I DIG ENGLISH - just a cool blog about English

I hope you enjoy reading this blog
half as much as I enjoy writing it for you.
Because I have a ball.


Karola

Sunday, October 30, 2011

English in Pics: Halloween Costumes


Hi!

My first Halloween experience ever was when one year a group of local kids showed up at our door and left flour on our doormat. I can't remember exactly if it was because we refused to give them sweets or ignored their angry doorbell ringing or gave them fruit and raisins... I just know that at that exact moment I thought: Trick-or-treating has arrived in Poland.



Since then they have been visiting us on and off and now I know better not to mess with them and offer them sweets obligingly. They don't like to be ignored, trick-or-treaters. They're an angry lot so just give them whatever they're asking for or you will be exposed to their wrath.




On Halloween, apart from being tricked of course, you may also carve a pumpkin and put a candle inside to make a jack-o'-lantern or decorate your house with all kinds of spooky Halloween paraphernalia such as plastic figures of ghosts, skeletons or spiders. Add a festive set of bright lights for good measure. You don't want your trick-or-treaters to stumble, or god forbid, twist their ankle.






On Halloween, party people are happy to attend all sorts of Halloween-themed or fancy-dress parties. The latter see party-goers dress up as horror movie, cartoon or fairy-tale characters, famous pop stars or anyone or anything you can think of. The more creative and out there you are on that day, the better. Some girls choose to wear clothes that are very skimpy and revealing and other people may refer to them as sluts.




This weekend I went to a wedding after party (my translation of the word poprawiny). We didn't dress up though. With all the dressing up the previous day I think it would have been an overkill;). But if I could go to a fancy-dress party this year, I know which costumes I would consider wearing. Let me present you with a list of my top 7 Halloween costumes.

In no particular order:

1. PIRATE

I'm choosing a pirate costume because a) it is cool and b) it's the favourite costume of my youngest 6-year-old student. 


 

Three things you might need for this look are: an eyeliner, an eyepatch and a bandanna. 

 







2. WIZARD/ WITCH

People who know me well know what a crazy Harry Potter fan I am. If I could go as a witch, I would be Hermione for sure.




Clothing items and accessories to be purchased or made: a robe with the emblem of your favourite house, a wand, a striped tie, a V-neck pullover, a pleated skirt and knee-high stockings or a pair of slacks. If you dress up as Harry, don't forget a nice pair of nerdy glasses.




3. CINDERELLA

To feel like a princess I would dress up as Cinderella. She wears a floor-length gown with puff sleeves as if she walked the red carpet. She travels in style thanks to her pumpkin carriage and she's got a tiara on her head!!!





4. PUMPKIN

If I could squeeze myself into a onesie (US) or a one-piece (UK), I would definitely never miss a chance to be a cute pumpkin on Halloween.




5. GHOST

If I were pressed for time or just plain lazy, I would pick a ghost costume. There is nothing easier than making three holes in a sheet.
 



6. REGULAR EVERYDAY NORMAL GUY

If I were a guy, I would go as a regular everyday normal guy. To get this look, wear what you would normally wear as long as it's not similar to this:



or that:



For more tips and tricks watch the following video:



7. HOBO

This is another effortless look.



Find a flannel shirt and a pair of distressed jeans; make a bindle out of a stick and a piece of fabric; smear your face and give yourself and unruly hairstyle and voila!








I hope some of you will find this post helpful. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend and stay safe on 1st November ;).

GLOSSARY:

