News

Welcome to the News Page, where I will post anything that I think is interesting to English learners.
I will write something here more often than I post the level123 resources, so keep checking in - and send me a message if you want to get in touch or comment.

2020-03-22  Recently, lots of people have signed up to use the level123english.com resources.  Welcome to all of our new users!  The coronavirus situation means that the Englisch Institut cannot offer lessons in our offices and that people in Austria have to stay at home, so online learning is a good opportunity to keep going with your English.
Why don't you search the back catalogue for 'disease' to find some resources with relevant vocabulary?

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2015-05-07  The back catalogue of level123english resources continues to grow, and with it the chance that you will find relevant topics there too.  How about these four for starters: Spring! (March 2013); Bank holidays and cheese rolling (May 2011); Japan earthquake (March 2011); Royal prince (July 2013).

Here is a new idea: news snippets with some learning prompts:

2015-03-09 cars and parenting

2015-03-01 peanuts and grappa

2015-01-19 New Year winter oil price

 

24/01/2014 - Welcome to the new Users of level123english from the Englisch Institut!  I hope you can navigate the website OK - please ask if you have any questions.  The focus are the reading and listening resources.  You have a lot to choose from - the back catalogue goes back to January 2011!  You can choose the right level for you to work at.  If you want to look for a topic to practice, use the 'search' function.  There is also a vocabulary trainer (in the 'Writing' section).  The idea here is that you build your own lists of words to learn - they will all be saved under your account and you can test yourself again and again.  This is a more active way of learning the words, including old ones from older lists that you may have forgotten!
A good tip is to save the listening files to your MP3 player and listen to them several times at home or in the car - repetition is good training.  Have fun!

23/12/13 - A lot has happened in the last month, hasn't it?  Advent has come and nearly gone.  Have you been to any Christmas markets?  Have you done all your Christmas shopping??
Scotland and Ireland have been battered by gales and storms - one after the other.  One system came down the North Sea and caused flooding in Holland, too.  Nelson Mandela has passed away, peacefully at the end.  The tributes and mourning celebrations seemed fitting to his place in South Africa and the world.  I wonder when we will see a statesman - or woman - of his stature again.   Christmas seems an apt time to remember him, as we look forward to a New Year and the promise it brings.
May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

25/11/13 - So, winter seems to have finally arrived.  Although there are some leaves still on the trees, snow is falling and it feels like winter once more.  Which means the ski season is just around the corner, if it has not started already.  My colleague Sara drove up to a ski resort to go ski-touring and found herself in a queue of ski-tourers all trudging in single file up the slope!  Some people just can't wait to get going again - despite the increasing costs of skiing, which has been a topic in the news this week.  In other news, I heard that the referendum in Switzerland on capping executive pay wasn't approved and so won't go through.  Another issue I keep seeing/hearing references to is the eating of insects in Europe as an alternative source of meat.  First it was just a few eccentric shops in Denmark, but then it was high-class restaurants in Paris, butchers in Munich and insect farms in Spain - it seems the insects are coming to a shop near you soon!  Perhaps a tasty snack for the Christmas season?  And speaking of Christmas, I went to my first Christmas Market yesterday.  It was all quite atmospheric, despite being rained on, and almost put me in the spirit for Christmas.  Perhaps all we need now is a little more snow!

28/10/13 - The Saudia Arabia protest by women has captured the attention of the world's press.  I heard on the news last night that 16 women had been arrested and fined for driving.  They were also forced to agree not to drive again!   Meanwhile, the skiing world cup has started again, which seems almost indecently early.  If you live in England, were you affected by the storm  last night?  I hope it didn't cause too much damage.  We have had a very mild autumn on the continent, with a magnificent display of colours.  I wonder how long it will last?  I suspect that we are in for a mild winter, too (I was right about my prediction for a hot summer!).  I wouldn't be surprised if the winter is one of the mildest on record, causing problems for the tourist industry in ski resorts, but we shall see.  I hope you're enjoying the good weather as long as it lasts!

