Warm in Washington: Modi in U.S. – The Hindu (Jun 28, 2017)

Warm in Washington: Modi in U.S. – The Hindu (Jun 28, 2017)

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first meeting with President Donald Trump, concern had grown about the future course of the bilateral relationship, particularly whether Mr. Trump would maintain…. For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-1

  1. muted (verb) – indistinct, quiet/soft, dull.
  2. course (noun) – route, way, direction.
  3. bilateral (adjective) – involving two groups or countries.
  4. predecessor (noun) – forerunner, precursor, antecedent.
  5. rest on (verb) – be based on, depend on, centre/rely on.
  6. fuel (verb) – stimulate, encourage, intensify (an intense feeling).
  7. climate change (noun) – a long-term change in the Earth’s climate, or of a region on Earth (Courtesy: NASA).
  8. put something to rest (phrase) – stop doubt by resolving an issue.
  9. bonhomie (noun) – friendliness, warmth, geniality/affability.
  10. entrepreneurship (noun) – the process/activity of setting up a business.
  11. forge (verb) – build, construct, create.
  12. territorial (adjective) – geographical, zonal, topical.
  13. sovereignty (noun) – autonomy, independence, self-government/rule.
  14. albeit (conjunction) – though, even though, however.
  15. convergence (noun) – the process of converging; intersection, interchange.
  16. departure from (noun) – deviation/divergence, variation, change.
  17. insertion (noun) – introduction, placing, positioning.
  18. veiled (verb) – hidden, concealed/camouflaged, indirect.
  19. front burner (noun) – the focus of attention.
  20. trade deficit (noun) – a trade deficit (a deficit in the balance of trade) occurs when the value of a country’s imports exceeds that of its exports. It is also called a trade gap.
  21. articulate (verb) – express, communicate, make public/announce.
  22. curb (noun) – check, restraint, control.
  23. accord (noun) – treaty, agreement, settlement/deal.
  24. handicapped (adjective) – hampered, impeded;  restricted/obstructed.
  25. maiden (adjective) – first, initial, inaugural.
  26. substantive (adjective) – important & meaningful.

28JUN17_WL1Note:

  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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Build Muscle Memory to Improve Your Pronunciation – VOA Learning English (Jun 27, 2017)

ET_27JUN17

What is your first memory of riding a bicycle?

Was it easy, difficult, or somewhere in between?

In the beginning, you may have wondered if you would ever be able to ride a bicycle at all. Then suddenly one day, you could ride without help from anyone.

Doing a physical activity easily, without thinking, uses an ability we call “muscle memory.”

When you repeat a physical action many times, your brain develops permanent memory for how to do it.

There are many examples, such as walking, swimming, dancing, driving a car, playing a musical instrument and speaking your native language.

Elizabeth Marner-Brooks says your muscles can help you remember how to pronounce words.

For nearly 30 years, she has taught English language classes at The New School and other universities in New York City. Pronunciation is one of her areas of expertise.

At the start of her pronunciation courses, Marner-Brooks asks her students how often they practice their pronunciation skills. The usual answer is “once or twice a week.” Then, she asks how long they think it would take a baby to learn to walk if they only tried that often. She hopes this discussion helps them see the connection between speaking and the memory we build into our muscles.

Marner-Brooks recently spoke to VOA Learning English on Skype.

“It’s using the muscles. You have to give yourself permission because human nature dictates that we’re going to be spurred on to doing things once we find results. But, we get the results by doing it. And, you can get results very quickly – very quickly – if you just do it.”

Right now, the muscles in your mouth, lips and tongue may feel strange as they try to make the shapes to produce the sounds of English words. This can require a lot of effort.

But, Marner-Brooks notes that the muscles will soon remember how to produce the correct sounds with little or no effort.

She works with her students to make consonant and vowel sounds. She also teaches them the use of stress and pitch, two other important elements of English pronunciation.

Many English learners have told Marner-Brooks that other teachers only asked them to repeat English words. They did not teach how to produce the sounds.

“One person said, ‘Well, nobody ever showed me that my tongue goes up for a d and presses. Nobody ever showed me that. They would just do it and I had to copy it.'”

