Time for clarity: on Doklam stand-off – The Hindu (Jan 22, 2018)

Time for clarity: on Doklam stand-off – The Hindu (Jan 22, 2018)

Five months after the government claimed the victory of “quiet diplomacy” to bring the 73-day stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam to an end, the contours of the actual agreement and events that have followed remain a mystery. . For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-1 (To Improve English Vocabulary)

  1. stand-off (noun) – deadlock, stalemate, impasse (in a dispute/conflict).
  2. quiet diplomacy (noun) – it is a way of conduct of international relations (through the interaction of official representatives of governments or groups) to create conditions in which parties feel comfortable to act, in particular allowing parties calmly to evaluate positions and interests, to weigh options and consider independent and impartial advice.
  3. contour (noun) – outlineshapeform.
  4. plateau (noun) – an area of highland, high plain; flat terrain that is raised significantly above the surrounding area.
  5. disengagement (noun) – withdrawal, departure, retreat (troops from an area).
  6. face-off (noun) – battle, conflict, direct confrontation.
  7. hitherto (adverb) – previously, formerly, earlier, so/thus far.
  8. status quo (noun) – the present situation, the current state, the existing state of affairs.
  9. discretion (noun) – carefulness, wariness; judgement.
  10. divergence (noun) – difference, dissimilarity/variance; deviation/departure.
  11. on the ground (phrase) – in a situation/place where things are happening really/practically.
  12. roil (verb) – make annoyed/irritated.
  13. bound to (adjective) – certain/sure, very likely, guaranteed.
  14. raise eyebrows (phrase) – show surprise.
  15. shelling (noun) – bombing, attacking, firing (with shells).
  16. belligerent (adjective) – hostile, aggressive, threatening.
  17. unravel (verb) –  become undone, fail, go wrong.
  18. build-up (noun) – increase, accumulation, expansion/escalation.
  19. at all costs (phrase) – regardless of the effort needed.
  20. imperative (adjective) – very important, essential, crucial/critical.
  21. ambiguity (noun) – inexactness, doubtfulness, uncertainty.
  22. embrace (verb) – take up, adopt; involve.

Note:   

  1. Click each one of the words above for their definition, more synonyms, pronunciation, example sentences, phrases, derivatives, origin and etc from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/.
  2. Definitions (elementary level) & Synonyms provided for the words above are my personal work and not that of Oxford University Press. Tentative definitions/meanings are provided for study purpose only and they may vary in different context. Use it with the corresponding article published on the source (website) via the link provided. 
  3. This word list is for personal use only. Reproduction in any format and/or Commercial use of it is/are strictly prohibited.
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Everyday Grammar: Wish (Future) – VOA Learning English (Jan 21, 2018)

This was originally published on www.learningenglish.voanews.com and reproduced here with permission.

Courtesy: Voice of America

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Know Your English: A skeleton crew and a cash cow – The Hindu (Jan 20, 2018)

Know Your English: A skeleton crew and a cash cow – The Hindu (Jan 20, 2018)

“I had a sip of your company’s new cola last night. It was just plain awful. How could a company like yours launch a terrible product like that?”…….

For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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Don’t Play Poker? You Still Can ‘Pass the Buck’ – VOA Learning English (Jan 20, 2018)

Now, it’s time for Words and Their Stories.

Each week, we try to have a new story. In these stories, we explain English words and expressions. Often, they come from day-to-day events in our lives and become part of the language.

The expression “pass the buck” is an example. A card game may be the origin of this American expression.

Gamblers in saloons of the Old West may be responsible for “pass the buck.” To understand how we have to learn about the game of poker – then and now.

In poker, each player, one after another, mixes the playing cards, and then passes them out. They deal them. Back then, an object — often a Buck knife — was placed in front of a player whose turn it was to deal.

A man named Hoyt Buck created the Buck knife back in the early 1900s. As a young blacksmith in Kansas, Buck wanted to find a better way to make knife blades stronger and hold their sharp edge longer. He produced his first Buck knife in 1902 and the family company is still making Buck knives today.

But let’s get back to the poker game.

Okay, so the person with the marker, or the “buck,” in front of them had a decision to make. They could either keep the deal or give it to another player. They would pass the Buck  knife, or other similar marker, when they did not want the responsibility of dealing.

So, today when someone passes the buck, they fail to take responsibility for a problem. They want someone else to solve it.

“Pass the buck” led to another American expression. Former President Harry Truman, who enjoyed playing poker, made this one famous.

A friend of Truman’s presented him with a small sign for his White House office. The sign said: “The buck stops here.” This meant that Truman was responsible for what happened in the country. The president cannot “pass the buck.”

There are other ways to express the meanings of “pass the buck.”

You could also say “avoid responsibility” or even “evade responsibility.”

If you shift the blame, you try to make someone else take responsibility for something you did. Many work places have these types of people. For whatever reason, they are unable to take responsibility for their mistakes. These types of people try to shift the blame to others.

When you evade responsibility, you refuse to own up to something you did. You can also evade responsibility for something you failed to do. However, evading responsibility does not necessarily mean placing it on someone else. “Passing the buck” does – you force someone else to deal with a problem or issue.

Sometimes we simply say we “own it” — “it” being the mistake. If you “own” something that has gone wrong, you take full responsibility for it. We also say things like, “That’s on me!” or “My bad!” These are very casual and common ways of saying, “It’s my fault!”

Now, let’s hear the words and expressions in a short dialogue.

A: Okay, so our meeting with the client is tomorrow at 4 pm. They want to see a mock-up of our interactive web page. I have all the content written. Are you finished with the draft yet?

B: Um, Allen is making the draft web page.

A: He told me that you wanted to do it.

B: I did not say that. My job is to find images and videos. He is trying to pass the buck … again!

A: Yeah, he does that a lot, doesn’t he. Well, we need something to show the client tomorrow. Do you have the images?

B: Yeah, they’re on this flash drive. Wait. Where is the flash drive?

A: I don’t know.

B: Oh man! I do! I left it on the train coming into work today.

A: So, let me get this straight. Our meeting with the client is tomorrow afternoon and we don’t have a web page or images.

B: Losing the images is on me. I’ll load another flash drive today. But I have nothing to do with the web page!

A: Don’t worry about that. I’m project manager. So, ultimately the buck stops with me. You just get me the videos and photos by close of business. I’ll take care of the rest.

B: Got it!

And that’s the end of this Words and Their Stories.

Practice using one of the expressions you heard here. Describe a time when maybe you passed the buck or owned up to a mistake!

I’m Anna Matteo.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,

Know when to walk away, and know when to run.

You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.

There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealings done.

Anna Matteo wrote this story with some historical research written by Deborah Potter. Caty Weaver was the editor. The song at the end is Kenny Rogers singing “The Gambler.”

______________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

origin – n. rise, beginning, or derivation from a source

gambler – n. one who risks something of value for the chance of winning a prize

saloon – n. a place where alcoholic drinks are served especially : such a place in the western U.S. during the 19th century

deal – v. card games : to distribute (playing cards) to players

blacksmith – n. a person who makes or repairs things made of iron (such as knives or horseshoes)

evade – v. to avoid dealing with or facing (something)

shift – v. to go or to cause (something) to go from one person or thing to another

fault – n. responsibility for a problem, mistake, bad situation, etc.

mock-up – n. a working sample (as of a magazine) for reviewing format, layout, or content

interactive – adj. designed to respond to the actions, commands, etc., of a user

draft – n. a version of something (such as a document) that you make before you make the final version

ultimately – adv. in the end

This was originally published on the www.learningenglish.voanews.com and reproduced here with permission.

Courtesy: Voice of America

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Signs of a geopolitical whirlwind – The Hindu (Jan 20, 2018)

Signs of a geopolitical whirlwind – The Hindu (Jan 20, 2018)

It is a measure of the abject inadequacy of liberal thought today that all it can bring to the political arena, and to public discourse generally, is high indignation at the tawdriness of what it dismissively describes as ‘populism’. For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Advanced Word List 1 (To Improve English Vocabulary)

  1. whirlwind (noun) – unsettled situation.
  2. soft pedal (verb) – downplay, underemphasize, understate.
  3. belligerent (adjective) – hostile, aggressive, threatening.
  4. tighten the noose (phrase) – to make the condition more tough.
  5. war of nerves (phrase) – a conflict in which the opposing sides trying to thread each other using psychological techniques.
  6. run with the hare and hunt with the hounds (phrase) – to support both sides of an argument/conflict/dispute.
  7. push someone to the wall (phrase) – to force someone into a problematic situation with limited/no options to act upon.
  8. weather the storm (phrase) – to tackle a very difficult situation without much damage.
  9. out of the blue (phrase) – unexpectedly, without warning.
  10. hard-nosed (adjective) – tough-minded, realistic, pragmatic/practical.

Note:   

  1. Click each one of the words above for their definition, more synonyms, pronunciation, example sentences, phrases, derivatives, origin and etc from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/.
  2. Definitions (elementary level) & Synonyms provided for the words above are my personal work and not that of Oxford University Press. Tentative definitions/meanings are provided for study purpose only and they may vary in different context. Use it with the corresponding article published on the source (website) via the link provided. 
  3. This word list is for personal use only. Reproduction in any format and/or Commercial use of it is/are strictly prohibited.
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