Friday, September 30, 2011

Work & Euphemisms - by George Carlin

Euphemisms: Write If You Get Work
by George Carlin


These days, people who have jobs are called members of the workforce. But I can’t help thinking the Russian Revolution would have been a lot less fun if the Communists had been running through the streets yelling, “Members of the workforces of the world, unite!”
And I’m sure Marx and Lenin would not be pleased to know that, today, employees who refuse to work no longer go on strikes. They engage in job actions that result in work stoppages. And if a work stoppage lasts long enough, the company doesn’t hire scabs, it brings in replacement workers.


When it comes to firing people, companies try desperately to depersonalize the process so that no human being is ever seen to fire another. The language is extremely neutral, and whatever blame there is goes to something called global market forces. Frikkin’ foreigners!
And these companies go through some truly exotic verbal gymnastics to describe what’s taking place – although I’m not sure it makes the individuals in question feel any better. After all, being fired, released or terminated would seem a lot easier to accept than being non-retained, dehired, or selected out.
Nor would I be thrilled to be told that, because the company was downsizing, rightsizing, or scaling down, I was part of an involuntary force-reduction. I really don’t care that my company is reshaping and streamlining, and that, in order to manage staff resources, a focused reduction is taking place, and I’m one of the workers being transitioned out. Just fire me, please!
I read somewhere that apparently one company’s senior management didn’t understand the fuss about the issue. After all, they said, all they were doing was eliminating the company’s employment security policy by engaging in a deselection process in order to reduce duplications.
P.S. By the way, when those deselected people begin to look for new jobs, they won’t have to be bothered reading the want ads. Those listings are now called employment opportunities. Makes you feel a lot better, doesn’t it?

Euphamisms: What Do You Do for a Living?
by George Carlin

American companies now put a great deal of effort into boosting their employee’s self-esteem by handing out inflated job titles. Most likely, they think it also helps compensate for the longer hours, unpaid overtime, and stagnant wages that have become standard. It doesn’t.
However, such titles do allow an ordinary store clerk to tell some girl he’s picking up at a bar that he’s a product specialist. Or a retail consultant. If it turns out she’s a store clerk, too, but her store uses different euphemisms, then she may be able to inform him that she’s a sales counselor. Or a customer service associate. And, for a while there, they’re under the impression that they actually have different jobs.
These are real job titles, currently in use to describe employees whose work essentially consists of telling customers, “We’re all out of medium.” Nothing wrong with that, but it’s called store clerk, not retail consultant, and not customer service associate. Apparently, stores feel they can charge more for merchandise sold by a customer service associate than they can for the same junk sold by a clerk. By the way, if a clerk should be unhappy with his title, he can always move to a different store, where he may have a chance of being called a product service representative, a sales representative, or a sales associate.
And I hope you took note of that word associate. That’s a hot word with companies now. I saw a fast-food employee mopping the floor at an In-N-Out Burger and – I swear this is true – his name tag said “associate.” Okay? It’s the truth. Apparently, instead of money, they now give out these bogus titles.
At another fast-food place, Au Bon Pain, I noticed the cashier’s name tag said hospitality representative. The cashier. The name tag was pinned to her uniform. The people who sell these uniforms now refer to them as career apparel. Or – even worse – team wear. I had to sit down when I heard that. Team wear.
Teams are also big in business; almost as big as associates. In Los Angeles’s KooKooRoo restaurants the employee name tags say “team member.” At the Whole Foods supermarket, I talked to the head of the meat department about ordering a special item; I figured he was the head butcher. But his name tag identified him as the meat team leader. Throw that on your résumé. I guess the people under him would have been meat team associates. I didn’t stick around to ask.
So it’s all about employee morale. And in a lot of companies, as part of morale-building, the employees are called staff. But it’s all right, because most customers are now called clients. With those designations, I guess the companies can pay the staff less and charge the clients more.
I’m not sure when all this job-title inflation began, but it’s been building for a while. At some point in the past thirty years secretaries became personal assistants or executive assistants. Many of them now consider those terms too common, so they call themselves administrative aides.
Everyone wants to sound more important these days:

Teachers became educators,
drummers became percussionists,
movie directors became filmmakers,
company presidents became chief executive officers,
family doctors became primary-care providers,
manicurists became nail technicians,
magazine photographers became photojournalists,
weightlifters became bodybuilders,
and bounty hunters now prefer to be called recovery agents.

And speaking of lifting, those retail-store security people who keep an eye on shoplifters are known as loss-prevention managers. Still more to come. Later.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Dear students, here is next week's vocabulary quiz:

telo a body
muž a man/guy
žena a woman/lady
dievča a girl
chlapec a boy
dieťa a child
hlava a head
krk a neck
hrdlo a throat
vlasy hair
oko an eye
viečko an eyelid
mihalnica an eyelash
obočie an eyebrow
ucho an ear
nos, ňufák, rypák a nose
ústa a mouth
pera lips
lice a cheek
brada a chin
plece a shoulder
trup a torso
hruď a chest
prsné svaly a pectoral muscle
chrbát, chrbtica a back
žalúdok a stomach
brucho a belly/an abdomen
brušné svaly abs
hrudný kôš a ribcage
ruka an arm/a hand
biceps, dvojhlavý sval a bicep muscle
zápästie a wrist
prst a finger
lakeť an elbow
elektrika a funny bone (udretie sa do lakťového nervu)
noha a leg
chodidlo a foot
prst na nohe a toe
členok an ankle
koleno a knee

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

7OA - Homework

Complete exercises D and E for Unit 2, Art and Culture. It's on pages 21-22. Also prepare for the vocab quiz - art and culture, left page.

