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Chapter 2. Skill A

Курсы изучения разговорного английского языка
√ Campus Life.
√ Geography.
√ Chemistry.
√ History.




1 Campus Life.
W: Hello, I’m of students who needs to take the first aid certification
    course in order to go on the winter-break meteorological expedition.

M: OK, which course date did you want to sign up for? There are
    two courses offered every month, except for November, when
    we have three. The courses are all two weeks long.

W: What are the times?

M: Well, next month there are two courses. There’s a morning and
    an evening course. The morning course is from 8:00 a.m. to
    noon, and the evening course from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

W: Huh, well you see I go to class during the day and work at night...
    There’s no weekend course?

M: I’m afraid not. The expedition starts in January, right?

W: That’s right, we leave January 3rd.

M: Well, you could take the course in December after your finals
     are over.

W: Huh, yeah I guess I’ll have to. How much is this course?

M: It’s 300 dollars, which includes all aspects of first aid, including
     CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

W: Who’s the course instructor?

M: Jeff Fulbright. He’s a retired paramedic with over 35 years of
     experience. This is a nationally recognized qualification.

W: What is CPR exactly?

M: It stands for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Basically, it’s what
     you perform on a patient who isn’t breathing or whose heart
     isn’t beating. It’s like giving a car a jumpstart.

W: What do you mean?

M: Well, you know when you jumpstart a car, the battery is out of
     juice. So, you connect it to another car’s battery using jumper
     cables and use the energy from the working car to revive the
     dead battery. After that, the battery should replenish itself and
     be OK.

W: Right.

M: Same principle. With CPR, the heart has stopped beating, so
     you kind of pump the heart back to life by applying pressure to
     the chest in rhythmic intervals. You’re like the battery giving
     juice to the battery without juice. Hopefully, by doing CPR, you
     will get the heart to start beating on its own again.

W: That sounds like a handy skill.

M: Sure is. The course will also give you some useful procedures for
     your expedition, like how to treat hypothermia and frostbite.

W: That’s good, though hopefully I’ll never need it.

M: Hopefully, you’ll never need any of the training, but it’s better
     to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

W: Well, can I sign up for the morning course in December, then?

M: Sure, you can fill out this form and pay the 300 dollars in cash,
    by check, or debit card. Or, if you want to, you can register online
    at the website listed at the bottom of the form.

W: I see. Is there a registration deadline or anything?

M: The cut-off date for registration is one week prior to the start date,
     but it’s best to register as far in advance as possible. It’s rare, but
     sometimes the courses do fill up.

W: Well, OK, thanks for all your help!

M: No problem. Have a nice day.





2 Geography

M: Who can tell me which African country has the strongest economy?
     Of all the countries on the African continent, which one has the
     largest and most developed economy?

W1: Kenya?

M: No, I’m sorry. Try again.

W2: I would guess South Africa. It’s probably got the most modern
     infrastructure of all the African countries.

M: And you would be right. Now, let me tell you a little bit about
     the place. First of all, South Africa is located at the southern tip
     of the African continent and is home to about 45 million people.
     One interesting tidbit is that it is one of the few countries in Africa
     that has never had a coup d’etat. A coup d’etat, of course, is when
     a group, such as the military, takes over the government. So, the
     South African government has never been overthrown. Today, it
     is one of the most stable democracies in that part of the world.
     Now, that’s not to say that there haven’t been problems in South
     Africa. I bet you can guess what I’m referring to.

W2: Apartheid?

M:  Very good. Who can explain apartheid?

W1: Literally it means “apartness” or “separateness.” I think it comes
     from Dutch, because the Dutch were the first European settlers
    there. Anyway, as I read somewhere, apartheid was the systematic
    segregation of the races. You know, like for example, non-whites
    had to use different toilets from white people.

