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English Expressions with “Warm” + San Diego’s (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

April 18, 2017

San Diego is warm nearly all year, but as the temperatures increase, we are reminded just how perfect the SD weather is! This month we are looking at some expressions with “warm” to celebrate the coming of summer. We are also looking at San Diego’s yearly weather temperature averages to show SD’s ideal weather.

Expressions with “Warm”

English Expressions with Warm

Housewarming (party)

Definition: a party to celebrate when someone moves into a new apartment or house.

Example: Are you going to Sarah’s housewarming party? She just moved to a new place in Little Italy!

We can also use housewarming + gift/present to talk about the present we give someone at a housewarming party.

Example: I bought her a new cheese plate as a housewarming gift.

Warm body

Definition: any person; someone needed to be present in order to be counted.

Example: The movie director needed a few warm bodies for the scene, so he asked the people at the beach if they wanted to be in the movie.

Warm the bench/bench warmer

Definition: to be a part of the team but not play.

Example: He warmed the bench for most of the game.

We also can the person who warms the bench a “bench warmer.”

Example: I played baseball when I was young, but I was not very good. In fact, I was a bench warmer most of the time.

Warm regards

Definition: a polite way to end an email or letter.

Example: Warm regards, Sarah

For examples of ways to begin emails or letters, check out our article on Beginning an Email in English.

Warm up to (someone/something)

Definition: to begin liking someone or something when you didn’t at first.

Example: He’s warming up to the idea of getting a dog.

Warm welcome

Definition: greeting someone; being very happy to see him or her.

Example: What a warm welcome from my host family! They had a big BBQ for me and I got to meet all of my neighbors.

English Expressions with Warm

San Diego’s (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

How good is the weather in SD? It’s pretty amazing! Holiday Weather provides excellent statistics on the yearly temperature averages for San Diego. Let’s take a look at the temps on land and in the water.

While the rest of the Northern Hemisphere is freezing in the winter, San Diego is enjoying not only warm temperatures, but many sunny days; it’s not uncommon for people to be at the beach several weekends during January and February!

San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

In this chart, we can see the average high and low temperatures. San Diego stays consistently warm in the winter months, so although you need a jacket at night, it doesn’t have to be a huge parka!

San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

The Pacific Ocean gets significantly warmer in the summer months, but with a wet suit, San Diego’s surfers are in the water all year.

San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

To see more statistics about the San Diego weather, check out Holiday-Weather.com.

Academic English Featured Listening Practice University Pathway

The Five Best TED Talks about Language

April 7, 2017

CISL’s English classes give students plenty of opportunities to improve speaking, writing, listening, vocabulary, and reading skills. However, we also believe that learning doesn’t stop when class time does: we encourage our students to continue learning English after the school day ends! The following five best TED Talks about language are designed to motivate our language-loving students.

The Five Best TED Talks about Language

Anne Curzan: What makes a word “real”?

What makes a word “real?” How does a new word get put in the dictionary . . . and who makes these decisions? English professor Anne Curzan discusses this all (and the role of slang in the English language). In this fascinating talk, students learn some interesting slang, such as hangry (hungry + angry), adorkable (adorable + dorky), and YOLO (which means “you only live once”).

John McWhorter: 4 reasons to learn a new language

We all have different reasons for learning a new language. Linguist John McWhorter explains how learning a language allows us to connect to new cultures, how languages shape our brain, and how much fun we can have while learning a new language.

Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money?

Do languages shape the way we think? Economist Keith Chen thinks so. In fact, he believes that “futureless languages” (languages that do not use the Future Tense the way that English does) affect the way that these speakers save money. Decide for yourself in this interesting (and data filled) speech. Afterwards, check out our post on slang words for money!

Sid Efromovich: 5 techniques to speak any language

Sid Efromovich, a polyglot who speaks seven languages, gives us some tips and tricks that have helped him master language learning. His first tip? To relax! We agree, which is why the CISL classroom is always a warm and welcoming environment that makes you comfortable! Another tip? Find a “language buddy” to help you learn. You’ll find plenty of language buddies at CISL!