flour – mąka
a doormat – wycieraczka
to refuse – odmówić
on and off – z przerwami
to mess with – podskakiwać komuś, narażać się komuś
obligingly – uprzejmie
an (angry) lot – gniewne/ rozzłoszczone towarzystwo
exposed to somebody's wrath – być narażonym na czyjś gniew
to carve a pumpkin – rzeźbić wzory w dyni
spooky – upiorne, straszne
paraphernalia – akcesoria
a skeleton – kościotrup
festive – świąteczny
for good measure – dodatkowo
to stumble – potknąć się
god forbid – broń boże
to twist your ankle – skręcić nogę w kostce
to attend (parties) – chodzić (na imprezy)
-themed – o motywie przewodnim
a fancy-dress party – ball przebierańców
to dress up as – przebierać się za
fairy-tale – baśniowe
out there – zwiariowany, dziwny
skimpy – skąpy, kusy
revealing – skąpy, kusy
sluts – puszczalskie
an overkill – za dużo czegoś
in no particular order: w przypadkowej kolejności
a wizard – czarodziej
a witch – czarodziejka/ czarownica
a clothing item – część stroju
to purchase – kupić
a robe – tut. szata czarodzieja
an emblem – godło
a wand – różdżka
striped – w paski
pleated – plisowany
slacks – spodnie z materiału
Cinderella – Kopciuszek
a gown – suknia
puff sleeves – bufiaste rękawy
a carriage – karoca, powóz
a tiara – diadem
to squeeze (myself) into – wcisnąć się w
a onesie/ one-piece – ubranko jednoczęściowe dla dziecka
be pressed for time – nie mieć czasu
a hobo – włóczęga
effortless – niewymagający wysiłku
distressed – poszarpane
to smear – ubrudzić, umazać
fabric – materiał
unruly – w nieładzie

All the best to the young couple Kasia and Bartek. Wishing you a beautiful life together :).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Digs: MOJO



Hello!

Today's blog post is dedicated to just one English word: MOJO. It is short and sweet but there is a lot of meaning packed into those four letters.




The meaning of the word is a little bit elusive and a dictionary isn't of much help either:

MOJO: a quality that attracts people to you and makes you successful and full of energy (Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

What can we do then? Let's turn to House for some help.

TV SHOW

The following bit comes from the episode called Small Sacrifices, in which Taub (the short balding guy) has to deal with some personal drama and seems to crumble under the pressure:




House: [to Taub] Trying to catch your wife cheating?
Taub: Oh… Why would you say that?
House: Missing mojo. Posture's slumped. Expression defeated. Didn't try to back up your theory. And Chase told me. Go. Find your mojo.
What happens here is that Taub has a theory about what the patient could be suffering from but lacks the guts to stand by it, which in turn makes House excited because now he can rub it into Taub's face that he is aware of his marriage problems. Taub is worried that his wife might be cheating on him and that's why his mojo is missing and why he's being a lousy worker.
In this particular case, mojo means “the ability to deliver”, to do your work professionally, effectively and with self-confidence.
 

THE ECONOMIST

Now let's look at some more examples of how the word mojo can be used. This time let's analyse two sentences from the Economist:

1. If America is going to hold on to its technological mojo, it needs all the help it can get.

2. Can America find its entrepreneurial mojo again?


In examples (1) and (2) mojo could be replaced with words such as advantage or edge to show America's position when it comes to technology and business. The first sentence suggests that America's dominance in the technology sector could end soon and the second one says that America used to be a much more friendly place for entrepreneurs and it needs a change.

URBAN DICTIONARY

For an informal definition and usage of mojo, let me refer to Urban Dictionary, which defines it as: self-confidence, sex-appeal, talent, magic, charisma, energy, personal magnetism or charm:

He lost his mojo when she dumped him.
I've got my mojo working tonight.
He ain't got enough mojo to get her.
God help me, I think I've lost my mojo!


RAP MUSIC

Regular people can lose and find their mojo. Rappers' mojo is so active that it may even spill:

Woke up in the room and my mojo was active.
(Kid Cudi)
I caught her looking at my Rollie as my mojo spills.
(Big Sean)
REAL LIFE
As far as real life goes, here's some instruction.


