Archive for April, 2012

English Language Reference- Business English: Part 1

What do we mean when we say Business English?

What makes Business English any different from any other English?

Who uses Business English?

In this blog post we will explore all these questions and more. We will look at the vocabulary that is unique and specific to Business English, the phrases and expressions used by professional/business people and the different situations where knowledge of Business English is an essential component of effective communication.

Some situations:

* Giving presentations

* Negotiations

* Meetings

* Conference calls

* Client/Customer relations

* Emails and Telephone calls

 

OK let’s take a look at some language, expressions and vocabulary related to giving a presentation.

Business English Vocabulary:

accordance noun

accountancy n

acquisition n

adjustment n

administrative adjective

agenda n    

allocate verb

asset n

assumption n

audit n, verb

authorise v

These are just a few that begin with ‘a’ more to follow in Part 2.

When we give a presentation we also often use adverbs, such as : about, around, roughly, or the phrase in the region of to show that a figure is approximate:

There were roughly 200 people at the conference.

It will cost in the region of a billion euros.

We use or so after a figure or the suffix -ish to indicate that a number is only approximate:

Only twenty or so people attended.

We’ll meet back here at 4-ish.

We use the adverbs nearly, almost, or the phrases just under, just short of, or the best part of to refer to a figure that is slightly less than the one stated:

He bought almost 1,000.

We’ll be working on this project for the best part of two years.

The phrases upwards of, just over, a little over, and something over refer to a figure that is more than the one stated:

It will cost upwards of 10,ooo per month.

Some colloquial noun phrases can indicate that a figure is approximate:

I can only give you are a ball park figure.

Please bear in my mind that this total  is just a guesstimate,

The verbs reckon, project, and estimate can be used to introduce a guess or an approximation:

John reckons there will be about 150 people.

We project that this offer will attract 10,000 or more customers.

I have no idea how many we need- but I would estimate 2,000.

 

To conclude this blog post- a quick glance at health, medical and fitness vocabulary that  is often used to describe business situations and conditions metaphorically:

It’s only in Ireland and Wales that the picture is healthier.

I think the marketing department is in good shape.

There are no fewer than three ot four ailing firms in this sector.

We weren’t too worried when our main competitors caught a cold.

 

Good luck with your English language learning and Business English development.

Simon

Ok English

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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English Language Reference- Reading Articles Is A Great way to Practise Reading Skills, Develop Comprehension Of Texts And To Discover New Words/Vocabulary. Part 1

When teaching or learning English the reading and study of articles is an important aspect of the process, for both teacher and student.

Articles give the opportunity to explore a new topic using the  English language. It offers a great way to learn words that might not be within your usual vocabulary base. eg. if you always study and use Business English that might be quite limiting. Therefore to read, say, an article on environmental issues, may well intoduce words you have not come across before. So here below is an article on STRESS.

 

Read the article and then see how many new words are introduced when we focus our language learning within the framework of a certain theme or topic. Words that may well have not been discovered had we not read such a theme based article. This is both practical for the teacher as it gives a hint at class material and for the student as a technique to widen your vocabulary, encounter new phrases and expressions. And of course perhaps even learn something new from the information contained within the article itself.

So Here Is The Article :

 

 

Stress – Signs, Symptoms and How to Manage Stress

Stress is a feeling we have when we react to events that don’t make us feel very good. Such events can happen at school, like a test or examination, at your office, like getting a new boss or in your private life, like preparing for a divorce.

Our body has certain hormones that it releases during times of stress. In this period more adrenalin gets into your blood. The hormones make your heartbeat go up and change your blood pressure and the way you breathe.Blood vessels become wider and let more blood pass through. Our body heats up and produces sweat to cool it down.

Stress response is what your body does to fight stress. It makes you handle stress and do well during such situations. Stress response happens, for example, when you are in a car and step on the brakes to avoid an accident. Or when you are the one chosen to shoot a penalty in a football game that may decide if you win or lose.

Stress can also be long term, like preparing for a difficult exam or having private problems with your parents, teachers or friends. Stress happens when you work too much and don’t have the time to relax. This long-term stress keeps your body alert and pumps hormones into your bloodstream for a longer time. This can hurt your body, make you tired and weaken your immune system.

Although the right amount of stress can be good, too much stress isn’t. A little stress can motivate you to study hard. But if stress lasts too long your body can’t cope with it any more. Some people overact to stress and even make small problems seem difficult to solve. They feel worried, upset and anxious all the time.