Unlike many languages, English has 16 different vowel sounds. So building memory for the correct tongue position is especially important, she notes.

For vowels, she explains that the sounds have a natural progression, from the highest position of the tongue to the flattest position.

So, for example, for a long “e” sound, the tongue is high up in the mouth “like a camel‘s back,” she says. For a shorter vowel sound, the tongue is in the middle of the mouth. And, for the shortest, the tongue is flat.

Try the sounds that Marner-Brooks pronounces to feel it for yourself.

“So, /hi/ as in he, she, we and /hI/ as in him, women and /hɛ/ as in help, bread, head’.”

She adds that speaking is a creative action – we are creating sounds as we speak. A common misunderstanding people have about learning language is that it is only an intellectual action.

“And when we’re dealing with speech – with making the sounds – we’re dealing with the creative side of the brain, not the intelligent, thinking side.”

To help build your muscle memory, Marner-Brooks says you can use pronunciation videos on the Internet. She suggests English learners avoid using the Internet to simply repeat words they hear.

Instead, find short American English pronunciation guides on web sites like YouTube. Specifically, look for videos that demonstrate things like vowel and consonant muscle training.

Marner-Brooks suggests students do vowel and consonant pronunciation exercises for 3-5 minutes four times each day. And, use a mirror to observe yourself as you practice the sounds.

If these exercises feel foolish or strange, she has these final thoughts:

“What I suggest is for you to be comfortable, take the risks, and enjoy speaking the language. That’s the goal.”

I’m Alice Bryant.

Alice Bryant wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

________________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

pronouncev. to use the mouth and other organs of speech to say words correctly

practicev. to do something again and again in order to become better at it

spurv. to motivate someone to do something

consonantn. a speech sound (such as /p/, /d/, or /s/) that is made by partly or completely stopping the flow of air breathed out from the mouth

voweln. a speech sound made with your mouth open and your tongue in the middle of your mouth, not touching one’s teeth or lips

stressn. greater loudness or force given to part of a word when speaking or to a beat in music

pitchn. the rise and fall of your voice when you speak

camel – n. a large animal of Africa and Asia that has a long neck and one or two large humps on its back

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

Courtesy: Voice of America

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Mending the rift – The Hindu (Jun 27, 2017)

Mending the rift – The Hindu (Jun 27, 2017)

The fact that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have handed over a list of demands to the Qatari regime should, on the face of it,….For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-1

  1. mend (verb) – correct, amend, rectify.
  2. rift (noun) – disagreement, dispute, conflict.
  3. regime (noun) – government, rule, leadership.
  4. on the face of it (phrase) – apparently, seemingly, evidently.
  5. impasse (noun) – deadlock, stalemate, stand-off.
  6. comply with (verb) – abide by, adhere to, follow/respect.
  7. disown (verb) – renounce, reject, deny.
  8. thriving (adjective) – growing, prosperous; flourishing.
  9. bloc (noun) – alliance, group, federation/union.
  10. dissident (noun) – objector, protester, disputant.
  11. enforce (verb) – force, compel, demand/insist on.
  12. cease (verb) – stop, conclude, terminate.
  13. implication (noun) – consequence, result, ramification/repercussion.
  14. muscle power (noun) – influence, power/force, strength.
  15. bully (noun) – persecutor, oppressor, browbeater/intimidator.
  16. prevail over (verb) – win through, triumph,, succeed.
  17. precursor (noun) – sign, signal, indication.
  18. shore up (phrasal verb) – support, assist, buttress/strengthen.
  19. remittance (noun) – payment, settlement, money.
  20. sanguine ( adjective) – optimistic, positive, hopeful.

27JUN17_WL1Note:

  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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Being smart about Smart Cities Mission – The Hindu (Jun 26, 2017)

Being smart about Smart Cities Mission – The Hindu (Jun 26, 2017)

The Centre would like us to believe that the Smart Cities Mission will transform urban life in the agglomerations that enter the elite club. For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-2

  1. agglomeration (noun) – collection, mass, assemblage.
  2. inclusivity (noun) – the quality of being inclusive without excluding people on grounds of gender, race, class, disability & etc.
  3. fine-grained (adjective) – involving great attention to detail.
  4. skirt (verb) – avoid, dodge, circumvent/bypass.
  5. Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – SPV will plan, appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate the Smart City development projects.
  6. come up with (phrasal verb) – produce, propose, introduce.
  7. transparency (noun) – clarity, straightforwardness, openness.
  8. accountable (adjective) – responsible, liable, answerable.
  9. standing water (adjective) – (of water) stagnant, still, motionless.
  10. heat map (noun) – a representation of data in which  colours used to represent data values.
  11. low-hanging fruit (noun) – easily achievable course of actions/tasks to get results very quickly.
  12. nimble (adjective) – quick, bright, active/fast.
  13. tap (verb) – use, utilize, draw on/exploit.
  14. commons (noun) – central area/section of (usually an older) town, designated as a shared area, a common land or resources belonging to the whole of a community.
  15. reliable (adjective) – safe, well built/well engineered, good.
  16. civic (adjective) – (relating to) municipal, city, town.

26JUN17_WL2Note:

  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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Know Your English – The Hindu (Jun 26, 2017)

Know Your English – The Hindu (Jun 26, 2017)

Is the word ‘topper’ used only by Indians? (K Nandini, Mysore)

No, it isn’t. The word ‘topper’ is listed in all standard dictionaries, but the meaning that we Indians have given the word is not included in many of them.

For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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New Words – Cambridge Dictionary About words blog (Jun 26, 2017)

New Words – Cambridge Dictionary About words blog (Jun 26, 2017)

  1. asperitas
  2. dark sunshine
  3. red geyser

To know the definition and other details of these new words , visit About words, a blog from Cambridge Dictionary.

Blog post written by: Cambridge Words

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: Cambridge University Pres

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Whose privilege? – The Hindu (Jun 26, 2017)

Whose privilege? – The Hindu (Jun 26, 2017)

The Karnataka Assembly’s resolution imposing a one-year prison sentence and ₹10,000 fine on the editors of two tabloids is indefensible and deserving of unsparing criticism. For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-1

  1. privilege (noun) – (birth)right, prerogative, entitlement/advantage.
  2. invoke (verb) – evoke, induce, cause.
  3. tabloid (noun) – a newspaper with a compact page (1/2) size smaller than the normal newspaper.
  4. indefensible (adjective) – unjustified, baseless, illogical/irrational.
  5. unsparing (adjective) – severe, relentless, uncompromising.
  6. confer (verb) – grant to, give to, bestow on.
  7. undue (adjective) – excessive, extreme, immoderate.
  8. coercion (noun) – force, compulsion, demand/insistence.
  9. ostensible (adjective) –  apparent, seeming, alleged/purported.
  10. disguised (adjective) – concealed, hidden, camouflaged.
  11. insulate (verb) – protect, safeguard, shield/defend.
  12. codify (verb) – systematize, systemize, organize/arrange.
  13. germane (adjective) – relevant, pertinent; appropriate; related
  14. by no stretch of the imagination (phrase) – used to highlight that something is definitely not the case/point.
  15. impede (verb) – hinder, prevent, obstruct.
  16. defame (verb) – malign, tarnish, discredit.
  17. pursue (verb) – undertake, prosecute, follow.
  18. judicial remedy (noun) – redress, reparation, solution.
  19. sparingly (adverb) – in small quantities; barely, economically, meagrely.
  20. refute (verb) – disprove, prove false/wrong, invalidate.
  21. misconceived (adjective) – misunderstood, misinterpreted, mistaken.
  22. concede (verb) – allow, grant, recognize.
  23. moot (adjective) – disputed, problematic, unsettled/unresolved.
  24. lay down (phrasal verb) – formulate, stipulate, frame.
  25. penal (adjective) – disciplinary, punitive, corrective.
  26. odium (noun) – disgust, disapproval, repulsion.
  27. rescind (verb) – revoke, repeal, cancel.
  28. august (adjective) – distinguished, respected, prestigious.

