1. walk, work
walk /wɔ:k/ – this uses the long vowel in ‘for’ and the ‘l’ is silent
work /wɜ:k/ – looks like it should rhyme with ‘for’, but the ‘w’ changes the vowel sound to /ɜ:/
2. bought, boat
bought /bɔ:t/ – this uses the long vowel in ‘for’
boat /bəʊt/ – this uses the diphthong in ‘no’
3. match, much
match /mætʃ/ – this uses the short vowel in ‘cat’ – make sure you spread the lips and keep the tongue at the front of the mouth.
much /mʌtʃ/ – this uses the short vowel in ‘cut’ – make sure you relax the lips and tongue for this sound.
Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world has started and I can’t wait to watch some exciting matches. Hot favourites for this year’s men’s singles according to seed rankings are Murray, Djokovic, and Federer. But, anything can happen. There’s nothing more exciting than watching an underdog take the trophy. I watched a bit of Nishikori’s first round match and it looks like he’s in good form. Could it be his year?
As for me, I’ll be rooting for Federer. He is an all rounder player who makes his shots look effortless. I love his great sportsmanship and how calm and collected he is on court. He is at the top of my list of all-time favourite tennis players followed by Edberg, Sampras, Rafter, and Becker. So, who are you cheering for this year?
3 July 2017
How do you say “GIF”?
One of the areas of concern when learning a foreign language is if we are pronouncing the words correctly, indeed incorrect pronunciation can lead to an embarrassing situation and we all want to avoid those. Of course, we are aware that there may be subtle differences in pronunciation can depend on accent and location. There has been some debate on the pronunciation of the term “GIF”, the term itself is an acronym and more common than it’s full name: Graphics Interchange Format. These images are very popular on the internet and many companies use them for logos, marketing, games and small animations. But how is the term actually pronounced?
Many dictionaries indicate that there are two pronunciations that are acceptable:
- The soft “g” (think of gym or giraffe)
- The hard “g” (think of gift or game)
Although the creators of the technology use the soft “g”, recent surveys have indicated that the majority of people pronounce the term with the hard “g” sound. So don’t worry if you meet someone that pronounces it differently, you are both correct!
We tend to view silence (especially in the Western world) as mere absence of speech—but in reality, silence can be a powerful tool of communication.
Indeed, it can convey much information that language fails to do. It is a kind of nonverbal communication and it can express a wide range of emotions and feelings that go from happiness, joy, and embarrassment to anger, grief, denial, fear, and withdrawal of acceptance.
Additionally, silence is also a tool to enforce etiquette and social standards and a way to communicate agreement or disagreement.
The importance of silence is recognized by all cultures in the world; traces of its significant role in the communicative context can be found in sayings such as “speech is silver, but silence is golden” or the Chinese maxim, “silence is better than eloquence.” However, silence becomes a real philosophy when we move to the Far East, especially in Japanese culture.
I have nothing but respect for some up-and-coming stars that I see on the news these days. I’m sure you’ve all heard about Fujii, the 14 year old shogi genius who has been on a record-breaking winning streak. It’s hard to believe that he has not lost a single game since becoming a professional player. I’ve been told that shogi is a complicated version of chess and that games are generally longer. Good on him!
Then last month, Horimoto- another young lad, aged 13 at the time made headlines by defeating an Olympic bronze medalist at the World Table Tennis Championships. I was able to watch some of the highlights on television and his performance was simply amazing.
The next summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, so I see the media covering a lot of potential athletes such as sprinter Sani Brown (18), table tennis players Miu Hirano (17) and Mima Ito (16), and swimmer Rikako Ikee (16).
It takes passion and pure dedication to reach that high level of fitness and competitiveness, and that is something I truly admire about these young athletes.
What’s in a colour?
Have you ever considered the meaning of a colour? Colours can have a big impact on our impressions of people, places and objects. We associate certain personality types with clothing colours, the atmosphere of an environment by the decor colours and how some objects should be used by the colour of some objects. Here are some common meanings in the UK, are they the same in Japan?
Red: commonly associated with physical representations. This colour indicates power, strength, warmth and energy. Although sometimes it can indicate aggression and defiance.
Blue: commonly associated with intellectual representations. This colour denotes trust, efficiency, serenity and calm. However, it can also indicate a lack of emotional connection and coldness.
Yellow: commonly associated with the emotions. This colour indicates confidence, optimism, friendliness and creativity. Although it can also be associated with fear, depression and anxiety.