Signs of stress

People who are experiencing long-term stress may have the following symptoms:

  • panic attacks
  • the feeling of constant pressure on them
  • they change moods quickly
  • stomach problems, headaches
  • sleeping problems
  • drink too much alcohol
  • smoking
  • How to keep stress under control

    Managing stress is not an easy thing to do. Knowing how to de-stress can keep it under control

    • Don’t think you can do everything. Concentrate on the things that are important
    • Be realistic- Don’t try to be perfect!
    • Get enough sleep! It helps your body relax
    • Learn simple breathing exercises and use them in stressful situations
    • Read a book or take a relaxing bath
    • Treat your body well. Get enough exercise, go for long walks or a run
    • Give your body the right food and enough vitamins.
    • Think positively. Many people who endure long-term stress are pessimistic.
    • Solve small problems. This gives you a feeling that you are in control. It gives you confidence and you can manage bigger problems better.

The vocabulary introduced ( In context with the article)

  • adrenalin = a chemical that your body produces; it makes your heart beat faster when you are afraid, or excited
  • alert = aware, awake
  • although = while
  • amount = quantity
  • anxious = nervous
  • avoid = keep away from
  • blood pressure = the force with which blood travels through your body
  • brake = a tool that makes your car stop or go more slowly
  • breathe = to take air in through your mouth or nose and push it out
  • choose- chosen = select
  • confidence = feel good
  • constant = always
  • cope = deal with
  • de-stress = fight off stress
  • divorce = to end a marriage and break up
  • endure = suffer from
  • exercise = keep fit, work out, do some training
  • experience = have
  • heartbeat = the sound of your heart as it pumps blood through your body
  • hormone = a chemical that your body produces
  • immune system = the system by which your body protects itself against a disease
  • long term = last a longer time
  • manage = deal with
  • mood = how you feel
  • overreact = to react to something with too much emotion
  • prepare = get ready for
  • pressure = stress
  • relax = rest
  • release = set free
  • solve = work out
  • stress response = how you react to stress
  • sweat = drops that come through your skin when you are hot , are frightened or do exercise
  • symptom = sign
  • upset = troubled, sad
  • weaken = to make weaker

Note also that in the above diagram on stress many more words are introduced. Gaining more and more Vocabulary is at the heart of language learning. A student should be learning and memorizing at least 5 new words everyday and using them.

The purpose of this blog post was to give a hint for both teacher and student in the process of language learning.

So good luck with your English language learning and teaching.

Simon

 

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English Language Reference- The Language of Literary Critisism Part 2

In part 1 we looked at such things  as Figurative Speech such as Imagery, Figures of Speech, Metaphor, and Simile. We also encountered Metonymy, Allegory, Personification and Pathetic Fallacy. There was much more so please refer to part 1 in my blog archives.

Now we will take a walk down the enchanting path of  Poetry, Drama and Narrative. Through the linguistic lakes of Lyric, Epic, Narrative, Dramatic, Ballads, and Patterns of Rhyme.

We will celebrate the language of Odes and share in the sadness of Elegy.

This post will take a brief and rythmic look at Metre, Prosody and Lambic Pentameter. After this we will pair up with couplets. Sonnets and Blank Verse. Then move with the times to the  more modern Free Verse.

Drama will deliver to us Genres, Catharsis, Deux ex Machina, Dramatic Irony, Hubris, Nemesis and will speak aloud and alone the thoughts of Soliloquy.

Finally we shall let our ears and attention rest upon the realm of the Narrative.

Poetry:

Lyric poetry is usually fairly short and expresses thoughts and feelings. Examples are Wordsworth’s Daffodils and Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill.

Epic poetry can be much longer and deals with the actions of great men and women or the history of nations. Examples are Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid.

Narrative poetry tells a story , like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, or Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner,

Dramatic poetry takes the form of a play, and includes the plays of Shakespeare  (which also contain scenes in prose).

A Ballad is a traditional type of narrative poem with short verses or stanzas and a simple ryhme scheme(=pattern of rhymes).

An Elegy is a type of lyric poem that expresses sadness for someone who died. Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard mourns all who lived and died quietly and never had the chance to be great.

An Ode is a lyric poem that addresses a person or thing or celebrates an event. John Keats wrote five great odes, including Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn and To Autumn.

