English lesson – A telephone call

a telephone call

Daughter: Dad. You love me, don’t you?

Father: Of course, I do. Why do you ask . . . Ah, what’s on your mind?

Daughter: Well, I saw this great offer for a free cell phone here in the newspaper, and . . .

Father: Free? Nothing’s ever free.

Daughter: Well, the phone is free . . . after a $50 mail-in rebate.

Father: Ah, so that’s the catch. And why do you need a cell phone anyway?

Daughter: Dad. All my friends have one, and I can use it to call you in case the car breaks down.

Father: Ah, I don’t know. There are always so many fees.

Daughter: But the monthly charge for this service is only $29.99, with 1,000 free weekday minutes nationwide, and unlimited weekend minutes. Plus, unlimited, anytime minutes for anyone using the same service.

Father: I don’t know.

Daughter: And you can roll over the extra minutes to the next month instead of just losing them. What do you think of that?

Father: Yeah, but what is the term of the service agreement?

Daughter: It’s only for six months.

Father: But what if you cancel early?

Daughter: Um . . . Ah, there’s a cancellation fee of $200, but with . . .

Father: Two hundred bucks!

Daughter: Yeah, but you won’t have to worry about me while I’m driving the new car.

Father: New car? What new car?

Daughter: The new car you’ll need to buy so I can use the cell phone. I mean, what’s it gonna look like if I’m using a cell phone in our old lemon.

Father: Teenagers. What’ll they think of next?

1. What reason does the girl give for needing a cellphone?

A. She can use it to check her email.

B. She can call family in case of an emergency.

C. She can make cheaper long-distance calls with it.

2.What is one major feature of the calling plan?

A. 1000 anytime minutes

B. unlimited weekday minutes

C. 1000 free weekday minutes

3. What is the term of service for this plan?

A. 3 months

B. 6 months

C. 9 months

4. Why does the girl suggest that her father buy a new car too?

A. Their current car is in bad shape, and it doesn’t look good.

B. The cellphone’s power supply won’t work in an older car.

C. Their car isn’t big enough to ride in with all her friends.

5. What do customers receive when they purchase the cellphone mentioned in the conversation?

A. a cellphone adapter for the car

B. money back for buying the phone

C. other cellphone accessories


1. She can call family in case of an emergency.

2. 1000 free weekday minutes

3. 6 months

4. Their current car is in bad shape, and it doesn’t look good.

5. money back for buying the phone

Business Mandarin Lesson for Beginners – Making a Telephone Call

Learn English in Hong Kong – Are you listening to me?

Are you listening to me

Wife: Hi. Hi Sweetie. I’m home. Um, I’m home!

Husband: Oh, hi honey. Welcome home. How was you day? [ Well . . . ] That’s good.

Wife: It was terrible. The company is going to lay off about 50 people, and I might be one of them.

Husband: Oh, that’s nice.

Wife: That’s nice? You’re not even listening.

Husband: What?

Wife: So, what did I tell you?

Husband: Um, you said that the company . . . something about 60 employees, um . . . and you might be one of them . . . or something like that.

Wife: No, that’s not what I said. [ Oh? ] The problem is you never listen. Never! So look. I bought you this book. Here. Read it.

Husband: What? Now what? Big Egos, Little Ears: Getting Your Husband Out of the Clouds. What’s this? What? And you paid $35 dollars for it?

Wife: No. YOU did. I used YOUR credit card.

Husband: Oh, whatever. Um, so, what great secrets does the book contain that I don’t know already?

Wife: Okay. First of all . . . .

Husband: Okay. I know, I know. I know what you’re going to say.

Wife: No, you DON’T know. The first thing is not to interrupt and think you know what I’m going to say. Hold your tongue for once and give me a chance to share my feelings before you come up with some witty response.

Husband: Okay. I got it . . . I think.

Wife: I hope. Number two. Show me that you’re listening. Stop checking Facebook while I’m talking to you, turn off the TV, look me in the eyes. Anything to show me that you’re paying attention.

Husband: Right. Uh, so what’s for dinner?

Wife: Tsk . . . see!

Husband: [ Laughing ] I’m sorry. I’m just joking.

