If you have been reading the Learning English blog regularly, you must have realised that our student blogger, Lemlem, has been very quiet… From reading the comments sent to Lemlem, I know that many of you are interested in his relief work, and we are all curious to learn more. However, it seems that Lemlem is just too busy to find the time to blog, so we shall have to say good bye, and wish him all the best in his very important work. So, all that remains to do is to welcome Juliette to the blog!
Thanks for the description of St Antony in your comments, this is something I would never have known about without your input! I am not particularly superstitious myself, but I thought you might be interested in these customs relating to love and marriage. On the day of her wedding, a bride is supposed to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”. The new thing could be her wedding dress, the old thing might be a piece of jewellery passed down in her family, the borrowed thing could be her gloves or hair decorations (which have to be returned after the wedding), and as the wedding outfit is all white, you will have to use your imagination about the blue thing! This is supposed to bring the bride good luck, and my interpretation of this rhyme is that for a marriage to be successful and happy, you need the cooperation of different people: your family and friends, who will support you in many ways. I’m not sure about the “blue” part though! Maybe it was just included because it rhymes with “new”!
I guess the next custom will be the same in every country, so you won’t be surprised when I tell you that the groom (husband to be) is not supposed to see the wedding dress before the wedding. At weddings in this country, little sweets called sugared almonds are given to guests at the very end of the meal. The almonds have a very hard sugar coating on the outside, but are quite bitter when you bite into them. This is supposed to be a reminder that marriage will not always be sweet, and sometimes there will be bitterness (difficult times) as well.
I’ll end this now, enjoy the weekend everyone!
PS. My questions on Wednesday were about words with the same meanings, that is, synonyms. In the text, there were several words which meant sweetheart or beloved: special someone; loved one; person who is close to your heart. On Valentine's Day, we could also use the word valentine to mean the person we love. By the way, it's a day for lovers in the UK, rather than a celebration of friendship! We use synonyms to (a) add interest and variety to our writing. Another important use of synonyms in writing is (b) for emphasis. If we need to repeat a keyword several times, it is better to use a different type of synonym: a summary word. Look at this:
The teacher described several superstitions relating to marriage in England. The students were already familiar with most of these examples, however, and most of them stopped listening to her talk. Seeing their bored faces, the teacher quickly realised it was time to end her description, and moved onto a new task.
In this case, examples and description are summary words referring to superstitions. A summary word contains the meaning of the keyword. Use of summary words adds emphasis without repetition of keywords. Here are some more summary words (all nouns):
idea / situation / decision / case / suggestion / matter / issue
problem / difficulty / challenge / trouble / concern / worry
Tell me about superstitions in your country.
How many synonyms and summary words can you use in your comments?
USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
wish someone all the best (phrase)
Used to describe the hope that things will go well for someone.
Used to describe someone who believes in superstitions.
Custom or belief which is based on tradition or folk beliefs.
pass down (verb)
To leave your personal possesions for someone, to be given away on your death
The man the bride will marry!
Words with the same meaning.
A word which contains an important idea.
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