M: Yes, under apartheid, the government maintained a policy of
    separating the white minority and the black majority. Keep in
    mind that we’re talking about minority rule here. Early on, black
    people were barred from being members of parliament. It was
    a whites-only government. Now, apartheid was established in
     948 by the Nationalist Party. Effectively, black people in South
    Africa lived in a different world from that of the whites. They
    were required, by law, to live in certain areas called reserves and
    were denied the right to vote. There was a long struggle for
    democracy over the next fifty-odd years, and it was not just the
    black majority who wanted to bring an end to apartheid. There
    were other ethnic groups who suffered under apartheid as
    well. Just to give you an idea of the demographics, there are
    four major ethnic groups in South Africa. Under apartheid, they
    were classified legally as black, white, Indian, and “colored.”
    Don’t confuse the term colored with the old derogatory term
    for black people in the United States. In South Africa, it meant
    people of mixed race. The term is still used today, but since many
    don’t like it, and since it has a different historical meaning in the
   US, I will use the term “mixed race” to avoid confusion. OK?
   Now, as I was saying, the demographics break down like this:
   75% are black, 13.6% are white, 8.6% are mixed race, and
   then 2.6% are Indian. Now, like I said, the people of mixed race
   and of Indian descent supported the effort to bring down
   apartheid, and I should add that a few of the white people did
   as well. So, after a long and difficult struggle, apartheid was
   dismantled by F.W. De Klerk in 1990. Yes, do you have a question?

W2: Does everyone speak English in South Africa?
   M: No, not necessarily. Most people do, I think, but there are actually
   eleven official languages. English is one, and I’m sure you’ve all
   heard of Afrikaans? That’s the language of the Dutch settlers.
   It sort of evolved into a new language over the centuries of Dutch
   settlement. The most commonly spoken language that’s native
   to the area, I believe, would be Zulu. Then there are others, but
   I won’t get into them right now... They should be in your book.
   Anyway, back to the different ethnic groups for a moment. You
   should be aware that South Africa has the largest population of
   people of European descent in Africa, and the largest Indian
   population outside of Asia. Not only that, it also has the largest
   mixed race community in Africa. Now, as I was saying earlier, South
   Africa has the largest economy of all the countries on the African
   continent. It has a labor force of more than 13 million people.
   If we look at a breakdown of those 13-million-or-so workers,
   we can see that 35% of workers are employed in services, 30%
   work in agriculture, 20% in industry, and 9% work in mining.
   The remaining 6% are employed in other fields. OK, so that’s
   some general information about South Africa’s demographics
   and economy. Now let’s talk about their education system.