Metre is the rythm of poetry determined by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed , or long and short , syllables in each line of the poem.

And lastly for this post : Prosody is the theory and study of metre.

Ok so more to follow in part 3.

Good luck with your English Language Learning and Literary Critisism.

Simon

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English Language Reference-Tips on Essay Writing: Part 2

In part 1 of this blog post we looked at planning and writing an essay or composition. We looked at the use of linkers and markers.

For example:

Introducing a point, Describing consequences, Giving more information, Introducing a contrasting point, and concluding. (Please refer to ‘Part 1′ )

In Part 2 of this blog post we are looking at :

Other Types Of Writing

In your professional life or in exams you may be asked to write a report, review, leaflet or article. Therefore I request you to consider the following:

* the target reader ( who you are writing for)

* the purpose your writing ( to persuade, report, inform, entertain, etc.)

* whether a formal or informal register is necessary

* if titles and subheadings are appropriate

Reports and leaflets need titles and subheadings and are usually written in formal language. Bullet points may be included.

Articles and reviews can be informal in tone, depending on the subject and readership.

Report Plan

paragraph 1

explain the aims and objectives of the report

paragraph 2

describe the method of finding information

paragraph 3

summarize the results of the findings ( referring to diagrams/graphs/tables if appropriate)

paragraph 4

make recommendations and conclude

Useful Language For Reports:

These are some phrases to use in the paragraphs outlined above:

paragraph 1

> The aim of this report is to…………

> The objective of our survey was to…..

paragraph 2

> A sample of….was interviewed.

>…groups of people were targeted.

> The research was conducted using a questionnaire.

paragraph 3

> The majority thought/said that…

> It seems that…

> It would appear that…..

> The graph/table shows that…

> From the data/diagram it can be seen that….

paragraph 4

> A possible improvement would be…

> Changes could be made…

> Some recommendations are…

Layout

Good format and clear paragraphs make your work easier to read.

* do write the title of your essay at the top of the page

* don’t write everything in capital letters

* don’t start a new line for each new sentence

* do leave a line between paragraphs

* do avoid wordbreaks (= breaking a word with a hyphen when it starts on one line and finishes on the next) if at all possible

OK here are just a few more tips on essay writing skills. More to follow in part 3.

Thanks for your attention.

Good luck with your English language learning and your essay writing.

Simon

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English Language Sayings And Proverbs: Part 2

 

As I explained in part 1 of this blog post- native speakers are always using some form of saying or proverb. They are also often used in writing and in presentations. Although when giving a presentation one ……should consider who the audience is. For example in presentations given to international audiences one must take into consideration cultural differences, a saying’s meaning may not mean the same to, say, a Japanese audience. Or at least it may simply be misunderstood especially if the proverb is meant to convey some humour. Humour from one culture to another is often times quite unique so a simple joke may be taken in the wrong way or met with dead silence, when the speaker was hoping for some laughter. So as the saying goes ” forewarned is to be forearmed”….in other words-Know your audience!

Here are some more commonly used sayings and proverbs from the English language:

forwarned is to be forearmed if you know about problems, dangers, etc. before they happen, you can be better prepared for them

all that glistens is not gold not everything that seems good, attractive, etc. is actually good, etc

money doesn’t grow on trees used to tell somebody not to use something or spend money carelessly because you don’t have a lot of it

hope springs eternal people never stop hoping

ignorance is bliss if you don’t know about something you cannot worry about it

you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink you can give somebody the opportunity to do something, but you can’t force them to do it if they don’t want to

don’t judge a book by it’s cover used to say that you should not form an opinion about somebody or something from their appearance only

 

 

he who laughs last laughs longest used to tell somebody not to be proud of their present success; in the end another person may be more successful

where there’s life (, there’s hope) in a bad situation you must not give up hope because there there is always a chance that it will  improve   

the lights are on but nobody’s home used to describe somebody who is stupid, not thinking clearly or not paying attention

live and let live used to say that you should accept other people’s opinions and behaviour even though they are different from your own

love is blind when you love someone, you cannot see their faults

money talks people who have a lot of money have more power and influence than others…….. ( how things are these days)

no news is good news if there were bad news we would hear about it, so as we have heard nothing, it is likely that nothing bad has happened

no pain no gain used to say that you need to suffer if you want to achieve something… you have to work really hard

practice makes perfect a way of encouraging people by telling them that if you do an activity regularly and try to improve your skill, you will  be very good at it

OK I will end this blog post on the meaning of the last saying- practice makes perfect, so keep practicing your English language learning, regularly try to improve your skills in speaking English and surely you will become perfect………..

