Learning to learn (2007 Graduating Returnees Class)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Essay Question for test.

How have you been feeling about adjusting back to life in Osaka? In the future, how do you plan to use the knowledge you gained from your experiences in Canada?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Shizuka Arakawa Text

Shizuka Arakawa (Arakawa Shizuka, born December 29, 1981) is a Japanese figure skater who won the 2004 World Figure Skating Championship and the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. She is the first person from Asia to become an Olympic figure skating champion.
Å@Arakawa is from Sendai in the Tohoku region of Japan. Her coach Nikolai Morozov is a former figure skater from Belarus. Her previous coaches were Tatiana Tarasova and Richard Callaghan. She was also coached by the 1994 world champion Yuka Sato's mother, Kumiko Sato, at one time.
Å@Arakawa landed her first triple-jump when she was eight years old, and competed in the Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998, at the age of 16.
Å@Some critics say Arakawa's academic studies may have affected her skating performance. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Waseda University, one of the most prestigious universities in Japan.
Å@She currently lives and trains in Simsbury, Connecticut in the United States.
Å@At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, Arakawa was in third place behind Sasha Cohen and Irina Slutskaya after the short program. Although Cohen and Slutskaya were the heavy favorites for the gold medal, both fell during the long program. Arakawa made only 1 minor error in her skating routine but otherwise turned in an artistically and technically sound program and earned the gold medal. She became the first Japanese woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal in Ladies' Figure Skating. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Arakawa said, "I still can't believe this." Her gold medal in women's figure skating on the evening of Thursday, February 23, 2006 gave Japan its first medal of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Here are the fixed expressions/collocations/idioms that we found:

figure skater
previous coach
at one time
academic studies
to affect a performance
one of the most (~s)
the heavy favorites
minor error
the first ever/ the first (~) ever to (do something)
I (still) can't believe this!

These are the specialized dictionaries we used:

The Oxford Dictionaries of Collocations
The Collins Cobuild Learner's Dictionary
The Collins Cobuild Dictionary of Idioms
The BBI Dictionary of English Word Combinations
The LTP Dictionary of Selected Collocations

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Summary of student research

These are the expressions everybody found:

I searched "turn into" on google. There were 12,500,000 "turn into"s.
I found"build upon" and I search on google and found over 13,600,000 of them.
I found "build upon knowledge".there were 11,800 on google.(It could also be 'the knowledge' or 'our knowledge' which would make this number higher. So, 'build upon knowledge' is probably a stable expression. Anyway, I feel that it is.)
I found"can also be". 94,600,000 on the web.
I found "seem to", there are 129,000,000 "seem to" on google.
I found"It seems to".There were 34,400,000."It seems to" is on google. ( How about ‘It seems to me that…)
I found "link to". There were 2,660,000,000 "link to" on google.
I found "in terms of " .I looked for that word on google and there were 158,000,000 "in terms of"s .
I found "successful at". There were 3,670,000 "successful at" on google.
I found 'a few'. There are 708,000,000 'a few' on google
I found "add to" There ware about 252,000,000 "add to"s on google.
I found "potato on the couch". There were 324 "potato on the couch"s on google.
It means a person being very lazy.(You mean ‘couch potato’. 324 is not enough. This is a good example of being fixed.)
I found "a hub for". There were 829,000 "a hub for" on google. (Is this a fixed expression, or is ‘for’ just common with ‘hub’?)
It is hard for me to find fixed expressions. And it is also hard for me to learn fixed expression by heart. How can I find fixed expressions easily? Are there any good methods? (Using them correctly is the most difficult thing for a NNS (non-native speaker). However, noticing them is the first step. Next you have to discover the limits (like 'couch potato' above.) They are EVERYWHERE!)
I found "opportunity for" there were 103,000,000
I found "have a voice".There are 1,600,000 sites with the phrase.
I found "drag on".there were 2,180,000 "drag on"s on google.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Analyze This!

What is a blog?
(Matthew G.)