Friday, September 23, 2011

NOTICE - for Monday, Sept. 26

Dear students,

I will be away in Bratislava on Monday. You will most likely have another teacher. class 7OB, remember to pick a Slovak artist, actor, or performer for your project - all you need is a name, but each student needs to present a different person. I want to see a list when I get back.

FILM VOCABULARY - The Men Who Stare At Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats – Vocabulary

to sanction – sakcionovať, dať povolenie
to be a nut – byť bláznivý

momento mori – “Remember your mortality” - names a genre of artistic work which varies widely, but which all share the same purpose: to remind people of their own mortality.

relentless - nemilosrdný
resolute - odhodlaný
embedded correspondents – korešpondent zarazený do Irák
prick – prepichnutie (nadávka pre mužské anatómiu)
to absorb - pohlcovať
a hairy situation – nebezpečný situácia
fact-finding mission – misie zistiť informácie
banner – prápor, vlajka
confidential – tajný, dôverný
to resolve conflict – vyriešiť konflikt, uzniesť sa spor
to utilize - zužitkovať
hollow - prázdny
French hoax - podvod
to salute – salutovať, pozdraviť
reactivate – reaktivovať, znovuaktivovať
black op (operation) – čierna, tajný misia
a role to play - úloha
disincentive - prekážka
to lock eyes with someone - zízať
queer - homosexuál
oddball - čudák
practical application – praktické využitie
shock and awe – šok a hrôza
check your 6 – skontrolujte šesť (za sebou)
to secure the perimeter – zabezpečiť perimetra
a bad apple – zhnitý jablko, zlý človek
eccentricities - excentricitie
bedouin - beduín
to fall for something – skočiť na niečo

Dim Sum - Dim sum is a Cantonese term for snack. However, dim sum more typically refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food, traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim sum is also well known for the unique way it is sometimes served in some restaurants, where fully cooked and ready-to-serve dim sum dishes would be pushed around on steam carts by servers who go around the restaurant offering the dishes to customers and marking orders on a card on each customer's table.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

1B, 7OA, 7OB HOMEWORK - 20th-22nd September

1B - Quiz next Tuesday - Classroom Vocabulary:

a blackboard školská tabuľa
a book bag ruksak
a bottle fľaša
a ceiling strop
a chair stolička
chalk krieda
a desk písací stôl, školská lavica
a door dvere
a door handle kľučka
an electric outlet zásuvka
the floor podlaha
homework domáca úloha
a light svetlo
a light switch vypínač
a marker fixa
a notebook zápisník, poznámkový blok
a paper papier
a pen pero
a pencil ceruzka
a sink umývadlo
soap mydlo
a student book študentská kniha
a wall stena, múr
a window okno
a workbook pracovný zošit

7OA - Vocab Quiz, YES! Unit 2 Art & Culture - Left page
Present a Slovak artist, actor, musician, or singer - 4 minutes. Provide a short biography, any notable moments in the person's life, and most importantly, what makes them great? Try to bring images if possible - either from books/magazines, or a jpeg on a USB key. I can show it on my computer.

7OB - pick a name for a presentation, similar to that as 7OA, above.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

7OA-7OB - Art Supplement

Dear Students,

In the history of western art, there is a simple timeline up to the 20th Century. Then it gets complicated. Art starts like this:

1. Prehistory - Cave painting and tribal art. This was world wide, and evidence shows it goes back as far as 35,000 years. It's important because it provides clues about what life was like back then, people's interests, and their perspective. We can only imagine why they made these things, if they were decorative or religious in nature, etc.

Three important points:
1. Cave painting & tool making are what first separated us from animals. Making tools was practical, but why did we start painting?
2. This isn't all they produced - this is all that's survived. If you were to go back in time, you'd probably find art like this everywhere.
3. People all over the world painted in caves, and it all looks fairly similar, even when separated by 1000's of years. Why?  Is this evidence of one enduring culture, or do they reflect universal needs and desires, that repeat themselves throughout history?


2. Antiquities - Sumeria, Egypt, Greece, Rome/Classical, Byzantium (6,000BC-500AD)- Sculptures, buildings, murals, jewelry, and artefacts to create cultural identity, and preserve state history.

 3. Dark/Middle Ages (500-1100AD) - Castles, monastaries, illuminated (painted) books, crosses, murals, reliqueries.

4. Gothic (1100-1200) - Cathedrals with vaulted arches and flying buttresses, more of the same.

5. Rennaissance/Mannerist (1300-1550) - first celebrity artists, realistic (naturalistic) images, the realism of Antiquities combines with symmetry and balance of Celtic design, to depict religious stories and Greek mythology. Introduction of Linear Perspective. The Renaissance centered in Italy because Italy had the most Roman artifacts to rediscover and learn from.