3 Chemistry



W: I know you are all very familiar with the periodic table, but do
   you know the history of it? That’s what we are going to talk
   about today. OK, so as you know, the function of the periodic
   table is to organize chemical elements on the basis of their
   chemical properties. Over time, as we’ve learned more about
   the different elements, we’ve had to change the table. So, the
   table we know today has evolved over the years in conjunction
   with the science of chemistry. Originally, the elements were
   ordered according to their atomic mass in relation to the mass
   of a hydrogen atom, which is set at one atomic mass unit. Um,
   let me put that another way. The mass of a hydrogen atom is
   set at one. OK? And then using that as the standard weight, all
   other atomic masses are measured in relation to it. That was how
   things were done at first... how the table was ordered. Over time,
   certain recurring patterns were noticed with regards to the atomic
   mass of elements. For example, in 1817, Johann Dobereiner noticed
   that some elements could be grouped together in threes, and
   the grouping had to do with the relationship between the
   atomic masses. You see, he observed that for some groups of
   three elements, if you ordered them according to their atomic
   masses, you would find that the element in the middle would
   have an atomic mass that was halfway between that of the other
   two. In other words, the mass of the middle element was an
   average of the other two. Let’s refer to the periodic table in the
   book. Look at the elements lithium, which is LI number 3, sodium,
   which is NA number 11, and potassium, which is K number 19.
   If you add up the atomic masses of all three, which we don’t
   have listed here on this table, then divide by three, your answer
   is the same as the atomic mass of sodium. That’s the Law of Triads.
   Another pattern was observed in 1863 by John Newlands. He
   devised the Law of Octaves. As you might guess from the name,
   it involves sets of eight. This law states that elements behave
   similarly to elements whose mass differs from them by a multiple
   of eight. In other words, every eighth element, when grouped
   according to atomic mass, has similar properties.
   Dmitri Mendeleev is considered the “father” of the modern
   periodic table. What he did was he wrote out the names, atomic
   masses, and other properties of each known element on separate
   cards. Then, he ordered them according to their atomic mass.
   He noticed, like his predecessors, that certain properties repeated
   periodically. Not all of the elements fit the pattern neatly, though,
   so Mendeleev had to move some elements into new positions,
   despite their atomic mass. Although some nice patterns had been
   observed, the table was not yet perfect. So Mendeleev didn’t
   actually make the table we see in our book today, but he did
   put us on the path toward this table.
   The problems Mendeleev had with his groupings were solved
   almost fifty years later when Henry Gwyn-Jeffries Mosely developed
   a system of assigning an atomic number to each element. Notice
   I said “atomic number” not “atomic mass.” Try not to confuse
   those two. An element’s atomic number is based on the number
   of protons within the nucleus of the atom of the element. So,
   the atomic number of an element is equal to the number of
   protons in the atomic nucleus. This proved to be a far more
   functional way to order the elements than by ordering them by
   atomic mass or by groupings. By ordering the elements according
   to their atomic number rather than their atomic mass, the
   problems with Mendeleev’s table disappeared, and hence, a far
   more comprehensive periodic table was born.
   So now, as you can see in your book, the table is organized into
   rows and columns. Each row is referred to as a period, and
   each column is referred to as a group. In some groups, all of the
   members of the group display similar properties. In general, we
   can say that elements share more similar properties with other
   elements in the same group than with other elements elsewhere
   in the table. However, there are a few periods --- or rows --- in
   which the elements share significant similarities. Does that
   make sense? What I mean is that any given element is a member
   of two things: a period, which is identified by the row it falls in,
   and a group, which is identified by which column it falls in. Got
   that? And in some of the periods the member elements have
   similar properties. Then the columns are the groups, and within
   the groups many of the elements share physical characteristics
   and chemical behavior.

4 History.



M: We’ve talked about Roman mythology, which was adopted
   from Greek mythology when the Romans took over Greece. So,
   the Romans basically worshiped the same deities as the Greeks,
   but changed their names, right? There were various deities like
   Jupiter, who was known as Zeus to the Greeks, and the Roman
   god Mars, who was Ares in Greek mythology. I won’t name
   them all right now. But basically, you should remember that the
   gods were typically associated with natural occurrences and
   other phenomena --- kind of as a way to explain things that people
   saw around them. One example is this --- in order to explain the
   movement of the sun across the sky, Romans believed, as did
   the Greeks, that a god rode a chariot across the sky, carrying
   the sun from east to west each day. This god the Romans
   named Sol, which is where we get the word sun.
   Anyway, that was the state religion of the Roman Empire (before
   Christianity was established, that is). As the Empire expanded,
   the Romans came into contact with foreign people with different
   beliefs. Remember, the Roman Empire was huge. At its peak, it
   included all of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea, and
   much of northern Europe as well. So, the Romans encountered
   a lot of different cultures. Now, the state generally tolerated the
   people’s beliefs in the other regions, so long as they didn’t interfere
   with the power of the state.
   Before we begin talking about the Roman cults, I want you to
   understand that the term cult, as we are using it here, does not
   have the same negative connotation that it has today. We are
   simply talking about worship. The foreign cults of Rome were
   groups that did not worship the deities that were the norm in
   Rome. The foreign cults worshiped different deities. Over time,
   some of these gods and goddesses were incorporated into the
   Roman religion, while others were suppressed. So, what began as
   tolerance for other religious beliefs led to the gradual incorporation
   of some aspects of those other belief systems.
   Some of the more well known deities of the foreign cults included
   Isis and Mithras. Isis was the Egyptian goddess of fertility and
   motherhood. Mithras was the Persian sun god who emphasized
   strength and courage in the battle of good and evil. These are two
   examples of deities who were accepted into Roman mythology.
   Some time around the fourth century, things changed in the
   Roman Empire. The cults related to all the various gods pretty
   much disappeared in Rome. Christianity became the new state
   religion. It had been gaining in popularity up to that time, but it
   was still in competition with the earlier cults. Christianity became
   the official religion of Rome under the emperor Theodosius. At
   this time, all other forms of worship were banned, and as such,
   the other cults either disappeared or were practiced in secrecy.
   It is interesting to note, however, that quite a few elements of
   worship from these earlier faiths were incorporated into Christianity.
   Perhaps this was done in order to appeal to a wider range of
   people. For example, the standard day of worship for Jews --- I
   mean those Jews who became known as Christians --- their day
   of worship was the Sabbath, the last day of the week. But this
   day of worship for Christians shifted from the seventh day of
   the week to the first day, Sunday, which is named for Sol, the
   god we were talking about earlier, who, by the way, was the most
   important deity in the Roman pantheon. Another example of a
  borrowed tradition is the use of evergreen boughs and trees to
   decorate the home in winter. This was a long-standing tradition
   among many cultures to celebrate the winter solstice and the
   return of the sun’s strength. Today’s tradition of a decorated
   Christmas tree is a direct descendant of those earlier practices.
   And while we’re on the topic of Christmas, there is the interesting
   choice of December 25th as the celebration of Jesus’s birth. This
   was also the traditional day on which the earlier Roman cults
   celebrated the birthday of Mithras.
   To recap, then, the rulers of the ancient Roman Empire allowed
   foreign religions, including Christianity, to exist as long as they
   did not interfere with their power. During the first few centuries
   A.D., Christianity became more and more popular in the empire,
   and in the fourth century, it became Rome’s official religion by
   decree of then-emperor Theodosius. In order to gain acceptance
   from a wide base of the Roman population, Christianity adopted
   many aspects of other predominant religions of the time.



