Friday, July 22, 2005

Good dog.

Preguntas / 질문들

As a follow-up to the poem by Pablo Neruda that I posted here in April (link below), here's a little something for all you budding philosophers and poets out there:

4월달에 빠블로 네루다의 시 한 편(아래 링크 보시오)의 후속편으로 여기 여러분중의 신진 철학자와 시인을 위해서 조그만 거 하나 준비했다:

Based on El Libro de las Preguntas by Pablo Neruda

How come you cannot see the air?
왜 공기를 볼 건 불가능한가?

Why does the moon follow you? What does it want, anyway?
달이 우리에 왜 뒤따르는가?

If shoes could talk, what would they say?
만약 신발들이 말할수있다면 뭘 말할건가?

Do clouds sleep?
구름이 잠자는가?

What have you come into this world to make happen?
뭘 일어나게 하기 위해선 당신이 태어났는가?

Who decided to put thorns on the rose bush?
가시를 장미나무에는 누가 놓았는가?

Does water feel anything when it is made to boil?
물이 꿇게 하면 어느 느낌이 드는가?

Is 4 the same four for everybody?
사(4)는 모두에게도 똑같은 사인가?

Why do we not have Thursday come after Friday every once in a while?
때때로 목요일이 금요일에 잇따르는 게 어떤가?

How did the abandoned bicycle win its freedom?
유기된 자전거가 자유를 어떠게 이겼는가?

Why do clouds cry so much? What is going on up there anyway?
구름이 왜 그만큼 눈물을 흘리는가? 천국에서 무슨 일이 일어나고 있는가?

How many churches are there in heaven? Or mosques? Or temples?
천국에는 교회 몇 개 있을까? 그러나 모스크? 그러나 사원?

Why do trees hide their beautiful roots?
나무가 자기의 아름다운 뿌리를 왜 숨기는가?

Why do leaves commit suicide when they feel yellow?
나뭇잎은 기분이 황색되면 왜 자살하는가?

How many years are in a month?
한 달에 몇 년 있을까?

And here's that poem again / 다시 그 시:
Muere Lentamente <천천히 죽는 것>

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

EFL - British Accents / 영국어 발음 듣기 위해

Something very interesting from the Beeb:
BBC에서 관심을 끄는 것.

A survey (and PLENTY of examples) of the range of British accents.
You'll also find a quiz on indentifying British accents, and interesting articles on politeness and 'grammaticalness'.

영국 영어의 폭의 관찰이 있다. 영국의 지억 사투리들을 확인하는 질문 및 예절바름과 문법에 맞음에 대한 글도 여기서 찾아낼 수가 있다.

"Suggesting that only Standard English forms are correct is like saying that you shouldn't differentiate between formal and informal situations."

"표준 영어만 옳음을 암시하고 있는 것은 틀에 박힌 상태와 회화의 상태를 구별하지 말다는 것 같다."

Monday, July 18, 2005

EFL - Metaphorically Speaking

For a little taste of something new, how about metaphors? A lot of the descriptions are adapted from

To get learners thinking about (appropiate) metaphors:
(from Five-Minute Activities by Penny Ur)

1. Give them a subject and a number of possible metaphorical comparisons. For example:
a student: a flower, an artist, a climber, a hunter, a puppet, a lump of clay, a soldier, a philosopher
a family: a house, an octopus, a fire, a garden, a bed, a hand, a river, a chain
a teacher: a film director, a book, a counsellor, a police officer, a car, a manager, a signpost, an artist, a key, a walking stick
an office worker: a puppet, a pebble, a cog, an ant, a page in a book, a carpet

2. Ask them individually to choose the one they think most appropriate. Explaining their choice, they should compare answers with a partner.

A metaphor is an implicit comparison of two things, technically saying one thing IS another. If you take it literally, you might get a little confused!
e.g. "Life is theater", "Love is a journey", ""We are but a moment's sunlight, fading in the grass", "All the world's a stage...", "Life's a bitch", "The world's my oyster", "She's the apple of my eye".

A simile is an explicit comparison (with a word such as "like," "as," or "than") to another subject. "The snow was like a blanket."

