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  1. #1
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    What do you think?

    1st para Osaka will have a new international airport this year. When the new airport starts to be used, many jumbo jets from all over the world will land and take off there. According to the newspaper, one Japanese airline has painted a big whale on the body of their two airplanes and named them "Marine Jumbo" ― Jumbo of the sea. All of you know that the word "Jumbo" is used for something very big, but few know where the word comes from.

    2nd para A long time ago, a big elephant came to the United States of America for a circus. It was called "Jumbo" because it was the word for an elephant in an African language. Jumbo became so popular that soon people called any big elephant by the name. In time, people used the word for other big things though it only meant elephant at the beginning. So a "Jumbo jet" is a flying elephant. Don't you think it is strange that there are no "whale jets", for a whale is the largest animal on earth, not an elephant? Another word that comes from elephant is "mammoth." This animal, as you see in picture books, was a very big elephant which lived on earth many years ago. When you want to say that something is very big, you can put mammoth before it, like mammoth building, mammoth city and so on.

    3rd para There is another story about an elephant. That is "white elephant." If you say "Such a thing is a white elephant," it means that it is expensive but good for nothing. Let me show you examples for this. If you have an expensive car and you are not able to drive, the car is a white elephant. If a beautiful hotel is built and no one stays at it, it is also a white elephant. Where does "a white elephant" come from?

    4th para In Thailand there are a lot of elephants which do many kinds of work for people there. They have been useful workers since very old days. Most elephants are grey, but there were white elephants. They were very few in number, so it was very rare to catch them. At the time people thought that white elephants were gods. So it was the custom that the kings of Thailand kept them with great care. They spent much money to take care of them. Foods and houses for the white elephants were much better than those for people. No work was given to them. So "a white elephant" means something that is useless and needs much money to keep.

    5th para Every language has interesting words using names of living things. It shows that animals, not only horses, cows, dogs, and hens, but also foxes, lions, mice, and many others, are very important for people's life. In Japanese you can say "racoon's sleep," when you see someone pretending that he is sleeping.When you do something good for others but it is useless, you say "To give a gold coin to a cat." "Even a monkey falls from the tree" means that, if you are very good at doing something, you may make mistakes when you are careless.



    Q) According to the passage, which statements below are NOT true? Choose two wrong statements.

    a. We can see two jumbo jets with a big elephant painted on each body.
    b. The word "jumbo" means something big in an African language.
    c. The word "jumbo" has almost the same meaning as "mammoth."
    d. In Thailand kings welcomed white elephants because of their custom.
    e. White elephants brought good luck and happiness to the people.
    f. The number of white elephants was very small.
    g. We have many words coming from animals because animals have had an important part in our life.


    The passage and questions above were actually on an entrance examination for a high school in Japan.(I've brought them here from a textbook I use in class. ) It was over 15 years ago, so the information in the passage(here, I'm talking about the 1st paragraph) is very old.

    Anyway, I think there are three wrong statements, which are a. b. and e.
    However, the textbook says the answers are....a. and e. I quite agree, but...what about b.???

    What do you think?


    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 31-May-2008 at 20:05.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: What do you think?

    The African word "jumbo" means elephant, not "big". Therefore b is incorrect

  3. #3
    tzfujimino's Avatar
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    Re: What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    The African word "jumbo" means elephant, not "big". Therefore b is incorrect
    Thank you, Anglica.

  4. #4
    tzfujimino's Avatar
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    Re: What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    1st para Osaka will have a new international airport this year. When the new airport starts to be used, many jumbo jets from all over the world will land and take off there. According to the newspaper, one Japanese airline has painted a big whale on the body of their two airplanes and named them "Marine Jumbo" ― Jumbo of the sea. All of you know that the word "Jumbo" is used for something very big, but few know where the word comes from.