Tim Doner: Breaking the language barrier

Another polyglot, Tim Doner, discusses some of the ways he improves his vocabulary. He also talks about the ways he uses language to connect with others and better understand the cultures connected to the languages. There is definition . . . and there is meaning. What is the difference? Tim Doner explains!

Remember: TED Talks include subtitles and interactive transcripts to help you improve your English. Use these tools if you need them!

Academic English California Life Featured Los Angeles Reading San Diego San Francisco Suggested student activities

Adverbs of Degree in English + 4 ‘Really Awesome’ Libraries in California

April 1, 2017

Adverbs of Degree in English

Adverbs of Degree in English

What are adverbs of degree in English? Adverbs of degree show the level of intensity of a verb in the sentence. Using them makes your writing and speaking much more effective (or can even change the meaning of a sentence)!

Here is an example of a sentence with and without an adverb of degree:

  • He won the race.
  • He almost won the race.

The meaning completely changes when we add this adverb.

The meaning doesn’t always change when we add adverbs of degree. Sometimes, these adverbs of degree just give us more clarification.

  • I love you.
  • I deeply love you.
  • I agree.
  • I highly agree.
  • You said what I was thinking.
  • You perfectly said what I was thinking.

In these cases, the verb is strengthened by the use of the adverb of degree.

Here is a list of some of the more common adverbs of degree.

almost absolutely  barely completely decidedly deeply enough enormously
entirely extremely fairly  far  fully greatly hardly highly
how incredibly indeed intensely just least less little
lots most much nearly perfectly positively practically purely
quite rather really scarcely simply   so somewhat  strongly
thoroughly  too totally utterly very virtually well

4 ‘Really Awesome’ Libraries in California

It’s almost impossible to choose just four really awesome libraries in California. However, we are absolutely sure that these are some of the best in the state! Notice how we use these adverbs of degree in English for the descriptions of each library: the words on the adverbs list are in bold. When are these words being used as adverbs of degree?

The San Diego Public Library, Downtown SD

While some people believe that people barely read books these days, we highly disagree: San Diegans read enough that the city just finished an entirely new library! The completely new structure is one of the coolest architectural designs in SD: check out our article about this amazing place.

San Francisco Public Library, Potrero Branch

What a view! This structure was recently renovated in 2010 and offers beautiful city views, lots of natural lighting, free wireless internet, and many places for group meetings and individual study.

Los Angeles Public Library

The Los Angeles Public Library holds more than 6 million books: that’s well more books than any other public library in the U.S.! The building is an utterly beautiful piece of architecture (check out the simply gorgeous globe lamp!) that is worth a visit.

Hearst Castle Library, San Simeon

The Hearst Castle is extremely famous for being one of the most beautiful castles in the United States, so perhaps it is fairly unsurprising that the castle has an incredibly stunning library. The details of the warm and lavish structure are impressive!

Have you been to a library in California? Tell us about it on Facebook!

 

Academic English Celebrities EAP Featured University Pathway Vocabulary

Meet our CISL Pathway Partner, New York Film Academy! (+10 Movie-related Vocabulary Words)

March 24, 2017

Do you dream of a life making movies . . . in English? CISL’s Pathway Program + New York Film Academy might be for you!

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words

With CISL’s Academic Pathways Program, students attend CISL (including the afternoon English for Academic Purposes course) to improve their English skills. Students then choose a CISL Pathway Partner school to attend: at this college or university, students receive a post-secondary degree (associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s). With CISL Pathway Partners, international students do not need to take the TOEFL exam: students who pass the EAP course automatically meet the requirements for admission!

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words

Happy graduates!

