Learn English with Ted Talk: English Manias

Looking for inspiration to learn English? Ted Talks are an interesting way to stimulate your mind while also informing you on remarkable or pressing subjects in today’s ever-changing world. Today, we will focus on a short Ted Talk by Jay Walker, given in 2009 but still as relevant as ever, about the growing need for English and how it is the language of problem solving. Have a watch here:

After listening, how did you find the vocabulary? Difficult? Well have no fear, here are some exercises you can do to learn the vocabulary once again. After doing this, have another listen and see if you recognize any of the words!

Manias Vocabulary Exercises

Match the vocabulary to their definitions.

Starbucks Milano – L’invasione americana a Milano

Watch this YouTube video from CBS (published November  25th 2017) and listen for the following phrases:

  • “coffee is simple and straightforward
  • “makes for awkward conversation here”
  • “tradition runs deep
  • “is Italian coffee culture under threat?”
  • “are catering to American tastes
  • “to stay at the counter
  • “there’s plenty
  • lamenting the looming US import”
  • “to concoct something else strong”
  • “to hold their ground

Can you hear them? Listen again to check.

milan starbucks opening coffee controversy news video

What do they mean? Look at the alternatives below:

  • coffee is not complicated, and easy to do
  • causes uncomfortable conversation
  • tradition is very serious and old
  • is Italian coffee culture in danger?
  • are giving Americans what they are accustomed to
  • to remain at the bar surface, not at the table
  • there’s a lot
  • expressing sadness about the imminent American import
  • to create something else strong
  • to stay where they are, to not retreat

Have you visited the new Milan Starbucks yet? Or Starbucks in another country? Tell us what you think about it’s arrival in Milan in the comments below!

To practice your English further, write a summary of what you watched in the video. Include your own opinions if you’d like!

milan starbucks opening coffee controversy news video

Key phrases to know for Fashion Week

Fashion week is here!

Milan Fashion Week 2018 means that the city is full of models, designers and celebrities. Everybody’s talking about fashion, both positively and negatively, and with all these foreign people visiting the city during the week there’s even more English being spoken than usual!

If you want to join in the conversations though, you’ll need to know some fashion-specific vocabulary to help you sound like a true expert!

  • Catwalk/Runway [noun]

The long, narrow stage that models walk along in a fashion show.

milan fashion week vocabulary

  • Pattern [noun]

Any regularly repeated arrangement, especially a design made from repeated lines, shapes, or colours on a surface.

milan fashion week vocabulary

  • Mannequin [noun]

A large model of a human being, used to show clothes.

milan fashion week vocabulary

  • Accessories [noun]

Something added to clothing that has a useful or decorative purpose. e.g. She wore a green suit with matching accessories (shoes, hat, bag, etc.).

milan fashion week vocabulary

  • Baggy [adjective]

Something that hangs loosely because it’s too big or has been stretched. Opposite = tight.

milan fashion week vocabulary

  • Pose [verb]

To move into and stay in a particular position, in order to be photographed or painted.

milan fashion week vocabulary

  • Must-have [noun]

A must-have product is a fashionable one that a lot of people want to own.

milan fashion week vocabulary

  • Tweed [noun]

A thick material made from wool of several different colours. e.g. A tweed jacket.


OK? Get them? Now practice using them in sentences, and then try our quiz (below) to check that you’re perfect!

Fashion Week

Match the vocabulary with the definition.