6. Baroque (1550-1700) - 100's of artists liked Michelangelo so much they copied him for 200 years - dramatic poses, emphasizing mastery of anatomy. Also artists like Caravaggio exaggerated light and dark, similar to a theatre, to heighten the drama of the scene. Note, up until now, artists started as apprentices to a master, in a workshop. This tradition still continues, but during the Baroque, cities began the first Academies, dedicated to teaching art.

7. Dutch Golden Age Masters (1550-1700) - the Protestant reformation stopped artists from painting for churches, so they changed to everyday scenes of housemaids, pubs, landscapes, and seascapes.

7. Rococo (1640-1790) - The French got tired to copying the old-fashioned, Italian Baroque style so they tweaked it to emphasize even more decorations, delicacy, dainty clothes, and how rich they all were. They painted lots of aristocrats having parties. Note this is the first time since cave paintings we've mentioned the French.

8. Neoclassical/Academic (1790-1850) - The French had a revolution, killed all the rich, and wanted to transform their society and modernize into a republic. Then they reconsidered and looked to Napoleon Bonaparte to create a new empire. Then that failed. Artists had a very hard time. They had to please different kinds of people as they came into power. Revolutionaries hated the aristocracy, so Rococo was unpopular, but they were very nationalist, so they wanted France to be great. So artists had to create new ways to show that greatness without looking Rococo. They mainly decided to copy Roman and Renaissance art and architencture, hence "neo" (new) classicism.

An important artist at this time was Jacques-Louis David. His name is synonymous with Neoclassicism. Look how his art changed over time:

9. Romantic/Academic (1790-1850) - A dramatic style applied to real life/historical/literary paintings, emphasizing drama, emotion, orientalism, and natural beauty over classical logic and reason.

10. Impressionism/Modernism (1840-1930) - Artists began to reject the academies (which also rejected the Impressionists) as they started to paint outdoors, portraying modern, industrial scenes, capturing outdoor light and colors accurately, while ignoring details. This is the beginning of abstraction as a means of expressing the artists' identity, leaving realism for photographs, which became popular with the invention of the Daguerreotype in 1838.

There are also thousands of great American Impressionists, but I don't want to overwhelm you, so here are at least four:

And then what happened? Well, ask art critic/comedian Brad Holland. Click the name, and if you don't understand a joke, ask me in class, or here in a comment.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homework - 13th September

1B - Grammar worksheet due tomorrow, Present Simple/Questions and Negatives.
Quiz next Tuesday with the following vocabulary:

Unit 1 Grammar Vocabulary

písmeno a letter
samohláska a vowel
spoluhláska a consonant
slabika a syllable
slovo a word
podstatné meno a noun
zámeno a pronoun
jednotný singular
množný plural
prídavné meno an adjective
privlastňovací prídavné meno possessive adjective
príslovka an adverb
sloveso a verb
slovesný čas a verb tense
slovesné podstatné meno a gerund
predložka a preposition
spojka a conjunction
podmet a subject
prísudok a predicate
časovať to conjugate
minulosť the past
pritomnosť the present
budúcnosť the future
príčastie minulépast participle
skúsenosť an experience
nepravidelný irregular
nedokončený unfinished
nedávny recent
nedávno recently
význam, zmysel meaning
výnimka exception
nepočítateľné uncountable
čitateľný legible
skloňovať to decline
predpona prefix
prípona suffix

7OA - Quiz next Tuesday on Family vocabulary, from the YES! book. Also, choose a Slovak actor, performer, or artist you would like to research for a presentation the following week.

70B - Make a family tree, and choose someone from your family to talk about, and tell a funny story. The student with the largest family tree gets a prize. Be sure to write down the date of birth for each family member!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bilingual Class Vocabulary - Sept 7th

Unit 1 Family

rodina a family
generácia a generation
rodič a parent
otec a father
matka a mother
manžel a husband
manželka a wife
vdova a widow
vdovec a widower
svokor a father-in-law
svokra a mother-in-law
švagor brother-in-law
švagrina sister-in-law
zať son-in-law
nevesta daughter-in-law
starý otec a grandfather
stará mama a grandmother
vnuk grandson
vnučka granddaughter
brat a brother
sestra a sister
syn a son
dcéra a daughter
dvojčatá twins
teta an aunt
ujo an uncle
bratranec, sesternica a cousin
neter a niece
synovec a nephew
priateľ a friend
frajer a boyfriend
frajerka a girlfriend
pár a couple
domáci miláčik a pet
pes a dog
mačka a cat
papagáj a parrot
myš a mouse
ryba a fish
hosť a guest
sused a neighbor
potomok a descendant
príbuzný a relative


7 OA

Dear Students, your homework is to create a family tree, and choose one family member to tell a story about. Each presentation should be about 3 minutes. This is due Tuesday, Sept. 13th.

The student with the longest family tree gets a prize!

1B students - no homework yet. Expect some next lesson.