SoundHound: music discovery, lyrics finder…

For quite some time, Musixmatch was one of my favourite apps, as it allowed you to play a song on a mobile device and display the lyrics to it (more about it here). Sadly, with the passing of time, the free version of the app lost many of its functionalities (although the extension for YouTube still works, and I still recommend it). Fortunately, I have found something which might replace Musixmatch, and add something extra.

The free app SoundHound (iOs, Android, Windows, Blackberry) is a mixture of the popular app Shazam + Musixmatch…with an extra twist. Just like Shazam, if you want to know what song is playing, you need to tap on the app and it will yield information about singer, song title, and album (in most cases, anyway).

The extra feature that SoundHound offers compared to Shazam is that you can also sing or even hum the song you’re looking for. The likelihood of the app recognising the song may depend on the user’s singing voice, maybe even pronunciation, and the degree of accuracy may not be as high as that of the original, granted, but it is well worth a try (even as a challenge or a competition among friends / students?).

Once the song has been identified, you can choose to play the song from Apple Music / Google Play, if you have a subscription; from Spotify, if you are a Premium user; or go to good old free YouTube (this can be set as the default option in the settings). As the song starts playing, the lyrics will come up, so you can listen and read.

I have tested it using songs in English, French and Spanish, and it seems to work. You can try it for free, anyway, for your own personal use, or as a recommendation to students. If you try it out, why not review it by leaving a comment below?

Watch UK TV online

Gone are the days when you could watch BBC iPlayer online from outside the UK, and for free too (see how here). Watching UK TV on demand is getting harder and harder, ever since the new TV licence was introduced. However, you can still watch BBC and other UK channels live online, through these servers:

Along with that, you may check UK TV listings and times here, to know what and when to watch.

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Hidden Figures-this month’s pick

After the success of our get-together to watch and discuss Fantastic Beasts (and Where to Find Them), we invite you to meet again to watch another film together. This time, we’re going to watch Hidden Figures, a biopic about three talented female African-American NASA engineers who saved the Apollo rocket program.

TIME AND MEETING POINT: http://iesparquegoya.es/index.php/proyparquegoyalab/2874-2017-01-19-11-30-35

You may watch the trailer here:

 

 

Mistake spotting- let’s go…

Lucas P. & Carolina M. nos envían estas fotos de la caja de un juguete infantil:

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Probablemente, quien diseñó el embalaje está mezclando frases del tipo “Let’s go to the park” / “Let’s go to the beach” con “Let’s go shopping”, que no lleva preposición “to”. Well spotted!!

English around you: T-shirts

There’s something about messages in English on T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, tote bags…that fascinates me. And I really believe you can use them in the English classroom. I love, for instance, puns and plays on words on T-shirts, like the ones I used for my #CLILphonetics courses some months ago (see below). The first examples are puns based on sounds and pronunciation; the last ones are related to semantics and double meanings.

Some months ago, I also found my friend Iván L.V. wearing this smashing sweatshirt:

 

 

On the other hand, you may also use T-shirts to help students spot mistakes. While browsing around in Zaragoza some weeks ago, I came across these T-shirts:

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You will be able to spot the mistakes very easily. In the first case, there’s a pronunciation issue: you shouldn’t say “*an unicorn”, because you only use “an” before a vowel sound, and /ˈjuː.nɪ.kɔːn/ does not begin with a vowel sound, but with a semi-vowel. In the second case, the agreement between the plural subject (things) and the 3rd person singular verb (*happens) is not right (it should be “strange things happen”).

We might encourage our students to try and spot mistakes they might see in clothes, stickers, ads…Or maybe just find something that strikes them, to increase their awareness of English as a language that surrounds them!