Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What's the word?

What do these three sentences have in common?

  • The ex-president offered to broker the contract between the two companies.
  • For more information, consult your travel agent or insurance broker.
  • The communist party emerged as a power broker despite their loss of seven seats in the senate in the recent elections.

ANSWER: They all use the word broker. In language, the same word can be used in different ways and have different meanings.   

To be a proficient user of a language means is to know how to use a word in diverse contexts, often with diverse meanings. 

Here are some more examples. Do you know the missing words?

Word #2
We are unable to increase salaries in the current economic ..........
The ......... of opinion is slowly changing about the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
President Bush suggested an international meeting at the White House next spring of scientific, economic and environmental officials to discuss responses to global ........ changes.


Word #3
This week we’ll be experiencing some unstable ...........
Long periods of exposure to the sun can .......... your face and skin.
It seems management is going to be able to .......... the corruption scandal. Nobody is going to jail or lose their jobs.


Word #4
It’s the peak of the holiday .........., so the roads will be busy.
Most parts of Brazil just have a dry or rainy .........
Have you seen the last ......... of Law and Order?


Word #5
The committee is going to ......... the department’s performance
I’m not interested in getting credits or a certificate for the course; I’m just going to .........
Government is planning an official ............ of transport services for irregularities.  


Be on the lookout for the answers soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas dinners - in some countries

Christmas dinners from around the world

But, wait, don't go yet

Since we are talking about dinners, here is a sneak peek at what my fellow Trinis eat at Christmas time:

For more examples, go here.

What's on your plate for Christmas this year?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Corruption around the world - how to move from perception to prevention?

Familiarizing myself with the work of Transparency International

Taken from the perspective of the impact it has on social order and economic growth, corruption is probably the most fatal plague we face.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Timelines are valuable verb tense tools


Everyone has thought of the possibility of being able to travel in time with the help of a time machine like the one in the classic Back to the Future. But talk about how going back in time will change the future requires thinking of the verb tenses we would need to do that.

Consider the following situation: 

What would be the right tense to talk about something that
Would have happened in the future of a past that was affected by something from the future?
Here is the gang from The Big Bang Theory putting the hypothesis to the test. What answer did they come up with?

Would grammarians like Scott Thornbury come up with the same final result? Here’s what Thornbury has to say about aspect, a key element in forming verb tenses

What, apart from grammar, do they learn from the tense test in the end? Have you learned anything else?