Green: commonly associated with balance. This colour denotes harmony, refreshment, reassurance and peace. However, it can be associated with boredom and stagnation.
Violet: commonly associated with spiritual representations. This colour signifies authenticity, quality and vision. Although sometimes it indicates suppression and inferiority.
What does your favourite colour mean?
I’ve taken up Sudoku again recently. It helps keep me awake and pass the time especially while I’m commuting to work on the train. Before console games and smartphones were invented I loved doing brain teasers, putting together jigsaw puzzles, and playing card games and board games with family and friends. My favourite games were and still are Monopoly, Boggle, and Pictionary.
I’ve never been the type to play games on my tablet, so I don’t play Sudoku electronically, but on paper. This number-placement puzzle is a brain stimulating activity that I do daily to sharpen my mind – or so I tell myself. I can’t actually prove that it does, but it helps me unwind and moreover I get a sense of satisfaction once I complete the puzzle within a set time limit.
One game that I aim to learn someday is a traditional Japanese game called Hanafuda. I have no idea how to play it, but the pictures on the cards are really pretty. 🙂
Do you know how to play it? Could you teach me?
Feedback is invaluable, it informs us of areas which we may need improvement. Yet many of us shy away from giving and receiving feedback. This, in part, is because we not only dislike being told, or telling people, but because we avoid it we get out of practice. Criticism which is given without careful consideration can be hurtful as can criticism received out of the blue.
Be direct, but polite before giving the feedback. A simple phrase “Can I share some feedback with you?” prepares the receiver and builds trust. Be specific, make sure to provide clear solutions, or listen to the solutions that the receiver offers. Work from it from the other point of view, the best conflict resolution is to be able to understand the opposing argument. Explain in your own words what you think the other person meant, it will help to clarify if there is misunderstanding that has arisen.
A new report says fitness trackers are not so accurate in measuring the amount of calories our body burns while exercising, and that this may lead people to make poor decisions about their diet. The study is from Stanford University in the USA. Researchers evaluated the accuracy of five popular trackers. These included the Apple Watch, Microsoft Band, Fitbit Surge and Samsung Gear S2. The researchers observed 60 volunteers as they walked, ran and cycled while wearing the devices. Researchers found that none of the devices had an error rate below 20 per cent. Dr Euan Ashley, co-author of the study, said: “People need to know that on energy expenditure, [the trackers] give rough estimates.”
The Stanford scientists said users of fitness trackers should be cautious about using the devices to judge what they eat. Dr Ashley said: “If you go to the gym, and you think you’ve lost 400 calories, then you might feel you’ve got 400 calories to play with.” This could be a problem for those who base what they eat on how many calories their fitness tracker said they burned. One CEO of a fitness tracker company suggested the researchers may not have adjusted the user settings properly. The CEO told the USA Today newspaper that the study method could have reported incorrect data, saying: “We think the excess error reported in energy expenditure is not representative in this study, due to this methodological error.”
In Japan, the katakana alphabet is usually used for indicating loan words from other languages. However, be very careful when using them in speech because they may not be used in the same way and more over pronounced differently.
Can you spot the use of katakana English in the phone conversation between a hotel clerk and guest?
Clerk: Good morning, front desk. How can I help you?
Guest: Good morning. I have a claim about my cooler. The rimokon doesn’t work. I think it needs new batteries.
Clerk: We’re sorry about that. I’ll have someone come up and replace it with new ones.
Guest: I also have a request. I’m trying to use my note pasokon, but the consent is different. Do you have an adapter I can borrow?
Clerk: Certainly, sir. Could I please have your room number? I’ll have somebody bring an adapter and batteries to your room as soon as possible.
Guest: Oh, no. That’s okay. I’m going out now. Can I come down in five minutes and pick them up at the furonto?
Clerk: No problem, sir. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Guest: Thank you.
Claim – is to say something is the case or is true. The guest should say complaint.
Cooler – is a container for keeping food or bottles cool, or a refrigerator. The guest should say air-conditioner.
Rimocon – is a shortened katakana word for remote control.
Note pasokon – is a shortened loan word for personal computer, but should be called laptop.
Consent – is to have or give permission to do something. In this case the guest should use plug or socket.
Furonto – is a shortened katakana word for front desk. The word reception desk can also be used.
How did you do? Were you able to spot them all?