Session 1

Millions of people finish their messages with an X, which means ‘kiss’ in English. Learn how X came to mean ‘kiss’ in today’s episode!
ብዙዎች የፅሁፍ መልዕክቶቻቸው መጨረሻ ላይ የኤክስ ምልክትን ያደርጋሉ፤ ይህም በእንግሊዝኛ ስሜሃለሁ ወይንም ስሜሻለሁ እንደማለት ነው። በዛሬው ዝግጅታችን የኤክስ ምልክት እንደምን መሳምን የሚወክል ሊሆን እንደቻል ይማራሉ።

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Why does X mean ‘kiss’ in English?

Millions of people finish their messages with an X, which means ‘kiss’ in English. Learn how X came to mean ‘kiss’ in today’s episode!
ሚሊዮኖች የእንግሊዝኛ የፅሁፍ መልዕክቶቻቸውን ሲጨርሱ የኤክስ ምልክትን ያደርጋሉ፤ ይህም ስሜሃለሁ ወይም ስሜሻለሁ ማለት ነው። በዛሬው ዝግጅታችን የኤክስ ምልክት እንደምን መሳሳምን የሚወክል ሊሆን እንደቻል ይማራሉ።

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Consider the following questions:

  • How long have people been speaking your native language?
  • Does your language ‘borrow’ words or symbols from other languages? What are they?

Listen to the audio and take the quiz.

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ምህረተስላሴ
ጤና ይስጥልን፤ የእንግሊዝኛ ዜናዎችን ለመረዳት የሚያስችል ቋንቋ ወደምናስተምርበት ‘ሊስን ሂር’ መሰናዶ እንኳን በደህና መጡ። ምህረተስላሴ እባላለሁ። 

Tom
And I'm Tom! Hi everybody

ምህረተስላሴ
በዛሬው ዝግጅታችን በፅሁፍ መልዕክት መደምደሚያ ላይ የ 'X' ምልክት ሲቀመጥ መሳምን ስለመወከሉ እንማራለን። Do you put Xs on the end of your messages, Tom?

Tom
I do, actually, yes, but only with my mother!

ምህረተስላሴ
በቅድሚያ የምናዳምጠው ከቢቢሲ ሬዲዮ ፎር፤ ወርድ ኦፍ ማውዝ መርኃ ግብር የተቀነጨበ ንግግር ነው። መደምደሚያው ላይ የኤክስ ምልክት የተጻፈበት የመጀመሪያው ደብዳቤ የተፃፈው መቼ ነበር? ስንት የመሳም ምልክቶችስ ይዞ ነበር? የምልክቶቹን ብዛት ያዳምጡ።

Insert
Woman

Well, we've been adding Xs, for kisses, at the bottom of our letters, since at least 1763, so the very first one we know of had seven Xs!

Tom
She said 'since at least 1763'!

ምህረተስላሴ
Wow! More than 250 years ago! And she said there were seven Xs!

Tom
That's right! 'X' starts with a vowel sound.
Often, words which begin with vowel sounds can take the last sound of the word which comes before. 'Seven Xs', then, is pronounced 'seveNexes'. I could also say 'seveNever'.
Listen again for 'seveNexes'. Which verb and preposition come before?

Insert
Woman

Well, we’ve been adding Xs, for kisses, at the bottom of our letters, since at least 1763, so the very first one we know of had seven Xs!

Tom
She said 'the very first one we know of'.

ምህረተስላሴ
አንድ ነገር መኖሩን ብናውቅም ዘርዘር ያለ መረጃ እንደሌለን ለመግለፅ 'know of'ን እንጠቀማለን።

Tom
So, we know of a piece of evidence – this is the old letter which contains Xs.

ምህረተስላሴ
'know about' ስለ አንድ ጉዳይ ጠለቅ ያለ ዕውቀት እንዳለን የሚያመላክት ሀረግ ነው።

Tom
We know of the letter, but we still don't understand our main question! We need to know about X. Why does X mean kiss in English?

ምህረተስላሴ
Let's listen to the rest of the clip for the answer! ኤክስ የተባለው ሆሄ የተወሰደው ከምንድን ነው? የሚነበበውስ እንዴት ነው?

Insert
Woman
We get X from the Roman alphabet, which got it from the Greek alphabet, pronounced 'kss'. And the Romans certainly found it good for…

Man
Oh! That's nearly a kiss, isn't it?!

Woman
Yeah, it is, isn't it? I think a penny's just dropped there.

