What is culture?
Hello again and many thanks for your comments – maybe I should get a job with the Scottish tourist board!
As I was looking at the link Taru put in her post about the summer school project she’s involved in, I noticed that they are doing a ‘Cross-cultural Development’ course. Now that’s a coincidence…. I’ve recently been discussing the subject of ‘culture’ and cross-cultural awareness with some of my classes, and we’ve been discussing questions such as: How can we define culture? What exactly is it? How does it affect us? How can we be more aware of our own culture and other cultures? We’ve been listening to an interesting series of programmes called ‘Who on Earth are we?’ Why not give some of them a listen?
BBC LE - Talk about English: Who on Earth are We?
I’d be fascinated to know some of your views on culture and its importance in our lives.
Did any of you manage to look up any of those words and phrases from my last post? If not, a) Why not? :-) and b) Here are some definitions:
Get ahead of oneself - to do or say something sooner than you should.
Far-flung - a place that is a great distance away or spread over a large area
Get itchy feet - to feel a desire to travel, visit new places, move on
…or so – an example of ‘vague language’ meaning approximately/about
Get a handle on - to gain a (better) understanding of something
It’s high time – means that something should already have been done, or something cannot be delayed any longer
Fiendishly – extremely (usually found with words like difficult/hard/complex)
Small talk – conversation which has no real importance but it is to pass time, for example talking about the weather.
The exception that proves the rule – although the specific example doesn’t follow the general rule, the statement is usually true.
Squeeze in – to fit something in
Gearing up for – preparing/getting ready for
Flat out – as fast or as hard as possible
Off the beaten track – a remote place, not often visited and away from the usual tourist routes
Give you a feel for – to give you an impression or idea of what something is like
It can be difficult finding out the meaning of idioms and phrasal verbs using normal dictionaries. I’ve found the Cambridge Online dictionary very useful as you can search the idioms and phrasal verbs dictionaries online. You just need to go to the link below and, where it says ‘Select another dictionary’, choose ‘Idioms’ or ‘Phrasal verbs’. Simple! Make sure you type in what you think is the key word. For example, in the phrase ‘off the beaten track’ it makes more sense to search for ‘track’ than ‘off’. Try it…
Cambridge Dictionaries online
Taru, in general, your writing is very clear and communicates your message effectively. I like the fact that you do not always settle for the simplest way to say something – you are inventive and try to use more complex and imaginative structures. I really liked your description of the karaoke singer – it’s funny the idea of a singer who strikes fear into your heart yet at the same time fills you with anticipation. Sounds a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest…
A few points to consider:
Do you know the difference between how we use the verbs ‘say’ and ‘tell’? This is a common mistake made by a lot of students. Look at the following LE page and try to improve the beginning of your post.
BBC LE - Ask about English: Say & Tell
What’s the difference between ‘experiment’ and ‘experience’?
'We were wondering how the river boat will survive on waves'. (in this situation you are looking at the future but from a point in the past, not from the present moment. This is sometimes called ‘future in the past’. Can you think of any alternative to the word ‘will’ in your sentence?
In the time-honoured teacher tradition of getting the students to do the lion’s share of the work, I’ve got a few sentences from Taru’s writing which I’d like everyone to help her improve. Can you spot the problems in the following sentences and provide an alternative? (the errors are mostly in one particular grammatical area – what is it?)
1. The studies consist with 210 units and they are divided in seven parts.
2. We have a small group and we arrange free time actives to the students.
3. We left from campus and walked though the city and arrived to the harbor of the Kemijoki River.
4. He laughed of it.
* The lion's share = the biggest part of something (in English we have loads of idioms with animals. Can you think of any others?)
MercŤ, James, Plinio, Ana Paula, YPW, Abdisamad and Kuldeep.
Thanks for making me feel at home here. It's nice to read your lovely comments on my photographs.
What really traumatised me about Hungarian was the number of different suffixes they add to words and the incredible number of different vowel sounds. If I remember rightly, four different 'o' sounds, four 'u' sounds - help! I wonder if Finnish has a large number of vowel sounds?
Thanks! Walking and climbing mountains is one of my favourite pastimes, although I don't do as much as I'd like. Not much beats the feeling of reaching the summit of a mountain and enjoying the moment, exhaustion and elation.
The Scottish Highlands are indeed a wonderful place. It's great to see that you're taking my advice and looking for those words. I'm impressed!
I'm glad you're listening to 'Keep your English up to date' and you're setting a great example by using some of the new words and expressions in your writing.
Thanks for the tip - looks like I'll have to 'keep my eye on the ball'. By the way, the way you said 'fired' I wonder... have you been watching 'The Apprentice'?
I really enjoyed my time in Budapest - I loved the quality of the light there. Scotland is a great place to visit, although you can't guarantee the sunshine and you need to be wary of the midges!!
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