Category Archives: Tianjin Laoren English Culture

Agreeing and disagreeing. Being honest and not so honest (from F2F).

Agreeing and disagreeing. Chapter two from Face2Face.

Look at the photo. Who are the people? What are they doing?

Let’s do the reading (you can listen to the transcript R2.6).

JAMES Jenny, you haven’t touched your sandwich. Look, Liam has nearly finished his. (Don’t want it.) OK, go and play with Harriet then. Oh dear, she’s hardly eaten anything.

HAZEL Don’t worry about it. It’s best just to let kids eat when they want.

LILY don’t know about that. I think it’s important for kids to get used to good eating habits as early as possible. That’s what I did with my kids, and when I look after Liam that’s what I do with him. Right from the word go, you should make them stay at the table until they finish their food.

H I can’t really see the point of forcing kids to eat. I think that just makes kids hate meal times and food becomes a bigger problem.

L Oh, do you think so? I think if kids aren’t allowed to play until they’ve eaten their food they soon learn to empty their plates. You have to be strict right from the beginning or they just get into bad habits.

J I see what you mean.

H Oh, I wouldn’t say that. I’ve never been strict with Harriet and she eats anything. All you have to do is make it fun, like, for example letting them help when you’re getting food ready.

J I see your point. I must admit we always send Jenny out of the kitchen when we’re cooking.

L Quite right too. It’s dangerous in a kitchen for a five-year-old.

J I suppose that’s true, actually.

H But life’s dangerous for a five-year-old. They’re always falling down and stuff. And I don’t mean …I’m not suggesting you leave the kid alone in the kitchen to make the meal. You’re there supervising everything.

J I should imagine it slows everything down if they’re helping you.

H OK yes, but on the other hand they’re learning valuable life lessons.

J Mmm. You might be right there. That’s a good point.

L Well, I’m still not convinced. What can a five-year-old do to help in the kitchen?

H Little things like letting them get things for you out of the fridge or the cupboards. Or let them wash the vegetables for you. Just simple things.

J You mean, sort of make it a game.

L But Harriet’s a girl.

H Well, I can’t argue with that.

L No, I mean I don’t think little boys are interested in that kind of thing, do you?

J Oh, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case at all.

H Yes, and you’ll never find out if he’s interested unless you give it a go. Anyway, it’s important that boys learn how to cook, don’t you think?

L I suppose you’ve got a point there. Right,

Liam, time to go. You’re doing the cooking this evening.

Answer these questions.

  1. Who thinks that parents should be strict about children’s eating habits?
  2. Who doesn’t agree with being strict?
  3. Who doesn’t have a strong opinion on the subject?

Fill in the gaps with James, Lily or Hazel.

  1. ……. is having trouble persuading his/her child to eat.
  2. …….. believes the way to encourage children to eat is to make meal times fun.
  3. ……… and don’t let their children help them prepare food.
  4. ………. and agree that letting children help you cook slow things clown.
  5. ….. and …….. agree it’s important that boys leam to cook.

Look at these sentences.

Are they ways of agreeing (A) or disagreeing (D)?

  1. I don’t know about that. D
  2. 1 can’t really see the point of (forcing kids to eat).
  3. Oh, do you think so?
  4. 1 see what you mean.
  5. Oh, I wouldn’t say that.
  6. 1 see your point.
  7. 1 suppose that’s true, actually.
  8. You might be right there.
  9. That’s a good point.
  10. Well, I’m still not convinced.
  11. Well, I can’t argue with that.
  12. 1 suppose you’ve got a point there.

TIP! We often follow an agreement phrase with but to challenge the other person’s opinion: I see what you mean, but I think it’s much better to let them eat when they want.

Look at the underlined phrases. Tick the correct phrases. Change the incorrect ones.

  1. I used to go out with friends’ last night.
  2. I’m usually waking up at 7 a.m.
  3. I’d have pets when 1 was a child.
  4. Occasionally I’ll stay in at the weekends, but I normally go out.
  5. I’m always lose things.
  6. I didn’t use to watch as much TV as I do now.

Make sentences 1-6 true for you.

Find four things that you have in common. Use these words/phrase.

rarely                                  more often than not

              seldom                                  once in a while

occasionally                  most weeks

                       frequently

every now and again

 

Fill in the gaps with a preposition.

1 I’m excited … moving house.

2 I’m afraid we’re not satisfied …. the service.

3 I’m not aware …. Any problems.

4 We’re very fond …. dogs.

5 He was disappointed …. His results.

6 I’m impressed …. the food.

7 I’m sick ….. waiting for her.

8 They’re not sure ….. the colour.

9 Jon’s famous ….. being late.

10 I’m shocked ….. the price of houses.

11 She’s terrified ….. the dark.

12 He’s always been fascinated …. magic tricks.

How Honest are you (from chapter three)

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American Idioms for the start of Winter

Nimen Hao,

let’s do two chapters from Speak Like An American (lesson 7, pages 47 to 50, and lesson 8, pages 51 to 55).

Lesson 7: Susan Hires Bob to Run Her Business

Susan stays up all night thinking about her cookie business.In the morning she discusses it with Bob. Bob agrees to work for her.

Bob: You’re up bright and early this morning, Susan.

Susan: I didn’t sleep a wink. I was awake all night thinking about the new business.

Bob: Running your own business is lots of work. Are you prepared to work like a dog?

Susan: No. But I’m prepared to hire you to run the business.

Bob: You want me to run a cookie business. Fat chance!

Susan: Why not?

Bob: I don’t have a clue about making cookies. I don’t even know how to turn the oven on.

Susan: I’ll give you a crash course.

Bob: Do I have to do the baking?

Susan: No. You’ll just manage the business side.

Bob. Needless to say, I have mixed feelings about working for you.

Susan: I’ll be nice. I promise you’ll be a happy camper.

Bob: Okay. Let’s give it a shot, boss.

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Lesson 8: Ted Forms a Rock Band

Ted plans to become a successful musician. First, he needs Susan to loan him money for a new guitar. Susan suggests that Ted bake cookies to earn the money.

Susan: You’re in good spirits today, Ted.

Ted: I’ve got great news, Mom.

Susan: What is it?

Ted: Amber and I are going to start a rock band.

Susan: Good for you!

Ted: Mom, I’m not going to beat around the bush. I need to borrow 1,000 dollars for a new guitar.

Susan: Ted, your father and I can’t shell out that much. We aren’t made of money.

Ted: You’re not? I thought you were millionaires, like Donald and Ivana Trump.

Susan: Ha, ha. This is no time to be a wise guy.

Ted: I promise I’ll pay you back.

Susan: How?

Ted: We’re going to take the music world by storm and make lots of money.

Susan: That sounds like a pipe dream. Aren’t high school rock bands a dime a dozen?

Ted: Yeah, but we’re different. With my guitar and Amber’s beautiful voice, we’re going to make a splash!

Susan: Well, we’re going through hard times. You’re going to have to work for that 1,000 dollars.

Ted: How?

Susan: You can bake cookies.

Ted: I bet Mrs Clapton never made Eric* bake cookies, but I guess those are the breaks.