You experience the power of mojo when:
  • you've got more swagger to your walk;
  • you feel on top of the world;
  • it seems that you float above the ground;
  • everything goes smoothly;
  • you're just happy and nothing can kill your good mood;
  • You want to say: “Excuse my charisma. (Lil Wayne)”.
In order to attract mojo:
  • get a good night's sleep;
  • have breakfast in the morning;
  • dress nicely;
  • don't overuse hair products or cologne (guys);
  • don't overuse foundation (girls),
  • drink coffee, brown pop or whatever puts you in a good mood and gets your body moving;
and voilà. Mojo will find you. ;)
GLOSSARY: 
elusive – trudny do zrozumienia
not be of much help – na nic się nie zdać
a quality – cecha
to turn to – zwrócić się do kogoś
an episode – odcinek
a sacrifice – poświęcenie
balding – łysiejący
to deal with – tut. zmagać się
personal drama – problemy osobiste
to crumble under pressure – pękać/ załamywać się pod presją
posture slumped – przygarbiona postawa
expression defeated – wyraz twarzy świadczący o tym, że ktoś się poddał (to defeat – pokonywać)
to lack the guts to – nie mieć odwagi
rub something into somebody's face – komuś coś wypominać
lousy kiepski
deliver – spełniać oczekiwania, wywiązywać się ze swoich obowiązków
to hold on to – utrzymać coś (nie stracić)
entrepreneurial – związany z przedsiębiorczością
be replaced with – być zastąpionym czymś
an advantage/ edge – przewaga
an entrepreneur – przedsiębiorca
usage – użycie
magnetism – magnetyzm
charm – urok
to dump somebody – rzucić, zostawić
to spill – wylewać się
Rollie – Rollex (b. drogi zegarek)
have more swagger to your walk – chodzić bardziej zamaszyście
float – unosić się
smoothly – gładko
mood – nastrój
Excuse my charisma. – Wybacz mi, że jestem taki/taka charyzmatyczny/a.
get a good night's sleep – dobrze się wyspać
to overuse – użyć za dużo
cologne – woda kolońska
foundation – podkład (makijaż)
brown pop – Cola lub Pepsi

Oh and one more thing before I go:
I would like to thank Michał from Flow events (www.flowevents.pl) for making this amazing banner for me. I hope you all like it :).






Sunday, October 23, 2011

English in Pics: Who Wears the Trousers?


Hello!

I have been getting feedback from some of you, my lovely readers, and I know that you are now in love with snuggies. I am too. 
Today I would like to talk about trousers or, as they call them in America, pants. Worn by both genders, trousers offer protection and warmth for our legs and bums. Metaphorically, they are also a status symbol in a relationship. He or she is said to wear the trousers when he or she has the final say on pretty much everything. A little bit vague? I know. That's why I decided to break it down for you. 

You might be the one who wears the trousers in your relationship if you:
  • choose pizza toppings;
  • hold the remote (not applicable when there are two TV sets where you are);
  • select music while in a car;
  • get things scheduled for both of you (also without consulting your significant other);
  • pick the movie to watch in the movie theatre;
  • are a Leo, a Taurus or a Scorpio;
  • are single.

This definition is in no way scientific, but I hope it helps a bit. Just remember one thing: two people can't wear the trousers in the same relationship at the same time.



Now onto trousers in the literal sense of the word. There are couple of types to choose from, and I'm going to go over a few of them.

1. CARGO PANTS (US)/ CARGO TROUSERS (UK)
Cargo pants are baggy trousers with numerous pockets. They may come in handy in all-you-can-eat buffets but you're not going to be perceived as very fashion-forward if you decide to wear them.






2. CORDUROYS
Corduroys (cords for short) are also associated with comfort rather than having a fashion sense.
 





 3. SWEATPANTS (US)/ TRACKSUIT BOTTOMS (UK)
Sweatpants are a must have when you hang around your house. Don't forget a nice pair of fluffy slippers to go with them.











4. SLACKS
Slacks are worn at a prom, for work or school assemblies.









5. SKINNY JEANS/ SKINNIES
As the name suggests, skinny jeans are for skinny people. Their cut is extremely slim-fitting but the stretchy denim makes them more  wearable.




It should be noted that skinny jeans for boys are looser around the crotch so wearing doesn't make you sterile, as a lot of ignorant emo haters claim. (Urban Dictionary)



6. JEGGINGS
Jeggings are stretchy and tight-fitting like leggings but they look like a pair of jeans.



7. HOT PANTS
Hot pants are shorts that could not possibly be shorter (UD)



8. OVERALLS (US)/ DUNGAREES (UK)

Some people argue that dungarees should only be worn by pregnant women and plumbers and it is difficult not to agree with them. Definitely the least flattering cut of all.




That's all I've got for you today. Hope you enjoyed it :).

