English for IT group
Руководство клуба:
Константин Шестаков
Администратор клуба
9 часов назад
Участники клуба (1):
Рейтинг: 425 2 участника 28 июня 2017 в 06:00

 Club for IT professionals studying English at the intermediate level

Press the button to enter the class at the scheduled time (10 pm Omsk, Tuesday and Thursday)

  • В клубе нет фотоальбомов

Joe Liro, 1 день назад:
Money, Money, Money...

Here’s ABBA singing “Money, Money, Money…”


Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

And here are the money idioms we talked about last week.

the buck stops here
the bottom line
chicken feed
a dime a dozen
Dutch treat
in the red
money to burn
on the house
a pretty penny
pennies from heaven
two bits
my two cents
bread and butter
deep pockets
tighten your belt
for my money
penny wise and pound foolish
wooden nickel
(turn) (stop) on a dime
Joe Liro, 1 день назад:
Week 8 -- Compliments and Complaints


On Tuesday we will conclude our survey of holidays and begin to look at compliments.
Here is the link.


On Thursday, we’ll shift to complaints.


There’s an old saying: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
Let’s see if that’s true.

Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 18 октября 2017:
Week 7 -- Day 2

We continue with our discussion of holidays using material in this file:


And here`s a photo of a couple T-bones on the grill, T-bone steak, that is.

Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

For what holiday would a T-bone be a delicious way to celebrate?

Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 15 октября 2017:
Week 7 -- Superstitions


This week we will look at superstitions, using some of the materials in this link:


Some superstitions seem to be universal – such as black cats being unlucky. But others are specific to one culture or another. Please be prepared to contribute to our discussion an example or two of a superstition that is uniquely Russian, and I will try to contribute superstitions that are uniquely American.

Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 13 октября 2017:
"Take me out to the ball game"

Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

The major league baseball season is coming to a finish. Baseball is known as “America’s pastime” and fans will fill stadiums across the country until the fall, when playoffs begin and the World Series takes place. The World Series determines the national champion. There are 30 teams in Major League baseball, comprising two leagues and a number of divisions.

Many terms and expressions referring to baseball have entered American English. Here are some widely idioms used in informal (and sometimes even formal) speech.

home run
get to first base

grand slam
strike three, three strikes…

batting 1000
in the ballpark

bush league
big leagues

play hardball
heavy hitter

pinch hit
in left field

curve ball
squeeze play

a whole new ball game
right off the bat

One important piece of Americana that you should be aware of is the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Here are a couple YouTube versions. The first is led by now-retired announcer Harray Caray and sung by fans of the Chicago Cubs


The other by the Kansas City Symphony and Chorus, celebrating their team, the
Kansas City Royals. The Royals won the World Series in 2015. Their previous championship was in 1985.


This song is traditionally sung during the “seventh inning stretch.” (Google that.) But before the game itself, every stands and sings the National Anthem. A joke that kids like goes like this: Q. “What are the last two words of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’?” A. “Play Ball!”

Play Ball!


p.s. Was it Evgenyj who asked about “Who’s on First?” Here’s a link. Turn the captions on – they`ll help you understand.

Joe Liro, 11 октября 2017:
Week 6 -- Second Day


The assignment for Thursday, October 12, will be to change something in one of the stories, that is, to change one of the factors listed below. You may work with either “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” or “The Story of an Hour.” What will this look like?

For example, in “The Three Bears,” we can tell the story from the point of view of one of the bears (change the point of view), or have the girl be accompanied on her trek by her father (change of character), or rewrite the story as a newspaper police report (change of language and tone). Or in the poem “We Don’t Know How to Say Good-bye” we might tell the story from the point of view of the man (change of point of view), or tell the story in the summertime (change of time)

Please select a short story and a factor and be prepared to present your new literary piece at our next meeting. Here again are the factors:

Point of View (Perspective)
Time and Duration

Let’s also spend some time on what would happen if, at the end of “The Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard does not die. How would the story continue for another hour? For another month? For another year?

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Week 6 – Literature

This week we will look at character traits in some of the works we have studied. Here is the list of character traits that we will use. (hot link here) http://network.webilang.com/users/files/download1409.html

Your assignment will be to select a character in one of the works we have studied and to assign two or three traits to that character, as supported by lines in the work. For example, if I wanted to assign traits to «Одна девочка» in «Три медведя», I might say that she was

confused: «она заблудилась и стала искать дорогу домой, да не нашла…»

careless: «…стала кататься на стуле. Стульчик проломился…»

quick: “она…убежала. И меведи не догнали её”

You may select from among these characters in “The story of an hour”: Mrs. Louise Mallard; Josephine, Louise’s sister; Richards; Brently Mallard. Or these from “The secret life of Walter Mitty”: Walter Mitty, Mrs. Mitty, or any of the fantasy Walter Mittys. Or these: The narrator in Langston Hughes’ “As befits a man,” or the narrator in Mary Oliver’s “Spring.” You can find all these works – or links to them – on the стена.

