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Here, you will find the latest school news, information about new courses as well as various weekly points of grammar or humour.
Recherché : Enseignant (e) d'allemand
November 2022

Recherché : Enseignant (e) d'allemand

The Balkan School of Languages cherche un(e) fan de Goethe. Intéressé(e)? Contactez-nous à info@balkanschool.com

Novembre 2022

Nouveau cours d'allemand - A1

Les inscriptions sont ouvertes
Nouveau cours d'allemand dès le 18 janvier 2023 - Mercredi 18h30 à 20h00

Contactez-nous pour une offre sans engagement
Word of the day : belated (adjective)
November 2022

Word of the day : belated (adjective)

We live in a fast-paced world, don’t we ? Despite our best intentions, we sometimes do things a little later than initially intended.
That’s where the adjective “belated” comes in. It means : coming or happening later than should have been the case.

Examples :
. “I think you owe him a belated apology for your attitude during the presentation.”
. “We made a belated attempt to get him to stay. Too little, too late, it seems.”
. “Happy belated birthday Hakim. Hope you had a great day and enjoyed some of that Swiss Whiskey of yours. Good luck with that project too !”
Latest YouTube post
November 2022

Latest YouTube post

Idioms (part 6)
Future continuous
November 2022

Future continuous

Will + be + ing. To talk about something , often important, that will be ongoing in near future. Difficult to use in writing. Only for action verbs.
Avoid this : “Tomorrow at 8am, I will be cutting my finger nails.” (not special enough or just very strange)

Do this : “Tomorrow at 8am, I will be negotiating a big deal with Swedish clients. I’m very nervous.”
Two ways to talk about success : to manage to + inf ; to succeed in + ing
October 2022

Two ways to talk about success : to manage to + inf ; to succeed in + ing

Here are two ways of talking about your hopefully successful projects/careers…
Having two ways of expressing the same idea is a success too ;)

1) To manage to + infinitive :
. “I managed to convince Matt to lower his asking price.”
. “She managed to finish the project in record time.”
. “Did you manage to get John to stop eating kebabs in the office area ?”

2) To succeed in + ing (gerund) :
. “I succeeded in convincing Matt to lower his asking price.”
. “She succeeded in finishing the project in record time.”
. “Did you succeed in getting John to stop eating kebabs in the office area ?”
October 2022

Latest YouTube post

Idioms (part. 5)
Past simple : Warning :
October 2022

Past simple : Warning :

The past simple is used to talk about a specific moment in the past. That means there’s a specific context which is either stated (last week) or known by both people.
Typical time expressions linked with the past simple – all these time expressions refer to the past: yesterday, last night, last week, two weeks ago, in 2020, in January, on 14 June 2021, the last time I + past simple = past simple.

One of the biggest problems with this tense is mixing it with the present perfect (have/has + past participle) This is wrong: Yesterday, I have eaten too many kebabs. I ate too many kebabs.

The present perfect creates a link between the past and the present. “Yesterday” breaks that link.
October 2022

Nouveau cours d'espagnol débutant en groupe

Horaire encore à confirmer
N'hésitez pas à nous contacter pour plus de détails.
Wishing a colleague/friend a happy birthday…
October 2022

Wishing a colleague/friend a happy birthday…

Every so often, someone you know at work will strangely bring some croissants to work…
This tends to happen if the person is really nice, was in a baking mood, didn’t log off (and someone wrote a message to the whole team in their name) or because it’s their birthday (strange Swiss work ritual).

Here are a few ways to say happy birthday a bit more professionally:

1) Wishing you (all) the best on your birthday. Now you can get back to work !
2) Hope your special day is filled with happiness (and not too many boring meetings).
3) Wishing you a happy birthday and that promotion you so deserve/that salary increase you’ve been dreaming of for years.
4) Our whole team is wishing you the happiest/best of birthdays. Now help the team by actually doing some work.
5) Sending you good wishes, happy thoughts to you on your birthday and two reports to check.”
6) You’re such a fantastic boss (not ironic). Wishing you warm wishes and happy thoughts.
October 2022

