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Monday, April 30

A Country’s Pride





image courtesy of stock.xchng




This is great news for the Philippines.



On April 3, GlobalEnglish Corp released the results of its Business English Index (B.E.I.).



This test measures English proficiency in the workplace and is conducted every year.



With its headquarters in Brisbane, California, GlobalEnglish works with multinational companies such as Procter and Gamble, HSBC, Cisco, and Phzer in improving Business English around the world.





According to this year’s BEI, the Philippines is the world’s best country in terms of Business English proficiency. Surprisingly, it has even overtaken the US.



Among 76 countries, only the Philippines attained a score above 7.0. This is the Intermediate level which indicates “an ability to take an active role in business discussions and to perform relatively complex tasks.



The Philippines got a total score of 7.11 and was the only country to belong in the Intermediate level.



Both the Philippines and Norway have been among the top 5 countries for two consecutive years.














As many of us know, a high level of Business English skill is  essential in today’s highly-globalized world, where company expansion across international boundaries is a must.



GlobalEnglish President Tom Kahl goes on to say that:



“Addressing English skills gaps and ensuring that employees can immediately perform at the necessary proficiency level should be viewed as a strategic imperative for multinational businesses, as Enterprise Fluency, the ability to seamlessly communicate and collaborate within global organizations, can deliver significant financial upside.”





Here are the Top 10 countries based on GlobalEnglish’s 2012 BEI:



Philippines


Norway



Serbia

Slovenia

Australia

Malaysia

India

Lithuania

Singapore

Canada







For more details, please click the link below:





;-)





Friday, April 27

It’s My Life!




This photo by Miyagawa is available at <a ref=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bon_Jovi_O2_Arena.JPG">under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ph/"> Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 





Today’s topic is the song “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi.




This song became a hit across several countries in the world. Surprisingly, it only reached # 33 in the U.S. Still, this song is special because it was a song made by a 1980s band yet it became popular in the year 2000. This means that it connected Bon Jovi with a different, younger audience.






Now, let’s talk about the lyrics that make this song great…





Right at the beginning, Bon Jovi warns that the song isn’t going to be just one of the many gentle love songs that fill our ears. He sings the words:



This ain’t a song for the brokenhearted



This song is rich in images of the American concept of freedom and happiness:



My heart is like an open highway


And -


Luck ain’t even lucky, you gotta make your own breaks



* "make your own breaks" means to grab good opportunity. Like to make your own destiny.




It also celebrates individuality:



I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd


You’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud



And it mentions one eternal classic:



Like Frankie said, “I did it my way”



* Frankie is the nickname of Frank Sinatra, a singer in the 1940s credited for popularizing the most covered song in history “My Way.”





Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” also talks about endurance in the face of troubles:



Tomorrow’s getting harder, make no mistake



Most of the words of the song do this: “stood their ground,” “never backed down,” “stand tall,” “don’t bend,” “don’t break,” etc.




Finally, in the thunderous words of the chorus, there’s the unbreakable spirit ringing in protest against the “rules and expectations” of society:



                           It’s my life

                           It’s now or never

                           I ain’t gonna live forever

                           I just wanna live while I’m alive




Indeed, as the artist Bon Jovi himself said:



When I was writing "It's My Life", I thought I was writing very self-indulgently about my own life and where I was in it. I didn't realize that the phrase "It's My Life" would be taken as being about everyone--by teenagers, by older guys, mechanics, whatever. "It's my life, and I'm taking control". Everyone kind of feels that way from time to time.







P.S. Here's the exciting music video from Bon Jovi VEVO on Youtube. Enjoy:








Keep on learning !













Tuesday, April 24

BLAME









Sometimes, somebody makes a big mistake. Or an accident happens. For example, your mom’s favorite flower vase falls to the floor and breaks into a hundred pieces. Or when you hit a home run, your ball crashes into the upstairs window.


After that, somebody’s gonna ask:



Who the hell made this mess?



At times like these, it’s useful to know how to blame ;-)




Well, blaming or “pointing the finger” is always a bad thing – most especially if it’s your fault! It’s much better to just admit your mistake and take responsibility for your action.



(Don’t start pointing your finger at your pet cat! ;-)



But in English, there are several practical expressions that we can use when we talk about blame and when we want to blame people.




First of all, the Vocabulary “Blame” is a Verb. That’s why it’s easy for you to use it this way:



Somebody + Blame + Somebody


Ex. She blamed him.
He blamed her.
They blamed each other.



