English for IT group
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 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)

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Joe Liro, 10 декабря 2017:
Week 15 – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

This week we will look at two holidays (perhaps even more…). We will use parts of these two links.


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New Year

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This is the final week of our semester together. On Thursday, your faculty would like to have some informal feedback. What topics or activities were especially useful in expanding your knowledge of English? What topics or activities were most interesting from the point of view of culture?

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 3 декабря 2017:
Week 14 -- Spin doctor

Here’s your chance to be a spin doctor. A spin doctor is a person (often a political aide) who is responsible for ensuring that others interpret an event or person from a particular point of view. The point of view is usually positive, but it need not be.

Write a short paragraph – about 50 words, the length of the paragraph above – about Charlie. Three of you have been assigned to write a positive spin, three have been assigned to write a negative spin, and one volunteered to write two paragraphs, one of each.

At our next meeting, please be prepared to post these in chat so that we can all discuss them.

Professor Joe Liro
Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 25 ноября 2017:
Week 13 -- "Rain Man"

Before our meeting on Tuesday, please watch the film “Rain Man.” Here are two links to the film – the second appears to be of better quality.



Afterwards, try to describe these characters based on how they look:

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What are their personalities?
How old are they?
What are their professions?
Why do you think they are on a road?
What do you know about these actors?

Professor Joe Liro
Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 20 ноября 2017:
Idioms using fruits and vegetables

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peaches and cream
sour grapes
be a peach
a plum job
go bananas
top banana
in a pickle
in a nutshell
carrot and stick approach

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hot potato
couch potato
small potatoes
cool as a cucumber
salad days
like peas in a pod
spill the beans
a hill o’ beans
bean counter
lemon law

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life is just a bowl of cherries
forbidden fruit
as easy as apple pie
apple of my eye
beet red
polish the apple
upset the apple cart
compare apples and oranges
Big Apple
give the raspberry
Here is the link to the audio file for listening:

Vowell: First Thanksgiving

and to the Pdf of Vowell text:
Joe Liro, 18 ноября 2017:
Week 12 -- Thanksgiving Holiday

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the last Thursday in November. It commemorates the feast that the Pilgrims shared with the Indians after the Pilgrims survived their first brutal winter in and enjoyed a good harvest in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. The account of the first feast may be folklore, but the sentiments of sharing and generosity and hospitality are shared widely throughout the world at harvest time.

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This is a 1942 illustration by Norman Rockwell titled “Freedom from Want,” or “The Thanksgiving Picture.” It depicts several generations of a family preparing to enjoy their Thanksgiving feast. The menu is fairly fixed – roast turkey, stuffing (known as ‘dressing’ in the South), mashed potatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, plus dishes that are family favorites.

On Tuesday, our discussion of Thanksgiving Day will include this essay by Sarah Vowell, “The First Thanksgiving.” Please review it before then and listen to Ms. Vowell as she reads her work.

Vowell First Thanksgiving.pdf

Vowell First Thanksgiving.mp3

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Joe Liro, 15 ноября 2017:
Week11 -- Day 2

For this class, we will listen to a short story from a well-known US radio show, "This American Life." This show offers quirky looks at themes and life in the United States.

Listen to this segment, "Hang in there Kitty Cat, It`s Almost Friday":


A transcript of this episode is available here to support you:


The clip starts after the show`s introduction, so you will scroll down in the transcript to start work.

Come to class prepared to discuss the quirky aspects of this story--do you believe in psychics? Do you believe that psychics can assist with office issues? Do you have any humorous or quirky stories to share about office politics?

Professpr Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 11 ноября 2017:
Week 11 -- Silicon Valley

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We will continue to concentrate on and work with the chosen episode of the U.S. television series, "Silicon Valley."

You can find the updated link to the video on our class wall:
http://network. webilang.com/clubs/92 .

As we did in our Thursday class using this material, select a scene that interests you or that you found particularly humorous.

Write a short paragraph and come prepared to discuss this scene: what was the setting/background, who were the characters, what was the topic and flow of the conversation, and finally include at least one interesting linguistic element in the scene that you found unique, perplexing, or hope to discuss with the group!

Professor Pete Smith
Professor Joe Liro
Here is the updated link to the video:
Joe Liro, 8 ноября 2017:
Cakes and pies

takes the cake
piece of cake
cake walk
have your cake and eat it too
icing on the cake
let them eat cake
nutty as a fruitcake
go like hot cakes

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to eat humble pie
as easy as pie
pie in the sky
(have a) finger in many pies
in apple pie order
as American as apple pie

Professor Joe Liro
Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 8 ноября 2017:
Week 10 -- Silicon Valley

Our next episode of U.S. television viewing comes from the hit HBO series, "Silicon Valley."

Here is the link to a Google drive folder with the video and subtitles for the chosen episode:

https://drive.google.com/open? id= 15etsMVCMbfKEWnG3B3K6cQGi9653Q 7Eh

You can either watch it online or download for viewing. If you download the video and subtiltles, you may be able to watch the episode along with subtiltles using the .srt file.

Come prepared to generally describe and discuss the series and its primary characters, as well as points of humor you found especially funny or that you found difficult to understand.

Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 6 ноября 2017:
Week 10 – The Office

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Watch the end of our target episode of “The Office,” especially the costume contest at the end of the show, timing: 15:10-17:30; 24:55-end.

Here is the updated URL to watch the episode: http://watchtheofficeonline.tv/S07E06/

Select one of the characters and his or her costume. In a written paragraph, describe the costume. Then analyze why the costume is humorous. Is the costume age-appropriate? Is this a classic Halloween costume in the U.S.? Is the costume “politically correct”? Come prepared to share your paragraph in chat.

Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 30 октября 2017:
Week 9

On Tuesday, 10/31, we will celebrate Halloween in Global Citizen by starting work on an episode of the American television series, The Office.

This episode is called "The Costume Contest," and looks at how a fictional (and very dysfunctional) office in the U.S. might celebrate the scary holiday.

It is important to remember that The Office is a "mockumentary," filled with both expressed and implied humor. And humor will be our theme for the next several class sessions!

You can find the episode and a script of the episode here:

Video: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4vnoai

Script: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=the-office-us&episode=s07e06

Preview the entire episode, concentrating especially on the opening clip: 0:00-3:45 timestamp.

Write a paragraph about and come prepared to share your writing and explain:one pop-culture reference or one joke (implied or delivered) in the episode. You may also wish to write additionally about your reactions to this series and its very specialized humor.

Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 29 октября 2017:
Week 8 – The Great Pumpkin

Here`s Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. We`ll weave this into our discussion of Halloween and humor.


Professor Joe Liro
Professor Pete Smith
Joe Liro, 21 октября 2017:
Money, Money, Money...

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


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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, 21 октября 2017:
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.

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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"

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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