Nouveau cours de français débutant en groupe

Horaire encore à confirmer
N'hésitez pas à nous contacter pour plus de détails.
October 2022

Nouveau cours d'allemand débutant en groupe

Les mercredis, de 18h30 à 20h00

Début des cours : Mercredi 19 octobre
N'hésitez pas à nous contacter pour plus de détails.
We all like good princess stories…
September 2022

We all like good princess stories…

The latter sometimes become Queen stories. Some more epic and successful than others.
This one most definitely was.
A Queen beyond her nation, in many ways.
While energy cuts are being made amid the globalization war and Prime Ministers are lowering decency standards with alarming ease, Queen Elizabeth’s sense of duty and honour has always stood firm.
Although students often used a dismissive tone when discussing the Royals, the Queen, was never seen in a bad light. She somehow commanded respect.
The current world certainly could have done with a bit more of her reassuring valuable presence.
It’s also ironic that on the day the new satellite-supported performance measuring iPhone 14 is released – in many ways, the symbol of ephemerality and vacuity – Queen Elizabeth, who encapsulated dignity and strong values (with sometimes extremely bright clothes), passed away.

She will be missed.
Thank you for everything.
The Balkan School of Languages team.
September 2022

Latest YouTube post

On time vs In time / By vs Until: What's The Difference?
“Will” has several uses… Here’s on of them.
September 2022

“Will” has several uses… Here’s on of them.

Will can be used to indicate (un)willingness, a determination to do something , a promise :

. “I will get this job. I’ve always wanted to work in this kind of company.”
. “I will be there for you. You know you can count on me.”
. “I won’t negotiate with terrorists. It goes against my principles.”
September 2022

Latest YouTube post

False Friends Part. 4
Stop using « very » …
August 2022

Stop using « very » …

We’re all guilty of using “very” very often… Damn, just did it.
Overusing “very” is a great way of not expanding your vocabulary. Oh dear.
Try progressively weeding “very” out of your written and oral communications.
Here are a few alternatives to using very + adjective :
“Very fat” -> obese
“Very roomy” -> spacious
“Very evil” -> wicked
“Very tasty” -> delicious
“Very rich” -> wealthy
“Very tired” -> exhausted
“Very clean” -> spotless
“Very cold” -> freezing
ADVANCED Cambridge preparation class
August 2022

ADVANCED Cambridge preparation class


Feel like taking your English skills to the next level ?
Here’s a class that will most certainly interest you :

C1 exam preparation - group class
Tuesdays from 18h30 to 20h30 (120 min. class)

Exam date : JUNE 2023


For more details, either …

… send us an email at info@balkanschool.com
… phone us on 032 724 78 20
… come and see us at Rue du Musée 4, Neuchâtel
Read/Speak/See you soon !
July 2022

Collocation of the day : to butt heads :

To butt (not too confused with the over-used but) means to hit with the head (or horns – for those who have some)… It’s, thankfully, often used metaphorically and nobody is literally being hit on the head.
So “to butt heads” might at first seem like a bit of a pleonasm but it’s a frequently used collocation which means to “to completely disagree or get into a heated confrontation with someone”.

This expression is often followed by the preposition : over.

Examples :

. “These two directors often butt heads over the budget.”

. “The new guy butted heads with his supervisor again. Don’t think he’s going to finish his trial period.”

. “The QC and QA departments always butt heads over who should report to top management.”
Future simple : will + infinitive : Uses :
July 2022

Future simple : will + infinitive : Uses :

Time to focus on the future tense and “will”…
That’s right, the summer is about to get even hotter.

Here are the ways how the verb “will” is generally used in English …

A) 1ST conditional : If + present simple, will + inf.
B) To express beliefs/opinions about the future based on opinion.
C) To make promises/to show that you’re willing. (used in speeches)
D) For future facts.
E) to talk about the unplanned future.

Examples :

. “If you give me a promotion, I will bring croissants to the office every morning.”
. “I think Brian will become a kitchen seller.”
. “I will make you forget Boris Johnson. It’s a promise.”
. “I will be 47 years old in 2023.”
. “You say there’s a problem with machine x93. I will go to the production right away then.”