14/09/13 - Can you believe the summer is coming to an end?  It was a hot summer, wasn't it?  I hope you enjoyed it.  Now there is snow on the mountain tops in Tirol and the weather certainly feels autumnal.  There is time yet for more sunshine before winter comes, but now we're thinking about getting ready for winter again.
Our big news from the summer is that the Englisch Institut now has two offices, in Kufstein as well as in Brixlegg.  We hope that more people will join us in using the Level123english resources.  More and more people ask us "what can we do to learn at home?" and the best answer is to use these resources.  From our customers, we can tell the difference they make.
Keep reading and listening the resources at your level and you will improve!

12/07/2013 - the new resource is about Germany's green energy policy, and the cost of it to the taxpayers and to big energy producers.  If it is a model which works, then other countries may copy it, but if it falls apart due to the high costs, then the end of the environmentally friendly experiment might be bad news for the renewable energy sector.

 

12/07/2013 - It's been a busy time!  While the weather in western Europe has finally settled down under a nice high pressure system, the political situation in Eygpt is increasingly unsettled, with uncertainly for the future only hindering economic recovery.  In Greece the unemployment rate has hit a new record high, just as the Dow Jones in New York does the same.  The USA is still arguing over Edward Snowden with China and Russia, while more revelations about the extent of the data collection trickles out week by week.  Britain has a new tennis star, who is surely in line for a knighthood after winning Wimbledon - Sir Andy!  And I heard on the news last night that the EU has banned the sale of any cosmetic products that have been tested on animals, while at the same time China insists that all its cosmetic products must be tested on animals!  It's a topsy-turvy world at times!

 

06/06/2013 - the floods in central Europe are making the international headlines, as the flood surge moves downstream.  I hope that you haven't been affected directly.  Here is some vocabulary connected to the floods: torrential rain, downpour, evacuation, alert, warning, emergency, disaster, firemen/firefighters, volunteers, state of emergency, rescue, relief, damage, flooding, destroy, flood control, flood barriers, sandbags, clear-up, insurance, clean-up, recovery.

27/05/2013 - I have just posted another learning resource for you, called 'A day at work'.  It's good for business vocabulary and expressions.  The focus is on this vocabulary and changing the tenses from Past Simple to Present Perfect and then to the Past Perfect.  It's also good for prepositions and for some/any/much/many.  So there is lots for you to learn!

27/05/2013 - it has been a miserable weekend, far too cold for this time of year!  Did you see the Champions League final?  Haven't Bayern done well this year?
Have you made any plans for your summer holidays yet?  Perhaps you will fly south to find some summer warmth?  A chilly summer might be good for the southern European economies like Greece.  If you live in the Tiroler Unterland and you would like your children to learn some English over the summer, there are still places available on our 'English Weeks for Kids' (http://www.englischinstitut.at/Kidsweek_deu.htm)

25/05/2013 - Have you seen the videos at http://www.englischinstitut.at/Magix/index.htm or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgqFzi1iDUA yet?  The first parts of a new short series 'Englisch für Anfänger' are there.  If you like them, please share them on Facebook and other social media!

13/05/2013 - there has been a lot in the news recently, from the terrible collapse of the textile building in Bangladesh to the elections in Pakistan.  I also hear that bookings for holidays in Greece are up again this year, which should bring a bit of relief there.  An ongoing story has been the continuing mysterious collapse of bee colonies around Europe (and the USA), with the pesticide group 'neonicotinoids' being the latest suspect.  This is the subject of the latest resource - check it out!

02/05/2013 - it is May and there are lots of public holidays at this time of year - check out the 'May holidays' resource for some vocabulary about these festivals.  Don't forget you can 'search' the complete back catalogue at any time for resource, either by topic or by learning focus.  And to keep up-to-date with other ideas and links, become a Facebook friend: http://www.facebook.com/englisch.institut

03/04/2013 - I have just posted a resource about the alternative methods of food production and their advantages or disadvantages.  It's clear which way the economics and the industry is moving, but do we really want to go there?  And how much do we really know about where 'there' is?

03/04/2013 - there has been such a lot happening, it is hard to know where to start!  How about the banking crisis (yet another one) in Cyprus?  Does it set a precedent for the next in line to need a bail-out - that savers stand to lose a significant chunk of their savings?  The danger is that it will trigger flights of capital away from countries at risk, making the situation worse.
And what about North Korea?  What are they playing at?  Of course, nobody really knows, but it seems a dangerous game.  The bright spot for me was Obama's trip to the Middle East - at last - which might signify renewed pressure to move the situation forward.  The question is, pressure on who?

