Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Show 238 Wednesday 27 December

Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.

When I was looking for videos on YouTube for the Christmas video, I noticed something interesting - that a lot of Americans didn’t say Merry Christmas they said Happy Holidays instead.

I thought that was curious because I’ve never come across that before. I don’t know it’s a new thing or if people have been saying happy holidays for a long time.

In NZ and in Japan people say Merry Christmas and I’ve never heard of anyone not wanting to say it.

So - I guess it is something to do with religion ... which seems kind of odd to me because when I say Merry Christmas it doesn’t have any religious meaning ... it’s just like saying cheers or “have a nice day”!

And I think it’s an interesting language topic – so if you have an American English teacher or friend then it could be interesting to ask them if they say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and ask them why.


Kia ora in Stick News today the Australian government is recruiting spies.
They’re looking for people with foreign language ability – especially Chinese and Arabic.

Australian spies who work at home, work for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
The spies who work overseas, work for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).
ASIO spies are responsible for protecting the country against terrorism, sabotage and spies from other countries.
Apparently, China has recently been sending lots of spies to Australia. They pretend to be diplomats or businesspeople.
So the ASIO has been recruiting spies who speak Chinese.
ASIO hasn’t confirmed the increases in Chinese-speaking spies, but says they’ve been on a major recruitment drive since the September 2001 attacks in the United States. They now have 1200 spies. This is double the number of spies they had in 2001. And they aim to increase that number to 2000.

According to newspaper reports most new Australian spies are fluent in Chinese – but the spy organisation is having less success recruiting Arabic speakers.
And that was Stick News for Wednesday the 27th of December.
Kia Ora.

the snow report

It rained today. This is what snow looks like on the street after a lot of rain.

conversations with sarah
#145 Do people celebrate Christmas in Japan?

Step 1: Repeat Natalie’s lines.
Step 2: Read Natalie’s lines and talk to Sarah.

Natalie Do people celebrate Christmas in Japan?

Sarah Yeah, some people do. It’s not a religious holiday for most people though.

Natalie What do they celebrate then?

Sarah It’s just a fun event – like Halloween. But for most people it’s just a normal day so they work. I think young couples are probably the most likely to do something for Christmas.

Natalie How do they celebrate?

Sarah A typical thing might be that a couple goes out for a romantic dinner and the guy gives the girl a present like jewelry ... and then they go for a walk and look at Christmas lights.

Natalie Do they eat any special food?

Sarah Oh, yeah, there’s Christmas cake ... but it’s not the same as what people call Christmas cake in New Zealand.

Natalie What kind of cake is it?

Sarah It’s a kind of sponge cake with strawberries on top.

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