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William Shakespeare: The Father of The English Language

William Shakespeare: The Father of The English Language

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616): “Neither here nor there”, “with bated breath”, “vanish into thin air”… Words we use today, but they were written by one very talented writer nearly 500 years ago. The English language as we know it today owes a lot to William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare is considered the greatest writer in the English language and the greatest playwright to have ever lived. Born on the 26th of April 1564, his complete works include 39 plays and 154 sonnets....

What Kind of Horses did Knights Ride?

What Kind of Horses did Knights Ride?

In 1066 AD the Normans (people who came from Normandy in Europe) conquered England and introduced feudalism in England. Feudalism was a system of contract where society was divided into four classes: royalty, barons (noblemen) and bishops, knights (a title or a rank) and lastly peasants. Merchants and artisans were placed just above the peasants. From 1066 to about the 14th century, feudalism developed across Europe. There were no professional armies at that time like we have today....

Sitting in Rows is Better for Primary School Kids

Sitting in Rows is Better for Primary School Kids

October 21: Are you studying in primary school? How does your teacher make you sit – in rows or in groups? How would you like to sit? Does sitting in rows make you feel good or does it make you feel lonely? Do you feel that sitting in a group and discussing things makes you learn more and in an easier way? For those who were in primary school at any time, try to remember your classroom, the way the tables and chairs were arranged....

Was Christmas Celebrated Thousands of Years before Christ's Birth?

Was Christmas Celebrated Thousands of Years before Christ's Birth?

Did you know that the celebrations at Christmas might have nothing to do with the birth of Christ? In fact they may well lie in a feast called Sacaea that was celebrated thousands of years before Christ’s birth. Over 4000 years ago, in the region that is now Iraq, a five-day festival with the exchanges of gifts, the staging of plays, accompanied by merry making and processions, marked the end of winter and ushered in the New Year....

The Language of a Cat

The Language of a Cat

The poet Carl Sandburg wrote, “The fog comes in on little cat feet.” So do a large number of our words and expressions. Let’s think of the cats that run and leap and pounce and slink and purr and meow through the English language. There are a number of explanations for the phrase, “it’s raining cats and dogs”? Cats and dogs were closely associated with the rain and wind in the western mythology. Dogs were often pictured as the attendants of Odin, the storm god, and cats were believed to cause rain....

Hockey Heroines

Where: India September 12, 2007 : I must confess that I got interested in the Indian women’s hockey team after watching the film Chak De! India . But unlike many friends who kept talking about the bright actors in the film thinking they were actually discussing the game of hockey, I did some reading up on the hockey team. To tell you the truth it was as captivating, if not more, than the film. Since this is a news item, let me give you the ‘hard’ news first....

Women's hockey steals the show!

The year was 2002. The Commonwealth Games were on in Manchester, England. A nail-biting hockey final was being played out between the women’s hockey teams of favourites England and underdog India. England had defeated the reigning world and Olympic champions Australia to reach the final. India had come from nowhere to defeat stronger teams like New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea to meet England for the decisive match on England’s home ground. Picture the scene now....

Acting Colour Blind?

Acting Colour Blind?

October 6: England’s world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company has made a break with tradition. It has cast a black Nigerian actor, David Oyelowo, in the lead role of Henry VI, whose insanity unleashed a 30-year bloody civil war between two ruling parties, called the War of the Roses. Acting Colour Blind? [Illustration by Anup Singh] The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is one of the oldest and most prestigious theatre companies of the world....

Eleven-year-old Eco-ambassador

Eleven-year-old Eco-ambassador

July 31: Somya Ahuja does not like the way people treat their environment. So she wrote an essay about it. And that essay led to her becoming India’s Eco-ambassador at a children’s conference in England recently. Eleven-year-old Somya lives in Delhi – a city which has the distinction of being one of the most polluted cities in the world. The city’s roads are choked with cars, lorries, buses, tempos and three wheelers. Most of these vehicles belch poisonous gases....

Patel 20th most popular surname in England

Patel 20th most popular surname in England

Where: London, UK April 15, 2007: In the UK alone, more than 1.05 million Indians contribute to making the country culturally colourful. Now, there’s more proof that Indians are the largest minority ethnic group in England. According to a study published in The Observer on Sunday, the Indian surname “Patel” is one of the top 500 British surnames. “Patel” is 20th in the list. No wonder too! There were as many as 80,000 Patels in Harrow alone as early as in 1998....

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