At the exam or when doing a grammar worksheet : look out for : Key time references and structures : tomorrow, soon, I hope/think (that), in two weeks’ time, etc.
Word of the day : an ordeal
July 2022

Word of the day : an ordeal

“An ordeal” is an advanced word and is used to describe a very unpleasant and prolonged experience. Use it instead of saying something was very bad.
Examples :
. “That holiday in Greece was an ordeal. From the endless queuing at the airports to the insects in the bed.”
. “The parents’ ordeal ended after two hours of out of tune singing and bad acting.”
Present simple refresher
July 2022

Present simple refresher

Don't be deceived by the word "simple" in the present simple...
Sleepless nights for teachers are being fed by mistakes made with this apparently easy tense. The biggest one : not adding an "s" when using the third person (she, he, it).

Here's a present simple refresher for you ;) Four key uses to remember.

Present simple

Habits/routine : (please note the use of frequency adverbs)
. “The task force meets every two weeks.”
. “We back up the servers daily.”

Facts :
. “As the Director speaks English fluently, he will conduct the negotiations.”

. “We don’t do business with non-certified retailers.”

Fixed expressions : “I look forward to hearing from you.”

. “I look forward to the completion of your training” said Darth Vader.

Timetables : “The shuttle leaves at 4pm on Fridays.”

After certain words : “as long as”, “when”, “provided that”, “on the condition that”, "unless" :

. “We will help you as long as you take part in the survey.”
. “Provided that you contribute to the project, we will update your job description.”
. “Unless you change your attitude you will lose your job young Skywalker.”
New ADVANCED C1 class as per September
June 2022

New ADVANCED C1 class as per September

New class opening soon at the Balkan School of Languages.
Feel like taking your English skills to the next level ?
Here’s a class that will most certainly interest you :
CAE exam preparation
Group class
120 min. /a week / Schedule to be confirmed

Exam date : JUNE 2023

For more details, either …

… send us an email at info@balkanschool.com
… phone us on 032 724 78 20
… come and see us at Rue du Musée 4, Neuchâtel
Read/Speak/See you soon !
June 2022

Latest YouTube post

False Friends Part. 3
The limits of my language
June 2022

The limits of my language

​“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

Couldn't agree more Mr. Wittgenstein...
Juin 2022

Cours intensif d'anglais - 8 Harmos

Du 25 au 29 juillet 2022
Cours intensif / 2 h par jour sur 5 jours / contactez-nous pour plus de détails
May or may not ?
May 2022

May or may not ?

Modal verb focus : MAY


May is not just a month. It’s also a modal verb you can use when asking a very formal question or giving formal permission. Not something you likely to do every day but you never know when you might meet the Queen at the biscuit section of a supermarket.
Examples :
. “May I leave the room my Majesty ?”
. “You may leave the room.” (judge speaking, auditor, police or examiner)
. “May I interrupt you ?” (you're talking to the new Balkan CEO)
Avril 2022

Cours intensifs de français

Cours intensifs - tous niveaux
Venez rejoindre nos cours en groupe - Niveaux A1 à B2 - Tous les jours de 8h30 à 11h45
Blue-sky thinking
April 2022

Blue-sky thinking

Idiom of the day : blue-sky thinking :


It’s not dreaming… Well, it could be.

It’s not about wishing grey clouds would go away, however.

“Blue-sky thinking” refers to brainstorming with no limits.

Sounds crazy, maybe because it is a little. Removing the limits of thinking can sometimes be beneficial and get you to think in a less grounded way. It can help you find completely new ideas.

Examples :

. “The problem with Tom is that is only good at blue-sky thinking. He’s not really connected to reality.”

. “Let’s do some blue-sky thinking to try to generate some funky ideas !”
“It’s a sign/taste of things to come”
March 2022

“It’s a sign/taste of things to come”

Phrase of the day : “It’s a sign/taste of things to come” :
Use this phrase when something happens that indicates how things will be in the future.
Example :
. “Three people I know in this company have lost their jobs recently – this is a sign of things to come.”
. «I think this trend (cashless festivals) is a sign of things to come.”
. “I hope this drop in interest for reading among young people is not a sign of things to come.”
February 2022

YouTube Updated

Like vs. As: What's The Difference?
A storm in a teacup
January 2022

A storm in a teacup

Idiom of the day 


Time for an expression which sounds very British…

And yes, it’s because this idiom contains a weather and tea reference 😉
“A storm in a teacup” is “a lot of unnecessary anger and worry about a matter that is not important.”