Notable Similes (from Wikipedia)
"A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." —Irina Dunn
"As good as gold." —Charles Dickens
"Solitude... is like Spanish moss which finally suffocates the tree it hangs on." —Anaïs Nin
"A mouth drawn in like a miser's purse." —Émile Zola
"Death lies on her, like an untimely frost." —William Shakespeare
"Death has many times invited me: it was like the salt invisible in the waves." —Pablo Neruda
"Idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean." —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

For more advanced learners:

A mixed metaphor is one that leaps to a second comparison/identification which is inconsistent with the first.
eg. "Clinton stepped up to the plate and grabbed the bull by the horn", "That wet blanket is a loose cannon", "Strike while the iron is in the fire".

A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of a transferred image is not present.
eg. "money", so called because it was first minted at the temple of Juno Moneta. Though, to most people, "money" doesn't evoke images of the temple. People are typically unaware of the origin of words.

An absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an antimetaphor) is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image.
eg. "The couch is the autobahn of the living room."

A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another.
eg. "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor and there is no actual light.

A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity.
eg. "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.

Personally, I try to encourage learners to be creative with their use of language. It makes their English more interesting and eliminates cliches. Using metaphors and similes is just one way to achieve this.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Let's think about our readers, eh?

Reading a link on Gumbi's site, I couldn't help but agree with this:

The problem with this layout is that there's too much shit to click on. Seriously, who's ever going to click on all those links? The worst blogs are the ones that make every other word a hyperlink to another website so by the time you finish reading this sentence, you've forgotten what you were reading, or why you were reading it in the first place. Hey, this article is great but you know what would make it better? If I could read another article in the middle of it. Great design, morons.

Just to be slightly hypocritical: for Gumbi's place click here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Day off / 휴일

Time for a bit of me again.^^
나 자신의 때 다시 됐네.

Working 10 hours a day last week I felt absolutely shattered by the week's end, so this week, with my daily schedule down to a more manageable 9 hours, I'm trying to be a little more creative with my time.
지난주에 날마다 10시간의 일을 하기 때문에 주말이 되면 완전히 지쳤다. 그러니까 이번주 매일의 내 스케줄이 더 처리할 수 있는 9시간으로 내려서 내 "게으른 시간"(^_^*)을 최대한으로 활용해 보고 있다.

Yesterday, I met up with an ex co-worker who's big into rock-climbing and, borrowing a pair of snug-fitting climbing shoes from him, tried my hand on an indoor climbing wall for the first time.
어젠, 암벽 등반이 맘에 드는 전의 동료와 만났고 꼭 맞는 암벽등반 신발을 빌려 실내 암벽등반을 처음으로 시도했다.

This morning my forearms and fingers are moaning at me, but I enjoyed it a lot (my parents know what a monkey I was as a child) and am planning to go again soon.
오늘 아침에 내 팔뚝과 손가락이 약간 아프지만 (내 부모님은 전 어렸을땐 원숭이 같은 걸 알고 있지) 즐겨서 다시 해보려고 한다.

On an unrelated note, on the way to the institute just now my ex boss, a corrupt and contemptible man I had no intention of ever setting eyes on again, lurched past me near Bujeon subway station, not his neck of the woods. A shiver of disgust slid up my spine as I avoided his eye and strode past.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hmm, Tests

This from the Korea Times

Shocking Test Scores - Incompetent Teachers, Wrong Methods Ruin English Education

The average score of 272 middle and high school teachers who took the [TOEIC] test last year was 718. ... In yet another indication of the problem, 39 teachers failed to earn 568 points, the average for middle-school students who took the test.

The TOEIC test exists in such a parallel reality that, as more and more companies are realising, a person with a super-high score may well not actually have a very good grasp of English. For that, I hereby award it the prize for World's Most Useless English Language Test. (The statuette is in the shape of a chocolate teapot.)

TOEIC may not tell all - but it may say a lot about teachers’ overall linguistic proficiency and Korea’s English education. ... Some say TOEIC is not a comprehensive gauge because it focuses only on reading and listening comprehension.

To be honest with you, I'd say it says pretty much the opposite: it has next to nothing to say about a person's linguistic proficiency. And the fact that the results are understood as if they do only says that Korea's English education is overly reliant on the TOEIC test, right?