So good luck with your English language learning

Simon

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English Language-Sayings And Proverbs : Part 1

              Native English Speakers often use sayings and proverbs when making comments on certain situations, experiences or to support an opinion. In fact native speakers love to use sayings and proverbs. Both for the purpose of humour and to emphasize a point. Below is the first part of a list  I will post on my blog of well-known sayings and proverbs: fixed phrases or sentences that give advice or say something that is generally true.

Sometimes a speaker will even leave out part of the phrase in a sentence because it is so well known. The part that is often left out is shown in brackets as an example of my point. what the eye doesn’t see ( the heart doesn’t grieve over) or when the going gets tough (the tough get going) : Yes it’s a difficult challenge…but when the going gets tough…..!

Here are some examples of popular sayings and proverbs. More will be posted in part 2 of  this topic.

absence makes the heart grow fonder used to say that when you are away from someone or somewhere you love, you  love them or it even more.

there’s no accounting for taste used to say how difficult it is to understand why someone likes someone or something that you do not like at all.

actions speak louder than words what a person actually does means more than what they say they will do.

it’ll be alright on the night used to say that a performance, an event, etc, will be sucessful even if the preparations for it have not gone well.

the apple never falls far from the tree a child usually behaves in a similar way to his or her parent(s)

                             

if you can’t beat them, join them if you can’t defeat somebody or be as successful as they are, then it is more sensible to join them in what they are doing and perhaps get some advantage for yourself by doing so.

beauty is in the eye of the beholder people all have different ideas about what is beautiful. It can be apearance. intellect or other qualities that an individual defines as beautiful in another person.

beauty is only skin deep how a person looks is less important than their character.

you’ve made your bed now must lie on it you must accept the results of your actions

beggars can’t be choosers people say beggars can’t be choosers when there is no choice and somebody should just be satisfied with what is available.

seeing is believing used to say that somebody  will have to believe that something is true when they see it, although they do not think it is true now.

there’s one born every minute used to say that somebody is very stupid.

every cloud has a silver lining every sad or difficult situation or experience has a positive side, something to learn from that will make us wiser etc.

easy come easy go used to mean that somebody does not care very much about money or possessions especially if they spend it or lose something. People who are not very materialistc have this attitude in life.

the end justifies the means bad or unfair methods of doing something are acceptable if the results of that action is good or positive.

enough is enough used when you think that something should not continue any longer.

so far, so good used to say that things have been successful until now and you hope they continue to do so, but you know the task etc.  is not complete yet, is not finished yet.

fools rush in (where angels fear to tread) people with little experience try to do the difficult or dangerous things which more experienced people not even consider doing.

what goes around comes around the way somebody behaves towards other people will effect the way those people behave towards them in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well that was a quick look at sayings and proverbs, more to come in part 2.

Good luck with your English language learning, and ‘live to fight another day’ ….

Simon

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English Language Reference- The Language of Literary Criticism:Part 1

This post is a glimpse into the world of literary English.

In this area of the English language we encounter a very flowery and poetic style. We see imagery, figures of speech, metephor, simile, metonymy, allegory, personification and pathetic fallacy.

We are confronted by patterns of sound such as assonance, alliteration and onomatopoeia.

We also see irony, hyperbole, oxymoron and paradox.

Let us take a journey into the world of English language that is both complex yet sublime.

Figurative language:

Imagery is the language that produces pictures in the mind. The term can be used to discuss the various stylisitic devices listed below, especially figures of speech ( = ways of using language to convey or suggest a meaning beyond the literal or actual meaning of the words)

Metaphor is the imaginative use of a word or phrase to describe something else, to show that the two have the same qualities:

>All the world’s a stage

  And all the men and women merely players.

_ William Shakespeare, As You Like It

In simile the comparison between the two things is made explicit by the use of the words ‘as’ or ‘like’:

> I wandered lonely as a cloud

_ William Wordsworth, Daffodils

>Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,

So do our minutes hasten to their end.

_ Shakespeare, Sonnet 60

Metonymy is the fact of referring to something by the name of something else closely connected with it, used especially as a form of shorthand for something familiar or obvious, as in ‘I’ve been reading Shakespeare’ instead of  ‘ I’ve been reading the plays of Shakespeare’.

