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❯❯ FALSE FRIENDS ❯❯ PRONUNCIATION ❯❯ WORD BUILDING Nº 151 - spain: 5,95€/brazil: r$14.90/Austria, Finland, germany, italy: €6.00





in English




❯❯ Is circumcision child abuse? ❯❯ Earthquake Myths ❯❯ How Top Gear conquered the world

❯❯ Tourin’ Anglo Turin

8 414090 253369

❯❯ Making Idioms Plural


❯❯ Health Debate



CURRENT AFFAIRS 4 news & Anecdotes 6 science 7 internet – Face Time or FaceBook? 8 economics – Money Mysteries 10 geology – Earthquakes & You

EDITOR’S NOTE Welcome to Think 151. this month we focus on two scary us traditions: halloween and the Presidential elections! We celebrate halloween by taking a good look at werewolves. on pp. 24-25 we follow the history of werewolves in different cultures around the world, while on pp. 26-28 we examine how Anglo cinema has modified this tradition. the us elections are undoubtedly the most significant democratic exercise in the world and we dedicate pp. 30-31 and pp. 36-37 to presenting the relevant vocabulary as well as some of the most salient controversies relating to the US electoral process. to complement this, the bookmark also illustrates some useful vocabulary for us politics. to round off the American political material on pp. 16-17 we look at a surprising controversy that has emerged from california: male circumcision. of course, the rest of the Anglosphere is also present: on pp. 18-19 colman looks at the life of irishman Vincent O’Brien, probably the most important name in horseracing history, while on pp. 28-29 i analyze why the bbc’s Top Gear has conquered the world. Moreover, on pp. 22-23 there is an article about Goblin Market, one of the most controversial poems in the english language. in fact, we go beyond the Anglosphere. lara statham has written a revealing piece about the Anglo connections to her hometown, Turin in italy (pp. 12-14), while on pp. 20-21 we examine the impact of that most French of drinks, cognac, on british and American culture. in short Think 151 offers you the world! Apart from the stuff on the us elections, the most important article in the language section is the one on making idioms plural (pp. 32-34). this article emerged out of a conversation in our Facebook community so remember, if there’s an aspect on english you want us to discuss, you only have to ask.




see you next issue, Nick Franklin, EDITOR

magaZinE abbrEViaTion & sYmbols kEY Listening: there is a recording on the cd connected to the text.


CULTURE 12 travel – Tourin’ Turin 15 society – Other People’s Racism 16 great debate – Male Circumcision 18 sports – The Master of Ballydoyle 20 drink – A History of Nyak 22 Poetry – Goblin Market 24 Feature – Werewolves 26 cinema – The Werewolf Metamorphosis 28 Media – Top Gear LANGUAGE 30 Functional – US Elections 32 common Mistakes – Plural Idioms 35 Word building – -Maid to Measure 36 idioms – US Elections 38 Pronunciation – Superfluous Words .... 40 False Friends – Connotations: Part 2 42 subscription form 43 crossword 44 tapescripts .................................................................. 51 next month bookmark – US Election Words


Exercise: there is an exercise in the subscribers’ exercises relating directly to the text.


Conversation point: these questions prompt discussion on topics related to the text. Subscription information: or Tel. 902 044 066

Subject link: there is a related article on the pages given.


sth. = something, s.o. = someone, swh. = somewhere


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Tourin’ Turin

teXt And Photos by lArA stAthAM

Discover Turin’s discreetly innovative soul1 and some surprising Anglo links2! Panorama of Turin (classic view)

Gran Torino on the Grand Tour turin was the first stop on the grand tour3 once the young aristocrats and their bear-keepers 4 had crossed the Alps, so the city had a constant influx of english bucks5 and dandies throughout 6 the 18th century. For instance7, in 1749 Philip Stanhope stayed in the city. this worried his father, the Earl8 of chesterfield, sick9 – not because he might be corrupted by the italians but rather10 because of the evil11 influences of the “many english at the Academy in turin”!

