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English Slang

Much of the modern slang commonly used today in both British and American English has its origins in colloquial African-American language from the first half of this century. This type of speech became 'hip' or 'cool' in the 50s and 60s through the lifestyle and writings of America' s Beat Generation, the growth of rock ' n roll (itself an African-American term originally referring to sex) and the hippie movement. Nowadays many of these words are so widely used that they can hardly be still considered slang - many are even listed in dictionaries.

You Are Now Entering the Phone Zone

An incredible 24 million mobile phone text-messages are sent and received every day in Britain. The young, especially, love this way of communicating, but many academics and teachers are increasingly worried about the quality of English they use when sending an SMS.

Taking the FCE

Paper 1: Use of English

This paper consists of five parts, each very different, but all with the aim of testing your knowledge of English grammar, vocabulary and word formation.

Part 1

This is a multiple choice gap-fill exercise which involves knowing not only the meaning of words but also collocations and grammatical patterns. The extract below is the first paragraph of a typical part 1 text.

The London Tea Trade

The Wild West of England.

Despite its historical wealth and numerous attractions for tourists, the county of Cornwall, at the far end of England's southwestern peninsula, has long been in economic decline. Recently it achieved European Objective 1 status, if it can be called an achievement to be officially recognized as one of the poorest areas in the European Union.

E-Lit: Novel Networking

We say everyone has a novel in him. Boring as our own lives may seem to ourselves, they could be packaged and described so as to be interesting to another person - the reader. With a dose of literary flair!

Thanks to the popularity of creative writing courses, everyone, it seems, is finally writing that novel - or at least a short story or two and some poems. Poetry and fiction readings at coffeehouses have become popular in some circles, but apart from this, how do all these new writers find an audience? How do they get in touch with readers?

From Olympia to Sydney.

This year's summer Olympic Games take place in Sydney, Australia, from September 15 to October 1. Since the modern games were started over a hundred years ago they have become the world's biggest sporting event, with a television audience of around half of the world's population. The Sydney Games open a new era where the sky is the limit.

Education in the European Union:

Finding employment is becoming increasingly difficult in Europe. Employers are very demanding and look for staff with good qualifications and sound experience. The European Union is aware of the problem and offers training and education programmes to improve your skills, make your CV more attractive and better equip you for the labour market. In 1997 the Treaty of Amsterdam gave the Union the responsibility to" promote the development of the highest-possible level of knowledge" for the peoples of the Union" through a wide access to education and its continuous updating" .

Touching Base

The city of Kutno once more brought together Junior and Little baseball players from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa (all, oddly enough, included in the European Region!) this July and August, when it played host to three of Europe's most prestigious baseball tournaments - the Transatlantic Regional, the Junior League Regional and the Little League European Regional.

Ancient Traditions, New Worlds

Australia's Aborigines are becoming a strong force in the country's diverse society and culture.

For people right around the world, Australia is synonymous with Aboriginal history and culture. And so it might be a little surprising to learn that Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders make up just 2% of Australia's population - or 353,000 people. For a people so few in number to be so well-known and appreciated internationally says a lot about the strength and vibrancy of indigenous Australian culture.

Bleak Tragedy

It's been a tough year for Blair's Britain, especially in the English Lakes, where the tourist industry, the farmers and the sheep alike have had little say in their survival.

England may be famous for its beautiful seashores and undulating hills, but it is not that well known for its mountains. Indeed, the country's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, in the scenic northern Lake District in the county of Cumbria, is only 3,184 feet (978 metres) high - probably not very impressive to anyone from the Alps or Carpathians.