HELLO FROM SAMANTHA
Hello again to Lidia and our World Service readers,
Thanks again to Lidia for another interesting and informative blog. As soon as I started reading Lidia’s blog about weather in Russia, I was reminded of comments I have received in the past about England. Today, I feel as though I’m the student and Lidia is the teacher! What Lidia has drawn attention to is national stereotypes, which are often incorrect, or as Lidia points out, based on classical literature or old films. Thank you for drawing attention to this and correcting our stereotypes! The experiences you relate are very funny and I do sympathise with you, Lidia!
When I was living abroad, people often asked me why England was always foggy! Eventually I realised that they had formed this impression from watching old black and white films such as Sherlock Holmes, Wuthering Heights, or adaptations of Charles Dickens’ novels like Oliver Twist. In these films it often was smoky or foggy, but I think it was intended to create a menacing or frightening atmosphere. I suppose before the days of cheap airline travel, films were the main contact most people would have with another country. So it's not surprising that national stereotypes are still so common in the popular imagination. Today, as well as airline travel, thankfully, we have the internet! It allows us to communicate in ways which would have been unimaginable even twenty years ago. This blogging site is an example of the opportunities now available to all of us to form new and international communities, and break down stereotypes …
If I can move onto the language of Wednesday’s blog, you have used some great vocabulary and expressions again: I saw the first snow (phrase); people can’t understand how it is possible for…(relative clause); the bathroom was like a fridge for me (humour!). Great! Keep it up!
Now, I’d like to look at a few verbs. Some verbs do not need a preposition, they are followed immediately by their object: ask, answer, wear and influence all take a direct object. The prepositions here are unecessary:
i. they ask [to] me how we “poor” Russian people can survive in the cold winter [paragraph 2]
ii. I can answer [to] you [paragraph 4]
iii. All the time I was wearing [in] a scarf, two pullovers, jeans. [paragraph 4]
iv. And we miss our sun and it can influence [on] people’s mood. [paragraph 6].
Yesterday I asked you to think about three sentences which showed uncountable nouns taking an article:
i. Eating chocolates is a pleasure I would find difficult to give up.
ii. He gave me the answers I needed.
iii. I was so lucky to have an experience that would change life for ever.
As a few readers pointed out in their comments, the reason the nouns (pleasure / answers / experience) all take a article in these examples is because they refer to specific examples or cases. As Melody, Platon, Jill and Wiesiek explain, each noun relates to a single, finite situation.
The opposite form of this usage is where uncountable nouns refer to general situations or beliefs:
i. Pleasure is sometimes accompanied by regret or the awareness that everything must come to an end. (general condition)
ii. I was happy to receive answers from all over the world. (comment which does not give details)
iii. Experience comes with time. (general belief)
That’s all for now, I’m looking forward to reading tomorrow’s blog and all of the comments from the rest of you!
Good night everyone,
What is a role reversal (today's title)? Have you ever experienced role reversal?
USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
containing information, educational
national stereotypes (noun)
overly simple, often inaccurate image of a country and its people
draw attention to something (verb)
to emphasise, bring to light, bring to notice
share an experience with someone / understand their point of view
form an impression of something (verb)
to believe, have an idea about something
here, used to mean a film version of a novel
posing danger, threatening
popular imagination (noun)
commonly accepted ideas / beliefs
impossible to imagine
keep it up (phrase/interjection)
used here to mean continue with the good work, don't give up, try your best
at, by, in, on, over, to, under (etc)
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