19/3/2013 - winter is drawing to a close, although it may go out with more of a bang than a whimper.  The Alpine Ski World Championship has finished and given way to the start of the Formula One season.  The latest resource - has spring sprung? - takes the changing seasons as its central theme.  I hope you will find it useful!

18/03/2013 - the bail-out of the banks in Cyprus is causing a lot of angst around the world, both directly for those (mainly Russians) who have big investments in Cypriot banks, and indirectly through the ripples of the shock-waves through stock markets.  The banking system has not been having a good time of late, what with the EU's new policies for bankers and the Swiss referendum (see resource from 3rd March).

20/02/2013 - there has been a lot in the news over the past few days about the issue of gay and lesbian rights, particularly concerning marriage and adoption.  This was the subject of a resource in November 2012; if you would like to brush up on your vocabulary then you can search for it (or any other topic) in the Back Catalogue of resources - it was called 'same sex marriage'.

18/02/2013 - On Friday two meteorites made it into the news: a smaller one landed in Russia and a much larger one came (relatively) close to Earth.  The latest resource tells you about this coincidence, with a written exercise at Levels 2 and 3 to practice.

18/2/2013 - It has been a long time since my last News!  In between we have had the Alpine Skiing World Championships in Schladming, Austria, where one or two exceptional performances rescued the Austrian team from humiliation and something approaching a national disaster.  In the end, it worked out pretty well - Austria finished with more medals than any other nation - and the facilities and organisation at Schladming were well received.  I was surprised at how many Tyroleans took the time out to visit one or other of the ski races (although it was well-timed during the school holidays).  Did you enjoy the Championships?

14/01/2013 - there will be a national vote in Austria this weekend about whether to keep the current system of national service for men or to replace it with a combination of a professional army and voluntary (but paid) community service.  To read a one-page summary of the main issues, click here: Austria national vote - January 2013

09/01/2013 - A little bit late, but Happy New Year to everyone out there!  I wonder how you brought in the New Year?   I did so quietly, with my wife and a few friends.   Have you made any New Year's Resolutions? Have you kept them, or broken them already?!  In any case, I hope 2013 will be a happy and healthy year, with lots of effective English learning with level123english!

03/12/12 - Advent is here, and in Tirol the first snow has fallen.  Well, not quite the first snow, because the mountain tops have had snow on and off for a while, but it is certainly the first time that my garden has been white this winter!  With advent come the Christmas markets, and also the Perchten run - perhaps one of the oldest traditions in Europe.  Christmas lights, Christmas biscuits (or mince pies for the English....mmmm), buying a tree and presents for the family... and Christmas carols on the radio.  Snow is just the thing we need to get us in the mood!

02/12/12 - I have just posted another resource, called 'Munich'.  It is good for 'there is/are'  (level 1); the past continuous tense (level 2); and the passive (level 3).

19/11/12 - Here is another short review of the main news stories - with quite high level vocabulary and sentences.  In the news 19/11/2012

18/11/12 - A new resource has been posted: 'Same-sex marriage in France'.  Level 3 focusses on connectives; level 2 is particularly good for relative pronouns; and level 1 provides good examples of the subject-verb-object sentence structure.

17/11/12 - Two improvements have been made to the site: the back catalogue should now allow access to all previous resources (use the search term to help you find topics); and the vocabulary trainer has been improved so that your private lists function better.

08/11/12 - Well, I for one am glad that a) the US election is over, and b) that Barack Obama won a second term.  Not that I minded Mitt Romney so much, but the Republican party is, for me, too conservative and has too many extremists in it for my taste.  The election was, however, a perfect case study for students who have the US politican system as a topic.  I lost count of how many times the 'electoral college' system was explained on TV!  Of course, it was not just the President (from the 'executive' branch)who was elected on Tuesday.  Members of the Senate and House of Representatives (the 'legislative' branch) were also elected - and unfortunately the political stalemate (or deadlock/gridlock) in the USA looks set to continue with the Democratic Party having a majority in one and the Republican Party in the other.  If you can expain the system - including the 'judicial' branch - then you should be OK in your exams!