A blog is a... It's sort of like an online diary, where people can post their thoughts, their ideas, their favorite music, they can link to their favorite things on the web, and they can also be a hub for a community. A blog is a simple thing that can be turned into many things. I think... It seems to me that, uh, when blogs are successful at creating a community, that's the number one benefit, where you can share knowledge, you can build upon knowledge, uh, and uh, just to know there are other people out there that share your interests. Or you, learn new things.
Well, uh, I think they are a good start. Blogs vary in terms of their quality and maybe their reliability, but um, I think it's great that they're out there. It adds to the global marketplace of information and um, provides an opportunity for uh, smaller entities, sma... independent people to have a voice. Sometimes it's with the major media and sometimes it's against it. I think it’s a valuable resource.

1) Use your instincts and google (see previous post) to answer these questions:

How many fixed expressions can you find? (even pairs of words, like 'sort of')

2) Put at least one in a 'comment' (below, right).

3) Other Questions:

Why does he say 'Uh' or 'Um'?
Why do some of the sentences seem incomplete, or seem to drag on?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Researching expressions with google.

Today we used the internet to find some 'fixed expressions'. Then, we checked the expression and its variations by doing this:

1) Go to google and search the phrase using " " (quotation marks).
2) Make sure google is set to only find English pages. (with 検索オプション).
3) Check the number of hits to see if it is frequent (on the right, in small numbers). If it is a big number, like more than 10,000 or something, It's a stable expression.
4) Look at a few of the pages to see how the phrase is used.

These are the expressions people found. There aren't as many as I'd hoped for. It took everybody a long time to get started.

A 'pie in the sky' means something which is promised or planned but is unrealiztic or very unlikely to happen. It could also be something you want, but you can't get. You can't say 'pie in the sea' or 'pies in the sky.' It is similar to a 'pipe dream'.

'As easy as pie' means very easy. You can say 'as easy as cake' but it's not as frequent. However, you can't say ‘as easy as a cookie.’( By the way, a 'piece of cake' is another expression and has the same meaning.)*See below

To 'act up' means to misbehave

To 'fly off the handle' means to suddenly lose one's temper, but you can't say lose the handle.

'A skeleton in the closet' means a big secret someone has about something in the past. You can say ’I have a skeleton in the closet’, but you can't say ‘’I have a skelton in the drawer’.

To ‘drink like a fish’ means to drink heavily.

To ‘get a move on’ means to hurry up. You can say ‘get a move on’, but you can't say ‘get a move in'.

*Bonus question: Which is more frequent, 'as easy as pie', or 'a piece of cake'?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Fixed Expressions

'Fixed Expressions' are sayings or phrases where several words that are often used together make one meaning. Some of them are more 'fixed' than others. This means you can't change the words without losing the meaning. Also some of them are more 'idiomatic' than others. An 'idiom' means that you can't understand the meaning from the words alone; you have to know the phrase to know the meaning.

As a matter of fact ('truth' doesn't work)
Idiom=60%, Fixed=100%

Honesty is the best policy ('rule' doesn't work)
Idiom=0%, Fixed=100%

Kick the bucket ('pale' doesn't work)('kicked', 'going to kick' does)
Idiom=100%, Fixed = 85%

Question: How do you find out what works?

Welcome Back

It was the first day back in class. We talked about things that were different from Canada. A few people said that Japan was stinky compared to Canada, and because of all the city lights in Osaka, there seem to be less stars in the sky. Also, it seems so crowded in Japan and 'body space' is different in the two countries. About food, everybody said that Japan's food was more healthy, but they missed things like spaghetti, lasanga, and french-fries with gravy and cheese.

We talked about a couple experiences Mr.Walsh had when he returned to the U.S. One was that he thought he was bettter than other people because he had had all these experiences when all his friends had been in the same environment. Also, everybody wants to be nice so they ask you about the place you lived, but it's so hard to explain, and people don't seem to understand. The answer to both problems? Be nice to people.