hazelnut chocolates. Moreover, the Slow-Food movement14, Primo Levi, the Juventus football team, the 2006 Winter Olympics and the Italian cinema industry were born here… The discreet nature of Turin’s residents has meant, however, that while these brands15 and names are

culture | TraVEl

well-known internationally, not many actually16 know their trail started blazing17 here. Turin and Piedmont have been Italy’s best kept secret up to18 now. But reinvention is again underway19 as global economic forces push for a much more prominent international profile. Over the centuries, tourists would sadly stop only briefly20 in these parts as they made a beeline for21 Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. But now as Turin speaks up to22 the international media outlets23, tourists are realizing24 that there is much more to this city to shout about25 – discreetly, of course! So, forget the industrial stereotypes of pollutionspewing 26 factories when planning a holiday here, as this is a bright, fun, city steeped in27 a traditional and bohemian history that cleverly weaves this with28 modern creativity and an emphasis on design innovation. There’s tons to keep the curious tourist occupied and a number of surprising Anglo links2.

Design Mecca As the first capital of Italy after Unification in 1861, Turin has become synonymous with design, innovation and reinvention. Turin and wider Piedmont have given the world the Borsalino hat, Lenci ceramics, Fiat cars, Fila and Kappa sportswear, Alessi household goods12 , Ferrero (Rocher, Nutella, Kinder and Tictacs) and Caffarel confectionery13, Lavazza coffee, Martini-Bacardi, Campari, Asti Spumante, Barolo wine, and Gianduja soul – spirit, identity link – connection, association 3 The Grand Tour was an educational holiday of several years practised by young aristocratic English men from the end of the 17th Century until the Napoleonic Wars. Typically, they visited Paris, Turin, Venice, Florence and Rome 4 bear-keeper – tutor and chaperon of a young aristocrat on the grand tour 5 buck – (historical) undisciplined young aristocrat 6 throughout – during all of 7 for instance – for example 1 2


Top of Via Po earl – english equivalent of a count, type of aristocrat 9 to worry s.o. sick – cause s.o. a lot of anxiety 10 but rather – (in this context) by contrast it was 11 evil (adj.) – malignant, corrupting 12 household goods – domestic products 13 confectionery – sweets, candy, chocolates 14 the Slow-Food movement – the gastronomic reaction to fast food 15 brand – trade name, trademark, product 16 actually – (false friend) in fact 17 their trail started blazing – they come from, they originated 8

up to – until, till to be underway – have started 20 briefly – for only a short time 21 to make a beeline for (make-made-made) – go directly to 22 to speak up to (speak-spoke-spoken) – direct one’s message to 23 media outlet – tV, radio, internet and/or press conglomerate 24 to realize – (false friend) become conscious 25 to shout about – (in this context) proclaim, celebrate 26 pollution-spewing – contaminating, smokestack 18 19

Think in English issue 151

Culture  |  The Great Debate

Is Circumcision Child Abuse?

A hot debate is sweeping across1 the western world: “is (male2) circumcision child abuse?”3 The question might seem bizarre. After all, circumcision has been practised for millennia all around the world.

Egyptian circumcision - ouch!

Is this knife big enough?

Of Pharaohs and Foreskins4 Circumcision is at least as old as the Ancient Egyptian civilization – there are early Egyptian illustrations of the procedure. Circumcision was passed from Egypt to the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Today circumcision is widespread5 in Islam, though it is not compulsory6 , and is irregularly practised to a greater or lesser extend among7 the Christian denominations. Only Orthodox Judaism still takes Abraham’s requirement for circumcision as mandatory and indeed 8 as an expression of Jewish identity. In fact, 30% of males in the world are circumcised, 68% of them are Muslims.9 St. Paul is the reason why Christians don’t universally practise circumcision. He wished to spread10 Christianity amongst the Greeks and the Romans. However, while GrecoRoman culture had no problem with public male 2 nakedness11, it found the baring12 of the Glans penis abhorrent.13 Realizing14 this was a sticking point15, Paul relaxed the Abrahamic requirement in Europe. In the East and in Africa, Christians continued to practise circumcision. It was only the chance16 circumstance that Western Christianity came to be the dominant global form of the religion that led to17 circumcision being a minority practice in ‘Christian’ countries.