5 Campus Life



M: Come in.

W: Excuse me, Professor Altmann? Am I disturbing you? I have a
   question about the exam.

M: No, come in, come in. What is it with you students? Always
   worried about disturbing me. Why is that?

W: Well, I don’t know. Aren’t professors really busy preparing classes
   and doing research?

M: Yes, yes, that’s true, but you see --- forgive me, what was your

   name?

W: Emily.

M: Ah yes, Emily. You see Emily, these office hours are not my time
   to be making class preparations or doing my research. This is
   my time that is available for the students. This is why I am here
   now. Your tuition fees are paying for my house and car and the
   hot dog I ate for lunch. In return, I teach you about human
   behavior, if I can, and I hold office hours for you to converse
   with me. You see, it’s an --- economic exchange.

W: Really? So we can just come in anytime to chat?

M: Well, yes. During the office hours, basically, yes, but it’s always
   nice to be a bit prepared of course.

W: What do you mean?

M: Well, as you know, there are many students, and only eight
   office hours per week, so we want to use this time wisely and
   efficiently.

W: Oh, like I should prepare a specific question.

M: Yes, that’s always nice of course. Having a specific reason is a
   great start and can accelerate the process. Some students, you
   know, they want to get a good reference, so they come by all the
   time just to chat so that I know them well. Although I certainly
   want to get to know the students in my classes, that’s too much,
   you know.

W: So, mainly these office hours are just if we’re having problems
   in the course.

M: No, no, also if you would like some, aah, further clarification of
   some concept as well, but if you do come in for a problem, don’t
   just come in and say, “Oh no! Oh help! I will never pass, it is
   hopeless, please help me professor.” Then, I have to spend an
   hour asking questions to ascertain the specific problem, and
   sometimes, students want me to figure out an adequate paper
   topic for them and get them started on their research. That is
   OK, but you need to come with some ideas, something to start
   with.

W: OK, that all makes sense. Wow, thanks for taking the time to
   explain this to me. I should have been taking advantage of the
   office hours system a lot more over the past two years. They
   really should explain this to us when we start at the university.

M: Ah, yes, this would make perfect sense, but do they do it? No.

   It needs doing, though. Then, I have to do it. You don’t have to

   tell me.

W: I wonder if there is some way to suggest it. Like is there someone
   in charge of freshman orientation who could be told about this
   problem?

