Sunday, April 24, 2011


Times have changed a lot! I really like the technology era we live at. I can't imagine my life without computer, internet, washing machine, refrigerator, etc... And I think so do you. But new changes bring new habits and if we don't manage them appropriately we can have bad consequences. I’ve posted some cartoons that provoke critical thought about the technology influence on people’s lives. In order to make the discussion easier I have divided the internet influences in 18 categories. Here they are:

1.      Good manners
2.      Cyberbullying
3.      Social Relationships
4.      Overweight
5.      Sleep Deprivation
6.      Teenagers Social Ineptitude
7.      Feeling of Inaptitude
8.      Elderly Adaptation to Technology
9.      Less Family Time
10.  Children
11.  Marriage
12.  Impersonal Customer Service
13.  Internet Addiction
14.  Time Wasting
15.  Bad Scores
16.  Education
17.  Plagiarism
18.  Self Knowledge

I know that is too much for seeing at once. So, you can read them (not exactly read because most of them are cartoons) during the week.  As you see them, think about one pro and one con of technology, especially internet, or how you feel about it. Later post a comment, please. Your colleagues will be happy to see it. Don’t worry if you make some language mistakes. This is a community of English learners. Even natives misspell words when they write on the internet. However, it’s better to write your comment on a Word document first. Some followers have complained that when they submit their comments they disappear, the coments of course, hehehe! As we’re going to see, technology is not always reliable, so it is better to prevent it. Here we go. 


Imagine how disturbing would it be living in a place that every moment people announced on speakers what they're doing or thinking. It would be like that:

That is what people do on Facebook and Twitter. Is there any problem telling about your actions and thoughts to others? No, there isn't. However, the boundary between what is appropriate and inappropriate it isn't clear, and some cross the line. Watch the video below and decide by yourself what would be the limit.

That is another consequence of modern life; people have lost the parameters for what is called good manners, etiquette or politness. See how easy is to lose the notion of good manners.

So, mind your manners on the internet.


When it is done on the internet, it just looks like a play, but unhappily it's not. The effect is the same as it were on the real life. How would you feel in a situation like the one below?

Unhappily the consequences of playing with cyberbullying are so serious that North American people created a word for naming one of these consequences: bullycide.


The term Bullycide is a * portmanteau word first used by Neil Marr and Tim Field in their book Bullycide: Death at Playtime. It refers to suicide attributable to the victim having been bullied. The term has come to prominence during the highly publicized teenage suicides in the USA in the latter part of 2010. However the term has been used prior to 2010.
In response to 2010 deaths an online event, Spirit Day, was created for 20 October 2010 in which participants wore purple items to signify opposition to bullying of LGBT people.
Legal analysts criticize the term because it links a cause with an effect under someone else's control.
Bullycide has also been defined as the killing of the bully by the victim.
Research shows those who are bullied have a higher probability of considering or performing suicide than those who are not.

* portmanteau /pɔrtˈmæntɔu/ (noun)  a new word formed by joining two others and combining their meanings ("`motel' is a portmanteau word made by combining `motor' and `hotel'")
Bullycide: Death at Playtime
by Neil Marr & Tim Field
Available in paperback or ebook download from


What is a twitter bot?

It is a contraction of robot, which is apt, as they work automatically or by scheduling or programming. They are very easy to create, and usually collect website links, RSS feeds or Twitter posts and then feed them to Twitter. This term is also used on computing for  naming a computer program that works automatically, especially one that can find information for you on the Internet.

The most common auto feeders are Twitterfeed, SocialOomph,, Google, Twittelator or via an API. There are many others. Luckily Twitter has made the origin of a Tweet very clear on the ‘Home’ screen of a user’s Twitter page.
 So some of the tweets we receive can come from a bot, not a person that is interested in us.





INEPTITUDE (noun) the quality or state of being inept.

Ineptitude is related to the adjective inept that means:
1.  not suitable to the time, place, or occasion : inappropriate often to an absurd degree.
     e.g.: Ineptitude is frequent on internet, for example, racism, cyberbullying, pornography, etc.
2.  lacking in fitness or aptitude : unfit, e.g:  inept at sports
3. lacking sense or reason : foolish

So on this cartoon the word used is ineptitude because some teenagers fail into the ability of fitting appropriately to social relationships.


Although the words inaptitude and ineptitude can sometimes be used interchangeably they have different meanings. 

INAPTITUDE (noun) lack of aptitude; lack of talent or ability.
don’t confuse aptitude with attitude, they’re different words.
Inaptitude comes from the word aptitude, that means: natural ability that makes it easy for you to do something well. E.g.:
One of the greatest problems in our country is the Government’s inaptitude to improve the education system.

So on this cartoon the word  inaptitude  is used instead of  ineptitude  because the man doesn't have the necessary ability to use computers.













I've just listed some cons, because they're not so obvious as the pros. Internet has a lot of advantages. Post a comment about at least one pro and one con or how you feel about it. We eager to hear from you.