*Eric Clapton is a very popular American guitarist

 

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Time for a Change

Dear students,

for this week’s lesson we will do some of the readings and exercises from F2F chapter 2 (upper intermediate).

Small group discussions

1. First, let’s use an adapted version of their quick review small group discussion.

Tell each other what you did during the National Holidays. Ask each other questions and keep the conversation going for a few minutes.

2. How is your life different now from five years ago in terms of:

  • Sleeping habits
  • Free time (leisure) activities
  • Time with friends
  • Time with Family
  • Sport and exercise
  • Study
  • Music you listen to
  • Places you travel to

Take a minute to think about the above how your life has changed (or not changed) in terms of the aspects above. Then tell each other about each aspect in your small groups.

After that we’ll have a talk all together.

lettermeicocity1

Quelettermexicocity2

Questions about the reading (we’ll do these together)

What does Peter say about these things?

a. his job

b. the rush hour

c. Mexican drivers

d. traffic lights

e. the distance between cars

f. walking in the city

Questions about the readings (discuss in your small groups)

a. How does the traffic in Mexico city compare to the traffic in Tianjin? How does it compare to the traffic in Beijing?

b. Do you drive in the city very often? Do you enjoy it? If so, why or why not?

c. Have you ever driven in another country? If so, where? What was it like?

Let’s do the following reading together (repeat after me, sentence by sentence)

If you want to listen to it first, it is recording 2.2 from F2F Upper Intermediate. First, let’s look at the meaning of ‘be used to’ and ‘get used to

Be used to: we use this phrase to talk about things that are familiar and no longer strange or difficult for us

Get used to: we use this phrase to talk about things that become familiar, less strange or less difficult over a period of time

Read after me:

  • I’m used to getting up at 5am every day.
  • I’m slowly getting used to it.
  • It takes a while or a foreigner to get used to them.
  • I wasn’t used to people driving so close to me.
  • I still haven’t got used to being a pedestrian here.
  • I’ll never get used to doing that.

Peter’s Colleagues

marcuserin

Fill in the gaps

Look at the photos of Peter’s colleagues and the places where they work. Let’s fill in the gaps in the sentences below with the correct positive or negative form of:

  • be used to

or

  • get used to.

Sometimes there is more than one possible answer.

  1. I’m not used to all their customs yet – like its rude to blow your nose in public.
  2. It was hard …………………… just eating rice for breakfast.
  3. I ……………………….. sleeping in daylight, so I find it difficult in the summer when it never gets dark.
  4. I don’t think I’ll ever ………………………………… the written language — it has three alphabets.
  5. The summers here aren’t very warm and I …………………………………. temperatures of about 30C in the summer.
  6. I ………………………………. finding my way around new places using a map, but I can’t read the maps here.

Question (let’s do it together).

Who is speaking in sentences 1-6 above?

Group discussion

  1. Tell each other two sentences about your family using be used to or get used to.
  2. Tell each other about something you will have to get used to in the future.
  3. Tell each other about something you weren’t used to doing before, but are used to doing now.
  4. Tell each other about something you could never get used to doing.

Class discussion

Tell us two thing you learned about your friend.

Readings: Learning English

Dear Students,

this week we will do the following readings and have some exercises about them.

Reading 1. Who owns English?

whoownsenglish

The article is from your Face2Face Upper Intermediate text books, chapter one, page 6. The original article was from Newsweek, 07/03/05.

Reading 2. Michelle’s language learning.

Michelle's language learning

The reading is from your Face2Face Upper Intermediate text books, chapter one, page 7. The audio file for this is R1.1 (you can listen to it). 

Additional Exercise: using verbs in a sentence

Choose five of the following verbs and use them to make up sentences about yourself:

  • stop
  • avoid
  • persuade
  • remember
  • refuse
  • try
  • help
  • end up
  • hope
  • encourage
  • pretend

The exercise is based on the ‘quick review’ on page 12 of Face2Face, Upper Intermediate.

Reading Three: Evening classes.

BCFE evening classes

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S: I what way?

r1.7c

The audio for this reading is r1.7.

Readings shared privately with students for educational purposes only.

The best classical music works of the 21st century (The Guardian online)

From left: The Tempest, The Minotaur, L’amour de loin, Hamlet

Over the coming week, the Guardian will select the greatest culture since 2000, carefully compiled by critics and editors. We begin with a countdown of defining classical music compositions, from X-rated opera to high-tech string quartets

Read an interview with our No1 choice

by , . , , , and

25 Jennifer Walshe

XXX Live Nude Girls (2003)

Jennifer Walshe asked girls about how they played with their Barbie dolls, and turned the confessionals into an opera of horrors in which the toys unleash dark sex play and acts of mutilation. Walshe is a whiz for this kind of thing: she yanks off the plastic veneer of commercial culture by parodying then systematically dismembering the archetypes. KM
Read our review | watch a production from 2016 BIFEM

24 John Adams

City Noir (2009)

Adams’s vivid portrait of Los Angeles, as depicted in the film noir of the 1940s and 50s, is a three-movement symphony of sorts, and a concerto for orchestra, too. It’s an in-your-face celebration of orchestral virtuosity that references a host of American idioms without ever getting too specific. It’s not his finest orchestral work by any means (those came last century), but an effective, extrovert showpiece. AC
Read our review | Listen on Spotify

Immediate … the Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia perform Stabat Mater, conducted by Harry Christophers. Photograph: Mark Allan

23 James MacMillan

Stabat Mater (2016)

The prolific Scottish composer has made an impact on choral music, by drawing on his Roman Catholic roots, most recently in his Fifth Symphony, Le grand Inconnu, and in his Tenebrae Responsories. His Stabat Mater for chorus and string orchestra, premiered and commissioned by Harry Christophers and the Sixteen, caught the public imagination, its message direct, immediate, radiant and impassioned. FM
Read our review | Watch the world premiere performance at the Vatican

22 Linda Catlin Smith

Piano Quintet (2014)

She holds the fabric between the fingers, she tests the fibres. She leaves space around the material to consider it from this way and that, then sinks in deep. Catlin Smith’s music is slow and quiet but it’s also lush. More than any minimalist, she takes her cues from Couperin, Debussy and the paintings of Agnes Martin. The results are sparse, rugged and sensual; quiet does not have to mean soft. KM
Read our review

21 Max Richter

The Blue Notebooks (2004)

Written in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, The Blue Notebooks is Max Richter’s meditation on violence and war, one that was recorded in three hours. The song cycle is linked by narration from Tilda Swinton, but the most compelling pieces don’t require words. Organum is a funereal organ solo, Shadow Journal a piece of ambient house, but the centrepiece is On the Nature of Daylight (since used on countless films and TV soundtracks), where ever-expanding layers of strings are used to heart-tugging effect. JL
Richter writes about his composition | Listen on Spotify

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Watch Roomful of Teet perform Caroline Shaw’s Partita

20 Caroline Shaw

Partita (2013)

Caroline Shaw’s Partita, written for her own vocal octet Roomful of Teeth, is an explosion of energy cramming speech, song and virtually every extended vocal technique you can think of into its four “classical” dance movements. It might blow apart solemn, hard-boiled notions of greatness, but it has to be the most joyous work on this list. EJ
Read more here | Listen on Spotify.

