Couple random stories

in learning •  3 months ago

Recently I had couple interesting conversation with my work colleague(LP), all relating to English.

64,000 dollar question-

First time I heard about the $64,000 question was on a conversation with LP. She was planning an unexpected trip to Asia. I was wondering how much it costed for such an unplanned trip in short notice along with other questions. She used the phrase. I was literally thinking about the cost of the trip and was shocked, but then, she had to explain to me what this phrase really means.

Based on the free dictionary by Farlex,

if a question is the 64,000 dollar question, it is very important but very difficult to answer. Why should I, young, healthy and female, suddenly lose my hair? The sixty-four thousand dollar question remained unanswered. Note: Other large sums of money are sometimes used instead of 64,000 dollar. They asked the million-dollar question: So what makes a good marriage?' The billion-dollar question is: how much are those benefits worth? Note: In the United States in the 1940s, there was a radio quiz show calledTake It or Leave It'. Contestants had to answer questions for prizes ranging from two dollars for an easy question to $64 for the hardest. A similar television quiz show in the 1950s increased the prize to $64,000 dollars.

As an immigrant, sometimes I lost in conversation when people used a lot slangs or idioms, but I also found it a lot easier to remember those slangs and idioms from live conversation. Next time when people say it’s a $64,000 question, I would definitely be on the same page and won’t think they were talking about money.

How much English would you need to study in US? The answer would surprise you!

Another interesting conversation I had with LP was about Chinese students coming to US for further education. LP used to have a young Chinese couple living next door. She liked them a lot, according to her, the young couples are very nice and both got their PHD degree in US. But one observation from LP was that, the couple doesn’t seem to speak very fluent English, she was amazed that both of them actually passed the test and graduated PHD from colleague in US. The couples recently bought a new house in another town and rented their current condo to 3 Chinese girls who are here for master’s degree. And according to LP, none of them can speak good English too. She suspects their written English must be much better, which to me could be possible. In China, people tend to focus on academic scores than oral communication. We’ve seem many cases where people with high education and high English scores having trouble in oral expression and interaction. But the finding also surprised me, I had thought that in order to get to college or university in US, you would need pretty damn good English as otherwise, I doubt how much they would grasp in the class. Maybe it also depends on the mayor, some mayors may not request frequent English communication, like computer science. But it still blows my mind.

I guess this is why there are so many after school English classes for international students. They would have to pay a lot more efforts to cross the language hurdles. I wish the 3 Chinese young ladies will be able to practice their English and fit in quicker. I heard stories of some Chinese students tended to get together and were afraid to socialize, after their graduation and living in US for several years, their English level basically stayed at the same… If these students go back to China, it will be different story, but if they ever decide to stay, language would unfortunately stop them from finding better job that they would have deserved. However, there is really no one, but themselves, can help themselves out.

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