Tom
So, X comes from the Roman alphabet! And they pronounced it 'kss'.

ምህረተስላሴ

Exactly! The Roman alphabet የሮማን ፍኖተ ሆሄ ማለት ነው። በድጋሚ እናዳምጥ። ሁለቱ አቅራቢዎች ነገሩን እንደተረዱት ለማረጋገጥ ምን አይነት ጥያቄ ተጠቀሙ?


Insert
Woman
We get X from the Roman alphabet, which got it from the Greek alphabet pronounced 'kss'. And the Romans certainly found it good for…

Man
Oh! That's nearly a kiss, isn't it?!

Woman
Yeah, it is, isn't it?

ምህረተስላሴ

አቅራቢዎቹ የተጠቀሙት የማረጋገጫ ጥያቄዎችን ነው፤ እነዚህ በአረፍተ ነገር መጨረሻ ላይ የሚመጡ ጥያቄዎች ናቸው።

Tom
So, after 'it is', we could say 'isn't it'.

ምህረተስላሴ

ትክክል። ሁለቱም ጥያቄዎች ተናጋሪዎቹ ምላሽ እንደሚጠብቁ በሚያሳይ ከፍ ያለ ቅላፄ ቀርበዋል።

Tom
That's right! Repeat after me. We'll begin with the stressed question. Ready?

isn't it?
it is, isn't it?
Yeah, it is, isn't it?

ምህረተስላሴ
አሁን ሁለቱም አቅራቢዎች በማረጋገጫ ጥያቄዎቹ አማካይነት ዕውቀታቸውን አሳይተዋል። አዲስ ስላገኙት መረጃ አስተያየት ለመስጠት የተጠቀሙበት አባባል ምንድን ነው?

Insert
Man
Oh! That's nearly a kiss, isn't it?!

Woman
Yeah, it is, isn't it? I think a penny's just dropped there.

Tom
They used the idiom 'the penny's dropped'.

ምህረተስላሴ
'the penny has dropped' በስተመጨረሻ ስለአንድ ነገር ግንዛቤ ማግኘታችንን ይገልጻል።

Tom
Hopefully, the penny's dropped for you, too, now we know about X, and we know why it means kiss in English. I think this is a good time to finish, isn't it?

ምህረተስላሴ

That's right! በዚህ ሳምንት Listen here! ዝግጅታችን አብራችሁን ስለቆያችሁ እናመሰግናለን።

Tom
See you next week everybody! And I'm signing off with an X!

Language features

Sound linking
Cosonant to vowel linking is when the first word ends with a consonant sound and the second word begins with a vowel sound. 

‘SEVen EXes’ becomes ‘seveNEXes’.

Tag questions
Tag questions come at the end of a clause. We use them to check our understanding of something, or ask for confirmation. The auxiliary verb in the tag questions matches that of the clause.

When the first clause is positive, the tag question is negative.

You’re an English teacher, aren’t you?

If the first clause is negative, the question is positive.

School isn’t open next week, is it?

If the first clause does not contain an auxiliary verb, we need to add one to the second clause.

You work in the bank, don’t you?

The penny has dropped
This is an idiomatic expression we use when we have finally learned or realised something. It implies a period of waiting has taken place. The expression is flexible – we can use it in different tenses.

I studied Spanish grammar for six months before the penny dropped! Now I can speak easily and fluently.

Thanks for explaining our homework! The penny has finally dropped and I won’t need any more help.


Sources
Today’s clip is from BBC Radio 4’s Word of Mouth:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qtnz/episodes/player

 

Why does X mean ‘kiss’ in English?

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ትክክለኛውን መልስ ይምረጡ

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ሌሎችም ጠቃሚ የቋንቋ መሰረታዊያን ለመማር እና የማዳመጥ ክህሎትዎን በመለማመድ ለማዳበር በቀጣዩ ሊስን ሂር መሰናዶ ይጠብቁን።

Session Vocabulary

  • Xs
    የኤክስ ሆሄ ብዙ ሲሆን

    alphabet
    ፍኖተ ሆሄ

    know of
    ማወቅ (ብዙ ዝርዝር ጉዳዮችን ሳናውቅ ስንቀር የምንጠቀመው)

    know about
    ማወቅ (ዘርዘር ወይንም ጠለቅ ያለ ዕውቀት ሲኖረን የምንጠቀመው)

    the penny has dropped
    አንድ ሰው ሳያውቀው የቆየውን ነገር አሁን ተገንዝቦታል