Monday, January 30, 2012

Brandenburger Tor

The Brandenburger Tor is a monumental gate, which replaced an older city gate, built in the 18th century as a symbol of peace. It is situated at the end of Unter den Linden, a grand boulevard in Berlin, Germany. This gate is related with the worst moments of the Berlin's history and is probably the most well-known landmark in Berlin, it now stands as a symbol of the reunification of the two sides of this great city.
The gate led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. It was commissioned by King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built by Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791.
The gate consists of twelve Greek-style Doric columns, six to each side, forming five passageways. Citizens originally were allowed to use only the outermost two. Atop the gate is the Quadriga, a chariot drawn by four horses driven by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory. In 1806, during Berlin's occupation by France, Napoleon ordered the quadriga to be taken to Paris. After the Battle of Waterloo, the quadriga was triumphantly taken back to Berlin, and it was turned into a symbol of victory, that's why the quadriga is called Victoria.
During WWII the Brandenburger Tor was badly damaged but not destroyed by allied bombing. After WWII, the gate was incorporated into the Berlin wall during the years of Communist government. Consequently, it became a symbol of a divided city.
With the fall of the wall in November 1989, people flocked to the reopened Brandenburger Tor to celebrate. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the gate has become the symbol of a reunified Berlin and a symbol of unity.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The importance of Barack Obama in America's society

Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961. His father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas, and he was born in Hawaii, raised with the help of his grandfather, who served in Patton's army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.
Although he has humble origins and African roots, he was given a chance to graduate from Harvard Law School, one of the most selective and distinguished schools, before ascending to the position of the USA presidential candidate.
He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008. Besides, he was the first African-American president ever in human history, which is an extraordinary achievement.
The election of Obama represents the merits of American democracy, in a society deeply characterized by slavery and prejudice. He recruited to his candidacy voters of all stripes: black, white, Hispanic, southerners and northerners, educated and non-educated, the politically engaged and those who had previously stayed on the sidelines, which means that Americans placed their faith in Obama and turned their backs to the past.
Right after he was elected, he made a victory speech in which he conveyed a message to all the American people. In that speech he talks about a woman, Ann Nixon Cooper, who was 106 years old at that time (she has already died) and who hadn't been able to vote for several years just because of the color of her skin and to the fact that she was a woman.
But now things are different and she has seen America being through several changes during the last century.
The whole speech is all about hope and faith, and although there have been progresses, Obama says "there is so much more to do". He holds a promise of uniting the country to bring all the races together and to look toward a common future, and finally begin the healing process that centuries of discrimination and oppression have inflicted.
Obama was a unique candidate who faced a new American electorate. Also, the times in which we live played a huge role in his election. Obama made himself the candidate of change just at the right moment.
In my opinion, this human dimension of his triumph is more important than the details of his election program. This victory opened a new door of possibilities for America and for the world. People in other countries see America differently now and Americans have a chance to think again about who they are.
If I had had a vote, I would definitely have given it to Obama!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A big surprise (short story)

Jakob was absolutely furious when he saw what was going on outside his window. He was sleeping when a tremendous noise coming from the street woke him up. Still half asleep, he went to check, trying to find out where the noise was coming from.
At the first sign, he couldn't believe what he saw: construction machines, lots of them to be honest, were everywhere around the park in front of his house. There were also workers dressed with a horrible yellow jacket. They were destroying the park - his park, or at least the park where he had spent his childhood.
Completely furious, he went outside and found some people protesting against it. He realized that the workers had permission to destroy the park in order to build a shopping center.
"How could that be possible?", it was the only thing Jakob could think about. For him the human race was terrible, destroying lots of lives and ecosystems to build a place to reinforce one of the biggest diseases of this century: consumerism.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The future of the English language

It is proved nowadays that English is the most widely spoken language all over the world. It is the language of business, international politics, advertising, the recording industry, science, technology, travel, media, and especially the Internet. People can communicate all over the world thanks to this language. If it weren't for the English language, it would be difficult for people from different countries to communicate effectively. Therefore, it has become a link between many different cultures.
The English language emerged in Britain and gained a lot of importance due to the British overseas empire. It was the dominant language in these colonies until after World War II when the British lost their power to the USA. This is why English is such an important language. The USA is a powerful country with an enormous economy and industry that uses English as the universal language to communicate with people from many different countries.
What's next? What is the future for the English language?
English is being learned all over the world as a first foreign language. In general, this is making it the most learned language outside the English speaking countries. On the other hand, the population in the countries in which English is the first language is steadily declining.
As a result, many new varieties of English will develop in these countries. Each country has its own pronunciation of many English words, and they also have their own way of adapting to the English language. While adapting to the English language, they are also trying to find a way to learn the language while trying to express their ethnic identity.
In conclusion, we can't say there will only be one form of English. In the future, it's possible to say that English will be combined with other languages and it may come to be spoken in many different variations that we can refer to as "New Englishes."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Introducing me

Have you ever had something you would like to try? Like something different? Like something you supposed you hadn't any time to do it, but you still can find some?
That's what I'm pourposing to myself as a new year's resolution. Writing is something I enjoy to do, something that allows me to be free. So I'm starting this blog to publish some texts I often write. Also I'm publishing some articles about current topics nowadays. I don't have any target readers, this blog is to everybody whom it may concern.
I just noticed I haven't really introduced myself. Where should I begin? Well I'm Sara and so you know. Maybe through the texts in the blog there may be a lot of english mistakes, and I guess it's normal to happen because I'm from Portugal and I'm still learning English as a second language. Also, this blog can help me writing better English and have a good score in my English FCE exam that I'm doing this year.
So I have this little invitation to you: will you be my reader?