GLOSSARY:
feedback – opinie
a gender – płeć
warmth – ciepło
to wear the trousers/ to wear the pants – rządzić w rodzinie/ związku
to have the final say – ostatecznie decydować
vague – niejasne
to break something down – przeanalizować
a topping – dodatek to pizzy (kukurydza, pieczarki, oliwki itp)
not applicable – nie ma zastosowania
to schedule – planować, umawiać się
your significant other – druga połówka
to pick – wybierać
Taurus – Byk
now onto – a teraz przejdźmy to
literal – dosłowne
to go over – omówić
baggy – luźne
to come in handy – przydać się
perceived as – postrzegany jako
fashion-forward – modny, na czasie
for short  – w skrócie
associated with  – kojarzone z
a fashion sense  –  styl  
fluffy – puchate
slippers – kapcie
a prom – ball
a school assembly – apel
skinny – tut. szczupły
a cut  – krój
slim-fitting – obcisły, dopasowany
stretchy – elastyczny
denim – dżins
wearable – tut. wygodne
looser – luźniejsze
a crotch – krok
sterile – bezpłodny
tight-fitting – obcisły, dopasowany
plumbers – hydraulik
the least flattering cut – najmniej twarzowy krój

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Story of My Life: Can't Draw


Hello everybody!

Today I would like you to think about what skill you have never been able to master. Think about what you are always going to suck at whatever you do and however hard you try.

For me it has always been drawing. Everyone knows that I draw like a five-year-old and I'm not going to use this post to prove them wrong. On the contrary, I'm going to admit it proudly, and you are going to learn why. Just give me a minute or so.

In the kindergarten, I was the kid who would always colour outside the lines. I don't mean that in a good way when smart and creative children are said to think outside the box because their drawings have unexpected colour patterns. Oh no! My drawings were messy and pitiful and they were definitely not cute. Trust me on that.




What happened in primary school times? Let's just say that my brother's friends would outsource drawing to their sisters. (Boys will be boys.) My brother, however, would never let me near his art assignments and you have already learnt why.

In secondary school, I had to attend the art class where we learnt the theory of art and on occasions we were required to produce a piece of art ourselves. I did struggle a lot and didn't enjoy this class one bit. Imagine worrying about history, biology, chemistry and on top of that – art.

Sad as this story sounds, there was an expected turn of events. It was during our abstract drawing assignment. The whole class got really engaged and were doing their best to submit something impressive. That got me stressed out even more. But then all of a sudden I was struck by the thought: ”Screw that. I'm just going to do my best and if my best sucks then so be it.”

And I got a 4 plus and I think that my teacher might have even called my work interesting!




But it's not the end of the story. There's a follow-up right in the middle of my studies. It was a writing class. Our teacher played us a conspiracy theory video and asked us to write an argumentative essay based on it. I knew it was important to pay attention and to write down as many details as possible so I focused hard and started doodling...

I don't know how it happened (I probably got bored) but at one point I drew a stick figure and added a speech bubble. The drawing looked similar to that:




I know it looks kinda lame to you but back then it seemed really funny. I showed the picture to my friends, Mick and Justyna and they loved it; especially Justyna, who later asked me if she could keep it. And she did and she even put it on her student apartment wall ;).

What I'm trying to say here is that no matter what you suck at and how badly you suck at it, you should still do it and have fun with it. Don't let other people judge how you draw, sing or play football and take away all the fun. As long as you enjoy doing something, you should carry on and if the results are appalling, there will always be loving people around who will tell you that your appalling picture is lovely.

GLOSSARY:
to master a skill – opanować umiejętność
to suck at something – być do bani
to prove somebody wrong – udowodnić, że ktoś się myli
on the contrary – wręcz przeciwnie
or so – tut. lub trochę więcej
to colour outside the lines – wychodzić poza line podczas kolorowania obrazka
to think outside the box – myśleć twórczo, kreatywnie
messy – niechlujny
pitiful – żałosny
Trust me on that. – Uwierzcie mi w tym przypadku.
to outsource – zlecać
to let somebody near something – pozwalać komuś zbliżyć się do czegoś
an assignment – tut. praca
be required to – mieć obowiązek coś zrobić
to struggle – tut. męczyć się
(not) one bit – ani trochę
on top of that – do tego
an unexpected turn of events – niespodziewana zmiana przebiegu zdarzeń
engaged – zaabsorbowany
to do one's best – dać z siebie wszystko
to submit – oddać
impressive – robiąca wrażenie
Screw that! – Olać to!
Then so be it. – Niech tak będzie.
a follow-up – kontynuacja
a conspiracy theory – teoria spisku
based on that video – w oparciu o ten film
to pay attention – skupić się, słuchać uważnie
to doodle – gryzmolić, rysować różne figury, kwiatki itp.
a stick figure – (kreskowy) ludzik ;)
a speech bubble – chmurka
kinda lame – raczej słabe
to carry on – kontynuować
appalling – okropne, fatalne