Please put your character analysis in a word document so that it can be uploaded to the whiteboard during our meeting on Tuesday.

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 30 сентября 2017:
Week 5 -- Literature
Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

This week we will be reading and discussing a very famous modern short story by James Thurber, an American author, cartoonist, essayist, and celebrated wit. Here is an example of a Thurber cartoon.


To begin our work with this text, also please be prepared to come to class with one or two facts about Thurber and his place in American culture. Together, we will paint a brief biography and commentary about this man. If you wish, you may also want to bring a Thurber cartoon with you to class if you find that it especially tickles your funny bone. They are widely available online.

Then, read the story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”


Then, watch this short film trailer about one of the several movie adaptations of this story.


The most recent film adaptation of this story, starring Ben Stiller, was released about four years ago. In fact, it even played in Russia. Has anyone seen it? Remember this billboard?

Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

I have wondered about one translation issue. The English title of the story and the film is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” but the Russian title translates as “The Unbelievable Life of Walter Mitty.” Does anyone have an idea why this is so? If you do, tell us when we meet.

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 29 сентября 2017:
William the Conqueror

It was on this day in 1066 that William the Conqueror of Normandy arrived on British soil . He defeated the British in the Battle of Hastings, and on Christmas Day he was crowned King of England in Westminster Abby. What nobody knew at the time was how much this would affect the English language. The British back then were speaking a combination of Saxon and Old Norse. The Normans spoke French. Over time, the languages blended, and as a result English became a language incredibly rich in synonyms. Because the French speakers were aristocrats, the French words often became the fancy words for things. The Normans gave us “mansion”; the Saxons gave us “house.” The Normans gave us “beef”; the Saxons gave us, “cow.”

The English language has gone on accepting additions to its vocabulary ever since, and it now contains more than a million words, making it one of the most diverse languages on Earth. Writers have been arguing for hundreds of years about whether this is a good thing.

The critic Cyril Connolly wrote, “The English language is like a broad river … being polluted by a string of refuse-barges tipping out their muck.” But Walt Whitman said, “The English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.” And the poet Derek Walcott said, “The English language is nobody’s special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.”

This item is from The Writer`s Almanac, a daily offering of a piece of poetry and short articles about literature and literary figures. Here is the website. You may wish to subscribe to it. It`s free.


Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 29 сентября 2017:
Irish musings

Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

Once more, we listen to the lyrical poetry of David Whyte...


Now, some Irish toasts, followed by a few Irish folk sayings. Do you know of any Russian equivalents for these sayings?

Irish toasts

1. I have known many, liked not a few, loved only one, I drink to you.

2. May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

3. May the grass grow long on the road to hell for want of use.

4. May your troubles be as few and as far apart as my Grandmothers teeth.

5. May your neighbors respect you, Trouble neglect you, The angels protect you, And heaven accept you.

6. Here`s that we may always have a clean shirt, a clean conscience, and a guinea in our pocket.

7. May I see you grey and combing your children`s hair.

8. May you die in bed at ninety-five years, shot by a jealous husband (or wife).

9. May you have the hindsight to know where you`ve been, the foresight to know where you`re going and the insight to know when you`re going too far.

10. May the frost never afflict your spuds. May the outside leaves of your cabbage always be free from worms. May the crow never pick your haystack, and may your donkey always be in foal.

11. Beautiful young people are acts of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art.

Irish folk sayings

1. A drink precedes a story.

2. A friend`s eye is a good mirror.

3. It is a long road that has no turning.

4. As the big hound is, so will the pup be.

5. Put silk on a goat, and it`s still a goat.

6. There is no fireside like your own fireside.

7. It is not a secret if it is known by three people.

8. It takes time to build castles. Rome was not built in a day.

9. If you do not sow in the spring you will not reap in the autumn.

Finally, let`s conclude this cultural feast with a platter of Corned Beef and Cabbage. Many in America consider this to be the national dish of Ireland.

Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

Finally, Ira, thanks for the inspiration!

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 27 сентября 2017:
Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

As Befits a Man
Langston Hughes

I don’t mind dying --
But I’d hate to die all alone!
I want a dozen pretty women
To holler, cry, and moan.

I don’t mind dying
But I want my funeral to be fine:
A row of long tall mamas
Fainting, fanning, and crying.

I want a fish-tail hearse
And sixteen fish-tail cars,
A big brass band
And a whole truck load of flowers.

When they let me down,
Down into the clay,
I want the women to holler:
Please don’t take him away!
Don’t take daddy away!

p.s. The fish-tail hearse in the photograph is a 1971 Cadillac.

