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: "Social networking: How easy and how difficult? (July 18, 2021)"

    Please refer to the steps below to join the discussion:
    1. Download the Discord app either on mobile phone or using web based on laptop https://discordapp.com
    2. Register an account
    3. Join the room chat https://discord.gg/dDPbMZa
    The online discussion will start at 3.00pm and close at 5.00pm on Sunday 18th, July 2021.
     
    Social networking: How easy and how difficult?
    (The topic was once discussed on 19th August 2016)
     

    Every time you meet someone, you are networking. Every time you pick up the phone, you are networking. Every time you send an e-mail, you are networking. Every time you engage someone in conversation, you are networking. Every time you write a note, you are networking. Every time you attend a meeting or join a social club like Advance English club, you are networking.
    Yes, we are all networkers although some of us may be more effective than others; some may enjoy it more than others, and some do it with purpose while others only wander aimlessly through the process. The fact is like it or not, successful networking is essential for greater profits and increased business. Study the biography of any successful person and you can see how key relationships accelerated their growth.
    However, for many of us, it is not easy to develop a relationship from scratch especially when we want to connect with more successful and influential people. For people who are not naturally outgoing, things can be even more challenging. So, what should we do to become successful networkers? what are the best strategies to build a strong social network? Let’s join our discussion to explore the topic in detail.
    Questions for discussion:
    1. How many close friends do you have?
    2. Is it better to have few friends or many friends? How many good friends should a person have?
    3. What should shy people do to meet new friends or increase their social network?
    4. Situations:
    a. You want to get the attention of people who are more successful than you are. What should you do to network with those “celebrities” like a champ?
    b.You want to reach potential new clients or recruit new employees. What should you do to connect with them effectively?
    Suggested by Nguyen Van Luc

     

     
     

     Enjoy and have a fruitful discussion!

     

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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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