19 Cassandra Miller

Duet for cello and orchestra (2015)

A slow cello pivots between two notes, a steadfast voyager on a road laced with spangly seduction (brass fanfares, ardent strings). The journey lasts half an hour; it sums up a resolute lifetime of holding the course in bright and heartsore times. Miller is a master of planting a seed and setting in motion an entrancing process, then following through with the most sumptuous conviction. KM
Read the review | Listen to an extract.

18 Brett Dean

Hamlet (2017)

The Australian Brett Dean, a viola player in the Berlin Philharmonic before concentrating on composition, found his operatic voice with Hamlet. An ingenious reworking of Shakespeare (libretto by Matthew Jocelyn) which opens with a fragmented “To be, or not to be…”, it was premiered at Glyndebourne in 2017 with Allan Clayton in the title role and Barbara Hannigan as Ophelia. FM
Read the review | Watch a trailer

Closure of sorts … the Kronos Quartet perform WTC 9/11. Photograph: Mark Allan

17 Steve Reich

WTC 9/11 (2011)

It took the quintessential New York composer a full 10 years to process the horrors of September 11 and compose this dissonant threnody, one that sets Reich’s sawing strings against manipulated voices. The recordings of horrified air traffic controllers and eyewitnesses are spliced and looped, the tonalities of their speech replicated (sometimes almost mockingly) by the Kronos Quartet, before we reach a closure of sorts with a cantor’s prayer. JL
Read the review | Watch a live performance.

16 Rebecca Saunders

Skin (2016)

Rebecca Saunders’s music always makes a visceral and violent, yet sensually resonant, poetry. Composed in collaboration with the soprano Juliet Fraser, Skin takes inspiration from Samuel Beckett, turning the writer’s image of dust as “the skin of a room” into a 25-minute evisceration of the sounds that the soloist and ensemble can make. Saunders burrows into the interior world of the instruments, and inside the grain of Fraser’s voice – scrapes and screams, breaths and sighs – and finds a revelatory world of heightened feeling. TS
Listen to a live performance

15 David Lang

Little Match Girl Passion (2007)

Combine Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the Little Match Girl with Bach’s St Matthew Passion, and you have one of the most original vocal works of recent times. Extracts from Andersen’s story and from St Matthew’s gospel are interleaved with closely woven vocal writing, that is sometimes unaccompanied, sometimes punctuated by discreet percussion and often comfortingly tonal and hauntingly affecting. AC
Read our review | Listen on Spotify

14 Pascal Dusapin

Passion (2008)

Dusapin’s opera reimagines the final colloquy of Orpheus and Eurydice, on the borderline between life and death, as a meditation on the idea of passion as an expression of desire and suffering. The score subtly alludes to Monteverdi and French baroque, but the sound world it creates is uniquely Dusapin’s own: tense, quietly mesmerising and austerely beautiful. TA
Read the review | Listen to the work

Genre-straddling … Olga Neuwirth’s Lost Highway.
Genre-straddling … Olga Neuwirth’s Lost Highway. Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian

13 Olga Neuwirth

Lost Highway (2003)

David Lynch’s slightly baffling film – in which a jazz musician murders his wife, goes into a psychogenic fugue and becomes another person entirely – was perfectly suited for adaptation by this eccentric Austrian composer, whose genre-straddling work explores notions of identity. An immersive production, staged by the English National Opera at the Young Vic, used film, a chirruping electro-acoustic score and the terrifying, androgynous voice of David Moss to further confuse things. JL
Read our review | Listen to the work

12 Unsuk Chin

Cello Concerto (2009)

A series of concertos, for western and eastern solo instruments, runs like a spine through Unsuk Chin’s orchestral music. But the work for Cello is perhaps the most original and entertainingly disconcerting of all of them, cast in four brilliant movements that never quite conform to type, while doing everything expected of a concerto, in a fresh and unconventional way. AC
Read our review | Listen on Spotify

11 Gerald Barry

The Importance of Being Earnest (2012)

With the role of Lady Bracknell given to a bass, the row between Gwendolen and Cecily conducted through megaphones and accompanied by smashing glasses, and most of the text delivered with machinegun rapidity, this operatic take on Oscar Wilde isn’t for the faint-hearted. But somehow, it brilliantly captures the play’s absurdities while adding a layer of surrealism that is entirely Barry’s own. AC
Read our review | Listen on Spotify

10 John Luther Adams

Become Ocean (2013)

The monumental orchestral palindrome that made John Luther Adams an internationally renowned composer is a thrilling depiction of water in irresistible motion, in the tradition of music by Wagner, Debussy and Sibelius. But Adams’s intention is much more than mere description – it’s a warning of what lies ahead for us and our seas if we do not care for them. AC
Read our review | Listen on Spotify

Witty … Hashirigaki.
Witty … Hashirigaki. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

9 Heiner Goebbels

Hashirigaki (2000)

A Gertrude Stein novel, Japanese folk music and the Beach Boys’ album Pet Sounds aren’t the most obvious sources for one of Goebbels’ uniquely personal fusions of words, music and image. But, as often in his theatre pieces, the most unlikely ingredients cohere magically, creating a witty, allusive dramatic world unlike any other, with the 1960s sounds counterpointing Stein’s rambling surrealism. AC
Read our review | Listen to a recording on YouTube

8 Jonathan Harvey

String Quartet No 4 (2003)

For live electronics and string quartet, this 2003 work is written in cycles rather than movements, with an idea of dying away, renewal and continuation. Harvey experiments with technology to discover new aural possibilities and keep the traditional form alive. He wrote all his quartets for the Arditti, knowing they would meet every challenge he put before them. The result is eloquent and lyrical. FM
Read the review | Listen to the work

7 Louis Andriessen

La Commedia (2009)

After collaborating with directors Robert Wilson and Peter Greenaway on previous stage works, Andriessen turned to Hal Hartley for his “film opera in five parts”, a series of reflections on episodes from Dante’s Divine Comedy. A Hartley film was part of the original staging, but Andriessen’s wonderfully polyglot score, with its host of historical references and exuberant embrace of jazz and folk music, stands on its own. AC
Read our review | Listen on Spotify

Kaija Saariaho  
Mesmerising … Kaija Saariaho. Photograph: Philippe Merle/AFP/Getty Images

6 Kaija Saariaho

L’Amour de Loin (2000)

Set in 12th-century France, the Finnish-born Saariaho’s first opera, which premiered in Salzburg in 2000, is a haunting tale of a troubadour’s quest for idealised love, as well as a contemplation on life, longing and death. Based on La Vida breve by Jaufre Rudel, with a libretto by French-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf, the music has medieval and Middle Eastern echoes but shimmers in Saariaho’s own distinctive and mesmerising voice.FM
Read our review | Listen on Spotify

5 Thomas Adès

The Tempest (2003)