Or, you can use the Passive and say:



He was blamed (by her).

We were blamed.

I was blamed.



If you wanna include the mistake or the cause of the blame in your sentence, you should say:



Somebody + Blame + Somebody + For + Something


Ex. She blamed him for the mistake.

They blamed me for the terrible presentation.



You should add “For.” And because “For” is a Preposition, it should always be followed by a Noun or a V+ing Verb. Only these.



Ex.

1.       I blame them for the mess.

2.       I blame them for breaking the door.

3.       They blamed him for the accident.

4.       They blamed him for losing/ forgetting the key.




If you want, you can also switch the order like this:



Somebody + Blame + Something + On + Somebody



But be careful because in this case you have to use the PrepositionOn” and not “For.”



Ex. They blamed everything on him.

Ex. She blamed what happened on me.



Here, it is also possible to use the VerbPut.” This time "blame" will become a Noun



1.       The boss put the blame on his secretary.

2.       Kids usually put the blame on their brother or sister.

3.       Don’t put the blame on him alone!




If you are on the other side of the situation, you should say:



I took the blame.

Nobody wants to take the blame.

Who will take the blame?



Finally, the Vocabulary “Fault” is also connected to blaming.



For example,


Your angry boss can ask: “Who’s fault is it?


You can answer: “It’s not my fault.”

Or, you can say: “It’s ____’s fault.”




Please learn how to use all these expressions correctly. But don’t use them for evil by telling a lie. In short, DON’T “pass the blame” to someone else.



And if everybody’s busy playing the “blame game,” just say:



Let’s not blame one other.

-  Or  -

Let’s stop blaming one other.



People should always try to be honest and accept the truth if it’s really their fault.


;-)




  

Saturday, April 21

Ooppps! English Fail









Today I’m going to tell an old, true story. It’s about a blunder* made in English.  


*blunder = big mistake



Before anything else, the point of this story is not to put down any person because of an honest mistake. Nor is it to say bad things about any nationality that doesn't have English as their first language.



There are many stories like this. I decided to choose this one coz it’s the perfect example of how important it is to develop our communication skills in today’s world, and how wide the effect that bad communication skills may have.



The best way is to take the lesson in this story positively. Because it is only through our mistakes that we can truly learn. After we have learned to accept and laugh at our own mistakes, only then can we finally improve.






This story happened 12 years ago. Our main character is the Prime Minister of a non-English-speaking country.



This politician was scheduled to attend an economic summit with the other leaders of the world. Since this politician isn’t so good at English, he was advised to memorize this formula:



A: How are you?

B: I’m fine. Thank you. And you?

A: Me too.



This would be enough and he could let his official translator take care of the rest of the conversation.



And so, the politician tried to keep the formula in mind…



When he finally met American President Bill Clinton, the politician made a small slip-up. Instead of asking “How are you?” he asked: “Who are you?”



So President Bill Clinton answered (perhaps in good humor): “I’m Hillary’s husband.”



And the politician quickly answered: “Me too.”



You can imagine the long silence that followed.

;-)




It is never a good thing to memorize fixed sets of dialogues, which is a common practice among learners of English.



This is because nobody can accurately predict what’s going to happen in the actual situation. There are too many factors involved that will cause your ideal dialogue not to play out the way you want it to. First, you can’t control how another person would respond to you. Second, perhaps it’d be too noisy in the place where you will be speaking. Or nervousness and lack of confidence will get in your way.



In fact, the more a person depends on memorized, fixed sets of dialogues, the less he has confidence and the more easily he gets nervous in the real setting. (Think about pick-up scenes at a bar.)



Another reason why it’s not a good idea to memorize dialogue formulas is the fact that, yes, you may be able to remember the information exactly as you want it to, but the sound, intonation and delivery is going to be flat, lifeless, and mechanical. Like a robot's.  



In short, it’ll be obvious to the listener that your speech was memorized and not spoken from the heart.




The best thing to do is to pay close attention to what the other person is saying and to process in your mind what exactly he is trying to express, and then, only then, should you respond. But those who practice memorized dialogues skip and ignore the first part of the process. They jump to the point of responding like a reflex, without caring about what the other person has said.





There are many other stories of blunders in English. They are all humorous at best, shameful at worst. If you have any such stories you wanna share, please feel free to do so.



Like I said, it’s through our mistakes that we learn.


;-)







Do You Have Any Questions?

friends!!^^

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