubov, Dominique, Maria and Christin decided to shop for postcards and souvenirs for their friends and family members. However the beautiful ornaments and accessories could have kept Janett and I there for hours on end!

Excitedly, our next stop was to Fontanella. We all hurriedly walked to the café hoping to find a place for all of us. Their divine Chocolate Cake looked amazing! Students hungrily waited for their portion of sweets and coffees, and needless to say, devoured them till the very last crumb! We had ample time to enjoy our environment and take even more photos.

As night was setting in, the City was given a different yet equally stunning aura. Some students decided to go their separate ways to appreciate what was left of our evening and perhaps record their last few minutes in the old city. Soon, we gathered again at the agreed meeting point, where all of us discussed what we ate and enjoyed about our lovely summer evening excursion. 

Written  by Michaela Griscti

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School Activity: St Julians Festa

Maltalingua School Activity - Fireworks at St Julians Festa
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I have to admit it. I am addicted to traditional Maltese festas (feasts). Every year, I help organise the one in my town, I follow others in neighbouring villages and I share this tradition with many foreigners, in the hope of showing them something that can only be portrayed in my beautiful country.

The festa is a traditional Mediterranean and Catholic way of celebrating the life and death of particular Catholic Saints. It has been organised and celebrated for hundreds of years and throughout the years many traditions have been adopted by various villages and towns.

It is wrongly believed that the Maltese festa can only be appreciated by religious and spiritual people. The Maltese festa portrays the spiritual, artistic, musical, traditional, modern, and cultural and recently, even the technological aspects that together form part of our heritage and identity.

Little do people know how much work is needed for a festa to be organised. Many volunteers gather months in advance in preparation for the many features that need time and dedication to be prepared and seconds to be over. Determination and passion is passed down from one generation to another, to ensure a long life for the traditional festa.

The village festa has now become a feature and a popular event in Maltalingua’s activities calendar.

Celebrations had been taking place all week long. Flocks gathered every evening in the middle of the town square. Bars were packed. The town came alive with the sounds of people’s laughter, instruments playing delightful melodies, beer bottles clinking and fireworks roaring. It was time for me and the Maltalingua students to see these for ourselves.

I met the students at the school on Friday evening and together we made our way down to the centre of St Julian’s, where the celebrations were taking place. The village core, where the festa is at its best, is a five minute walk away from the school.

Some of us opted to buy a refreshing drink from the Band Club since it was so hot and humid. We were informed that two marching bands were to entertain the locals and foreigners with traditional Maltese music, especially composed for such events, and we decided to follow the trail of one of the bands. One of the cultural attractions during a Maltese festa is the band that marches along the streets playing non-stop music to the delight of the enthusiastic followers.

It was easy to find the band. The music echoed all around the town and we met the marching band in front of a small church. The small church, also known as Lapsi Church, was the parish church of St Julian’s, dedicated to the patron saint of the same name until 1961. Along the years, the population in St Julian’s increased drastically and the church had become too small for the villagers, so a new church was built to cater for the many families that live in the area.

The musicians were smartly dressed in their uniforms, carrying heavy instruments, led by a talented conductor with a group of youths cheering and singing at the top of their voices. Together they made their way through the narrow streets of St Julian’s until they reached the bay, where the other band was accompanying a statue of the late Pope John Paul II, which was later raised on a pedestal facing the beautiful sea.

Loud crackling sounds similar to mini explosions filled our ears. A collection of colours filled the dark evening skies. An invisible smoky cloud travelled through the air and found its way into our nostrils, infusing our heads with a delicious smell of burnt paper and gun powder. The fireworks were spectacular! Fireworks of different shapes and sizes were the highlight of the whole evening. Sadly, these were an indication that the evening’s festivities were coming to an end.