Oh, one more thing. I would like to give a shout-out to my friends, Justyna and Mick, both of whom are abroad, in Mexico and France respectively. Sending virtual hugs :)).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Business English: Job Market


Hi, I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your weekend.

I have recently read an article from the September 10th 2011 issue of the Economist (My Big Fat Career) on the current situation and the future of the job market.
I found it really interesting and decided that I wanted to share the more interesting bits with you.

INTERNET
The internet has been playing a major role on the job market for quite some time now. Jobhunters go online when they wish to gather information on their potential boss, salary levels or the interview process, whereas recruiters comb the net for any trace of their potential employees' activity. In turn, jobseekers must clean up their act on the internet, or else they are not going to secure an interview for themselves.


The net proves useful when positions are to be filled. It turns out a lot of hiring happens without applications and job offers but through personal recommendations on social networking sites.

CONSTANT UPGRADING
In the future, professionals from different branches might not only exchange useful contacts, but also trade intelligence, advising each other on how to do each other's jobs more effectively. This knowledge plus a new expertise acquired every couple of years will prove necessary for staying in the lucrative market of highflyers. Without updating your resume, you might lag behind others who are more flexible and willing to learn new skills.


PEOPLE
Your social capital, or the people surrounding you, will prove crucial in the future. The article differentiates between three different groups of people you might surround yourself with:

a posse – a group of up to 15 people whom you can trust and pick brains from and whom you can potentially start a business with when times are rough;
a big ideas crowd – a group of open-minded and talented people who will inspire you;
a regenerative community – family and friends, who will offer you support and company.


WORKPLACE
Nowadays, freelancers tend to work from home, which might make them feel isolated or even depressed. The future might see them want to be surrounded with other people and to do so they will rent a bit of space in places called hubs or collaborative workspaces located in big cities. 


 

SOCIAL PURPOSE
Today's employees don't want to just make a living. They wish to combine making money with helping the community and they look for jobs which offer a sense of social purpose. Working for non-profits, where workers are paid salaries, is becoming more and more popular.

SAFETY
In the future, freelancers, whose work is going to be more gig-like and short-term, are going to need to unite and work together towards protecting their interests. Instead of forming traditional trade unions, it is more likely that they will join organisations which will act on their behalf and do such things as negotiate better healthcare, pensions and other benefits.



To read the article, please visit:


Hope you enjoyed this short summary!

GLOSSARY:
an issue – wydanie
the job market – rynek pracy
jobhunters – poszukujący pracy
to gather – zbierać
recruiters – firmy lub osoby rekrutujące pracowników
to comb the net – przeczesywać internet
jobseekers –poszukujący pracy
to clean up one's act – poprawić swoje zachowanie
to secure an interview – zostać umówionym na rozmowę o pracę
an application – podanie o pracę
social networking sites – portale społecznościowe
to trade intelligence – wymieniać się fachową wiedzą, rozwiązaniami, informacjami
to acquire a new expertise – nabywać nowe umiejętności
lucrative – lukratywny
highflyers, highfliers – zdolni i ambitni
to update your resume – tut. wzbogacać życiorys/ CV
to lag behind – pozostawać w tyle
to prove crucial – okazać się decydującym
a posse – grupa, paczka
to pick somebody's brains – poradzić się kogoś
regenerative – tut. wspierająca, oferująca wsparcie
a hub – ośrodek, centrum
collaborative – wspólna
a social purpose – cel społeczny
non-profits – organizacje typu non-profit
gig-like – tymczasowa (o pracy, zatrudnieniu)
trade unions – związki zawodowe
to act on somebody's behalf – występować w czyimś imieniu
benefits – świadczenia

Photo credits: