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Olympic English Lessons in the Media

Friday, March 5th, 2010


If English, baby! were a country and English lessons made at the Olympics were medals, with 14 different English lessons from this year’s winter Olympics in Vancouver, we would be in 7th place in the medal count, right between Korea and China.

Among our gold medal victories, you could count the two lessons we created with gold medalist figure skaters Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue, who helped us teach “lift” and “head over heels.” The Willamette Week newspaper took note of these lessons. But China is completely head over heels for them. One of these got more than 60,000 views on 56.com in the first week, and the other was just posted on the learning homepage at china.org.cn!

Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue are Olympic legends. But we also had the pleasure of meeting some young athletes at their first games. Half pipe snowboarder Liu Jiayu taught our members what it means to ride “goofy” and along with her teammates Sun Zhifeng and Cai Xuetong, what it means to “drop in.” I’d say these count as gold medals as well if only because CCTV (Chinese state television) was there for the lessons as well and did a story about the athletes testing their English skills upon arriving in Canada.

Without a doubt, our funniest lesson of the Games was “cold as ice” which we filmed at the men’s luge competition. “Pass the torch” was also a standout because we got to interview someone who carried the Olympic torch. These must be worth silver.

So in the bronze category are all the lessons we created without the help of a competition or athlete, but on our own with the people we met in Vancouver. These Olympics were such an incredible party–the streets were always packed with people from all over the world. We met a lot of them in our lesson on “break the ice,” when we went shopping for ice skates in “cheapskate,” and when we raced them on the ice at Robson Square to illustrate what it means to “fly by.”

Our local NBC affiliate even did a story about our Olympic victories. It’s a great clip, and it was so cool to see our logo in the center of the NBC Olympic Zone!

Of course, there were times when we took some spills, had to smooth over problems, and got distracted with our heads in the clouds. But in the end, I succeeded in saving my friends, which was the goal all along! It’s cool that everyone from NBC to CCTV and EducationNews.org to our local paper took note!

And we can’t forget, that like any good Olympic team, we had a great sponsor. Thanks ETS! TOEFL – go anywhere from here.

Gold Medal English Lessons with Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Olympic gold medalists Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue on English, baby!

Just when we thought interviewing the Chinese snowboarding team was as good as it could get for us during our visit to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics to help our members learn English, we got an incredible opportunity. A few days after winning the gold medal in pairs figure skating, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo met with English, baby! outside the skating practice facility in Vancouver.

This couple is one of the best stories of the Olympics. After skating together for more than 17 years, Zhao Hongbo proposed to Shen Xue on the ice in 2007. This year, the pair came out of retirement to try for Olympic gold, the only championship they had not yet claimed, and in Vancouver, their dreams came true.

Our dreams came true when Honbgo agreed to lift Xue for us in this lesson on the term “lift.”

After we got to know each other a bit, we asked Hongbo and Xue to do another lesson on the phrase “head over heels.” You can really see how warm these athletes are in this rare look at their personal side. This video was an immediate hit in China. It got more than 50,000 views in the first weekend on this Chinese video site without us promoting it at all!

As far as we know, this was the only English interview Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue gave while in Canada. We are so honored to have been able to participate in a little bit of their gold medal moment.

申雪 赵宏博 甜蜜拥抱, 并用英文表示他们有多相爱!

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

申雪和赵宏博是人人稱羨的情侶,赵宏博在東京世錦賽比賽結束後向申雪的求婚,是個大家都知道的浪漫故事。訪問前可以看見申雪用手幫赵宏博梳理頭髮, 夫妻關懷之情自然流露。

先問他們怎麼學英文的,赵宏博先說 “在學校學的“,然後一時語塞,申雪馬上替赵宏博接口用英文說 “但是不夠“ 。他們的感情也在他們時時甜蜜微笑相擁時展露。

因為希望可以請申雪和赵宏博教大家什麼是 “Head over Heels”,我們也問了他們何時知道他們深陷爱河的,申雪和赵宏博異口同聲的說“2007年”。再問是突然有一刻感受到他們深陷愛河呢,還是慢慢體會到的,申雪回答,他们在一起多年了,愛情是慢慢产生的。