By Vivian Barone

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The smartest wins

Do you know what is a “danda”?

Believe it or not it’s a mix of a dog and a panda. In 2008, the biscuits company Fox's launched a TV commercial campaign fronted by an animated character dubbed a "danda", a cross between a dog and a panda.  
What does dub mean?
To dub /dʌb/ (mainly used in  journalism) to give someone or something a particular name or description, often a humorous one, e.g.: The press have dubbed her “the Silent Star.”

Well, coming back to the commercial, Vinnie is the name of the "danda" on the commercial.. He has black-and-white colouring like a panda and a face like a dog. Fox's TV campaign introduces Vinnie the "wise-guy Italian American" panda/dog who extols the virtues of company's biscuits.

What does extol mean?
To extol /ɪkˈstoʊl/(formal) to praise someone or something in a very enthusiastic way
The report extolled the virtues of Internet technology.

Vinnie announces that he will be on the TV making a commercial for Fox’s. See how funny is he talking to his mother about it.

And now some of  the commercials aired.

 Have you noticed his Italian accent? Of course you have! It’s impossible not to notice it. 

Have you seen what sound is difficult for Italian people to say in English? Yes, the same sound that a lot of Brazilian speakers have problem as well. The infamous TH. Notice that he says /t/ instead of /ð/ or /θ/. It’s very clear to  listen to this exchange of the /ð/ or /θ/ for the  /t/  when he talks to his lawyer. See it.

Have you liked the danda commercial? Post a comment.
by Vivian Barone

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Do you sometimes feel this way?

Scene taken from the film Pink Panther 1
 Or if you already speak a nice English have you ever felt like inspector Clouseau on the scene above?
Yeah, sometimes learning English  is not an easy task. Everybody has a moment that the tongue doesn’t obey, either the tongue simply refuses to stay between the teeth or you stress on the wrong vowel like the infamous “develÓp” hehehehe... And to make things worse, the teacher starts saying “put your hand palm on your throat”, “feel your tongue”, “be careful! you can’t open your mouth as you open on /T/ just stay with your mouth closed and blow”. What??? You must think “she’s crazy”, I would say “maybe”. But one thing is sure “I don’t give up like inspector Clouseau’s teacher gave up”. I love what I do! More than that, it’s an enormous joy when I see a person who had difficulty speaking English speak fluently. And I’ve seen many of you doing it!

Now, let’s understand the scene context . It’s not the case that inspector Clouseau can’t speak English. He already speaks it. At the beginning of the scene he’s speaking English and he also speaks in English with the teacher. He just wants “to speak a flawless accent...  so as not to arouse suspicion” as himself said on the scene. That’s why he asks for “an accent coach”.
Imagine that a so discreet French accent would arouse some suspicion!!! You must watch the film to see if he can change his accent.  The film in English of course, after all you observing the accent!

flaw (noun) /flɔː/a mistake or fault in something that makes it useless or less effective
flawless /ˈflɔləs/(adj) without any mistakes, marks, or bad features
accent coach: it is a professional who helps to reduce accent. On the scene the accent coach is trying to reduce inspector Clouseau’s French accent.

 Although sometimes the learning process can be a little difficult we can make it fun and pleasant. Did you like the song at the  scene end ? Why don’t you learn to sing it?
Here we go.

GOT TO BE REAL Performed By Cheryl Lynn – 1978

"Got to Be Real" is a song by Cheryl Lynn released in 1978 and still makes success. The song is currently being used for the UK TV Advertising Campaign for 'Marks & Spencer'.

Post a comment about what you think difficult on learning English or a funny experience you’ve had. Anything you want. Remember this space is for us to change ideas and experiences. 

by Vivian Barone

Sunday, April 3, 2011

To Blog or not To Blog

Barone English created this community  to provide an opportunity to practice English! Don't worry if your English isn't good. Interaction will improve  it. This week we’ve posted a topic relating Rebecca Black’s repercussion on the internet to cyberbullying and to the internet power to make a person famous overnight. Follow our community and post your comment!

by Vivian Barone

Hair-dryer song?

Simon Cowell, one  of the judges of the American TV program  ‘American Idol’,  called the song “Friday”  by Rebecca Black  a  'hair-dryer' song.

         Hair-dryer song?

Simon Cowell explains what is a  'hair-dryer' song. He says that a   'hair-dryer' song is  “a song girls sing into their hair dryers as they’re getting ready to go out”. Based on his definition the hair-dryer would be the microphone.

He also said the song “Friday” reminds another   'hair-dryer' song “Saturday Night”  song by Whigfield (1994). Do you remember it? It follows below.

Something I thought funny is that both songs are titled by a day of the week: "Friday" and "Saturday night". And actually, these are the days girls most use their hair-dryers!!
Talking about hair-dryer I couldn’t help myself posting some hair-dryer cartoons:

by Vivian Barone

I couldn’t help myself: I couldn’t stop myself, I couldn’t avoid.