English proverb of the day

"The negative side of the American Dream comes when people pursue success at any cost, which in turn destroys the vision and the dream "

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  • Topic of this Week: "Green Consumption (April 21, 2019)"

    Green consumption behaviour is a form of pro-environmental  consumption that harms the environment as little as possible, or even  benefits the environment. This notion seems to be unpopular in our  country, despite the fact that Vietnam, together with four other  countries, discharge 60 per cent of the world’s plastic waste into the  ocean.
    A green consumption behaviour comes from an individual acting ethically, motivated not only by personal needs,  but also by the respect and preservation of the environment. To help  combat climate change, behaviours that are strongly encouraged including  (but not limited to) (i) decreasing energy and water consumption; (ii)  changing your eating and transportation habits to conserve natural  resources; and (iii) reducing, reusing, and recycling to be more  environmentally friendly.
    QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
     1. Please share your story. What did you do as an action of green  consumption? Do you think it's enough? If not, what else should you do  and how hard it is to commit?
     2. Is it fashionable to follow the international trend of sustainable consumption? Explain?
     3. What are the benefits of engaging in green consumption? What are the  obstacles of Vietnamese people to changing their consumption  behaviours?
     4. Do you think green consumption can really help battle  environmental pollution in Vietnam? If yes, how do you encourage people  taking action?
    Prepared by: Quỳnh Như Nguyễn

     

    Enjoy and have a fruitful discussion! 

    See you on Sunday at 3 P.M.!

      

    Advance English club
    Address: Nguyen Cong Tru Secondary School – No. 8 Nguyen Truong To, Hanoi

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    Speaking phrases vs. Listening phrases

    (06:54:53 AM 04/04/2014)

     

    February 28, 2012

     

    Ever buy a book of idioms or phrases in the language you wanted to learn? Somewhere at my wife's parents' house in Japan is a book that I bought several years ago with several hundred pages of phrases.  I tried studying some of them, but at some point tried out a few on native Japanese speakers. The response I got was,

    "No one says that."

    Not being a native speaker myself, I didn't have the facilities to judge whether this was an accurate claim.  It may be that the Japanese people I associate with are not particularly literate.  Or maybe, in their enthusiasm to find enough phrases to make a book out of, the authors ended up including a lot that were not very common.

    But - me and my language conspiracy theories - I have another explanation for why my friends may have claimed that the idioms from the book were not that useful.

    Consider the following English phrases:

    • "bring home the bacon"
    • "the concrete jungle"
    • "the old ball and chain"
    • "two of one, a half dozen of the other"
    • "no man is an island"

    Now take a look at this list:

    • "play your hand"
    • "it is what it is"
    • "kill two birds with one stone"
    • "don't hold your breath"
    • "bitch and moan"

    There are a few differences between the two lists. For one, the first list is more colorful and interesting. They're probably also much more well-known and widely accepted than the second list.  But the main difference I considered when writing the two lists was whether I would use each phrase in daily conversation without feeling self-conscious about it.  For the first list, the answer is "no". For the second, it's "yes".

    A few caveats: 1) Everyone's different, and the phrase that flows off the tongue naturally for me may seem contrived and awkward to you. 2) This is not to say that I don't use the phrases in the first list. I do, but when I use them, I put a big set of mental quotation marks around them. I say them as a joke, or as a conscious anachronism.  Listeners may not interpret it that way because- see caveat #1. But that's how I intend them.

    If I had to guess, I'd say that the book I had was full of a lot more idioms from the first category than the second. And despite what my friends told me, I bet there would have been a lot of value in continuing to study them. Because there's a lot of communication out there that's not "everyday conversation". Speeches, literature, TV dialogue, and advertisements all use different registers of language that are more likely to include this kind of variety.

    But what we do need more of in language education materials is more focus on the idioms that are perhaps less colorful but more common in everyday communication. And we need more accurate information attached to our phrases to tell us whether it's a speaking phrase or a listening phrase.

     

     

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