Students at the New York Film Academy have many location options for studies: the school has campuses in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. The New York Film Academy uses the educational philosophy of “learning by doing,” which allows students hands-on experience with their field. Students graduate ready to enter the world of cinema and use their degree: in the first year alone, each student writes, shoots, directs and edits eight films!

The list of degrees is long for potential NYFA students. The school offers an “accelerated three-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programs in Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Producing, Screenwriting, 3D Animation, Graphic Design, and Game Design. Students also have the option of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Media Studies.” Phew! NYFA additionally has a “two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Screenwriting, Producing, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design and Photography, and two-year Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degrees in Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Producing, Screenwriting and Game Design, and a Master of Arts (MA) in Film and Media Production at the Los Angeles campus.”

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words

The beautiful New York campus on a snowy winter day.

While receiving their degree, students have access to the NYFA’s incredible events, which often include informal talks by industry professionals. Kevin Spacey, Glenn Close, Bryan Cranston, Jamie Lee Curtis, and many more have visited the NYFA to speak to its students!

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words
For more information on attending NYFA through CISL, contact Converse International School of Languages.

Movie Industry Vocabulary

Before starting your academic career with NYFA, make sure you know these industry-related words! These terms all come from the International Movie Database. Check out the entire (lengthy) list of terms online!

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words

B-Movie

A low-budget, second tier movie, frequently the 2nd movie in a double-feature billing. B-films were cheaper for studios because they did not involve the most highly paid actors or costly sets, and were popular with theater owners because they were less expensive to bring into their theaters while still able to draw revenue.

Back lot/Backlot

A large, undeveloped area on studio property used for constructing large open-air sets or for filming wilderness scenes.

Director’s Cut

Contracts under the terms of the Hollywood Director’s Guild usually allow 6 weeks for a director to assemble a cut of the movie without studio interference as he or she would like it to be seen. This director’s cut is fully edited and has a synchronized soundtrack. This cut is usually not color corrected or density corrected and may not even have the final music and effects tracks. In more recent times the term Director’s Cut has taken on a popular meaning that implies a polished final cut of the movie that the director has complete artistic control over.

Layout Artist

A person responsible for staging every shot and plotting the action that will take place within each scene, whether it be live action or CGI-based.

Magic hour

The minutes just around sunset and sunrise, where light levels change drastically and quickly, lending a warm orange glow to earlier shots, and a clearer blue in later minutes that allows a crew to shoot night scenes while light still remains.

Scenic Artist

A member of the crew responsible for work which includes the preparation, painting and/or coloration of all textures, plastering, appliqueing on scenery, sets, and properties; the application of all decorative wall or surface coverings; all lettering and sign work (including signs and murals; miniature sets and/or models and properties and the painting and aging in the (construction) studio or on the set of costumes and costume accessories as specified by the costume designer.

Screen Actors Guild

An association with jurisdiction over some works that can be recorded by picture or by sound.

Walla

Background conversation. Historically, when a script called for “crowd unrest” or “murmuring”, the extras would be required to mumble the word “rhubarb”, as this produced the required effect.

Working Title

The name by which a movie is known while it is being made. This is sometimes different from the title with which it is released.

Wrap

To finish shooting, either for the day or the entire production.

All NYFA photos from NYFA’s Facebook page. Director’s cut photo is from Pixabay.  

Cambridge Exams Featured Learning Materials

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

March 23, 2017

CISL is proud to have taught intensive Cambridge FCE and CAE  exam preparation classes for the last 25 years (and is equally proud to be a Cambridge Testing Centre)! Would you like some Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II vocabulary and tips? Read on for some of our expertise!

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Overview: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

In Part I, students speak about themselves for one minute (read our CAE and FCE Speaking Part I tips here).

