Thursday, October 26, 2006

Show 175 Wednesday 25 October

Watch today's show at YouTube


Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show. Yesterday I showed you some strange English.
But I didn’t explain why it was strange. So you might not know.
So I thought I’d explain one of them today.
The one from the socks.
First, comfortable and refreshing.
Comfortable is OK. But ... refreshing ...
In the dictionary it says:
1. pleasantly new or different
2. making you feel less tired or hot
So, by these definitions – you could say that yes, these socks are refreshing.
But this is an issue of collocation.
Collocation is a linguistics word which means: The habitual juxtaposition of a particular word with another word or words with a frequency greater than chance.
OK... that’s kind of confusing. Basically collocation means which words are used together.
For example: high and tall mean the same thing but we say: high mountains and tall trees.
Now the bad news is: there are no rules to remember collocations – so you just have to remember them.
This is from an article on collocation(s):
The native English speaker intuitively makes the correct collocation, based on a lifetime’s experience of hearing and reading the words in set combinations. The non-native speaker has a more limited experience and may frequently collocate words in a way that sounds odd to the native speaker.
The good news is – you don’t have to worry about it too much, because it usually doesn’t affect the meaning.
For example if you say: that’s a very tall mountain, then everyone will understand what you mean. So, yeah don’t worry about it too much – as you read and listen to more and more English you’ll naturally remember which words go together.
Anyway, back to refreshing.
What is refreshing? So, here are some examples:
A refreshing change, a refreshing drink, a refreshing shower, a refreshing breeze.
But socks? No, not refreshing.
So, what can socks be apart from comfortable?
I had a look on an internet shopping site and I found these adjectives were used to describe socks: breathable, durable, lightweight.
Now, solid fablic. Well it should be an r, so that’s just a spelling mistake.
But solid? I don’t think fabric is usually described as solid.
It could be durable, tough, strong.
And finally punctual sewing. Punctual is about time – as in not late – so it doesn’t make sense with sewing.
You can have a punctual person, a punctual start.
And about sewing, you could talk about the stitching. So you could say: reinforced stitching, strong stitching, flat stitching, double stitching.


Kia Ora, this is Stick News. The number portability system started in Japan yesterday. Mobile phone users can now change phone companies and keep the same number.

There are three mobile phone companies in Japan and they have 94 million customers. Docomo has a 56% market share, au has 28% and Softbank has16%.
People have been reluctant to change companies because they couldn’t be bothered telling people about their new number.
Since Tuesday customers can change companies and keep the same number.
But it’s not cheap.
People have to pay a switching charge of about 5000 yen – plus they need to buy a new phone.
A price reduction war has now started between the phone companies in an attempt to grab a bigger market share.

And that was Stick News for Wednesday the 25th of October.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 117 What kind of phone do you have?

Daisuke and Sarah talk about mobile phones
Step 1: Repeat Daisuke’s lines.
Step 2: Read Daisuke’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Daisuke What kind of phone do you have?

Sarah au.

Daisuke Is there any reason you chose au?

Sarah When I first bought a phone, um, I couldn’t be bothered checking all the different plans and deciding which was the best one. So I just bought exactly the same phone as a friend who had just bought a phone. And he said that that was the cheapest bilingual phone available, so...

Daisuke I use DoCoMo.

Sarah Have you always used DoCoMo?

Daisuke I used to use Tuka.

Sarah Why did you change?

Daisuke Tuka’s coverage wasn’t very good. And everyone at work used DoCoMo, so ...

Sarah Oh, OK. So if you changed you could send mail cheaper?

Daisuke Yeah.


Music on the show used with permission from

Today's questionanswer music:
Artist: Galdson
From: Ortigueira, Spain
Album: Roots
Track: Roots
music at jamendo

Today's news

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