To my surprise, none of the students wanted to sleep yet. They were full of energy and all set for an endless night of fun in the land of parties, while I made my way to the land of dreams, and bid the evening goodnight.

written by Katrin Risiott

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English Grammar – “Used to” exercise

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We use USED TO;

1. To talk about a past habit that happened regularly but no longer happens.

Used to + infinitive = past habit
I used to play the piano (I played the piano but I don’t now)

2. To talk about a situation that was true in the past

Tom used to work in a jewellery shop (now he works in a bar)

We use BE USED TO;

To talk about a situation you are accustomed to, were the situation is normal and not unusual

Be used to + noun/ verb in the –ing
I am used to Malta/ I am used to living in Malta

 created by Tess Giordmaina

[ssquiz id=’8′ all]

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School Activity: Games by the pool

Maltalingua School Pool
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It was the middle of the week, and one of the activities on the week’s social programme was to play some games by the pool, meet new people and have the opportunity to practise English. I was looking forward to this afternoon for another excuse to chill out with our students. Even though it was a blisteringly hot day, as always, students had the luxury of dipping their feet in the pool – or better yet, they could jump in if the heat was getting to them. Of course, the main aim of the activity was to play games in a relaxed setting – one that students have started to consider as their second home. I decided it was time to liven up the place so I was boosting the students’ energy level with my suggestions for different games.

To help energise them, I thought it was time to shake things up a bit with some good tunes, so I grabbed a CD player from one of the classrooms and plugged in my MP3 player that had a couple of playlists with some of the latest tracks. Immediately, students and myself started dancing and moving to the beats of the songs –whether inside or outside the pool.

We started with the famous game of Charades, and I must admit we did have a couple of laughs. We then continued with the word game known as ‘I Spy’, where the aim of the game was to mention the first letter of an object that was around us, or something that could be easily seen from a distance. This proved to be a rather challenging game at times, especially when students decided to choose certain inconspicuous objects!

We also kept ourselves amused with a collection of outdoor toys for quite a while. Andy decided his place was in the pool, sunbathing on a lilo, whilst participating in the game of ‘I Spy’. Other students like Theresa and Viktor preferred to have a casual conversation over some traditional Maltese biscuits, called ‘Ottini’.  Wanja and Eva were on the side of the pool playing with a frisbee. Unfortunately, her aim was not great, and the frisbee ended up on the roof of the supermarket opposite our school, but good news, we got it back a week later!  Next time, we just need to be more careful!

written by Michaela Griscti

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English vocabulary – Phrasal Verbs

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A phrasal verb is a multi-word verb that consists of a verb plus a preposition/adverb (e.g. at, on, in, away) which creates a meaning different from the original verb. For example – The concert’s been put off (postponed) because the lead singer was ill. (put off – different meaning from put) Usually you can’t guess the meaning of a phrasal verb from the individual words but you can determine its’ meaning from the context.

Remember: Phrasal verbs are used in both informal and formal situations.  However, they are used more commonly in spoken English than in written English.

Example: Some common phrasal verbs

Two years ago I went to Rome. It was an unforgettable holiday as it was my first time abroad. I travelled with my best friend, Maria, as I really get on with her. We set off for the airport early, to avoid the morning traffic. When we got there we had plenty of time to check in for our flight. Unfortunately, soon after the plane took off I felt sick and I had a terrible headache. Luckily, Maria looked after me. She was very patient and helpful. When we were about to land my headache wore off and I immediately cheered up as I was really looking forward to our holiday together.  When we got to Rome, it was a bit cloudy but after a while it cleared up. A taxi picked us up from the airport and took us to our hotel. After we dropped off our luggage we went for a stroll and we came across a lovely Italian restaurant. We were starving so we had dinner there. We tried out all the local specialities and everything we tasted was simply delicious. It was the start to an amazing holiday that I always look back with pleasure.

Let’s start the test now: Choose the best phrasal verb for each meaning, according to the text above!

Oh, and one more hint: check out our friend’s Blog  http://learningenglishblog.com/ for more hints of how to improve your English.

created by Tess Giordmaina
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