Allegory is a style of writing in which each character or event is a symbol representing a particular quality. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress Christian escapes from the city of Destruction, travels through the Slough of Despond, visits Vanity Fair and finally arrives at the Celestial City. He meets characters such as the Giant Despair and Mr Worldly Wiseman and is accompanied by Faithful and Hopeful.

Personification is the act of representing objects or qualities as human beings:

> Love bade me welcome:yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin.

_George Herbert, Love

Pathetic fallacy is the effect produced when animals and things are shown as having human feelings. For example, in John Milton’s poem, Lycidas, the flowers are shown weeping for the dead shepherd, Lycidas. And in more recent times animation movies such as Toy Story show toys as having feelings and personality just as though they were humans.

Patterns of sound

Alliteration is the use of tthe same letter or sound as the beginning of words that are close together. It was used systematically in Old English poetry but in modern poetry is generally only used for a paticular effect:

> on the bald street breaks the blank day.

_Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memmoriam

Assonance is the effect created when two syllables in words that are close together have the same vowel sound but different consonants, or the same consonants but different vowels:

> It seemed that out of battle I escaped

  Down some profound dull tunnel long since scooped….

_ Wilfred Owen, Strange Meeting

Onomatopoeia is the effect produced when the words used contain similar sounds to the noises they describe:

> murmering of innumerable bees

_ Tennyson, The Princess

Other Stylistic Effects:

Irony is the use of words that say the opposite of what you really mean, often in order to make a critical comment.

Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration:

> An hundred years should go to praise

  Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze

_ Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress

An Oxymoron is a phrase that combines two words that seem to be or are the opposite of each other:

> Parting is such sweet sorrow

_ Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Or in more recent times the phrase scientific theory

A paradox is a statement that contains two opposite ideas or seems to be impossible:

> The Child is father of the Man.

_ Wordsworth, ‘My heart leaps up….’

Ok so that was a look behind the words that fill the pages of so much literature especially classical literature. It is a glance into the realm of writers, poets and philosophers, whose great or inspiring works have at their core a literary writing method, technique and style that is not an accident but a science….the science of writing, the knowledge of which is what makes a great writer, great.

Good luck with your English language learning and your literary writing skills.

Simon

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English Language Reference-Tips on Essay Writing: Part 1

Planning and writing an essay or composition

Read the question or essay title carefully to make sure you fully understand exactly what is required.

Brainstorming: Quickly note down some ideas on the topic as you think of them. Then write down some vocabulary that you know you will need to write about this subject.

Planning: If you are asked to discuss a topic or give your opinion it is important to organize your thoughts and present your arguments clearly in paragraphs, and to work out the structure of your essay before you start to write.

ESSAY PLAN

paragraph 1

introduce the topic   

paragraph 2

give some points of view and information, in support of the argument, with reasons

paragraph 3

give contrasting views

paragraph 4

conclude (give your own opinion or interpretation of the facts)

Using Links and Markers

Below are some useful words and phrases to help guide your reader through your essay. The examples given are extracts to show how the words and phrases can be used. You should not start every sentence with one of these words or phrases.

Introducing a point:

> Nowadays many children spend too much of their time watching TV rather than being active.

> There are two main reasons for this, firstly…..

Describing consequences:

>As a result, levels of health and fitness are declining.

>Consequently, childhood obesity is becoming increasingly widespread.

Giving more information:

>In addition, increasing amounts of fast food are being consumed.

>Furthermore/Moreover, many children spend a great deal of time on the internet.

>Finally/Lastly/To conclude, parents are less likely to join their children in sporting activities.

Introducing a contrasting point:

However, some schools are trying to encourage healthy eating.

>In contrast, other countries have introduced compulsory sports lessons.

>On the other hand, certain sports are experiencing increased popularity.

>There was some resistance to the schemes.

  Nevertheless the organizers persevered and have had some success.

>While/Whereas the government wants to tackle the issue, advertisers continue to target young children.

Concluding:

>In conclusion/ To sum up, it is the responsibilty, not of the government, but of individuals to change their lifestyle.

Ok that was a quick look at some tips for essay writing using ‘linkers’ or linking words and phrases. The use of linkers gives a very uniform structure to your essay. Making it both easy and attractive to read.

Good luck with your English language learning

Simon

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