这是他们身为一对已婚夫后首次参加奥运,还获得了奥运金牌。赵宏博說 “我们知道,即使我们没有拿到冠军,我们也会开开心心的体验这次奥运会”。
赵宏博解释说,夺得金牌并不比与妻子一起比最后一次比赛重要。很明显的,他们互相深爱。English, baby! 覺得申雪和赵宏博把 “Head over Heels”教的很好。

冬奥会金牌赢家赵宏博、申雪教全世界英文

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

English, baby! 的网站访客来自世界各国。我们经常访问名人、运动员、和演艺人员,并请他们教英文,帮助世界各地的人学习英语。这次我们很高兴有机会访问中国冬奥会金牌赢家赵宏博和申雪。我们知道他们在中国及世界滑冰界里大有名气,他们能够在十五年的专业运动生涯结束前拿到冬奥金牌,划下完美句点,全世界都为之感动。

在访问中,赵宏博、申雪展现了他们优秀的英文能力及绝佳的亲和力,问到他们知不知道什么是一个“Lift”,赵宏博轻松回答并表示是他们滑冰节目里三项之一。申雪的话比较少,但是可以看出她和赵宏博之间深深的默契,当问他们可不可以亲身示范一下什么是 “Lift“,申雪将双手交给赵宏博,我们眼前的下一幕就是赵宏博轻而易举的将申雪举在半空中!看过这英文视频后,我们相信English, baby!各国的会员都学会了一个新英文单字!在这里看赵宏博和申雪示范 “Lift”!

Learning with Liu Jiayu at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Liu Jiayu

So many Olympic sports come down to perfection. Can you do what you are attempting to do perfectly? In the luge, a few thousandths of a second can separate the competitors, and in half pipe snowboarding, one small wobble can cost you the gold.

And so it was with Liu Jiayu on Thursday night in the ladies’ half pipe finals, who just a few days before taught an English lesson on the term “goofy” for English, baby! Unlike the men’s half pipe, in which Shaun White just got so much higher than everyone else and was the undisputed victor, the ladies’ competition could have been won by any of the competitors going into the second run. Liu Jiayu–who entered the competition ranked 2nd–came into the final run in fourth place. She looked so good up until her final trick, when her board grazed the blue rim of the half pipe. She didn’t fall, but she wobbled, and instantly she and everyone watching knew, she would not advance past fourth.

But as this Chinese new article points out, fourth is a huge victory in this event for China which had never fielded a finalist before. This year, they had two–Sun Zhifeng, who English, baby! also interviewed earlier this week–qualified as well and finished 7th.

So while she was explaining what it means to ride goofy earlier in the week (although she rides regular), Liu Jiayu actually ended up demonstrating the other meaning of goofy–you know, funny looking and silly. Because for a split second after she hit the rim of the half pipe on that final run, she looked a little goofy catching her balance. But at age 18, I have a feeling the world will be getting to know Liu Jiayu better over the next few years and that she will continue to demonstrate how uncharacteristic that goofy moment was.

冬奥单板滑雪新星刘佳宇教英文

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Liu Jiayu

直至几年前,冬季单板滑雪运动只有少数的追随者,如今单板滑雪风靡全球。

单板滑雪一直是美国强项,但是这次冬奥,世界各国注意到中国选手在单板滑雪的快速崛起,这都归功于这次冬奥开始展露头角的中国新星刘佳宇。中国单板滑雪女子U型池从2004年组队参加国际比赛,迄今只有六年时间,刘佳宇差一点站在冬奥会领奖台上!

English, baby! 在冬奥赛前就注意到中国单板滑雪新星刘佳宇。在温哥华访问刘佳宇时,她用简单的英文接受了访问,问到她是如何学英文的,她说是自学的。年纪轻轻的她, 还真好学!

在一段Ebaby! “Drop In” 的英文课程视频里,她先解释了”Drop In” 在单板滑雪中不同于一般的用法。

我们也请她教大家另一个单板滑雪的入门英文单字。在英文里,“Goofy” 一般是用来形容古怪的人,但是你知道“Goofy” 在单板滑雪中是什么意思吗?刘佳宇在Ebaby!英文视频”Drop In“中示范给你看!