Wife: It’s not funny. It’s not funny!! So QUIT LAUGHING!! And don’t tell me what to do to fix my problems either. Most of the time, I don’t need solutions. I just need you to listen to my feelings.

Husband: Okay. I guess I haven’t listened enough, [ No. You don’t listen very much. ] and I haven’t shown much empathy [ No. ] And, well, how about if I read a couple of chapters and then we talk about it? Is that okay?

Wife: Yeah. That would be nice. Thank you.

1. What is the problem at the woman’s workplace?

A. The business is going to fire workers.

B. The company is going to cut salaries.

C. The president is going to close stores.

2. The woman ______________ to help her husband learn the art of listening.

A. found a few Web sites

B. picked up a book

C. watched a TV program

3. The first skill of listening that the woman points out is to ________.

A. watch a person’s body language

B. not cut in on a conversation

C. make meaningful comments

4. The second point is to ________________.

A. put aside distractions

B. bring up similar concerns

C. smile and nod politely

5. According to the final point, some people who are experiencing issues in their lives don’t want others to _______ their problems.

A. debate

B. solve

C. share

6. What is the husband going to do with his wife to improve his listening skills?

A. They are going to attend marital counseling.

B. They are going to go on a trip in a couple of days.

C. They are going to discuss the information in the book.


1. The business is going to fire workers.

2. picked up a book

3. not cut in on a conversation

4. put aside distractions

5. solve

6. They are going to discuss the information in the book.

Smart APP helps you to try clothes when you shop online

Top skills that can never be automated or outsourced

Top skills that can never be automated or outsourced


Two-Thirds of Americans believe that in 50 years robots and computers will do much of the work humans do today. Already, many jobs that once seemed safe bets are at risk: office workers, administrative staff, manufacturing workers and even lawyers.


Some studies predict that 5 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2020.


So what skills can you acquire to protect your employability in the future?


Surprisingly, they’re not related to a specific position or industry but are grounded in emotional intelligence. Here are some of the top skills that can never be automated or outsourced:


1. Knowing yourself. If you’re aware of yourself and how you function in the world, you’re in touch with how you feel, and you know your strengths and weaknesses. You also know how your emotions and actions can affect the people around you. These attributes–and especially the ability to help others develop them–are important to anyone working with a successful (human) team.

1. 了解你自己。如果你能意识到自己的存在并且知道如何在这个世界上发挥作用,那你就会和自身的感受紧密相连,此外了解你的长处和弱点。你也需要知道你的情绪和行为是如何影响你周围的人的。 这些属性 – 特别是帮助挖掘他人的能力 – 对于与一个成功的(人类)团队合作的任何人来说都是重要的。

2. Building relationships. The more things become automated, the more we need connection and relationship. It’s the positive, caring voice you sometimes find at the end of a long phone routing menu, or the email from someone who’s gone out of their way to help you solve a problem. Human beings are naturally social creatures–we crave friendship and positive interactions just as we do food and water. So it makes sense that the skills involved in building and maintaining relationships are never going out of style.

2. 建立关系。随着越多的事情变得自动化,我们就越需要与他人更多的联系和建立必要的关系。在你打一个关于菜单长途电话的结尾时,或许有时会发现积极的、充满爱心的声音,或者一封来自于某人发送的邮件的帮助,这些人在用他们的方式帮助你解决问题。人类是自然界的社会生物——我们渴望友谊和积极的互动,就像我们需要食物和水那样。因此,建立和维持关系的技能永远不会过时,这句话是有道理的。

3. Active Listening. We tend to pay a great deal of attention to our ability to speak, but successful communication requires a speaker and a listener. When someone is speaking it is vitally important to be fully present and in the moment with them. Whether you agree with the speaker–whether you’re even remotely interested in what they’re saying–focus on their words, tone and body language and they’ll feel heard in a way no machine can duplicate.