The Medical Benefits

‘Intactivists’ marching

Photo by nerdcoregirl

to sweep across (sweep-swept-swept) – spread throughout, proliferate in 2 male – ♂ 3 ablation of the clitoris, which is sometimes called ‘female circumcision’, is unquestionably child abuse 4 foreskin – prepuce (technical) 5 widespread – common, frequent 6 compulsory – obligatory 7 among – amongst, (in this context) by 1


indeed – (emphasis) in fact according to the Word Health Organization (WHO) 10 to spread (spread-spread-spread) – propagate, disseminate 11 nakedness – nudity 12 to bare sth. – expose sth. 13 Obscene Greco-Roman images show the Glans penis, artistic ones do not. When Donatello and Michelangelo sculpted his 8


Since the 19 th Century it has been known that circumcision reduces the contagion of sexually transmitted diseases18 (STDs). Circumcision specifically reduces the risk of the transmission of syphilis and herpes. It also reduces the contagion of the human uncircumcised Davids they were following Classical convention, although David (being an Israelite) would of course have been circumcised. 14 to realize – (false friend) be conscious of 15 sticking point – impediment to progress and/ or agreement 16 chance (adj.) – fortuitous 17 to lead to (lead-led-led) – result in, cause 18 disease – illness, sickness Think in English  Issue 151

culture | PoETrY

Christina Rossetti’s

Goblin Market

something rather strange has happened to the Victorian poem, Goblin Market (1862), by the poet christina rossetti1. For over a century it was a popular children’s poem. then, in the last few decades critics have begun to notice that is was apparently full of some pretty2 explicit erotic images. As a result, Goblin Market has been one of the most talked about and analyzed english-language poems of recent times.


two sisters – lizzie and laura – live alone in a cottage3 in the countryside. the girls live an innocent life of domestic bliss4. however, each evening they have to go to a local stream5 to fetch6 water. on the bank 7 of the stream they hear goblins offering exotic fruit for sale. they know that they should

ignore these supernatural beings8 but are both tempted by their fruit. Eventually9, laura gives in to10 temptation and buys fruit from the goblins in exchange for a lock of her golden11 hair12. she eats the fruit voraciously and enjoys it. however, when they go to the stream5 the next evening laura cannot hear or see the goblins and so can’t have any more of the delicious fruit. she becomes listless13 and begins to waste away14. When she is close to death, her sister goes to the goblins determined to buy some fruit for laura. however, the goblins don’t do takeaway15 and demand that lizzie eat the fruit she has bought herself. When she refuses they begin to pelt her with16 fruit and try to force bits of fruit into her mouth but she resists. Finally, the goblins give up17 and return lizzie’s money. she rushes back18 to her sister and offers up her face and body for her sister to lick19 and suck 20 the fruit juice off. the fruit now tastes bitter21 to laura but it does revive her and restores her to her former self22. years later the sisters explain the story to their own daughters as an example of the importance of sisterhood23. 22

Christina Rossetti

Sexual Discovery It is relatively easy to arrive at a sexual interpretation of Goblin Market: “She sucked until her lips were sore 24” (l. 136)... “Hug 25 me, kiss me, suck 20 my juices” (l. 468)... “Eat me, drink me, love me” (l. 471). The goblins’ fruit represent sexual temptation but (1830-94) sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the leading Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter pretty (adv.) – quite, rather, surprisingly 3 cottage – small traditional rural house 4 bliss – happiness, joy 5 stream – brook, small river 6 to fetch – collect, get 7 bank – (in this context) side, verge, margin 8 being – person or creature 9 eventually – (false friend) in the end 10 to give in to (give-gave-given) – stop resisting 11 golden – blonde, fair, yellowy 12 lock of hair – tuft, curl, ringlet, snippet 13 listless – lethargic, lackadaisical, languid, apathetic 14 to waste away – gradually become thinner and weaker 15 not do takeaway (do-did-done) – (of restaurants) not offer food for one to take home 16 to pelt s.o. with sth. – throw sth. at s.o. 17 to give up (give-gave-given) – stop trying 18 to rush back – return running, run back 19 to lick sth. off – consume sth. by passing one’s tongue over it 20 to suck sth. off – apply suction with one’s mouth in order to consume a liquid on a surface 21 bitter – vinegary, acerbic 22 to restore s.o. to his/her former self – make s.o. well again like he/she was before an illness 23 sisterhood – solidarity between women 24 sore – painful, inflamed 25 to hug – embrace 1


