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: "Are you a xenophile? (December 16, 2018)"

    Xenophobia is a fear or dislike of outsiders.  Yet, there exists an opposite perspective called xenophilia. A xenophile  is a person who is attracted by foreign things such as objects, people,  styles or customs.
      Do you feel excited when you make acquaintance  with a foreigner? Have you ever invited a foreign guy to take part in a  birthday party of another friend of yours? If yes, you are probably a  xenophile. But don’t be ashamed,  xenophilia is not totally negative. If you set foot in another country,  and you are surrounded by the local people who are xenophiles, then you  can be welcomed on the red carpet or even treated like king. In stark  contrast, groups of religious, racial or sexual minorities have  experienced marginalization and mistreatment in many regions in the  world. Also, being a xenophile, you can drive pleasure from showing your  kindness and hospitality, which contributes to your well- being.
       In  general, Vietnamese people are labelled as typical xenophiles.  Nonetheless, when asked, most Vietnamese women said they don’t want to  marry a foreign man, though a Western guy is desirable to be added in  their friend/boyfriend list. Why it is the case? In social science,  xenophiles don’t necessarily have affection for real foreign people, but  they tend to fall for things that define or conceptualise that person.  Their affection sometimes originates from an idea of a collective  population which has been generalised. Most of the time, these  generalising comments are based on subjective perceptions rather than  facts or evidence.
       The answer to the question what causes xenophila  remains inconclusive. The compelling theory is that xenophilia is a  response to one’s negative feelings about his or her background. If you  was born in a poor or backward country, you are unconsciously prone to  welcome those whose background is superior to yours.
    References:  https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-xenophilia.html
     
    Questions to ponder:

     1. Do you think you are a xenophile or a xenophobe? What are the clues for being a xenophile?
     2. For whom your chemistry is stronger? A Vietnamese guy/girl or a foreign guy/girl?
     3. What are the benefits of xenophilia?
     4. Why do people become xenophiles or xenophobes?
     5. In Vietnamese context, xenophilia may create different problems in society. What are they? How to tackle these problems?
      6. Foreign English teachers are paid much higher than Vietnamese  counterparts. Is it fair? Does xenophilia involve? How to cope with  this?

     

     

    Prepared by: Ngo Huy Tu

     

    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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