05/11/12 - It was Halloween a few days ago (on 'All Souls Day').  Halloween is very much an Anglo-American tradition, although the commercialised form (eg. fancy-dress costumes) is spreading.  I visited our relatives over the weekend, and have created some resources based on that visit: A Halloween visit to Carinthia.  The level 1 resource is a nice easy one for beginners, while advanced learners should find something to challenge them in the level 3 resource.  Don't forget to save your vocabulary in a personal list in the vocabulary trainer!

29/10/12 - Here is a summary of some current new stories: In the news - 29th October 2012.  It contains some quite difficult vocabulary, particularly including words about legal processes and about crimes.

23/10/12 - If you are a User and have logged in, please don't forget to log out again before you leave!  (click on the down arrow in the top right corner of the page)

20/10/12 - The regional elections in Spain may have given some impetus to the devolution movement in the Basque country, at least.  I wonder exactly what form of devolution they want: semi-autonomy like in South Tyrol, devolved government like in Scotland and Wales, or full independence?  Interesting that approval has been given to referendum on full independence for Scotland.  And at a time when the eurocrisis is forcing European countries to integrate their economies even more closely.  I am just glad that peaceful democratic processes are being used now, instead of the past bombings by Eta.

20/10/12 - There is a new reading and listening resource for subscribers to www.level123english.com It is called 'Daredevil Austrian divers' and is partly about the world-famous skydive by Felix Baumgartner.  Level 1 is good for prepositions of place and comparatives/superlatives; level 2 is all about the past continuous tense; and level 3 has some examples of reported speech and the gerund.  I hope you find it useful.

08/10/12 - Here is a summary of some of the latest news stories for you, to give you a bit more vocabulary: in the news 08/10/2012

08/10/12 - the 6th October was Equal Pay Day in Austria.  The idea is that after this date, women effectively work for free until the end of the year because they get paid less than men.  The Minister for Women in Austria has proposed that the level of employees' salaries should be made public in companies with more than 20 workers.  She said that women often don't know for years that they are earning less than their male colleagues.  Would you be happy for your colleagues to see how much you earned?  Would more transparency lead to fairer pay?  If there is nothing to hide, why shouldn't salaries be made public?

08/10/12 - If you are an Matura candidate, then you should have a look at the Englisch Institut facebook page for suggestions about resources on topics that are relevant to your exam eg. GM crops, online/retail shopping, waste food

08/10/12 - There is a special new learning resource on level123english.  The level 3 text is the original text written by a (well-educated) volunteer Gamesmaker at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  I have changed the original to create the level 2 and level 1 resources.  There are lots of points to study in the resources, which are a little longer than usual.

24/09/12 - There are two interesting news stories today, both of which would be good for 'A' level candidates.  The first is about positive discrimination (or 'affirmative action') for women.  There is a proposal in the EU to pass a law making it compulsory for 40% of the board members of companies to be women.   Is that sensible?   The second story is about the Catholic Church in Germany.  It wants to stop people leaving (and so not paying the church tax), so has threatened that services like giving communion and religious burials could be withheld from people who don't pay the tax.  I wonder if that could actually be counterproductive for the Church, but it does open a debate about the public role of the Church.
You can find more summaries of new stories from today here: news stories 24/09/2012.  Tell me if you think this summary is helpful to you!

19/09/12 - I read in this Monday's edition of the New York Times in 'der Standard' (did you know that there is an English-language insert every Monday?) an article/report about ivory poaching in Africa.  The number of elephants being killed is at a record high, with an ever-increasing demand from China.  Armed forces and international criminal organisations are involved in the ivory poaching trade, and it threatens the survival/existence of elephants in parts of Asia and Africa.  It's a sad story.

17/09/12 - Did you read the article 'Ohne Englisch geht im Job gar nichts' in the Tiroler Tageszeitung on Saturday morning?
http://www.tt.com/Tirol/5408862-2/ohne-englisch-geht-im-job-gar-nichts.csp From what I hear, there is more and more English in businesses and companies in Tirol.  However, perhaps still not as much as there is in other countries, whether that is Eastern European countries or Russia or China.  The pressure to learn English here in Tirol is coming from outside - because everyone else is speaking English and so we have to use it too - rather than from internal expectations.  The article suggests that might be changing, at least in international companies like Sandoz.  Personally, I think that many businesses in Tirol still think that "they understood me, with hands and feet!" is good enough.  Unfortunately, outside Tirol I don't think that 'good enough' is professional enough any more.  A professional standard of English is expected, so that business communication runs efficiently and effectively.  In that respect, I think that Tirol still has some way to go before it catches up with many other European countries.

11/09/12 - Great news for British tennis fans!  Andy Murray has won a Grand Slam!  After his Wimbledon win, he must have believed that he could do it.  For him, a great achievement and hopefully the first of many!  What a summer of sport for Britain: Wimbledon, the Tour de France, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and now this...
Do you know what the word 'legacy' means?  It is used a lot in connection with the Olympic Games.  It means the long-term effects that stay after the Games have finished, like more jobs or better housing or more involvement in sport.  The latest posting is all about the legacy of the Games - and tells you something positive about the culture of modern Britain.

28/8/12 - The news headlines are all about the tropical storm - soon to be a hurricane - that is headed for New Orleans.  If you listen to the news, you will hear words like: flooding, storm surge, high tide, strong/gusting winds, torrential rain, flood protection, levees, boarding up windows, evacuation, preparation.  How many other words are connected to hurricanes?  It is a good idea to learn groups of related words together, to help your brain connect them.  Maybe put them into a new list in the vocabulary trainer!

8/8/12 - Have you tried the new vocabulary trainer yet?  I have just posted a new resource, aimed at Matura students, about anorexia.  It should show students what to aim for in their exams.

07/08/2012 - What do you think of Great Britain's success in the Olympic Games?  It is their best result for over 100 years.  What impresses me is the wide range of events or competitions that Great Britain is winning medals in.  From cycling to rowing, sailing, canoeing, shooting, horse-riding, the triathlon, athletics, gymnastics and of course tennis.  Well done team GB!

02/08/12 - We have changed the level123english site a bit.  Our new personal vocabulary trainer (you can programme it with your own vocabulary) is now free to everyone to use (with a Free User subscription).  Please share this information with everyone!

01/08/12 - The Olympic Games in London are well under way, complete with awe-inspiring performances and achievements, and issues that are blown up into scandals by the international media.  China is leading the medal tally; Phelps has entered the record and history books in the swimming pool; and Wiggins now has another Olympic Gold to add to his Tour de France victory.  What have your highs and lows been?

17/7/12 - We have installed a new vocabulary trainer.  You can save your own vocabulary in your own lists, and test yourself.  There will be 'Global Lists' that we offer for you; and 'My Lists' which are different for each individual user.  You can find it under the 'Writing' page.  We are still able to update and improve it, so please give us your feedback.  Enjoy!

11/07/12 - If you watch BBC World News, you might have seen a short programme yesterday about Wales.  With the Olympics in London, the Welsh tourist authorities are hoping to encourage some visitors to go to Wales and experience something calmer.  Mountains, beaches, culture...and the country with perhaps the best castles in the world.  It would make a great short holiday destination - have you ever been there?  What are your favourite sights in Wales?

09/07/12 - There has been a lot in the news recently.  Poor Murray lost the Wimbledon final, but congratulations to Federer for his seventh Wimbledon title.  There's a nice article about the win at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/18764180 .  There has been severe flooding in southern Russia, and simultaneously a record number of flood warnings at one time in the UK, causing a near wash-out and a mud bath at the Silverstone Grand Prix.  Meanwhile, a heatwave in eastern USA and southern Europe are causing their own problems.  Here in Tirol, we had a terrrific lightning storm last night - flashes about every 30 seconds for half-an-hour or more - and I wonder if any damage has been caused anywhere?

05/07/12 - The most recent banking scandal has hit Barclays Bank hard, causing heads at the top to roll, or scalps to fall.  However, rather than Barclays being the main offender, it seems that there was a culture of rate-rigging across banking and into government circles.  With one scandal after another, can the banking sector be reformed?  Will it cause a crisis of confidence in the City of London?  Somehow, I suspect a quiet cover-up is more likely - brush the issue under the carpet and carry on as before!

04/07/12 - The Wimbledon Tennis Championships are exiting this year, with some of the hot favourites knocked out already.  Perhaps it shows the quality throughout the men's and women's tournaments.  What a summer of sport!  If you want to refresh your tennis vocabulary, why not look at the posting from July 2011 about Wimbledon?  You could search for the keyword 'tennis' to find it.

26/06/12 - Summer in Austria often brings some stormy weather.  To help you with some of the vocabulary and grammar you might need to describe the weather, I have written a new resource about these storms.  Check it out!

26/06/12 - England played badly on Sunday night, didn't they?  I think their 'long pass'game will never be good enough to win a major tournament.  I don't  know why they choose to play this tactic.  Wimbledon has started and there are 4 weeks to go until the Olympics.  There is a lot going on in London this summer, including the City of London Festival.  Will you visit London to experience the atmosphere and events?

11/06/12 - How are you enjoying the football?  Have you had enough of it yet?  I like the advert on TV which advertises a 'football free' region.  We escaped to SouthTyrol over the bank holiday, and I have written something about it in the new posting, called 'Drei Zinnen'.  It's good for adjectives, adverbs and higher level vocabulary.  Have you ever been to the Dolomites?  Do you know what 'Zinne' in English is?

04/06/12 - Did you watch the Queen's Jubilee celebrations yesterday?  The flotilla of boats on the Thames - with every kind of boat from all over the UK - was a beautiful sight.  It was a shame that the event was a bit of a wash-out, and that some parts were even rained off.  However, it was a historic spectacle.   The next events will be the concert tonight; the lighting of beacons; and the royal procession on Tuesday.  It should be a magnificant pageant.   If you want to read a little more about it, check out the latest posting!

27/05/12 - Today is Pentecost, or Whitsunday as it is called in the UK.  It gives us a bank holiday on Monday!  If you want to access the 2011 posting about 'bank holidays and cheese rolling' (another great English tradition) then simply search for 'Pentecost' or any other keyword - and it will appear.  Meanwhile, yesterday was, for me, the start of summer.  It was a summer's day: almost stiflingly hot and sunny all day long; the hillsides clothed in a darker summer green; birds going about the business (the first swifts carving through the sky overhead); and flies beginning to get in the way of everything!  Yes - summer has arrived, and we can look forward to plenty more of these days to come.  Will 2012 be another summer with record temperatures?  Incidentally, I recall that in autumn 2011 there were an unusually large amount of berries, including on the rowan trees (because our neighbour collected them to make rowan schnapps, which he only does when there is a bumper crop), and that the moles in our garden seemed to be digging deeper fortresses under the earth than usual.  Both signs are traditionally thought to herald or forecast a harsh winter - and indeed, the winter of 2011-12 was by any account an unually harsh one, notwithstanding the late start.  It was marked by extreme cold and deep snow.  How do the animals, birds and plants know in advance of what is coming?  And what are the signs for this year?  Has anyone heard or seen any signs of nature?

20/05/12 - As a special offer, here everyone can download the reading files for the latest post.  It is called 'News Roundup' and is a summary of the top new stories.
By comparing the different levels, you will learn a lot of English.  To listen to the texts (and access more posts), you will need to subscribe and then log into the site.
Click on the links to open the pdf files: News roundup (20/05/12) level 1 ; News roundup (20/05/12) level 2 ; News roundup (20/05/12) reading level 3

07/05/12 - there is a new posting for you, called 'the Supermoon'.  It is particulary good for explaining the uses of the Present Simple, Past Simple and Present Perfect. Advanced users will find plenty of vocabulary and a link to a nice little video clip (with transcript!) from NASA.

07/05/12 - the results of the various elections around Europe suggest that it is impossible for a leader to be re-elected during this period of economic hardship ('the Great Recession').
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an easier way out of the financial crisis, to appease the voters.  It will take a long time to repay the debts that have accumulated over the past few decades, and until we do the cost of borrowing will remain high and there will be little money available for investment.  The question at the moment is, will things get worse before they get better?  Will the results in Greece and France scare the markets?  Or can the tentative recovery be sustained?