3. 积极倾听。我们往往会注意到我们说话的能力,但成功的沟通需要演讲者和听众。当一个人在讲话时,展现出全神贯注和跟随他们的讲话是非常重要的。不管你是否同意演讲者的观点——无论你对他们所说的是否感兴趣——如果你专注于他们的讲话、语调和肢体语言,在某种程度上,他们会觉得没有机器可以复制完成他演讲这件事。

4. Expressing empathy. Empathy–the ability to understand and share the feelings of another–is a key element in building trust, which, in turn, is a key element of leadership. Having empathy will give you the ability to put yourself in someone else’s situation. It’s a trait that no automated feedback can generate.

4. 表达同情心。同情心——理解和分享他人感受的能力——是建立信任的关键因素,而信任是领导力的关键因素。同情心能够让你有把自己置于别人的处境中的能力。这是一个没有任何自动化的反馈机械可以拥有的技能。

5. Giving feedback. Providing effective feedback in a useful format and context benefits for both the giver and the receiver. Leveraged properly, feedback can lead to real growth and development. And effective feedback will always require a person-to-person connection.

5. 给予反馈。为提供者和接受者提供有用的格式和情境优点的有效反馈。恰当地运用杠杆,因为反馈能带来真正的成长和发展。有效的反馈需要人与人之间的联系。

6. Managing stress. The skill of being able to manage stress–our own and that of others–will never be obsolete. Stress impacts a team’s ability to do their jobs effectively, and it affects how we work with other people. We experience stress when we feel threatened or believe we lack the resources to deal with a challenging situation. Create a line of defenses against stressful situations that you cannot control–use your network, be sure to get enough exercise and sleep, and learn to relax.

6. 调整压力。能够管理压力的技能——我们自己和他人的压力——永远不会过时。压力会影响团队有效地完成工作的能力,也会影响到我们如何与他人进行合作。当我们感觉受到威胁或认为我们缺乏应对挑战的资源的情境时,我们会感受到压力的存在。在你无法控制的压力环境下建立一道防线——利用你的网络,确保充足的运动和睡眠,学会放松。

If you can manage these emotional intelligence skills you’ll be prepared for the future, no matter what position or title or job you have.


10 Chinese Idioms to English Equivalents

English language course – do you like hiking?

English language course - do you like hiking

Todd: So, Steven, what do you like to do in your free time?


Steven: Um, free time. Well, I would just love to have some free time, occasionally I have some free time and well, I love to go hiking. Ah, I live in Japan in Kyuushuu and there are some beautiful mountains quite nearby to where I live so sometimes I go, I go hiking in the mountains.


Todd: Well, actually, I love hiking and I am new to Kyuushuu (Right) I just moved here, so can you tell me where I should go hiking. What are the best spots?


Steven: Right, well, there’s one range of mountains in Kuju. One of the mountains is called Nakadake, which means central peak, I believe, and that is actually the highest, the highest peak, the highest mountain on mainland Kyuushuu. There is one higher mountain on an island near Kagoshima but on mainland Kyuushuu that’s the highest peak and it’s quite a challenge and there are some beautiful views from that mountain.


Todd: Wow! Is it a day hike? Can I hike it in one day?


Steven: Oh, sure. It takes about three hours to go up and the descent takes about two hours. It takes about two hours to come back down.


Todd: Oh, that’s great well, we live on Beppu and Beppu is on the coast. It’s on the ocean, so how can I get to the mountain. Unfortunately, I don’t have a car, so can I take the train or a bus?


Steven: Um, I’m not absolutely sure. I’ve only ever been by car myself. Um, I don’t believe there’s a train that stops by the mountain but you can certainly get closer than you are now by train, and then you can perhaps take a bus or even a taxi from a town closer by. I don’t know. I’m sorry.


Todd: Oh, that’s OK. Well, you know, I’ve never done it before, but I hear that it’s safe to hitchhike in Japan. Is that true?


Steven: Oh, absolutely. Yep. Yep. The crime rate in Japan is so low. You’d have to be incredibly unlucky to have any problems hitchhiking.


Todd: And will people stop and pick me up?


Steven: Ah, that I don’t know.


Todd: Maybe I’ll have to give it a try. OK, thanks a lot.


Steven: You’re welcome.