In Part II, the focus turns to a visual prompt. Here’s how it works:

  • The students are given a piece of paper with photos (two photos for FCE and three photos for CAE)
  • Student A is given a task: to answer questions about the photos in one minute. The questions the student has to answer about the photographs are written at the top of the page in case the student forgets.
  • Part of this task is NOT to describe the photos: questions about about what the people in the photos might be feeling/thinking, etc. This is to test the student’s ability to speak on their own (without a partner) about something: it is testing the student’s use of language for comparing, describing, expressing opinions, and speculating.
  • Student A has one minute to speak about the photos.
  • Student B is then asked a question about the photos and has 30 seconds to respond.
  • The students are given new photos and now it’s Student B’s turn to speak for one minute.
  • After, Student A speaks for 30 seconds about the photos.

Example FCE Speaking Part 2

With the FCE Speaking Part 2, students are given two photos.

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Interlocutor: In this part of the test, I’m going to give you each two photographs. I’d like you to talk about your photographs on your own for about a minute, and also to answer a question about your partner’s photographs.

Student A, here are your photographs. They show people who are playing a board game in different situations. I’d like you to compare these photographs, and say how different the motives for the players might be different in each situation. 

All right?

(Student A speaks for one minute.)

Student B, do you enjoy participating in competitions? Why or why not?

(Student B speaks for 30 seconds.)


Example CAE Speaking Part 2

With the CAE Speaking Part 2, students are given three photos.

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Interlocutor: In this part of the test, I’m going to give you each two photographs. I’d like you to talk about your photographs on your own for about a minute, and also to answer a question about your partner’s photographs.

Student A, here are your photographs. They show people who are playing a board game in different situations. I’d like you to compare two photographs and say how different the motives for the players might be different in each situation. 

All right?

(Student A speaks for one minute.)

Student B, in which situation do you think the players feel the most pressure? Why?

(Student B speaks for 30 seconds.)


Useful Vocabulary: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

Because students are being tested on comparing, describing, expressing opinions, and speculating, it is important that students know the language related to these concepts.

Comparing

We can use the following words for comparing two photos that are similar:

  • as
  • as well as
  • both
  • have in common
  • in the same way
  • like
  • more (adjective) than
  • the most (adjective)
  • similar
  • similarly
  • same
  • the same as

We can use the following words for comparing two photos that are different:

  • although
  • but
  • contrary to
  • even though
  • differ
  • however
  • instead
  • on the contrary
  • on the other hand
  • the reverse
  • unless
  • unlike
  • whereas
  • while
  • yet

Describing

Use the Simple Present and Present Continuous to talk about what is happening in the photos. If you don’t know the vocabulary words, check out our article What How to Answer an IELTS, TOEFL, or Cambridge Question When You Don’t Understand a Vocabulary Word.

Expressing opinions

  • My initial reaction is …
  • I (really) think that …
  • I believe (that) …
  • I’m sure that …
  • In my opinion / My opinion is …
  • For me/ From my point of view, …
  • Frankly, …
  • I do believe/ feel/think …
  • I tend to think that …
  • It seems clear to me that …
  • To the best of my knowledge, …
  • What I think is …
  • It would seem to me that …
  • I can’t help thinking that …
  • I think it’s fair/reasonable to say …
  • I’ve come the conclusion that …

Speculating

  • You could say …
  • I reckon/suppose …
  • It could/might well be that …
  • It could be said that …
  • My best guess is …
  • It’s possible that …
  • Perhaps

Tips: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

CISL is a Cambridge Testing Centre and has been providing successful FCE and CAE testing to students for over 25 years. Here are some of our tips for mastering Part 2 of the Cambridge Speaking Module!

  • Speak for the entire time you are given. Students sometimes become nervous and do not use the full minute or 30 seconds.
  • Practice timing yourself by giving yourself impromptu one minute speeches. In time, you will gain a “feel” for how long one minute is and how long 30 seconds is.
  • Remember to fully answer the questions. If you forget what they are, do not worry: they are written on the paper for you.
  • View more tips (and see another Part 2 practice test) in our previous article about Cambridge FCE and CAE Part 2 Tips. You can view the tips here: