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Questions to ask English experts from Chinese learners (Round 6) [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-5-27 16:27:08 |Display all floors
Thank every member who answered readers' questions from last time. Chinese English learners from Wechat are very happy to recieve your replies. Here are more questions from them:

1. Someone likes to keep postponing doing something that must be done, often because it is hard to do or he/she just doesn't want to do it. How to define such behavior? Are there any words or idioms to describe this?

2. Why do you foreigners often use perfume? I hope you won't be mad at me but I heard that eating mutton and beef make them smell bad and they have to use perfume to cover the smell. Is that true?
3. Do middle school students in the West also need to wear school uniforms in five weekdays like us in China? If not, how often do they need to wear them?

4. Do you foreigners also like gold jewelries? I guess there are no such things called "100% purity of gold". Then how do we define the purity/fineness of gold?

5. When a foreigner speaks in Chinese, we Chinese can often feel the stiffness of his/her tongue, or "strange tone". So I want to know when we Chinese speak in English, what will you feel? What is often wrong with our intonation?

6. I saw a TED video the other day. When the speaker mentioned "Americans don't have irony; The British are reserved," the audience laughed. Why? Are there any allusions? Thank you.

The previous rounds:

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Post time 2014-5-27 17:48:32 |Display all floors
Procrastinate (delay or postpone action; put off doing something)

- 'let the grass grow under one's feet'
- 'drag your heels'

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Post time 2014-5-28 18:51:45 |Display all floors
Student uniforms - In the United States most high school students do not wear uniforms to school.

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Post time 2014-5-29 13:27:14 |Display all floors
1.  Well, I was going to write up some answers to Questions #3 but saw these Questions #6 when I logged in.  I guess I kinda of procrastinated.  I was going to join the Procrastinator’s Society once but I never got around to it.

2.  Haha, no it’s not because of the eating.  Perfume has been used for centuries by women to lure a man in.  It is supposed to make them more appealing to the opposite sex.  Has something to do with our sense of smell.  

3.  Some schools require school uniforms but they are becoming fewer with time.  Most schools that require uniforms are usually private schools.  In public schools you are “violating the students’ rights” to require them to wear a uniform.  

4.  Yes, in the US gold jewelry is popular.  There probably isn’t any such thing as “pure gold” but there is a scale to represent the purity of gold.  The carat or karat (symbol: K or kt) is a unit of purity for gold alloys.  Pure gold is often called 24-carat, which is about 99.95% pure.  But because of the softness, and other factors, 12 or 14-carat gold is often used for jewelry and is kind of the standard.

5.  We call it an accent, which isn’t totally correct but close enough.  English and Chinese have different structures unlike say English and German which have the same structure.  Chinese is difficult for many English speaking people as English is for the Chinese.  A lot of it has to do with the way you (and us) make the word sounds with your mouth and tongue, it can be quite different.  I would like to learn Chinese but I simply cannot make out the different sounds.  I repeat exactly what I think I hear but I’m told that it is not correct.  I drive my poor Chinese wife nuts.  She is always telling me “I wish you spoke Chinese so I could tell you what I think of you.”  

6.  I’m not familiar with TED videos but in the lines you quoted I do not see any humor.  There was probably something that took place before the lines that would make them funny although I can’t imagine what.

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Post time 2014-5-29 18:52:45 |Display all floors

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Post time 2014-6-1 09:53:54 |Display all floors
1) A person who puts things off or does them at the last possible minute is called a "procrastinator" they are involved in the act of "procrastination" and they will "procrastinate" as long as possible in most cases.

2) The answer here depends on what you mean by "perfume". Westerners try to minimise bodily smells by wearing deodorantt, a scented spray or roll on that masks the bacterial breakdown of sweat by the armpits, feet and other parts of the body.  Women wear perfume for much the same reason though many women tend to over indulge in the amount and their wafts around them an almost toxic cloud of often cheap perfume.

3) It depends on the country. For example the UK, Australia, New Zealand all have school uniforms at most schools, and they are required from kindergarten to the end of high school.  Private schools have far stricter school uniform requirments as a general rule.  Some schools in the USA also require students to wear school uniforms.

4) Gold jewellery is popular with some people but not everyone likes it in the west. I for example don't wear any jewellery though sometimes I will wear a silver necklace with an arrowhead which I've been wearing on and off for 45+ years.

Many western women prefer silver or white gold to the traditional yellow gold.

Gold purity is measured in a specialisied scale called the Carat scale in the US, UK, and many other areas of the world.

The Carat purity is defined as 24 times the pure mass (of gold) divided by the total mass.

The mathematics is as follows.

K = 24 Mg/Mm

K = the carat rating of the material
Mg is  the mass of pure gold, or platinum in the material
Mm is the total mass of the material.

This doesn't take in to account volume which is calculated differently, as different metals have different specific weights.

The Carat is being gradually replaced by Millesimal fineness is a system of denoting the purity of platinum, gold and silver alloys by parts per thousand of pure metal by mass in the alloy. For example, an alloy containing 75% gold is denoted as "750". Many European countries use decimal hallmark stamps (i.e. '585', '750', etc.) rather than '14K', '18K', etc., which is used in the United Kingdom and United States.

5) Chinese speakers of English often clip words and fail to use the plural case as well as place the stress on incorrect syllables in a word. Also some combinations such as Ch, which has both a hard and a soft sound are difficult for many Chinese to pronounce correctly. There are other combinations too that frequently cause trouble, ise, esh, ing for example. Those who are teaching English full time in China are probably better to ask than me.

6) Irony is a very specialised tool and has quite a few definitions. However the statement itself is ironic as the British are anything but reserved. Irony in general use is probably best defined as the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

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Post time 2014-10-19 22:10:44 |Display all floors
Ratfink Post time: 2014-6-1 09:53
1) A person who puts things off or does them at the last possible minute is called a "procrastinator ...

wow!!! sounds like a gold salesperson from the US

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