Mandarin Lesson – Go Hiking During Easter Holiday

Learn English – being forgetful can be a strength

Learn English - being forgetful can be a strength


You can relax if remembering everything is not your strong suit. Recent research makes the case that being forgetful can be a strength — in fact, selective memory can even be a sign of stronger intelligence.


Traditional research on memory has focused on the advantages of remembering everything. But looking through years of recent memory data, researchers Paul Frankland and Blake Richards of the University of Toronto found that the neurobiology of forgetting can be just as important to our decision-making as what our minds choose to remember.


“The goal of memory is not the transmission of information through time, per se. Rather, the goal of memory is to optimize decision-making. As such, transience is as important as persistence in mnemonic systems,” their study in Neuron states.


Making intelligent decisions does not mean you need to have all the information at hand, it just means you need to hold onto the most valuable information. And that means clearing up space in your memory palace for the most up-to-date information on clients and situations. Our brains do this by generating new neurons in our hippocampus, which have the power to overwrite existing memories that are influencing our decision-making.


“If you’re trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up multiple conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision,” Richards told Science Daily.


If you want to increase the number of new neurons in our brain’s learning region, try exercising. Moderate aerobic exercise like jogging, power walking, and swimming have been found to increase the number of neurons making important connections in our brains.


When we forget the names of certain clients and details about old jobs, our brain is making a choice that these details do not matter. Although too much forgetfulness can be a cause for concern, the occasional lost detail can be a sign of a perfectly healthy memory system. The researchers found that our brains facilitate decision-making by stopping us from focusing too much on minor past details. Instead, the brain promotes generalization, helping us remember the most important gist of a conversation.


“One of the things that distinguishes an environment where you’re going to want to remember stuff versus an environment where you want to forget stuff is this question of how consistent the environment is and how likely things are to come back into your life,” Richards said.


If you’re an analyst who meets with a client weekly, your brain will recognize that this is a client whose name and story you need to remember. If this is someone you may never meet again, your brain will weigh that information accordingly.


We can get critiqued for being absent-minded when we forget past events in perfect detail. These findings show us that total recall can be overrated. Our brains are working smarter when they aim to remember the right stories, not every story.


If you’re good at games, you might also be good at everything else


Learn English – Aging problem in Hong Kong

Aging problem in Hong KongAlice: Hello! I’m Alice and this is 6 Minute English. I’m joined today by

Abdu. Hi Abdu.

Abdu: Hi Alice.

Alice: Today we’re talking about ageing populations, pensions and retirement.

I’m going to start by asking you Abdu – what age do you expect to retire?

Abdu: I’m planning to retire around 65 to 70.

Alice: And do you have a pension?

Abdu: Unfortunately not.

Alice: I’ve also got a third question – according to the United Nations

in 1950, 8% of the world’s population was over 60 years old. Currently

11% of the world’s population is over 60. Any guesses what percentage

will be over 60 in 2050?

Abdu: I’m not sure – it looks like it’s going up? I would guess 15%.

Alice: Have a think about it and I’ll let you know at the end of the programme.

There are lots of terms for people who have reached retirement age.

Official terms in British English are ‘OAP – which stands for old aged

6 Minute English © bbc learning english

Page 2 of 5

pensioner’ and in American English ‘Senior Citizen’ or ‘Senior’.

Abdu: You hear the term OAP less frequently these days in the UK. It doesn’t

sound as respectful perhaps as ‘Senior Citizen’.

Alice: In many countries, economists and politicians are talking about the impact of

an ageing population. In many countries around the world people are living

longer and will spend more time in retirement. Experts are worried about how

we will pay for the health and services for an increasing number of people in


Abdu: Some people save money in pension plans or retirement funds as they’re

called in the United States. What’s interesting is how many people don’t have

pensions despite the warnings given by governments about saving for

retirement. According to a BBC survey, only 2 out of every 10 people around

the world have a pension.