It starts with a geometric storm and ends with a consolatory chaconne. Thomas Adès’s The Tempest was the catalyst for his creation of a musical language that is at once richly familiar and beguilingly strange. It was a piece that immediately fulfilled expectations for what Adès would do with the full resources of the Royal Opera House when it premiered in 2004 – and transcended them. TS
Read our review | Listen on Spotify

4 György Kurtág

Fin de Partie (2018)

Though it often seemed as if Kurtág would never complete the opera on Samuel Beckett’s End Game that he had obsessed about for more than half a century, it eventually appeared in the composer’s 93rd year. An austere, utterly faithful rendering of the original, mostly delivered in recitative, and reinforced with typically terse, wiry orchestral writing. It is a distillation of the uncompromisingly direct music that Kurtág has composed all through his career. AC
Read our review | Watch the production

3 Harrison Birtwistle

The Minotaur (2008)

After operas about Punch, Orpheus, Gawain and King Kong, the half-man half-bull protagonist of The Minotaur is perhaps the most sympathetic of Birtwistle’s “heroes”. His death scene, created especially for the bass John Tomlinson, is a majestic operatic set piece, the climax of a work in which the eruptions of orchestral violence are offset by music of lyrical beauty and pungent transparency. AC
Read our review.

Barbara Hannigan and Christopher Purves in Written On Skin at the Royal Opera House, London.
Gripping … Barbara Hannigan and Christopher Purves in Written On Skin at the Royal Opera House, London. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

2 George Benjamin

Written on Skin (2012)

George Benjamin’s first full-scale opera, with words by Martin Crimp, arrived in 2012 seemingly timeless in every way, its ultimately gruesome story told grippingly to a modern audience through Benjamin’s tense, precise and often glowingly beautiful score. Katie Mitchell’s thoughtful staging was only the start: no opera since has had so many different productions in so many theatres. EJ
Read our review | Watch a production

1 Hans Abrahamsen

Let Me Tell You (2013)

When the 21st century began, the idea that Hans Abrahamsen would compose one of the masterpieces of the next 20 years would have seemed extraordinary. At that time very little of his music had been heard for almost a decade – he had suffered a creative block that he’s since described as being “paralysed by the white paper”, and from which he eventually rescued himself by composing a series of arrangements, both of his own earlier scores and of pieces by others, including Bach and Debussy.

Born in 1952 in Copenhagen, Abrahamsen had begun his career as a member of a group of young Danish composers who reacted against what they saw as the overcomplexity of the European new music they heard and who sought a much simpler style. He explored minimalism and studied for a while with György Ligeti, and soon established himself as one of the younger European composers to watch, his works championed in the 1980s by conductor/composers such as Hans Werner Henze and Oliver Knussen. After early success came a long silence – he completed just one short piece in eight years, but he did return to composition with the piano concerto that he finished in 2000, in which he started to invent for himself a totally original and utterly personal sound world.

This list could just as easily be headed by the work that first exploited this newly invented world, Schnee, an extraordinary hour-long ensemble piece from 2008, as by the ravishing orchestral song cycle Let Me Tell You that followed it five years later. The intricate symmetries and microtonally tinged canons of Schnee define the icy, fragile world that Abrahamsen had been mapping out for himself, and which went on to provide the perfect environment for the settings of extracts from Paul Griffiths’s novel of the same name that he made for the songs.

Like Griffiths’s book, Let Me Tell You is a portrait of Ophelia, but one that tells her story from her perspective rather than from the way she is portrayed in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s an operatic scene as much as a song cycle, one of soaring lines and shivering pianissimos, and which makes use of the stuttering repetitions, stile concitato, that Monteverdi introduced into opera four centuries ago to signify anger or anxiety. The vocal writing is astonishingly assured. It is hard to believe this was Abrahamsen’s first large scale vocal work, and it seems perfectly tailored to the soprano Barbara Hannigan, for whom it was conceived, and for her precious ability to soar ethereally and effortlessly above the sometimes forbidding, sometimes ravishingly beautiful soundscapes that the orchestra creates beneath her. There is the feeling, Hannigan has said of the cycle: “The music’s always been there,” and the sense of there being something timeless and utterly inevitable about Let Me Tell You gives it a very special power. AC
Listen to the work

 

 

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Article shared privately with students for educational purposes only. Note, this blog used for sharing, as sharing platforms in China limited by state censorship.

Tianjin English speaking, culture and society Autumn-Winter 2019-20

Autumn-Winter Semester ideas

Dear students,

this page has our ideas for next semester.

It is a ‘work in progress’ and will be added to and changed during the summer break.

Teacher knowledge and limitations.

First a reminder. I am a limited teacher for English language because I am not trained nor expert in English language learning.

I know cultural studies, sociology, history and politics, and have a lot of practice in helping students learn through discussing and writing.

But I am not an expert in grammar and enunciation. So the classes will be based on what I can teach, not the things I don’t know. For some of you it might be better to find a class taught by a real English teacher, as she or he will be able to teach you things I cannot.

Proposal for next semester: two classes

A large class is not very good for language learning because students do not get much speaking and interacting time. More speaking practice time in class should help your learning. I suggest we aim for class sized of up to (not more than) 16 students.

I suggest students chose to attend one of two classes next semester.

Each class is suitable for a different level of English language knowledge and ability.

Each class is also suitable for different learning preferences. They will have different learning methods and content.

Class one. Beginner to intermediate spoken English.

This class will be based on the ideas you developed during a few weeks ago. So there will be one or two topics each week of an everyday or social topic.

The class will focus on ways of saying things, and what the words mean.

Each class will have 10 or less new words. The list of new words will be sent via wechat, and will come from the Cambridge online Chinese-English dictionary.

We may use books like Face2Face pre-intermediate and intermediate for some learning exercises.

At some point in the future it might be good to replace me with a real English teacher for this class, if we can find one. But until we have one, I will continue.

Class two: Intermediate to Advanced English reading and discussion.

Each week we will discuss a text, topic or event (for example, an article from newspapers, a film, an art exhibition, some architecture, …).

Students will receive the class notes via wechat.  The notes will include the article (if it is an article) and some explanation in English, with additional explanations in Chinese (by Lu Jian).

The class will be based on reading, viewing and discussing.

Learning Resources

During the summer I will compile a range of learning resources, some of which some of us some of us already use individually. By the beginning of next semester I hope we will have a list of resources that students can use for their own learning.

Tianjin Lesson Seven: Time and the inner child

Nimen Hao,

We often think of time as a measurement, involving smaller or bigger units of time.

Time from smaller to bigger

Nanosecond Tiniest measurable portion of time
Millisecond One millionth part of a second
Second Sixtieth part of a minute
Minute Sixtieth part of an hour
Hour Twenty-fourth part of a day
Day Three hundred and fifty sixth part of a year
Year Three hundred and sixty five days
Decade Ten years
Century One hundred years
Millennium A million years
Forever Infinite

 

Time Differences: places

Is time always the same? We can talk about this question in terms of places.

 

Let’s look at the world time clock no (Tianjin time).

 

The time in Tianjin is?

 

What time is it in Hong Kong, Melbourne, Los Angeles, New York, Rome, London?

