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Min's Berlitzine (Nov. 2016)

2016.11.09

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by Min Son



What is 11.11?


It started as a fun party organized by a group of students at a university in China. They may have come from different hometowns, they may have been majoring in different fields, they may have had different outlooks on life, but they had one thing in common[1]; they were all singles. They designated[2] November 11th as the day for singles. They came together and simply had fun. That was in 1993.

Since then, it has spread to other universities in China and abroad. Now, also known as Singles' Day, November 11th is a $14.3 billion[3] day (¥1.5 trillion[4]) according to Reuters. That figure is just from online shopping, and it has already surpassed the annual average spending on Valentine's Day in USA according to Marketresearch.com. Many expect the Singles' Day market to grow at a rate of minimum 30%. By 2020, the figure will surpass the spending on Christmas Day. I wonder if the original group of students who started it all knew they were creating a whole new culture, setting off an enormous trend, bringing changes on a global scale. As some say, "Big things have small beginnings."



[1] having similar interest, qualities

[2] decided, assigned, appointed, named

[3] 1,000,000,000

[4] 1,000,000,000,000


Introduction III: "Turbulent Flight"

Hello Reader.

When I started writing this newsletter back in April of 2014, I was based at Yokohama Berlitz Language Center (LC). I'm proud to say I have not stopped writing. Fujisawa would be my third LC after Mizonokuchi LC and this would be my third introduction that I'm making in my newsletter, Berlitzine[1]. Can you guess how the name came about[2]? It was actually made by a colleague of mine at Yokohama LC. A hint is it's a combination of two words. Berlitz and................ Please check the footnotes (bottom of the page) for the answer.

November is a special month for me in Japan. Exactly 3 years ago from November 7th, I set my foot on the ground of Narita Airport at around 19:45 according to my itinerary[3] provided by Malaysia Airlines.

Before leaving for Japan, a couple of good friends and I drove to Portland, USA, from Vancouver, Canada. We had never been to Portland and we thought it would be a good farewell trip for me. Also, I had found a cheap connecting flight to Tokyo from Portland. So I was basically killing two birds with one stone[4]. In case you are wondering how cheap, it was a one way ticket with a layover[5] in LA (Portland -> LA -> Tokyo) and the total price was exactly $502.20 USD.

I will never forget the flight from LA to Tokyo. I have flown over the vast[6] Pacific Ocean several times in my life. However, that particular flight is still burned into my memory[7]. I usually have trouble sleeping during flights or when I'm travelling in general. Maybe, I get too excited or I'm sensitive to noise. I couldn't sleep much on that flight, either, but for a different reason.

It didn't take long before I started asking myself, "What if...?" About a few hours after the departure, I felt a vibration on the plane. The vibration turned into a tremble, the tremble turned into a shake, and as I feared in the back of my mind, the shake turned into turbulence[8].

Well, it occurs time to time during a flight and I couldn't be bothered [9] at first. My attention was on the movie that was playing on the screen in front of me. Then suddenly, the movie was interrupted by the fasten-your-seatbelt announcement. I was more irritated[10] than scared, but that also quickly changed. I paused my movie some minutes after the announcement. I noticed the turbulence had gotten worse. Since I noticed the first vibration, more than 30 minutes must have passed. 'Why isn't the turbulence stopping?' I asked myself. 'Why is it only getting worse?' I thought to myself. I wanted to remain cool. I couldn't be appeared as a coward[11] especially when I was sitting next to a girl who was about the same age as me. It was a two-seater side. I was sitting by the aisle. She was sitting by the window. I pretended[12] nothing was wrong and I turned the movie back on. To this day, I don't remember what movie it was. My eyes were on the screen, but my mind was overloading with questions arose from uncertainty[13]. One of the questions was how the girl next to me was handling the situation. So I glanced at her screen. The screen was on, but nothing was playing. So I turned my head to take a look at her.

To be continued...



[1] Berlitz + magazine = Berlitzine

[2] made, produced, generated

[3] a planned route or journey, schedule, timetable

[4] solving two problems at one time with a single action

[5] A period of rest or waiting

[6] very big, large, huge, enormous

[7] can be clearly remembered

[8] violent or aggressive movement or shake

[9] couldn't pay attention, be unwilling to do something

[10] annoyed, angry

[11] a person without courage, weak like a baby

[12] Behave, act, show

[13] thinking of questions because I didn't know what was happening



You can read more of Min's Berlitzine and older issues at WWW.minsberlitzine.DOODLEKIT.COM


Language Focus

In this newsletter, I have used several examples of "Past Modals", for example "They may have come from different hometowns, they may have been majoring in different fields, they may have had different outlooks on life" and "Since I noticed the first vibration, more than 30 minutes must have passed."  We use past modals to speculate on past events. Here are some examples:

May have / Might have = something possibly happened (but we aren't sure if it did)

"They may have left early because of the holiday traffic." (= Maybe they left early…)
"They might have taken the train." (= Maybe they took the train.)

The negative form is "might not have":
"He might not have received the message." (= Maybe he didn't receive the message.)

Could have = something was possible in theory
"He could have become a doctor." (= He had the ability to become a doctor, but he didn't.)

The negative form is "couldn't have":
"He couldn't have seen you – it was too dark."

Can't have = something was not logically possible
"She can't have passed the exam – she didn't study at all!"

Must have = we are sure about something
"You must have known that we had a test today – the teacher sent us all a message."

Should have = something was a good idea (but didn't happen)
"You should have told me about the sale. I could have got some new shoes at a discount!"

Would have = something happened (or didn't happen) in the past as a result of something else
"If he had called me, I would have gone to the party."


Now, you try. Complete the sentences using the correct Past Modal. Check your answers at the bottom of the page.

1. If you wanted to stay in that hotel you __ booked before!

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2. He __ committed the crime, as he had both the motive and the opportunity.
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3. If I had known about your accident, I __ phoned you.
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4. Lucy __ attended the concert, but we aren't sure.
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5. You __ finished that book already! You only started reading it an hour ago.
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6. I think they __ got lost - surely they'd be here by now!
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7. Oh no! My phone isn't in my bag. I __ left it on the train.
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8. She __ been a lawyer but she decided to study accountancy instead.
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9. You __ gone to Dan's party - it was fantastic!
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10. I'm so sorry I woke you up. I __ called you if I knew you were sleeping.
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Answers

1. If you wanted to stay in that hotel you should have booked before!

2. He could have committed the crime, as he had both the reason and the opportunity.
3. If I had known about your accident, I would have phoned you.
4. Lucy may have attended the concert, but we aren't sure.
5. You can't have finished that book already! You only started reading it an hour ago.
6. I think they must have gotten lost - surely they'd be here by now!
7. Oh no! My phone isn't in my bag. I might have left it on the train.
8. She could have been a lawyer but she decided to study accountancy instead.
9. You should have gone to Dan's party - it was fantastic!
10. I'm so sorry I woke you up. I wouldn't have called you if I knew you were sleeping.

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