Alice: We asked people if they were scared about getting old and not having enough

money to live on. Here’s what they said:

Extract 1:

Goodness there’s a question – I currently have a pension in my job so I’m not too

worried that way and I’m also hoping to save for my retirement and for later years by

owning property and renting that out and selling it on when I need more income. I’m

not fussed about getting old –we all have to get older sometime, you know, so I’m not

scared about it. Life is life and that’s the way life should be. I’m not scared about getting

older or being unemployed, at all. Not very scared – I’m more scared about getting older

than being unemployed. Terrified. Absolutely terrified – I don’t know what’s going to

happen in the future. I’m really worried and I really need to sort that out.

6 Minute English © bbclearningenglish.com 2010

Page 3 of 5

Alice: Some people have other plans for how they will survive financially when

they retire. One man said he was hoping to save for retirement by

owning property and renting it out or selling it when he needs more


Abdu: And one man said he was terrified – very very frightened about what’s

going to happen in the future because he hasn’t thought about planning

for retirement

Alice: In some countries the age of retirement is being increased so that

people will work longer before they collect their pensions. This is very

controversial in some societies.

Abdu: In France people went on strike to complain about proposals to

increase the retirement age from 60 to 62

Alice: And in the UK, some people in their 20s and 30s are annoyed that they

may have to work longer than people in previous generations –

especially those born in the 1940s and 50s who are sometimes called

the baby boomer generation.

Abdu: The baby boomers – people born between the years of 1945 and 1964

after the Second World War, when there was a large increase in the

number of children born.

Alice: Here’s Rosamund Irwin, a 26-year-old journalist, talking to her father

Nigel, a 60-year-old lawyer. She thinks life is going to be very difficult

6 Minute English © bbclearningenglish.com 2010

Page 4 of 5

for young people in the future:

Extract 2:

Well, I think the baby boomers are guilty of great generational injustice. What they’ve

done to the future is they have had the very advantageous position of having access to

very generous pensions. They’ve had cheap housing when they came out of university

and they didn’t pay to go to university. This problem that arises is because of changes in

demographics, and the expectation that we’ll all live longer and I think that the next

generation has every prospect of living longer, than we baby boomer generation. And so

if they want to complain that they’ve got to work longer to earn those pensions it’s

because they will live longer overall.

Alice: So Rosamund Irwin says it’s unfair that her generation will have to

work longer than her parents did. She says there is generational injustice.

Abdu: She says her parent’s generation started from an advantageous position.

Alice: They have generous pensions and had cheap housing compared to today.

But her father says his generation shouldn’t be blamed. He thinks

the problem arises because of changes in demographics. In this case,

that’s the spread of ages across the population, the fact that there are

more older people than there were before.

Abdu: But he says that younger people have every prospect of living longer.

Alice: I think he means that the younger generation should be grateful that

they will live longer than people have ever done before – but they

will have to pay for it. So have you had a thought about our question at

the beginning of the programme Abdu? What percentage of the world’s

population will be over the age of 60 in 2050?

6 Minute English © bbclearningenglish.com 2010

Page 5 of 5

Abdu: I’m sticking with my original answer – 15%.

Alice: Actually, it’s a bit higher. By the middle of this century, the United

Nations estimates that 22% of people will be over the age of 60.

Well that’s all we’ve got time for today. Thanks for joining us and see

you next time.

Alice/Abdu: Bye!

Learn Mandarin – American Drug Addiction Problem

Financial Questions to Settle Before You Get Married

Financial Questions to Settle Before You Get Married

Financial Questions to Settle Before You Get Married


There are only two kinds of people in this world, spenders and savers, and for better or worse they tend to marry each other.


So says longtime financial writer Terry Savage, who has co-written a new book on how to discuss and negotiate key money issues with your spouse-to-be, to give your relationship the best chance for success (‘The New Love Deal: Everything You Must Know Before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving On!’)

资深财经作家特里·萨维奇(Terry Savage)如是说道。她与人合作撰写了一本新书,讨论如何与准配偶讨论并协商处理一些重要的金钱问题,为双方的结合创造更大的成功机会。(新书名为《爱情新论:在结婚、同居或分手前必须知道的一切!》(The New Love Deal: Everything You Must Know Before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving On!))