 

In English, we say that a place is so many hours ahead or behind.

 

So, let’s use that phrasing for the places whose times we’ve just described.

 

Some places deliberately change their time to make more hours of daylight during the working part of the day.

This is called daylight saving (do you know about this?).

 

Question: A question for the scientists in the room. Is time on a mountain top the same as time at sea level? Why or why not?

 

How we experience time: discussion and video

 

Time often seems different from the standard because of the way we experience it.

Group discussions

  • Describe how time sometimes seems different according to our individual perceptions. Think of some different ways time can see different to different individuals. Can you think of any phrases (idioms) about time?
  • Now, describe how time can seem different and be used differently for different cultures (for example, different nationalities, cities, rural communities)

Professor Pan’s video: personal time zones

Let’s play Laoshi Pan’s video and have a discussion

  • What do you think about the idea that people live in their own time zones? Does this idea apply to your life, the lives of people you know?

Childishness: discussion

Let’s talk about the idea that you are only as old as you feel and can retain some of your childish feeling for the world.

How (in what ways) can or do you/we keep our inner child alive?

 

 

Happy ever after: 25 ways to live well into old age

Happy ever after: 25 ways to live well into old age

Determined to enjoy longer and healthier lives, two women researched the science to find the key. Here, they share what they discovered

 

Illustration of woman meditating
Illustration: Guardian Design

When Susan Saunders was 36, her mother was diagnosed with severe dementia. “I had a toddler, a newborn, a full-time job as a TV producer – and I became a carer as well.” As a teenager, she had watched her mum care for her own mother, who had the same condition. “I became determined to do everything I could to increase my chances of ageing well.”

Annabel Streets’ story is similar. When she was a student, her grandfather died from cancer months after he retired; later, she watched her mother care for her grandmother, who lived with dementia and crippling rheumatoid arthritis for nearly 30 years. “When I developed a chronic autoimmune disease, I knew things had to change. But by then I had four young children and there was precious little time for my own health.”

Together, Saunders and Streets started researching the latest science on how to have a healthier, happier old age and how to apply it to their own lives, and blogged about their findings for five years. Their Age Well Project has now been published as a book, compiling almost 100 shortcuts to health in mid- and later life – and Streets and Saunders, who are both in their 50s, say they have never been in better health.

What did they learn?

Look to your ancestors for answers

If you are serious about ageing well, you need to become an expert in your own health – don’t be afraid to ask questions of your doctor and your family. We started our project to age well by compiling ancestral health trees, listing any known illnesses in old age and the causes of mortality and ages at death of as many direct ancestors as possible. We did DNA tests, built records of our blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and vitamin D levels, and took note of our BMI and waist-to-hip ratio to devise more personalised ageing plans.

Could coffee be the elixir of life?
Could coffee be the elixir of life? Photograph: Pietro Recchia/Getty Images/EyeEm

Enjoy coffee

Coffee is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols and phenylindane, a recently identified compound that researchers think may help fend off Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Drinking coffee has also been linked to reduced risks for several cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Drink your coffee without sugar or processed syrups, and don’t make it too milky: the antioxidant value appears to drop when milk is added.

Walk faster

Walking is good, but pace matters. Brisk walking has been linked to better memory, better health and a longer life. Increase your pace until you are slightly out of breath or sweaty and aim for 30 minutes a day, ideally outdoors to get the additional benefits of vitamin D and light. New research suggests that those walking first thing in the morning also make better decisions during the day, so consider swapping your morning commute for a robust walk.

Exercise in green space

Trees produce phytoncides which help to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and boost immunity. The microbes in forest soil have been found to reduce depression and may contribute to the health of our microbiome. A 15-minute walk is all it takes to reap the benefits, but researchers have found that a weekend in the woods improves immunity for up to a month, while a short afternoon run or walk somewhere green means better sleep at night.

Fast every day

Our bodies have adapted to go without food for short periods – the surprise has been discovering how beneficial this is for many of us. Intermittent fasting, made famous by Michael Mosley’s popular 5:2 diet, is a proven method for increasing longevity. It also appears to fend off Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and weight gain. There are several forms of fasting and it is important to find one that suits your lifestyle. We like the extended overnight fast of 14-16 hours, which has been found to improve gut health, but was also followed by our distant forebears, who typically ate supper at sundown, rarely snacked, and then ate mid-morning the following day.

.

Why weights? They build muscle.
Why weights? They build muscle. Photograph: dragana991/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Build muscle

Experts believe resistance training is as important for ageing as aerobic exercise, eating vegetables and sleeping well. After age 40, we lose muscle at the rate of 1% a year, increasing our risk of heart attacks, strokes and osteoporosis. Recent research found that older adults who did twice-weekly strength training lived longer and with less illness than those who did none. We like rowing and weight-training for efficiency; we also keep pairs of weights near the kettle and the TV and lift them if we have a few minutes to spare.

Read books

Although reading is sedentary and solitary, frequent reading has been linked to longer, healthier life. A Yale study of 3,600 over-50s found that reading increased longevity by almost two years; readers of books outlived readers of newspapers and magazines. While those who read for more than 3.5 hours a week lived longest, the researchers said “30 minutes a day was still beneficial”. Meanwhile, every expert seems to recommend reading as a means of getting to sleep.

Work longer

While many of us dream of a golden age of retirement, a 2016 study found that people who worked longer lived longer, a fact reflected in earlier longitudinal studies that found correlations between retirement and poor health. Researchers speculate that this is because working usually involves social interaction, movement and a sense of purpose. Several studies have linked retirement with loneliness and depression. But working long hours year after year is not the answer either. Research shows that from mid-life onwards, the sweet spot for health and longevity is working at a less intense pace and perhaps for fewer hours.

Keep learning

Old brains are just as equipped to build new neurons and synapses as young ones. But this process works best when we repeatedly force ourselves to learn new things. The brain loves novelty: crafts, games, even cooking from a new recipe, all trigger the creation of neurons, but the more complex and more difficult the new activity is, the greater the rewards. Choose something that also involves social interaction and a bit of movement, such as singing. Best of all, try learning complex new dance moves.

Take a nap

Several studies have found that nappers have better attention and focus, better memory and better non-verbal reasoning. Oddly, nappers also appear to sleep better at night (with the proviso that your nap shouldn’t be taken too late in the afternoon). A Nasa study found that sleepy pilots had a 45% improvement in performance and a 100% improvement in alertness after a short nap. But the key is to keep the nap short (about 30 minutes). Studies consistently show that naps of more than 90 minutes can be detrimental to our health.

Clear out your medicine cabinet

In particular, clear out unnecessary anticholinergics, often found in antidepressants, bladder drugs, medication for Parkinson’s disease and some antihistamines and travel sickness pills. This isn’t something you should do without your doctor’s guidance, but several studies have now linked ingesting high levels of anticholinergics with the onset of Alzheimer’s, even if taken for as little as a year. Ask your doctor for alternative medication, particularly if you are taking several pills containing anticholinergics.