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 23 сентября 2017:
Week 4 -- Literature

Read “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (1894). During class we will apply a principled analysis to this story.


This story was written more than 120 years ago, and some of the images and some of the language may be obscure. Please make a short list (5 - 10 items) of words or expressions that you do not understand. You may post them when you log on.

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 22 сентября 2017:

Here are two items from our class on September 21 -- the poem by Mary Oliver and the three-letter abbreviation list.

Professor Joe Liro
Professor Pete Smith

Mary Oliver

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her—
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

Three Letters

Acronym vs. Abbreviation









Константин Шестаков, 17 сентября 2017:
Week 3 -- Literature

Dear Friends!

Before our next class meeting, please read the document “A Template for Analyzing Works of Literature.” http://network.webilang.com/users/files/download1392.html

Pay particular attention to the final section – those are the procedures we will follow in analyzing several texts during this module.

Also read two short pieces of Russian literature. We will begin by an analysis of two works that are familiar to you, Tolstoy’s “Три медведя (The Three Bears)” http://network.webilang.com/users/files/download1393.html
and Akhmatova’s “We don’t know how to say good-bye.” http://network.webilang.com/users/files/download1394.html

When we meet, we will use the template as a schema for evaluating literature in a principled way. As a group, we will be considering these factors:

central idea (theme)
point of view
time and duration

You will be assigned one or more of these factors as you log in. During our discussion you should concentrate on the part of the analysis you have been assigned.

Professor Joe Liro
Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 9 сентября 2017:

For this week’s assignment, locate a television commercial, print or Web ad for a product or service in the United States. Come prepared with a link or photo of your commercial or ad, to lead the class in a short discussion.

You can prepare for this by writing a short paragraph (50-100 words): what product does the ad or commercial feature? How does the ad persuade the viewer to buy or act? What emotion does the ad bring about in the viewer or reader? What does the commercial or ad say about American cultural values?

For example, on the topic of culture, here are two famous television commercials from 2013-2014. In the first, the Cadillac car company paints a picture of the “typical American”:

Then the Ford Motor Co., another large car company, made this wonderful ad as a “tongue-in-cheek” response, with a very different picture of what it means to be an American:

Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 6 сентября 2017:
Fall 2017 IT Group

Dear Friends!

Welcome to Gobal Citizen. This is your assignment for Thursday, September 7:

Be prepared to upload a photo illustrating what you did during this past summer vacation, and write a short paragraph (25-40 words) explaining the photo or otherwise commenting on your vacation. Write the paragraph as a Word.doc so that it can be uploaded. No summer vacation? Write about what you would have liked to have done and why you didn`t.

Your Faculty,
Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 21 июля 2017:

Изображение уменьшено. Щелкните, чтобы увидеть оригинал.

What does it mean to have…

1. … butterflies in your stomach
2. … ants in your pants
3. … cold feet
4. … a green thumb
5. … a bee in your bonnet

6. … your nose to the grindstone
7. … your foot in your mouth
8. … two left feet
9. … a rule of thumb
10. … a lead foot

11. … done something by the skin of your teeth
12. … your shoulder to the wheel
13. … a nose for news
14. … itchy fingers
15. And what about … in one ear and out the other

Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 18 июля 2017:

Here are the weather-related idioms we worked with last week.

1. be snowed under
2. chase rainbows
3. raining cats and dogs
4. on cloud nine
5. save for a rainy day
6. take a rain check
7. under the weather
8. bag of wind / windbag
9. come rain or shine
10. don’t rain on my parade
11. fair weather friend
12. the eye of the hurricane
13. calm before the storm
14. tempest in a teapot
Joe Liro, 16 июля 2017:

Gloria and the Riddle


“Gloria and the Riddle” is an episode of the situation comedy “All in the Family” which aired 1972. In its day, “All in the Family” was the first American TV show to touch are topics that were typically considered taboo on television.

The principal characters are Archie Bunker, a blue-collar worker, and his wife Edith, a housewife. Their daughter, Gloria, is married to Michael Stivic, and the two of them live with the Bunkers. Archie and Michael argue frequently, and Archie derisively calls Michael “Meathead.” Michael’s and Gloria’s values are influenced and shaped by the counterculture of the 1960s and the two couples represent the real-life clash of values between the so-called Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers.

In this episode, Gloria’s friend Tammie tells them a riddle, and the men and Edith are unable to solve it. As they grope and stumble for a solution, they expose their own biases and illustrate several stereotypes. Watch the episode and identify as many stereotypes as you can. Who expresses the stereotype? And what is the stereotype?

One additional small assignment: Can you think of any stereotypical images of Russians? Americans? Texans? Let’s make a list of them when we meet.

Joe Liro, 15 июля 2017:

This coming week (Week 4) we will be speaking about Cultural Differences and Stereotypes. Here is a link to some material we will be using: