Joe's Cafe

Joe's Cafe


Personal blog of EnglishClub founder Josef Essberger - see Menu

Migrants or Refugees?

As thousands of people from the war-torn regions of the Middle-East (Syria, Iraq…) and North Africa (Libya…) cross the Mediterranean Sea to seek safety in Europe, the European media and politicians struggle to avoid using the term refugees and instead label them migrants. But what’s the difference?

migrants or refugees?

Migrants

Birds migrate. The verb migrate simply means to move from one region to another. In the case of birds it is to find a suitable habitat (living space) according to the season. In the case of humans, it is usually to find Read on »


Hiroshima 80000 / Nagasaki 40000

A Tale of Two Cities

Today, the Japanese city of Hiroshima commemorates the moment 70 years ago that the USA dropped a nuclear bomb on the city, directly killing some 80,000 people. In three days’ time, another Japanese city, Nagasaki, will commemorate the killing of another 40,000 civilians when the USA dropped a second bomb.

Audio, video and quick quiz for learners:

This Week in History: USA Drops Nuclear Bombs On Japan


Veni, vidi, vici

The Latin phrase “Veni, vidi, vici” was an elegant way of saying “I came, I saw, I conquered”. The Roman general Julius Caesar allegedly first used the phrase c46 BC in his report to the Senate after quickly defeating Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. Hillary Clinton famously abused the expression on being advised of the murder of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011 (“We came, we saw, he died”).


Who would you have dinner with?

table laid for twoImagine that you could have ONE dinner with any ONE person in the world — rich or poor, famous or unknown etc.

Who would you choose?

Please give your reasons!


Is the world better or worse today?

Do you think the world today is better or worse than it was 100 years ago?

And will it be better or worse 100 years from now?


What would you take to a desert island?

The ChapelYou have to stay alone on an uninhabited desert island for a year. But you can take five things of your choice (no animals).

What five things would you choose to take with you and why?

uninhabited (adjective): without inhabitants; with nobody living there
desert island (noun): a small tropical island in the middle of the ocean, usually uninhabited

Please leave your comments below :)


Would you choose the Future or Past?

Somebody locks you in a time-machine and you have to go forward (the future) or backward (the past). You will never come back to “now”.

You can go any length of time, one day, a thousand years, a million years… Which would you choose? Future or past?

And why?

Please leave your comments below :)

time-machine (noun): an imaginary machine that lets people travel in time and go to the future (for example tomorrow or next year) or past (for example yesterday or last year)

Would you like to be famous?

Would you like to be famous? And what would you like to be famous for?

If achieving fame meant that you would lose all your friends, would you still want to be famous?

Please leave your comments below :)

famous (adjective): known by many people
achieve (verb): successfully get or reach
fame (noun): the state of being known by many people

House or home?

These two words may seem alike but actually they have rather different meanings.

A house is a building that people live in. It stands on its own land (unlike, say, an apartment or flat) and often has a garden. It may be detached (not joined to another house), semi-detached (joined to one other house), or terraced (in a row, like townhouses all joined together).

  • We are selling our house and want to buy a bigger one.
  • That house used to be brown, but last week the owners painted it white.

A home is the place where you live, especially as part of a family. It could be a house, or it could be a condominium or apartment or flat, or anywhere else.

  • I have to go home. I’ve just remembered that I left my apartment door open.
  • After the hurricane they had to move into a temporary caravan. But already they’ve made it into a real home for the children.

Just think of house as a physical thing, and home is more like an idea.


NB: there is a tendency by real estate agents in the USA to use “home” instead of “house”. So they advertise “Home for Sale” instead of “House for Sale” etc. This is perhaps due to the emotive nature of the word “home”, which may better serve the purposes of commercialism. But we have seen what happens when words lose their meanings.


What Are Your New Year Resolutions for 2015?

resolve (verb): decide firmly to do or not to do something (for example: He resolved to discuss the matter with his boss.)
resolution (noun): a firm decision to do or not to do something (for example: He never regretted his resolution to stop drinking.)

I resolve

2015 is upon us. Pray tell us. What have you “resolved” to do in 2015? Or not to do? ^^

And don’t forget to tell us what happened to Last Year’s resolutions :))