Only spend on vitamin D and zinc

Study after study has found that supplements have very little benefit; we invest in good food instead. However, when it comes to vitamin D and zinc, the data is robust: vitamin D – in the right dosage – can help us age well while zinc has been shown to reduce the severity of coughs and colds. Those of us in the northern hemisphere aren’t able to get the sunlight necessary for the body to make vitamin D, so a supplement of at least 1,000 iu daily during the winter months is recommended by some ageing experts.

Avoid pollution

Pollution is rapidly becoming the biggest threat to our ability to age well, with more and more research linking particulate matter to lung cancer, heart disease, dementia, hypertension and diabetes. It is vital that we are vociferous in lobbying for cleaner air and that we play our part in reducing our own personal pollution footprints. But we can lessen the damage of living in heavily polluted cities. Avoid congested roads, switch to an anti-inflammatory diet (shown to mitigate the effects of pollution in some people), invest in a good quality air purifier and rotate it round your house, and fill your house with pollution-fighting greenery.

Liquid gold … olive oil has many benefits.
Liquid gold … olive oil has many benefits. Photograph: Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images

Use olive oil

We think of olive oil as “liquid gold”, such are its benefits, with improved heart health topping the list. A four-and-a-half year clinical trial involving 7,000 older adults at risk of heart disease found that those eating an olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet had 30% fewer instances of heart attacks and strokes, as well as improved lipid and cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure. Olive oil consumption has also been linked to a slowing of the progression of breast cancer, reduced bone mass loss and better blood glucose control. Use it to cook or dress multicoloured vegetables.

Build bone density

The adage, use it or lose it, is never truer than when applied to bone strength. And it’s very specific: research has shown that professional tennis players have much higher bone density in their serving arm than their non-serving arm. The most beneficial exercise, if your joints are up to it, is jumping – try to jump 10 to 20 times a day with a 30-second rest between each. Other high-impact exercise, such as running or skipping, also increases bone density. Resistance training such as lifting weights also boosts bones, but exerts less pressure on joints. If that all sounds too sweaty, ballroom dancing improves balance and coordination, resulting in fewer falls and fractures.

The power of friendship can prolong your life.
The power of friendship can prolong your life. (Posed by models)
Photograph: Getty Images/Hero Images

Cultivate friendships

Loneliness is as big a mortality risk as diabetes. Research links social isolation to dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression and a 29% greater risk of dying. An eight-decade study found a clear correlation between having a large social network and living longer. More recent research shows the quality of friendships also helps keep us alive: ask yourself if your friends stimulate you and if they have a positive outlook. Helping and caring for others also strongly correlates with longevity.

Support immunity

It is often thought the immune system weakens with age, but research indicates that the reverse may be true: the immune system actually overreacts as we get older, creating more inflammation in the body when it is confronted by a virus, for example and speeding up the ageing process. With 70% of the immune system located in the gut, gut health is key. Support your immune system with a diet high in dark leafy greens, brassicas (such as cabbage and broccoli), alliums (such as garlic, leeks and onions) and mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms, in particular, have been found to have a powerful effect on the immune system. If you have a cold, try a simple miso soup with mushrooms, ginger and greens.

Change how you eat, particularly in the evening

Changing how you eat, rather than what you eat, can make a bigger impact on longevity than a radical dietary overhaul. Piles of vegetables, whole grains, pulses and lean protein fill up our plates now. We also aim to eat earlier, whenever possible, to allow digestion to kick in well before bedtime. This means less disturbed sleep and a longer overnight fast, too. Eating earlier has enabled us to eat more slowly – an essential but overlooked factor in the Mediterranean diet, allowing satiety hormones to kick in. And when we have eaten, we stop. Constant grazing and snacking means that the digestive system is permanently working – and therefore also permanently producing insulin, potentially leading to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

Spice up your life with turmeric.
Spice up your life with turmeric. Photograph: Alamy

Add turmeric

A natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, cancer and liver disease. It is also antiseptic, antibacterial and packed with antioxidants. Research suggests that curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient, appears to counteract the low-grade, chronic inflammation that increases with age – it may also improve brain function. Other studies have linked curcumin supplementation to reduced pain for arthritis sufferers, improved liver function and some relief from irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Start your day with our turmeric sunrise tonic: a cup of warm water, 1 tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp black pepper (which seems to increase absorption rates of curcumin) and ½ tsp ginger pulp. Add honey to taste and stir well.

Meditate

Meditation isn’t just hippie woo woo: research shows it has a powerful effect on the brain. It appears to reduce stress and promote empathy, and regular practitioners seem not to lose grey matter, or suffer reduced concentration, as they age. Just 15 minutes a day is enough to strengthen telomeres, the “caps” that protect our DNA and, according to a Harvard study, to have a positive impact on blood pressure levels. A very specific form of meditation, Kirtan Kriya, involving chanting and finger movements, stabilises brain synapses and increases cerebral blood flow – researchers concluded that it should be considered for Alzheimer’s disease prevention. Can’t spare 15 minutes? Take a few moments to focus on your breath or your surroundings to promote a feeling of calm.

Eat more fibre

If you make just one dietary change to boost longevity, make it this one. An Australian study tracked the diets of 1,600 people over 10 years to discover the impact of carbohydrate consumption on successful ageing. The most successful agers (those most free of disease after a decade) were the ones with the highest fibre intake – usually from fruit, wholegrain bread and oats. The researchers suggested two possible reasons for this: fibre slows the digestion of food, thus keeping insulin levels in check, which in turn reduces inflammation (a key trigger of ageing); and some types of fibre ferment in the body, producing short-chain fatty acids, which also dampen inflammation. Fibre also helps reduce cholesterol levels, which in turn supports heart health, and lowers colorectal cancer risk by moving food through the gut quickly. The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g; the UK average is 18g. A daily cup of beans or pulses, plus quality whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and granary bread, will help boost your intake.

Avoid blue light in the evenings

Our electronic devices play havoc with our delicate circadian rhythms. Screens produce blue light, which helps wake us up in the morning, but at night suppresses production of melatonin, the vital sleep-inducing hormone. Control your exposure by adding time-sensitive filters that block blue light from your laptop and phone; set an alarm to remind you to start a pre-bed wind-down; and keep electronics out of the bedroom.

Look after your eyes

The best ways to protect our eyes are to avoid smoking, keep active and eat healthily, including foods rich in macular pigments – anything bright yellow, orange or green is a rich source. Include plenty of vegetables such as corn on the cob, orange peppers, carrots and kale in your diet. Regular eye tests are a must: eyesight changes rapidly after the age of 40. Wear good-quality sunglasses on sunny days, even in winter, and take regular breaks if you spend a lot of your day looking at an electronic screen.

Four legs good … having a dog has health benefits.
Four legs good … having a dog has health benefits. Photograph: Getty Images/Maskot

Walk a dog

The health benefits of owning a dog are obvious: dogs need walking, caring for and routine, all of which help us age better. A study of more than 3 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 found that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to all causes. Pet owners also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol than non-pet owners: stroking an animal lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Having a dog means that your home might not be as clean as it could be – and that’s a good thing. Dog ownership increases the quantity of 56 classes of bacterial species in the home, which in turns boosts gut health.