M: That sounds like an excellent question for your academic advisor.

W: Oh, you’re right. I’ll have to ask her the next time I go see her.

M: Anyway, Emily, how can I help you today?

6 Business





W: TM. We are all used to seeing the symbol of a tiny T and a tiny M
   in the top right-hand corner of the name or logo of a company,
   but what does that TM really mean? Today, I’m going to explain
   just what a trademark is and what function it serves. Trademarks
   are an important part of brands and branding. I will start by
   defining trademarks, and then I will move on to explain different
   kinds of trademarks. OK. Generally speaking, a trademark can
   be defined as any word, name, phrase, design, logo, or picture
   implemented by a company to identify its goods and differentiate
   themselves and their products from the competition. That was
   a long definition, so let me repeat it for you. A trademark can
   be defined as any word, name, phrase, design, logo, or picture
   implemented by a company to identify its goods and differentiate
   themselves and their products from the competition. Trademarks
   are registered. That means companies notify a particular office
   in the country where they operate about the trademark. We
   could say that a trademark is a kind of ID badge, so to speak.
   Can anyone think of any examples of well-known trademarks?

M1: Well, how about Coke?

W: Good example. That particular name can only be used by the

   Coca-Cola Company precisely because it is a trademark. When a
   company owns a trademark, it can enforce its use and protect its
   rights by preventing unauthorized use of the product’s name or
   design. So, for example, no other company can call their drink
   “Coke” and no one can copy the Coca-Cola logo without
   permission. So, here we have the basics of trademarks. However,
   their use is not without problems, which brings me to genericized
   trademarks. Does anyone know what I mean by that?

M2: I guess it must have something to do with generic products.
   Like, for example, Q-tips. The real name of the product is a cotton
   swab, but most people call them Q-tips.

W: You hit it on the nose. That’s exactly what a genericized trademark
   is. Sometimes a trademark becomes synonymous with the generic
   name of the products or services to which it relates. It then
   replaces it in everyday speech and makes it difficult for the
   company to exert its proprietorship. Trademark owners need to
   be careful not to lose control of how their trademark is used.
   Like you said, Q-tip is a good example. Another one is the
   Bikini. I’m sure no one here today identifies “bikini” with any one
   particular company. To most people, a bikini is any two-piece
   swimsuit for women. Can you think of any other examples?

M1: Is aspirin a genericized trademark?

W: Yes. Very good. Some other well known examples are kleenex
   and popsicles. Anyone surprised? I see that a few of you are.
   Next time you’re in the store, you might recognize a few more.
   OK, so when a trademark becomes genericized, it’s a problem.
   But what can a company really do? The best thing to do is to
   try to prevent it from happening. One way to prevent it is to
   avoid using the trademark as a verb or noun. A good example
   would be Rollerblade. Rollerblade can be used as a noun or as
   a verb. Someone might say, “I bought some new Rollerblades,”
   referring to any new inline skates, or they might suggest going
   rollerblading. A good way for a company to prevent this from
   happening is to discourage generalization of that company’s
   name in their marketing. That reminds me of another example. Do
   you remember the old Band-Aid commercial? “I am stuck on Band-Aid,
   cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me!”? That’s another example, isn’t it?
   Band-Aid. What that company did was change their jingle to “I
   am stuck on Band-Aid brand, cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.”
   That reinforced the idea that Band-Aid is a brand and not a
   product name. Another example is Xerox. Because that was the
   first brand of photocopiers, people started saying that they
   were “xeroxing” a document. Xerox then started an extensive
   marketing campaign to push the word “photocopying.”

M2: But, wouldn’t it sort of be in the company’s interest for generalization
   to happen?

W: Well, it certainly is a good sign for the company if their brand
   is genericized. That means it’s popular, right? And it’s true that
   many companies overlook the day-to-day use of their brand
   name to describe a product. However, there is a risk of losing
   control of your trademark. You see, it is possible to lose the
   rights and protection of the trademark if the name becomes
   too common. For example, Sony had registered the “Walkman”
   as a trademark, but the word became so commonly identified
   with the product, that they lost their rights to the brand name.

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