Basically, being human.

Examples :

. “The whole fight between the two candidates turned out to be a storm in a teacup.”

Person A : “Is there still a crisis in production ?”
Person B : “No, in fact, it was nothing. Just a storm in a teacup.”

. “This disagreement between the two trainees is a storm in a teacup. There’s no need to get the manager involved.”
December 2021

Latest YouTube post

https://youtu.be/VZx7bzlWT1A
November 2021

Structure of the week : neither ... no


“My sister’s boyfriend is not kind and not good-looking.”
Sounds good ?
No, it doesn’t. Grammatically and not great news for your sister 😉



This is where the structure “neither … nor” comes in to save the day.
The boyfriend will still be disappointing but that’s another problem.
So yes, you use neither … nor when you are talking about two or more things that are not true.
Examples :
. “The new trainee is neither bright nor organised. He was a casting mistake.”
. “This new Nike advert is nor original nor eye-catching.”
September 2021

Nouveau cours d'allemand B1.1

Lundi 18h00 à 19h30

N'hésitez pas à nous contacter pour plus de détails 
New ADVANCED C1 class as per September
August 2021

New ADVANCED C1 class as per September


New class opening soon at the Balkan School of Languages…
Feel like taking your English skills to the next level ?
Here’s a class that will most certainly interest you :
CAE exam preparation
Group class
120 min. /a week

Exam date : JUNE 2022

For more details, either …

… send us an email at info@balkanschool.com
… phone us on 032 724 78 20
… come and see us at Rue du Musée 4, Neuchâtel
Read/Speak/See you soon !
How about or what about ?
June 2021

How about or what about ?


Quite a few English-speaking people don’t know the difference between “how about” and “what about” so don’t lose too much sleep over this grammar point. Accuracy is, however, something we should always aim for … Let’s not give in to the multi-tasking dictatorship and let’s further our expertise in communication.

“How about + ing ?” is used to suggest various possibilities of actions.
Examples :
. Person A : “I’ve got the afternoon off.”
. Person B : “How about going to the cinema to check out that new James Bond film – No Time To Die.”
. Person A : “I’m bored.”
. Person B : “How about listening to some Bruce Springsteen and doing the Courtney Cox dance ?”
“What about ? is generally used to talk about an objection or a potential problem.
Examples :
. Person A : “Let’s go now.”
. Person B : “What about my sister ? Aren’t you going to wait for her ?”
. Person A : “The reactor in Line B is making strange noises.”
. Person B : “What about changing the filter ?”
March 2021

Latest YouTube post

https://youtu.be/sH3QXsn2Vfk
Mars 2021

Nouveaux cours d'allemand et d'espagnol / Niveau débutant

En cours d'organisation - cours de 90 minutes en soirée - dès 3 participants
Contactez-nous pour l'envoi d'une offre détaillée
February 2021

Latest YouTube post

Follow our channel ...
Join our online courses
February 2021

Join our online courses

Do not hesitate to contact us for more info on our online courses - English - French - German - Italian - Spanish. Back to school as soon as this virus let's us ;) 
Structure focus : relative clauses
January 2021

Structure focus : relative clauses

WHEN AND WHERE :

When and where can be used as relative clauses.
We can use when with times and where with places to make it clear which time or place we are talking about.
In informal language, we often use where or when to introduce defining relative clauses instead of at which, on which.