Cultivate optimism

Studies have found that older people with a negative attitude to ageing have worse functional health, slower walking speeds and lower cognitive abilities than those with a more positive attitude. Negativity, unsurprisingly, puts stress on the body, elevating cortisol levels, which in the long term can impact heart health, sleep quality, weight and cognition. You really are as old as you feel, it seems.

The Age Well Project: Easy Ways to a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by Annabel Streets and Susan Saunders (Piatkus, £14.99).

Article shared privately for Tianjin Laoren Daxue discussion

Tianjin Lesson Six: Christian Religious Architecture

Nimen Hao,

welcome to lesson six. Today we will talk about religious architecture in the West and in China.

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Talking about Religious architecture

The planned repairs after fire at Notre Dame in Paris made me think about the beauty of some of the world’s religious architecture. So for the rest of this class I thought we could talk a little about Christian architecture. These kinds are common throughout the world, and can be found throughout China too.

Christian clergy

Priests: a person, usually a man, who has been trained to perform religious duties in the Christian Church, especially the Roman Catholic Church. Usually responsible for a parish (the members of his faith in his local area)

Vicar: a priest in the Church of England who is in charge of a church and the religious needs of people in a particular area

Bishop: a priest of high rank who is in charge of the priests of lower rank in a particular area

Monks: a member of a group of religious men who do not marry and usually live together in a monastery. Often called Brothers (as in Brother Mark, Brother Jon …)

Nuns: a member of a female religious group that lives in a convent.

Often called Sisters (as in Sister Ruth, Sister Sarah, …)

Religious buildings:

Cathedral: very large, usually stone, building for Christian worship. It is the largest and most important church of a diocese

Barcelona Cathedral, Catalonia, Spain.

Church: a building for Christian religious activities

Scruton-Church-1a

Chapel:a room that is part of a larger building and is used for Christian worship

Fitzrovia-W1T-quirky-002
A chapel in Fitzrovia, London. Originally part of the Middlesex hospital

priory: a building where monks or nuns live, work, and pray

Places-to-visit-in-Sussex-Michelham-Priory1

Monastery: building in which monks live and worship

greecemonastory

Nunnery/Convent: a building in which nuns (= members of a female religious order) live ????

Tidrum-Nunnery-in-Lhasa-

Rectory: the house in which a priest (rector) lives

  rectory

Vicarage: the house in which a vicar lives

  The_Vicarage_Congresbury

Notre Dame Cathedral.

g_vigoenfotos_3404p

Notre Dame means a lot to the French.Let’s watch a clip to see how they responded to the fire (clip to be played in class).

After the fire there have been many plans for rebuilding the damaged parts of Notre Dame Cathedral.

1000
Proposed Notre Dame Swimming Pool: Hao bu Hao?
ndrenglass
proposed stained glass roof for Notre Dame

The building of Notre Dame began in 1163. It took about 200 years to complete. The period of construction lasted from the 12th to 14th centuries. This period is sometimes called the early middle ages, or the early medieval period.

It was  from oak, stone, and glass. Later, in the 19th century a lead covered spire was added.

Let’s have a look at some images.

notre_dame

5184
it has beautiful stained glass windows in the shape of a rose
675px-Ceiling,_Notre_Dame,_Paris,_ZM
Notre Dame’s ribbed vault
notre_dame_basilica_canada-normal
Notre Dame Alter and statues of Christ and the saints

Pieta

Let’s have a look at a short video of the Cathedral (as it was a month before the fire).

Notre Dame is an example of what we call Gothic Architecture.

The cathedral shows the influence of earlier cultures in several ways:

  • First, it is built on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to the Roman God Jupiter. It shares features of the earlier architecture of the Roman Empire, and of Islamic architecture.
  • Second, many of its decorative statues were designed to appeal to common people, who had pagan beliefs that were older than Christian beliefs. These are chimera.
chimera
Chimera: a goat, a heron, a styrge

notre-dame-chimera

 

 

619px-DevilCentralGateNotreDameParis
The devil at the north gate
  • Third, the way the structure reaches up to the sky and lets in the light reflects the way that common people used to worship nature. Pagan worshipped in a clearing in the forrest, looked up towards the sun through the tall trees.
tram-arashiyama-station
Looking up through a forrest clearing

The Cathedral stone reaches up and curves inwards, encouraging worshippers to look up towards heaven,  in a space full of grace, beauty and peace (like a forrest).

Some architectural features

Two of the architectural features that help it to do that are the flying buttresses and the gargoyles.

Side-View-Notre-Dame-de-Paris-Flying-Buttresses-Picture

The flying buttresses take the weight of the large heavy roof, so that the walls do not have to bear it.

notre-dame-grotesques-3
The gargoyles help take the rain water away from the roof and the walls.

This video shows how (video to be played in class)

Tianjin’s St Joseph’s Cathedral

20171004034628304

 

stjosephs

Xikai_Cathedral_of_Tianjin_China_front

Discussion Exercise

  • Tell us about a religious building you know.
  • Describe it and where it is.
  • Tell us what kind of building it is it, what faith it belongs to.
  • Again, if you would like to, you can show us pictures when you talk about it.

Tianjin English Lesson five (continued): Dogs and gardens, and Churches

Of dogs and gardens and churches

Nimen Hao,

Today, we will continue the lesson from last week, talking about gardens and dogs. Then we will begin to talk about religious buildings.

  • Watch a short video about a Chinese and New Zealand family and their garden (there are subtitles in English).
  • Do exercise 2, which is about your pets. Again, if you have photos you can show us.
  • Do exercise 3, which is about your favourite art
  • I will talk a little about Christian religious architecture
  • Do exercise 4, which is about a religious building you know.

Please note, this lesson has some new words. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all of them, just try to learn as many as you want to.

Group Discussion One

What are your favorite plants (flowers, trees) in China?

Can you describe them, or what you like about them?

(If anyone wants to show pictures that will be good).

Gardening and Dogs: England and Australia

Two of the most common Australian and English social habits are gardening and dogs.

My family is both English and Australian, so let’s talk about them, their gardens and their dogs.

My father’s family lived in the south of England in a town called Margate.

ne

They worked too hard to go often, but they loved its harbour and beach.

The_harbour,_Margate,_Kent,_England,_ca._1897_(1)

They had a new house and made their garden from scratch.

marlowe1

They loved gardening and and the things they could do in the garden.

michelle

gardentennis
garden tennis

Dogs (the one below was called Bella) were a central part of their lives and time spent in the garden.

terrydaviddog
David & Terry & dog
bella pensive
Bella

They migrated to Perth, Australia.

tf

My grandparent’s Ge’ and Pop had generations of these dogs in Australia:

gewillpekinese

The English word for this kind of dog is “Pekinese”. I’m not sure what you call them in China (do you know the word?). They’re very friendly dogs with cute flat faces (which make them snuffle because they don’t breathe well).

This one was called Tricky Woo. She slept on the bed or the couch, got fed chocolate and carried a lot.trickywoo

She was thoroughly spoilt.