Today's reply said this:
Who Is to Blame? - by Lena K. Swiadek, Pundang

[M]y spouse was asked by the principal (who, by the way, does not speak English) to employ methods straight from the Middle Ages, based on the assumption that ... repetition is the mother of learning. Also, the materials chosen for teaching are not stimulating enough, not to say simplistic; while the number of books covered in a term is mistakenly taken for the sign of progress.

Your turn to comment.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

EFL - Phrasal Verbs

So far, even with a lot of leafing through coursebooks, resource books, Internet sites and nearby teaching brains I've yet to come up with anything of much worth for successfully helping learners out with phrasal verbs. It's an important part of everyday speech and shouldn't be left out of our teaching. Not one for giving up, I thought I'd try out some of my own ideas this coming month.

First a few resources:

Some ideas from OneStopEnglish.
Teaching phrasals with music from iTESLj.
On food-related phrasal verbs (knock it back, bolt it down, pig out) from iTESLj.
An interesting dialogue from ManyThings - you could use this in class.

LB: " ... TV programs, radio interviews and pop music are a wonderful source for phrasal verbs. I think one of the best ways of learning them is in everyday contexts. One good one is people's daily routine. We 'get up' in the morning, we 'put on' our clothes and 'take off' our clothes at the end of the day, we 'turn on' the coffee maker or the TV set... After we eat we 'clean up.' If we're concerned about our health, we go to the gym and we ... "
RS: "Work out."
LB: "There you go. Another wonderful context for phrasal verbs is traveling.
What does an airplane do?"
AA: "It 'takes off.' "
LB: "It 'takes off,' that's right. And lots of phrasal verbs connected with hotels. So when we get to the hotel we 'check in,' and you can save a lot of money if you ... "

Most sources advocate learning phrasal verbs as any other part of vocabulary, though an introduction to them could certainly help students recognise them when they turn up. Here's a short version:

"Phrasal verbs are (usually common) verbs followed by what is sometimes called a 'particle'. This 'particle' is either a preposition or an adverb, or possibly one of each. The most important thing is that learners should understand as many phrasal verbs as possible and be able to use them. Fluent English speakers use them all the time." (adapted from English in Valencia)

We use phrasal verbs in three ways:

1) to describe an action literally.
He went out of the room.
The neighbours have gone away on holiday.
Sit down and have some tea.
She walked past him without saying a word.

The majority of phrasal verbs are like this. The meaning is the combination of the two words. This shouldn't be too problematic.

2) to intensify or emphasise an action.
You're not going out until you've eaten up your dinner.
It's been pouring down with rain all day.
Don't fill it up completely! I only want a little.
He can add up easily but he can't subtract, multiply or divide.

This is less common. Sometimes the meaning is literal - the rain pours down - and sometimes it isn't - you eat up your dinner. However, the general meaning is the same as if you're using the verb alone (eat your dinner, pour with rain, etc).

3) as verbs with a special meaning.
I'll look after the children if you want to go out.
I've applied for hundreds of jobs, but they always turn me down.
I had plans to go to university, but they fell through.
Her daughter was run over while playing in the street.

These are the phrasals that are 'greater then the sum of their parts'. Knowing what the individual parts mean is of little help in deciphering these verbs. It's necessary to learn the meanings of each of this type of phrasal verb as a whole.

Furthermore, there are four types:
Type 1 - take no object:
The plane took off two hours late.
He left his wife and children and went away.
There was a horrible smell in the fridge because the chicken had gone off.
All right, I don't know. I give up.
Type 2 - object can go after the phrasal verb or between the two parts:
(If the object is very long it will probably sound better after the verb.)
I must put up those shelves this weekend.
I must put those shelves up this weekend.
He turned off the TV and went to bed.
He turned the TV off and went to bed.
If you use a pronoun, put it between the two words of the verb.
I must put them up this weekend.
(NOT I must put up them this weekend.)
He turned it off and went to bed.
(NOT He turned off it and went to bed.)
Type 3 - object (pronoun or not) must go after the verb:
My sister takes after my mother.
(NOT My sister takes my mother after.)
My sister takes after her.
(NOT My sister takes her after.)

I'm looking for my credit card. Have you seen it?
(NOT I'm looking my credit card for. Have you seen it?)
I'm looking for it. Have you seen it?
(NOT I'm looking it for. Have you seen it?)
Type 4 - like Type 3, but three words instead of two. Object goes after the verb:
I'm looking forward to the holidays.
I'm looking forward to them.