Speaking English with Sun Zhifeng, Cai Xuetong and Liu Jiayu (孙志峰、蔡雪彤、刘佳宇)

Friday, February 19th, 2010

china still 6

If it weren’t for the cameras, you wouldn’t have known they were Olympic athletes. At the airport, the Chinese snowboarding team just looked like a bunch of kids arriving in Vancouver to head up to the mountain.

Two media outlets were there to capture the arrival of the greatest foreign threat to a sport dominated by Americans, CCTV–the NBC of China–and English, baby!

CCTV’s coverage aired that night. The story took the angle that the athletes’ first challenge in Canada was to use their English skills with the media.

The athletes acted like seasoned, secretive stars and didn’t give any in-depth responses to questions from the CCTV reporter. Luckily, we weren’t looking for anything in-depth from them, we were just hoping to have fun making a couple of English lessons. Take a look at our first video with Liu Jiayu(刘佳宇), Sun Zhifeng(孙志峰), and Cai Xuetong(蔡雪彤), a lesson on the phrase “drop in.”

The finals for women’s half pipe are just about to start and we are excited to see how Liu Jiayu and Sun Zhifeng, who made it through the preliminary rounds will do!

English, baby! 訪問中国冬奧单板滑雪选手刘佳宇、蔡雪彤、孙志峰

Friday, February 19th, 2010

china still 6

在温哥华机场, English, baby! 有幸访问了中国冬奥单板滑雪队, 选手刘佳宇也教大家在单板滑雪上”Drop in” 的用法。

目前三位中国冬奥选手刘佳宇、蔡雪彤、及孙志峰, 在单板滑雪女子U型池排名世界第二、三、四名。他们有望冲击奖牌, 甚至金牌。

选手们在访问时有点害羞,但是成功的用英文表达了他们参加冬奥的心情,蔡雪彤表示他是第一次参加奥运,孙志峰则是很高兴来到温哥华。

Drop in” 在英文通常表示非正式或突然的访问某人,刘佳宇在Ebaby!视频中教大家”Drop in” 在单板滑雪中不同的用法。在这里看Ebaby!英文视频课程学”Drop in“的用法。

Vancouver or bust!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

In just a few hours we are heading to Vancouver to make English lesson videos at the 2010 Winter Olympics. In honor of our departure, take a look at our Olympic preview lesson on “go for the gold.” We are seriously aiming high. There should be some major adventures on this trip. Get ready to be surprised over the next two weeks.

It’s not often you get to go to the Olympics by car. Driving to the Olympics is going to be really fun! We’re lucky to have them so close to us, just a half-day’s drive away.

Here’s a little English lesson. When you’re getting ready to travel somewhere, you can announce the place you’re going and say “or bust” afterward. This means, “We’re going to get there no matter what!” or “We’ll get there or die trying!” Sometimes in the US you’ll see cars with things like “Las Vegas or Bust!” written on the windows. You know the people inside are on a fun road trip if you see that.

But after watching our Olympic preview video, you’ll know Jason isn’t joking around when he says “Vancouver or bust!” He has a serious mission up there. Wish him luck, and get ready to learn a lot of English on the journey!

The Olympic Spirit…Of Spandex!

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

skate
In just over a week, the greatest event in the world for spandex will begin. No, it’s not a professional wrestling championship, it’s the Winter Olympics, of course!

From bobsledders to skiers, Olympic athletes from every country wear lots of spandex. Here at English, baby!, the team we’re sending to Vancouver to bring back lessons on winter sports idioms is no different. Today we launched our official Ebaby! at the Vancouver Olympics page, and the most important element of our Olympic uniforms just arrived–the Ebaby! blue spandex body suit!

The photo is me in my speed skating pose, and as you can see, the theme of “something you’d be a little embarrassed to wear in public” carries over from our 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics uniforms. I think that wearing silly outfits helps encourage people we meet to participate in our videos. Even if you stumble on your words or lose at the game we’re playing, there’s no way you’ll dumber than us!

We stood out so much on the streets of Beijing that strangers stopped to take pictures of us. I wonder if we’ll be such a spectacle in Vancouver. We can’t get too distracted being ridiculous–we’ve been hard at work planning the best ways to create educational and memorable English lessons at the Olympics. We’re dedicated to bringing home even more gold (so to speak) than the videos made in Beijing. Take a look at our new Olympic banner and get ready!

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