Monthly Archives: October 2013

Oct 28th 2013

Halloween Words

Trick or Treat – Halloween’s Just Around the Corner

For those of you who didn’t know, Halloween is just a few days away! Halloween is a particularly interesting holiday with activities that call for costume parties, trick-or-treating and jack-o’-lanterns. Say what? Yes, that’s right there are special words connected to this holiday that need some explanation for those of you who didn’t grow up with this tradition.

Halloween – This word is at least 250 years old, and is derived from a Scottish term, All Hallows’ Eve  which means “the evening before All Hallows’ Day”. All Hallows’ Eve took place the night after All Hallows’ Day. So how was such a long collection of words cut down to just one?  In the Scottish language, the word for “eve” is “even”. Over the years, even was contracted to een. So it’s not so hard to see how All was dropped as well as the letter “s” creating the new word Halloween.

Summary: Halloween means the evening before All Hallows Day.

Trick-or-Treating – This custom has children dressed up in costumes going from house to house to ask for candy. In most cases, the simple question “Trick or treat?” will be awarded with a handful of sweet goodies. Now you’re probably asking yourself how such a silly phrase has become perhaps the most highly anticipated question for kids all over the world… Basically it’s a (hopefully idle) threat implying that if there are no treats, some sort of mischief happen.

Summary: Trick or Treat means give me some candy or I’ll play a trick on you!

Jack-O-Lantern – A Jack-O-Lantern is a form of decoration used on Halloween. It is often placed on the steps leading to a door or outside on a porch. A Jack-O-Lantern is made by carving a face onto the surface of a pumpkin (or turnip or beet in some places). The insides of the pumpkin are usually scooped out and some sort of a light (usually a candle or electric light) is placed inside to create a flickering light effect at night.

Summary: If you see a scary face flickering light towards you on Halloween, don’t panic it’s probably just a Jack-O-Lantern.

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Oct 17th 2013

Why you need good English to make it as a journalist

Are you thinking of becoming a journalist? One of the most indispensable tools for journalists is knowledge of other languages so you can access all sorts of information from around the world.

However, in today’s world, the international language is English and most prominent journalists have at least some knowledge of English. If you want to distinguish yourself from the pack then you should make an effort to learn English. Let’s take a closer look at why English is an essential tool for any journalist.

English: The International Language

Languages connect people, and English will connect you to a wealth of information, whether it’s news, entertainment, and politics in the English-speaking world. Major organizations like the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund also publish works in English. Being able to access and understand these forces at play in our world will allow you to add depth and richness to your stories.

Furthermore, if you want to travel and produce work in the English-speaking world then you will absolutely need to speak English. Not only will you need to be able to understand your sources, but you will also need to make contacts and get around.

Ways to Learn English

Aside from taking a class, there are many ways you can learn and practice English. One way is to arrange to spend a few months in an English-speaking country taking a class and immersing yourself in English. Another way is to download apps for android mobile phones (where you are most likely to find a greater variety than those made for the iPhone) so you can access vocabulary and grammar lessons. There are also apps out there to help you with grammar check, proofreading and spell check.

Nevertheless, learning English will give you a definite edge in your journalism career. Even just a working knowledge will set you ahead of the pack!

Helene Leroux is an aspiring journalist from Paris, France.

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Oct 10th 2013

The Case for Learning English

 

English is without a doubt, the international language of the 21st century. Originally spread throughout the world by British colonialism, the rise of English was solidified with America’s ascension as the world’s predominant superpower.

There are many other examples of  nation states whose rise on the global stage spearhead the introduction of their language as an international standard (French, Latin, Greek to name just a few). However the use of these languages quickly rose, and then fell, as fast changing world politics upended the status of the nation which introduced the latest “Lingua Franca”.

The reason that English is here to stay is that it is the language of the internet – the first text to go online was in English and to this day the overwhelming majority of website domains, email addresses and content is in English.  The internet is perhaps the single greatest catalyst of change in the last 100 years, transforming the world in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine . And it’s all happening in English.

Considering the above, it’s no wonder that English is the most widely learned language in the world. International success in almost every sphere is hinged foremost on one’s ability to write, and speak, well in English. While not necessarily a requirement, the ability to write and speak at the level of a native provides a huge advantage over those who learned English as a second language.

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