Exercise: Articles

I have  ___ uncle who lives in  ___ home for  ___ elderly. He is  ___  honest man. He used to be  ___  FBI agent. He once saved  ___  one-year-old boy from  ___  fire. He has many interesting stories.

He told me that he once met  ___  alien from  ___  space. This alien didn’t need  ___  oxygen to live; it didn’t have  ___ nose. That’s  ___  hard story to believe. I’m not sure he was telling me  ___  truth. Maybe he isn’t so honest, after all.

___ stress can make ___  life unpleasant. In  ___  day, I work at ___  office.  ___ people I work with are busy, and  ___  work we do isn’t easy.

When I drive to  ___  work, usually  ___  highways are really busy. If there’s  ___  accident during  ___  rush hour, it can be  ___  chaos on the roads.

I don’t watch  ___  TV. I get  ___  information and  ___  news, etc., from  ___  Internet. I don’t often go to  ___  cinema, either. I’m interested in  ___  finance. I heard  ___  Euro is losing value, compared to ___  US dollar.

I like Japan. ___ crime is quite low there. When I fly to Japan, I usually fly to  ___  Narita Airport. The last time I was in Japan, I climbed  ___ Mount Fuji. It was fun. I am tall. __ Japanese are generally shorter than I am.

Vocabulary: The most difficult words to pronounce in the English language

“Worcestershire”. “Choir”. “Sixth”. For some, these words may seem relatively normal and everyday – but to others, they represent an unrivalled linguistic challenge.

For almost two weeks, users of the online social platform reddit have been submitting what they consider to be “the hardest English word to pronounce”.

After more than 5,000 submissions, the message thread has become a fount of difficult vocabulary, with users from across the world sharing their favourites and personal experiences.

There are references to popular culture, some very creative tongue-twisters – and because of reddit’s points system, a rough consensus has emerged as to which are the hardest.

Here are the top 10:

10 – Rural

9 – Otorhinolaryngologist

8 – Colonel

7 – Penguin

6 – Sixth

5 – Isthmus

4 – Anemone

3 – Squirrel

2 – Choir

1 – Worcestershire

Reference: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/weird-news/the-most-difficult-words-to-pronounce-in-the-english-language-revealed-as-well-as-the-world-s-10159516.html

A poem was written to expose the irregularities of English pronunciation, you can listen to it below before trying it yourself:

 

 

“The Chaos” by Gerard Nolst Trenité, written nearly 100 years ago in 1922:

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Fe0ffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

You’ve been reading “The Chaos” by Gerard Nolst Trenité, written nearly 100 years ago in 1922, designed to demonstrate the irregularity of English spelling and pronunciation.

Vocabulary: Expressions for Agreeing and Disagreeing in a Debate

Stating an opinion

  • In my opinion…
  • The way I see it…
  • If you want my honest opinion….
  • According to Lisa…
  • As far as I’m concerned…
  • If you ask me…

Asking for an opinon

  • What’s your idea?
  • What are your thoughts on all of this?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • Do you have anything to say about this?
  • What do you think?
  • Do you agree?
  • Wouldn’t you say?

Expressing agreement

  • I agree with you 100 percent.
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s so true.
  • That’s for sure.
  • (slang) Tell me about it!
  • You’re absolutely right.
  • Absolutely.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • Exactly.
  • I’m afraid I agree with James.
  • I have to side with Dad on this one.
  • No doubt about it.
  • (agree with negative statement) Me neither.
  • (weak) I suppose so./I guess so.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.

Expressing disagreement

  • I don’t think so.
  • (strong) No way.
  • I’m afraid I disagree.
  • (strong) I totally disagree.
  • I beg to differ.
  • (strong) I’d say the exact opposite.
  • Not necessarily.
  • That’s not always true.
  • That’s not always the case.
  • No, I’m not so sure about that.

Interruptions

  • Can I add something here?
  • Is it okay if I jump in for a second?
  • If I might add something…
  • Can I throw my two cents in?
  • Sorry to interrupt, but…
  • (after accidentally interrupting someone) Sorry, go ahead. OR Sorry, you were saying…
  • (after being interrupted) You didn’t let me finish.

Settling an argument

  • Let’s just move on, shall we?
  • Let’s drop it.
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
  • (sarcastic) Whatever you say./If you say so.

Reading: Refugees in Europe (B1)

migration_crisis_2.jpg_402102917
A very full boat carries people across the Mediterranean

The organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the European Union (EU) to act immediately on the refugee situation in the Mediterranean Sea. The call follows the latest tragedy that saw at least 700 migrants perish in an attempt to flee from their troubled homelands and reach Europe. This brings the death toll to over 1,000 in the past week. HRW spokesperson Judith Sunderland said: “The EU is standing by with arms crossed while hundreds die off its shores. These deaths might well have been prevented if the EU had launched a genuine search-and-rescue effort.” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi singled out Libya as the key problem and said efforts should focus on refugee boats leaving Libyan ports.

image
Crowds demand action from European governments

The 28-member EU is under fire from within over its policy to scale down efforts to save lives at sea. Divisions began last year when the EU cut its search-and-rescue budget by two-thirds. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, said: “Europe can do more and Europe must do more. It is a shame and a confession of failure how many countries run away from responsibility.” Maltese PM Joseph Muscat warned: “We will all be judged in the same way that history has judged Europe when it turned a blind eye to the genocide of this century and last century.” Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy said: “This is the umpteenth time we hear of yet another human tragedy in the Mediterranean….Words won’t do any more.”