Examples :
. I know a restaurant where the food is excellent.
. There isn’t a day when I don’t feel rushed off my feet. I need to relax more.
. Is there a quiet place where we could talk in private ?
. Do you remember the place where we caught the train?
. Stratford-upon-Avon is the town where Shakespeare was born.
December 2020

Youtube post

Follow our channel ...
ADVANCED C1
September 2020

ADVANCED C1

Cours préparatoire - ADVANCED C1 - Cambridge - Examen en juin 2021 
Lundi de 18h30 à 20h30
Joke of the week
September 2020

Joke of the week


A young guy turns up at a hotel reception:
"I'd like a single room, please."
"Certainly, sir," says the receptionist. "With bath or shower?"
The guy is a bit short of cash, so he asks, "What's the difference?"
"You have to stand in the shower," says the receptionist.

Joke vocabulary :
to turn up : se pointer (FR)
a single room : une chambre simple (FR)
to be short of : être à court de (FR)
to stand : se tenir debout (FR)

September 2020

Youtube post of the week

On our Balkan School channel .....
Septembre 2020

Nouveau cours d'allemand GOETHE B2

Un nouveau cours pour une préparation au GOETHE B2 aura lieu les jeudis de 18h30 à 20h30 dès la mi-septembre 2020.

N'hésitez pas à nous contacter pour une offre détaillée pour cette préparation à l'examen qui aura lieu en juin 2021.
Août 2020

Nouveau cours d'anglais ADVANCED C1 de Cambridge

Un nouveau cours pour une préparation à l'ADVANCED C1 de Cambridge aura lieu lundi ou mercredi de 18h30 à 20h30 dès septembre 2020.

N'hésitez pas à nous contacter pour une offre détaillée pour cette préparation à l'examen qui aura lieu en juin 2021.
Youtube Posts
June 2020

Youtube Posts

New Balkan School Channel
Juin 2020

Cours intensifs - été 2020

Contactez-nous pour les cours intensifs d'été
Cours d'anglais et allemand à différentes dates à votre disposition
Joke of the week
May 2020

Joke of the week

A man says to his neighbour,

"I have an extraordinary dog. He brings me the newspaper every morning."

The neighbor responds by saying,

"That’s nothing special. Lots of dogs do that."

The man says,

"Sure, but I don’t have a subscription."

Joke vocabulary :

a neighbour : un voisin(e) (FR)
a subscription : un abonnement (FR)
Nouveau cours d'espagnol
Avril 2020

Nouveau cours d'espagnol "débutant"

Retrouvez notre nouveau cours d'espagnol "débutant" le mardi de 18h30 à 20h00 en "online" jusqu'à nouvel avis. 
Ready for new
Mars 2020

Ready for new "online courses"

Tous nos cours ont désormais lieu par le biais de solutions "online" jusqu'à nouvel avis.


Joke of the week
Février 2020

Joke of the week

Joke of the day : Scales...


A woman was watching her husband standing on the bathroom scale, sucking in his stomach.

Thinking he was trying to weigh less with this technique, she commented, "I don't think that is going to help."

"Sure it will," he said. "It's the only way I can see the numbers..."

Joke vocabulary :

scale : une balance (FR)
to suck in : rentrer l'estomac (FR)
Joke of the week
September 2019

Joke of the week

Three more words :
Mrs. Pete Monaghan came into the newsroom to pay for her husband's obituary. She was told by the kind newsman that it was a dollar a word. Apologizing that she only had two dollars, she wrote this obituary: "Pete died."

"I remember old Pete, and he deserves more than two words," said the newsman. "I'll give you three more for free."

The widow thanked him and wrote, "Pete died. Boat for sale."

Joke vocabulary :

obituary : nécrologie (FR)
September 2019

New Italian class

A beginner's Italian class is starting soon in our school, every Monday at 6.30pm. If you'd like to join, just send us an e-mail, phone us or pop by! We'll happily send you an offer.
September 2019

New German class - GOETHE B2

A new preparation class for the Goethe B2 exam starts soon at the Balkan School of Languages! Want to join?

Pop us an e-mail, or phone us, we'll gladly send you an offer!
Décembre 2019

Cours d'anglais A1 et A2

Vous aimeriez apprendre l'anglais tout en acquérant une richesse culturelle ?

Nous vous proposons des cours d'anglais de niveau A1 qui ont lieu les mardis à 18h30 et de niveau A2 les lundis à 19h00.