Think in English issue 151

Language  |  Common Mistakes

Are You Pulling Our Legs? Making Idioms Plural The Facebook group threw up1 the question of whether2 idioms could be made plural. One contributor had written, “People shouldn’t make mountains out of3 molehills4”, while another suggested that it should be “People shouldn’t make a mountain out of a molehill”. So, which is right? Disagreement According to The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, an idiom “is a fixed unit whose elements cannot be varied. [...] The meaning resides in the whole expression, and cannot be built up5 or extracted from its parts”. So, idioms are by their definition unalterable, they can have no plural. Case closed? Well, not really. The Penguin Dictionary of Idioms makes no mention of inalterability in its definition, referring only to “a combination of words with a special meaning

that cannot be inferred6 from its separate parts”. Indeed7, this book gives as an example of an idiom ‘to go Dutch’8. No native speaker would question the correctness of the phrase, “We went Dutch” – though this clearly alters the verb form (go ➜ went). The idiom website happily offers examples of idioms such as “to have an ace up one’s sleeve”9 used in the plural, such as: ❯❯  We usually have an ace up our sleeves to use if we are losing a game.

Photo by Karlj

❯❯  They usually have aces up their sleeves when they negotiate an important transaction. In Linda and Roger Flavell’s Dictionary of Idioms and Their Origins they give ‘hot dog’ as an example of an idiom. Who – apart from a vegetarian! – could object to 10 someone ordering two hot dogs? As the Flavells say, the question “is not that a phrase is or is not an idiom; rather11, a given12 expression is more or less ‘idiomaticky’,13 on a cline14 stretching15 from the normal, literal use of language via degrees16 of metaphor to throw up (throw-threw-thrown) – generate whether – ‘if’ (but ‘if’ cannot be used after a preposition) 3 out of – from, of 4 molehill /ˈmoulhil/ – small accumulation of earth/soil made by a tunnelling mole 5 to build sth. up (build-builtbuilt) – develop sth., extend sth. 6 to infer – deduce 7 indeed – (emphatic) in fact 8 to go Dutch (go-went-gone) – (idiom) each pay for his/her own meal 9 to have an ace up one’s sleeve (have-had-had) – (idiom) have a plan B 10 to object to – oppose, disapprove of 11 rather – (in this context) by contrast 12 given – (in this context) specified, specific 13 technically, we would say “has a greater or lesser degree of idiomaticity” 14 cline – continuum 15 to stretch – extend 16 degree – level 1 2

Photo by Irene Sanz


He’s eating a hot dog.

Think in English  Issue 151



YEAR XII Publisher Agustín Buelta Editor Nick Franklin Artistic Director Marina Carresi Sub-Editor Nathan Burkiewicz Produced by: Ediciones Mejora, SL

Published by: Ediciones Mejora, SL C/de las Delicias, 3 – 28260 Galapagar (Madrid) Tel. 910829283 e-mail: Photography: Cover: ‘The Language of US Elections’ caricature by Donkey Hotey. Marina Carresi, Belén Gutiérrez, Almudena Cáceres, Lara Statham, Irene Sanz, Lois Humphrey, Sara L. Carresi + photos kindly supplied by the British Embassy in Madrid. Page Design: Nathan Burkiewicz Writers & Contributors: Nicholas Franklin, Douglas Jasch, Colman Keane, Lara Statham, Almudena Cáceres (webpage), Marina Carresi, Fabiola Vieyra

travel - Anglo Galicia

Voices: Hamish Binns, Nathan Burkiewicz, Julie Davis, Nick Franklin, Adrian Hall, Ruth Hellema, Lois Humphrey, Susannah Jones, Dave Mooney, Rod Musselman Sound Engineer: Josué Bravo Advertising: Irene Martín

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Feature - The End of the World (again)

❯❯ Travel | Anglo Galicia: the secret links between northeast spain & english-speakers ❯❯ Society | The Colour Meme: the rise and fall of western racism ❯❯ Literature | Tolkien: hobbitmania ❯❯ History | A New Look at Historical Determinism: Maths, Modelling and climate change as the motor of human history ❯❯ Feature |

The End of the World (again)

❯❯ Words |

literature - Tolkien

The meanings of ‘mean’

❯❯ Translation | Broken English in Galicia CD Debate: Does History Repeat Itself? Improvisation: Preparing for Armageddon Webpage: E-mail: You can also find us on Facebook.

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Think 151  

A monthly magazine for English learners.

Think 151  

A monthly magazine for English learners.