    2nd para A long time ago, a big elephant came to the United States of America for a circus. It was called "Jumbo" because it was the word for an elephant in an African language. Jumbo became so popular that soon people called any big elephant by the name. In time, people used the word for other big things though it only meant elephant at the beginning. So a "Jumbo jet" is a flying elephant. Don't you think it is strange that there are no "whale jets", for a whale is the largest animal on earth, not an elephant? Another word that comes from elephant is "mammoth." This animal, as you see in picture books, was a very big elephant which lived on earth many years ago. When you want to say that something is very big, you can put mammoth before it, like mammoth building, mammoth city and so on.

    3rd para There is another story about an elephant. That is "white elephant." If you say "Such a thing is a white elephant," it means that it is expensive but good for nothing. Let me show you examples for this. If you have an expensive car and you are not able to drive, the car is a white elephant. If a beautiful hotel is built and no one stays at it, it is also a white elephant. Where does "a white elephant" come from?

    4th para In Thailand there are a lot of elephants which do many kinds of work for people there. They have been useful workers since very old days. Most elephants are grey, but there were white elephants. They were very few in number, so it was very rare to catch them. At the time people thought that white elephants were gods. So it was the custom that the kings of Thailand kept them with great care. They spent much money to take care of them. Foods and houses for the white elephants were much better than those for people. No work was given to them. So "a white elephant" means something that is useless and needs much money to keep.

    5th para Every language has interesting words using names of living things. It shows that animals, not only horses, cows, dogs, and hens, but also foxes, lions, mice, and many others, are very important for people's life. In Japanese you can say "racoon's sleep," when you see someone pretending that he is sleeping.When you do something good for others but it is useless, you say "To give a gold coin to a cat." "Even a monkey falls from the tree" means that, if you are very good at doing something, you may make mistakes when you are careless.


    May I ask some questions concerning the passage(words indicated by
    boldface)?

    1st para Osaka will have a new international airport this year.
    Isn't it better to say, "Osaka is going to have...."??
    2nd para Why are these "elephant" in singular?

    1. "any big elephant"・・・not "any big elephants"?

    2. "...only meant elephant" "...comes from elephant is..."
    It might be because...the author is talking about the "the word of elephant", not the "animal"? Well, I mean..."elephant" here is a concept, or an idea??
    I can't explain it well in English...


    Thank you in advance.

  5. #5
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Re: What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    May I ask some questions concerning the passage(words indicated by
    boldface)?

    1st para Osaka will have a new international airport this year.
    Isn't it better to say, "Osaka is going to have...."??
    Thank you in advance.
    This is what Thomson and Martinet say about the use of "will" in this type of sentence: The future simple is used chiefly in news papers and news broadcasts, for formal announcements of future plans and for weather forecasts. In conversations such statements would normally be expressed by the present continuous of be going to form or, for plans only, by the present continuous.

    A.J.Thomson and A.V. Martinet, “A Practical English Grammar”, Fourth Edition, rubric 209E

  6. #6
    tzfujimino's Avatar
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    Re: What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    This is what Thomson and Martinet say about the use of "will" in this type of sentence: The future simple is used chiefly in news papers and news broadcasts, for formal announcements of future plans and for weather forecasts. In conversations such statements would normally be expressed by the present continuous of be going to form or, for plans only, by the present continuous.

    A.J.Thomson and A.V. Martinet, “A Practical English Grammar”, Fourth Edition, rubric 209E
    Merci beaucoup, Naomi!

  7. #7
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Re: What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Merci beaucoup, Naomi!
    De rien!

  8. #8
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post

    1. "any big elephant"・・・not "any big elephants"? Because the concept is of a single elephant at a time.

    2. "...only meant elephant" "...comes from elephant is..."
    It might be because...the author is talking about the "the word of elephant", not the "animal"? Well, I mean..."elephant" here is a concept, or an idea??
    I can't explain it well in English...


    Nice one this. The concept of "very large" is linked to the image of an elephant as a very large animal so that it eventually becomes a metaphor for very large.




    Thank you in advance.
    .

  9. #9
    tzfujimino's Avatar
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    Re: What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    .

    Thank you ever so much, Anglika!

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