26JUN17_WL1Note:

  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: Though – VOA Learning English (Jun 25, 2017)

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

Courtesy: Voice of America

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English in a Minute: Night Owl – VOA Learning English (Jun 24, 2017)

An owl is a kind of bird that is most active at night. So, what does it mean if you describe a person as a “night owl?”

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

Courtesy: Voice of America

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Words and Their Stories: Where Is the ‘Bone of Contention’ Located? – VOA Learning English (Jun 24, 2017)

Now, the VOA Learning English program, Words and Their Stories.

Has there ever been one issue that has caused trouble between you and another person? You know, a troublesome issue in your relationship, one that does not seem to go away?

If so, you and the other person have a bone of contention.

A bone of contention is the cause of a long-standing argument.

The website Dictionary.com says this expression was first used in the early 1700s. This expression comes from the fact that two dogs would often fight over a bone, with neither animal wanting to give in to the other.

Today, anything can become a bone of contention between two or more people. A legal document such as a father’s will could be a bone of contention between members of his family. Political or religious differences, past mistakes or misunderstandings all make for great bones of contention.

Now, another expression related to bone of contention that also uses the word “bone,” is to have a bone to pick.

Let’s say you have a problem with someone and you want to resolve it. You could say to them, “Look, I have a bone to pick with you.”

This expression refers to a dog chewing endlessly on a bone. It picks it clean. So, a “bone to pick” is a subject or issue that may take much discussion to resolve.

“Bone to pick” is very common and informal. “Bone of contention” is also common but can sound a little formal. A more informal way to say “bone of contention” is sticking point. This is a problem or issue that you can’t move beyond. It stops all progress. You’re stuck.

A sticking point is similar to holding a grudge.

When you hold a grudge you keep bad feeling toward someone who has done something bad to you in the past. Two people can also hold a grudge against each other. You might also hear that someone bears a grudge. But holding one is much more common.

This is a little different from having a bone of contention. With holding a grudge, we mean a person is holding on to something from the past and it is causing trouble. With a bone of contention, it is the issue that is causing the problem.

Now, a more expressive, yet less common, phrase is apple of discord. An apple of discord is an object or issue that can cause anger, arguments and even rivalry between people.

This expression comes from Greek mythology. The ancient myth goes something like this:

Once there was a great ceremony to celebrate the marriage of Peleus and Thetis. All the important gods and mortals were invited. However, Eris, the goddess of discord and unrest, was not. She really shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean, really. Who would want to invite the goddess of discord to their wedding?

Well, to cause trouble, Eris threw a golden apple into the crowd. Written into the apple were the words “the fairest,” “or most attractive” or something like that. Now, who wouldn’t want to catch that?

Well, it turns out that three other Greek goddesses wanted that golden apple. Aphrodite, Athena and Hera all claimed it should be for them. Zeus, the King of the gods, stepped in to resolve the disagreement. He ruled that Paris, a Trojan prince, would act as judge.

The three goddesses all tried to influence Paris, which led to a series of terrible events. Very simply stated, the apple caused so many arguments that it eventually led to the Trojan War.

Speaking of weddings, here in the United States, there is a tradition at some. Immediately after the ceremony, the unmarried women gather closely in a group. The just-married bride then turns her back to the them and throws her bouquet of flowers up into the air.

It is not a competition for the fairest or most beautiful woman to catch. But tradition says that whoever catches the flowers will be the next one to marry. So, it can sometimes lead to a big fight for the bouquet.

And that’s Word and Their Stories. I’m Anna Matteo.

Do you have any phrases in your language that mean “bone of contention”? Let us know in the Comments Section!

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

contentionn. a point advanced or maintained in a debate or argument

grudgen. a strong feeling of anger toward someone that lasts for a long time

rivalryn. a state or situation in which people or groups are competing with each other

mortaln. a human being

discordn. lack of agreement between people, ideas, etc.

weddingn. a marriage ceremony usually with its accompanying festivities

bouquetn. flowers picked and fastened together in a bunch

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

Courtesy: Voice of America

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