Do you get on with your neighbours?
Do you get on with them?

Get on with your work!
Get on with it!
I agree with the author: trying to memorise verb lists (by main verb [look up, look up to, look down, look down on, etc.] or according to the particle [let down, turn down, sit down, put down, etc.]) is a 3D job - difficult, dull and disheartening. It's better to learn them for different situations (eg. telephoning: put through, hold on, hang up, get through, cut off, speak up, etc.).

Even easier is to treat them as you treat any other vocabulary you learn. Don't think of them as a special subject that has to be learnt. They're only words! If you find a useful phrasal verb, learn it like you would learn the word for 'table' or 'ashtray' or anything else. But make sure you write down the structure. Even better would be to note down a couple of sentences using the verb so that you have a context to remember it in.
For practice, some web sites just don't hold with phrasals; some dish them out. Sadly, I haven't been able to get hold of any good sources yet.

There's a complete and easy-to-use Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs over at Cambridge Dictionaries. Recommended.

Friday, July 08, 2005


7th July 2005

The first device exploded at 8.51am on a Circle line train between Aldgate East and Liverpool Street stations. Seven people were killed.

At 8.56am
a second device exploded on a train between King's Cross and Russell Square, killing 21 people.

At 9.17am there was another blast on a train at Edgware Road station which blew a hole through a wall into another train on an adjoining platform. Two other trains were affected and seven people were killed.

At 9.47am a fourth blast blew the top off a doubledecker bus in Tavistock Square, central London, possibly killing more than a dozen people.

I have nothing to say except to ask "Why?".

Friday, July 01, 2005


Wow, the summer holidays have hit us. The foyer has been absolutely packed for the last few days while people signed up for classes and bought coursebooks - sardines would feel less cosy.

와, 여름 방학은 와 있다. 지난 며칠간 사람이 수업을 신청하고 과정책을 사며 로비가 꽉 차 있었는데 정어리들은 덜 빽빽이 들어찰 거다.

My schedule has become dramatically weightier, which should be rewarding both in terms of the number of pleasant folks I meet each day and in terms of financial returns at the end of the month. That said, it's even more important for me to get a good night's sleep each night now, and to make sure I don't lose track of my free time for the next two months before things calm down again.

내 스케듈이 눈부시게 무거워졌는데 이건 매일 만나는 친절한 사람의 수 또한 월말에의 월급에 의해선 보람 더 많을 거다. 한편으로도, 바쁠 다음 이째월은 밤마다 편안한 밤잠을 하고 내 쉬는 시간을 놓치지 않도록 중요한다.

On a slightly different note, the heavens opened for a few hours today, turning all the streets of downtown Busan into a car swimming pool... Bring on the rainy season.

약간 주제를 바꿔서, 오늘 몇 시간동안 토사가 쏟아져 내렸다. 부산 시내의 길이 자동차 수영장으로 바꾸게 됐다. 장마가 온다.

You've been in Korea too long when...

Just to make you smile knowingly...

15. You have a black belt in 'paper, scissors, stone'.

14. You've had kimchi stew for breakfast, kimchi fried rice for lunch, kimchi dumplings for dinner, and yet you still reach for the kimchi side dish each time.
13. You've eaten pig's feet, ox tail, dog, silk worms or a live baby octopus.

12. A roll of toilet paper on the dinner table no longer phases you.

11. You catch yourself using Konglish words with your non-Korean friends.

10. A motorbike drives up the pavement [sidewalk] towards you and instead of jumping aside you refuse to move out of the way on principle.

09. You've broken up a street fight of drunken businessmen.

08. You hate Japan for no apparent reason.

07. You start wearing a surgical mask in winter.

06. You make a midnight munchies run for shrimp crisps [chips] and pre-packaged kimbap triangles.

05. The loudspeakers on the trucks driving in your neighbourhood don't wake you up.

04. You go to a "Western" restaurant and can't seem to use a knife and fork.

03. You've purchased something while riding the subway.

02. You find yourself on toothbrush row in the office toilets [washroom] after every meal.

01. You stop and stare unabashedly when you see a foreigner, forgetting you're a foreigner too.