This is a view of my father (Terry) and his wife (Carol’s) home and garden (the photo was taken about ten years ago, they’ve changed it a lot since then).

DSC_0007

Terry and Carol have raised generations of what they call Chows (the Chinese name is Jing Ba).

benny
Benny

The one above was Dad’s favorite, Benny. His favorite things were Dad’s toes and running away. He was very fast!

caroldogs
Carol holding Beefy the Terrier, Ziva the Chou

Carol is holding Beefy (a name given to dogs that get big or fat). He was very greedy.

ziva
Ziva from NCIS

The Jing Ba is Ziva. Dad have her that name after some pretty actress from a tv show he likes. Her favorite thing in the world is Carol, whom she follows everywhere.

Apart from that she likes hiding from people and running away, as she’s very shy.

In fact the Jing Ba we’ve had have all been very anti-social, but loyal to the owner, so we think its the character of the breed. They can be very hard to train for the things that involve other people and dogs.

 

The gardens in our English and Australian house all have lawns because that gives the dog something soft to run around and lie on.

s

To have dogs like the Jing Ba you need a big enough garden (westerners think they wouldn’t be happy in a small space).

My grandparent’s Pekinese could live in a Chinese apartment, and they remind me of many of the dogs I see my Tanggu neighbours walking. The only big dogs I’ve seen in Tanggu are Labradors, or Golden Retrievers (a cousin of the Labrador).

labsgt

That’s a good choice as well, because even though they’re big, they’re gentle and calm, so they wouldn’t be stressed by living in a small apartment.

Having a dog is good for my parents. They walk Ziva twice everyday and the walk gives them some exercise as well as a nice way to start and end the day. Because they’ve been dog walking the same roads for many years, they’ve made lots of human and canine friends.

Having a garden is also very good. For them it is a labour of love. Because they’ve been there more than twenty five years, the garden is ‘well established’, and friends often suggest they should open it to show the public.

My family has also kept birds in an aviary, and fish in tanks and the pond. They still keep the fish but these days prefer to feed the wild birds (magpies and cockatoos fly down for bread, the magpies come every morning and get a but noisy if anyone forgets to feed them).

maggie

cocks

Discussion 2: Pets discussion

Do you or your family or friends have pets (cats, dogs or birds)?

Describe the pets.

Describe how they are looked after.

What pleasures or burdens does having the pets involve?

Gardening styles

Many Australian gardeners started off gardening like my parents. They made an English style garden on Australian soil.

Other migrants did different things. Italians in Australia, for example, grew tomatoes, peas and other fruit and vegetables in their front gardens.

This video shows a Chinese mother in her New Zealand family’s garden. Let’s have a quick look.

(video to be played in class)

The Chinese mother in the video grows vegetables and herbs. Like the New Zealand man in the video above, I think my parents think gardens should have lawn and pretty flowers.

These days many Australians have native plants instead of English flowers (like roses). Have a look at these.

1200px-Banksia_in_the_Blue_Mountains
Banksia Flowers
bb
Banksia Flower
Banksia flowers pictures. (4)
Banksia Flowers
anigozanthos-flavidus_kangaroo-paw_bush-endeavour-3
Kangaroo Paw
anigozanthos_kangaroo-paw_bush-spark-1
Kangaroo Paw
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kangaroo Paw
callistemon_bottlebrush_kings-park-special-3
Bottlebrush
bbri
Bottlebrush
callistemon-little-caroline_3
Bottlebrush
nuytsia-floribunda-1
Christmas Tree Flowers
ctgt
Christmas Trees and Grass Trees

What do you think of them? What about these native gardens? Hao bu Ha?

2_1_native_729

-australian-native-garden-how-to-garden

backyard_botanicals_fullflower_d_blumergrevillea

Exercise Three

What kind of art do you like?

Can you describe it, and tell us about any of its artists or artworks?

How, where, and when was it made?

Why do you like it?

Again, please feel welcome to show pictures (either on our class screen, or via our wechat group)

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Talking about Religious architecture

The planned repairs after fire at Notre Dame in Paris made me think about the beauty of some of the world’s religious architecture. So for the rest of this class I thought we could talk a little about Christian architecture. These kinds are common throughout the world, and can be found throughout China too.

Christian clergy

Priests: a person, usually a man, who has been trained to perform religious duties in the Christian Church, especially the Roman Catholic Church. Usually responsible for a parish (the members of his faith in his local area)

Vicar: a priest in the Church of England who is in charge of a church and the religious needs of people in a particular area

Bishop: a priest of high rank who is in charge of the priests of lower rank in a particular area

Monks: a member of a group of religious men who do not marry and usually live together in a monastery. Often called Brothers (as in Brother Mark, Brother Jon …)

Nuns: a member of a female religious group that lives in a convent.

Often called Sisters (as in Sister Ruth, Sister Sarah, …)

Religious buildings:

Cathedral: very large, usually stone, building for Christian worship. It is the largest and most important church of a diocese: ???????????????

Church: a building for Christian religious activities

Chapel:a room that is part of a larger building and is used for Christian worship

priory: a building where monks or nuns live, work, and pray

?????????

Monastery: building in which monks live and worship

??????

Nunnery/Convent: a building in which nuns (= members of a female religious order) live ????

 

Rectory: the house in which a priest (rector) lives

??????

Vicarage: the house in which a vicar lives

???????

Notre Dame Cathedral.

g_vigoenfotos_3404p

After the fire there have been many plans for rebuilding the damaged parts of Notre Dame Cathedral.

1000
Proposed Notre Dame Swimming Pool: Hao bu Hao?
ndrenglass
proposed stained glass roof for Notre Dame

The building of Notre Dame began in 1163. It took about 200 years to complete. The period of construction lasted from the 12th to 14th centuries. This period is sometimes called the early middle ages, or the early medieval period.

It was  from oak, stone, and glass. Later, in the 19th century a lead covered spire was added.

Let’s have a look at some images.

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it has beautiful stained glass windows in the shape of a rose
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Notre Dame’s ribbed vault
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Notre Dame Alter and statues of Christ and the saints

Notre Dame is an example of what we call Gothic Architecture.

The cathedral shows the influence of earlier cultures in several ways:

  • 260px-Gargoyle_Point_of_View_(3575829233)First, it is built on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to the Roman God Jupiter. It shares features of the earlier architecture of the Roman Empire, and of Islamic architecture.
  • Second, many of its decorative statues were designed to appeal to illiterate common people, who had pagan beliefs that were older than Christian beliefs.

 

  • Third, the way the structure reaches up to the sky and lets in the light reflects the way that common people used to worship nature. Pagan worshipped in a clearing in the forrest, looked up towards the sun through the tall trees. The Cathedral stone reaches up and curves inwards, encouraging worshippers to look up towards heaven,  in a space full of grace, beauty and peace (like a forrest).
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Looking up through a forrest clearing

Tianjin’s St Joseph’s Cathedral

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Exercise 4

  • Tell us about a religious building you know.
  • Describe it and where it is.
  • Tell us what kind of building it is it, what faith it belongs to.
  • Again, if you would like to, you can show us pictures when you talk about it.