23/04/12 - I have just posted a new reading & listening resource, called 'The value of Facebook'.

23/04/12 - Today is Saint George's Day. St George is the patron saint of England, although I am not really sure why this is, because he is more connected with eastern Europe and the Middle East.  St George is famous for killing (or 'slaying') a dragon, but in reality he was a Roman soldier - very close to the Emperor - at the beginning of the 4th Century AD. When the Emperor ordered that everyone give sacrifices to the Roman gods, George refused and was executed (or 'martyred'), in 303AD, after having given all of his wealth to the poor.

06/04/12 - Do you know much about the villages in Essex?  Or what a 'cream scone' is?  I have written a special resource called 'A trip to Essex', describing (in words and with photographs) some of the prettier and more traditional features of a village and a town in south-east England.  You can find the link to it on the 'Reading/Listening' page.  There are not three levels for this resource, because the focus is on the vocabulary and the content.  I hope you enjoy it!

05/04/12 - Last weekend, on Friday evening, I flew to England with my wife.  It was my Dad's 70th birthday on Monday - he turned 70 on Monday - and so we went to celebrate with him.  We didn't make a big fuss of it - it was a quiet day - but my brother has arranged for a surprise party next weekend.  The coming weekend is also Easter: in England, Good Friday is a bank holiday, so it will be a long weekend.

26/03/12 - The latest film sensation is 'The Hunger Games', based on books which are already popular.  The film broke the Box Office record for takings during an opening weekend of a new film (ie. not a sequel).  Not a bad start!  It could be even bigger than Twilight...although reviews of the film have been mixed.  If you've read the books, it should be worth seeing.  If you haven't, how about ordering an English copy?

24/03/12 - Don't forget, we're on Facebook (Englisch Institut) and Twitter (@level123english).  Why don't you follow us to keep in touch or to receive new vocabulary?

24/03/12 - How much do you know about Scotland and its culture?  You must have heard of the kilt and the bagpipes!
To find out more, and to brush up on your comparatives/superlatives, relative pronouns, or passive voice, check out the new posting!

16/03/12 - It seems as if spring has sprung here in Austria.  The temperatures are reaching twenty degrees, and overhead are clear blue skies.  The sun's warmth is strong enough to sit outside on the balcony or terrace and read a book or newspaper.
How long will this fine weather last?  Will winter have a sting in its tail?

15/03/12 - There have been two anniversaries in the last week.  It has been a year since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami; and a year since the first street protests began in Syria.  It is incredible how fast time flies past.  Would you have believed that it has been year since those events?

25/02/12 - There is a new post called 'Dutch prince avalanche victim' for you!  The tragedy of Prince Johan Friso's skiing accident has been in the news a lot over the past week, but yesterday the doctors at Innsbruck hospital released some disappointing news on his condition.  Condolences to his family, whose ordeal will not be over even when the story fades from the headlines.

07/02/12 - There is a new post on Level123english!  It's called 'Charles Dickens' and describes some of the reasons behind his popularity.  It's the bicentenary of his birth this year, so you have probably already seen something in the media about him and his works.  But - have you actually read any of his books?

06/02/12 - When I was getting into my car this morning, the temperature was minus 18 degrees; 18 degrees below zero.  That is not just cold, it is freezing; it is sub-zero; Arctic temperatures, even.  Or, in an English understatement, 'pretty chilly'.  Well wrapped up in warm clothes, a woolly hat and gloves, it's still OK to go out and about in, although I'm not sure about doing sport.  It's incredible how fortunate we are, with central heating, modern cars and good public services.  I'm sure that in every other generation - and still in many other parts of Europe - this winter would have been a very harsh ordeal to endure.

28/1/12 - New resource posted: 'Ski helmets'.  For advanced readers, check out the webpage www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16715883 for a more detailed read.

23/01/12 - A clear majority in Croatia's referendum on joining the EU voted in favour, and so it is scheduled to become a member in July next year.  Meanwhile, Italy's and Spain's debt levels are soaring higher - the Eurocrisis isn't over yet, is it?

20/01/12 - I heard two new words this week.  One was German: 'geliked' - it comes from the Facebook 'Like' tags, which have now generated a new verb.  The other new word was 'Getcha'  which is like the more familiar 'gotcha' -  'get your' and 'got your' respectively.  Have you come across any new words recently?