Notre enseignante australienne saura vous faire voyager parmi les aborigènes.

C'est avec plaisir que nous nous tenons à votre disposition en cas d'intérêt.
September 2019

New class - Cambridge's FIRST exam preparation

A new preparation class for the Cambridge's FIRST CERTIFICATE exam will take place every Tuesday from 18h30 to 20h30. The exam is planned to take place in June 2020. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish more information!
Joke of the week
Août 2019

Joke of the week

Crossword time 

A girl is doing a crossword puzzle. Her mum is sitting next to her.
Girl : "What's a 7-letter word for 'easily perceived or understood' that starts with 'O'?"
Mum : "Isn't it obvious?"
Girl : "It should be, but I can't figure it out. That's why I'm asking."


Joke vocabulary
 
A crossword : un mot croisé (FR)
To figure out : to understand
Obvious : évident (FR)
Idiom of the day: come rain or shine
August 2019

Idiom of the day: come rain or shine


« come rain or shine » means whatever happens/the situation

Examples :

.... « Come rain or shine, I'll be at your wedding. I won't let you down brother ! »

. « Don't worry. We'll be at your seminar – come rain or shine ! »

. « Every morning at about 6am, come rain or shine, I go running 10 kms. »
Joke of the week
July 2019

Joke of the week

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?"

"Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life," her mother tried to explain, keeping it simple.

The child thought about this for a moment, then said, "So why's the groom wearing black?"


Joke vocabulary :

to attend : prendre part, participer à (FR)
to whisper : chuchoter (FR)
The bride : la mariée(FR)
The groom : le marié (FR)
Idiom of the day : it's safe to say (that)
July 2019

Idiom of the day : it's safe to say (that)

Here is a useful little structure to indicate you're confident about what you're going to say.

Examples :

. « It's safe to say that we have contained the contamination in the production zone. »

. « It's safe to say that Aston Villa FC will not get relegated next year. »

. « I think it's safe to say that he won't be putting his finger in a shark's mouth again ! »
Joke of the week
May 2019

Joke of the week

A dentist...

A guy and a girl meet at a bar.

They get along so well that they decide to go to the girl's place.
A few drinks later, the guy takes off his shirt and then washes his hands.
He then takes of his trousers and washes his hands again.
The girl watches him and says, "You must be a dentist."
The guy, surprised, says "Yes! How did you figure that out?"
"Easy," she replied, "you keep washing your hands."
They started kissing and then made love.
After the sex, the girl says, "You must be a good dentist."
The guy, now with a boosted ego says, "Sure, I'm a good dentist, How did you figure that out?"

The girl said : "Didn't feel a thing!"

Joke vocabulary :

to get along : bien s'entendre (FR)
To figure out : comprendre (FR)
boosted : augmenté (FR)
Didn't feel a thing : je n'ai rien senti (FR)
Structure Focus: What if + past simple
May 2019

Structure Focus: What if + past simple

To talk about a future possibility you can use the structure « what if + past simple »...


Examples :

. « What if I retired at 50-years old ? I'd love that. »
. « What if you were allowed to marry several women ? Would you do it ? »
. « What if we replaced the current Google logo with a completely different one ? »
Joke of the week
March 2019

Joke of the week

Joke of the week : A warning

After seeing one of her students making faces at others on the playground, Ms. Smith stopped to
gently reprimand the child.
Smiling sweetly, the school teacher said, "Johnny, when I was a child, I was told if that I made ugly faces, it would freeze and I would stay like that."
Johnny looked up and replied, "Well, Ms Smith, you can't say you weren't warned."

Joke vocabulary :
To make faces : faire des grimaces (FR)
playground : la cours de récréation (FR)
ugly faces : des grimaces (FR)
To freeze : se figer (FR)
to be warned : être averti (FR)
Idiom of the week
March 2019

Idiom of the week


Idiom of the day  : a pipe dream

A « pipe dream » is an unrealistic hope or fantasy.
Examples :
. « A good Brexit deal is a pipe dream. I hope they'll be a second vote.»
. « His plans are not realistic – he'll never become a star. Those plans will never be more than a pipe dream. »