While you probably can’t change your mate’s basic money personality, you can avoid arguments and hidden resentments by talking honestly about your finances and putting certain plans in place before you head down the aisle. With wedding season around the corner, here’s an Investing Basics checklist for people about to tie the knot:

虽然你可能无法改变伴侣对金钱的基本态度,但在步入红毯前,坦诚讨论彼此的财务状况并提前制定一些合理的财务计划,可能帮助你们避免日后的一些争吵和隐怨。在婚庆旺季即将到来之际,本文总结了一份供准新人们参考的投资常识(Investing Basics)清单:

Take inventory


‘The most important thing is to talk about your debts and to take an inventory of what assets each of you has, ‘ says Holly Kylen, a financial adviser with Voya Financial in Lititz, Pa.

宾夕法尼亚州提兹市(Lititz) Voya Financial公司的财务顾问霍利·凯伦(Holly Kylen)表示:“重中之重是讲明各自的债务,对各自名下的各项资产都盘点清楚。”

One way to start the conversation is to swap credit reports, preferably over a nice bottle of wine, says Ms. Savage. If your spouse-to-be is on the hook for student loans or child support, discuss whether and to what extent you’re willing to help bear the cost.


Credit scores are a source of stress in one in five marriages, but spouses who discuss credit scores before marriage are more likely to agree on how to use credit as a couple, according to a study about to be released by Experian Consumer Services.

Experian Consumer Services即将发布的一项研究报告显示,在各种婚姻危机中,信用记录导致的压力占到了两成。而婚前讨论过信用记录问题的夫妻,更容易就如何使用信用达成共识。



Next, decide how you’re going to handle the money. While it’s understandable that some couples, particularly older ones, prefer to keep separate accounts, at least at first, many financial advisers recommend working toward paying all joint expenses out of a joint account.


‘Marriage is complicated anyway, ‘ says Michael Eisenberg, an accountant and financial adviser in Los Angeles. ‘This is one easy way to simplify things.’

洛杉矶会计师兼财务顾问迈克尔·艾森伯格(Michael Eisenberg)说:“婚姻毕竟是很复杂的,这么做可以轻松简化一些事情。”

If you each earn an income, consider having your paychecks direct-deposited into separate accounts, then automatically transferring a certain amount–perhaps proportional to your income or to other obligations–into a joint checking account from which you pay your bills online, recommends Ms. Savage.


Set common goals


From there you might set up additional joint accounts for short-term (one to two years) and medium-term (three to five) goals, such as saving to buy a car or a house. This requires doing a little budgeting.


‘Both people need to be flexible, ‘ Mr. Eisenberg adds. Say you’re used to saving $200 a paycheck for a rainy-day fund, but your partner thinks that’s overkill. You might agree to instead save $100 plus part of any tax refunds or bonuses that come along. ‘The key to this is dialogue, ‘ he says.


Save for retirement


‘Make sure no one makes a dime without putting something away for retirement, ‘ says Ms. Kylen. You and your partner don’t necessarily have to save identical amounts. ‘Equal is not synonymous with fair, ‘ says Ms. Savage.


But you should coordinate how much you’re going to save and what savings vehicles you’re going to use. If one partner’s employer offers a 401(k) matching contribution, it probably makes sense for that person to contribute at least enough to qualify for the employer match.


Manage risk


Consider whether you’ll need insurance, and if so factor the premiums into your budget. ‘If you’re buying a home together you need life insurance, ‘ says Ms. Savage. Disability insurance can’t hurt either, says Mr. Eisenberg.


And don’t forget to change the beneficiaries on any existing insurance policies, as well as retirement accounts and so-called pay-on-death accounts, which supersede your will and go directly to the named beneficiaries.


Gay married couples need to be especially careful when naming their spouse beneficiary of an annuity. Since insurance is state-regulated, ‘same-sex couples today should not assume a spousal benefit [known as a ‘spousal lifetime income benefit rider’] will work, ‘ says Ms. Kylen, who recently married her partner of 20 years. ‘It would be best to have it in writing or to see same-sex language in your document just to cross your T’s.’


Consider a prenuptial


If neither you nor your partner is equipped to talk about financial matters, enlist the help of a close friend, relative, financial adviser or lawyer, says Mr. Eisenberg.


Learn Cantonese in Hong Kong – Get Married