20/01/12 - The big story over the past week was of the cruise ship that is now shipwrecked off the coast of Italy.  Luckily the accident happened in shallow water (although if the ship hadn't been there in the first place, then none of this would have happened) and so most of the passengers were safely rescued.  The salvage operation hasn't started yet, but there are increasing fears of environmental damage.

16/01/12 - there's a new Level123 resource waiting for you!  It's about the new Skylink terminal at Vienna airport, and for those interested in the passive there is a good gapfill exercise for you.  Don't forget that you can save all your own vocabulary on the 'Writing' page of this website!

05/01/12 - The UK has had a stormy start to 2012, with gale-force winds that have caused structural damage to houses and blown trees over.  Hundreds if not thousands of homes have been without power.   I wonder if Austria will get a taste of it this weekend, as stormy weather is forecast here, and the avalanche risk is very high now, at a Level 4.  I heard on the radio that 2011 was the costliest year on record in terms of natural disasters.  Here's hoping that 2012 will be better (even though the Mayan prophecies suggest otherwise!).

03/01/12 - Happy New Year!  We wish you every happiness in 2012, and look forward to learning English with you.
Did you have a good New Year?    How about New Year resolutions - have you made any?  Are you still keeping to them, or have you broken them yet?

13/12/11 - Canada has pulled out of (withdrawn from) the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.  This might be a true reflection of the reality of the situation - that Kyoto simply isn't effective.   But it will spell more bad news for the climate, if Canada seeks to extract oil from its tar sands deposits.  As ever, the bottom line seems to be that the economy and profit triumph over the climate.  I wonder how and when that equation will change.

10/12/11 - new resource posted: Business English small talk.  This is an example of how even a few lines can be deconstructed and analysed to give a deeper understanding of the language used - and of the communication skills involved.

09/12/2011 - the international climate conference in Durban, South Africa, looks set to deliver very little, postponing hard choices yet again.  China has been working hard to improve its image - with some justification - but the longer we wait, the worse the eventual consequences are going to be!

09/12/2011 - The British Prime Minister has made it into the headlines, separating himself from the rest of Europe.  I don't think the gap between the UK and the rest of the EU has ever been wider.  I guess that in the short term it will only damage his standing in Europe, but in the longer term I wonder if the pound can sustain itself alongside the Euro?

30/11/2011 - Well, I'm back from a short weekend trip to England, and so I have posted a special text about my visit.
It's advent already, and the Christmas lights and candles are going up.  Christmas shopping is in full swing, too.
Have you bought your Christmas tree yet?  When will you put it up?

16/11/2011 - Have you heard about the recent/latest scientific reports on greenhouse gas emissions?  They say that last year the amount of emissions rose by 5%.  If this trend continues, it will lead to global warming levels that could be catastrophic.  And something that I hadn't heard before - rapid melting of the alpine glaciers could release high levels of toxic pollutants into our water supply. What with global warming and the economic crisis in Europe (watch out for Japan next - it's currency is too strong at the moment), where is the good news?

12/11/2011 - New resource posted: 'Very valuable art'.  It's another beautiful day in Tirol - it's hard to believe that it is nearly the middle of November.  Can you remember a November in the past which started so warmly?  Or a better October?  I wonder if the ski resorts are getting worried/nervous yet.  Is a dry, warm late autumn good for tourism or is it bad?

06/11/2011 - I was watching TV yesterday evening, and was suprised by the number of English words being used.  I think the amount has increased in the last year.  Just in the adverts alone, I heard or read: cream, voice, fit, surprise, extra large, highlight, drive, member, crazy Christmas, re-match, make, last, confidence, happy, repair, complete, lasting, and I want you.  Do you know all these words?  Which other ones have you seen recently in the media?

05/11/2011 - I am also using Twitter now.  If you want to follow my tweets (I will write a sentence or two with some topical vocabulary for you), then I am on   Eng_Inst_at

1/11/2011 - today is All Saints Day, when Catholics traditionally visit the graves of their relatives.

28/11/2011 - new resource posted!    'Flooding in Bangkok' - check it out!