How is YouTube today?

YouTube is asking me the question above with the five possible answers: Absolutely outstanding, Extremely good, Very good, Good, Not good.

What is the difference between the first four choices, really? Either I can access the site, find the video I want and play it, and there is an appropriate selection of related videos down the side of the screen; or I can’t or there isn’t. If I can’t access the site, it might be because of my computer, browser, internet connection or some other circumstance not related to YouTube, and I can’t see the question and answers anyway.

I rarely answer questions like this online or on telephone calls to call centres. They are welcome to assume that they are doing an acceptable job until I tell them otherwise.

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I do

Yesterday I went to the wedding of my equal-favourite niece and the man of her dreams. Inevitably, there was a linguistic point.

One of the clichés about wedding services is that they involves saying “I do” (see the movie Four Weddings and Funeral, for example) . At all of the wedding services I’ve ever been to (including yesterday’s) people have said  “I will”. The question is “[Name], will you have [Name] to be your husband/wife?”. Other Christian denominations may have different wordings, which might involve the question “Do you take [Name] to be your husband?”, to which the answer is “I do”. (We could also ask “Will you take …?” but not “Do you have …?”) 

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Could you read this blog post, please?

A few days ago the topic in the textbook was polite requests and responses, which reminded me of an incident which happened when I was teaching English in Korea in 2006-2009. I didn’t post it on my travel blog at the time or even record it in my diary, for no particular reason.

For part of that time I taught at a government high school. The students had varying levels and interests in learning English. One day I introduced the grammar or vocabulary point, set the students going on the practice task and wandered round checking their progress.

One student was sitting by herself, not doing the task and instead applying copious amounts of makeup. I asked, “Could you please put your makeup away and do your work?”. She smiled sweetly and continued applying her makeup. 

A few minutes later I wandered back and she was still applying her makeup. I said, “Please put your makeup away and do your work”. She replied in Korean, so I said “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Korean”.

A few minutes later I wandered back and she was still applying her makeup. I said “Put your makeup away and do your work!”. She looked at me, smiled sweetly and said

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