on the ball...
Anastasia, you really are on the ball with the blogs. I can understand that you have plenty of time to dedicate to blogging now that you are temporarily unemployed. Great to hear that you are using the extra time to extend your learning of languages. You gave a very comprehensive history of your home town, what’s it like to live there? Perhaps you could describe the city as it is today, what facilities do you have there, do people live in houses or apartments and how do people get around? I’d like to have a mental picture of where you live as I’m sure it’s very different from places I have lived in.
I had to smile when I saw the photo of you in your ‘winter’ coat and your comment about Greens! Many Russians living in Beijing wear fur coats and this shocked me at first but I guess it’s the norm in Russia to do so. Although you looked as snug as a bug in it, fur coats are very controversial as I’m sure you know but different cultures have very different perspectives on it.
I’m in the middle of a busy day and have been rushing here and there to finish off work before the hols start. I’m an IELTS examiner, not sure if you are familiar with that exam but I had to mark exam papers today, then to tutor some Japanese students and finally another class from my home. Now my husband and daughter have gone to the pub to meet some friends there and left me at home to get some peace and quiet in order to write this blog. The great thing about today had been that travelling around the city is super fast due to the fact that most people are off work and at home. So the streets are roads are relatively empty compared to the usual mayhem and my travel time today halved as a consequence.
Thanks everyone for the replies to my blogs so far.Adriana from Brazil, James (Zhih-Cheng Wu) from Taiwan, Pary from Iran, Abida from Islamabad, Pakistan, Paulraj from India, Leila and Paulray many thanks for your comments.
Naheed I really don’t know whey Brits adore Indian food so much, Indian restaurants can be found over the length and breadth of the UK and are very popular but I can’t put my finger on the reason why!
Hyoshil (chin up, sorry you feel homesick!) and Brian from Taiwan both mentioned the terrible weather conditions that have swept across China over the last week or so, thank you both for your concern and luckily I’m in Beijing which hasn’t been hit by the severe weather conditions. It’s sad to think of all the people waiting at train stations in the freezing cold trying to get back to their hometowns but to no avail. According to the news many people in different provinces will be left without electricity this holiday and in these sub-zero temperatures it doesn’t bear thinking about.
Beatriz from Montevideo, Uruguay regarding the Spanish idiom you told me about, in English we do say “It’s all Chinese to me!” sometimes for things we don’t understand. Brian from Taiwan, well done for using the idioms correctly in your post-that was great and keep at it!
Paco and Kirsti asked me about my use of ‘I ‘, in the last blog, yes where I have used 'I 'in the examples you mentioned, using ‘me’ is also possible. Paco also wondered why I used the phrase ‘take out food’ instead of ‘take away food’; both phrases mean the same Paco, ‘take out’ is a North Americanism. Mixing with so many different nationalities here has meant that I often interchange between British English and some American English unconsciously.
Although I haven’t read ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, I watched the film which starred Nicholas Cage. I also visited the Greek island where it was filmed, one year after the movie was released. A vast majority of the local Greeks were cast in the movie as extras and nearly every small shop or restaurant had a picture of the owner(s) standing next to Nicolas Cage and the other actors which was pinned proudly to their walls!
Back to books, I have no choice but to read numerous books simultaneously and I’ll tell you why. One book is my reading for pleasure book, usually a modern fiction or classic, the second book is a novel that I am teaching my students and the other book (s) are related to my study that are compulsory reading. I’m in the last year of a Master’s degree in Psychology and the amount of reading I need to do is phenomenal.
The book I just finished ‘Fahrenheit 451’ gives some food for thought. The author says his aim in the novel was to 'prevent the future, not predict it'.I’ll give you a brief synopsis… the protagonist , Guy Montag is a fireman who lives in a society in which books are illegal and his job is not to extinguish fires but to start them; firemen must burn all books and the houses they are found in. Firemen wear the number ‘451’ on their uniforms as this is the temperature at which books burn. This role reversal of firemen is not the only difference between present day society and Montag’s world-his contemporaries live only for light hearted entertainment and pleasure, taking no interest in politics, world issues or even the upbringing of their own children. People in Montag’s society are shallow and spend their time watching TV screens that take up three of the four walls in their living rooms. Out of the blue, Montag meets a young girl, Clarisse whose questions act like a slap in the face for Montag and make him realize that there might be more to life than the electronic entertainment that absorbs the whole society. Clarisse makes him wonder about life beyond the TV screens and causes him to reflect on life and its meaning. Montag’s new found curiosity leads him to take an interest in books, the very thing that he is supposed to burn and destroy, this interest in literature leads him into deep trouble.
I’m not going to divulge any more of the story just in case you ever get to read it. Also one of my pet hates is when people recommend a book or movie to you and spill the beans by telling you the whole story including how it ends! Knowing the ending, for me, ruins the book or the film-what’s your opinion on that?
I think that the strategy you employ when reading to learn new vocabulary is extremely useful and a great tip to share with other learners of English; this technique obviously works very well for you and it’s very diligent and motivated of you to self-study in this way. Can I ask you whether you have a good English language learning environment? Can you watch TV in English, are there other competent speakers of English around you, do you have contact with many native speakers for example?
About one of your native languages, Udmurt, roughly how many speakers of this language are there? What language do you speak at home and in your home town? Is Urmurt mainly spoken in the Republic with everyone able to speak Russian as a kind of second language? Do you think that having knowledge and fluency in your two different Mother tongues had aided you in your study of English; do you think you will acquire Spanish and Italian more quickly as a result?
I’ll use your number references to the corrections you did on your mistakes;
1) ‘rime’ is an extremely archaic word that I have never seen used in contemporary English. The last time I read the word ‘rime’ was in a Coleridge poem called ‘January Frost’, where it is used as a synonym for frost. Therefore you should have just used ‘frost’ in your sentence
2) Yes ‘plane ticket’
3) ‘Isolated’ is a good choice but if you extract ‘up’ from your original sentence it would be correct.
4) The sentence should read ‘There I, an eighteen year old girl, was impressed…..’
Well, I’ll be off now and will leave you with a little picture to say Happy Chinese New Year (xin nian kuai le!!!)
PS I’ll nit pick a few errors in the next blog from you Anastasia! And I’ll be asking more about your wedding plans!
On the ball to be very alert and aware
comprehensive(adj) thorough, includes everything
snug as a bug warm and cosy
controversial (adj) causes public discussion and arguements
mayhem (n) chaos and confusion
length and breadth the whole area
to put one's finger on something/somebody to identify the exact reason
chin up cheer up
simultaneously (adv) two things happening at the same time
compulsory(adj) somethng that is necessary and must be done
phenomenal (adj) remarkable, extraordinary
food for thought something to think deeply about
synopsis (n) a summary of a book, play or film
protagonist (n) the main character
extinguish (v) put out flames/fire
divulge (v) to make a secret known
spill the beans to reveal information, especially secret information
archaic (adj) no longer in current use
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